Monday, September 3, 2007

Intentions v/s Actions [post # 100]

Ever since Greg's comments on my 'Is there an Athena living in my Head too' post, I have been grappling with the intention vs action issue, or debate, or whatever you want to call it.

If it's our actions that make us who we are, then what happens when we do apparently 'good' things, like being kind to someone or helping others but we do it with the bad/selfish/self-serving/fake intentions?

Then in the debate of intentions vs actions which one matters more, which one makes the cut so to speak. Out of the two, thinking about doing good but not translating it into action or doing good but not with the purest of intentions at all, which one is the better or worse.

I am really puzzled by this!

P.S. Unrelated - but this is my 100th post. So I made a little postcard via my latest obsession... making postcards ;)

Zakman made me the cutest poster ever and for that I am so touched – thank you from the pit of my heart

47 comments:

Amel's Realm said...

NICE postcard!!! And deep questions again.

Hmmm...I think the ideal is that doing something good with a sincere heart, for the sake of the other person. However, even then sometimes the other person doesn't appreciate that since he/she feels that we're interfering or because of other reasons.

Yet I think (ideally speaking) it's still better to help others even with an ulterior motive rather than merely thinking about doing good. At least even with an ulterior motive, you're doing SOMETHING to help someone. It's pretty tiring to just hear someone talk about wanting to do good things without really putting them into action.

But personally speaking, not ideally speaking, I prefer to clean up my mind first (if my mind conjures up any ulterior motive) before doing it, so that I can do it with a clear conscience. If I can't do it myself, then may HEAVEN help me!!!

Ingrid said...

Do our actions make who we are? Hmmm. Since I have been reading lately about the question of whether the "self" even exists, I am not sure if I subscribe to the initial premise.

But let's say I do. What are we going to give more weight, the character or the actions?

From an external point of view, I would rather have someone be a scumbag doing good deeds with selfish motives, than have someone thinking noble thoughts (also a way to feel superior, sometimes), but not acting on them. At least the first one can have positive effects on other people.

Mike French said...

Happy 100th!

Our actions don't make us who we are. Our actions demonstrate who we are.

You could do good things with the wrong motives, but over a long time you either could not sustain it, or it would be clear to people what is really driving you.

Re thinking about doing good but with no action question:
Your thoughts and emotions will drive your behavior, if you really want to do something good you will act.

So good thoughts without action are a waste of time, and if they are genuinely good then they will lead to action.

John said...

Congrats on your 100th post! This is one that I'm glad to have found. Generally a good read and you seem to be very creative.

I'd ditto what Mike French said on the actions demonstrating who we are.

Greg said...

You forgot to tell us who you want your judge and jury to be. The reason people think intention matters is because they tend to follow some arbitrary set of rules or morality.

Anyone who argues that intention, or the inner you, defines you, will only choose those thoughts that are convenient. In many cases they are people trying to convince you that you are a "good" person and are a close "fit" for their own set of arbitrary morality.

Morality comes down to a set of rules that one person or group expects other people to follow. The intent is nice, that following a particular morality will make your life (or something else) better. But you quickly run into the problem that a general or vague morality doesn't work with specific situations.

I still hold that only action defines a person. Otherwise you could argue that a murderer who thinks he is saving people by killing them is actually good.

But you must also understand that I have gotten rid of arbitrary value judgments like good and bad (or evil). I do not follow objective standards so objective qualifiers serve no function with me except for casual conversation.

All our actions are based on self-serving models. Those who hold tightly to morality models act in order to hold themselves in high relationship to the morality model, because the act itself is the reward.

By what standard is it wrong to help someone that can help you? If you are still helping someone and you are limited in time and resources, should you help an arbitrary person, or should you help someone where the action will have the most impact?

Those that pick arbitrary actions often exasperate a problem. Consider charity. It is often seen as noble for someone with little to give part of it to someone else when there is no return for this action. This gives temporary relief to that person being helped, but also diminishes the resources of the one giving and makes it likely that person will find trouble also.

