“Existence in a society that has become a system finds the senses useless precisely because of the very instruments designed for their extension. One is prevented from touching and embracing reality. Further, one is programmed for interactive communication, one's whole being is sucked into the system. It is this radical subversion of sensation that humiliates and then replaces perception.”
I didn't realize there was such a direct path from Ellul (and maybe «The Subversion of Christianity» in particular) to Illich based around Illich reading a lot of Ellul all at once. I never finished reading «The Subversion of Christianity» — it's still lying around halfway out of my antiLibrary — because it seems long on words and short on ideas. I felt Illich had developed these a much weightier critique, but I suppose he did so indebted to Ellul.
My question about "To Honor Jacques Ellul" is how does Illich get from blaming the worst ills of modernity on the "ideology of Christianity" — and then propose to rescue modern technopoly's alienated humanity from its lack of "sensuality" with a monastic ideal of chastity? If I recall correctly, Illich (who remained faithful to his vows, including celibacy, even after being pushed out of practicing as a priest) would later place the turning point for Christianity in the tenth century (much later than Ellul) with the appearance of "pastoral" concepts, manuals, professionalization, etc. So half a millennium after Benedict... But — he says something critical about the taxonomy of sins being based around the problems and concerns of communities of male celibates and then imposed at scale on the general population with the requirement that they accuse themselves of moral crimes at least once a year before a quasi-juridical confessor. I believe this is all in «The Rivers North of the Future»...
Is it that Puritanism run amok — the laicization of monastic life and ideals, following Weber and others — leads to the sensually arid technopolistic world because of an ascesis it imposes, aberrantly, on everyone rather than a select, initiated, and duly constituted community? I could see that, but how do we get the idea that a chaste gaze within the convivial community ensures its stability and goodness? We have come to see chastity as the elimination of the erotic, which is impossible, so it is essentially the attempt to repress or suppress it — which is a certain way to stoke it up. I do not really follow how Illich is using these terms and examples. Is it that cupidity instrumentalizes?