Increasingly it’s beginning to feel like agency is a lie we tell ourselves based on an assumption that we are the primary drivers of our actions. That we are, ab initio, well and truly in charge of what we do, what we think, how we react and what decisions we make.
The individual, as a construct, is a culmination of the human(from a long line of production of humans), placed in a body, given a time and a geography and sent to gather experiences. The “self” only exists as a documentation of those experiences, attuned towards self preservation, so that life – the passing of knowledge experienced and gathered through time – may continue.
Maybe then agency is the permission to allow life to pursue itself to its natural end. To recognise that every experience needs the room to realise itself. And fate is the natural path that each experience would have followed. It’s impossible to run from because it is the true driver of action. The experience itself, pursuing its own realisation, will always do battle with whatever conscious impositions we place in its path, and with whatever external impositions that may get in its way.
“You can’t fight the feeling”
“Be all of you, so all of us can heal.”
Beatty, Duality duel
Nature abhors a vacuum(aristotle?). It is the collective experiences, feeding off and into each other that create clarity. As we allow our fate to pursue itself, we create honest experiences in our lives and in the lives of others — experiences that are filled with value rather than fear. We are also fulfilled by our decisions, having known that we only did what was necessary — and no more.
Perhaps this is the tightrope that Janelle Monae sang about – the balance between doing too much and doing too little. Trying to do just enough to protect your peace. Neither going too far, nor shrinking too small. Like a fighter finding their reach we stretch our palms out into the dark trying to figure out where what’s ours ends and what isn’t begins. How much of your world can you claim as your own when your father gave you your smile?
It’s impossible to speak of experience without speaking of the permeating nature of perception and expectations. The complex emotional mechanics that are happening in real time around every action, dictating every subsequent action, making vision and awareness (of self and other) the never-ending quest of living. Always looking to understand “is this my fate? Or is something else at play?”
It’s easy to read this as a call to go inward and examine. Rather, it’s a reminder to observe. To get out of the way, let happen and learn. To shed oneself of shame, fear and angst not just in action, but in self analysis. To be guides of our minds, rather than masters of them. To recognise and participate in the absurdity of process. Trusting, ever trusting, that wherever you find yourself – there you shall also be.