If we change our perspective a bit we can see problems with this ideology. By this standard high taxation of the poor should be acceptable because it benefits everyone regardless of the tax system we use for the rich. People should be willing to give to others since it is noble regardless of how much they have. But this is not the case. Why should in one case we find it unfair for those with little to give, but in another case, we expect everyone to give regardless of what they have? The response would be something like, no that's a distortion, we only ask for people to give what they can. This is the actual distortion because the reality is that organizations keep asking and asking and never stop asking others to give what they can when many can barely make due themselves.

To really help people and make a difference, you have to be in a position to help that person. So either you need to focus on helping each other to succeed where there is a mutual payback or reward, or you have to invest in yourself so that you can be in a position to help people. The nice thing about the latter is that by self investment, you tend to automatically help people by generating opportunity for others.

For example a successful business person creates markets that employ people who otherwise might be out of work. Or that person creates a product or service that helps others live better lives or makes it easier for others to succeed.

It may be true that the shortest distance between two points is a straight line, but distance should not be a measure of success. Often the best results are found with a different focus or understanding.

Whenever people make claims about the value of intention, they will rely on allegories and not reality or logic.

The idea that a person could not sustain actions without good intention is arbitrary and based on a different model of morality. A person tends to operate from the perspective that what they do is good, even sociopaths. There are also many cases where people continue to act in conflict with their belief system throughout their lives. But the real issue is this statement assumes the person acting clings to notions of good and bad at all.

The idea that a good idea will eventual actualize itself is the nonsense I referred to earlier. People like to align others with their own "good" morality in order to subconsciously identify that person to their own system of belief. Why should only good intentions actualize themselves? What I said in my earlier comment was that any intention that sticks around in your head long enough will actualize itself. Sometimes that intention is self destructive. Some will see it as good and others will see it as bad. The only thing that matters is if it is conducive to your life or not.

Based on this last statement I am clearly acknowledging that different actions are right for different people. There is no objective standard. If a correct morality exists, then it is a personal morality that differs with each individual.

You are trying to answer too many questions at once. Deal with the good versus evil debate separate from the action versus intent debate. Answer each, then if you are logically correct, then it should be easy to merge the two. The only trouble occurs when you try to merge the two and there are flaws in your thinking. That is why you are currently confused.

I should state that I am not saying intent is meaningless; it does matter. But it does not define who you are; only action defines you, is your mirror, or whatever words you want to use. Intent or thought is our way of working things out and searching for the best course of action. It is potential energy that does not directly relate to what you commonly understand as your physical reality.

HollyGL said...

First of all, congrats on your 100th post! Yea!

I agree wholeheartedly with Mike French's contention that your thoughts and emotions drive your behavior, and you will eventually act as a result.

I agree with Greg that you should invest in yourself first, as there would then be more to give.

I tend to believe that if you act on something without "honorable" intent, it eats away at you over time, subtley yet effectively. It can be quite damaging on an emotional and psychological level, in fact. Assuming you are not a psychopath or sociopath, or suffer from any other extreme dissociative disorders.

...and again, I really do agree that if your thoughts and emotions are strong enough, the intention will lead to action. At least that has been my experience.

Zakman said...

http://www.celebritybrands.net/congratulations_random.jpg

:)

Josie Two Shoes said...

I am loving your postcards... HAPPY POST 100, maybe there be many more!!

Interesting question you pose here, I tend to agree with what Mike said. Though I almost see these as separate entities, like comparing apples and oranges. Folks who always intend to do but never do, and folks who do but for all the wrong reasons. Both have both their validity and weaknesses.

Zakman said...

Congratulations on your 100th Post!

Alexys Fairfield said...

I think if you declare yourself the vehicle for spirit, all of your actions thereafter will be from God's will. You remove yourself from the 'ego' of doing and place yourself in the 'spirit' of doing. If your intentions are good, then the action itself will be the equal result. If your intentions are bad, then you are only marking your own grave. (If that makes sense?)

Congrats on your 100th post!
Keep up the good work.

Robert said...

