28 August 2009

Reclaiming Our Freedom to Learn

'When we all request education and institutions where our children and young people can stay and learn, we close our eyes to the tragic social desert in which we live. They have no access to real opportunities to learn in freedom. In many cases, they can no longer learn with parents, uncles, grandparents—just talking to them, listening to their stories or observing them in their daily trade. Everybody is busy, going from one place to another. No one seems to have the patience any more to share with the new generation the wisdom accumulated in a culture. Instead of education, what we really need is conditions for decent living, a community.

“True learning,” Ivan Illich once said, “can only be the leisurely practice of free people.” '
Reclaiming Our Freedom to Learn
by Gustavo Esteva
posted Nov 07, 2007

Gustavo Esteva wrote this article as part of Liberate Your Space, the Winter 2008 issue of YES! Magazine. Gustavo is a grassroots activist and deprofessionalized intellectual. Author of many books and essays, former advisor to the Zapatistas, and member of several independent organizations and networks, Mexican and international, he lives in an indigenous village in Oaxaca, in southern Mexico.

Back From The Future
by Gustavo Esteva

Notes for the presentation in “Schooling and Education: A Symposium with Friends of Ivan Illich” organized by TALC New Vision, Milwaukee, October 9th, 2004

UniTierra: Our Roads
Participants and co-creators in Universidad de la Tierra in Oaxaca, Mexico, discuss their experiences with learning and unlearning. In Spanish with English subtitles.

*The inspiration for Conscious Friday comes from Se'Lah at Necessary Room.


  1. thanks, as always, for sharing some informative posts.

    and i cannot thank you enough for getting the word out there for the "gift of jewels" project. this is going to be such fun!

    have a Conscious Friday my dear friend.


  2. That was a really interesting post, thank you!

  3. I'm enjoying these segments on education that you've been posting; I feel as though I am likely on the "same page" as you are regarding how education should look and feel like.

  4. I enjoyed this post; I worry about the segmentation of society where children are raised solely with their peer group and they don't get to see how other people (even their own family members) live.