Re: "The goal is not to throw"
Something that stuck with me during practice... It was explained to me that if you focus on the throw/throwing then it's not aikido. My understanding of that statement is that focusing on throwing or taking someone down you focus to much on the end and you forget the basics of blending, and getting your partner off balance. Anyone that is strong can push anyone and throw them around.
It's about connecting, getting them off balance because at the end of it is the throw not because you threw them but because you did the steps right and they will naturally end up in a throw.
My other understanding of it deals with awareness. Focusing on the end then you don't get the experience all the elements that led to the end. The closest metaphor I can think of is in the movie Enter the dragon when Bruce Lee tells the young kid not to focus on the finger or he will miss all that heavenly glory.