Why do we continue to believe things are isolated, separate, independent phenomena? Because we think that way. There is nothing actually separating 'intention' from 'action,' except the way we think about it, and the way we think directly affects the way we perceive! There is a large, blinking warning sign that screams at everyone when we are caught in delusion. That warning sign is seeing things as separate, isolated phenomena. Nothing exists that way...ever. There is one and only one movement, let's call it life, understand that movement, without breaking it apart, and confusion disappears.

insanity-suits-me (Dawn) said...

"which one matters more, which one makes the cut so to speak. Out of the two, thinking about doing good but not translating it into action or doing good but not with the purest of intentions at all, which one is the better or worse."

You do love to ask the hard questions...
After much thought I would have to say that thinking about doing good, but not acting on it... benefits no one. Doing good without the purest intention may not be the most ideal way... but if it is helping someone, wouldn't that be better than taking no action at all?

Mrs. Schmitty said...

A lot goes on in that head of yours! :D

Happy 100th Post!

JYankee said...

another thought invoking question... intentions over actions...hmmmm and btw congrats on your 100th post! hope to see ya for a long time to come!

the domestic minx said...

Doing something out of the goodness of our hearts, quietly, happily, with no thought of reward, is the ultimate gift.
People talking it up, doing nothing, sickens me more than if they had chosen, out of sheer disinterest, to do nothing in the first place.
We can all talk the talk, can we walk the walk?

John W. McKenna said...

Amber

You’ve been tagged for the “Does Most Leadership Suck Challenge”. Check the link for details.

http://leadershipepidemic.blogspot.com/2007/09/does-most-leadership-suck-challenge.html

Take care...

JMW

Random Magus said...

Amel's Realm:
Thanks. I guess I have always believed that intentions mattered intrinsically to oneself more than anything and that an action does not speak for itself, but lately I have been wondering and so this post.

Ingrid:
What would you say was the essence of you if not your ‘self’?
It’s difficult for me not to give importance to the character. Sometimes when you can see through why someone is being nice to you, you do appreciate that niceness but you don’t trust it fully.

Mike French:
I agree with you there – over a period of time people do see through you. For me the comparison was between someone who might not actively do good for someone but is also not jealous of anyone or wishes them harm or backbite.

John:
Thanks John.

Random Magus said...

Greg:
You know that I believe in God completely so my ultimate judge would be God. I don’t really care if people think I’m ‘good’ or ‘bad’. And when I say God I don’t mean religion, of course there would be an arbitrary set of rules, possibly in a religious book

I feel that your intentions would define the ‘inner’ you for yourself if not others. And if you are judging yourself it would depend on your personality whether you’d be a ‘convenient’ judge or a harsh one. Someone like me would choose all thoughts. The funny thing is that God doesn’t hold you responsible for a bad thought but he does hold you responsible for a bad action, but your intentions make the backbone of you..

I still hold that only action defines a person. Otherwise you could argue that a murderer who thinks he is saving people by killing them is actually good.

But what if you kill a murderer who was going to kill you first – the same action right, but a different intention.

I agree that helping others whilst doing yourself a disfavour is not very wise and that ultimately society revolves around self-serving models.

What I said in my earlier comment was that any intention that sticks around in your head long enough will actualize itself. Sometimes that intention is self destructive.
I have seen that happen, call it intention or idea, something I have been thinking about for a long period of times eventually does get translated into action – unfortunately it’s mostly self destructive.

I should state that I am not saying intent is meaningless; it does matter. But it does not define who you are; only action defines you, is your mirror, or whatever words you want to use.

But for whom? Yourself or others? Someone might see my actions and judge me as ‘benevolent’ or this or that but I live with me so I'll know.

HollyGL:
That’s exactly what I believe Stephanie. That you may fool the world you can’t fool yourself.

Zakman:

That’s the coolest sweetest poster I have added it to my original post.

Josie Two Shoes:
Human weakness and human wickedness both so destructive and unavoidable.

Alexys Fairfield:
Thanks. I am just confused, sometimes I find myself doing something really good but I am doing it without thought or any intention but because habitually there are things I do and things I don’t do…I just want to see the mechanism behind my thought process.

Random Magus said...

