Mark J. Chironna, c. 2016
The word “intentionality” derives from the Latin ‘intendere’ which means “to point at” or “to aim at”. What makes you intentional is that your mental states and your consciousness are always directed towards, aimed at, and pointed towards something! Intentionality leads to being intentional! If you are thirsty, you intend to satisfy your thirst by drinking some water or another satisfying beverage.
McIntyre and Smith state: “an action is intentional when done with a certain ‘intention’, which means that you are in a certain mental state of ‘aiming’ toward a certain state of affairs”. Essentially, action and intention are inseparable. There is no passivity in intention. It is fueled by the very spark of intentionality within your mental framework.
Yet if intentionality is the spark of intention, what is the spark of intentionality?
Intentionality is activated by aspiration; by desire. The word desire comes originally from the Latin “de sidere”, implying “from the stars”, and captures the figurative sense of “waiting for what the stars will bring”. In other words, there is a longing for something to be brought into your sphere of experience that is currently missing in your life. The sense of “something is missing” is the power behind intentionality. It is the motivation to satisfy your thirst when you do thirst. You cannot satisfy your thirst unless you know that what you are missing (water) can be easily obtained. Yet, some “missing things” are not as easy to acquire as a glass of water when you are thirsty.
What happens when you operate from the premise that whatever you are “missing” actually exists? You intentionally go about seeking to acquire your “missing piece”. Even it if isn’t immediately within reach, the sense that it is missing also seems to come with a sense of direction, an aim, an intended path that you have to take in order to acquire it.
If it is missing, you can then intend to acquire it because there is a knowing in you that it exists. To simplify, desire implies, “something is missing” and it activates intentionality, leading to the intention to obtain your missing piece.
Desire, intentionality, and intention are inseparable.
Together they form the framework for a collaborative process that leads to asking for what is missing, seeking for what is missing, and knocking on whatever doors may lead to acquiring what is missing.
To be seized by the question “what is missing in my life” is to begin the glorious quest of finding your missing piece.
Having the courage to ask with expectation to obtain your missing piece is that crucial point of intentionality where desire meets intention and creates the necessary impulse and motivation that leads you on the quest for fulfillment and satisfaction. If you are missing it, it is also missing you!
Go find your missing piece! Be intentional!