A civilization needs a “commonly held view of the world to hold it together.” At the beginning of Western Civilization, that view was Augustine’s idea, which put God at the center of the universe. Today the world desperately needs a “unifying element” that will tie all the people of the world together. We need a commonly held worldview. We are tied together technologically, but we need to have an underlying idea, a philosophy—dare we say a theology?—that will integrate all nations and all people.
The units that interact or integrate in this marvelous “whole” are individuals. Each individual is distinct. But this is not the selfish, hedonistic, individuality of the past five decades. “I can do whatever I please.” “It’s my life.” “It’s my body.” When we are young we feel invincible. But we do pay later for those “coffin nails” we smoked or drugs that we used.
We also need to remember that our body is a temple—not to be trashed, defiled, abused or misused. For our sake. And for society’s sake.
So our distinct individuals must be individuals with integrity. Each individual contributes to society—to the best of one’s ability. In the Middle Ages, when the first cathedrals were built, they were finely crafted even in the uppermost finials that no eye could see. The best that a craftsman could give in service to God. People saw their work as a tribute to God and put their best into it, no matter whether anyone else saw it or not. Just imagine if we thought and worked like that today.
Yet we need this kind of integrity throughout society for society works both ways—from the bottom up and top down—and needs integrity throughout.
But even if we get honesty and integrity spread throughout society, we still have not finished the job before us in the Age of Integrity.