Monday, September 26, 2011

intentions, actions and consequences

Scenario: A thing is thought, in your mind, it is good. The thing is done. Then, catastrophically, the thing you thought was good is terrible and you are blindsided and unsure of whether or not you are suddenly in a sit-com. Then the clean-up ensues, apologizing, maybe rebuilding trust. Hopefully the audience will giggle without the laugh light blinking on and off.

Now, you knew your intentions were good. Maybe you were lying to yourself, maybe your honest heart did mean well and you were just being selfish and not thinking about how the other person would feel. Does it really matter? The facts are that when thought became action, the consequences were not good. The facts are that that hurt person will question your intentions and wonder if you are telling the truth about having meant well.

The fact is no one but yourself has access to your intentions.

Just as you have no access to other people's intentions when the scenario is reversed.

Intentions are an ephemeral wish that live only in the mind of the beholder. They are as intensely personal as any thing in our lives, and utterly unknowable outside of total blind trust in another individual, which is the rarest of things. If not a unicorn: imaginary and only told of in storybooks.

Therefore, I claim that intentions do not actually matter. To say "I meant well" is vapid. However, to do well is very important. Actions are facts. Everyone has access to facts, and relationships can be built from them without the perpetual wondering of what was really meant and is that person being honest. Actions are the real vehicle through which trust and love is made.

But more important than actions are consequences.

You intend, you act, but it is the consequences of those actions that inform you of whether or not your actions are in line with your intentions. The consequences reveal yourself to you in a way no hiding from the world ever possibly could.

Therefore, consequences are the most important of all three.

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