Integrity – The Indispensable Element

No trait stands higher than integrity. In October 1973, editors at the New York Times were asked to rank the great cardinal virtues. After consideration,, they concluded, “With integrity much is possible. Without it all other virtues turn to sand.” Where it is affirmed and promoted, this sovereign reformas de baños en valencia trait of character magnifies ideals. It encourages upright conduct. It defeats ill-advised compromise, and it directs the avoidance of unwise temptations and choices-among individuals, professionals, businesses and organizations. The times we live in demand its reconsideration.

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When we see it we know it. We mark and admire those who can and will stand firm. We recognize those who are unintimidated by the desire for approval and the demands of conformity. We gravitate toward those who have principles, who express them openly, and who stand by them, irrespective of the difficulty. They possess a magnetism that stands out, like beacons on a stormy sea.

In the abstract, however, the virtue is puzzling. Often quoted-the word crops up everywhere-but rarely defined, it is frequently interchanged with the cardinal virtues of courage and honesty of which it is neither. Ask for definition; a dozen are forthcoming. Iin this frantic age of excess and overwhelming choice, few pause to reflect on integrity and its value in everyday life.

We turn, then, to three timely questions: what is the authentic meaning of integrity? what are it s motivations? what basic rules govern its practice? In the ancient world, during the days of the Biblical Job, integrity was looked upon as an ideal of economic self-sufficiency. Today, it shines in a different light. The best authorities hold that it is an adherence-an uncompromising loyalty to upright conduct. Pared to bedrock, integrity is the capacity to stand by an idea.

Consider an incident from an Ohio jail. Eugene V. Debs was one of the great reformers and a social agitator on the American scene in the first decades of the last century. He was incarcerated for disturbing the peace, during a demonstration against small children working in dangerous coalmines. While sitting in his cell, he received a telegram. It read:

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