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On eagles wings: Our recovery from Coronavirus (XLIV). A long journey to Integrity.

How do we practice Integrity as a cluster virtue concept in the middle of these types of temptations or Integrity defeaters? What is it that makes us coherent in our traits of integrity beyond the motivation to keep us attached to strict moral codes? Last week we gave the answer to the experts:

“On eagles wings”. A handmade aquarelle made with love by Eleonora Escalante. Photo reference from Christopher Martin. In the case that I sell this little aquarelle, part of my revenues go to the photographer.
  1. Taking one´s life seriously in all its important aspects. And by all, we mean all, personal, intimate, professional, social, aesthetic, religious, philosophical, political, commercial, intellectual, and emotional. To take our life seriously doesn´t mean to be all the time with a grumpy chat boring face, neither to keep thinking only in the Apocalypse and Armageddon, neither to be so radical as the preppers who have been building bunkers and keeping thousands of cans and food that probably expired before the pandemic… To take our life seriously proposes to know who we are, why are we living in this planet with joy, practice an ethical virtuous walk with happy attitudes, learn to tame our actions in times of temptations, and learn from our ancestors utilizing our today, to project for the future. We are here to learn how to protect ourselves and our humanity from all the risks that we will bear during the next 100 years. To take our life seriously suggests studying, going to school, and find friends for a lifetime, to attend the university not to make money, but to cultivate our thoughts, and mainly to be educated, because by studying we help our brains to think integrally and make correct decisions. To take our life seriously intends to grant tons of smiles and kind positiveness to everyone. To take our life seriously means that we are here to be persons of integrity. It simply means to learn and know by heart that our life is the most wonderful gift given from above. It simply signifies that we treasure our life, our health, our behavior, our possibilities to wake up every morning regardless of the circumstances.  
  2. Taking account of one´s constant self-examined life. Pursuing Integrity involves taking account of knowing that integrity is a dynamic choice of life that requires self-monitoring and self-examination through prayers and meditation. In terms of Saint Ignatius of Loyola, we must take the time each day for “contemplative praying” or meditation, which is nothing else than the tool we possess to pursue a person of integrity path.  To examine ourselves daily is as crucial as eating well. Our daily reflection purpose is to reveal all the things we did not behave or though well, in order to try to change them accordingly. The Daily Self-Examen is a method of prayer that Ignatius of Loyola taught in his Spiritual Exercises. He considered it the most important thing a person could do each day. It takes only a few minutes (between 20 to 30 minutes). As presented by Creighton U. theologian Dennis Hamm, SJ, this prayer has five steps: (1) Pray for light to understand and appreciate the past day. (2) Review the current day giving thanks for everything that is happening in your whereabouts. (3) Review the feelings in the replay of the day. (4) Choose one of those feelings (positive or negative) and pray from it. (5) Look toward tomorrow. Other religions can pray, and do this either, because by pursuing a life under an ethical virtuous scheme, every single virtue that we have studied is universal, and it doesn´t matter what religious practice you hold, the adventure of praying under the review of our degree of application of ethical virtues is not conflicted between religions on earth.

Today I will explain and provide examples about the temptations that defeat integrity (character traits, ways of behaving, practices) and about the personal wicked characteristics of us that cause non-discernment and diminish a person´s integrity.

Arrogance:  Is the state or quality of making claims to unwarranted importance or consideration out of overbearing pride. When we are constantly trying to become people of integrity, it is easier to believe that we are much better than the rest who are not even trying to pursue ethical virtues. In that discrimination process of me (trying to be a person of integrity) and others (who are crooked), it is easier to fall into arrogance. For example: When someone says “You don´t know who am I”, that typical phrase if misused to compare to others is full of arrogance, and this phrase has to be removed from our vocabulary.

Dogmatism: This is a stubborn assertion of opinion or belief. Of course, we are always trying to stick to boundaries or to guidelines when it comes to trying to be a person of integrity. But one thing is to stick to our ethics guidelines, and another one is to stubbornly use our behavior to don´t listen or understand others who are way behind our integrity path. For example: When an experienced artist (painter) is more concerned to find the mistakes in the new emergent ones, not just to block them, but to cut their way to make a living with art. Let´s imagine that you are starting to learn all about painting art, and you have no idea of the copyright system of asking permission to photographers to paint and use their public photos as a reference. An experienced artist knows all the process, but the new one has no idea of it. By dogma, the experienced artist can expose publicly this mistake of the emerging artist, mocking the mistake in public. Instead, an artist of integrity, who is not dogmatic will act as a compassionate teacher, instructing the new emerging artist, but in private.

