Categories : Integrity Uncategorized

 

 

Integrity is a property or state of being and can refer to both people and things.  In respect to people, it describes a quality of being honest and having strong moral principles.  When referring to things it describes a state of wholeness, correctness, and unity.  While it is worthwhile to explore the intricacies and subtleties of integrity in detail, a more pointed, though general, consideration should be given to the changing environment of Earth and humanity.

 

As the clock of change moves forward at an ever accelerating pace, the pressure for faster decisions and the allure of useful assumptions can affect the integrity of the process.  As an example, you go to the grocery store to buy a 16 ounce bottle of ketchup because that is what the recipe specifies.  But the bottles for sale contain only 15.5 ounces of Ketchup.  What do you do?  And why is the content of the bottle only 15.5 ounces.[1]  Most likely you buy the 15.5 ounce bottle and are happy with the result.  But on the back side, at one point in time the manufacturer of the Ketchup sold 16 ounce bottles.  By removing one half ounce, a mere 3.125 percent, profits went up.

 

In the case of the Ketchup, one is inclined to say “What difference does it make?”  The recipe still works (your judgment) and the bottle is correctly labeled.  It’s an approximation.  But what if the difference can cause really consequential differences?  Instead of a bottle of ketchup, the approximation deals with the shape and strength of a critical component of a structure that houses 1,000 people?  Assume the component was manufactured to specification, but there was an error in the computer code to improve the efficiency of the design program.  Or the computer program was correct, but there was an error in the database.  These are issues of integrity.

 

Somewhat as an aside, in science there are three systems:  Newtonian physics, general relativity, and quantum mechanics.  For most of us, in our everyday lives, Newtonian physics works absolutely well.  In fact, most of us do not even know what Newtonian physics is.  Yet for the moon landing, Newtonian physics produced errors while general relativity gave precision.[2]  As we move forward at an ever increasing pace, we must be aware of potential errors and vulnerabilities in our knowledge base, continually check them, and ensure the models we build to represent and apply our knowledge are without error.

 

As we build more and more complex systems, especially those systems facilitating human to human interaction, the integrity of people also must be examined.  While it is comforting to believe that all (100 percent) people are honest, the evidence suggests otherwise.  The presence of Internet scams is well known and the need for protection and intervention is clear.  But what about more complex issues?  How do we regulate the downsizing of product delivered for the same price?  How do you regulate misstatements of value versus price?  How do you truly measure benefit received and cost of various taxes.  How do you measure the impact of false statements, intended or not, as the pace of living increases exponentially?  How do you maintain the integrity of Earth and humanity?

[1] Use kilos if you want.

[2] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Integrity.

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 Posted on : June 21, 2017
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