Through my previous question on ideology and instinct, a more fundamental query was encountered. In both individual and collective minds, semantic decay can result in mental threads out of alignment with the being's instinct. This effect is perhaps more pronounced in the collective mind as a result of groupthink. In either case, the longer and older the chain of reason, the higher the chance of semantic corruption and decay.
A contrast might be mentioned here between circumstantial change and semantic decay, two causes of instrumental corruption. A goal set in the past, such as a plan to carry out a particular task, like obtaining a certain item, can later become obsolete or unnecessary, per circumstance. Yet, without reflection, the feeling of necessity or value can mistakenly remain. In the case of semantic decay, a change in mental framework, meaning of symbols, or connotation can replace the interpretation or effect of previously acquired beliefs and ideologies. Yet, without revisit, the perceived rightness or value can persist.
Mental threads, or processes, can run through a single mind or a collective mind. The latter thread can be classed as distributed cognition, where multiple minds process asynchronously the steps of thought. Whether a single or collective, in both cases the mind can be extended, where artifacts and external representations, such as on paper and machine, provide memory and processing enhancement.
Agency is possessing goal-directed behaviour toward satisfying one's will. Yet instrumental corruption acts as a lens against one's will, poisoning one's autonomy and diverting cognitive threads to an agent of decay. Unlike present deficits of intellect, which may lower the efficacy of one's journey, this cancer of the will changes the direction of one's path.
In the case of an individual, an intuitive sense of wrongness or dissatisfaction should help to limit the extent of diversion in one's life purpose; but the more distracted or mentally bogged the lifestyle, perhaps the greater the detour. In the case of a collective, on the other hand, the phenomenon of groupthink can result in longer, blinder, and more insidious deviation from the good life.
One might argue that a computer virus is an extra-will agent within the system.
Are these mental threads of instrumental corruption also extra-will agents?