260. Trust

Do you trust me?  That’s a hard call, isn’t it. With­out trust life is not easy. Oxy­tocin is the brain chem­i­cal  which gives the  feel­ing of trust. Some peo­ple, and maybe some cul­tures seem more hooked on it than oth­ers. (Whether dif­fer­ent cul­tures are dom­i­nant for dif­fer­ent brain chem­i­cals like this is a really fas­ci­nat­ing puz­zle). So how far can you trust another per­son, or insti­tu­tion?  It depends on the answers to a lot of ques­tions. If some­one under­stands some things about you, they have at least the foun­da­tion of trust. They can decide to trust your skill to kick a foot­ball, or reli­a­bil­ity to turn up at work on Mon­day morn­ing. If they don’t under­stand your think­ing at all, they will hes­i­tate to trust you for any­thing impor­tant (sigh, lots and lots of peo­ple don’t seem to under­stand my think­ing at all …). In that case, they can only trust from your rep­u­ta­tion, and rep­u­ta­tions are frag­ile. In some jobs, like the police force, they are paid to trust nobody. Some peo­ple, like doc­tors, we hope we can trust, but expe­ri­ence might under­mine that. In some coun­tries, like Aus­tralia, peo­ple gen­er­ally trust the good inten­tions of the gov­ern­ment (though often dis­trust its com­pe­tence), and often trust the good­will of strangers. In some coun­tries, like China, peo­ple gen­er­ally do not trust the inten­tions of the gov­ern­ment, and don’t trust any­one they don’t know well. The gen­eral trust between employ­ers and employ­ees seems to have changed quite a lot in my life­time (or maybe expe­ri­ence has just taught some hard lessons!). Look­ing back, I have to say that most of my employ­ers have been untrust­wor­thy when it comes to build­ing a future together. Some­times they didn’t trust me to be cheats like them! Gen­er­ally the employ­ers, or their agents, have only been inter­ested in some short term advan­tage, often wran­gled by lying, like a bad lover on a one night date. What a pity. Speak­ing of which, the hard­est thing to find of course are good friends to trust in stormy weather.

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