I had a bizarre thought today and I'm still in the process of having it, so bear with me as I work it out here. I've been anti-bloggy lately, but had a surge of blogginess so I'm taking advantage of it. Here goes:
Is it possible that Trust actually = Distrust?
My friend K left for Germany today, where she'll meet up with her boyfriend who left a few days ago. When we were speaking on the phone a couple of nights ago, she in Atlanta, I on my front porch sipping a glass of wine with my cat (I was sipping the wine, not the cat, she was just on the porch with me), we talked about how much nicer it is to travel with someone than alone.
"But," K said, "I just sleep the whole time anyway, so it doesn't really matter."
"Yes, but when you're at the airport, there's no one to watch your stuff if you have to go to the bathroom or get some water or a soda."
It wasn't that long ago that we'd simply turn to the person closest to us at the airport -- no matter who that person was; we were no respecters of people when we needed our things watched -- and say, "Would you mind watching my things for me?" And they'd smile and nod and you'd leave them with all of your personal belongings while you trotted off in search of a diet Coke. And often when you'd return, they would ask you to return the favor. 9/11 changed all of that. If someone asked you to watch his/her things today, you would not only likely refuse, you might call Security. (I'd actually probably say yes, but that's a different story.)
All this is backstory. Because my first thought after that conversation was that it's sad how little we can trust each other today; circumstances of life have dictated that we don't. A select group of terrorists have mandated that we can't
. So when we do put our trust in someone, is it really a matter of checks and balances? Are we trusting them so they will trust us? Are we watching their things so they will watch ours? Does true trust exist, and, if so, what does it look like?
If asked, I would categorize myself as a very trusting person. I tend to believe the best in people until proven otherwise. And then I still believe the best in them. And I believe it again. And again. Until proven enough times and then I walk away. As I posted months ago in my 100 things about me post -- I give people a lot of strikes. But once I count them out, it's pretty permanent. The fact is, I rarely reach that permanent point, though I could make a pretty good list of people who have stricken me from their lists. But I digress. And that's probably my next blog posting.
So when someone says to me, "I'm telling you the truth," or "Trust me," I'm much less likely to believe it's true or trust them. If it really were true, would they feel the need to iterate it? When I was teaching, I would always tell my students to strike sentiments like, "It is a true fact that blah blah blah," because if they are stating it as fact, we believe it to be so.
All this (maybe) brings me back to my original thought: Do we trust others because we have to? Because not to is much worse than choosing to believe that what others present as fact is, in fact, fact? Is there any true trust left in the world, and are there any truly trustworthy people? Or does Trust actually = Distrust?