Robert:
When you are doing something and you and only you know why you are doing it, It appears as apparent to no one then action and thought/intention whatever you call it become a matter of semantics – then the two are separate…Sometimes what you do and why you do it are seperate

Insanity suits me [Dawn]
I guess so. This is one hard question that has been plaguing me to death.

Mrs. Schmitty:
You don’t know the half of it.

Jyankee:
Thanks a lot

The Domestic Minx:
But then why do we immediately make a judgement when some company gives to charity or a cause, we say that they must be doing as a cover-up. We never judge an action without the merit of its intentions. But yes people who keep talking but don’t do are exasperating

John McKenna:
I’ll check it out

Mariuca said...

Amber! Congrats on your 100th post, the postcard is lovely! :):):)

Mariuca SEO Traffic

Random Magus said...

Mariuca: Thanks sweetie

RubyShooZ said...

I've sifted through all the comments and find many truths. What is striking is that not one person mentioned the old quote about "The road to hell is paved with good intentions."

So many times we hear people say, "That's not what I intended" but the reality is, often, what we intend doesn't add up to the actions or words that follow...ya think?

Peace, love and beautiful intentions that might just go wrong and if so, I'm sorry. (smiling here)

Greg said...

Action is what defines you for both others and yourself.

We tend to spend so much time in our head that we are often convinced that there is an outer and inner you, as you remark. It is easy to think this because our mind creates thoughts much faster than it can process observations. So we think the thoughts are who we are.

We also have the tendency to see ourselves as objectively right. Since thought is malleable, it is easy to shape it to fit this image, so we decide that this "inner" you must be truth.

No matter how much someone wants to believe him/herself to be a hero or a villain, unless he/she actually acts in a behavior to match this label, all the thinking and intent in the world won't make it so.

If you want a practical example then talk to people who go from dating to a committed relationship. Here in the U.S. courtship periods used to be longer than what you find today where people often move in together or get married when they've barely just met. They rely more on what is said so don't really experience who the person is until they have time to see them act. I would argue this contributes as one of the reasons for a high separation and divorce rate here in the U.S.

The person turns out to be someone other than what they claimed. Action trumps intent.

How do you think I would describe you based on knowing you through your blog? How do you think I would describe you if I had met you in person, spent time with you, and never read your blog?

QUASAR9 said...

Well Random on Earth, it's whatever you portray (face value) that counts.

Giving to charity because you hope to save your soul - hmmm
Giving to a poor person because it makes you feel good - hmmm

There's no such thing as an unselfish act, but you can bet that if there is such a thing as an after life, then according to the book of the dead our 'heart' will be weighed against a feather.

And science and video can replay our whole life on tv, and save it on a memory stick, but if there is such a thing as an afterlife, you can bet your bottom dollar that the intent behinf every act can be read - that's right there's no fooling The Maker. lol!

Mark said...

Magus,
Every action has an intention. The intention is what drives the action. Often we decieve ourselves into believing that the action is different from our intention, however if we really dive deep, we find that the action is always a result of our intention. Now there is a distinction between action and expected outcome. To me, that could and often is different.
Great question.
Congrats on your 100th post!

Jeff said...

Jesus taught that your actions are more important than your intentions - at least that is one interpretation (Mat 21:28-32)

Then again, He also stated that sins are commited in the heart even before the action.

Random Magus said...

RubyShooZ said...
I get what you are saying. What I am asking is how to judge an action, which to all seems to be classified as ‘good’ but you and only you know that there are massively selfish intentions behind it. Is it still good?

Greg said...
When someone observing my action says its good [people who have value judgement on good and evil] will that ‘good’ action define me when I know that that’s not who I am, I am just doing it out of some ulterior motive. I have a real problem saying that the action defines me, when I know that I probably don’t deserve that accolade.

Everyone is assuming that what I am talking about here are good intentions leading to nothing – what I am wondering is whether a good action can define me to myself when I know the true spirit in which it’s done. Of course I kept thinking about what you said and concluded that once you do an action many times it becomes one with intention like a habit then there can be no value judgement placed on it, because you do it out of habit rather than any intention.

