Ask Lexi: Has Stefan lost his integrity?

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Lexi briefly materializes from the great beyond to answer another one of our questions about her BFF. 

Question from Deb: Hi Lexi, as I am sure you know, Stefan has had sex with Rebekah, again. There’s been a LOT of debate over what he’s doing and whether this means that he’s lost all his integrity. I’d appreciate hearing your views, as us mortals are finding it tough….

Hello Deb:

Oh man, I hate it when harsh judgements are made without knowing intent or purpose of the person that’s being put under scrutiny, or without addressing that person’s wholeness. I detest it when those who do not have a clue about what drives Stefan’s soul or makes up the many facets of his character, make unnecessary assumptions about him in general. This one in particular really pisses me off. So my opinion is that no–Stefan did not lose his integrity. Stefan is lost right now and I believe he’s trying to find peace, from broken pieces.

What is it to be a person of integrity?
Integrity is perhaps one of the most puzzling words to define, because while it is sometimes associated with ‘morals,’ we must also distinguish acting morally from acting with integrity.

A person is subject to many conflicting desires. If one simply acted at each moment out of the strongest current desire, with no deliberation or discrimination between more or less worthwhile desires, then one clearly acts without integrity. Your integrity must first and foremost accurately reflect your sense of who you are; acting from motives, interests and commitments that are most deeply your own. Integrity is a quality defined by a person’s care of the self, and it is primarily a social virtue, one that is defined by a person’s relations to others. So the social character of integrity is a matter of a person’s regard for their own best judgement. Persons of integrity stand for something: they stand up for their best judgment within a community of people trying to discover what in life is worth doing. Integrity is not exclusively a matter of how people approach plainly moral concerns. Other matters like love, friendship and personal projects is highly relevant to judgments of integrity.

Another way of thinking about integrity places moral constraints upon the kinds of commitment to which a person of integrity must remain true. For example, we may disagree strongly with the Pope’s views of the role of women in the Church, take this to be a significant moral criticism of him, and yet admit that he is a man of integrity.

Stefan is a single man who had sex–plain and simple. This single moment in time does not make him less whole; it did not fundamentally alter who he is, nor did having sex re-set his moral path. This act was not a deliberate and pre-meditated one to hurt or deceive. He did not violate anyone’s agency nor was he abusive. His actions did not nor does it erase his sense of community. No lives were lost, no innocence taken, no promises broken. There were no laws broken or military secrets compromised. His morals and integrity remain intact.

The questioning of Stefan’s integrity, given the unimportance of the act in the scheme of things reminds me of a Victorian Age mentality. What is insane to me is that how we act as vampires–we stalk, we hunt, we kill [the antithesis of humane behavior], it is a rarity that our integrity is called into question.

Lexi

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