Growing up, I've always been mesmerized by people I perceived to be “moths” — humans fluttering around just outside of the bright glow of the traditional spotlight. While “butterflies” sparkled within traditional systems, moths seemed to be playing games entirely of their own making. I believe both human and insect moths are frequently underestimated. They're just as smart as butterflies (or an AI, for that matter), beautifully complex up-close, and driven by a magical intrinsic force: agency.
From the outside, agency is often misinterpreted as ambition, but I learned through observing these two types of people that they are actually quite different. Ambition means you're motivated to play games that others have already created in the world, while agency means you're driven to play a game of your own. It quickly became clear to me that our world desperately needs more niche moth-like perspectives and in turn, interesting, actualized visions of the future. What’s more, a moth’s natural inclination to camouflage is core to its success, but it also makes it illegible to the world — which means there's no clear path to become a moth.
In the world of learning sciences, the common gospel is that fostering agency in adults is a lost cause. You’re either taught it at a young age or you’re doomed to a life of limited ownership — instead of being in the pilot’s seat you’re simply navigating within another person’s world for the rest of your short winged lifespan.
I don’t buy this. I think agency can be inspired in adults. It just needs different inputs to produce the same infamous outputs: curiosity and creativity. Agency has three core inputs: