If you Google “integrity” you will see a lot of interest and concern about this subject. By their own testimony, people want to be someone who acts according to reasonable moral principles. To be someone who says he is going to do something and then does it.
They do not like those who say one thing and do something else. They admire people who keep their word. When people go to the supermarket for food, they don’t want their vendors to trick them and knowingly sell them something harmful to their health simply to make a few more bucks.
Nevertheless, there are a lot of people out there doing things they know to be a bit dodgy if they can make a bit on the side. It’s not just the bankers, arms dealers and agricultural monopolists.
From my viewpoint, amidst all this debate about integrity, there are a couple of important questions.
One is how valuable is my integrity? What is the cost of compromising some theoretical, high-minded principles in exchange for some immediate, tangible benefit?
The other question is how can I improve my personal integrity?
Ron Hubbard gave me my first real insight to this very philosophical subject in his article Personal Integrity.
I had previously thought of integrity in terms of determination to stick to certain principles. But that definition has flaws. Where was I supposed to get these principles I was sticking to and how can one quantify or describe the benefits of any of those principles. Principles are a dime a dozen on this planet. They are invented wholesale and even mass murderers have principles.
Ron didn’t define integrity this way. In the first sentence in his article he said the key component was observation.
“What is true for you is what you have observed yourself
And when you lose that you have lost everything.”
This statement is based on truly fundamental Scientology and is important to understand well.
The Scientology Axioms say that if you can see something as it really is, it will vanish. An astonishing fact which would probably get you into a few arguments with physicists. But if you have looked over an engram, seen exactly where the pain and anguish comes from and had it disappear, you will know there is truth in this axiom.
In the real world, it is not necessary to make everything vanish. Another Axiom points out that the more you can bring a person to observe a condition, the more that condition devalues.
On the other hand, the less you observe something in the physical universe, the more solid and complicated it becomes. If you lie about something (alter-is), the situation gets more solid and complicated. If it’s all too hard or too unjust or too painful to confront, then close your eyes and it will get even harder, more unjust and more painful. That’s called not-is and per the axioms, is guaranteed to make UNWANTED existences PERSIST.
How Does That Work?
You will notice that as long as no one observes Joe putting his hand in the till over a period of 8 years, the situation doesn’t change too much. The business continues to inexplicably lose money and the boss keeps going nuts doing all sorts of things trying to turn the place around. But on the day that Joe is observed on video robbing the business, then things start to get less complicated. The cause is known, amounts lost can be tallied, all the extra effort trying to solve the problem can be dispensed with and the business can start turning round.
Another example. Everybody knows the type of despicable things that secret agencies get up to. They assassinate people, run drugs, disrupt elected governments and fund criminals to start insurrections. We hear about these things happening and it doesn’t seem anything can be done even though these things are against the law.
Until the day that Edward Snowden released some actual NSA documents and we all actually observe some of the things they are doing. Immediately things start to change. Google, Microsoft and other large companies start to protest against the unconstitutional things the NSA have been forcing them do to. Why? Because some of their customers don’t like that any confidential data they give to these companies is automatically handed over to a spy agency.
Notice that it is observation of how something really is that is the difference between changing something and not changing something in this universe. Looking is more powerful than doing.
I regularly see problems at my day job and they often involve hundreds of people, lots of equipment and heaps of money. Lots of moving parts – very complex.
I see lots of “solutions” to these problems and they usually make the problem worse. This group decides it’s not their problem, another decides someone else should pay for it, another says unless you fill in 3 large and complicated forms… The problem gets worse and getting anything done requires painstaking and detailed effort.
Until the day someone gets in there and starts to investigate and really look the problem over. Only then does it start to simplify.
Often we call a meeting and invite everyone to put ALL the data on the table and start sorting it out. It’s a meeting for OBSERVATION. Things start to simplify right away. Maybe we don’t resolve World Peace, but the wheels can start to slowly turn again with this approach.
What Is Integrity?
Ron’s article tells us what he thought integrity was good for. The value of it.
We all have hopes and plans of things we want to accomplish in life. By defining integrity in terms of observation, Ron picks out the one vital component that is necessary for us to make an effect on the physical universe and achieve those goals. The ability to see something as it is.
Bad Habits – Alter-Is and Not-Is
Altering things and not-ising (protesting, fighting, doubting, invalidating, bullying) are the things that give the physical universe its power over us. They were good habits long ago when we all wanted a more solid playing field. But they have gone out of our control and we have lost the majority of our power to see things as is.
Ron tells a funny story about how compulsive our urge to have things survive is. He was getting an unsuspecting preclear to keep creating (as-ising) a spot on the wall. After a while the spot suddenly disappeared for that person. Startled, he practically threw his body across the room and tried to put the wall back with his hands. He was violently opposed to having walls disappear and he wasn’t keen to run that process any more.
Without the ability to view things as they really are, the physical universe gradually becomes more powerful than our own considerations. We become robots that wake up when the alarm clock tells us, stop at every red light, do what the boss says and speak only when spoken to. Slaves.
This is what Ron means when he says if you lose the ability to observe something yourself, then you have lost everything. You have lost the ability to achieve your dreams and will become an other-determined slave.
The story of parishioners still in our favorite church can be understood in terms of personal integrity. It goes something like this:
A guy stumbles through the door of the church somehow and is pinned down by the Registrar and money is extracted from his credit card. Then he finds himself locked in a little room with an auditor who sweet talks him into finding a painful incident. The auditor rubs his nose in that incident over and over again until he can no longer avoid looking at it. He looks and see what’s there, the trauma vanishes and he rushes out to write a Success Story about his big win. He thanks his auditor, his C/S, Ron Hubbard, Mary Sue, all the staff and all the Sea Org members in the world. But somehow he overlooks that it was his own observation that did the trick.
Now he is very happy to be helping to Clear the planet even though he has never asked if he could see the plan.
He knows that Ideal Orgs are vital to his future but he has never gone to look at one to see how good they are.
He has a bad session and doesn’t know what happened because he’s never read the relevant bulletins.
He doesn’t feel good about his program but has never read the C/S Series to find out why one shouldn’t insert Purif and Objectives in the middle of other rundowns.
He is over the moon with the fact that the Church is expanding faster than ever before in its history even though he doesn’t know where it is happening or what the statistics actually are. He doesn’t even ask for them.
He has wanted to be an auditor for all the 20 years he has been in Scientology but every year it gets less and less likely it will ever happen. He is too busy doing what the physical universe tells him to do.
He never learned one of the most important facts that Scientology is trying to teach him. That his own personal observation is senior to everything else in this universe.
He may not have lost everything yet. But he is well on the way.
My Two Questions
With a little help from the Axioms, this first line of Ron’s article directly addresses my two questions.
Firstly, the value of integrity is beyond price. With it I can scale mountains and achieve what I want to achieve. Without it I will gradually sink down through apathy into grim situations that only a NOTS auditor can begin to understand.
Secondly, it points the way to improving integrity. It’s a long and winding path to fully recover our integrity. But the gains along the way are huge and it starts right now. All we have to do is take the important areas in our life, especially where turbulence or slows exist, and look it over for ourselves. Find out what is really there.
There is a lot more in Ron’s article about integrity. But that first line is a good beginning.