Thursday, 20 September 2012


What is a knife?
What is its purpose?

What is  a  tree?
What is its purpose?

What is a man?
What is his purpose?

In order to define something we might consider a number of aspects – description, concept, function, potential and purpose. A thing is easier to define if it has a function or purpose. Eg. Cheese-grater - a device for grating cheese.

A function is just a description of what the thing is doing in a particular context – it can have a function without having a purpose. Eg. Tree, spider, man

Purpose implies intelligence and time. A fire extinguisher has a purpose, even if it never functions (ie puts out a fire)

A ladder, a spider’s web, a symphony, a heart, an iPad all have a purpose.

God (the human invention) has a purpose – to inspire, act as a moral compass, give humans a purpose. But God (the supreme being) cannot have a purpose as he was not designed by someone else. As the old hymn goes: ‘God is working his purpose out as year succeeds to year’.

Energy is a concept (ie something we have conceived) the concept of energy has a purpose (to clarify our understanding of the universe). Energy itself does not have a purpose (though it does have a function).

This applies to other concepts eg: matter, time and space.