Entelechy

entelechy |en?tel?k?|noun ( pl. -chies) Philosophy – the realization of potential.• the supposed vital principle that guides the development and functioning of an organism or other system or organization.• Philosophy – the soul. ORIGIN late Middle English : via late Latin from Greek entelekheia (used by Aristotle), from en- ‘within’ + telos ‘end, perfection’ + ekhein ‘be in a certain state.’ —Blackburn, Simon. The Oxford Dictionary of Philosophy. Walton Street, Oxford, England: Oxford University Press, 1994.

It is inside of you, like the butterfly is inside of the caterpillar. He then used a word that I heard for the first time, a word that became essential to my later work…A great word, a Greek word, entelechy. It means the dynamic purpose that is coded in you. It is the entelechy of this acorn on the ground to be an oak tree. It is the entelechy of the caterpillar to undergo metamorphosis and become a butterfly. So what is the butterfly, the entelechy of…? — Jean Houston

I first came across the word ‘entelechy’ while reading the above passage in Jean Houston’s enlightening autobiography, A Mythic Life during the mid-nineties. Being the lover of words I am, I sought out its root and origin.

As best as I could determine, entelechy is akin to the soul of an organism. It is the energy which drives one to fulfill his purpose in life. It is not growth of an organism, a child becoming an adult. That is a life process. Entelechy, is more connected with the spiritual process. It is the soul’s energy, the hidden key to all that is contained within and to all the possibilities without.

In addition to being the coded drive of a single organism, entelechy is the flow of consciousness between organisms. Have you ever stood overlooking water and watched as a flock of shore birds performed as one single unit. Flying, turning, twisting, reflecting the sunlight, diving and landing as a single bird. There is a force greater than trust allowing the movement to occur in perfect symmetry without crashing into one another. This is entelechy extended beyond the single organism into a group consciousness. Entelechy is the core of the morphogenetic field existing between all of life.