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Giving Integrity A Voice

Defining Integrity: Why the Current Definition Doesn’t Work

Integrity is complicated. It has 3 definitions that have 3 different meanings. This was one of the main reasons I started this project, I realized there were a lot of people out there who didn’t know what integrity meant or had a false sense of its meaning.

Definition of INTEGRITY – Merriam Webster 1: firm adherence to a code of especially moral or artistic values : incorruptibility2: an unimpaired condition : soundness3: the quality or state of being complete or undivided : completeness

Here is why I think the definitions above do not work in today’s society as integrity relates to a person: the first definition, “a strict adherence to a set of morals or values” is open to both interpretation (the morals and values of the subject) and judgment (whether the subject is strictly adhering). This leaves us the challenge of deciphering what integrity really means and deciding what or who has it. The second definition can be thrown out the window because perfection does not really exist in a personal sense, we all make mistakes, and we all have wounds. And number 3, is completely off the mark. We are never complete, each day in life brings new challenges, new lessons, new opportunities. And with regards to undivided, I will only pose the question, do we as people ever deal with internal conflicts? With guilt? So there you have it, the current definition of the most important virtue we can aspire to is like sticking a square peg in a round hole.

Defining IntegrityOne of the objectives we are working to solve with the Integrious Project: clarifying and simplifying the meaning of integrity in a personal sense. To put it in terms that everyone can easily understand and apply to themselves without diluting the theoretical and philosophical meaning. This would of course become the definition of integrious.

In my attempt to drill down to the purest core of what personal integrity is I have come up with this: Personal integrity is the combination of being your true self, and living in accordance to your beliefs. This is a bit of a ying/yang approach to the current definition. It simply bridges the other definitions of integrity which are “whole or complete”. Putting it this way is a shift from the current theoretical definition to a more reality based definition. I am working on a simple framework which would allow us to define our integrity in a short form. The distinction between these two elements, true self and individual beliefs, is critical to understanding what personal integrity is. You can’t really live with integrity if you don’t fully understand it in a personal sense and have a clear definition of what your integrity is. One cannot exist without the other.

2 Comments

  1. Personal integrity is complicated because everyone has a different form of it. Its important to know yourself well enough to have personal integrity not generic ‘I’ll do and say what society says I should’ integrity.

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