What’s The Definition Of Agency As You Use It?

—“What is the definition of “agency” as the term is used here?”— Daniel Roland

As an example, God would have perfect agency, because would have perfect knowledge(omniscience), perfect reason, perfect emotions, perfect mindfulness, perfect ability to act (omnipotence), unlimited resources, and no competition, no need to cooperate, and therefore no need for conventions, laws, institutions, or infrastructure.

As humans we have imperfect knowledge, imperfect reason, imperfect mindfulness, imperfect emotions, limited range of actions, limited resources, and we live in a world where we must compete, must cooperate to compete, and to do so require conventions, laws, institutions, and infrastructure.

So, Agency consists of the degree to which one approaches perfect ability to act, when not limited by knowledge, reason, emotions, mindfulness, range of action, available instrumentation, available resources, competition, cooperation, conventions, laws, institutions and infrastructure.

Given we can never have unlimited knowledge, unlimited resources, and we have limited ability to be free of competition, need for cooperation, conventions, laws, institutions, and infrastructure, we can seek largely to improve our knowledge, reason, mindfulness, and assets so that we maximize our agency within the availble limits.

Now, I am not entirely certain that there is much difference between emotions(impulses) and mindfulness(discipline). And so perhaps I should combine the two rather than separate them.

And in general when I am speaking of the difference of genders, men have greater agency than women, because frankly “we have less going on” upstairs, in more concentrated form; we are not constantly interrupted by impulses and emotions and worries; and we are in general simply faster and stronger. Nature evolved women for the construction of offspring and us for the persistence of the tribe in which we concentrate our genes. We fight, and by consequence we hunt. They gather and often hunt (really) but largely spend their time on the internal world of the community (tribe) while we spend our time on that intersection between the tribe and competitive reality.

Bill, Eli, and I have worked on Agency quite a bit, and Bill has convinced me that Agency should be thought of as an asset we seek to accumulate. He also uses the term “Autonomy” to describe what I understand to be the end result of agency. (I think that is what he means). But I tend to just stick with Agency since I don’t see the difference, and prefer to speak via-negativa.

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