"The Road to Hell is Paved With Good Intentions"http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_road_t ... intentions
I'm curious about this commonly used proverb, it seems to disagree with MBT at its root. It might just be a matter of semantics - words are tricky. According to MBT, good intentions usually yield good actions, which always yields positive results. Bad intentions usually yield bad actions, which always yields negative results. This seems intuitively obvious to me, but then I wonder where this proverb came from.
This proverb seems to be implying that a good intent can lead to a negative result - and not just occasionally. "A road to hell" seems to imply a sort of continuous and dependable trend. Another alternative form is:
"hell is full of good meanings, but heaven is full of good works"
This seems to emphasize that doing is the most important - not the being.
Could an explanation be that imperfect information about a situation can lead to bad results, even though you had good intentions? We rarely ever have all the information to make a "safe" decision (be graceful with uncertainty). I think Tom counters this by saying your internal environment will always benefit (entropy reduction) by a good intent - even if the external environment didn't (due to randomness, imperfect information, etc.)
Another explanation might be ego. It tends to color what we think is a "good intent" when it really isn't. If the motivation is based in selfishness, your ego might convince yourself that it is a good intent when it is really not. The negative feedback (road to hell) is then explained.
The saying is thought to have originated with Saint Bernard of Clairvaux who wrote, "L'enfer est plein de bonnes volontés et désirs" (hell is full of good wishes and desires).
If this truly was the origin of the idiom, then I think the ego explanation starts to become more valid. Wishes and desires are based in ego.
The wikipedia article cites some studies done to try and see if there is any truth to the proverb - with mixed results. The studies don't really seem to interpret what a "good intention" is in the same context MBT does (entropy reduction for AUM - LOVE).