Recent events in my family have started me thinking about a number of issues, one of which is the issue of who, and what, do we trust.
Ironically I am writing this post the day after September 11th, from a settlement in the westbank - but what started me thinking along these lines has absolutely nothing at all to do with the war on terror and the Middle East conflict. It only sounds that way.
I grew up being taught that you don't hate people because they are different than you. I grew up believing that just because one person may have hurt you in some way, you don't then assume that everyone in his "group" will also hurt you. I also absorbed the belief that everyone is innocent until proven guilty, and that most people are good.
Somewhere along the line, as I learned from experiences in the real world, I came to see that you can't assume that most people are good - you have to judge everyone on an individual basis. This is especially true when there is money involved, or there are other things that one person may want from you. This doesn't mean that they are necessarily bad - but that the jury is out.
Now I am being forced to rethink even this assumption - and to realize that not everyone plays by the ground rules that you think are too obvious to even mention. I have had a very rude awakening, and now see that there are those that believe that their way of life/position is so superior, that literally anything goes. The ends justify the means in the minds of these people, from the sweet and comfortable position of arrogance that rationalization has built for them.
Another issue is what do you trust. We are given a lot of information, most of which we ignore but enters our subconscious anyway. Later, when faced with a problem, this information may come out as a gut feeling. We don't know why we feel a specific way, but we do, strongly. This is especially confusing when it contradicts other information that seems to come from a more reliable source. We try very hard to cut away all of the emotions to get to the bare facts - but sometimes there are not enough bare facts to make a decision.
I have learned from experience in the past that when I ignore my gut feelings I get into trouble. But I also know how easy it is to dismiss gut feelings out of laziness, or fear, or the nagging suspicion that I am getting paranoid. After all, how can it be that I see something that many others don't?
I would love to hear from others about what they think.