Good intentions

“Hell is paved with good intentions, not with bad ones. All men mean well.” – George Bernard Shaw

Today, Gj and I were talking about a common friend who seems to be meddling too much into the affairs of another common friend. This meddler friend is not a bad sort, she’s the kind of person who comes across as sincere and friendly but doesn’t seem to realise her boundaries. She’s well-intentioned but can’t seem to get a hint.

The incident reminded me of another scene from another place and time. My mom and I were having an argument many years ago regarding my maternal aunt’s meddling with our family affairs. This particular aunt has my mother’s ear and most of what she’s whispering to her were her(auntie’s) own unpleasant interpretations of several events that have happened in the past. Mom was trying to convert me to their way of thinking but I would have none of it. I don’t agree with their interpretation of things, particularly since their understanding of actions done and words said often puts the other person, let’s call him P, in a bad light. Even the smallest deed or the most carelessly spoken word was dissected and given horrible implications.

My mom later accused me of turning a blind eye to P’s misdeeds and got angry with me for not siding with her. In my frustration, I asked her why she always takes my aunt’s words as gospel and why she can’t form opinions different from what my aunt would want her to think? She said my aunt was just looking out for her and that my aunt’s intentions are good. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing, of course my aunt’s intentions are good! I wasn’t really questioning the intention, I was questioning the logic of their thinking. I believe then as I do now that people’s intentions are always good, very few among us would conciously take the role of a villain with the full knowledge that what we are doing is evil.

All of us think that we are doing the right thing and that is what guides most of our actions. For better or for worse, our good intentions are what shapes what we say, do or think. The problem is, why is it that the people who don’t know when to mind their own business are always the ones who use their good intentions as an excuse?

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Published in: on April 3, 2006 at 5:42 pm  Leave a Comment