Friday, September 24, 2010

Street Talk: Ivan Illich on Sharing in Transport

"The habitual passenger cannot grasp the folly of traffic based overwhelmingly on transport*. His inherited perceptions of space and time and of personal pace have been industrially deformed. He has lost the power to conceive of himself outside the passenger role. Addicted to being carried along, he has lost control over the physical, social, and psychic powers that reside in man’s feet. The passenger has come to identify territory with the untouchable landscape through which he is rushed. He has become impotent to establish his domain, mark it with his imprint, and assert his sovereignty over it. He has lost confidence in his power to admit  others into his presence and to share space consciously with them. He can no longer face the remote by himself. Left on his own, he feels immobile.”

Ivan Illich in Energy and Equity (Chapter: Speed-stunned imagination)

* Illich uses transport as modes of movement which rely on sources of energy that don’t utilize the human metabolic energy.

Kind thanks to G.L. Howe for reminding us of how very far ahead was the great man in his thinking and the ideas he shared with us so many years ago. Time to reread and rethink Illich!

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