I thoroughly stumbled across a blog tonight which I linked through another blog and so on…you get the idea. Maneuvering through the blogosphere is every bit as dizzying as wandering the random barrenness of Facebook. Before you know it, you’ve found a twice-removed friend of Linda Carter on your wall. How did that happen? Well, you see, it’s a matter of clicking, and clicking…
So this blog is named “Scott And The City” and I found an interesting post there entitled on owning yourself.
Lowercase intentional. Everything he writes is in lower case. The dude is not into alphabetical hierarchy.
Anyways, the post essentially traipses about the personality of one of his wheelchair-bound friends who had a better time at a nightclub than many able-bodied wallflowers. Scott details a trait he describes as “owning yourself” in describing his friend’s apparent ability to have a good time at the club while macking with a multitude of hot babes. He mentioned one trait which resounded in my mind. Integrity.
Reminding me of something. Integrity.
I used to give a lot of thought to integrity.
I would be happy to expound on the word, but…what is it?
You ask anyone what integrity is and they launch into a definition but they…stop…short…when they realize, uh…maybe they don’t have one after all. It’s an elusive word and a ghostly concept.
I once came up with a good definition. Of course, it’s forgotten. The closest I can think now is this: Integrity: the consistency of character which allows others to accurately foretell your reaction to any given situation.
Basically I’m saying that integrity = predictability?
What about Hitler?
Did he have integrity?
Yes. So did Jeffrey Dahmer.
See, you go and try defining an elusive human trait and you end up with more confusion.
I will stick by my definition.
Yes, integrity is consistency of behavior. And yes, that means Hitler and Dahmer both possessed integrity.
Isn’t “integrity” a favorable and admirable (even lofty) quality?
Something doesn’t ring true.
Let’s go to the ultimate source, The Free Dictionary. There they describe integrity,
1. Steadfast adherence to a strict moral or ethical code.
2. The state of being unimpaired; soundness.
3. The quality or condition of being whole or undivided; completeness.
Well then, Hitler and Stalin and Dahmer and George W. Bush still have integrity!
Well, the English language proves entirely unsuited to outlining the mechanics of integrity. It strips the word of vital human meaning and mechanizes the concept into a catch-all, value-free word.
Why is it that I have such an instinctual and favorable reaction to the word but stripped of my humanitarian definition, it is nothing but an iron-forged, machine-designed word that can describe anyone from Mother Theresa to Idi Amin?
In the computer and blogging world, there is a “meta” concept which defines text “appearing” but not…invisibly asserting its character on the real, visible world. Integrity is similar; unspoken and undescribed, it outlines a set of attributes we comprehend but can’t fully articulate.
edited December 22, 2009