Being part of a dynamic in constant transformation are we free to choose trajectories or are we determined by larger limitations? Do we build paths or undo the existing ones? Are we capable of influencing our circumstances or do we merely adapt to them? In other words: are we a consequence of fate or its makers? It is not simple to face these questions but we can make some progress if we consider the diversity of factors influencing any process of transformation. Among others we highlight three fundamental types of factors: those that appear as parameters conditioning each situation, those that emerge as random circumstances, and the attitude and determination of actors to act. From the convergence of these different types of factors emerges quite some share of the potential and capacity to transform that exists in each particular context.
The uneven nature of these factors explains that social changes that occurred in diverse times and locations emerge with some common denominators associated to the presence of similar parametric conditions while, at the same time, show singularities derived from random circumstances and the different ways people and organizations act.
It is in the context of each situation’s singular parametric conditions and random circumstances that social and individual freewill is exercised; a certain freedom of choice that will always be conditioned by those parameters and by the circumstances’ randomness although also sustained by the will and determination of the actors interacting.
Although it might seem that way, it is clear that nothing remains immutable but that instead life is a process undergoing constant transformation, both at a personal level and at a social level: everything changes over time and with the circumstances. However, we do not always manage to recognize changes while they are happening. Even lesser is our capacity to anticipate them and be able to prepare to go along in the best possible way. To make up for this gap, in addition to applying some intuition, we turn to the analysis and experience of foreseeing the tensions that drive changes; with that base it is possible to develop our capacity to perceive adjustments in the parameters as they happen, train ourselves to react appropriately when facing random circumstances that may appear and, most importantly, direct our actions to adopt trajectories with the flexibility needed to absorb adjustments on the go without giving up the chosen course.
In short, personal and social transformation speaks of changes that, once they take place, shape the evolution of our future as individuals and as a society; those changes are the result of multiple possible combinations of objective limitations, random circumstances and our own way of acting which, therefore, constitutes a fundamental component of any social transformation’s final outcome.