Fidelity is the virtue of consistency. It is the basis for reliable thought, reason, morality, trust, and loyalty. It allows us to predict future behavior based on the history of past behavior.
Fidelity is most valuable when it is applied to the most worthy ideas, deeds, principles, or affiliations.
The Virtue of Fidelity
Fidelity is neither fickleness—an arbitrary and unwarranted change—nor obstinacy—unfounded persistence or stubbornness. It is a consistency of thought, reason, morality, and loyalty that persists until some more profound truth, greater good, or more worthy affiliation becomes clear.
Fidelity provides a consistency essential for coherent thinking, reliable behavior, and durable affiliations.
- Do what you say – Keep your promises. Act reliably. Be impeccable with your word. Trustworthiness is fidelity to your word. Be trustworthy.
- Abstain from hypocrisy – Align your actions with your words. Be consistent. Strive for congruence in what you believe, what you say, and what you do.
- Be consistent – What you state today as your beliefs should be consistent with what you professed yesterday and what you plan to profess tomorrow. Change those beliefs, and your representations of those beliefs, only when you come to a new understanding that is more consistent with reality.
- Be true to those who matter most – Keep your marriage vows, and maintain strong relationships with the most worthy people and organizations in your life. As a couple, seek love and longevity in your relationship.
- Seek truth—since truth is correspondence with reality, and reality is self-consistent, seeking truth aligns your thinking with reality and increases your fidelity with the real world. Reason is fidelity to truth.
- Seek insight—close the gap between appearances and reality. Become consistent with reality.
- Know how you know—Adopt and apply a robust theory of knowledge. Your theory of knowledge is how you decide what to believe. As you mature and learn more your beliefs will necessarily change. A robust theory of knowledge will help your beliefs converge steadily toward reality.
Part 1: Notice your adherence to fidelity, everyday, as described above. Notice when you are inconsistent. What may be causing that inconsistency? What can you do to increase your fidelity?
Part 2: Additional assignments relevant to fidelity are described in the integrity module of the course on What Matters. Complete those assignments.
- Comte-Sponville, André (2002). A Small Treatise on the Great Virtues: The Uses of Philosophy in Everyday Life. Picador. p. 368. ISBN 978-0805045567.
Students interested in learning more about the virtues of fidelity may be interested in the following materials: