Profound Personal Integrity
“From a humble admission of self deception integrity is born.”
We are going to visit the arena of Profound Humanness called “Integrity”. Sometimes “integrity” is reduced to mean a kind of moral uprightness and steadfastness, in the sense of saying, “You have too much integrity to ever take a bribe”.
But profound integrity goes far beyond this. Sometimes, in order to distinguish it from more limited popular usage, it is called “secondary integrity”. This is the integrity which is not constrained by limited moralities, however well intentioned. The integrity that is profound living is the singularity of thrust of a life committed and ordering every dimension of the self towards that commitment. Thus the self is in fact shaped by the self, and focused towards that commitment. You can say that an audacious creation of the self takes place in integrity, without which you are simply the creation of the various forces impacting you in your society.
Thus the basis of integrity is a destinal resolve – a resolve that chooses and sets your destiny and out of which your whole life is ordered. The object of that resolve is the ultimate decision of each person, and each person makes that choice, consciously or unconsciously. To do so with awareness is the height of our responsibility. It is incarnate freedom. It is what real freedom looks like. When you have thus exercised your freedom you realize that to be true to yourself ever thereafter you have a unique position to look at the values of society. You are no longer bound by the opinions and codes of others, but reevaluate then on the basis of their impact on your destinal resolve.
Thus the person of integrity is continuously engaged in a societal transvaluation, a moving across the values of society and reinterpreting them in line with their life’s thrust. It does not give you the liberty of ignoring your society, but your obligation transcends the conformity of living within the codes and mores of your society. Thus the person of profound integrity always seems to not quite fit with everyone else, but your actions always are appropriate for you, even to those who oppose you.
No matter how odd the person of profound integrity appears to their neighbors, they experience themselves as securely anchored. While you are very clear that this world is not your home, nevertheless you experience yourself as having found your native vale. You experience an eternal at-one-ness, not so much with the currents and waves of activity around you, but with the deeper trends of history itself. Amid the flux of wavering to and fro that is so evident in others, you experience an inexplicable rootedness, as though you have sunk a taproot deep into the foundations of the earth itself. Though you experience life as a long journey, even an endless journey, towards the object of your resolve, yet you never sense yourself as a stranger on the journey. It’s as if you’d been there before. Original integrity is experienced primarily by this sense of at-one-ness.
Kierkegaard once wrote a book about this kind of integrity that he titled, “Purity of Heart is to Will One Thing”. An ancient philosopher focused his wisdom around this integrity with the advice, “Know yourself, and to your own self, be true”.
"This document comes from the curriculum of the Maliwada Human Development Training School in Maliwada, India, which is a former program of ICA International They are not certain of the year, so there are no further details that they could provide for a citation." I have rewritten this article by taking out the reference to “man” or “he”, and replacing it with “you” or “yourself” so that women will not feel left out when reading the text and so that it feels more personal rather than third-party.
Above quoted from an email dated 13 Feb. 2008 sent to me by the Director of Development and Communications at The Institute of Cultural Affairs International (ICA) in Quebec, Canada.
I have rewritten this article by taking out the reference to “man” or “he”, and replacing it with “you” or “yourself” so that women will not feel left out when reading the text and so that it feels more personal rather than third-party.
P.S. Plus, here is another of my favorites... Desiderata