Friday, December 6, 2013

Virtues Essay: Integrity

  • the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles; moral uprightness
  • the state of being whole and undivided
                                                             --Oxford American English Dictionary

Integrity as a virtue means acting upon one's morals despite possibly negative consequences.  As such, integrity is connected to all the previously discussed virtues - they are the virtues, the morals, upheld when one is acting with integrity.  If each virtue is a thread, integrity is the tapestry that is woven together through their right placement and usage.

Without living and breathing our virtues they remain little more than philosophical abstracts full of empty potential.  Virtues are solidified only when we act upon them, living them out in our everyday existence.  When we act with moderation, when we display courage (or put into action any of the other virtues) we act with integrity and in doing so pull these virtues out from the realm of the abstract into the realm of the living.  When we deliberately live with integrity and base our actions on thoughtful reflection on the virtues, we manifest into this world a certain baseline, or center, for our behavior. In this sense the virtue of integrity echoes a sort of axis mundi; by bringing the virtues to life through our actions we become an incarnate representation of that virtue, with integrity at our center .  By living with integrity at our center we connect to and honor the three realms and the Kindred.

               “Real integrity is doing the right thing, knowing that nobody’s going to know
                                                        whether you did it or not.”  --Oprah Winfrey

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