Monday, January 28, 2008

Thoughts on Integrity

Men, in general, seem to employ their reason to justify prejudices, which they have imbibed, they cannot trace how, rather than to root them out. The mind must be strong that resolutely forms its own principles; for a kind of intellectual cowardice prevails which makes many men shrink from the task, or only do it by halves. Yet the imperfect conclusions thus drawn, are frequently very plausible, because they are built on partial experience, on just, though narrow, views.

Mary Wollstonecraft , A Vindication of the Rights of Woman 1792*

Written over two hundred years ago, this passage seems to make to root out much of a battle that comes to the forefront in my brain. I have been bound to develop myself as an individual. I have to be clear on who I am, and what I believe. Of course, I also have a counter thought, one to whom I cannot ascribe due credit, and that is , “convictions only make convicts.” So, when I see myself talking aloud, I always find my own opinions, my own prejudices, my hurts, my fears, all bubble to the surface, and on such occasions I am almost always in the presence of someone who would call out to me, “Do you really believe that, or are you just talking out of your ass?”

I think it a blessing that I count as my friends people not afraid to challenge me on my thoughts, not afraid to hurt my feelings, investigate the breaks in my own internal continuity. I hope to have the highest ideals for myself, but in thje end, I know my own cosmic egg has its points of breach. No longer do I need to fret over the breach in anyone else’s egg. In do not have to challenge your precious beliefs, your holy relics, your spurious dreams. I was startled when a close friend of mine said, “I do not like it when anyone questions my integrity.” I could only wonder, of what are they afraid will be found. I strive to always welcome investigation.

I have been told in the past phrases like, “I do not mean to burst your bubble, but…” Or maybe that was , “I do not mean to burst your bubble butt.” Either way, I remain suspicious of anyone who claims a motive incongruous with their actions. If you are about to burst someone’s bubble butt, it is my contention that that is precisely what you intend to do. Rarely doing anything to hurt anyone anymore, I find it silly to claim falsely about my intentions.

The opening quote holds me to a standard. I am here to root out my prejudices. I am here to clear my mind of anything questionable or negative. I have to understand that if I am starting conversations where I speculate on others’ motives when some person’s actions do not involve me, I am involved in spreading poison. I could easily say that if I am prejudiced against anyone for a personal reason, I could easily “employ reason to justify prejudices.” Given enough thought, I could always explain why I feel a way, why I believe someone is wrong, why someone else is beneath me, and in that I am only clouding my path to truth.

If someone else sets out to hurt me, it is up to me to resolve the situation in my mind. When that someone is someone loved, however, restraint is a must. It is amazing how even a level headed, sane minded man like me(many people will feel challenged by that statement), could find himself drowning in his own obsessions when attempting to wrangle with his own unmanageability. Indeed, rationale takes on peculiar shapes, and can seem most unwieldy when placed under examination.

I guess I believe, then, that my integrity can be questioned, because I have nothing to hide. I know what is wrong in my character, and am not afraid of the boy calling out “he has no clothes on.” I leave this blog here, open to you. See it for what it is: a jumble of ideas from a man who is learning to love life. I hope you all come in, say hello, and maybe share your own ideas.

Thank you for reading.

*Note: Mary Wollstonecraft died at the age of thirty-eight, ten days after giving birth to her only child, also an author known in adult life as Mary Shelley, author of Frankenstein. Wollstonecraft was a marvelous philosopher, and wrote much on many topics, though, in modern day, she is only popularly regarded for her accomplishments as a eighteenth-century, English feminist.


Keith said...

one peson reading this last passage commented on my presumption when I spoke of knowing when someone intended to hurt me.... I have to admit, I am guilty as charged. I have to accept I probably do not know anyone's intgentions, and can cause harm to speculate on such

verabear said...

Interesting post. It isn't easy to own up to one's prejudices; I can't say I am rid of them myself. It takes character to even acknowledge they exist. I think I'll be visiting you often. :)

Itahl said...

Hi there keith!!! Thanx for dropping by in my blog... :) take care!!