“Allow yourself to think only those thoughts that match your principles and can bear the bright light of day. Day by day, your choices, your thoughts, your actions fashion the person you become. Your integrity determines your destiny.” ― Heraclitus
Exercise prudence with integrity. For me this marks the beginning and foundation by which to integrate a code of ethics in view to the common good and that of my own personal wellbeing. In order to reveal the splendour of these two interactive virtues, let us first render them with simplicity.
Prudence inclines practical reason to recognize our true good in every circumstance and to decide upon the appropriate means of attaining it; whereas integrity is about remaining true to our word, role and principles. If what you say, believe, and do is aligned, then one can be said to have integrity.
Both prudence and integrity complement one another. They provide an orientation by which to attain a common ground with others. Prudence, or right practical reason, may be a good in and of itself, but unless the person who applies it does so with an honest and sincere intent, and for the benefit of all concerned, we could end up with an imbalance.
For example, a politician may govern well, that is exercise political prudence efficiently, yet should he line his pockets during his office, the finances intended for the up-building of the community will be misdirected. In other words, without integrity, even the most prudent can lose sight of the common good and serve their own self-interest instead.
The next principle to be addressed is titled: Know what’s within your control. In order to exercise prudence with integrity we have to understand what is within our reach. If not, then our time, energy and resources may be squandered and wasted. More to follow on this concept in the next blog. Click here for more commentary on prudence.