'Agency' is a big word.
"Agency is the sense of control that you feel in your life, your capacity to influence your own thoughts and behavior, and have faith in your ability to handle a wide range of tasks and situations. Your sense of agency helps you to be psychologically stable, yet flexible in the face of conflict or change."
It's a simple definition but the sense of agency each of us as human beings feel can be a complicated element in our lives. This documentary from the NOVA series on PBS asks if that sense of agency is ours, if we are our own agents. Personally, my own work-in-progress-answer to that after decades of life experience is that we individually do have agency but it is not one that particularly facilitates an easy autonomy. Thus we ponder philosophies, religions, the sciences and the arts, which allow us a measure of control even if it be fleeting in language and number in the ineffable beyond.
There is another side to all of this that is worth noting. The science of the brain may be advanced now more than in previous, even ancient times, but there have always been people who recognized how that agency could be manipulated for the interests of a few. Politics, religion, and many other elements in life have been used to modify one's sense of agency.
And as one neuroscientist says at the end of the documentary:
"It could be scary to say, and scary to hear, but we are not just our own."__Bianca Marlin Jones
Scary local, or scary unknown? I leave it to the readers and viewers as to which.
Your Brain: Who's in Control
[Note: I've put the video on it's own page which I think makes for a better viewing experience especially for videos running more than just a few minutes.]
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