An individual's life can in many ways be regarded as beholden to various simultaneous and overlapping entelechies, for example, the life trajectories imposed by the biological limitations, our mortality, the norms and expectations of family and/or society, and the individual's ego-ideal. Externally imposed entelecheia and fantasized but unrealized entelchia can both be sources of frustration.
Societies can also be said to embody entelechia in their cultures; religious views, collective senses of entitlement, "mission" or "mandate" and even in their very languages. Societies/cultures sensing that their entelechial trajectory is reaching its terminus (i.e., sensing they are in decline) or that this trajectory has been deflected from its "proper" path by illegitimate forces - either internal or external - may exhibit violently irrational or even self-destructive reactions.
In the biological vitalism of Hans Driesch, living things develop by entelechy, a common purposive and organising field. Leading vitalists like Driesch argued that many of the basic problems of biology cannot be solved by a philosophy in which the organism is simply considered a machine.
Aspects and applications of the concept of entelechy have been explored by the American critic and philosopher Kenneth Burke (1897-1993) whose concept of the "terministic screen" illustrates his thought on the subject.
Tymieniecka, Anna-Teresa, and Evandro AGAZZI, editors. Life--Interpretation and the Sense of Illness within the Human Condition: Medicine and Philosophy in a Dialogue.(Book Review)
Dec 01, 2003; Analecta Husserliana, Vol. 72. (Dordrect: Kluwer, 2001). Cloth, $113.00. xxi + 281 ppThis book is tandem to the prior Analecta...