Ivan Illich on Crossing the Threshold of the Age of Instrumentality

Cayley: You suggested earlier that a new possibility has been opened by the ending of the age of instrumentality…

Illich: I think so. In this world I couldn’t find a better situation in which to live with those I love, and those are exactly people who are overwhelmingly aware of the fact that they have passed beyond a threshold. And because they are no longer so deeply imbued by the spirit of instrumentality, or of futility, they can understand what I mean by gratuity. I do believe that there is a way of being understood today when you speak about gratuity, and gratuity in its most beautiful flowering, is praise, mutual enjoyment, and what some people, such as those who propose a new orthodoxy* discover, is that the message of Christianity is that we live together, praising the fact that we are where we are and who we are, and that contrition and forgiveness are part of that which we celebrate, doxologically.

Cayley: With praise…

Illich: Yea.

–Ivan Illich & David Cayley, The Rivers North of the Future: The Testament of Ivan Illich, Ch 21, pg 229

*i.e. Radical Orthodoxy

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