Why do we find integrity so hard?

Today a client asked me…what is the opposite or dark side of diversity? The place where it is acceptable to malign a person for their colour, or sex, or religion, or..?  He was asking because in his world he has been observing the dark side of humanity manifest under the aegis of the continuing global financial crisis. People finding it acceptable to get away with seriously bad behaviour towards other human beings, given our current circumstances. In organisations where the sky is falling because the model has already changed but people are denying it, the ground is treacherous. Toxic undercurrents are a sure diagnosis for immanent collapse.

This week in Australian politics we have been especially privy to the dark side of humanity. Deception, extreme narcissism, covert agenda’s based on power, greed and hubris. More toxic undercurrents…more denial…more deception…immanent collapse.

In my own life I have recently allowed myself to fall under the spell of another’s deception. I know within this is a rich seed that bears a gift. For now, I am a little bruised. How easily seduced I am, still, by some bright shiny object or promise.

I found myself wondering what the threads are from this week in my world…deception, treachery, hubris…and in my contemplation I came back to my life’s work.

I think of my hero and guide, Bucky Fuller. His message always rested on the stone of integrity. Integrity is the Essence. It is the song, the one song, the Universe, I have adopted as my own stand in life. In so doing, it asks much of me, often challenges me to the soul of my existence. Yet it is also the key to freedom..the real kind…soul freedom.

Why do humans find integrity so hard?

Flipping through Chip Conley’s latest book, Emotional Equations, here is his equation for integrity.

Integrity = Authenticity x Invisibility x Reliability.

Authenticity is the merging of self awareness and courage. Self awareness is a life’s work. Few people take it up as a committed practice. Courage, well, courage is derived from ‘cour’ for heart. Courage takes heart, vulnerability, and action. It is not the same as bravado, which all bluster minus heart. Our world is full of bravado. We are enchanted by courage because it is so rare, especially from our leaders. We long for it…as we long to be courageous.

Invisibility is the act of being in integrity no matter who is watching, and especially when NO ONE is watching. It is grounded in humility. It holds service to others as its source code. Our personal agenda is secondary. Again, rare…precious…extraordinary when you encounter it.

Reliability means that you are your word. What you say is what you do is who you are. You keep your promises to yourself, and to others.

This is the work of integrity. Every aspect is required. It is great big huge work. It is the most important work on the planet.

Or so I think and feel…

Do our schools, institutions, governments consider integrity as important enough? Do we invest in integrity like we invest in growth strategies or productivity? What needs to happen for this to be so? These questions inform my life’s work.

2:23AM Integrity is the Essence


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2 Comments on “Why do we find integrity so hard?”

  1. I agree with you Christine, returning, rediscovering Integrity in our lives is the most important work of our times.  Integrity for me is about alignment.  Alignment of our words with our actions.  Alignment of our intellect with our heart. Alignment of our values with our vision. Alignment allows us to steer easily and safely and to go where we say we are going.
    In “The Four Agreements – the Toltec Wisdom Teaching”.  The first and most important of the agreements is Impeccability of your word. He says it is the most important and the most difficult.  I believe that. We lie to ourselves and to others without even knowing it.  We have gradually and unintentionally become separated from source through incrementally creating a greater and greater void between what we intend and what we actually do and be in the world.
    Does Integrity show up in our world?  In politics, schools, communities, institutions? For the most part I think not.  No, not at all. 
    Where the lack of integrity and impeccability is really obvious to me is in advertising.  We are bombarded with images, stories, ideas sold to us through advertising which – increasingly – seems to be able to blatantly “lie”.  I remember my son as a little boy being so disappointed when he bought a toy that had been advertised in such a way it seemed to be the most extraordinary thing ever invented. He said “it’s not at all what they said on the advertisement”. I feel that advertising and media are powerful creators of cultural story and they are weaving the untrue stories about who we are, what we need, and what will make us happy and over time we are slowly and unconsciously seduced by it.  
    Thanks for the blog Christine!  Very relevant to me at the moment 😉 Fiona

    1. Thanks Fiona for posting, I have just seen this…

      we have a long way to go towards building integrity…it must start within us…to become inner activists of our own integrity, and to hold those in our world to the same. This takes courage, commitment and constancy. And is soooo worthwhile.


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