During my practice, between 2015 and 2018, I liked to use the term “Special Agent”. Apart from other elements, it consists of two words: “special” and “agent”. Why?

The word special relates to one’s specialty: be it a brain better suited for solving mathematical problems or the ability to cook amazing Italian food. To be special is to be different from the rest, which is already the case because nobody is the same, everyone is a little bit different. To nurture this difference is a very fulfilling way to be special, although not the only one.

Special does not equal “best” and also has little to do with individualism. The word “special” relates to the word “specie”, so to be special is to belong to species. A human being belongs to the human species, but also to mammals. To be special, therefore, is to act on behalf of the human species and on behalf of all (baby) animals with that specialty, which makes you unlike anyone else.

If we now move to the notion of an agent, we usually have associations to something like a secret agent, a travel agent, or an agent of a musician. These are only specific cases of agents, which are part of a broader definition. An agent is somebody who has the capacity to act (from Latin “agentio”). To practice one’s own agency. To be an agent is to explore the agentivity of oneself, to gain power, and to let go. To connect to others and to the environment through our agency. To have an agency.

A special agent, therefore, is somebody who acts in the world with a certain agency in a way that nurtures whatever specificity they have in relation to other species. A sort of social individualism with a touch of idealistic pragmatism.

A fork (modified) version of this text is available at http://specialagency.co