entelechy (n)

From Late Latin entelechia, from Ancient Greek ἐντελέχεια ‎(entelékheia), coined by Aristotle from ἐντελής ‎(entelḗs, “complete, finished, perfect”) (from τέλος ‎(télos, “end, fruition, accomplishment”)) + ἔχω ‎(ékhō, “to have”).

  1. (Aristotelian philosophy) The complete realization and final form of some potential concept or function; the conditions under which a potential thing becomes actualized.
  2. A particular type of motivation, need for self-determination, and inner strength directing life and growth to become all one is capable of being. It is the need to actualize one’s beliefs. It is having a personal vision and being able to actualize that vision from within.
  3. Something complex that emerges when a large number of simple objects are put together. […gestalt theory?]

Related: FOMO (Fear of Missing Out).  Or Shurik’s great toast: “Let us toast to our expectations meeting out outcomes.”  So rarely they do.  The secret of course is to have low expectations. Like Dewey:


if-only (n)

pl. if-onlys: a pining wish to have done something differently than one did. The conditional function thingified. Very often connected to the idea of time-travel, or wanting to curl up into a ball. A common symptom of someone suffering nostalgia (or mellalgia), or FOMO.

Seen most recently in Bud Foot’s book on the Connecticut Yankee:

“And yet, it seems to us, they [pre-Industrialists] must have thought of it; surely, like us, did if-onlys…’If only I could go back and change it.’ But nobody seems to have thought that way, at least from the evidence of the literature.”

First I saw it was in Lewis Sachar’s Holes (1998) where the protagonist spends an awful lot of time wishing things were different:

If only, if only,” the woodpecker sighs,
“The bark on the tree was as soft as the skies.”
While the wolf waits below, hungry and lonely,
Crying to the moo-oo-oon,
If only, If only.”