Poetry Month Challenges Day 11: Idiosyncrasy & Integrity

Integrity in Idiosyncrasy by Maria L. Berg 2023

Idiosyncrasy & Integrity

Idiosyncrasy is a characteristic, habit, mannerism, or the like, that is peculiar to an individual; a persons oddities and quirks. Integrity is the state of being whole, entire, or undiminished and adherence to moral and ethical principles; soundness of moral character; honesty.

I found this interesting passage on integrity in Discourses of Epictetus (the Stoic philosopher):

For two reasons then it is right to be content with that which happens to thee ; the one, because it was done for thee and prescribed for thee, and in a manner had reference to thee, originally from the most ancient causes spun with thy destiny ; and the other, because even that which comes severally to every man is to the power which administers the universe a cause of felicity and perfection, nay even of its very continuance. For the integrity of the whole is mutilated, if thou cuttest of it anything whatever from the conjunction and the continuity either of the parts or of the causes. And thou dost cut off, as far as it is in thy power, when thou art dissatisfied, and in a manner triest to put anything out of the way.

Be not disgusted, nor discouraged, nor dissatisfied, if thou dost not succeed in doing everything according to right principles but when thou hast failed, return back again, and be content if the greater part of what thou doest is consistent with man’s nature, and love this to which thou returnest ; and do not return to philosophy as if she were a master, but act like those who have sore eyes and apply a bit of sponge and egg, or as another applies a plaster, or drenching with water. For thus thou wilt not fail to obey reason, and thou wilt repose in it.


I believe he is saying that we with be happiest when accepting every part of ourselves as integral to our whole experience.

I found some really interesting thoughts about idiosyncrasies in Hegel’s discussions on artistic originality in The Philosophy of Fine Art, volume 1 (of 4) / Hegel’s Aesthetik:

(β) And for these reasons we would point out that “a manner” of this kind is not so much to be contrasted directly with the true exposition of art as to be considered in relation to the purely external aspects of art where the individuality of the particular mode of treatment comes into play. This kind of manner is most conspicuous in the arts of painting and music for the reason that these arts present to the artist the widest variety of external characterization for him to seize upon and reproduce. What we find here is a certain artificial manner of general execution entirely peculiar to some particular artist and the school of imitators or pupils who follow him, which through constant repetition degenerates into mere habit.

(αα) And its tendency is to develop on one of two ways in which we may regard the artistic work. First, there is there the essence of the subject-matter artistically treated, so that this very uniqueness of expression appears to arise from the unique characteristics of the material to which it is applied; and we may say with equal truth either that the expressed form is due to those characteristics, or that this unique impression we obtain from them proceeds from the creative unity of the artist.

(β) True originality must be entirely kept distinct from individual caprice and every kind of personal expression that is due to fortuitous causes. A common idea of originality is simply the stringing together of so many curiosities, things which this particular individual and no other could perpetuate or even faintly imagine. That is, however, merely idiosyncrasy gone mad.

Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel

I think what Hegel’s saying is the originality of a piece of art is not due to the idiosyncrasies of the artist, but the integrity of her techniques, choice of medium, and idea working together to create an artistic expression.

Today’s Images

To find idiosyncrasy in integrity and integrity in idiosyncrasy, I hung a sheer floral and striped fabric over my main mirror, then I used a curtain rod over the mirrorworld to hang my lights in a column in the center. I used splatter-cut filters as my shapes looking for interesting forms in their overlap. And because the dVerse Poetics prompt was yellow, I played with the yellow filter setting in my camera, too.

Idiosyncrasy in Integrity by Maria L. Berg 2023

The Prompts


Today’s prompt is “write a poem that takes as its starting point something overheard that made you laugh, or something someone told you once that struck you as funny.”

I finished up my Modern and Postmodern class at coursera this morning. While watching the video,s I “overheard” Cornell West say some things about romanticism and pragmatism.

Poem A Day

Today is the second Two for Tuesday and the prompts are:

  1. Write a form poem, and/or…
  2. Write an anti-form poem.

For today’s poem, I used a form I invented called “Jar and Janus.”

dVerse Poets Pub

Today’s Poetics prompt is yellow.

The Poem

Philosophy in the Mirror of Nature

Idiosyncrasy weaves lemon socks of integrity.
No romantic wholeness to be shattered.
Warm and fresh inertia can incorporate
the bitter seeds that slip through the strainer.

Integrity mixes sunshine scents of idiosyncrasy;
Personal catastrophe lyrically expressed.
Dandelion roots in inertia incorporate
belonging like laundry drying on the line.

Idiosyncrasy pulls turmeric legs of integrity.
Can you create harmony? If you can’t; disappointment.
Long and still inertia can incorporate
this super-substance three times better with pepper

Integrity accepts pineapple voices of idiosyncrasy
tempered with a sense of tragedy.
Daffodil shade in inertia incorporates
wholeness like a thick spiky rind.

9 thoughts on “Poetry Month Challenges Day 11: Idiosyncrasy & Integrity

    • Hi Sarah, Thank you for asking about the Jar and Janus form. I had been collecting words on strips of paper in vases around the house for a while when I got interested in exploring Janus words (words that also mean their opposite) to turn a poem. I had jars of abstract nouns, jars of concrete nouns, jars of verbs and let the randomness of selection come up with interesting combinations. Here is the Jar and Janus form from my original notes: 1. Use word jars to create sentences using form Abstract noun-verb-concrete noun + concrete noun-abstract noun 2. respond to one of the sentences. 3. Expand on response with janus. 4. Use janus to say opposite/second thought, or other point of view. Another expansion on this form is to then go back and replace the abstract nouns with images or sensory details. If you give it a try, please let me know. I would love to read it.


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