One of my favorite quotes comes from the movie When Harry Met Sally. Marie, played by Carrie Fisher, says, “Everybody thinks they have good taste and a sense of humor, but they couldn’t possibly all have good taste and a sense of humor.”
That is so true that it should be carved in stone somewhere. And I’d go even further, by adding integrity to that list. I can’t imagine someone saying that he or she doesn’t have integrity, and being okay with that concept. And yet, there are a lot of people in this world without an ounce of integrity. (We see this demonstrated in Washington, D.C. every day.) It’s really quite horrifying.
That incremental process we all seem to go through to justify our actions is interesting to witness. Sometimes you just have to look over your shoulder and marvel that you managed to get here from there. But if you didn’t take that crooked path called justification, you probably couldn’t live with yourself.
For instance, I know a guy who lived off the largesse of others for years, lied about registering for college, took money under false pretenses, and not only allowed his boss to steal money from his girlfriend, but continued to work for him. I’d bet my life that he’d be the very first one on the lifeboat if he were on the Titanic. To hell with the women and children. And yet if you were to ask this man about the content of his character, he’d say with deep conviction that he was a great guy.
Integrity seems to be a fluid concept. In other words, there is very little integrity to integrity. It makes it hard to find solid ground. It also makes you wonder if you are one of those people who has gone too far down that crooked path without even realizing it.