Thursday, August 21, 2008

Trust

On a thread on PostMormon, Hiker R wrote:

A father took his son into the barn one day and asked him to climb up in the hay loft. Then he told the son to jump into his arms. The son said he was scared because he was pretty high up and didn’t think his dad could catch him. The dad assured the son he could. The son jumped and the dad stepped out of the way and the son hit the ground. The dad approached his son and said, “Important business lesson; don’t trust anybody.”

I wanted to dedicate a thread to the topic of trust. I disagree strongly with this father's tactics and the moral of the story.

I believe that we should trust others, but not with more than we are willing to lose.

Like it or not, homo sapiens evoled to become social animals, and trust is essential in all social interactions. We are vulnerable all the time - vulnerable to being taken advantage of, stolen from, injured, confined, or killed by others. We also depend on others, at least in part, for protection from all of those things.

I am not advocating that we be foolish with the trust we have to invest. I think we should start slowly in new relationships, risking only a little and then seeing what they do with it. Over time a track record is established. Nothing is certain; even the best performing stocks can fail. But, I'd rather invest in an individual with a proven track record than in an unknown person.

Before I invest a lot of trust in an etity that I have no previous experience with, I do my homework by learning of the experiences others have had with that entity. I check the BBB, epinions, and background checks depending on what services I'd use them for.

It can be scary when we realize how much we trust others. I trust my wife with my life every time I let her drive. Heck, I trust my life to every other driver on the road, and I know nothing about them. Any determined person could kill me if I didn't see it coming (school shootings, pipe bombs, arsenic poisonings, etc). Our society would not work without trust. Despite all the risk, I think prudent trusting is worth it. Because through it, we can get our emotional needs met, accumulate wealth, and enjoy the freedom to do what we want.

So, are you a "Trust no one, Mr. Mulder" kind of person; a carefree, perhaps overly trusting person; or one who builds trusting relationships carefully?

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