Enlightened Conflict

trust nobody

May 28th, 2014

trust no one girl


She said, ‘I’m so afraid.’ And I said, ‘why?,’ and she said, ‘Because I’m so profoundly happy. Happiness like this is frightening.’

I asked her why and she said, ‘They only let you be this happy if they’re preparing to take something from you.’

Khaled Hosseini





Well <part 1>.


The conclusion from that quote may quite be … “trust nobody” and act on that.



Well <part 2>.


We seem to be having a ‘trust crisis’ in the world these days.

Trust crisis as in … well … we trust nobody.

And in trusting nobody we then begin to make individual choices, actions and decisions based on that thinking.


That, my friends, constitutes a crisis.


Let me be clear on this issue.


A trust nobody attitude is for the weak.

A trust nobody attitude is not a sign of confidence in one self but rather a sign of lack of confidence.

A trust nobody attitude is a cowardly attitude.


Let me be clear on this issue.


ignorance closed mindThe ripple effect of not trusting anybody bleeds into every aspect of Life.

Bleeds in in terms of action and inaction <or the slowing down of action>.



“But it is impossible to go through life without trust; that is to be imprisoned in the worst cell of all, oneself.” 

Graham Greene



And let me be clear … there is a huge difference between trust nobody and question everything <and everyone>.


Pope Francis recently said “a crude and naïve trust in the goodness of those wielding economic power” when referring to business and business leaders. This is not about trust nobody but rather question everything <or be open to questioning>.

He is simply suggesting not being naïve.




This does not mean ‘do not trust anybody.’



We should question everything and anything worth questioning.


But that certainly doesn’t translate into trusting no one.questions wall


That said.

There is truly a relationship between questioning everything and trust.


Because without trust not only do you begin thinking and acting more individually … but you also begin to invest an inordinate amount of energy going down that endless rabbit hole called ‘questioning everything.’

This rabbit hole which seemingly offers logic and ‘reasons’ everywhere you look.


There appeared to be no logical reason. Oh. Logic is nothing more than a panacea to the ordinary people. More accurately … it is the tool by which the rulers, leaders, maintain the status quo. Every cause produces one or more effects. Every effect is the result of one or more causes. When you think of it that way … where is the logic? It is wherever you decide to find it.


We use logic in some odd ways which inevitably serves as a crutch to not trusting. We use logic to focus on one sliver of conspiracy thought to build non-trust.




I sense this crisis … and research is bearing out my sense.


Americans don’t trust each other anymore. We’re not talking about the loss of faith in big institutions such as the government, the church or Wall Street, which fluctuates with events. For four decades, a gut-level ingredient of democracy—trust in the other fellow—has been quietly draining away. These days, only one-third of Americans say most people can be trusted. Half felt that way in 1972, when the General Social Survey first asked the question.


Forty years later, a record high of nearly two-thirds say “you can’t be too careful” in dealing with people.



In addition.


An study conducted last month found that Americans are suspicious of each other in everyday encounters. Less than one-third expressed a lot of trust in clerks who swipe their credit cards, drivers on the road, or people they meet when traveling.



Research also shows that the trust issue varies by culture and even geography but I am not going to go into that kind of detail.



Suffice it to say there is an interesting adverse trust creation between having a denser network of interactions which leads to more distrust of outsiders and, conversely,  those who have a weaker network of interactions which leads to a higher level of trust toward ‘outsiders.’



In other words … the closer knit your personal life is … the more insular you are with friends & family … the more distrustful you are. And if you actually have fewer close friend and family you are more likely to be trustful.

<ponder that>



Does it matter that Americans <or any group of citizens> are suspicious of one another?




Behavioral research tells us why it matters:



“The more trust people have, the more willing they are to make sacrifices to hold up their end to solve problems.”


trust circleThis is called ‘social trust.’


And social trust produces good things.


It produces a society where it’s easier to compromise or make a deal.

It produces a society where people are willing to work with those who are different from them for the common good.

It actually produces <or promotes> economic growth.


Distrust, on the other hand, seems to encourage corruption.

Or maybe it encourages an absurd amount of energy trying to protect against corruption <or those who we decide we will not trust>.

At its lowest most banal level it diverts energy to counting change every time it is given to us and at the highest level it leads to the drawing up 100+ page legal contracts and building gated communities.


Here is where ‘trust nobody’ gets really concerning.


Some studies suggest it’s too late for most Americans alive today to become more trusting.


Research says the basis for a person’s lifetime trust levels is set by his or her mid-twenties and unlikely to change, other than in some unifying crisis … such as a world war.



The hope? <for those of us alive and do not want a world war>


People actually  get a little more trusting as they age <note: this factoid surprised me … I would have thought otherwise without research>.



Beginning with the baby boomers, each generation has started off adulthood less trusting than those who came before them.


Ethical behavior such as lying and cheating are difficult to document over the decades. It’s worth noting that the early, most trusting years of studies coincided with the Watergate scandal and the Vietnam War.


Trust dropped off in the more stable 1980s.

Who should we blame?


Many social scientists blame 24-hour news coverage of distant violence for skewing people’s perceptions of crime <because crime has actually diminsished over the same period of time>.



The media…all of them…cannot be trusted….they are in show business.


We blame our president for everything <but it is not possible for all our problems to be his fault>.

We hate and blame our politicians <but we created them>.

We hate Rush Limbaugh, Bill Maher, Hannity, Stephen Colbert <but we created and watch them>.

We hate the churches <and mosques> and yet believe our religions to the point of being helpless sheep.



And what about religion and trust?

It seems to me that we have lost what religion is all about and in doing so have lost trust in religion. We have twisted it into something so dangerously inflexible it becomes a tool to … well … judge others …  shame others <and sometimes ourselves> … to separate people rather than gather … be righteously pretentious  … and, maybe the worse, to control.

It seems to me that we now use religion for the exact opposite reason it exists.




Who to blame?


Nuts to all that.


We need to take responsibility for our part in why trust is in crisis.

“You may be deceived if you trust too much, but you will live in torment if you do not trust enough.” – Frank Cranetrust just fluffy duck



The fate of trust is in our own hands.

We will live a life of torment if we do not trust enough.


In the end.


Trust nobody?

That is the plight of fools and cowards.

You will slowly suffocate with every breath you take.


To trust is to live.

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Enlightened Conflict