Man's Deeper Nature: Integrity
Updated: Jul 2, 2019
''The weight of this sad time we must obey. Speak what we feel, not what we ought to say.''
-- William Shakespeare, King Lear
If we return to the roots of masculinity, we will find that the men who inspire other men the most, possess a quality known as integrity.
Being much more than a set of moral virtues, integrity is evident when a man refuses to compromise with his inner life, its beliefs, feelings, and ideas; it is as if the 'outer man' -- the person seen from the outside -- acts in accord with the 'inner man' -- the true self, hidden behind the facade.
And there is no doubt that, although many men may find it unattainable, all men admire a man of true integrity.
But, if it is such a rare thing, why then do we admire it? If this wholeness, this inner union that gives men such strength, really is so hard to attain, why then does it impact our lives so much?
When we were boys we watched films and read books about men who had this rare integrity; yet, deep inside we are still boys, and so can ask ourselves: why did we so long to possess it?
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The word 'integrity' comes from the Latin 'integer' which means 'intact'. It describes something which is of a sound, unimpaired condition.
In other words, something that is not broken...
This is how the Vietnam war hero James Stockdale describes integrity in one of his books:
“Integrity is a powerful word that derives from a specific concept. It describes a person who is integrated, blended into a whole, as opposed to a person of many parts, many faces, many disconnects. The word relates to the ancients' distinction between living and living well. Contrary to popular thought, a person of integrity is typically easygoing with a sense of humor. He knows himself, reflects a definite and thoughtful set of preferences and aspirations, and is thus reliable. Knowing he is whole, he is not preoccupied with riding the rest of continual anxiety but is free to ride the crest of delight with life!”
(J. Stockdale, Thoughts of a Philosophical Fighter Pilot) *
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I think that, deep down, all men long for integrity, or have once longed for it, back when they were little boys. I also think the answer for that is that, in the depth of our souls we remember the person who we were always meant to be -- the person who we could've been, perhaps, or at least could've gotten closer to being: the strong, passionate, heroic, loving, brave man of whom all those other men we once so loved reminded us...
Deep does call unto deep, and if stories speak to us at all, they speak to that deep, transcendent nature -- our truer nature, I daresay -- and call it into being, telling us to rise and be true to it...
Imagine the joy of not having to hide your feelings.
Imagine the freedom of not having to tell lies -- ever!
Imagine the relief of being completely at peace with yourself.
Imagine it -- please, imagine it -- because it can be yours...
Yes, like Shakespeare's Edgar, we too can become people who 'speak what we feel, not what we ought to say' -- but it would take a deep inner journey, a work of reclaiming our lost wholeness and regaining the integrity we had when we were too little to know it.
Speaking ''what you feel'', not what you ''have to say''. Just imagine it...
Imagine it, because, with the right amount of willingness and perseverance, this can be your life.
There was a reason why you liked those stories. There was a reason why you liked those men.
You have a deep nature -- deeper than what you have been led to believe; and you have a great potential -- greater than you have ever known.
With much respect,
* As quoted by Chad Howse on www.average2alpha.com