No matter how much someone wants to believe him/herself to be a hero or a villain, unless he/she actually acts in a behavior to match this label, all the thinking and intent in the world won't make it so.

So you can’t be a villain or a hero if you do something as a part of your nature through repetition then there is no merit.

How do you think I would describe you based on knowing you through your blog? How do you think I would describe you if I had met you in person, spent time with you, and never read your blog?

Depends on which side of personality I reveal to you – might be just like I am here or someone totally different or flighty and frivolous especially if you have never read my blog – I don’t reveal this side of my nature to many people.

QUASAR9 said...

That's right there's no fooling The Maker. lol!
This is what my whole question is based on - will the Maker care about my bad intentions or feelings especially if I rose above them and did something opposite to them. Will He reward me for rising above? I think actions will count more there as well. But if you do those actions repeatedly they fuse with intention there is no separation or even consciousness

Mark:
I am slowly reaching the conclusion that any action done long enough either becomes independant of intentions or one with them

Jeff: I guess a sin in the heart will not hurt anyone but one translated into action would. I feel like I am sort of getting a hang of this problem

Foul Bastard said...

It seems pretty clear that actions will always outweigh intentions. If you help someone for personal reasons you are still helping them. No harm done. Honestly, I don't think anyone ever does anything for completely selfless reasons. That would be silly.

Greg said...

Random Magus:

"I have a real problem saying that the action defines me, when I know that I probably don’t deserve that accolade."

What I'm saying is that what you think about yourself is irrelevant regarding who you are. It is like thinking that you are a baseball player when in reality you play football. The same goes with general intent and action. You may think you are one thing but your actions show you to be something else. Many people go through life not understanding their own nature.

"Everyone is assuming that what I am talking about here are good intentions leading to nothing"

I've not made that assumption. Especially considering I think "good" is an arbitrary qualifier.

"Of course I kept thinking about what you said and concluded that once you do an action many times it becomes one with intention like a habit then there can be no value judgment placed on it, because you do it out of habit rather than any intention."

There is no relationship between intention and action. Intention does not interact with what we know of as our external world, so a reality doesn't exist between the two. The only reality that exists is between action and the external. Repetition and habit also does not matter, an action is an action. The exception is that repetition might effect the degree of a value judgment.

"So you can’t be a villain or a hero if you do something as a part of your nature through repetition then there is no merit."

You are using different words for the same thing. Nature = internal thought = intent. You can only be a hero or villain by acting like a hero or villain. It does not matter if you intended to do so or not, thought about it or not, did it out of habit or reflex or whatever. The only thing that matters is the actual action.

MISC:

I should comment that I haven't really gotten into how we evaluate actions. I've only said so far that we properly evaluate or judge or define based on action alone. You should note that those actions will be judged by different standards by different points of view and that (evaluation or judgment) is a separate issue.

meleah rebeccah said...

HAPPY 100th post. I am looking forward to the next 100 already.

I think helping people NO MATTER what the reason, is ALWAYS a GOOD thing.

I think that even when you are helping someone and you dont THINK you have ulterior motivations you are lying to yourself. Every time you HELP some one... YOU get to FEEL good about that. We all want to FEEL GOOD. So there is ALWAYS an ulterior motivation.

You DO have to TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF FIRST...otherwise you have NOTHING to give.

Spirituality and Emotions are like bank accounts too. You have to make just as many deposits as you do withdraws.

*Now I want to learn how to make these post cards these are KICK ASS*

Jacques Pierre said...

Hi Random.Congrats on yr 100th post !!

I think doing something sincerely is the ultimate thing. It doesn't matter whether ppl appreciate it or not.It's the satisfaction you get when looking at their happy faces that makes you want to do more. When it comes from the heart, nothing can go wrong. Even if they fake it, you still feel content inside and it's something that no one can take away.

That's how I feel but it sort of fade away (for a while) recently. (http://jacquespierre.blogspot.com/2007/08/doing-things-for-myself.html). I decided that I will no longer care what other ppl think, not in a selfish way but just stop caring too much over unimportant matters. As long as I do the right things to get my work done without compromising integrity and ethics,that's abt it and nothing else matters. We're responsible for our actions and there's the whole truth.

