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The Importance Of Integrity Essay

1422 words - 6 pages

Individual integrity is often skimmed over when it comes to the metacognition we should use from day to day. Metacognition is referred to as, thinking about thinking, or knowing about knowing which in turn helps us learn. A majority of society holds a belief, tradition, even a fear; as it may be so, of one of the most important parts of evolution—change. When thinking about who we are, why we are here, and what we can do about becoming better, learning to question right and wrong is an aspect of metacognition. Integrity is defined as adherence to moral and ethical principles, as well as the state of being whole, entire, or undiminished. It is important to use metacognition to evaluate ourselves, society, and the morality of a culture, all within the realms of integrity. Martin Luther King Jr. was a fastidious, exemplar in upholding integrity throughout his lifetime. His use of carefully articulated points in the Letter from Birmingham Jail took the clergymen’s distorted, learned, and unconstitutional behavior of segregation and flipped it upside-down, undoubtedly, to their disbelief.
According to Stephen L. Carter’s The Rules about the Rules, the fulfillment of integrity “requires three steps: (1) discerning what is right and what is wrong; (2) acting on what you have discerned, even at personal cost, and (3) saying openly that you are acting on your understanding of right from wrong” (182). Carter, a lawyer, recognized that, “too many of us nowadays neither mean what we say nor say what we mean” (180). The Fixx’s song, “One Thing Leads to Another” recognizes this same issue. Carter delves deeper stating that, “A person who lives an integral life may sometimes reach moral conclusions that differ from those of the majority; displaying those conclusions publicly is a crucial aspect of the wholeness in which integrity consists” (186). In addition to this being a part of integrity during the civil rights movement, when King, an activist, voiced his beliefs explicitly, Carter’s principles also ring true presently. King would not refuse Carter’s definition of integrity, due to the fact that he adhered to it as a leader. King writes, “In any nonviolent campaign there are four basic steps: collection of the facts to determine whether injustices exist; negotiation; self purification; and direct action” (164). King’s guidelines are consistent with Carter’s definition of integrity. Incidentally, Carter would nobly consider King as a person of integrity as he has demonstrated all three requirements, showing that integrity can, and will, prevail through: justice, freedom, and love.
The 1950’s and 1960’s, a time of great turmoil for minorities, allowed King to accomplish equality through the use of integrity. Being the president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, King’s affiliate, the Alabama Christian Movement for Human Rights in Birmingham, asked King to be “on call to engage in a nonviolent direct-action program...

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