Ecologist Howard Odum noted in Environment Power and Society that what a system can do is limited by its subsystems, and by the larger system of which it is a part.
If we think of a person as a system, his or her subsystems would include metabolism, wealth, personal connections, knowledge base, intellectual firepower, etc. He or she would be a subsystem of a society, whose operations oblige and proscribe various activities and accomplishments. A Yanamamo won't build a helicopter, and a North Korean won't direct a 3D, CGI film of The Catcher in the Rye.
And, we have to wonder, how can an American find a way to live a just, satisfying, and ecologically-based life?