Here’s The Question: Is Integrity Dead?

Integrity-Dead dead DEAD Tombstone

You can chip away at a lot of things — and still have them.  Living in California as I do, ‘Paradise’ comes to mind.  There’s that lyric to that great Eagles song (the last cut on ‘Hotel California’) “The Last Resort”:  “They called it ‘Paradise’, I don’t know why… Call someplace ‘Paradise’ — Kiss it goodbye.”

But it’s not instantaneous.  The Kissing Good-bye in this instance takes place over decades or perhaps even centuries.   You’d hardly even notice.

Relationships can be chipped away at, too — yet maintained.  Leads (in sporting events).  Workloads (which, unfortunately, never seem to diminish no matter how much ya chip away at them).

Opposition to a political point.

Love.

Hell — even rock solid Marble can be chipped away at and still ‘be’.

And then there’s INTEGRITY.

Everyone STARTS life having Integrity.  For real.  Comes with the package.   You make it out of the womb alive?  You Have Integrity!

Everyone.

No one gets more, no one gets less.

We all get EXACTLY the same amount.  And that amount is expected to last each and every one of us our WHOLE LIFETIME.  The Integrity we were born with is the Integrity we’re going to die with; there’s no ‘replacement’ sitting on a shelf at Amazon somewhere.

Now here’s the Irony (there’s always irony — it comes with everything — like Spam in an old Monty Python sketch — even if you didn’t order it and never would): at exactly the same instant, INTEGRITY is both the most solid thing on earth — and its most easily destroyed.

Weird, huh?  What other ‘element’ behaves like it?

But Integrity IS solid as rock.  It’s the TRUTH.

A person WITH INTEGRITY stands on a Foundation of Truth SO rock-solid that we (in theory) celebrate their integrity.  George Washington & the Cherry Tree was all about having Integrity.  ‘Honest Abe Lincoln’ is the Poster President for Integrity.

We want our LEADERS to be people with INTEGRITY because we need to trust them and it’s a lot easier to trust people we KNOW have INTEGRITY.

And yet — For all its ‘Foundational Solidity’ — Integrity is made up of  the stuff gossamer is made of.  Dreams are made of gossamer…

Even a whisper can destroy someone’s Integrity.  It really is that fragile.

People don’t realize that until it’s too late.  Once your Integrity’s gone, it’s gone, gone, GONE!  Gone-er even.

CPR your Integrity as long as you like once it’s gone.  Paddle it until the Zapper Unit is drained dry:  Your Integrity ain’t coming back.

And if you have to rely on your Integrity to get through Life?  Neither are you.

The answer to my question (loaded as it was):  No, INTEGRITY’S not dead.  It’s not exactly doing well.  The ICU keeps eyeing its chart.

But there may still be just enough people with just enough Integrity to pull the ‘Collective Patient’ — US — through the worst to a place where we can recover enough to allow MORE FRESH FACES to ‘raise our Integrity Level’ from the inside.

So, yeah — there’s hope.  A fair amount of it.

Let’s not buy flowers for the grave just yet…

Integrity Is An All Or Nothing Proposition

My kids, when they were little, wanted to do a hundred things each day — because, in their minds, it was possible to spend the same time doing two completely different things.

It wasn’t, of course.  Invariably we had to make choices about what we wanted to do with our time — because the Truth was (and remains unfortunately):  Our Time is limited.

And Time once spent is spent.

Integrity works along the same lines.  Especially the way it works once spent.  Time cannot be re-invented.  It cannot be revisited (under our current rules of Physics) in a literal sense (looking at light from a distant star, one IS, in essence, looking back in time; but you’re not ‘re-visiting’ it as part of some giant Mulligan).

Everyone gets topped up with A Full Tank of Integrity when they ‘get here’ (provided they can get here).  Most people get through lives with their Integrity dinged a bit here and there but, ultimately, still 100% intact.  They haven’t cheated on a spouse or loved one.  They haven’t been cruel.  They haven’t lied & deceived & refused to tell the Truth ever.

They shuffle from this Mortal Coil ‘Whole’.  An Ethically ‘Made’ Person.

But dings are one thing.  Massive divots and gouges are something else entirely.  Politics, it’s understood, is a blood sport.  You don’t win by playing gently or, entirely ethically.  A person completely out of power is not a ‘person’ in this context.  It’s hard for anyone in that world to keep from gouged just by walking in the office door.

Or is it?

It would seem that a person with PRINCIPLES — if they stated those principles clearly, ran on those principles and won on them — then KEPT THEM SACRED — they would be more or less impervious to corruption.  Their Integrity would be almost impossible to destroy.

Except it’s so rarely the case.  Curious, no?

We grind our teeth in frustration at politicians because they always seem so willing to compromise — in all the wrong ways; they want to compromise their Integrity — and call it a thousand other names.

But once they’ve made that deal — and sold out even a shred of principle — they know it.  Inside, in their hearts, they KNOW their Integrity just vanished — a bubble so gossamer it’s gone before you even realize it was in danger.

You can try hard as you like to re-compose a bubble.  Your chances of success are zero, zero and less than zero.

Integrity is just as challenging to re-constitute.  Ever meet anyone with less than 100% of their Integrity?  Sure you have — they’re called assholes, schmucks, cheaters, liars, rapists, thieves, murderers, Traitors.  It’s one of those clubs you absolutely do not want to be a member of.

And then there are those who do…