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The Impact of Integrity As A Positive Phenomenon

We define integrity as the state of being whole, complete, unbroken, unimpaired, sound, in perfect condition – clearly, the definition of a positive phenomenon. As is the case with any positive phenomenon – for example, gravity – there are effects caused by actions related to that phenomenon. The action of stepping off a cliff will, as a result of gravity being a positive phenomenon, cause an effect (whether one likes
the effect or not). Likewise, action that is consistent or inconsistent with integrity will, as a result of integrity being a positive phenomenon, also cause an effect (again, whether one likes the effect or not).

When integrity is revealed and dealt with as a positive phenomenon as it is in our model, the relation between integrity, workability and performance is as follows:

1. Maximum workability for an object, system, person, or other human entity (such as a partnership or corporation) is a necessary (although not sufficient) condition for maximum performance,

2. Integrity as we distinguish and define it (the state of being whole, complete, unbroken, sound, in perfect condition) is a necessary (and sufficient) condition for maximum workability,

3. It follows that for an object, system, person, or other human entity integrity is a necessary (although not sufficient) condition for maximum performance, and

4. It follows that as integrity declines, the opportunity for performance declines.

5. This leads to the empirically refutable proposition that, ceteris paribus, as integrity declines, performance declines.

From “Putting Integrity Into Finance, A Purely Positive Approach” by Werner Erhard and Michael C. Jensen; published in the Capitalism and Society Journal


“In the course of the training it became progressively clear to me that the experience underlying the training and the conceptualization of this experience have deep affinities with the phenomena presented and analyzed in Martin Heidegger’s Being and Time.”

“…It is directly manifest in the training that est embodies a powerful and coherent truth which transforms the quality of the lives of those who experience it. Moreover, this truth contains radically new insights into the nature of human beings.” From “Assessment of the Philosophical Significance of The est Training” by Hubert Dreyfus

werner erhard, the est training, erhard seminars training, est werner, erhard

“In this conversation we discover another possibility: living in a way, now, moment to moment, that makes a difference to life. We discover that as human beings we can live in a possibility instead of in what we have inherited, that instead of just being a human being because we were born that way, we can declare the possibility of being for human beings. This is the work of transformation: bringing forth a breakthrough in the possibility of being human.”

Werner Erhard


Integrity (in our model) is not about good or bad, or right or wrong, or what should or should not be.

We distinguish integrity as a phenomenon of the objective state or condition of an object, system, person, group, or organizational entity, and define integrity as: a state or condition of being whole, complete, unbroken, unimpaired, sound, perfect condition.

We assert that integrity (the condition of being whole and complete) is a necessary condition for workability, and that the resultant level of workability determines the available opportunity for performance. Hence, the way we treat integrity in our model provides an unambiguous and actionable access to superior performance (however one wishes to define performance).

For an individual we distinguish integrity as a matter of that person’s word being whole and complete, and for a group or organizational entity as what is said by or on behalf of the group or organization being whole and complete. In that context, we define integrity for an individual, group, or organization as: Honoring one’s word.

Oversimplifying somewhat, honoring your word as we define it means you either keep your word (do what you said you would do and by the time you said you would do it), or as soon as you know that you will not, you say that you will not to those who were counting on your word and clean up any mess caused by not keeping your word.

Honoring your word is also the route to creating whole and complete social and working relationships. In addition, it provides an actionable pathway to earning the trust of others.”

Integrity: Where Leadership Begins – A New Model of Integrity

werner erhard

“Happiness is almost not worth talking about because the instant you turn happiness into a goal it isn’t attainable any more. In other words, happiness isn’t something you can work towards. It isn’t something you can put someplace and overcome barriers to get to and so it makes a kind of difficult subject to talk about.

The thing which I think needs to be talked about is at the other end of the spectrum, the barriers to realizing happiness. The barriers to realizing happiness are a lot of very unhappy things. And they are the things which almost nobody talks about because very few of us are willing to confront those things.

Happiness is not a disease. It does not creep up on you slowly. It is something that happens in an instant. And the truth of the matter is that you can alter your state to a state of happiness, by simply choosing to be willing to have it be the way it is. In other words, if you walked in here tonight troubled, or if you’ve been sitting there troubled, or if you’re troubled in any way, in the next instant you can be totally untroubled, and it comes from a simple willingness. I’d really like you to get this. It comes from the very simple willingness. It is the willingness to look at what is as what is. It’s the willingness for it to be the way it is. Now, it may take you some days, or years to move through all of the circumstances of life and move from a resistance to them, an unwillingness for them to be the way they are, to a willingness for them to be the way they are. You can do all that. You can spend your years moving through all of it happily. You don’t need to do it unhappily. Happiness isn’t at the end of the rainbow. Happiness is at the beginning of the rainbow. Following the rainbow is happiness, not getting to the end of it.”

Werner Erhard on Happiness

“Human beings did not have rights.  Human beings created, from nothing, the domain of human rights.  They called it up. They languaged it.  They communicated it.  Communication has that power.  It has the power not only to represent and not only to evoke, but literally to bring something into being.   And to know yourself, to know your self, as a context creator,  is to transform the quality of your life.”

-Werner Erhard

“The one thing I’m clear about is everyone is capable of being great. Not compared to someone else. I mean great for yourself. I’m committed to you realizing you’re great.”

-Werner Erhard

werner erhard

“Until what is significant is created by you, you aren’t living your life, you are living some inherited life.”

– Werner Erhard in Financial Times

Werner Erhard