If there is any word I would choose that represents a value I hold as sacred, it is this word integrity. This value, this act, this way of being.
When I was first exposed to the work of my mentor, Buckminster Fuller, it was the field of integrity that he wove, inhabited, and demonstrated in all of his work, that attracted me the most.
Here was a man, who, at the age of 32, failed in business more than once, lost a child, and was successively kicked out of Harvard for drunken debauchery.
In choosing life over suicide, he decided instead to commit ego suicide.
Ego suicide? What is that? What is it to not ever be a slave to our ego? How might we live like that?
Bucky chose instead to do what was spontaneously arousable from within him, for the highest good of the highest number of people, without ecological offence or the disadvantage of anyone.
Imagine making that type of choice back in the 1920s?
He wanted to demonstrate that if he did this, if he served humanity as his prime objective, if he built models and artefacts using principles of Universe that served all human thriving, Universe, as he called it would take care of his survival needs.
He set about to hold himself as an experiment, Guinea Pig B. (For Bucky). Then kept the faithful record of his life, his Chronofile, as the model.
When we died he had 48 honorary degrees, had travelled the world countless times, met with leaders of many countries, and built extraordinary models and artefacts, many of which are just reaching the light of day now.
When he was asked what one person could do towards a world with a future his answer was to commit to integrity.
Integrity is the essence.
I still have no idea why, as a person in my mid-twenties, Bucky’s work captivated me so completely, changing the path of my life from hardcore business-as-usual, to what many of my family members would describe as a lurching career. Like a little bee, never settling for long on one flower.
There have been many days where I cursed Bucky. To try to live even a part of his example was a hard choice.
Yet integrity was always the thread that pulled me. My own Pattern Integrity could not remain true unless I chose this meandering, ‘it-makes-no-sense path.
Over the years I built a repertoire of skills, becoming what Bucky called a comprehensivist. Trained to think whole systems and synergy.
Curiosity has always been my guide. That bee, moving from flower to flower, cross-pollinating.
What does it mean?
Bucky said integrity means ‘to hold its shape.’ For us as an individual humans to be in our own integrity is to ‘hold our shape’ of the essence of us. To not capitulate to the seductions and temptations of life that call us to become fractured parts of ourselves. To say no to that which violates some essential element of our being, and yes to the wellspring of our brilliance, even when it is hidden from obvious view.
A tetrahedron is the minimum system in Universe, the first structure to ‘hold its shape.’ In the Syntropic Enterprise Masterclass students build a tetrahedron as a demonstration of integrity.
When we are gifted with an idea to animate as an enterprise, that idea has its own Pattern Integrity already woven into its ephemeral nature. It has a wanting to become, not a particular form, and rarely the form we want to impose on it. Rather a set of qualities and elements, including its ‘brand’ that says I am this!
We know when we walk into a business and the Pattern Integrity of the original animating idea, what we call the Source Idea, is still wholely intact. We can feel it, touch it, taste it.
Nothing is out of place. Integrity all the way up and down, in every communication, action, expression, response.
In a world where integrity is the exception, where our political class are steeped in shapeshifting, spin, and spell casting, where those ‘leaders’ of industry take any or every shortcut, focus on the profit maximisation rule at the cost of most everything else, integrity has been buried in the archives of some distant past business school.
Many people who are ruling the current world have no idea what it is, they have become drunk on the power that is absent any integrity at all.
Maybe as a young twenty-year old I was prescient to this coming crisis of integrity. Most everyone I know has been at the effect of its absence. Abuse, use, exploitation…
When I chose integrity as the anchor of my life I was aware that I was choosing a super hard road. And I am tested, over and again, on the standard I set for myself around integrity.
To name this choice publicly is also a risky act. As a human I will make mistakes. I will fail myself and the stand I take for integrity. I expect to be called out if I do. That can be a revolting but good-for-me medicine, and like any human, I can reflexively seek to reject taking it.
Integrity is the essence of everything that seeks a world with a future for earth and all her creatures.
Pollution is stuff ‘out of integrity’…not in its place, not able to hold its shape. Be that pollution of thought, design, words, acts, chemicals, artefacts.
To live as an individual with integrity as the primary principle is the first step. To design enterprises where integrity of everything is one of the primary considerations, including the integrity of the long term future…this is to choose an irregular, challenging path. To support the highest expression of integrity in others is an act of love.
To invite a community where we hold each other to our highest expression of integrity at the level of our who-ness as well as the level of our what-we-do-ness…
All of these elements are the foundation stones of a Syntropic Enterprise.
No greenwashing. No shortcuts. No..”I care less.”
Integrity is the essence. Love is the field. Syntropy is the result.
Somewhere deep in my bones I believe many people want this type of life, this full expression of their own integrity in how they live and what they do. So very hard to do alone. Such a joy to do in community. So needed now.