Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Issues of Trust

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.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear WBM - always go with your gut feeling. it is the best most reliable thing you have.

how can it be that you see things that other people don't?

human history is the detailed chronolgy of just that. as social beings we are trained to fit in and believe not our eyes, ears or feelings - but what is represented as social reality.this reality does not always correspond to the reality we live in so it will happen many times that the individual will feel or see things that the collective will not acknowledge or even allow to be mentioned (you may recall the story about the emperorers new clothes).
it happens to me all the time.

the only problem with gut feeling is how to seperate it from all the others especially all our fears, real and imagined.this seperation work can be done with the proper upbringing, or re-accquired through the proper training.

i think you are really lucky to even have a gut feeling since we are trained early on to dismiss it. i think women are more fortunate in that way - they are allowed to listen to their feelings much more than men.

in short - trust yourself.

2:09 PM, September 12, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hopefully, the closer to home - literally - the less one has to interrogate one's assumptions about whom and who to trust. No matter what goes on in the world, your family and community should be the most trustworthy. For they're where you have the most shaping influence.

Not that family and community aren't complicated, but beyond them, it gets more complicated. In terms of politics and international affairs, IMHO 90% of the Western world still hasn't realized that Islam is profoundly, fundamentally at odds with how we understand, let alone engage, reality. So trust is inoperative in that department. Fuhgeddaboutit.

Who knows? Maybe what comrade Stalin said applies in all situations:

"Trust, but verify."

10:06 PM, September 12, 2006  
Blogger Raggedy said...

Wonderful Tribute to John!
Thank you.
These are heartbreaking stories and difficult to read....
I am honored to be a part of this project.
Mine is posted also...

Bless you...

The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.
~Martin Luther King, Jr.

11:09 PM, September 12, 2006  
Blogger wiser_now said...

Trust your gut. Check it out, ask yourself questions, look around, evaluate, but trust it.

12:14 AM, September 13, 2006  
Blogger Batya said...

The real world isn't pretty. And most people would rather see us dead. So we must take steps/

6:16 AM, September 13, 2006  
Blogger aliyah06 said...

Trust your instincts. I remind my kids that your brain is only (16, 22, 26, whatever) years old--your instincts are 100 million years old.

Your brain can be misled. There are those things we want to believe (fair play, the power of reason, human decency) and I still think we are a force for those positive things in the world---but as I've gotten older, I've also noticed that these are more ideals than reality, and that in much of the world, raw power, agitprop, stolen wealth, and oppression of everyone-not-on-your-side is the way of the world. We need to adjust our outlooks to take this reality, however unpleasant, into account.

I don't trust politicians; I don't trust the media; I don't trust 'movements' of any kind, including those I whose agenda I agree with.

"Follow the Money"

"Question Authority"

"Trust But Verify"

All have their place in my world view; I was an idealist when young, which is when one should be an idealist. I'm older, and while my ideals haven't changed, I no longer assume that anyone else is on the same page I am. And I assume that when someone says he wants to destroy my country and my family, he means it and that the world, witness to many genocides by now, will not stop him because it is not in the world's economic/political interest to do so.

3:02 PM, September 13, 2006  
Blogger bec said...

i'll have to agree with everyone who said you should trust your instincts. we are lucky to sometimes be able to sense when things are not right with a certain situation and no matter how crazy you might think your instincts, go with it.
i don't want to tell you that i know this from experience, but i do, and the few times that i haven't gone with my instinct, i've had major regrets.
do what you think is best. and if you need confirmation on that, even doctor spock (the pediatrician) says it over and over in his book on child care.

5:42 AM, September 15, 2006  
Blogger westbankmama said...

jerusalem joe - I think mothers go with their gut instinct more than anyone else - because they learn to read non-verbal signals from their non-verbal babies and toddlers.

jeremayakovka - luckily, the person who proved untrustworthy was not in my immediate family or community, but he still did damage - which is ongoing.

wisernow - yes, you are right.

muse - You are right that the real world isn't pretty - but I still find that I am an optimist. Cynical, but optimistic.

aliyah06 - you are absolutely correct.

bec- thanks

5:10 PM, September 17, 2006  
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