The road to hell is paved with good intentions, or as in its original form from Virgil, the descent to hell is easy. We are all at heart inclined to do things with the best thoughts and hopes for success and happiness, even though the pathway we may choose to follow winds between rocks and crevasses purely designed to entrap us in a fast and permanent downward spiral.
Human nature is naturally and undeniably self-serving, our choices, our directions, are purposefully or indirectly slanted towards specific personal goals, as would be expected in any thinking beast having preservation as its founding principle. We honor, praise, sanctify the martyr for their ability to counteract this base directive. We are inclined to mix that singular ability up with all kinds of ethereal mumbo jumbo, but at core we are praising the capacity to place anything, everything, above singular selfish needs and wants. We proclaim martyrs, we are also inclined to snigger behind our hands at their anomalous behavior, seeming quite beyond our comprehension.