Occasionally in life, events occur that question integrity. For anyone in a public standing or governmental role, your integrity is your livelihood . . . unless you’re a politician, then it’s everyone else’s integrity that needs to be tweeted about but yours. Other times, when your own integrity is questioned, especially by someone else, well . . . I’ve found that absolutely damning.
For me integrity is everything: it decides your brand; how you live life; and how you treat others. For someone to query that is to question your moral fibre, your decency as a trustworthy human being. I have a fantastic book on quotations and so I went searching, and surprised that I didn’t find anything positive – all seemed to cater for those walking away from morals and integrity instead of embracing them indefatigably. It seems that the more people there are the more the moral waters can be muddied, to quote Aldous Huxley ‘the quality of moral behaviour varies in inverse ratio to the number of human beings involved’. That’s the definition of mob rule, right there. If one person thinks something outlandish then you can sit them on a stool and throw slippers at them, but the more people agree with it, the more people believe in it, and you’re soon running out stools and slippers. Before you know if you’ve started a cult, and together people start to summon the bravery to perform outstanding acts of butchery and barbarity on their fellow inhabitants of this fair earth. Either that or they open up a slipper store.
Morals also change with circumstance. What may be abhorrent now can change pretty quickly given some dire straits. Whilst many would never countenance stealing, I don’t think I’ve met a single person alive that hasn’t picked an apple or orange from a tree they don’t own or eaten a grape from a supermarket. There are levels, I would surmise, that people are happy with – especially if they can get away with it. At the other extreme, if you think you’d never kill someone, just be thankful you’ve never been put in the situation where you had to. For mothers and fathers out there, many wouldn’t hesitate wiping out anyone from the face of the earth in favour of their own child when put to the sword. This then paints an entirely different picture, and to quote Erica Jong (it’s a good quotation book, what can I tell you!), ‘morals are like roads through the alps: they make these hairpin turns all the time’. So do our morals unravel like a spool of cotton with the slightest pressure or outside exertion? Well that’s up to you: whilst your morals tell you what’s right and wrong, your integrity is whether you stick to it.
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