Monday, November 22, 2010


From the last post/historical experiment on Trust, an email conversation emerged between myself and Mum (a very warm, humble, talented and enlightened woman!) :

Did you learn anything from this? Just wondering ...

Donal: yeah!
a) I think about trust a lot
b) trust is not binary, it can be but is mostly aligned to certain traits in others
c) it's predicated on consistency or belief in anothers critical thought, capacity and history/stability/demonstrated path
d) it's not easily re-earned
e) it's hard to create and quantify trust networks
f) transitive trust is the trickiest bit and based upon clusters and dependencies
g) one needs honesty and trust to form community
h) one has to trust themselves before they can extend that understanding and level of trust to others?

What do you think?

I think people vary a lot.

For example a child whose trust was broken by say, a teacher or a garda, may have difficulty trusting anyone in authority later on. A child whose trust was badly broken by its parents may have difficulty trusting anyone later on. Both generalisations.

On balance, we're programmed to trust, as it was vital for early man. We're not the biggest animals, or the strongest, and humankind learned early that they survived better in groups/communities. Both for hunting purposes and for their security. So they had to trust others - with their lives.

People with high levels of confidence will trust themselves a lot of the time and not be swayed by others. Those lacking confidence will tend to have less trust in their own judgement. And yes, once broken, it's not easily re-earned.

1 comment:

Thomas said...

I agree that without trust you can't have community, and, at an individual level, you can't develop to your full potential. But you have to trust wisely. That's the dilemma -- when and who to trust. I vacillate and sometimes end up trusting the wrong people (tradesmen) and being unfairly suspicious of others (friends).

From the point of view of one's own mental health it is better to err on the side of trust and that is how we are programmed. Look at how trusting children are. We get the mistrust knocked into us as we make our way through life, and this too is necessary as not everyone can be trusted. We "live and learn".

I recently got an email which I immediately thought was an attempted blackmail and so I delivered a scathing and accusatory reply. When I looked into it more calmly, I came to the conclusion that it was a company acting in a perfectly ethical manner, and out of concern for my interests. I apologised and I think matters are now on an even keel.

Your mother is a wise woman and you are lucky to have the trusting relationship that is evident from your post.