The road to hell is paved with good aphorisms

Faust always starts with good intentions – but where will he end up?

From Wikipedia:

‘The road to hell is paved with good intentions is a proverb or aphorism. An alternative form is “hell is full of good meanings, but heaven is full of good works”.

During negotiation, groups that are encouraged to understand the point of view of the other parties do worse than those whose perspective is not enlightened. The threat of punishment may worsen ethical behaviour rather than improve it. Studies of business ethics indicate that most wrongdoing is not due directly to wickedness but is performed by people who did not plan to err.’

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“Most modern technologies have negative consequences that are both unavoidable and unpredictable. For example, almost all environmental problems, from chemical pollution to global warming, are the unexpected consequences of the application of modern technologies. Traffic congestion, deaths and injuries from car accidents, air pollution, and even global warming are unintended consequences of the invention and large scale adoption of the automobile. Hospital infections are the unexpected side-effect of antibiotic resistance, and even human overpopulation is the side-effect of various technological (i.e., agricultural and industrial) revolutions.”

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[You can see how the Faust legend is applied to Western Civilization and the modern idea and dependency on “progress”—in the hopes of something better, sooner, through the 14th-16th centuries of Faust, Europe decided that instead of focusing on the afterlife they should try to make life on Earth more endurable. To do that they put their faith into a God-less path of materialism & reason—science and technology. With that humanitarian resolve, they were forsaking God like Faust did. To be fair, they didn’t necessarily intend it that way (the same could be said about Faust). They also thought they might get closer to God by learning how things worked. There are many justifications for wanting God’s secret knowledge.

Like Goethe’s naive sorcerer’s apprentice, they stand a chance of screwing up badly. The more you progress, the more you have to progress to stay ahead of your mistakes. It becomes a race to progress faster so you can fix your mistakes before they catch up with you. Repentance is difficult.

By traditional Euro-Christian measure the material world is the home of the Devil, so from that perspective of the arc of European history, by turning away from God and putting faith into materialism, they have put their faith into the Devil, and there’s a Faustian chance that all progress will turn out be illusory and the path to failure and damnation.]

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