The Idea of Potentiality

The theory of Potentiality and Actuality is one of the central themes of Aristotle’s philosophy and metaphysics. Potency is a capacity, actuality is its fulfillment. 

An interesting point brought up by fellow blogger, Ben Casnocha, is that potentiality can have just as strong of effect on our mood and behavior as actuality can. What this means is simply thinking about doing something relaxing, extravagant, or an idea that genuinely pleases you, can increase your mood, energy, and outlook on many of the things you do.

The idea I’m currently experimenting with is along the lines of daydreaming; coming up with an altered reality that I believe will happen in the future, only to find later that it was just something I created for my current pleasure to increase my mood, etc. How much does the absence of actuality actually play a role in the overall improvement of our mood, energy, and behavior?

Christmas in Hawaii

The concept of planning a vacation to Hawaii is something that I would really like to do right now. So, I’ve been looking into plane prices and hotels in my free time over the past day or so, along with dates I’d be interested in going. While I can honestly say that the chance of the Hawaii pulling through in the capacity that I have planned is around 15%, I’m going to see what the negative results bring. I’m not riding on the fact that I’m definitely going, I’m just getting my hopes up a little bit, simply thinking about the idea thoroughly enough to plan out some of the details.

The real question is, “What is going to happen come June (or whenever I have the trip ‘planned’?” The most important aspect, in my mind, is to focus on the present with your mood, while thinking about the future with your idea. Come June, I predict I won’t be disappointed, but I’ll have used the idea of going to Hawaii to better myself and to even set some goals for myself along the way. If it does pull through? Fantastic. If not? No harm done, in my book.

I’ll let you know any results I get, but feel free to share your feelings and experiences as well. Happy dreaming!

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~ by trentgillaspie on December 16, 2008.

8 Responses to “The Idea of Potentiality”

  1. Great writing! Most of us actually do this but not many define it. I’m dreaming up my trip to Thailand, which in actuality I know will happen but so far it has yet to get past the potentiality phase. Which is now bothering me as it is making me second guess that it will reach actuality even though I know it will, if this makes sense. But the idea behind it is keeping me motivated and happy when things get down about my lack of travel in the past few years. If only the dollar wasn’t soooo bad… well hey at least now the world’s currency is catching up and we’re all SOL! Thank goodness for potentiality…but actuality could step in a bit more for me. Comeone

  2. That should have read “ComeON” 🙂 OK we’re done here folks

  3. I daydream all the time. It does feel good, but it doesn’t get the work off of my desk. If focusing on potentiality end up having a direct relation to actuality, perhaps I should daydream about a clear desk. 🙂

  4. I completely agree. Thinking of happy thoughts, whether they are feesible or not, can definitely improve one’s mood. It’s a wonder that we’re not taught to just think happy thoughts when upset from childhood.

  5. Without leaps of imagination, or dreaming, we lose the excitement of possibilities. Dreaming, after all, is a form of planning. Every day I find myself wandering what if this, or what if that. And while I can see that these are just “day dreaming” ideas maybe just maybe some of them will come true. While many of us just see this as a waste of time, since they don’t help us clear our desk of any work. They are at the end of the day what we hope and dream to accomplish and for me that is what allows for me to wake each day in hopes of maybe becoming one step closer to actually doing these thoughts in my head.
    I believe all of us can look inside and say that we have goals/dreams of some sort. Accomplishing them may be easy or hard, but just thinking about them even if you don’t accomplish them gives you some sort of motivation. Although I can see why if you don’t actually do them it may seem like you just wasted your time, truly the time you spent thinking about them made you as a person realize more about yourself and what you want. We all must realize that at the end of the day others may never understand us, but through dreaming and having goals we keep ourselves going, allowing us to try to understand ourselves.
    Daydreaming may not accomplish anything unless acted upon; however having dreams is what makes life tolerable.

  6. You create your own reality. The more you put out into the universe you want something, the more likely the universe will conspire to have it happen. 🙂

    Come to Vienna with me. boo on Hawaii. 🙂

  7. Trent-man,
    This is a side-kick: I feel like the concept of potentiality is engraved in cultural interpretation. For instance, the perception of “power” has much to do with societal constraints, or even religious believes. So the relativism of potency and fulfillment is inescapable. As a poor farmer on the outskirts of Bangalore, my dreaming about becoming a UN expert on climate change has little to do with my fulfillment, until I can have enough food to feed my children and a school to put them in. Can you add a way to Twit your blogs????

  8. In addition to what I was talking about in the post, last night I got an opportunity to go to San Francisco for Monday – Wednesday of next week, but that’s my paid time off. I didn’t have too much planned those days, but I did have stuff, and that prohibited me from going to San Francisco. The potentiality, and mere thought, of going to San Francisco (#2 Place on my Places I want to Visit, next to Hawaii), was HUGE and made me so happy, just to think of going there. Here’s to day dreaming!

    Vlad, if you can find a way to effectively Tweet my blog, I will for sure, but I can’t find anything that would enable me to do so the way that I’d want to. Keep me updated!

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