Now I listen to what my heart says more than to what others imply indirectly. Unless I have no choice but to listen to what my boss have to say !! :)

Jean-Luc Picard said...

Happy 100th, RM! It's a great milestone to get to!

Ricardo said...

Nice poster and congrats toyour 100th post. It's a milestone for sure.

I think if we do good for the reasons of being self serving it could still come back to bite you. I've met people like this and there is this vibe I get from them that is anything but good. Usually these people are manipulators. And good ones at that.

Random Magus said...

foul bastard: I am trying to convince myself of that... still intention to me always seems more important as far as looking in and judging yourself

Greg: But Greg that's what I am saying what if someone's actions show them to be this really sweet person and their intentions inside is not so sweet and you can see that but they are still being defined by their outward facade, how is that descriptive about them? What if they are being sweet to be called sweet. If only I could believe that than I could replicate it.
Intention does not interact with what we know of as our external world, so a reality doesn't exist between the two.
But our intention does relate to our action - I intend not to be not bitchy when someone provokes me and then I translate it into a action during my next encounter with someone. I intend to go on a diet and I stop eating junk and exercise. There is a causal relation established then, is it not?

Meleah: Imagine you know someone and you know they really didn't like you and you didn't like them but both pretended to be nice to each other and sweet but didn't feel that. People will say oh she's so nice but you know you are both being damn hypocrites. A stupid example but just to illustrate the point of that particular action defining someone - it'll be an incorrect definition. Right? I don't know I'm still confused but will eventually sort it out. No one can be perfect right? so long as their outward actions are. Made the postcards on www.zimoz.com - pretty easy and fun.

jacques pierre: Hey thanks for stopping by. To me if anything is done without sincerity whether by me or someone else, doesn't count for anything and that's what the whole post is about. An action no matter how outwardly perfect means nothing or almost nothing if not done with sincerity.

Jean-Luc Picard:
Hey thanks a lot

Ricardo:
That is exactly my question if someone is manipulating you and is showing everyone how good they are to you why should that goodness define them. It's not fair

Erin said...

Congrats on your 100th post!

After Priscilla Palmer's self development list my friend Jenny and I have decided to try to help build the self development community (especially the few women out there!) So we are holding a little contest. I would like to invite you, and anyone else interested, to find out more details at Win a $25 Gift Certificate.

Random Magus said...

erin: Thanks for dropping by Erin and good luck with your venture :)

B said...

happy 100th!

I also agree with what mike said.

Greg said...

Random Magus:

"what if someone's actions show them to be this really sweet person and their intentions inside is not so sweet"

The person is sweet. Doesn't matter if he/she is thinking about murdering you when acting sweet.

People that say intention defines you, or that intention matters, selectively pick and choose which intentions matter. At what point do we separate a random thought from an intention? You can't. All of us intend many conflicting things at one time or another. Unless we actually act, that isn't us.

I intend not to be not bitchy when someone provokes me and then I translate it into a action during my next encounter with someone. I intend to go on a diet and I stop eating junk and exercise.

If you have a dream that your house will burn down, and then the next day you go spend the day with a friend, does the dream define you? If a dog bites your finger and you slap it, does the dog define you? What if you intend to exercise one day and then you do. Then the next day you again intend to exercise, but you don't. What defines you here? Are you one who occasionally exercises based on your action, or one who always exercises based on your intention?

This is where people "like" to say intention matters because their instinct is to see themselves in the best light, as in "I ALWAYS tell the truth." No, your "intention" is that you desire to always tell the truth. In reality, your actions define you as one who usually tells the truth, but occasionally lies. Or maybe there is such a far divide between your self-awareness and reality that you never tell the truth, but think you always do.

There is a causal relation established then, is it not?

No. There is a correlation in space-time between two events. Is there a causal relation between two dots on a page? No, there is a correlation between those to dots in two-dimensional space. The experience of what we call causality depends on perspective. This takes us down another alley.

Greg said...

Random Magus (regarding your comment to Meleah):

Imagine you know someone and you know they really didn't like you and you didn't like them but both pretended to be nice to each other and sweet but didn't feel that. People will say oh she's so nice but you know you are both being damn hypocrites.

