The expression of human agency

Agency is the ability that humans have to decide by themselves the course of their actions. You can apply agency to individuals and also to groups of people. On one end of the spectrum, you have the individualists who prefer to decide what’s best for them. On the other end of the spectrum, you have people who choose to act on behalf of a common good that benefits the community. Both approaches are founded on each individual’s beliefs of what is considered correct. What some of us consider correct might go against the accepted ethical behaviors of society. Whenever that happens, there is a tradeoff that individuals take into consideration, generating friction. Applied friction can be beneficial to the common future as it often informs the group of fringe behaviors that wouldn’t be known to exist otherwise. The expression of human agency is the friction that is applied whenever there is an inconsistency between the accepted individual and group behaviors. One way of expressing agency is by using voice and somehow showing that you disagree with some behavior that’s considered correct by the community that you’re part of. Another, perhaps more dramatic way, is to simply exit the community and find another one that feels more aligned with your beliefs. As you see, you still have the agency to decide what to do. You can either complain or leave.


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