1 : firm adherence to a code of especially moral or artistic values : incorruptibility
2 : an unimpaired condition : soundness
3 : the quality or state of being complete or undivided : completeness
From Our Own Druidry (82)
Honor; being trustworthy to oneself and to others, involving oathkeeping, honesty, fairness, respect, self-confidence.
For me, this is probably the most important virtue of the lot – it’s the one from which all the others branch out. Integrity is a core tenet of how I try to live my life, and it’s something I’ve given a lot of thought to. I generally dislike the term “honor”, as it’s too easy for that word to be abused to mean “what society thinks you should do for the better of society”. This isn’t to say that integrity isn’t often influenced by societal norms, but that in the end, integrity is a condition of the self. It encompasses all three parts of the dictionary definition. True integrity is incorruptible (it doesn’t waver under pressure); it is conditionally sound (it is consistent within itself); and it is complete and undivided (it encompasses all aspects of life).
Of course, that’s an impossible standard for any human to live up to, but I think it’s a goal worth striving for. To me, integrity is my willingness to make a decision about what I think is right (which includes elements of the virtue of Wisdom, and also of Vision), to stick up for it when it is challenged (Courage and Perseverance), and ultimately to increase my ability to interact with fairness towards others (Hospitality and Moderation). It includes uncompromising honesty – something I strive for, even when it might have negative consequences.
For example, I was recently selected for municipal court jury duty, but I put the summons somewhere where it got shuffled into the paperwork on my desk and I flat out didn’t show up on the day I was called. Instead of making up some excuse about why I couldn’t be there (when I finally remembered about it two weeks later), I told the court administrator the truth. She was understanding, and I was given a new day to show up for jury service. But I was prepared to be told I needed to pay a hefty fine for that mistake. Still, I would rather have told the truth than lied about it (as I was encouraged to do by my coworkers).
That’s a good example of my trying to live up to integrity – but my still being “closeted” about being Pagan can sometimes cause me to not live up to this virtue, or at least, to not live up to it fully. I don’t lie about my religious beliefs, but I definitely dodge the question, and I give off the impression (knowingly) of still being Christian to my extremely Christian family (and to my workplace). This does bother me, but I don’t yet have the courage (or the desire to cause damage to my family or create weirdness at my job) to change that, so I live with an aspect of my life that doesn’t live up to this virtue as well.
Nothing bothers me more than people who are cruel in the name of honesty, however, which is why this virtue is also about fairness, and wisdom, and courage, and vision, and even (to some extent) moderation. It’s the virtue that the whole system hinges on, in my view. I’m not always very good at keeping to it, when things get very tough, but this is one of the most important virtues for me.