“Integrity is telling myself the truth. And honesty is telling the truth to other people”. Spencer Johnson
“Every lie is two lies. The lie we tell others and the lie we tell ourselves to justify it”. Robert Brault
If you were stripped of everything that outwardly made you-you left standing would be your human essence. The person you truly are standing bare in the truth of you. This is an important component (if not the most important component) of self-concept. Our self-concept (belief about who we are at our core) drives our behaviors and actions toward self and other.
If you were stripped bare and left standing in the truth of you, would you like what you saw? Would you need to make changes? How could you go about these changes? Have there been any personal cost to you or to those you love because of the actions and behaviors caused by your core beliefs?
These are questions one might ask if they find themselves struggling with issues of personal integrity. They are not easy questions and most often support in taking this deeper look may be needed. And while there are many reasons as to why one might struggle in this area, finding the path to standing comfortably and safely in one’s own truth is true internal peace. A peace that cannot be replaced.
When I think of this multi layered, topic (a topic much broader than this article), I am often struck by the seemingly straightforward Parable of “The Scorpion and the Frog”. While at first look it seems a tragic tale of human nature it is full of wisdom regarding integrity, honesty, and trusting oneself. It seems it could apply to personal, relational, and societal circumstances. The parable with discussion questions follows.
The Scorpion and the Frog
A frog was hopping along the shore of a river looking for a place to cross. He came upon a scorpion sitting on the shore. “Hello, friend frog,” said the scorpion. “It appears you are looking to cross the river. I too want to cross. Would you mind carrying me?”
The frog was taken aback. “Why, if I let you on my back to cross the river, you’d sting me, and I would die. I don’t think I’ll do that.”
The scorpion immediately replied, “There is no logic to your concern. If I sting you and you die, I will surely die as well, since I can’t swim. I wouldn’t need a ride if I could swim.”
The frog thought a moment and then said, “Your logic makes sense. Why would you kill me if it would result in your death? Come along and climb on my back and we’ll cross this river.”
The scorpion climbed on the frog’s back and off they went to cross the river.
About halfway across the river, the scorpion raised its tail and stung the frog. The frog was both astounded and disconsolate. “Why did you sting me? Now I will die, and you will surely drown and die also.”
The scorpion replied, “I can’t help it. It’s who I am. It’s in my nature.”
- What do you believe the moral of this fable is? 2) Do you believe there are irrepressible instincts one is defenseless against? 3) What is the role of honesty, dishonesty. or integrity in this fable? 4) How was trust compromised in this fable? 5) Where does this fable take you in your thinking? 5) How can the teachings of the fable be applied to personal, relational, or societal issues? 6) What other thoughts or questions might you have upon reading this fable?
As always, I value your reading and welcome your reflections and insights.
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Photo: Image found on Pixabay
Web Based Resources: Kanarek, Jaret Silverman, Karen (2013) The Intellectual Standard. The Scorpion and The Frog: A False Narrative of Human Nature.https://digitalcommons.iwu.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1014&context=tis
Books: Aesop Santore Charles (Illustrator) (2018) Aesop’s Fables: The Classic Edition. Applesauce Press on Simon and Schuster New York.