Purpose is a term having various meanings involving intentions, targets, aims, goals, and objects or results which are desired. Most involve conceptions of an individual's voluntary behavior or active awareness, and have had significant histories of involvement in religion, philosophy, science, technology, politics, war and forms of art and magic.
A - F
- The purpose and cause of the incarnation was that He might illuminate the world by His wisdom and excite it to the love of Himself.
- Peter Abelard, as quoted in "The Abelardian Doctrine Of The Atonement" (1892), published in Doctrine and Development : University Sermons (1898) by Hastings Rashdall, p. 138.
- A narrow religion, a sectarian religion, an exclusive religion can live only for a limited time and a limited purpose.
- Sri Aurobindo, The Uttarpara Address (1909)
- I am working in everybody and whatever men may think or do, they can do nothing but help in my purpose.
- Sri Aurobindo, The Uttarpara Address (1909)
- Not result is the purpose of action, but God's eternal delight in becoming, seeing and doing.
- Sri Aurobindo, Thoughts and Aphorisms (1913)
- The great rule of life is to have no schemes but one unalterable purpose.
- All things have been given to us for a purpose, and an artist must feel this more intensely. All that happens to us, including our humiliations, our misfortunes, our embarrassments, all is given to us as raw material, as clay, so that we may shape our art.
- Jorge Luis Borges, in Twenty Conversations with Borges, Including a Selection of Poems: Interviews by Roberto Alifano, 1981–1983 (1984)
- If you have no aim, you need not worry about the means.
- Fausto Cercignani in: Brian Morris, Simply Transcribed. Quotations from Writings by Fausto Cercignani, 2014, quote 48.
- Unity of intent is on the lips of many, but in the hearts of few.
- Fausto Cercignani in: Brian Morris, Simply Transcribed. Quotations from Writings by Fausto Cercignani, 2014, quote 44.
- Veracity does not consist in saying, but in the intention of communicating truth.
- Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Biographia Literaria (1817) Ch. IX
- Plato defined a slave as one who accepts from another the purposes which control his conduct. This condition obtains even where there is no slavery in the legal sense. It is found wherever men are engaged in activity which is socially serviceable, but whose service they do not understand and have no personal interest in.
- Poetry has historically been allied with religion and morals; it has served the purpose of penetrating the mysterious depths of things.
- I would rather work with five people who really believe in what they are doing rather than five hundred who can't see the point.
- Patrick Dixon, in Building a Better Business (2005), p. 14
- There is only one valid definition of a business purpose: to create a customer.
- Peter Drucker (1954) The Practice of Management p. 37
- History does not long entrust the care of freedom to the weak or the timid. We must acquire proficiency in defense and display stamina in purpose. We must be willing, individually and as a Nation, to accept whatever sacrifices may be required of us. A people that values its privileges above its principles soon loses both.
- We look upon this shaken Earth, and we declare our firm and fixed purpose — the building of a peace with justice in a world where moral law prevails. The building of such a peace is a bold and solemn purpose. To proclaim it is easy. To serve it will be hard.
- The United States would seek more than the mere reduction or elimination of atomic materials for military purposes. It is not enough to take this weapon out of the hands of the soldiers. It must be put into the hands of those who will know how to strip its military casing and adapt it to the arts of peace.
- Throughout America's adventure in free government, our basic purposes have been to keep the peace, to foster progress in human achievement, and to enhance liberty, dignity and integrity among peoples and among nations. To strive for less would be unworthy of a free and religious people.
- Disarmament, with mutual honor and confidence, is a continuing imperative. Together we must learn how to compose differences, not with arms, but with intellect and decent purpose.
- I need to have a purpose in life and for that I might sacrifice some of the luxuries that I enjoy; fortunately I am fairly adaptable. I try to be aware, flexible and unbiased in my thinking. If I have learnt anything, it is that life forms no logical patterns. It is haphazard and full of beauties which I try to catch as they fly by, for who knows whether any of them will ever return?
- Margot Fonteyn, in Margot Fonteyn : Autobiography (1975), p. 272
G - L
- Even flies, parasites and microbes have their purpose to fulfil, and there is nothing superfluous in creation.
- Aim at the sun, and you may not reach it; but your arrow will fly far higher than if aimed at an object on a level with yourself.
- Joel Hawes, as quoted in You're Born an Original - Don't Die a Copy (1993) by John Mason.
- Purpose has no place in biology, but history has no meaning without it.
- The difference between good and bad intentions is this : — that good intentions are so very satisfactory in themselves, that it really seems a work of supererogation to carry them into execution ; whereas evil ones have a restlessness that can only be satisfied by action — and, to the shame of fate be it said, very many facilities always offer for their being effected.
