The road to nowhere

The road to hell, they say, is paved with good intentions. Though I agree with the sentiment, in some instances I think good intentions are much more subtle, and more pernicious than that. Oftentimes good intentions are just good excuses. In a society that daily turns less civil, less altruistic, and less kind, it’s easy to give ourselves an out. I meant to help, I planned to volunteer, I wanted to give a hand… but I didn’t have time, it didn’t work out, she never asked… and despite all this, it’s easy to still feel good about ourselves. Because our intentions were good, we meant to. We didn’t, of course, because, well, sometimes life just gets in the way, we’re all so busy nowadays. But I wanted to, I meant to, and that counts for something doesn’t it. Although… it really doesn’t, does it?

Meaning to do something is not quite doing it, wanting to is just shy of actually getting a result, and after all helping others, particularly with no recognition is really kind of bother. Good intentions make me angry, at myself when I realize that I’ve been using them as an excuse and at others when they feel self-congratulatory for not really doing a damn thing. Telling someone “you know I’m there for you if you need me” is not quite actually being there when they need you, it’s just a way for us to feel like we’re contributing and then not giving a crap.

Good intentions are a great way to be disengaged, to be selfish, to be miserly with our time, our emotions and ourselves, while still getting to feel sanctimonious about it. They give nothing, they create nothing, they really aren’t worth the paper they’re printed on so rather more than the road to hell then, good intentions pave the road to nowhere.

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