Agentic State

How to describe the Agentic State:

A person may make the agentic shift into the agentic state from the autonomous state when they are ordered to do something by someone who they perceive to be an “authority figure“. Whilst in the agentic state people may blindly follow orders as they will absolve themselves of personal responsibility, which they displace onto the authority figure. In this state the person gives up the sense of free will and believes that they are now the agent of the authority figure acting on their behalf, and therefore their behaviour is determined by their relationship with this person. People sometimes experience moral strain when in this state as they may enact behaviours which are counter to their personal sense of right and wrong. For example, 65% of Milgram’s participants followed orders to electrocute an innocent stranger with voltages of 450V having been ordered to do so by the researcher, however, many of them suffered high levels of tension yet still continued to press the switches.

When asked to describe this state, avoid saying: ‘when you act as an agent’ – this is known as a circular definition, you have used the term that you are definign in your definition.