Posted by Lewis/Chris Rea on September 25, 2003
In Reply to: The road to hell... posted by ESC on September 25, 2003
: : The road to hell is paved with good intentions
: Even if you have good intentions, but never follow through with action, bad things will happen. If you buy an exercise bike and it just gathers dust, you'll stay weak and out-of-shape.
: : Actually, I heard that it means although people mean well, sometimes they can help bring about evil things.
: : For instance, this phrase was frequenty used during the Second World War because the policy of Appeasement, although well-intentioned and intended to avoid war, had allied the Axis powers to build up their power and led to the most devastating war in history.
: ROAD TO HELL IS PAVED WITH GOOD INTENTIONS - "The French cleric and mystic Saint Bernard of Clairvaux was credited with having first recorded this familiar saying in 'Apothegm' (c. 1150): 'Hell is full of good intenions or desires.' One might have wondered what could be bad about having good intentions, but that was just the point of the proverb - hell was full of good wishes, while heaven was full of good deeds." From "Wise Words and Wives' Tales: The Origins, Meanings and Time-Honored Wisdom of Proverbs and Folk Sayings Olde and New" by Stuart Flexner and Doris Flexner (Avon Books, New York, 1993).
: Wishing doesn't get it. Action does.
To quote Pink Floyd ("Time")
"One day you find, ten years have passed behind"
You intend to make a gift to charity - DO IT NOW!
The point is that delay in doing good can be harmful - for example famine relief charities need to provide food ASAP - people will die if you fail to do something now, rather than in a few months' time.
Failing to ever put good intentions into action is just as bad as never having the intentions - that is the meaning of the proverb.