By Markus Modin
I am writing this article because I think it concerns a profoundly important, though delicate subject matter – namely the very thing that determines what you do with what you know, which is your integrity. But what is integrity? Is it a metaphysical, theoretical or a practical subject matter?
I would argue it is a very practical subject matter, perhaps the most practical of them all, seeing as how it determines everything you accept and allow yourself to do, in thoughts, words and deeds, in every moment of breath. So thus, it concerns the very question of who you are within and as what you accept and allow, within as well as without. It is in a way the one undeniable metric by which you can actually measure your integrity. What do I accept and allow, directly and indirectly?
In the words accept and allow lies all the power in the world. And it really matters what you accept and allow; in your thoughts, words and deeds. I believe that now, more than ever – children need to have this explained to them. It is almost as if children, as well as many adults, do not see, realize or understand that they do not have to accept and allow themselves to participate in their minds the way that they currently do. It is as if the process is automatic. But everything that is automatic in a human-being is unconscious, by virtue of its premise. So the implication suggests, that we are a very unconscious/automatically driven species, and it’s time we transition from automatics to directive self-awareness and self-responsibility.
Self-awareness should be the primary subject in schools as it determines how the students will relate to everything.
So I am here to argue the case that integrity is a very practical subject that can and needs to be taught in schools; as a long-term strategic and cautionary measure, which furthermore does not require any religious or spiritual undertones or gurus. What it does require however, are practical frameworks which one can verify by executing in a way that measurably produce outcomes in thoughts, words and deeds and based on principles and values centered around honoring life – values that ensures an ethical existential impact.
But it is a matter of accustoming the public for the adoption of certain concepts, concepts which inherently bring about dissonance, fear of change, resistance and anxiety, which speaks to the extensive challenge of making integrity a matter of education. One of the things that bespeak this existential anxiety is the undeniable truth that you are equal and one with that which you accept and allow within and without. And I personally believe that this is the premise that is required in order for one to start developing a sense of moral duty, responsibility and integrity. For integrity to matter, one simply must take ownership of ones acceptances and allowances.
The reason it needs to become part of the education process, is because without integrity one may abuse what one learn in school. So in order to ensure that children do not abuse knowledge, they must consider how to create an ethical relationship to knowledge. Here an emphasis on the ways of the students of relating to things will become primary, which thus means that responsibility and self-awareness will become primary. Current and collectively accepted definitions of ”normal” means children should blame outside circumstances and events for how they accept and allow themselves to react to them internally; which has removed self-responsibility from the equation of a child’s conduct. Grown-ups also function this way based on where we are in our evolutionary process at the moment. And before you meet that sentence with some potential dismay, let me put you at ease by saying that I understand that you obviously cannot hold a child or adult accountable for what it does not have the tools to understand.
But what I am saying is that with such tools at an early age you can expect a great deal more from a child or adult. But like all things, it requires a process. At the very least, we must get children used to the idea that they are responsible for what they accept and allow within and as their thoughts, words and deeds and that they can do something about that. The consideration of what a child accepts and allows in thought, words and deeds should be a standard tool for support at an early age; seeing as how it has such an enormously positive impact on the development of a child’s self-awareness and sense of responsibility.
So what is integrity really all about, practically? As I’ve already said, it’s about everything; including the very uncertain continuation of the human-race. But let’s get concrete. Think of it in terms of a self-aware process of integration and self-responsibility. For example, when you become conscious of an unconscious tendency that is destructive, dishonest or in any way limiting, and you begin to correct and realign such a point in an integrity wise way by stopping your participation in that which fuels its causes, what happens? The unconscious point is no longer a unconscious point. You have integrated it from your unconscious to your conscious. You have taken responsibility thus, for who you are within and as what you do/act out, think, speak in a specific context. Such is the practical process of integrity. It’s about taking ownership of who you are and who you are not. It’s about taking a stand for real in and out.
I am not saying that we can judge people based on how integrity-wise they are, or any some such authenticity policing. And it is nearly always too early to claim if someone is dishonest or not. Time will tell. Besides, you cannot really ever know, nor should you make it your mission to find out who is who, like some kind of existential judge. You should however, clarify your own integrity and focus on cultivating that through introspection, realignment, application and correction. So you get to a point where you no longer blame outside circumstances and events for how you accept and allow yourself to relate to them. I realize this is a great ask, as it means you must deliberately go against human-nature. But remember, the key to success is actually integrity. Forget those self-help books, and ponder on this for yourself.
I am confident you will realize that the key to success is to effectively cooperate with people, and for that you must deserve their trust by behaving in a consistent and integrity-wise way. People naturally want to work with someone with some integrity, courage and values. It’s not a big mystery, because what do you know about a person with integrity? They will do the right thing; no matter what.
