Modern sciences rest on the banishment of any idea of end, goal or purpose from their accounts. Aristotle held that each thing was determined by its end or final cause, as well as by its material character and the forces acting on it. Objects fall to earth because they seek their “natural place” – it is in their nature to do so. 17th century natural philosophy subtracted this idea. It held that things move only because some overt and discernible force pushes them – everything can be reduced to matter in motion, “Occult” causes were ruled out. Purpose was driven out of science and thereby fated to return endlessly as heresy.
In effect, Lovelock argued that the earth itself is a unit of evolution, still subject to natural selection but on a cosmic or universal scale where the selection pressures are established by the parameters of life itself.
The spirit of instrumentality, according to Illich, became the leading feature of the age which stretches from the 12th century to our own time, an age characterized by its “extraordinary intensity of purposefulness” and by its idea that to each end some special instrument must correspond. Even love, says Illich, becomes “an instrument for satisfaction”...There is nothing that is worth doing for its own sake, nothing good in itself, which will not finally be made to submit to a rational means/ends logic. Modernity, Illich says, was characterized by “the loss of gratuity.”