Purpose; do we have a choice? - Part Two
Image credit: Boarding School Review
Purpose: Time, Place and Central Core.
Dr. Ali writes, “…having a purpose is a center point around which we should focus our actions.”
I appreciate how Dr. Ali address purpose within time and place: “Purpose is the center of growth rather than the edges. It is the timely and orderly growth of purpose that shall lead to the formation of the "Roman Cauliflower of Purpose". Time: “timely”; or the “right time” meaning allowing a process to happen “in its time”. Place: “center of growth”; or core, “the central or most important part of something.”
Purpose and Chaos
I humbly approach the discussion of chaos as I feel I only understand the tip of this fractal iceberg. I will therefore include the following Wikipedia definition of chaos as in Chaos Theory to clarify how I conceive of chaos in the discussion of chaos and purpose.
"Chaos theory is a branch of mathematics focused on the behavior of dynamical systems that are highly sensitive to initial conditions. 'Chaos' is an interdisciplinary theory stating that within the apparent randomness of chaotic complex systems, there are underlying patterns, constant feedback loops, repetition, self-similarity, fractals, self-organization, and reliance on programming at the initial point known as sensitive dependence on initial conditions. The butterfly effect describes how a small change in one state of a deterministic nonlinear system can result in large differences in a later state, e.g. a butterfly flapping its wings in Brazil can cause a tornado in Texas."
From my perspective, chaos is the internal and external
manifestation of how we exist in time and space; we are in chaos and chaos is
in us. I perceive purpose as something we are born with and is part of the core
of our being; the central core from which purpose develops throughout our
lives. It is something dynamic and influences and is influenced by chaos.
Ian Weinberg writes, “…'purpose' in turn is fed by engaging with the extended environment, where potential chaos exists. Not only is purpose fed from this engagement but it is often borne out of this engagement.”
A double rod pendulum showing chaotic behavior. Starting the pendulum from a slightly different initial condition would result in a completely different trajectory. The double rod pendulum is one of the simplest dynamical systems that has chaotic solutions.
Image credit: Pinterest
I think Harvey Lloyd presents an intriguing argument when he writes, “…with or without purpose we will enter the realm of chaos. With purpose we will find what we are looking for, without purpose we will only find helplessness and remain within the chaos.” If I remain consistent with my perception of chaos and purpose, I would, respectfully, reframe Harvey’s argument in this way: with or without our awareness of purpose we exist in chaos. With awareness, we will connect with our purpose, without awareness, we will not understand what we are doing in the chaos.
Our understanding of our place in chaos can go deeper with our awareness of our purpose. We can use purpose to, as Dr. Ali says, “…find the ordered layers in chaos.”
Purpose and Choices
Dr. Ali introduces the idea of choices into the discussion of purpose. I contribute to this discussion by reprinting the following excerpt from the first part of this post, Purpose; do we have a choice?.
In the article, The Connection to Purpose: Why work matters, the author writes:
“In a broad sense, purpose can be defined as "the reason for which something exists or is done." It is not the task at hand but rather seeing how that task fits into the greater scheme of the organization. Employees who see that their work has a direct and significant impact on the world around them are more likely to tackle that work with passion; they aren't just in it for the paycheck.
Developing [a] level of engagement and commitment to a greater purpose is an individual choice and an individual journey.” (Emphasis mine.)
Where does purpose come from?
Expanding on the definition found in the above paragraph, purpose can be described as; “the reason for which something is done or created or for which something exists; have as one's intention or objective.”
Here we see a process developing from the reason to the intention.
Where does all this come from.? When did this process begin?
As the classic three words suggest, “in the beginning”. In the beginning, we experienced ourselves in relation to self, others and the world around us from the sensory information we received. From the experience, we formed meaning. It is this meaning that we carried over into other experiences that set the groundwork for purpose; we developed the beliefs and values which give reason and intention to purpose.
We can have purpose, but only through choice do we activate purpose.