The road to hell is paved with good intentions.
This is such a popular quote that there was no shortage of beautiful images to display it. I’m sure everyone has heard it and most people have said it. Have you ever questioned it? Have ever just heard it or read it and thought, “Wait…what?”
I don’t talk about my spirituality much because I feel like it is a personal journey, not a group activity. You may believe differently and that is okay.
At the very basis, the foundation of my belief is Intention.
The full definition of intention tells us that it is:
1: a determination to act in a certain way: resolve
what one intends
to do or bring about
b: the object for which a prayer, mass, or pious act is offered
4: a process or manner of healing of incised wounds
a concept considered as the product of attention directed to an object of knowledge
6 plural: purpose with respect to marriage
Every item in this definition sounds positive
to me, so why would the proverbial road to hell be paved with good intention? If there is a hell, I imagine it would be paved with child molesters, murderers, people who strive their whole lives to bring misery and destruction to others.
If I set out with a plan full of good intentions and my plans fail that does not make me a sinner, it does not make me less than. It makes me human. It serves as a lesson that I can learn from.
When we unintentionally hurt someone, we feel guilt. It was not our intention to do so and we regret that it happened. Can the road to hell perhaps be paved with unintention? That doesn’t make any sense either.
The road to hell is in fact paved with intention. Every aspect of our lives revolves around intention. But good intentions are just that, good. They are well meaning if not always well planned.
This brings to mind one of my characters. Rashu from Soul Purge. He lived his lives based on good intention but his lack of faith in his metaphorical brother led him astray. After quite a plot twist he continues pursuing his own
good intentions but soon the line between being good and being desperate becomes fuzzy. This is possibly where the quote derives from. Some intentions while good for ourselves, may not, in fact, be good at all.
What do you think? Do you believe good intentions are your undoing? Or is the intention and the effort to be and to do good enough?
To me, the quote above from C. S. Lewis makes much more sense. Life is a journey, there will be obstacles, challenges, mistakes and…yes, intentions.
Until next time, scribe happy!