I have characterized the individual in contemporary society as suffering limits to both moral agency and autonomy. Perhaps the greatest struggle of human community is to balance these things, to find harmony between freedom and responsibility. Thus far I have simply been writing to understand some of the causes of this condition, but now I will offer an early formation of a solution.
Although both of these symptoms–decreased moral agency and decreased autonomy–can largely be traced back to the fragmentation of society, this fragmentation is not a problem in and of itself. The problem emerges out of a habit of overlooking fragmentation and acting as if society were a single, cohesive entity.
The solution to any serious problem must be twofold: 1) mitigate ongoing harm, and 2) address root causes. To accept fragmentation means understanding that interacting with the structure as it is involves the distortion of our intentions, and the limitation of our power. And yet, to mitigate ongoing harm, we must interact with the structure as it is, as I discussed through the example of government regulations. Let us say “reform” to describe the process of interacting with the structure as it is in attempt to mitigate ongoing harm.
While reform is necessary, it will never address the root issue. The decadence and disempowerment that characterize society are a result of the structure of society, not the content. Reform accesses the preexistent structure to alter the content. So to address root causes, we need to actually change the structure of society.
When I say “change,” you probably assume I mean swap out the old for the new. That is not the case. I mean to change the locus of our own activity. For to require the disassembly of the old before beginning the construction of the new–as is the case with revolution–would focus all of our effort on destruction rather than creation. And while that is necessary in some situations where the old guard prevents any innovation, the United States circa 2012 is not one of them.
So what I suggest as the second part of our twofold solution is Circumvention (with a capital ‘C’ to denote a specific tactic). By this I mean creating new social structures that refocus our activities within a less fragmented environment.
Both of these tactics–and Circumvention in particular–will be discussed in much greater detail as we proceed. So while this post is nothing more than an introduction to these topics, I felt it necessary to introduce the groundwork for some actual solutions as I have spent most of my time simply reframing the problem.