Saturday, July 17, 2010
Trust, who needs it?
Look at this guy to your right, I have heard people say this. A few seconds to destroy years of building? What the hell is going on with this type of thinking?
For quite a while now, I have been down on trust, although I've done very little thinking about it. I've railed against "should" because of the its obnoxious and ridiculous sense of knowing — an ugly stain of certainty on dilemmas collar, if you will. But with trust, I think it's the... let me slow down. Let's take a crack at a definition. What is trust?
One way to define it: a firm belief in the reliability of someone or thing. Now, I get reliability as a practical matter. When I head out of town for a week and I ask my buddy to feed the cat and water the plants, it's very important to me that I don't come home to a dead cat (the plants, meh, fuck em'). But, of course, this is a very tangible, relatable, practical example. Let's move beyond thinking of reliable as someone who can complete assigned tasks. Reliable asks for consistency. Consistency is, I think, a fairly complex idea. An example: someone — I don't know who, let's say me — might argue that consistency is an essential element of a criminal justice system. This, of course, creates a whole shit ton of problems. What do we want to be consistent? I can't think of anything, not the process, the penalties... nothing. If we assume everything else is ever-changing (you know: the peeps, the culture) should the justice system and those who administer it not be ever-changing as well? By that half-assed argument, the only valuable form of consistency is constant adaptation — which, supposedly, democracies don't do too well; or societies in general if McLuhan had the idea right.
So, I'm going to turn away from consistency as a bearer of, dare I say it, virtue.
When someone proclaims or utters, "I trust you," are they really saying, "I think you'll do what you think is best for me?" In which case, yikes. Is trust our veiled attempt to avoid anguish via avoiding decisions that don't have us in mind? Does trust strictly privilege me over we and you?
Help me out here. I want to say, fuck trust as this all important pilar of the human relationship. It's too self serving, or something.