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Are you agentic or just obsessed with control?
My bottomless pursuit for agency started when I was six.
A decade and a half later, I was lounging on the couch in my sunroom listening to a podcast and heard Eric Weinstein define agency: “When you’re told that something is impossible, is that the end of the conversation, or does that start a second dialogue in your mind, how to get around whoever it is that’s just told you that you can’t do something?”
“The shoe fits!,” I must have thought, “I am a high agency entrepreneur taking on the world. Nothing will stand in my way! Fuck the man!”
In my youth, I enacted all the typical rebellions in search of some agency against the slightest whiff of authority - teachers, parents, coaches, and principals (whom I visited often).
I dropped out of college to rebel against traditional education, founded a cannabis tech startup to rebel against the war on drugs, took that company public to rebel against the SEC, and lived life haphazardly, often recklessly, to rebel against any societally constructed sense of normalcy.
I’ve rejoiced in my own agency, prided myself in it, hell made it the very center of my identity, rebelling along the way against anything that might question it.
“Rebellion” is one way to tell this story. An unhealthy relationship with control might be another.
When I was six, I was abused, violated, confused, and powerless. I’ve spent the following twenty-two years obsessed with control, certainty, and power. Not all that surprising in retrospect, huh?
I find myself, though, at a turning point in my relationship with rebellion and with agency. There exists on the horizon the dawn of something different.
A new chapter is arising in the ashes of an old book. I can’t quite connect with the myth of agency anymore, and can’t see clearly a new way of being, either.
I find myself staring at my ceiling each night wading into the abyss that exists in the space between stories, in darkness within darkness, purging tears from my stomach out through my eyeballs, falling into sleep wondering if I might finally wake up anew the next day.
And each morning, in the few precious moments that exist between dreams and awakening, I experience a series of insights. Is this the dream world projecting itself onto reality, or reality onto the dream world?
I can see the new story in vivid language and imagery, but only for a few fleeting moments. I am left without words, but with a deep knowing that something will arrive soon.
Only fragments of these dreams remain legible. Perhaps you might help me assemble the puzzle? Shall we co-write a new story together?
In the abyss between truth and story, between dawn and dusk, between the dream world and the dream reality, I hear whispers:
You have no agency. Surrender. You act upon the world. But you are of it. You take. Receive. You want. Embody your needs. You rebel. Accept and attend. You are asleep. May you awaken 🙏