Fanaticism: In our search for integrity, we can slip easily into fanaticism motivated by excessive irrational zeal. For example, the case of the preppers or survivalists. There are more than 4 million preppers living in the United States, and with the pandemic, these have grown to much more. For more information about the preppers philosophy, read the article prepared by Zachary Crockett here My own analysis of the preppers is quite blurry because we don´t know all the intentions and facts when we are in front of fanatic preppers, particularly when it comes to their excessive irrational belief that the Armageddon is coming. We are not God to know when the Armageddon is going to be, neither when the end of our times. We can´t even think to set up a date. Of course, we should be prepared with certain emergency essentials supplies, for those who live in the main cities in the world, or because our planet earth is always bringing disasters scenarios. With the Coronavirus pandemic we have learned that we were not ready with essential supplies for such disgrace. But one thing is to hold a prevention mind and prepare ourselves for emergencies, particularly on how to start our own veggies gardens and produce our own nourritures and water sourcing; and another one is to build an anti-nuclear bunker facility below home, or to buy a 3 years supply of paper toilette and clorox disinfection wipes in such excessive way leaving others without them. Fanaticism also means selfishness, because in the procurement for your own, you leave others without those inputs. Fanaticism happens very much at the level of church leaders such as the preacher cult leader James Jones, who conspired with his inner circle to direct a mass murder-suicide of his followers in his jungle commune at Jonestown, Guyana in 1978. The majority of “self-induced prophets” have lost sight of their own, and their fanaticism has provoked disgrace and destruction.

Monomania: This is a particular pathological obsession with one idea or subject. To pursue a life of integrity must be a compassionate journey with ourselves. It takes years and years of practice, probably, the majority of those who reach a higher level of integrity are usually in their 60s, and that statement should make us reflect about waiting before judging the integrity path of others who are working hard for it.  Those who believe in their “holy possession” obsessively judge and accuse others of the “lack of integrity” in little phrases or thoughts, forgetting that actions of integrity are much more important than words. I have met monomaniacs at evangelical churches, who don´t give a damn for those in need of help but preach from the pulpits with a pathological obsession of sanctity to the point that they don´t let others touch their skin (as a hug or hand salute) because they believe that by giving a hug or shaking hands to the congregation, the evil bad spirits of others will contaminate their holiness.

Preciousness: This is an extreme search for meticulousness or over-refinement. The people of integrity are aware to avoid being dainty, or squeamish. Why? Well, because preciousness triggers over-fastidiousness towards those who are not as valuable or precious as them. Again, I will use the example of the Coronavirus vaccine. By the end of this year, many pharma houses and labs will be ready to sell their vaccines or treatments. Those countries who are dismissing the WHO efforts to procure them globally are acting with preciousness, considering the developing countries as less deserving of the cure. Preciousness can trigger racism and discrimination too.

Sanctimoniousness: A person who is searching for integrity can easily descend into feigning or pretending piety of righteousness, dismissing the rest of virtues. A hypocritical who believe in his sacredness above the rest may act with the power of destruction towards those who are not yet sacred. Those who believe in their saint status are in a dangerous position to speak/act of taking justice by themselves against the less sanctified. For example, I have lived in my own skin, that many religious people in the higher places act with sanctimoniousness when they accuse you of immoral, and without knowing you first, put you through a “process of cleaning your soul” using horrendous mistreatments, including spiritual harm.

Rigidity: Someone rigid is one that is not flexible, stiff, and with higher levels of strictness and severity. The issue with those who believe that are persons of integrity, but hold rigidity is that their rigor actions may be cruel, punishing, and full of prejudice or bias. Rigidity can´t be applied before knowing the truth about someone or something. In the case of the Coronavirus, which was a dynamic pest (we had no idea of what was causing it, and we were only guessing on how to handle it): In the context of such a changeable virus, it is impossible to be rigid through just one single path of actions to solve the situation. To protect ourselves in the middle of uncertain virus pests, it requires to use not one, but all the bio-security measures together. It is ridiculous to refuse the usage of parallel treatments to the vaccine, such as using antibiotics as Zithromax for three days, or to ignore the power of natural anti-inflammatory remedies such as the arrayán and other natural antibiotics, or to dismiss the utilization of masks when the pandemic contagion is airborne. Everything we can do to leverage our degree of immunity should be welcome.

