Sunday, May 15, 2011


Integrity means wholeness, and the etymology of whole takes us to a root shared by the words well, heal, health, and holy.

Integrity therefore implies a supreme quality in well-functioning human beings, living with inward and outward harmony, in accord with themselves and with all others.

To Christians the paragon of human integrity is Jesus.  To ancient Athenians, Socrates.  To Buddhists, the Buddha.  To Taoists, Lao-tse.  They are saints, sages, holy ones—wholly themselves, fully realized exemplars of integrity.  There are others from all cultures, many of them women, less prominent only because of prejudice in homocentric societies.

The Latin motto, “Mens sana in corpore sano”—a sound mind in a sound body—sums up the notion of integrity as sanity in the largest sense, which might serve as a definition of wisdom.

We are born to grow wise, to transcend fragmentation and disharmony, to grow whole, healthy and well functioning at the highest levels.  To make this so is the aim of education.