Integrity is the virtue of honesty and uprightness. But it isn’t healthy for leading a good life? Why is integrity not the ultimate road to a good life? Let’s find out.
Good deeds, morals, and principles are some of the basic lessons taught by family and society. The teachings of integrity and goodwill are significant enough to help us have a better character.
The virtuous hero we learned about in our moral stories has integrity as one of the most important virtues in life. In other words, our archetypical hero is the one with a good sense of morality and goodwill.
However, the belief that integrity is the ultimate road to a good life has many speculations behind its use in modern times. Moreover, having integrity is no longer considered virtuous and is more associated with downright stubbornness.
Not only this but integrity also has certain limitations that can prove to be self-sabotaging in the long run. People no longer desire to lead a good life with integrity and gravitate towards the other side.
But, “Isn’t integrity an important trait in character development?”
Yes, it is. Most importantly, integrity helps in an individual’s character development and shapes his personality a great deal. Adherence to one’s principles is another example of how integrity works in the real world.
So, “Is integrity still valuable enough?”
or “Is it still the ultimate road to a good life?”
Let’s find out why is integrity not the ultimate road to a good life.
Why is integrity important for character development?
Before discussing whether integrity is the ultimate road to a good life, let’s take a look at why integrity is important for character development. I think modern society lacks in its ideology and thinking behind the significance of character development.
Integrity is an essential part of a person’s ethical and principled nature that manifests from inherently formed notions and guidelines, which may or may not coincide with that of society.
However, it is equally important to understand its role in character development. For instance, you can be a callous person too, living your life without being concerned with the likes of values and ethics.
So, “Why is integrity important for character development?”
Here, are 3 strong reasons why is it so.
1. Integrity binds the individual to humanity:
Humanity is the reason we strive for excellence in sustainability and development. Without it, our existence is debatable. Moreover, there should also be a binding force that can make humans compassionate to each other.
Integrity is responsible for binding the individual to humanity. More than anything, it is the reason we treat each other with generosity and goodwill. However, humanity seems to not realize the implications of it.
Therefore, integrity is important for character development because it binds the individual to humanity.
2. Integrity is a virtue of self-understanding and development:
Self-awareness and understanding are some of the key aspects of an individual that makes him a human. A high sense of self is a byproduct of having integrity.
However, it is still a virtue in the end. One needs to understand how it works for developing a deep sense of self. Moral uprightness evolves from this sense of self that later comes as decency and humbleness.
Hence, integrity is the virtue of self-understanding and it is helpful for character development.
3. Integrity holds the significance of social harmony:
Even though there is a difference between subjective and objective harmony, yet integrity holds the significance of social harmony along with personal convictions.
In many cases, our integrity acts as a torch-bearer responsible for maintaining social harmony through acts of empathy and compassion. It also fosters gratitude above greed and malice.
Hence, due to its significance in maintaining social harmony, it is important for character development.
So, we have discussed three reasons why integrity is important for character development.
But, “Why is integrity not the ultimate road to a good life?”
“What is the reason behind it?”
Let’s find out.
Why is integrity not the ultimate road to a good life?
In the previous section, we discussed integrity and how it helps in character development. Most people desire to lead a peaceful life according to their principles and values.
The road to a good life ultimately leads to a better understanding by gaining wisdom and knowledge. However, it does not mean that integrity is a necessary trait to develop.
Having integrity as a dominant trait is what makes a man the opposite of virtuous. If one is too adamant to accept the essential things in life all because it doesn’t go with his virtues, then he is just being a fool.
But, “Does that really mean integrity is sabotaging to an individual’s self-interest?”
Well, that depends on how an individual utilizes it. However, there are some key points we need to focus on before generalizing integrity.
So, here are 5 unknown and overlooked aspects of integrity that make it not so good for leading a good life.
1. It isn’t good to stay honest and truthful every time:
There are times when some people are too caught up with their moral convictions and value honesty and truthfulness, even when they don’t have to. In such cases, integrity proves to be a vice to the person using it.
Moreover, being honest and truthful, along with holding your virtues high, isn’t a wise solution every time. One has to manipulate situations sometimes to make things possible to deal with.
So, the first reason why being honest and truthful is not good is because it isn’t fruitful every time and in every situation.
2. Cutting corners is important, even in the matter of virtues:
Gone are the days when virtues were the most important aspects of elementary and higher education, where having good values were given paramount importance.
Unfortunately, we don’t have the same attitude towards them anymore. In other words, virtues are still important, but not as much as they used to be. Besides, moral judgments have become far too complex to understand by people.
Hence, the second reason why integrity is not good is that it is important to cut corners and find the best interests in situations.
3. It develops a non-compromising and reserved attitude:
Talk about integrity, and all you get is some people who are very demanding and uncompromising in situations and with people. A lot depends on an individual’s tendency to discover multiple sides of a problem.
Having high integrity, unfortunately, instills a non-compromising attitude toward their beliefs and values. People with high integrity are more likely to engage in quarrels involving the violation of their principles.
Therefore, the third reason why integrity is not good is that it develops a non-compromising and reserved attitude.
4. You see everyone around you as callous and immoral:
I don’t know whether it is true or not, but I have observed that everyone with high integrity seems to categorize most people as morally inferior to them.
Now, morals aren’t static, and they change with people. It is just a matter of perception. A person with high integrity has different morals compared to those with low integrity.
Hence, the fourth reason why integrity is not good is that we see everyone around us as callous and immoral when we have high integrity.
5. Lastly, sticking too much with integrity makes us closed-minded:
Morals are, in the end, morals. They are ethical principles in reality that form an individual’s moral code. Through tough times and decisions, it helps in utilizing them to make us sure about ourselves.
But sticking too much with integrity has its disadvantages too. For instance, if you do not accept other’s opinions, you will never understand how things can have multiple sides to them.
As a result, sticking too much with integrity makes us close-minded. Therefore, integrity is not good for living a good life.
To sum up, integrity is a valuable trait if utilized wisely. However, if you are too caught up with authentically sticking to your beliefs and convictions, you can lose many things in their process.
It is better to have virtues that could be revised over time than to have stone-rigid ones. The above ways aptly describe the limitations of integrity.