In a chat I had earlier tonight with Vince Stevens about occult culture one of the things we discussed is what the purpose of magic practical is. Specifically what does a person use magic for and what consequently are the benefits of practicing magic. I think purpose is an important lynchpin to consider within magical practice and for that matter how one defines magic. The purpose provides the impetus for why a person does utilize magic. So what is the purpose of doing magic? What are the benefits of its practice? Simple questions to ask, but I don't think the answers as simple. On the one hand, it could be argued that getting a desired result is the purpose of magic, but that's a fairly short termed way of going through life. It doesn't necessarily address what will happen after you get that result. Additionally this kind of perspective is rather materialistic and does nothing to address the benefits of magic beyond gaining something.
On the other hand, the purpose of magical could be for other purposes than just obtaining results. The refinment of the self, helping other people raise there level of awareness, etc. The question then becomes where does magic fit into the overall community or the lives of other people. In other words what role in the community does the magician have? What is the purpose of the magician in the community? How does the magician serve the community?
These are some good questions to consider...I'll be putting some thought into them myself.