Human agency is said to occur at the intersection of “acts performed” and “words pronounced.” This is a place most uneasy.
Our brave words are forever requiring a fleshy engagement with an external world where their innate power is vitiated in a swirl of interpretations, blank stares, and misinterpretations. A word set loose too easily loses its way as it is pulled and putsched from one Procrustean Bed to another. Connotations are piled upon it, far beyond its ability to center itself through repetition. Denotations are stripped away as every Humpty and Dumpty uses and misuses it according to their own light.
As soon as we ground a wispy word in time and space, we find our action to be inarticulate and invested with others’ fear or merely floating in another dimension, untethered from its primary impetus. Action qua action has no staying power. It is, and then it is gone. It may draw consequences to itself but has no lasting effect on larger systems.
From time to time, the words of one and the actions of another have a cumulative result. They can reinforce one another. Such can happen over generations with a word from then, re-enlivened now. It is less likely to happen the other way around. If an action was not public enough to be recorded, it does not echo down the years. A misreported event does carry the possibility of being corrected much later, though such a correction is more a new word for its day.
Human agency is exponentially increased when there are those who analyze situations and strategize how their words and actions cohere as an integrous unit of intend, implement, learn, and repeat.
Though our culture is going through another of its know-nothing phases, modeling the repeating trinity of intend, implement, and learn is one of the best gifts we can offer to those still living seven or more generations down the way. May any blessing from this trinitarian process circle wider than yourself.