All societies across the world are bound by certain traditions and culture that predate the evolution of individual agency. In ancient times, man was always considered to be a part of the whole and not the whole in itself. And while this former presentiment is still true to some extent, there is no denying the importance of individual agency and effort.
Human beings are validated through society. In the long run, their contributions and efforts help to benefit the society and it goes without saying that man is incomplete without the society that he lives in.
However, the fact which is often overlooked but equally important is that the society is incomplete without man.
The scientific discoveries and socio-political changes that have evolved primitive lifestyles into adaptive and more modern ways of living have all been initiated by induvials who advocated for something outside of the limits of their society.
While the society in which we live gives us a home, an identity, and a means of comfort, it also sets a boundary to our potential. It is only when we work against certain boundaries set by the society that we can actually achieve a prominent change and make a difference in the world.
Susan B. Anthony did not win women their right to vote while working within the confines of twentieth century America. She and a thousand other women with her strived for something that their society did not provide for and their individual efforts helped make that same society a much better place for themselves as well as the coming generations.
Each and every one of us has the capacity to push against the walls that surround us. We need to expand on antiquated traditions and evolve them into practices that are increasingly egalitarian. We, especially the youth, shouldn’t be afraid to press against issues of sexism, racism, class ascendancy, etc. just because their society has been nurturing such discriminatory practices.
As Gandhi had said, we need to be the change that we wish to see in the world. It is our individual agency that can reform our society.