Monday, July 23, 2012

A question of integrity

What is integrity and what is out-of-integrity?  Tony Robbins first brought these terms to my attention in his Unlimited Power talk. When a person has integrity, he is congruent internally, when a person is out-of-integrity, he is not congruent internally, he does not “walk his talk”, and he has inner civil war!

Most people cannot live with an inner civil war for long without psychological damage.  Interesting enough people whom we commonly referred to as “man of strong character” can act in conflict with his own conscience or other values for a much longer period of time, without having any psychological backfire.   The power of self-rationalization. That reminds me the famous ranting of Jacky Nicholson when he was cross examined by Tom Cruise in the movie A few good men, “You can’t handle the truth” before he fell into disgrace.

Richard Nixon was another guy of strong character.  In the height of his career, he was reportedly said as ignoring questions by inquisitive reporters – “as if the reporters had said nothing”.  As expected, he carried on with his policy despite anything, a characteristic of a strong personality that nothing can deter his ambition and his strong belief.  After his resignation, he tried to rebuild his name, and among other things, he wrote books, which, in my opinion, are highly readable.   I was interested to see how he would “excuse himself” from the Watergate fiasco.  I read from one of his books something like this “Staff members of the previous administrations did many things fell short of a high moral standard and I knew about it.  The mistake that I have made was that I have not upheld a higher moral standard than my predecessors, thereby my aides did thing of similar standard as those of previous administrations, and which things fell below the high moral standards expected by the people”.  What more can I say of a personality of such personal righteousness and determination!

Recently in Hong Kong’s political arena we have our new Chief Executive Mr. Leung Chun Ying (梁振英).  I can see that he is a man of strong character.  He has an integrity case to answer.  His political opponents urged him to answer.  His second-in-command said publicly that she would persuade him to give an answer.  And so did some named supporters to his administration.  Mr. Leung is a man of strong character.  I don’t think resignation is one of his options.  What will come next?  I’m staying tuned, with much interest....

The determination of Mr. Leung Chun Ying (梁振英)


  1. Paul, quite apart from your concerns with local politics, if you are interested in the subject of character per se, you might enjoy reading The Force of Character, by James Hillman.

    Hillman was a student of Carl Jung, and wrote the book as an old man, just a few years before his recent death, so it is written from a very mature perspective -- quite different, say, from Tony Robbins' books. Hillman was quite liberal politically, but very little of that angle showed up in the book.

    Good luck with your local leader; politics can sure be messy!

  2. Walt, thanks for introducing the book to me, I'll certainly look into it....Tony Robbins was indeed very young, and future positive when he did the Unlimited Power seminar, then he prided himself to be an "one-stop therapist" which years later he qualified with "provided the guy really wants to chance in the first place" (he would probably have added more qualifications by now), and I agree with his qualification, though I like the young Tony more, with more energy and everything! One (me included) faces different issues when one has passed the meridian, hopefully we can continue to build up a better character. But in order to be able to be better in touch with the world, I believe one needs to be able to feel "as the younger does"

    .... if not be able to DO as the younger DID (and to be psychologically healthy, not feeling depressed about it...:):))!


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