I have been intrigued by the word intent for a long time. Intent is a dynamic and effecting word with powerful implications associated with it. Here is Webster’s definition of intent: 1in·tent
: The thing that you plan to do or achieve: an aim or purpose
Full Definition of INTENT
A: the act or fact of intending: purpose; especially: the design or purpose to commit a wrongful or criminal act
B: the state of mind with which an act is done: volition
A: usually clearly formulated or planned intention: aim 3
A: meaning, significance
Examples of INTENT
1. She thinks I’m trying to make things difficult for her, but that’s not my intent.
2. What was the writer’s intent?
3. The intent of the law is to protect consumers.
4. He was charged with assault with intent to kill.
As can be seen in the above examples the word intent can be used with many different applications.
The thing that has captured my attention is that how can you ever prove someone’s intent? The law has a difficult time proving intent, as does anyone in a position of authority requiring justification of a law or rule. Everyday at home, at work, or at school we are required to assign our intent on many levels. This has all brought me to a point where I pray I will be able to shed light and make sense of the importance intent plays in our daily life.
I believe there is a direct correlation between expectations and intent. First we have to expect, think or dream that an event can be and is possible. Then we must have the intent to make it come about and we must put that intent into action for it to become a reality. This is where it becomes very interesting to me, as I have always thought that positives beget positives. Expectations are envisioned through two sets of lenses, faith and fear. When we move in faith we make positive choices but when we move in fear we either don’t take action or it becomes stilted or hesitant. Looking at the natural process of decision making it becomes clear to me that if our expectations are positive, as we make progress working through our thoughts and decisions, our will be positive. Thus by having positive expectations we are creating positive intent, which results in positive actions for the fulfillment of a positive life.
This is why it is so difficult to prove intent. The individual and our creator are the only ones that can truly determine what the intent was of an action taken. In the legal system in order to prove intent a prosecutor must show a series of actions leading up to the crime to prove intent. This is the same case in everyday normal actions that leads me to ask the question, can random events happen that do not have intent associated with them? We like to call these accidents or random events. I’ll use this example to illustrate my point. I’m sitting in front of a store in my car getting ready to back out of a parking space. I go through the normal process of starting the car and place it in reverse to back out. Instead, I inadvertently place it in drive and hit the accelerator driving through the front window of the store. Is this done with intent or is it truly accidental? Assuming I have no cognitive deficiency (Alzheimer’s etc.) I would say it was done with intent; my intention was to place the gearshift in reverse, however I inadvertently placed it in drive. It then becomes an issue of consciousness. Was I distracted or thinking about something else? The intent was still there but my conscious mind was distracted.
I would like to open this up to a dialogue and hear what you have to think about intent and how important it is in our lives.