It is an old saying that the road to hell is paved with good intentions. Nothing is easier than to give up the affairs of the world because one is incompetent in the affairs of the world. There is no wisdom in scorning riches simply because one is unable to obtain them, nor in despising the pleasures of the senses because one has not the means of fulfulling them. If the desire for these things exists, and if that desire is thwarted by circumstance, to add self-deception to frustration is to exchange a lesser hell for a greater. No hell is worse than in which one lives without knowing it.
For the desire which is scorned for no other reason than it cannot be satisfied is the greatest of man’s enemies. One may pretend that it does not exist, that one has surrendered it, but one must sincerely answer the question, “If I could satisfy that desire, would I?” If that is not answered, to make a show of giving up the world, to take up the ascetic life not of desire but of necessity and to pride onself upon it, that is to hide one’s face from the enemy and so become doubly vulnerable. Thus the first step on the path is to know what you want, not what you ought to want.
—Alan Watts, Become What You Are