“If it is not RIGHT do not do it;
If it is not TRUE do not say it”
– Marcus Aurelius
One word we do not hear from the Stoics, is integrity. They saw it as part of being human – part of being virtuous. I am not sure of the social, political or cultural norms of their time, but integrity has now become a particularly important aspect within the human experience.
We are surrounded by rules, laws, and regulations and most people just accept what they are told. The very idea of challenging social, political or indeed religious dogma is unfathomable for most people- but not the Stoic.
A Stoic continually increases his wisdom in all areas, and nothing is described as unchallengeable or dogmatic. The Stoics knew all to well, the destructive nature of dogmatic thought and writings. Nothing I ever write is dogma, challenge is welcome, and it is the free discussion of ideas that move society forward.
There are things that are legal, and things which are not. But this doesn’t bother me as I have my own, hard-fought personal integrity, and with it personal responsibility. The more we can separate ourselves from outdated regulations, outdated culture, the easier it is to see the inherent flaws of an ultimately failing system. A system that thrives on fear and greed (amongst other base ideas).
This is a system built to quash individual ideas, and hold back the possibility of true self-actualization or individuation – a worthy goal I may add. But yet, everyone knows Kim Kardashian has a huge rear end and that she now has two ‘mothers.’
We Stoics can spot the nonsense and frivolity in it all. We know that even though we are surrounded by the foolishness of virtue signaling, we can maintain our inner balance and view the world using our own, personal integrity.
One of my favourite philosophers outside the realm of Stoicism, is Albert Camus. He, like Jean Paul Sartre, was a French existentialist philosopher and personal decision and choice is a central theme within existentialism. This short quote from Camus sums up my thoughts on integrity, personal responsibility, self-belief and my own right action to life’s problems.
“Integrity has no need of rules”
by: Vincent Kennedy. Author of ‘In the Centre Lies Virtue‘