If we take the subjectivity out of the term ‘integrity’, and instead look at the origin of the word’s stem, we find that its meaning is ‘whole’: To be whole, or to make whole. An integer is a whole number. ‘Integral’ Philosophy is about seeing the whole picture. To ‘integrate’ is to combine things to form a whole.
So integrity can be thought of as operating in a way that respects the whole, such that all other elements of the whole can function like clockwork. But we might then ask, “What ‘whole’ are we talking about?” There are two ways we can consider this.
The first is that ‘integrity’ relates to the person in question, to each individual. The powerful question is not whether you compromise my sense of ethics, but whether you compromise your own. And this is largely what makes something Control and Abuse Consciousness, where people know deep down that what they are doing goes against their best self and doesn’t really align with their truth.
“Integrity is the ultimate sign of self-belief.” – James Blacker
Worldcentric Integrity and Win-Win-Win Behaviour
Looking at things a slightly different way, there are three or four main ‘levels’ of a potential answer to the question, “What ‘whole’ is your integrity oriented around?”
You may remember in The Power of Love that we defined three Levels of Care and Compassion. We can add a fourth to this:
Stage 4: Kosmocentric: Care for all sentient beings: anyone or anything that can feel
Stage 3: Worldcentric: Care for all human beings
Stage 2: Ethnocentric: Care for oneself, one’s friends, family, tribe, culture or country
Stage 1: Egocentric: Care only for oneself