Integrity and the Internet

I live my life in widening circles

that reach out across the world

may not complete this last one

but I give myself to it.

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I circle around God, around the primordial tower.

I’ve been circling for thousands of years

and I still don’t know: am I a falcon,

a storm, or a great song?

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Book of Hours, I 2

Rainer Maria Rilke

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Art by Jeremy Miranda

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Reaching beyond the comfort of our own position is an important part of the human journey. It teaches some of the best qualities, humility, empathy, self awareness. It also enlarges us as individuals and binds us to the fabric of community, society and the wider world beyond our small window. We all start off knowing a little but we can always seek to know more.

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“Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.” —Maya Angelou.

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There is always the temptation to simplify things, make ourselves and others smaller to fit into boxes, quieten the voices that seek to speak out of the party line. The world will try to niche you, label, simplify you. Don’t be simplified. 

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I am not one thing. I am not one experience, I am the sum of many and so are you.

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Internet personas are so often just one thing. Brands demand coherence and people gravitate towards generalities and categorisation because they are effective filters that aid our ability to function in the world. Our internet effected attention spans can’t afford the time attempting to digest  nuance. It makes sense to see individuals in one dimensional terms. Most people contain too many categories and are forced to compartmentalise themselves to fit into various internet ‘tribes.’

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Belonging is central to mental well being. The promise of belonging  or the threat of exile should never be thrown around as a consequence of not aligning 100% with the dominant narrative of a group. If the values of a group message can’t stand up to criticism they are probably too fragile to be sound. Robust values and true friendships can withstand honest appraisal and constructive reasoning. This is how humans have always fine tuned their systems.

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The quality I seek to cultivate in myself and admire most in others is integrity.

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Integrity means that a persons conduct aligns with their principles and where it doesn’t they are honest about it.

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Sometimes I worry that internet bubbles are becoming too homogenous. People are afraid to say anything that might contradict, question or re-examine their particular culture.

I’m too liberal for the conservatives, too conservative for the liberals and too moderate for both! I’m creative, open minded and enjoy hearing diverse opinions, I’m catholic, devoted, not dogmatic, am easily swayed by beautiful, ideas, art and sunsets. I don’t want to place too much importance on my opinion because I’ve been wrong too many times before but I love to share what I’m learning. I’m eternally hopeful, realistic but not cynical, strong enough to rise when I fall and broken in a thousand different ways. Pleased to meet you.

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