One working definition of integrity is that state of affairs wherein all of the parts of a whole are aware of and acknowledge each other. For a human being, that means allowing the different dimensions of life to interact: family, work, imagination, bodily functions, spiritual ambitions, politics, finances, relationships, philosophy, health, enjoyment, pain, childhood, adulthood, birth, death, intellect, emotion, solitude, reputation: all of the things in relation to which we are what we are. I perceive myself to be an extraordinary complex set of interacting systems, within a larger set of interacting systems. I also perceive myself to be an individual, alone in the face of a sometimes-hostile, sometimes-indifferent, sometmes-stunningly beautiful and welcoming universe. The search for integrity is for me a search for understanding, a search for wholeness, a search for the capacity to be as fully responsible as possible; it is a search for peace, a search for roots, and a search for an honest embrace of the world.
It is also more than a personal search. I could make this a single individual’s probe of the psychological complexities of the human personality, and it would have some value; but our planet desperately needs to understand itself, to understand what it is for all of us together (as well as each of us individually) to be human as such; to move beyond parochialism and tribalism and all the other isms that divide and fragment us.
So my first observation that both the human individual and the human race appear, on first look, fragmented. In some circles a high degree of compartmentalization is seen as a virtue. But just so you know where I’m coming from, I need to cite the words of a wise rabbi:
There is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed, nor hid, that shall not be known
Hence, I hereby give myself permission to include in this space all sorts of matter which might have to do with my search for personal integrity, as well as with the search for integrity as it impacts society at all levels: religion, politics, culture, international relations, environment, even entertainment.