Integrity is the practice of being honest and showing a consistent and uncompromising adherence to strong moral and ethical principles and values. In ethics, integrity is regarded as the honesty and truthfulness or accuracy of one's actions. Integrity can stand in opposition to hypocrisy, in that judging with the standards of integrity involves regarding internal consistency as a virtue, and suggests that parties holding within themselves apparently conflicting values should account for the discrepancy or alter their beliefs. The word integrity evolved from the Latin adjective integer, meaning whole or complete.
- A musician would not willingly consent that his lyre should be out of tune, nor a leader of a chorus that his chorus should not sing in the strictest possible harmony; but shall each individual person be at variance with himself, and shall he exhibit a life not at all in agreement with his words?
- Basil of Caesarea, On Greek Literature, Loeb Classical Library, volume 270, p. 401.
- Everyone who achieves strives for totality, and the value of his achievement lies in that totality—that is, in the fact that the whole, undivided nature of a human being should be expressed in his achievement. But when determined by our society, as we see it today, achievement does not express a totality; it is completely fragmented and derivative. It is not uncommon for the community to be the site where a joint and covert struggle is waged against higher ambitions and more personal goals. ... The socially relevant achievement of the average person serves in the vast majority of cases to repress the original and nonderivative, inner aspirations of the human being.
- Walter Benjamin, "The Life of Students" (1915), in Walter Benjamin: Selected Writings – vol. 1: 1913-1926 (Harvard University Press: 1996), p. 39.
- Men of integrity are generally pretty obstinate, in adhering to an opinion once adopted.
- William Cobbett, Life and Adventures of Peter Porcupine, p. 23, London, The Nonesuch Press (1927).
- Nothing is at last sacred but the integrity of your own mind.
- A little integrity is better than any career.
- Take the initiative. Go to work, and above all co-operate and don't hold back on one another or try to gain at the expense of another. Any success in such lopsidedness will be increasingly short-lived. These are the synergetic rules that evolution is employing and trying to make clear to us. They are not man-made laws. They are the infinitely accommodative laws of the intellectual integrity governing universe.
- I am sure that in estimating every man’s value either in private or public life, a pure integrity is the quality we take first into calculation, and that learning and talents are only the second.
- Thomas Jefferson, Letter to John Garland Jefferson (June 15, 1792). The Papers of Thomas Jefferson, vol. 24, p. 82, ed. Julian P. Boyd, et al. (1950).
- Integrity without knowledge is weak and useless, and knowledge without integrity is dangerous and dreadful.
- When at some future date the high court of history sits in judgment on each one of us — recording whether in our brief span of service we fulfilled our responsibilities to the state — our success or failure, in whatever office we may hold, will be measured by the answers to four questions — were we truly men of courage … were we truly men of judgment … were we truly men of integrity … were we truly men of dedication?
- John F. Kennedy, address to the Massachusetts legislature (9 January 1961); Congressional Record (10 January 1961), vol. 107, Appendix, p. A169.
- The great enemy of integrity is not falsehood as such but … the attractiveness of foreign truths, truths that belong to others.
- David Norton, Personal Destinies: A Philosophy of Ethical Individualism (1976), p. 9
- Nothing can be reasonable or beautiful unless it’s made by one central idea, and the idea sets every detail. A building is alive, like a man. Its integrity is to follow its own truth, its one single theme, and to serve its own single purpose.
- Success does not necessarily involve great intellect, or great position, or great wealth; it has to do with inner integrity. Remember that.
- Jane Roberts in Seth Speaks, Session 421.
- One likes to believe in the freedom of music
- But glittering prizes and endless compromises
- Shatter the illusion of integrity.
- Rush, "The Spirit of Radio" (1980).
- I mean by intellectual integrity the habit of deciding vexed questions in accordance with the evidence, or of leaving them undecided where the evidence is inconclusive. This virtue, though it is underestimated by almost all adherents of any system of dogma, is to my mind of the very greatest social importance and far more likely to benefit the world than Christianity or any other system of organized beliefs.
- Bertrand Russell, The Basic Writings of Bertrand Russell, 1903-1959 (1992), p. 598.
- There is something reassuring, too (at least, I find it so), in these renewals of former admirations. We all endeavour, as Spinoza says, to persist in our own being; and that endeavour is, he adds, the very essence of our existence. When, therefore, we find that what delighted us once can still delight us: that though the objects of our admiration may be intermittent, yet they move in fixed orbits, and their return is certain, these reappearances will suggest that we have after all maintained something of our own integrity; that a sort of system lies beneath the apparent variability of our interests; that there is, so to speak, a continuity within ourselves, a core of meaning which has not disintegrated with the years.
- Logan Pearsall Smith, Reperusals and Recollections (1936), p. 1.
- False words are not only evil in themselves, but they infect the soul with evil.
- Socrates, Phaedo 115e
- It is better to be poor and walk in integrity than to be stupid and speak lies.
- The most important persuasion tool you have in your entire arsenal is integrity.
