Agency Is Gratefully Dead

Agency is going through the same fits as religion. When Nietzsche regarded society around him at the time, he declared that God is dead and asked now…

Agency Is Dead

—-Aaaaand of course, my comment.

I have never bought the idea that without some sort of God figure that everyone gets to do what they want. So, also I’m not really agreeing with the idea of agency here. I mean, yes there is some sort of crisis about this particular term and its role and how we show up in the world. That much I would agree.

However,

The plain fact of the matter is that probably a good chunk of the population of the globe does not “believe” in some sort of ethical judge ruler. In fact, I do not even think that most people “believe” in some sort of ethical standards. We simply run on them. I think that everyone just does whatever the hell they’re doing and then when we start talking about ethics or laws then we fall into this sort of black hole that we fill in with words that supposedly define the reason why I’m doing anything.

For sure when I’m walking my dog this morning, there’s nothing within me that is preventing me from stepping over and thrusting a knife into someone’s heart, you know, 20 feet away or something. Its only when I might ponder running over to this dude walking a dog and thrusting A knife into his heart that I begin to ponder these ideas about ethics and agency and God – if we I do at all ! But while I’m walking my dog there’s no such thing that’s preventing me from doing that simply because it has nothing to do with anything that I’m doing. I’m walking my dog taking in the cool morning and greenery that this early summer has to provide. There’s nothing ethical about it, there’s nothing about my agency that comes into play. It is only when I read this blog about agency and God but my mind begins to roll around in the dirt and pebbles of that thing or things.

Now, the only rebuttals that one could give to this sort of position would be to assume that there’s something underneath, some sort of Tetris like basis to my consciousness or my mind that has been filled in with ideas and values, and that my activity is kind of the blocks falling down from the sky that I’m trying to arrange into this foundation that has been settled before.

Literally, that’s the only rebuttal that can have any ground against what I’m talking about.

However, we would have to apply the same sense of God or agency or morality or ethics to the very fact that I might be able to read this blog about those topics and then have some sort of opinion about them. In this sense, we would have to argue something of the nature as to whether or not I have intelligence maybe. My point here is that someone would pick out some great idea to start talking about it as if it has some sort of existence or not existence that it’s informing all human beings or something like that.

We could just as easily have made the discussion about mind. Do I have a mind that is able to read the repost blog and have an opinion on it enough to write another post? How about An even more interesting one: gumption. Is there this essence of gumption that all human beings have such that I need to tell someone how it may or may not be the case, considering that someone was talking about God and ethics?

I could go on. in fact, I would suggest that we could go on and on and on in this direction about deciding or arguing about what things truly exist or have relevance and what things don’t, and if we had enough time we would have gone through to address the entire lexicon by which human beings communicate.

I personally would say, yes, the very fact that someone might be arguing of whether God exists necessarily requires that God exists. Because if God didn’t exist I would have no criteria, no way to reference what God is or is not. Same with agency.

Further, if someone wanted to argue that particular point of contention, I would say that what is it about the situation that feels like you have access to some essence of God that does or does not exist? Or even better yet, what makes you feel that there’s some sort of essence of yourself that has any ability to affect some other persons opinion as to whether or not they believe in God? Why should the existence of anything have to do with my reasoning about it? Whatever answer that person comes up with, ultimately would be another topic that could involve God or agency. Then even more revolting, why do I think that I have the power to know whether it exists or not exist in the sense that my argument would want to promote?

For whom, or to whom am I arguing?

What about this other person, or these people that I’m writing the blog to. How can I possibly know what “all of humanity” actually is, what they do, what they think, the reasons for it, or anything at all like that. Do the people that live on that island, I think in the Mediterranean, who are basically a xenophobic society that doesn’t let anyone else come onto their island – do they have agency? Do they “believe” in anything? 

I would think that they do, and they don’t. They have both not agency and indeed they have agency. 

So, I think there’s something else going on. And I don’t think it’s the question of nothingness, or some sort of enlightened Nirvana Ness. I don’t think that nihilism has any context here either, again, except in as much as I might think I’m getting somewhere by discussing what nihilism is.

Im just grateful that I might know what it is. 👽

The object of the discussion, like that rock over there. in-itself.

The arrogance! The Narcissism!

🧐

what am I talking about again?
x

Author: landzek

My name is Lance Kair, a philosopher, a counselor and a musician who is being questioned.

2 thoughts on “Agency Is Gratefully Dead”

  1. Nietzsche was writing in a different age—one that was transitioning into the Enlightenment Age, not yet further enlightened by the horrors of a couple World Wars™. His assumption that ‘ordinary’ God-fearing people were kept in place by either the threat of Hell or just wanting to please the Big Guy—so cowering of kissing up. As with much Western philosophy, it was steeped in Western perspective.

    As you know, Nietzsche was no Nihilist. That’s just something his reactionary reactors thought and still think. If anything, give him credit for being an Existentialist. He observed, that the “common man” would run amok. And even though so-called religious belief is on the decline in much of the Western world—not withstanding the embarrassment that is the American South and Midwest “Bible Belt”—, it’s replaced by Spirtualism™ and things like Karma™, so these people are kept in check this way. Of course, social Structure and notions of authority and punishment don’t hurt either.

    I don’t need a god, and I understand morality to be constructed anyway. I just try not to act like an A-hole. (Often, I succeed.)

    In the end, regarding agency, the pivotal point is that if one has no agency, one cannot ultimately deserve praise or blame, so it is a lot more pedestrian than “I’m not gonna off that bloke”. And it gets deeper into modes of punishment and rehabilitation—or habituation, as the case might be in some cases.

    Liked by 1 person

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