The road to hell is paved with good intentions
Ever heard the saying the road to hell is paved with good intentions.
How good are one’s intentions if it does not take into account the freewill of the one the intention is being imposed on? The missionaries brought Jesus to Indian savages who worshipped spirits and dressed in loincloths. They intended to help the savages become civilized and attain heaven. So they controlled and assimilated them by taking away their kids, way of life, dignity to ensure entry into heaven, their heaven.
How good is one’s intention is it does not recognize our interconnectedness? We believe that we are providing for our family a healthy, wholesome food, when we are taking away the child of another, slaughtering and serving them on a platter, while disregarding the pain of another because it does not speak the same words that legitimize the mass killings of a species, we deemed ingredient. Once upon a time, the colonialists provided for their families when resources ran scarce on their lands, by robbing the lands of spices and silk and making slaves of us all in the process because we did not speak their language and welcomed them with an open heart. Animals trust us, love us, are kind to us but given the chance we rob them blind of everything even their lives.
How good is one’s intention when the end goad is to appeal and appease the ego? We intend to do charity and give to the poor by flashing a camera in their face, to show to the world how kind we are, disregarding the capacity of true consent of a man who has not eaten in days. How good is our intention if to appease our guilty mind the amount given is a mere fraction of a fraction of our earning, while we live in palaces?
Are good intentions about separating the world, into distinct categories, neatly ordered and kept apart. If there, is we, then there is automatically they, and what we are is always better than they the outsiders? I exclude you, us exclude them, when we create the world, when we put labels that separate, definitions that exclude how good are our intentions for this world. In some indigenous cultures mother is used to define the relationship of a child with every older woman of the tribe so that the pressure of caregiving does not fall merely on one person alone. How beautiful is a world where words bring together all, no labels, no up or down, no one alone? No ego to appeal, only a world to live in. Notice that there is many nouns but not many adjectives to which to admire the world.
In Anthropology the concept of critical cultural relativism asks questions about cultural practices and who is accepting them and why they are doing so and if they are in line with the historical practices and values of their culture. If it is only serving one subgroup of the culture or the whole culture as whole. Like in a family, is the family acting like a family? if there are people acting on their self-motivated interests and not of the family as whole. My family may be different than yours but can yours be deemed a healthy family if they are acting as solo individuals and not thinking of the whole.
Our world is not merely changed by intentions but by actions, actions that are put together in words. Environments, and cultures that shape us, define us.