Conversations For Transformation: Essays Inspired By The Ideas Of Werner Erhard

Conversations For Transformation

Essays By Laurence Platt

Inspired By The Ideas Of Werner Erhard

And More

Top Down


Without Integrity* Nothing Works

Napa Valley, California, USA

January 12, 2019

"Without integrity nothing works."
"A person or human entity is in integrity when he, she or it honors their word."
"The buck stops here."
... President Harry S Truman quoted by  
"The first principle is that you must not fool yourself. And you are the easiest person to fool."
... Richard Feynman, Nobel Prize-winning physicist
"Democracy is supposed to give you the feeling of choice, like painkiller X and painkiller Y. But they're both just aspirin."
... Gore Vidal
This essay, Top Down, Or: Without Integrity Nothing Works, is the companion piece to A Purely Positive Proposition.

It is also the nineteenth in a group of twenty three on Integrity: It is also the sequel to Thank You For Voting.

I am indebted to Josh Cohen who contributed material for this conversation.

Top down organizational chart

Without integrity nothing works ... and  ... integrity is honoring your word, and "that's all"  she wrote, "end of story.". Look: that really is  the end of story. Anything more (and there is more) is just commentary. I shared these précis  with a guy whose out-integrity made his life really difficult and arduous until it was almost totally unworkable. Yet he stuck to his guns. "Things aren't that simple, Laurence" he chided. "If you say  so ..." I smiled, realizing he forfeited any redemption by being right about life rather than giving up being right, and just having it work.

One possible way of viewing integrity, is that it's top down. Secondarily that's analogous to my mouth being at (or near) the top. Primarily it's that whatever I speak, trickles down to the furthest reaches of life. Observably, my mental and physical health is promoted to the degree I honor my word. Observably, the experience of love in my family and friends' relationships is promoted to the degree we honor our word. And in those teams on which I play, both efficiency and enjoyment are observably promoted to the degree we honor our word. I'm not going to quote library reference materials here in support of these phenomena. The truth is in this field, there are some* - albeit precious few. Rather I'm suggesting clear insights can be gained by direct experience. The key(s) to workability in life, is no one person's privilege or bailiwick. Observe: it's here for all of us. It's overt (ie hiding in plain sight). The emperor isn't wearing any clothes.

It's in this third arena, in the teams on which we play, where the impact of the lack of top down integrity, can most clearly be seen and felt. As a group, we humans know the impact of some lacks on our way of life: lack of accommodation, lack of food and water, lack of rule of law. Indeed, it could be said our entire civilization is structured in service to providing accommodation, food and water, and rule of law. We've deemed them to be essential to life. Yet we, for the most part, have no grasp of what the cost of the lack of top down integrity is to our civilized way of life. We're behind the eight ball on this, even though its impact is more detrimental than everything else combined. Nothing else comes close. The second placed runner is miles and miles  behind the first placed in this, our lack-of-top-down-integrity  heat.

When a government purports to act in the people's best interest, especially a government of the people elected by the people for the people, then acts without top down integrity, trading truth for expediency, country interest for ego-interest, facts for flights of fantasy, and aliveness for survival, workability degrades fast. Without integrity nothing  works. You can correct a mistake. You can fix almost anything. But you can't correct or fix a lack of top down integrity. That you have to root out.

Lack of integrity in an individual's life, heralds unworkability across the board in that individual's life. Lack of top down integrity from the highest levels of government, heralds unworkability across every swathe of the nation. Eventually we the people will learn. Perhaps we've justified a lack of top down integrity from the highest levels of government for so long that we've become numb to the possibility of it ever being any other way. Perhaps this is a wake-up call, one which we the people will look back at, and even be glad it happened. We'll be glad that we finally grasped the awful consequences of staying numb to the impact of government's lack of top down integrity, not just on we the people but on all worldwide civilizations. When we the denizens of planet Earth can't justify it anymore, we'll start a new conversation.

* To access Werner's papers on integrity, click here.

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Thank You.
, Michael Jensen, Steve Zaffron, Jeronima "Jeri" Echeverria, Sandra Carr, Kari Granger

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