If I were to attempt to explain to a child of two years the meaning of intention, such a concept would be lost on her. For at that age, a human is only just learning about her relationship to her self to the world immediately around her, as at two, a healthy human is suddenly mindful that there is a world beyond the room where they are placed. The concept of independence, or will, is just sprouting and gives great purpose during waking hours to focus will in simple ways, such as to be near or far from caregivers, to wear what she wants, or to play nicely with other children without biting them when there’s disagreement. Will becomes the sound of a bell that cannot be “un-rung”, and it must be reconciled with that world for the rest of one’s days.
At times, the two-year-old has utter confusion about her own reaction to her will as this relates to the will of caregivers; the decision of a two-year-old often does not align with an older person on whom she depends, which causes great distress to the decisionmaker and can manifest in the form of a tantrum. The result of the conflict can have dire effects on the sensibilities of the caregiver, and even more to the decisionmaker. The level of education a caregiver has attained to be able to look after a human being of any age plays a significant role in how the child perceives and develops her own relationship with independence. What she learns about independence is vital to how she will apply intention later in life.
As the child ages, she wrests with her development and understanding of her world; intention and its relationship to her will is a constant in daily life that is culled by various forces, including caregivers, living environment, adequate nutrition and other health factors, school and community, and daily routine, all of which influence the human being toward their mindfulness of intention. Earlier life for a human being dependent on caregiver(s) in varying degrees lessen (usually) as she ages and her connection to independence and intention shifts from the caregiver to herself.
In my estimation and based on my experience, a person’s intention is taught as what it “should” be according to framework provided in their living dynamic throughout the first twenty to twenty-two (or so) years of one’s life. Whatever age the person is, it is truly when they are individuated from their origins that I believe the “light” comes on about the direct relationship of intention and will as the person realizes they are the sole decisionmaker. At that point, the decisionmaker begins to practice living with results of both agreement and conflict between intention and will and daily reconciles these two in whatever way makes sense at that time. Will is always there, but conscious intention comes and goes, adjusts as needed, and governs the person’s relationship with their intentions and how they apply it to their purpose throughout their life.
When a person is ready to understand the concept of intention, I would describe its meaning as a phased and evolving idea that is based on one’s self-awareness:
Phase 1 Intention is meaning brought by a considered idea with a plan to act;
Phase 2 Original intention is meaning brought by a considered idea with a plan to act for an act that is already completed.
Phase 2.a. Original intention as applied by a considered idea with a plan to act for an act that is already completed, as defined in a judicial process.
Phase 2.b. Intention is meaning that is difficult to measure or accurately interpret by anyone but the one with intent.
Phase 3 Intention is meaning that can be revised in both the present and past tense.
The first phase of intention
Meaning brought by a considered idea with a plan to act,
There can be varying degrees of consciousness to plan to act, or do something:
I plan to go to work today.
The meaning is simple in this example. I intend to go to work. However, intention can be tripped up by other factors, depending on my in-most intentions about my relationship with my work ethic, my career goals or job satisfaction, my relationship with my supervisor, co-workers and employer, impassible weather conditions, perhaps my wish to pay my bills in full and on time.
My level of control with any of those factors can play into my overall will and therefore my intent to g to work. If I enjoy what I do, the sun is out, my relationship with my boss and co-workers is great and I am living within my means, there would seem little to hamper my intent to go to work today. However, if any one of those factors was lagging, it’s plausible that my intent to go to work would be challenged by my “will-ingness” to go to work. Sometimes my zealous work ethic, my career goals, or the desire for receiving a paycheck will outweigh or cloud my awareness of other negative factors; it depends on my consciousness to other needs, which is part of the framework of my sense of wish for, or entitlement to any of the other factors.
If I’m not feeling well, I must weigh my intent to stay home or go to work, again based on the aforementioned hygiene factors at work. Also, depending on the level of illness, I could weigh my intent based on my ability to perform the job or if it is possible that I would pass along the illness to others.
Considering another alternative to illness:
I’m not feeling well due to a hangover from over-indulging at a party the night before.
The result of being hungover actually supersedes my intention to go to work tomorrow from the night before. This is how Phase 2 is introduced to a person’s awareness.
Original intention is meaning brought by a considered idea with a plan to act for an act that is already completed.
I likely will examine the connection between my intention to go to work the next day that was disrupted by my will to over-imbibe at the party: Do I have problems with my job? Do I drink too much and it’s affecting my intentions to hold a steady job? Do I have a lot of hours in sick leave and want a break from my job? Do I have great skills in lying about why I am not i tending to show up at my job today? Is this the first time I have ever made this decision? Whatever the reason, my intention will align with my actions, depending on my willingness or conscious ability to get at the truth about what happened to my intention to go to work–no, my intention not to go to work was supplanted by my decision to drink too much the night before.
Phase 2.a. is how our United States Constitution gives us the right to examine our intention if a law was broken, with the presumption of innocence:
Original intention is meaning brought by a considered idea with a plan to act for an act that is
already completed, as defined in a judicial process.
If I drove home after drinking too much and I am stopped by the police for driving under the influence, whether my intention to go to work the next day is no longer in my control to consider, even if it is in my own mind, as I have been arrested. Whether or not my intention is consciously known or unknown by me, this is no longer relevant for the task at hand.
Intention is meaning that is difficult to measure or accurately interpret by anyone but the one
My intention is now going to be measured by people I do not know (a judge or jury), weighed heavily about my will to drink too much and my inability to apply common sense to whether I should drive a car afterward. Perhaps my defense attorney will attempt to appeal to the new decisionmakers with evidence about my intentions based on my reputation, my driving record, my family life, and how I fit into the society at large. My intention to drink will also be measured by prosecution with evidence of blood-alcohol levels, recidivism, perhaps a field sobriety test and other observations of my behavior by the arresting officer.
Regardless of whether I took a taxi home and avoided arrest, or I drove myself and was caught and
entered into a judicial process in a court of law and its result, I alone still must consider my intention.This brings us to Phase 3 of Intention, and our reconciliation with our will:
Intention is meaning that can be revised in both the present and past tense.
In order to be believable in how I comport myself to match my defense, I may convince myself that my over-drinking was unintentional. This retro-fit of the truth may be not about a court of law, but reasoning or justification I give to myself or others, as I might believe it to be easier than facing the truth about why I was drinking on a night I intended to show up for work the next day. If I want to evolve away from retrofitting truth about my original intentions, I can also choose to examine my intentions about what happened and create new intentions by vowing to myself and to my employer to improve my personal choices. These external factors affect my internal reconciliation of intention. I know that my intentions, when generated internally, can only truly improve if my internal will demands that it happen because my inner conflict has somehow become uncomfortable. As such, my concept of anyone’s intention, regardless of the age and level of self-awareness a person possesses, requires that:
Intention is both the consideration and evaluation of one’s ability to execute and the consideration and evaluation of one’s desire or will to execute, and its meaning is measured on evidence perceived by those affected by the outcome.
Thank you for your consideration of my idea.