An Invitation to Ivan Illich’s Tools for Conviviality

— Anirudh Wodeyar

I have been looking for books that help me understand our world, and help me articulate my struggles with it for a while now. This is one of those books.

Tools for Conviviality laid bare why I find difficulty managing the speed at which the world operates — we’ve opted for a world that wants to go too fast at everything: cars, growth, new technology, travel, work. And my sense of being doesn’t operate at that speed. It has taken me years to justify to myself that it’s ok to operate at my own pace. Now I can actually tell you why it’s ok.

We make our tools and our tools make us. Illich takes the adage and truly sees how this affects our world. He defines the word tool in the broadest sense, as:

… those aspects of our current society that have been rationally designed.

Any system created through reasoned thinking is a tool.

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