So what I am suggesting is a slow but sure start of introducing some concepts, applications, tools, disciplines and ideas of how to practice and develop integrity, without the spiritual, metaphysical and mystical nonsense that too often come with it. Because ladies and gentlemen, if we begin to solve these issues in ourselves, it will be reflected in our approach to the world and change will really happen. I am not particularly spiritual, but I do understand that there is a correlation between what we accept and allow within, and what manifests without. This is a highly practical perspective, not mystical at all.
Now, let’s look at seriously detrimental problems with our infrastructure in the world. The whole thing is setup based on perceived short-term self-interest, profit, greed as well as the tacit assumption that this is the way it is and has always been and so shall remain, and most likely no better alternative can be created because of human nature. So if self-honesty, self-responsibility and correction would be introduced as a practical process in schools – the whole thing would collapse. This is the biggest problem of the 21st century, and one could argue, an age old problem. You might have noticed, that the most clear integrity wise examples, who told us all to leave together in integrity and peace, got killed. From Jesus, Martin Luther King etc. So this is why I say that it is the one and only problem, and that everything else should be considered as ripple effects thereof. So now that we have established that integrity is bad for the economy, what are we to do?
These policy suggestions primarily relates to education, which means it will in the long-term relate to everything, as education systems function as the programming people will act out in the system, directly and indirectly to a considerable extent. So let’s list a few points that need to be conveyed through the education process in terms of provoking some practicality to the subject of integrity.
- Self-awareness must be differentiated in terms of it being based on perceptions and it being based on facts.
- It must be understood that there is a difference between rational and irrational self-interest, and that perceived self-interest can actually lead people to edit memories to suit their self-interest and thereby distort the very self-image of a person. Self-interests need to be created with awareness and not automatic compulsions of addictive self-interests.
- You can never trust yourself if you are not honest with yourself, and thereby self-honesty should be considered as a premise and determining factor for a healthy and well-deserved kind of confidence.
- Reactions indicate automatic pre-programming that can be changed. The difference between an action and reaction must be understood.
- It is not healthy to blame outside circumstances and events for how you accept and allow yourself to relate to them internally.
- The only control that a human-being can exercise over their self lays in thoughts, words and deeds. It is here you are totally responsible for what you accept and allow and therefore it is in your thoughts, words and deeds your integrity is visible.
- Integrity means: who you are within and as what you accept and allow within every moment.
With respect to this most important subject, we propose a simple module to start with, as a means for deconstructing the various thoughts, feelings, emotions, self-definitions, belief-systems, ideas, personality-constructs, defense-mechanisms, perceptions and judgments that can be considered as dishonest, destructive or in any other way limiting to a human-being. Here we suggest a module we call Trinity. But before you read on, please note: we are not saying that we have some universal answer to the problem of self-dishonesty, but that we should treat the subject seriously and find ways of introducing the subject in schools as a practical way of taking responsibility for oneself.
Through the practical process we will naturally find ways to improve, develop and make the subject more and more practical. So we humbly suggest the above as potential content for the future of education. But as with all EOS directives, we are asking for an opportunity to test these things, and through that process we adapt and discover what to keep, refine, eliminate and take responsibility for.
It is based on looking at your content from three dimensions. One being the conscious dimension (what it is – anger, sadness, fear etc), then the subconscious dimension (what it consist of and as – beliefs, definition, memories etc), and thirdly, the unconscious dimension (the effects and consequences it creates within and without – manifests in the ways within which a person relates to things, experiences etc).
By deconstructing internal points from this perspective you integrate them in a more full sense and understanding. And once you understand something, you can do something about it. But you must understand what it is, what it is based on, and the consequences and effects it has in order to put yourself in a position to do something about the matter, as well as assess its integrity/substance, or lack thereof.
What this module is about therefore, is taking that which is unconscious/subconscious and making it conscious. Thus, it’s about a process of aware integration; to put the pieces of yourself back together, for understanding, responsibility, improvement, change and correction. In this we want to emphasize that once you become conscious of something unconscious by integrating it through this module, you actually take ownership of a part of your mind and put it into context/perspective in such a way that you can use it in a self-aware and integrity wise way.
As you might have noticed, many things come in the number three. We have thoughts, words and deeds. And we have the conscious, subconscious and unconscious. Then of course, many consider the human-being as a kind of trinity, as mind, body and spirit. And in organisations we often use the number in terms of the why, how and when. We speak, write and read. And so it goes…
Point is, this number seems to simplify the structure of things to make things more easily understandable and actionable. So the module we call Trinity has many applications in three dimensional reality.
Thanks for considering our current public considerations for integrity as a public education policy.
Sequence Director for Relations at EOS – The Earth Organisation for Sustainability