Integrity

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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. ~ Walter Benjamin

Integrity comprises consistency of actions, values, methods, measures and principles. It may be seen as the quality of having a sense of honesty and truthfulness in regard to the motivations for one's actions.

Quotes[edit]

  • 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).
  • 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).
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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)[edit]

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.
  • Honesty is the best policy, but he who acts on that principle is not an honest man.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • The man who, for party, forsakes righteousness, goes down; and the armed battalions of God march over him.
  • Gold thou mayest safely touch, but if it stick
    Unto thy hands, it woundeth to the quick.

See also[edit]

External links[edit]

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