September 2nd, 2019

reconnect me

the agency post (as yet incomplete)

i think there are a lot of people who don’t understand agency the way i do.

culturally, it’s often conflated with self-sufficiency; in my opinion (this is all my opinion) a deadly mistake. self-sufficiency is a deadly mistake, if not for the individual who mistakenly believe themselves to have achieved it, then for the network of exploited individuals and resources abandoned unacknowledged in their wake. self-sufficiency is the big american entitlement, yet more toxic detritus of manifest destiny, that attractive delusion feeding into many of our most destructive behaviors: isolating and estranging us to the extent of normalizing homelessness.

agency is the rate of exchange for an ever decreasing percentage of the populous grinding planetary resources to worse than nothing as a means of maintaining their illusion of self-sufficiency.

that’s right. you heard me. i am positing that the illusion of self-sufficiency strips us of agency. not just one side or the other of the privilege divide. it’s both sides and the infinity of shades in the middle. everyone and everything is impacted by this destructive illusion. we’re all in this together, kids: realization no. 1 of claiming agency for yourself.

among the privileged, the way the mechanism works is: you have things that others do not. with the things that you have, you are able to get more things. material things, sure, but also immaterial ones, matters seemingly assumed among those fortunate enough to enjoy them:

  • social acceptance
  • a reasonable path to sufficient employment
  • privacy
  • access to profitable network connections
  • praise and acknowledgement
  • upward mobility in the job market
  • the ability to move through public spaces without suspicion
  • non-judgmental assistance from healthcare providers
  • sufficient access to healthcare
  • respect in the workplace
  • employment security
  • effort resulting in some degree of intended achievement, not punishment

  • one does not want to lose those things they have, of course they don’t! so they refuse to investigate why such intangibles are so easily obtained; in fact, many will become confused and even outraged at the suggestion that they have access to intangibles others do not. this is a defense mechanism.

    not investigating the roots of privilege means conformity. plugging in to the system. not thinking too hard. not questioning very much. not taking responsibility or even acknowledging the potential for one’s environmental, economic, social, or emotional impacts. an individual benefiting from multiple privileges denying they have privilege, that is a core demonstration of someone who has not developed agency.

    because: agency means thinking. agency means questioning. agency means not conforming.

    privilege still strips the not-privileged of agency, though not because they’re being placated by a welfare state. like anyone silenced by systemic trauma for more than four decades could tell you: the not-privileged are trapped in the margins of the privileged’s fearful drama around losing their privileges. any privilege, even, especially those they angrily insist are not real privileges. and, yeah.

    it shouldn’t be a privilege to walk past law enforcement without being stopped, questioned, and beaten to death for no reason.

    it shouldn’t be a privilege to be listened to, believed and served in a timely manner at an emergency care facility.

    it shouldn’t be a privilege to hold hands with your spouse at the park.

    but it is. because of systemic oppression, some people get those things. others do not. erasing the problem will not solve it.

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