Integrity is the state of being consistent. Your word is consistent with itself, and your life is consistent with your word. But there's a catch: Your word doesn't just live with you. It also lives in the listening of those around you. So having your life be consistent with your word means having it be consistent with other people's interpretation of what you've said your word is… or even what you haven't said about your word. As a matter of fact, it's more likely than not that other people, by default, have expectations that you haven't explicitly agreed to and don't even know about. And that's where your integrity is located! For real!! (To put it more specifically, it's just as important that your behavior be isomorphic to its representation in others' minds as in your own. If that doesn't make sense, read The Location of Meaning.)

Procrastination is an almost universal way of avoiding responsibility for our integrity. Here's how I deal with it:

FIXME Everything below this point probably needs to be spun off into a more advanced conversation.

FIXME “Who do you already know yourself to be?” probably needs to be part of the personal inventory section… but I'm mentioning it here because that conversation will get completed just below. WRITE ME!!!

The Location of Meaning

FIXME This needs to be written carefully. Read chapter 5 of Gödel, Escher, Bach before / during writing.

A Universe Without Language

FIXME There's a köan about a Zen student tipping over a vase, which is a more apt description because I forget exactly. That needs to go here.

köan: You don't know your ass from a hole in the ground.

  • How do you know if something is real?
    • Physicality
    • Beginning, Middle, End in all dimensions
    • Most Importantly: Exists outside of language
  • We have to use language to describe the universe, though it would exist the same way even if we weren't describing it.
  • If a tree falls in the forest and no one is there to hear it, it does make a sound.

Exercise: Dealing with Reality on Reality's terms, in the absence of language, who are you?

  • You are not your name.
  • You are not your title.
  • You are not your job.
  • You are not your past; being comes out of the future, not the past.
  • You are not your future; it doesn't exist.
  • You are not your body. While you are tied to your body, your body doesn't define you.
  • You are a human / child of god / whatever else, but that's not who you are, that's what you are.

They must give up. They must say uncle.

You Are Not Real

Inside the realm of language, we can't come up with a description that matches who you are outside of language. Language is isomorphisms between language and reality, and there's no isomorphism we can build between you and anything. All the ones we've tried are fatally flawed. Logical question, then: Do you exist outside of language?

The answer is no: if you take away language, then who you are doesn't exist. You don't think, you don't have memories, you don't plan ahead, you nothing. You exactly nothing. Without language, there's just a primate in your underwear, and you are nowhere to be found. Without language, you can't be recovered. You don't exist.

You are not real. All you are is a conversation that you have with yourself about yourself, within the machinery of your brain. See, here's your brain. Neurons, synapses, neurotransmitters, chemicals, deoxyribonucleic acid, protoplasm. Machinery. Lots and lots of very specialized amoebas. What they do is specific: they manufacture isomorphisms between things. But the isomorphisms aren't real: they only exist within themselves. Language only exists inside of language, so what's special about what's going on inside your brain only exists within itself. Not within your brain, but within the patterns and symbols represented by the patterns and symbols in your brain. Your thoughts aren't real: they are only symbolic.

Why Integrity is Necessary

In the integrity of language breaks down…

By now it should be fairly obvious why integrity is necessary for things to work. The degree to which your life works is a function of the strength and accuracy of the isomorphisms between the reality of your life, and your word in the matter.


:!: (Under much construction) :!:

You will break at least a few of these agreements. It's as big a deal as you make it. The important things are to fully acknowledge the breaking of the agreement and the impact that it has, to do what's necessary to repair any damage caused, and to create a new agreement that satisfies all parties involved.

Be Fair:

  • Do not do to others what you would not want them to do to you. (Dawkins, “The God Delusion.”)
  • Do not ask someone to do something that you yourself would not be willing to do. (David Nielson)
  • Treat your fellow human beings, your fellow living things, and the world in general with love, honesty, faithfulness and respect. (Dawkins, “The God Delusion.”)
  • Do not discriminate or oppress on the basis of sex, race or (as far as possible) species. (Dawkins, “The God Delusion.”)
  • Enjoy your own sex life (so long as it damages nobody else) and leave others to enjoy theirs in private whatever their inclinations, which are none of your business. (Dawkins, “The God Delusion.”)

Be Responsible:

  • In all things, strive to cause no harm. (Dawkins, “The God Delusion.”)
  • Do not overlook evil or shrink from administering justice, but always be ready to forgive wrongdoing freely admitted and honestly regretted. (Dawkins, “The God Delusion.”)
  • Do not cause others to carry guilt. (David Nielson)

Be Thoughtful:

  • Live life with a sense of joy and wonder. (Dawkins, “The God Delusion.”)
  • Do not suffer. (David Nielson)
  • Always seek to be learning something new. (Dawkins, “The God Delusion.”)
  • Form independent opinions on the basis of your own reason and experience; do not allow yourself to be led blindly by others. :?:
  • Question everything. (David Nielson, but really, is attribution needed?)
  • Do not have faith. Know what you know; own what you don't; and believe nothing. (David Nielson)
  • Value the future on a timescale longer than your own. (Dawkins, “The God Delusion.”)

Be Honest:

  • Say what you mean and mean what you say. Do what you said you would do, the way you are expected to do it. (David Nielson, but this needs to go.)
  • Distinguish clearly and correctly between what you believe and what is real. (David Nielson)
  • Test all things; always check your ideas against the facts, and be ready to discard even a cherished belief if it does not conform to them. (Dawkins, “The God Delusion.”)
  • Never seek to censor or cut yourself off from dissent; always respect the right of others to disagree with you. (Dawkins, “The God Delusion.”)
  • Do not indoctrinate children. Teach them how to think, not what to think. (Dawkins, “The God Delusion.”)
  • Deal with Reality on Reality's terms. (David Nielson)
ground_rules/integrity.txt · Last modified: 2013/09/18 17:05 by naptastic
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