- Allow the President to invade a neighboring nation, whenever he shall deem it necessary to repel an invasion, and you allow him to do so, whenever he may choose to say he deems it necessary for such purpose, and you allow him to make war at pleasure. Study to see if you can fix any limit to his power in this respect, after having given him so much as you propose.
- The purposes of the Almighty are perfect, and must prevail, though we erring mortals may fail to accurately perceive them in advance.
- Men are not flattered by being shown that there has been a difference of purpose between the Almighty and them.
M - R
- It was Richard Parker who calmed me down. It is the irony of this story that the one who scared me witless to start with was the very same who brought me peace, purpose, I dare say even wholeness.
- Everyone has a goal which appears to be great, at least to himself, and is great when deepest conviction, the innermost voice of the heart, pronounces it great. ... This voice, however, is easily drowned out, and what we thought to be inspiration may have been created by the fleeting moment and again perhaps destroyed by it. ... We must seriously ask ourselves, therefore, whether we are really inspired about a vocation, whether an inner voice approves of it, or whether the inspiration was a deception, whether that which we took as the Deity’s calling to us was self-deceit. But how else could we recognize this except by searching for the source of our inspiration?
- Karl Marx, Writings of the Young Marx on Philosophy and Society, L. Easton, trans. (1967), p. 36.
- Our purpose is to educate as well as to entertain. Painless preaching is as good a term as any for what we do. If you're going to come away from a party singing the lyrics of a song, it is better that you sing of self-pride like 'We're a Winner' instead of 'Do the Boo-ga-loo!'
- Curtis Mayfield , as quoted in The Sociology of Rock (1978) by Simon Frith
- By sheer force of moral purpose, by clarity of perception, by mastery of detail and benign manipulation of men, he had become, as Henry Adams admiringly wrote him, "the best herder of Emperors since Napoleon."
- We all engage in purposeful activity, and we judge ourselves and others in terms of success in achieving the purposes that we set before ourselves. Yet we accept as the final product of this purposeful activity a picture of the world from which purpose has been eliminated. Purpose is a meaningful concept in relation to our own consciousness of ourselves, but it is allowed no place in our understanding of the world of facts.
- Lesslie Newbigin, in Foolishness to the Greeks : Gospel and Western Culture (1986)
- The hypothesis will lead to our thinking of features of each Universe as purposed; and this will stand or fall with the hypothesis. Yet a purpose essentially involves growth, and so cannot be attributed to God. Still it will, according to the hypothesis, be less false to speak so than to represent God as purposeless.
- Charles Sanders Peirce, on the God hypothesis, in "A Neglected Argument for the Reality of God" (1908), § II
- There is no good reason why we should fear the future, but there is every reason why we should face it seriously, neither hiding from ourselves the gravity of the problems before us nor fearing to approach these problems with the unbending, unflinching purpose to solve them aright.
- It is necessary that laws should be passed to prohibit the use of corporate funds directly or indirectly for political purposes; it is still more necessary that such laws should be thoroughly enforced. Corporate expenditures for political purposes, and especially such expenditures by public-service corporations, have supplied one of the principal sources of corruption in our political affairs.
- It is particularly important that all moneys received or expended for campaign purposes should be publicly accounted for, not only after election, but before election as well. Political action must be made simpler, easier, and freer from confusion for every citizen.
- Theodore Roosevelt, in a speech at Osawatomie, Kansas (31 August 1910), published in The New Nationalism (1910)
- A union of indomitable resolution in the achievement of a given purpose, with patience and moderation in the policy pursued, and with kindly charity and consideration and friendliness to those of opposite belief, marks the very spirit in which we of to-day should approach the pressing problems of the present.
S - Z
- I am interested in a phase that I think we are entering. I call it "teleological evolution," evolution with a purpose. The idea of evolution by design, designing the future, anticipating the future. I think of the need for more wisdom in the world, to deal with the knowledge that we have. At one time we had wisdom, but little knowledge. Now we have a great deal of knowledge, but do we have enough wisdom to deal with that knowledge?
- There's no escaping reason, no denying purpose, for as we both know, without purpose we would not exist. It is purpose that created us, purpose that connects us, purpose that pulls us, that guides us, that drives us; it is purpose that defines us, purpose that binds us. We are here because of you, Mr. Anderson. We're here to take from you what you tried to take from us. Purpose.
- I take great satisfaction in seeing people and organizations achieve goals they might have originally believed to be beyond their reach.