- Zig Ziglar as quoted in Refining Your Style : Learning from Respected Communicators (2004) by Dave Stone, p. 143
Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers (1895)
By Josiah Hotchkiss Gilbert
- Give us a man, young or old, high or low, on whom we know we can thoroughly depend — who will stand firm when others fail — the friend faithful and true, the adviser honest and fearless, the adversary just and chivalrous; in such an one there is a fragment of the Rock of Ages — a sign that there has been a prophet amongst us.
- Arthur Penrhyn Stanley, p. 352.
- Honesty is the best policy, but he who acts on that principle is not an honest man.
- Bishop Whately, p. 352.
- Though a hundred crooked paths may conduct to a temporary success, the one plain and straight path of public and private virtue can alone lead to a pure and lasting fame and the blessings of posterity.
- Edward Everett, p. 352.
- Aaron Burr was a more brilliant man than George Washington. If he had been loyal to truth, he would have been an abler man; but that which made George Washington the chief hero in our great republic was the sagacity, not of intellectual genius, but of the moral element in him.
- A. E. Dunning, p. 352.
- The man who, for party, forsakes righteousness, goes down; and the armed battalions of God march over him.
- Wendell Phillips, p. 352.
- Gold thou mayest safely touch, but if it stick
Unto thy hands, it woundeth to the quick.
- George Herbert, p. 352.
Buckminster Fuller on Integrity
- Quite clearly, our task is predominantly metaphysical, for it is how to get all of humanity to educate itself swiftly enough to generate spontaneous social behaviors that will avoid extinction. ... A pattern has an integrity independent of the medium by virtue of which you have received the information that it exists. Each of the chemical elements is a pattern integrity. Each individual is a pattern integrity. The pattern integrity of the human individual is evolutionary and not static.
- Buckminster Fuller, Synergetics: Explorations in the Geometry of Thinking (1975)
- All the categories of creatures act individually as special-case and may be linearly analyzed; retrospectively, it is discoverable that inadvertently they are all interaffecting one another synergetically as a spherical, interprecessionally regenerative, tensegrity spherical integrity. Geodesic spheres demonstrate the compressionally discontinuous--tensionally continuous integrity.
- Synergetics: Explorations in the Geometry of Thinking (1975)
- We evolute toward ever lesser brain comprehension lags — ergo, toward ever diminishing error; ergo, ever diminishing misunderstandings; ergo, ever diminishing fear, and its brain-lagging painful errors of objectivity; wherefore we approach eternal instantaneity of absolute and total comprehension. The eternal instantaneity of no lag at all. However, we have now learned from our generalizations of the great complexity of the interactions of principles as we are disembarrassed of our local, exclusively physical chemistry of information-sensing devices — that what is approached is eternal and instant awareness of absolute reality of all that ever existed. All the great metaphysical integrity of all the individuals, which is potential and inherent in the complex interactions of generalized principles, will always and only coexist eternally.
- Synergetics: Explorations in the Geometry of Thinking (1975)
- All of humanity is in peril of extinction if each one of us does not dare, now and henceforth, always to tell only the truth, and all the truth, and to do so promptly — right now... I am convinced that human continuance depends entirely upon: the intuitive wisdom of each and every individual . . . the individual's integrity of speaking and acting only on the individual's own within-self-intuited and reasoned initiative . . . the individual's never joining action with others as motivated only by crowd-engendered emotionalism, or a sense of the crowd's power to overwhelm, or in fear of holding to the course indicated by one's own intellectual convictions.
- Critical Path , (1981)
- It is the integrity of each individual human that is in final examination. On personal integrity hangs humanity's fate. You can deceive others, you can deceive your brain-self, but you can't deceive your mind-self — for mind deals only in the discovery of truth and the interrelationship of all truths. The cosmic laws with which mind deals are noncorruptible. Cosmic evolution is omniscient God comprehensively articulate.
- Critical Path , (1981)
- The effective decisions can only be made by the independently thinking and adequately informed human individuals and their telepathically intercommunicated wisdom--the wisdom of the majority of all such human individuals--qualifying for continuance in Universe as local cosmic problem-solvers--in love with the truth and in individually spontaneous self-commitment to absolute faith in the wisdom, integrity, and love of God, who seems to wish Earthian humans to survive.
- Critical Path , (1981)
- I never try to tell anybody else what to do, number one. And number two, I think that's what the individual is all about. Each one of us has something to contribute. This really depends on each one doing their own thinking, but not following any kind of rule that I can give out, any command. We're all on the frontier, we're all in a great mystery — incredibly mysterious. Each one possesses exactly what each one is working out, and what each one works out relates to their particular set of circumstances of any one day, or any one place around the world ... we are in some kind of final examination as to whether human beings now, with this capability to acquire information and to communicate, whether we're really qualified to take on the responsibility we're designed to be entrusted with. And this is not a matter of an examination of the types of governments, nothing to do with politics, nothing to do with economic systems. It has to do with the individual. Does the individual have the courage to really go along with the truth? ... Integrity of the individual is what we're being judged for and if we are not passing that examination, we don't really have the guts, we'll blow ourselves up. It will be all over. I think it's all the difference in the world.... We are at the point where the integrity of the individual counts and not what the political leadership or the religious leadership says to do.
- "Only Integrity is Going to Count" Interview (26 February 1983)]
- Noblesse oblige
- Operating Manual for Spaceship Earth, by Buckminster Fuller, (1969)