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The telos is the end of a goal oriented process, or the last in a series.

From the Greek word for 'end'. The Greeks used it to mean end both as in 'finish', and as in 'goal'. It has survived into English (in so far as it has) because it was the fourth and final of Aristotle's causes. It was used, by Aristotle, to refer specifically to the end goal of a process. It this sense the telos exists, as a goal, even if that goal is never actually reached. (If the goal is reached, it may be called an entelechy).

These days telos might also refer to the end step of a chain of events, even if it wasn't a specifically planed goal. Telos is declining in usage, although its offspring teleology and teleological are still going strong.

"You have to know the ending," he said from behind a pressboard-panelled lectern and fingerprint-smudged lamp. "The telos, from the Greek."

Ninety-nine undergraduate pens scratched away on college bookstore notepads. I made a heading on mine: Day One-How to Write Good. The severe brunette with thick-rimmed glasses was apparently not amused.

"Sorry," I mumbled, and struck out "good" for "well." Now she’d never love me.

"Odysseus wanted to get home," came down from the podium. "Homer had to get him there, and wrote to that."

The brunette wrote "Home/r" in her notebook.

I asked myself what ending I wanted.


Composed for an iDeath challenge: 100 words in 10 minutes on "How Do You Get There?"

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