For All Intents and Purpose

Sometimes we wonder if what we’ve done has made a difference, if the small change we made or the gesture was received. We hope that what could be distinguished is, or the snowflake act was perceived as so — all while being told that we are chasing a dream. I ask: Why Not? It is not beyond the next person to see that most will act to benefit themselves, whether maliciously or not, and that when asked to choose between ones self and another, a majority of those will choose their self. That is to be expected and as so, does not have to be any more than frustrating. On some level, we all do it and that’s why we shouldn’t fault those who do it, even if they do it a good portion of the time. Here’s where it becomes interesting to me.

As I’ve crawled further down the rabbit hole of language, things like intent and purpose began to poke their heads out. Without attaching a negative connotation to the questions, and remember remaining objective IS the key, what is the intent or expectation of what’s being done or given? Does this give them purpose, me purpose or are they confusing purpose with intent? Here’s the distinction (to me of course):

  • Intent – A specific outcome is expected or hoped for at the least. Intent does not have to be anything nefarious or negative, merely a calculation. It’s like dominoes, intent is setting them up with or without a design with the end result being they all fall down. Sometimes it can be artistic and beautiful, other times it can be to knock something over.
  • Purpose – A general outcome is expected or hoped for at the least. Purpose, like intent, does not need to specifically end bad or good, it just needs to be in the ballpark. This is more like throwing a dart at a dart board, a very large one. Purpose is a specific action in order to illicit a general response, and like the dart board, sometimes we may hit the bullseye, sometimes we won’t, but the victory does not come from a single dart.

Think about the saying, “for all intents and purposes”, an idiom that we have most likely heard at some point but we fail to recall when thinking about the semantics. It’s important to know that there is a distinction and they aren’t a pair, although they are often confused for twins. It does occur where they happen together, and at that moment it’s good to objectively separate the two, but I believe it to be a rarity in which this occurs. Selfish people cannot make the distinction because they always see intent as the purpose, that is why we must make it, but do so objectively.

At some point, it may be discouraging to do good, to always be questioned because like the word pungent, intent has been attached at the hip to negativity. It doesn’t have to be. Pungent is defined as a strong taste or smell, not a bad smell. Sometimes people just want to do good because they want to share wellness. Sometimes people care because they want to save or fix, sometimes people care because it’s in their nature to do so. There may always be some sort of benefit, but that’s mostly because of rationalization, but that is not necessarily the intent or purpose and certainly doesn’t have to be for the person doing the act. From one cynical person to another, people are shady and a majority are out for their own momentary gain, but not everyone. Just because others are doing it does not mean we must as well. Continue on, fight on, believe in better and hope for the best. We see in others what we see in ourselves, so be honest and things will fall as they will.

Merry Christmas and a happy holidays to you all.


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