Sunday, January 3, 2010


Maliwada Human Development Training School on Integrity  
[all instances of "man", "he", "his", and "him" have been changed to "woman", "she", "hers", and "her" to reflect my need to hear it in my own voice]
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, "She has 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 woman's responsibility. It is incarnate freedom. It is what real freedom looks like. When woman has thus exercised her freedom she realizes that to be true to herself ever thereafter she has a unique position to look at the values of her society. She is no longer bound by the opinions and codes of her fellow-man, but reevaluates them on the basis of their impact on her destinal resolve.  
Thus the woman of integrity is continuously engaged in a societal transvaluation, a moving across the values of society and reinterpreting them in line with her life's thrust. It does not give her the liberty of ignoring her society, but her obligation transcends the conformity of living within the codes and mores of her society. Thus the woman of profound integrity always seems to not quite fit with her fellow-men, but her actions always are appropriate for her, even to those who oppose her.  
No matter how odd the woman of profound integrity appears to her neighbors, she experiences herself as securely anchored. While she is very clear that this world is not her home, nevertheless she experiences herself as having found her native vale. She experiences an eternal at-one-ness, not so much with the currents and waves of activity around her, but with the deeper trends of history itself. Amid the flux of wavering to and fro that is so evident in others, she experiences an inexplicable rootedness, as though she has sunk a taproot deep into the foundations of the earth itself. Though she experiences her life as a long journey, even an endless journey, towards the object of her resolve, yet she never senses herself as a stranger on the journey. It's as if she'd been there before. Original integrity is experienced primarily by this sense of at-one-ness.  
Kierkegaard once write 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."