I should have pointed out in my last comment that "sweet" is a qualifier, not an action. You are not analyzing the action properly, you are analyzing an assessment of an action. You can't "sweet" someone or something. You can "sweeten" something, but that's something totally different.

This example to Meleah helps to point out the issue. What action is actually taking place here? How would you describe the action? Maybe person A is deceiving person B?

It's tempting to say person A is "being nice" to person B, but that is a valuation of the action and not a description of the action. Maybe what you think is nice, I don't think is nice, or vis versa.

Deceit has a negative connotation and is probably best avoided. Maybe just say A is hiding truth from B? So how do we define the behavior and therefore the character of person A?

One possibility is that A is a person who:

1) does not always tell the truth (as most people don't), or

2) tends to act in a conflicted manner, or

3) tends to act to please people

Or whatever else someone can figure out about this scenario. There are lots of ways one might describe the action taking place here.

Just saying action defines a person doesn't simplify the analysis, it only helps focus our attention on where to look.

Ingrid said...

This post was great and has made me think a lot lately about the concept of the self: http://philosophyofcogs.blogspot.com/2007/08/what-is-self.html

I do subscribe to a lot of what Greg has expressed here.

Jean Chia said...

Congratulations, amber on your 100th post. Nice postcards! i Love the one with your pretty face on it. :)

Ricardo said...

It won't define them Random. It will be their undoing.

Bobby said...

I think the better we really know ourselves, the more purity we have in our intentions. I love to help people and my intentions (which are thought through in explicit detail) are becoming clearer each day. I want to say happy 100th post! I think you are one of the best writers of thought provoking material on the web and you always seem to have a way of getting better every time I read your work. You have blossomed incredibly since I first read your work and you blow me away with your introspective expressions. Wow, what beautiful postcards you make! Perhaps you should start a company! Thanks Amber for giving the blogosphere the gift of your honestly written, heartfelt posts:) Have a great week!

Rebecca said...

Congrats on you 100th!

You know, my grandmother used to say that the road to hell is paved with good intentions. I think her statement was more along the line of deeds that were well intended but went awry.

Of the two you propose here, I prefer the first...thinking of doing good, but not translating it to action. That could be due to distraction, tragedy, ADD, over committing, not just laziness. Doing good with impure motives is hypocrisy. That is much harder to take, in my opinion.

Random Magus said...

b:
Thanks

Greg:
I think I am going to reach a compromise here and say actions define who you are to other people, but for your own estimation of yourself - intentions are equally important.

Ingrid: Interesting post thanks for the link. Semantics drive me crazy. Whether self exists as molecules do or is a thought process there has to be one right? Call it whatever... while I am writing this there is a certain degree of introspection a certain degree of thought maybe that is my 'self' whether they are a 'bundle of linked perceptions' or the most clear distinct thing known, how does that matter?

Jean Chia:
Thank you..Zakman made that for me.

Random Magus said...

Ricardo:
Sometimes they escape

Bobby:
Hey Bobby thank you so much:-) You are right the more you know and introspect the clearer everything gets. I guess the same principle applies to actions the more you do the more the intentions follow suit. Don't know if this makes much sense.

Rebecca:
Thanks. That is my problem as well doing good with impure motives. I think they are two halves and can't be seen alone.

jackandjillofalltrades said...

Hi! I've been wanting to leave a thought on your "about" page but can't seem to find the "leave your comment" area. So I decided to just pick a random post and here I am. Your line about yourself losing interest quite often and easily even before the "job" gets done was an arrow directed to myself. It struck me. It caught me. I know the feeling! And for my personal search for peace and self-knowledge, I Googled and read for answers. What I found were various links explaining who I am, told by people who share my sentiments, equally complaining about their wacked brains. Someone labeled my personality a "Renaissance soul," someone else a "scanner," others more popularly as a Jack of all trades. So I thought, do you feel the same way? Aside from losing interest quickly, you seem to be interested in a lot of trivial things, as well. Would appreciate your thoughts.