“Some people think they have discernment when actually they are just suspicious.
Suspicion comes out of the unrenewed mind; discernment comes out of the renewed spirit.”
“Distrust is like a vicious fire that keeps going and going, even put out, it will reignite itself, devouring the good with the bad, and still feeding on empty.”
“So it is with minds. Unless you keep them busy with some definite subject that will bridle and control them, they throw themselves in disorder hither and yon in the vague field of imagination … and there is no mad or idle fancy that they do not bring forth in the agitation.”
Michel de Montaigne
Suspicion is the nefarious agent sneaking around our house trying to break in.
Suspicion of guilt.
Suspicion of rigged.
Suspicion of … well … something happening beyond your control.
Suspicion that some cabal running the world.
Suspicion that some coworker talking behind your back.
Suspicion that some thing, or things, constantly working in the background keeping you from getting to where you believe you should be able to go.
Suspicion that something is going on that you cannot ever see or hear … you just ‘know’ it is so.
Suffice it to say … suspicion is an insidious little bastard which is far too comfortable on the couch in your mind.
Suspicion sips from a cup holding little evidence.
Some may just have some ‘gut feeling’ <another insidiously mostly wrong aspect of ourselves called ‘instinct’ – more often wrong than right> and some may tenaciously hold on to some minor subtle aspect of Life as proof of suspicion.
Where suspicion is truly insidious is in its success rate. While suspicion is, generally speaking, right maybe less than 10% of the time … that 10% increases the overall feeling ALL the time of … that everything merits suspicion … and that insidious little bastard keeps whispering in your head … “it could be’.
A society, and the individuals who make up that society, really only have one of two choices.
As I recently wrote … you either ground yourself on innocent before being proven guilty or ground yourself on guilty until proven innocent. And while those words more often than not get attached to criminal justice they bleed into how we think & act in everyday Life.
“A little bit of suspicion is a dangerous thing; a drop from a pipette of poison into a bucket of otherwise clean water.”
I am not suggesting blind naiveté. But I am suggesting that living Life suspicious of everything sounds like a fucking miserable Life. Not just a life threaded with perpetual dissatisfaction but a Life grounded in overall distrust of anyone and anything.
That, my friends, sounds fucking miserable.
And I don’t buy the is part of the whole bullshit point of … “well, this is just part of growing up.”
That is complete and utter bullshit.
It is a bullshit excuse to take the easy way out.
A society based on trust and innocence before guilt is hard. It is difficult. And it is fraught with peril and the possibility of disappointment.
But what a dark and sad world if we view the alternative. What a miserable view of Life if we cock our head askance and think of everything as untrustworthy or guilty of everything <or something>.
Suspicion is poison.
It is poison to joy, to a fuller Life, to the possibilities of unfettered trust met and unfettered over delivered expectations <rather than lowered bars of trust and expectations being met>.
“That was when it was all made painfully clear to me. When you are a child, there is joy. There is laughter. And most of all, there is trust. Trust in your fellows. When you are an adult…then comes suspicion, hatred, and fear. If children ran the world, it would be a place of eternal bliss and cheer. Adults run the world; and there is war, and enmity, and destruction unending. Adults who take charge of things muck them up, and then produce a new generation of children and say, “The children are the hope of the future.”
And they are right.
Children are the hope of the future. But adults are the damnation of the present, and children become adults as surely as adults become worm food.
Adults are the death of hope.”
And here is where that nefarious agent really is sneaky. Research certainly shows that, for the most part, people tend to be fairly trusting. But suspicion is sneaking into our overall trusting nature. It is kind of like building a trap door … directly under where you are standing.
This means you view the world with eyes desiring to trust but are grounded on suspicion. That means you inevitably question everything before trusting or deciding on innocence. That means we don’t really trust and believe innocence first … we view suspiciously before attaching the positives.
Here is the major problem with that.
Research also shows that suspicious people are NOT better at reading the situation properly. That is because suspicious people are, overall, just more negative/cynical therefore they are more likely to notice problems WHEN they really exist but attach problems more often when they do NOT exist.
On the other hand … trusting people tend to see the truth better than suspicious people <and a little slower on recognizing the lies>.
My real point?
Research states that neither the trusting nor the suspicious are particularly good at reading the situation … just biased in different directions.
The truth is that accurately detecting deception isn’t based on any skill. It is based on making the right guess.
Trusting people are better at spotting the truth.
Suspicious people are better at spotting lies.
I would suggest that being ridiculously good at living Life means setting suspicion off to the side and approach things and people with a trusting attitude.
The easiest answer is that you will have a tendency to attract trustworthy people. Good people, trustworthy people, like to be trusted and not have to prove their trustworthiness. It gets tiring to address unmerited suspicions.
The other reason?
Time and time again … if you truly look at Life in a black & white way <not rise colored glasses> you will find little evidence for true institutional corruption or something that merits suspicion.
The other way for me to suggest we view this … is to examine the places in which there are the highest levels of suspicion … and where you will find little truth worthy of suspicion, mostly just speculation <or “smoke” as some people call it> and no real fires.
In fact … it is more likely our suspicion creates what it suspects <similar to see what we want to see> then it actually uncovers anything.
But, you know what?
Someone will immediately send me an email talking about my naiveté and point out dozens of example for which suspicion actually had some merit.
That is not the point.
Nowhere in a true democracy and in a society in which we are reliant upon “we” doing shit together is there room for a relentless thread of suspicion.
It becomes an agent of … “not doing.”
For where is the motivation to do shit … let alone trust the “we” to get shit done if you are constantly suspicious of some nebulous ‘we’?
“In a big democracy like this, a diverse country like this, it all comes down to what the people say,” Obama recently said “our democracy doesn’t work if we spend all our time just demonizing one another. Progress requires compromise, even when you’re right, but we should try to conduct ourselves with basic honesty and decency and big-heartedness.”
That sounds good, doesn’t it?
And … well … nowhere in there did I see the word “suspicion.”
This isn’t about the election and this isn’t about any particular candidate nor is this about any particular person or situation.
This is more about what I wrote in ‘innocent until proven guilty.’
In this case it is ‘trust before suspicion.’
Life isn’t about “I” … inevitably it is about “we.”
And “we” doesn’t exist … well … certainly doesn’t exist as a viable productively efficient and effective “we” … if it is constantly barraged by suspicion.
We all … society as a whole … needs to get our shit together with regard to suspicion. We need to deport the nefarious agents so that we can work together with some healthy trust that we can get shit done with some compromise, a lot of hard work … and … well … a good healthy attitude toward each other.