Is This Joe's Most Widely Read Talk?

This short talk on Integrity may well be JWM's most widely disseminated, read and discussed lecture. And yet, when we looked recently, we could not find a copy of it in the Chicago archives. How could this be possible?

It has been so widely distributed (copies--sometimes slightly edited for political correctness--turn up frequently on websites) because it has long been used by Landmark Education in its courses around the world. A copy was not found in the Chicatgo archives because it was a talk Joe gave in 1977, shortly before his death, on the occasion of his last visit to India, to the staff of the Human Development Training School in Maliwada. There, it was recorded and subsequently transcribed, printed and circulated among the staff. No copy, however, appears to have made it back to the archives in Chicago. As was our custom at the time, the talk was titled but given no authorial attribution.

A few months after Joe gave this talk, Werner Erhard and his wife came to Maliwada to study the replication project. I took them through what we were attempting to do with both the project and the school. When they left, Werner took back with him a copy of this talk. Werner shortly thereafter wrote of his excitement about Maliwada and the village replication process in his EST newsletter. When EST later transformed into Landmark and Werner departed its leadership, the talk began to show up as a centerpiece of its course, "Integrity" and has since been studied and discussed by thousands of participants in Landmark courses over a period of many years. The title and words, "Maliwada--Human Development Training School" were retained on Landmark's copies, but no other information about the talk was available. In recent years, senior Landmark staff have launched extensive searches in an attempt to discover who this person Maliwada was (!), what he or she did and when he or she lived. One such search finally led them to ICA in 2005 and the surprising answers to their long standing questions.

When Betty Pesek searched the Chicago archives for this talk, while she didn't find it, she did find a longer but different one with the same title, also clearly by Joe, given to the Priors' Council in the summer of 1977, following the summer assembly (now reprinted in Bending History). She has remarked that Joe was working on the categories of the Profound Humanness chart in those last months of his life, even to the point of having them posted on the wall of his bedroom when that was where he had to spend most of his time.


Maliwada Human Development Training School

We are going to visit the arena of Profound Humanness called "Integrity". Sometimes "integrity" is reduced to mean a kind of moral uprightness and steadfastness, in the sense of saying, "He has too much integrity to ever take a bribe."

But profound integrity goes far beyond this. Sometimes, in order to distinguish it from more limited popular usage, it is called "secondary integrity". This is the integrity which is not constrained by limited moralities, however well-intentioned. The integrity that is profound living is the singularity of thrust of a life committed and ordering every dimension of the self towards that commitment. Thus the self is in fact shaped by the self, and focused towards that commitment. You can say that an audacious creation of the self takes place in integrity, without which you are simply the creation of the various forces impacting you in your society.

Thus the basis of integrity is a destinal resolve - a resolve that chooses and sets your destiny and out of which your whole life is ordered. The object of that resolve is the ultimate decision of each person, and each person makes that choice, consciously or unconsciously. To do so with awareness is the height of man's responsibility. It is incarnate freedom. It is what real freedom looks like.

When man has thus exercised his freedom he realizes that to be true to himself ever thereafter he has a unique position to look at the values of his society. He is no longer bound by the opinions and codes of his fellow-man, but reevaluates then on the basis of their impact on his destinal resolve.

Thus the man of integrity is continuously engaged in a societal transvaluation, a moving across the values of society and reinterpreting them in line with his life's thrust. It does not give him the liberty of ignoring his society, but his obligation transcends the conformity of living within the codes and mores of his society. Thus the man of profound integrity always seems to not quite fit with his fellow-men, but his actions always are appropriate for him, even to those who oppose him.

No matter how odd the man of profound integrity appears to his neighbors, he experiences himself as securely anchored. While he is very clear that this world is not his home, nevertheless he experiences himself as having found his native vale. He experiences an eternal at-one-ness, not so much with the currents and waves of activity around him, but with the deeper trends of history itself. Amid the flux of wavering to and fro that is so evident in others, he experiences an inexplicable rootedness, as though he has sunk a taproot deep into the foundations of the earth itself. Though he experiences his life as a long journey, even an endless journey, towards the object of his resolve, yet he never senses himself as a stranger on the journey It's as if he'd been there before. Original integrity is experienced primarily by this sense of at-one-ness.

Kierkegaard once write a book about this kind of integrity that he titled, "Purity of Heart is to Will One Thing". An ancient philosopher focused his wisdom around this integrity with the advice, "Know yourself, and to your own self, be true."

-- GordonHarper - 29 May 2006
Topic revision: r4 - 07 Jun 2006, GordonHarper
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