Integrity: An extinct human trait?

Photo: The Statue of Diogenes at Sinop, Turkey
Photo: The Statue of Diogenes at Sinop, Turkey

Diogenes of Sinope (c. 404-323 BC) was a Greek philosopher best known for holding a lantern to the faces of the citizens of Athens.  When asked why he went about with a lamp in broad daylight, Diogenes would say, “I am looking for an honest man.”

As I grow older, travel the world, and observe the activities and conduct of people around me, I have become more and more convinced that, somewhere along the way, an essential human attribute has been lost. That attribute is called “Integrity.”

Integrity can be defined as: the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles.

Read any newspaper, watch TV, listen to the radio, surf the web, and you’re bound to find a plethora of stories about unscrupulous officials, teachers, preachers, politicians, lawyers, motor mechanics, schoolkids, housewives, in fact, people from all walks of life.

It would seem as if dishonesty is so deeply ingrained in society, it has become accepted as the norm.

Here, in South Africa, President Jacob Zuma’s devious and deceitful exploits have become the butt of thousands of jokes – people have come to laugh at his criminality and misconduct. Even Zuma’s trademark maniacal laughter: “Heh, heh, heh!” is copied and used to indicate that someone is being dishonest.

Unfortunately, Zuma is not alone.

Every single day, another dishonest politician’s closet is opened, and out of its darkness would come marching whole platoons of screaming skeletons.

In South Africa, the leader of the Democratic Alliance’s Mmusi Maimane, has been frothing at the mouth for many months – condemning Zuma’s wily and treacherous shenanigans, and calling for his head. Maimane has always painted pretty pictures of the “clean” DA-ship that he, himself, is piloting.

But now that the bubble has burst – and his own cronies: the mayor of Cape Town, Patricia De Lille, and a various other corrupt DA officials, have had their embarrassing closets opened – Maimane is a quiet as a fart on the dark side of the Moon. Not even the faintest whiff of a sound out of him.

But, be that as it may, we have come to expect politicians to be dishonest, corrupt, and devious. So let’s move on.

Quick quiz: How many people do you know that can be totally and unreservedly trusted? Twenty? Ten? Five? One?

1 – You are truly blessed.

5 – Highly unlikely.

10 – Heh, heh, heh! Why don’t I believe you!

20 – You’re living on the dark side of the Moon with Mmusi’s fart?

I am convinced that, if old Diogenes of Sinope was alive today, he would still be wandering around with his lantern trying to find an honest man or woman – especially in South Africa.

Fubar Bundy, Cape Town, South Africa, 08/01/2018

  • Fubar Bundy is a renowned writer, of Indian origin, who travels the world and comments on the state of the various nations in general; and the level of development of selected countries in particular.