Capriciousness: Those who lack integrity are usually capricious. A capricious person is someone characterized by/ or subject to whim and impulses. Someone who is impulsive changes his or her mind in an impulsive manner. The majority of youngsters (don´t worry,  I also was younger too, 20 years ago ) act with capriciousness. What is dangerous is to elect and keep a president who has capriciousness, because someone as such can sink a country at the sound of a snap?

Wantonness: Someone who is immorally lewd, or depraved, may be gratuitously cruel merciless, spoiled, and undisciplined trying to govern using precarious levels of education and diplomacy. Sadly, there are a lot of country leaders, thousands of CEOs, and the majority of immature narcissists who are promoted in organizations who show a lack of integrity with wantonness.

Triviality: A lack of integrity is shown when people are guided by no meaningful objectives, or by trivial intentions. Usually of little significance or value. A society that doesn´t prioritize its essential problems, looking actively for its solutions, is full of triviality. How could it be that societies are much more worried to invest in the infrastructure of high-ways and thousands of expensive roads, instead of investing in high-quality education and basic services (as water systems, electricity)? Yesterday I read that one of the top tech global powerful companies is selling a degree for 250 euros, a diploma that lasts 4 years. I wonder what type of triviality could it be? An excellent academic degree (at the university) must last at least 5 or 6 years (including a Master’s Degree), and those who wish to continue a Ph.D. require at least another additional 5 years.

Disintegration: A person who is disintegrated is someone who has been reduced to a component or fragment of the aspects of life, instead of a whole. For example, as you already know my most beloved heart desire is to become a woman of integrity. This requires that I can practice this virtue in everything: as a future wife, a mom, a friend, a professional writer, and a visual storyteller, etc. Meanwhile, I don´t fulfill my personal pillar of becoming the wife of Alex Guillermo Lozano Artolachipi and the mother of his kids, I am reduced only to one component of my life (the professional). And I am deeply aware of it, and I am working to improve the disintegration aspects of my personal life.

Weakness of will: OMG. Lacking strength, energy, or firmness of character or strength of will is one of the most relevant sins of our societies.  I have met plenty of people who have no idea of how to choose or decide upon a course of action.  To have the strength of will means to have a mental faculty, with diligent purposefulness and determination. But when societies experience corruption, this is merely the consequence of the weakness of will. Those who act like weather vanes, can´t stick to their words and promises.

Self-Ignorance: A society in which all people do not fight hard to leave the levels of self-ignorance, will only produce people with a lack of integrity. The more thoughtful a person is, the more capable to rise its mental faculties to procure a life of integrity. I am convinced that each of us must procure at least 20 years of formal studies (from kindergarten to highschool plus technical-vocational and/or university degree). Non-educated people fight the triple against temptations in their integrity path.

Mendacity: This is the condition of the falsehood. Those who on purpose lie and live with untruth. The condition of being mendacious is one of the most visible vices against integrity. I won´t write about those who are pathologically always lying, but particularly on those who can´t say no and by pleasing others, or because of searching for revenues, get trapped into lying. For example, each of us has a certain maturity of expertise in something. In the beauty salon businesses, if you are an expert in coloring hair (colorist) you probably have studied and practiced a thousand times all the hair coloring mixes and technics, that is your specialization, and may happen that you know nothing about facial procedures or make-up or manicures. Please if you don´t know how to be a facial treatment specialist, don´t lie offering that service, because you will harm your potential clients who will trust you blindly, because of your awesome quality of hair coloring. The integrity of your services must be tied to the high level of capacity of your knowledge.

We will stop here with the virtues journey. Next publication we will jump directly into how to do ethical codes. Blessings. Thank you for reading to me.

Sources or reference utilized to write the first part of this article:

Disclaimer: Illustrations in Watercolor are painted by Eleonora Escalante. Other types of illustrations or videos (which are not mine) are used for educational purposes ONLY.  Nevertheless, the majority of the pictures, images, or videos shown on this blog are not mine.  I do not own any of the lovely photos or images posted unless otherwise stated.

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