Purpose is fundamental to the way we think, speak and act. You have probably heard of the saying, ‘everything happens for a reason.’ Well there is also a purpose for everything we do. These statements don’t mean the same thing however. Falling down a flight of stairs may be on purpose should someone intentionally push you, but if the wind were to blow you down, well that would be the reason for your fall, not its purpose.
Whatever action we undertake in life, whether small or great, by preference or coercion, we act due to some kind of purpose. Our purpose might be well planned out or off the cuff, or something in between, either way purpose becomes the ground by which we proceed through life.
It is practical to be clear about our purpose/s. The more specific we are the better our odds of attaining it. For instance let us say it is one of your objectives to maintain good health, thus one of your goals might be to lose some extra pounds. That might be a great idea, but unless it becomes a plan that is put into motion, then it’s unlikely you’ll make much progress. Wishing things in or out of existence can certainly ignite the imagination but it’s a far cry from making the goal real and tangible.
Besides keeping your purpose specific, realistic and measurable, you’ll probably want to choose things that are significant. It is not uncommon to get lost in the thick of thin of things, to get overly caught up with minor concerns, therefore it would be practical to choose purposes with care, especially with a view to choosing goals that complement one another, rather than work against each other and stifle progress.
We can’t always assume that people will be clear about their wants & desires, not because they necessarily have a hidden agenda as such, but by and large they may not have taken the arduous task of getting to know them-selves. Their priorities may be incoherent or mindlessly passed down through social ideals without any consideration to their validity. Some may compromise their values in order to attain employment or lie about past relationships in hopes of exploiting another partner. Regardless of the various reasons for not having constructive, ethical, or well thought out purposes, it is incumbent upon us to cultivate the insight to detect what another’s purposes may actually be. No matter how intermeshed ones desires, intentions and inclinations might be, with the light of reason we can work to pierce through the veil of ignorance and confusion.
As vague as this analogy might sound it nevertheless chimes a certain truth. To get at the heart of a matter, purpose itself is only one note on the flute. If the piper is to lead us to reason we must hear the full spectrum of notes in order to comprehend the tune. In other words purpose is only one of many elements of thought required to analyze a subject or situation. In the presentations to follow we’ll take a look at some other components of critical reasoning in view to analysing and constructing a more complete picture of things.