Your mouth is for expressing the extent of your reason. Except it's also a tool for eating. So its purpose is consumption and expression of reason. Just reason? Okay, well you can use it to attack and cow others, to mislead them and batter them with nothing but breath and sound, but let's say that's not its purpose. Let's say that the mouth is intended for eating and speaking truth.
And kissing. And breathing. Eating, reasonable expression, kissing, breathing.... Anything else?
Well no. You're not supposed to put in on that. That's supposed to be used in that part of hers. Oh, and taking a leak. All other uses are unauthorized, no matter how entertaining. You'll void the warranty.
I cannot remember when I stopped looking for purpose around me. Utility is a simple thing; it evokes adoption, improvisation, application of purpose rather than discovery. Means to me are things to be debated. What you use for something may be used differently by someone else.
There is one major caveat to this. My anarchy-leaning friends may jump in and say "But the state cannot be used to satisfy [purpose] when it is not in its nature blah blah blah!"
And I will say to you that the State, or the Government, or Military/Economic/Political Power, is not a thing. It is a dynamic made into a thing. A culture that is more arrogant even than "a People." It is not a tool. It is a social arrangement, a collection of mutually reinforcing individuals, codes, and organizations. We may break it down into constituent pieces, to which I will apply my notion of inessentialism. A man, the ability to deal out violence, the doctrines that one or many may believe in, and so on--these things may be used differently by other individuals or groups. I never say that I know the whole of another human being, even as I know how I must relate to them. I try to never say that I know the endpoint of this idea or that culture, because the story of each may well be taken up and rewritten to suit the purpose of another narrator.
Back to the point. Means are significant and important, but they are changeable, for what is your means to a certain point will be another's path elsewhere. So where, at this moment, do I fix my gaze?
On ends, which are often enough if not usually the satisfaction of needs. For the purpose of this statement, needs can be considered interchangeable with desires. I do not care to get into the debate over which appetites are essential and which are acquired or socialized, at least not right now.
The architects and reformers of the modern state know these needs well, for even the most tyrannical states seek ways to institutionalize these needs. This is not simply about sustenance, shelter, and security. Who can doubt that, in their terrible way, even the totalitarians offered, and made a point of offering, senses of belonging, identity, and purpose? Our stereotype of barbaric and civilized states, serving basal and vaunted needs respectively, is foolish and wrong. Even the most tyrannical society can be sophisticated, and perhaps needs to be sophisticated in its appeals if it wants to survive for long. Consider the despotisms of the old religions; they expanded their appeals to serve so many needs that their psychological resonance long outlived the states among which they emerged and they long existed as ghosts while, in terms of material politics, they were utterly dead.
And so the social reformer also considers needs, for all around her she sees perversion and channeling of urges to serve the needs of the ruler and merely leave the ruled momentarily soothed. Sex is co-opted by commerce. Violence finds furtive expression in war fever, professional sports, and pornography of one sort or another.
And if I might wade into the ongoing KFO/JC feud, I must say I quibble with Mr. Crow's wording. It is true that fascists obsessed over the softness of modern life, but to assert that man has gone soft in some ways is not in itself fascistic. It is objectively true that in the empire, men and women have taken to internalizing their ambitions and urges, if they can so afford. We overeat, we drink too much, we use drink and other substances to give us excuses to say what we otherwise fear voicing, we play violent video games to get our heart rates up. We exercise in air conditioned rooms if we exercise at all.
And yet to say that humanity is going soft is not the same as to say that hardship is ennobling and that pain brings strength, as fascists argued. One can see an ape in captivity, masturbating compulsively, eating to excess, riddled with self-inflicted bites, and wonder if the fat, balding creature would not do better in the wild without necessarily desiring all the hardship that comes from a free life. (And of course, many an anarchist would argue that all pain and suffering comes from the zoological garden and simply cannot exist in the wild, but we will forgive them their hasty enthusiasm.)
And so we have an order that has insinuated itself between us and what we want. Where does that leave us? If we are moral nihilists (and I happen to be, in the sense that I believe there is no morality but what we create), that means that we must find some way to differentiate the means of satisfaction currently indulged by millions and the way we would prefer they feed their needs. Because this isn't a trap that one, or a handful, can escape. It is a prison of human bodies and the only way I suspect we may break out is to liberate the walls themselves.