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I am Confused!? What happened to integrity, honesty and honor?
Posted: 5/7/2010 | Op-Ed Comments
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I am confused.
According to the Huffington Post,( http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/04/16/goldman-sachs-fraud-charg_n_540934.html ) “Goldman Sachs’ was charged Friday by the Securities and Exchange Commission with fraud for selling securities to investors that were handpicked -- and destined -- to fail, without disclosing that to investors. The immediate losers were pension funds, foreign firms and private investors, who lost more than $1 billion on this single security.”
Here's just one example of the fraud: The Washington Post quotes an email that Goldman Sachs employee Fabrice “Fabulous Fab” Tourre sent to his girlfriend, in which he says the bonds he created are of “no purpose” and “absolutely conceptual and highly theoretical.”
After describing these worthless bonds, Tourre goes on to say, “I managed to sell a few Abacus bonds to widows and orphans that I ran into at the airport… I don’t feel too guilty about it."
Does this confuse you as much as it confuses me?
Here are just some of the things that perplex me:
Why doesn't Tourre feel any remorse? Where is his healthy shame? How could he feel good about selling something to widows and orphans that wasn’t real and he knew would fail?
Hang on, though.  Before we all get so finger pointy, let's be clear on something. This isn’t just about him. He’s simply our current spokesperson for what is valued in our society ... and what is not.
What is going on? What has happened to integrity, honesty, and honor? Did we really ever have them? Has any society ever lead with these? Can we challenge ourselves to start leading with them now?
I hear the word integrity tossed about but I wonder if folks really know what this word means. According to Webster’s New Collegiate Dictionary, the definition of integrity is an unimpaired condition; soundness; the quality or state of being complete or undivided. For further information, the dictionary suggests looking up honesty and unity.   
I hear values being talked about all the time on television, newspapers and the internet. But it is often in the context of the other guy (or gal) being wrong:  Those other people have no values, but we do, and ours are right.  Often this talk of values has a righteous tone to it.
When talk of values becomes this divisive, how can we discern integrity? How can we tell what is right and what is wrong?
Well, apparently it depends who you ask. The folks of Goldman Sachs thought they were right, or they at least felt justified in acting in this manner. I’ve known many moneymakers in real estate who told great untruths. They said they did this because they needed to support their family.  Or they said “those people” deserve it because they were being stupid. Maybe, but is it okay to use someone’s ignorance or naïveté against them?  Isn't that cruelty? Doesn’t that lean into our old reptilian brain?
Maybe we could say it isn’t about right or wrong. What’s right to one person feels wrong to another. Have you ever deducted something from your taxes that wasn’t 100% correct?  Do you ever gossip about others?  Do you ever laugh at the misfortunes of others? Have you ever laughed and made fun of someone of whom you were jealous? So much of our pop culture lavishes in this.
But isn’t it every man for themselves? On some level this is true. Everyone is ultimately responsible for themselves and their own decisions. You could say that everyone has to learn from their mistakes and take responsibility. It’s not our job, nor is it empowering, to rescue others.  Yet isn't there a difference in knowingly leading someone down a wrong path and/compared to rescuing them?
Where are you out of alignment with your integrity?  In order to know the answers, you need to have, and continue growing, the ability to be introspective. You need to be connected and feel your feelings, know your thoughts, and be able to question yourself with brutal honesty. You need to be willing to own your shadow-self, those unknown and unclaimed parts. Yet questioning deeply our integrity, values, honesty and honor isn’t really valued by most people.
A quote on Deepak Chopra’s Facebook page reads, “I practice inner vigilance. Constant inner vigilance is the true foundation of spiritual mastery. It protects me against any attack.” The word vigilant is a little sticky for me personally, but yes, maybe vigilant is the right word. We must be willing to pay constant attention, focus and awareness to what is going on inside of us. Otherwise we end up somewhere other than our authentic self, and completely out of integrity. 
This kind of self-inquiry takes work—and most of us don’t want to do this amount of work. Most of us don’t want to think for ourselves. We want to be told what to think, do and feel.  You know the old saying, “I don’t know what to think.”  Maybe the subtext is you tell me what to think.


Hipcop       Posted: 5/7/2010 10:31:57 PM

It is sad that the people in power have lowered the bar! From Enron to selling bonds to orphans and widows!! A quick buck to these frauds are a persons lifesavings in some cases!! Great blog and what a tragic path for anyone to take advantage!

Rebecca Elia       Posted: 5/10/2010 1:12:02 AM

Thank you for this excellent post! Integrity, honesty, responsibility, authenticity...these are all serious areas that we are called to examine. As a physician who is deeply concerned with the multiple facets of true health and healing, I believe that our willingness to take responsibility for our thoughts, actions, and choices is the biggest step we can make towards our own healing and the health of our community and earth. As a matter of fact, when I read your entry I had just finished writing a post about exactly this. Awareness and self-observation are the first steps. It is my hope that more of us will have the willingness and courage to take them.

Shawn       Posted: 5/10/2010 2:27:43 PM

Great post. Great questions.

It does sometimes seem that lack of integrity has been institutionalized in corporations--a matter of the ends justifying the means.

But we do all have choices about who we are, how we want to show up every day...and how connected we are to our own inner sense of right and wrong.

Thanks for the insight and thought provoking post to question ourselves before we judge others....
and focus on our own integrity.

Leah       Posted: 5/13/2010 9:10:48 AM

Great post!

I think that the integrity has to start inside each one of us and we have to vote with our dollars....including paying attention to who we are investing with and buying from. That is where our power lies and I do not think that take advantage of that enough.

I 100% agree with the idea that it is essential to pay attention to the inner dialogue. I find that thinking for oneself and being true to who you are is a lost art for many.This behavior needs to be put out in the forefront and taught in schools....and by society in general.

billige autoversicherung       Posted: 10/29/2010 3:04:21 AM

I am doing research for my college paper, thanks for your useful points, now I am acting on a sudden impulse.

- Kris

Download       Posted: 6/19/2011 11:34:18 AM

Thanks for the helpful information

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