26 Jun ’14 Question of the Day ~TRUST
What is trust,
and what role does it play in relationships?
What is trust?
From the Oxford:
As a noun:
“Confidence in or reliance on some quality or attribute of a person or thing, or the truth of a statement.”
“take on or upon trust, to accept or give credit to without investigation or evidence.”
“That in which one’s confidence is put; an object of trust.”
“Confident expectation of something; hope.”
“The condition of having confidence reposed in one, or of being entrusted with something”
“The obligation or responsibility imposed on one in whom confidence is placed or authority is vested, or who has given an undertaking of fidelity.”
as an adjective:
“Confident, safe, secure, sure.”
“Faithful, trusty; reliable, sound.”
as a verb:
“To have faith or confidence; to place reliance; to confide.”
“To have faith or confidence that something desired is, or will be, the case;”
“To give credence to, believe (a statement); to rely upon the veracity or evidence of (a person, etc.).”
“To commit the safety of (something) with confidence to a place, etc., to or with a person; to entrust; to place or allow (a person or thing) to be in a place or condition, or to do some action, with expectation of safety, or without fear of the consequences.”
“To invest with a charge; to confide or entrust something to the care or disposal of.”
It seems to me that society must be fundamentally cooperative. Without cooperation, we can achieve very little.
Modern capitalism seems to sanction cooperation only within corporations and for the benefit of capitalists, and to have a lot of incentives against it in other situations – pushing hard on the competitive model in all other situations.
It seems clear to me that we are primed as a species for cooperative behaviour, and we also come with a strong sense of justice which can destroy cooperation when we feel wronged.
So it seems to me that learning to cultivate trust and forgiveness is fundamental to us creating the sort of abundance and security that is possible. And we need to have discernment in that trust, as there are some who would abuse it at any opportunity.
It seems clear to me that trust is fundamental to building strong secure and meaningful relationships.
Agree totally Kathy, that trust is an active choice required in order to build strong relationships at any level.
Agree too Jeff that trust comes more easily from a state where love is present, and that extending that love and trust beyond the proven creates an invitation for another to step up a level, and most respond positively to such invitations (only a small minority taking advantage of them).
Agree too Lulu that reciprocal trust allows a blossoming of relationship that is not possible otherwise.
And as both you and Kathy have noted, self trust is foundational.
I love the Zalman story, of the dangers inherent in competitive zero sum games. Cooperative games give so much more potential for positive sum (whole is greater than than the sum of the parts) outcomes.
I love Bridge’s analogy of trust as the catalyst to the flow of relationship – appeals to my biochemist’s understanding of the physicality of processes – and I find it is always easiest to have a physical process on which to model something more abstract.
Kathy – your traffic experience is a great practical example of how much more powerful cooperative strategies are than simple competitive strategies are, on a choked free-way competition leads to gridlock. Only cooperation allows optimal traffic flow.
OM – a discussion of the definition of capital and capitalism could be very long indeed. There are several fundamental asymmetries and not a few myths underlying capitalism. One myth/asymmetry is that it is somehow a fair transaction when one side (the capitalist) by denying employment can deny survival, while the labourer has no such power over the capitalist. Another myth is that it is somehow sensible that money should have the power of growth (interest) simply by existence – the asymmetries of information and power guarantee that capitalists will take the vast bulk of any growth – which is proven by statistics that demonstrate that real wages have stagnated in Western economies for the last 30 years, while real household wealth has declined, while the growth of the wealth has for the most part gone to a very small fraction of 1% of the population. Add into the mix that under the modern conception of capitalism it is ok to buy anything – including political control (lobbiests and party donations), and dominant social “beliefs” (advertising and news media). From my experience of the last 40 years involvement in the NZ legal system (by all international measures one of the most free and least corrupt) my best guess is that over 80% of the legislation on our books is there primarily to deliver value to some subset of the interests of capital (however it may have been portrayed in the news media or debates within the house).
And as I have said many times, I fully acknowledge the beneficial role that both money and capital have played in bringing us (humanity) to this point. Both have had a nett positive role in social evolution, and that balance may remain positive for a few years yet, but the time is rapidly approaching when the concepts of money and capital pose far more of an existential risk than they deliver in benefit. If we fail to start planning and transitioning to a post capitalist world of universal abundance then the results are highly unlikely to be pretty for any group – most particularly those currently atop the capital heap.
And to be absolutely clear, I am not proposing a world of equal distribution, I am proposing a world where the minimum is about where the top 1% are now, and there is infinite extensibility above that – not driven by exploitation of the needs of survival, but driven by the cooperation of groups for commonly held visions.
To my mind, I was and am using the terms precisely and accurately, and obviously the terms mean something very different to each of us.
Agree Deb that there is a huge difference between trust as an expression of possibility and trust as a demand of expectations; the former being powerful as an invitation to possibility and the latter being destructive in limiting possibility through judgement.
And having been in relationship with Ailsa for 22 years, and married for 20, the only thing truly predictable about her is her unpredictability – so I’m not sure that I do agree that predictability increases over time. It seems to me that if both parties are growing in relationship there is infinite room for expansion of unpredictability into new realms.
And I agree OM that outcomes are far less reliable than intentions; and there is far more power to be gained by trusting intentions and accepting whatever outcomes show up, and repeating.
@ Eric – Your first dimension of trust is one I tend to characterise as acceptance rather than as trust, and there is certainly a sense in which trust is commonly used that way. And I agree with you that there is great honour both in bestowing and receiving the trust of a life – it is the most profound trust possible – treated far too lightly in too many cultures.
And I totally align with you that there is no power in forgetting and huge power in forgiving.
I agree totally Mendy that both emotions and intuitions can be complex beyond our abilities to rationally understand. One must bring a degree of simple acceptance to that aspect of being.
Agree also that contracts can be extremely tricky, and are best avoided if one wants to develop depth of relationship. In my experience alignment of intention is far more powerful than any definition of contract. Most contracts seem to me to be more about exploitation than about creativity – in my 30 years in the world of software development I have rarely signed a contract with a client, and none of those who insisted on contracts have remained clients. Most of the clients I have have been with me for over 20 years, by free choice and alignment on both sides.
Agree OM, that for the vast majority of the population, genuine trust will be reciprocated, and there is a small percentage of the population who are consistently pathological in this respect, and a larger portion who will break trust if they think the reward is worth the risk.
Thank you all for this exploration, and the nuances you have each contributed.