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  • Writer's pictureDoug Weiss


Trust is a knife’s edge condition. Hard to establish but easily violated, trust is at the heart of most if not all our justifications for the actions we take and those we forego. Although we may confuse trust with faith, they are not cut from the same cloth. Faith is belief in the absence of what passes for proof. Trust generally is the product of tangible action or evidence.

When our trust is violated—when we feel betrayed to find that someone or something, we believed in is not as it appeared our anger and hurt are almost always disproportionate. Confirmation of our suspicion is in many cases welcome—validation that our instincts and intuition were correct. And that is why violations of trust are so devastating because they cast doubt on our ability to discern what is real and worthy from what is false.

But let’s examine this a bit more closely. Apart from those delusional folks who believe in their own infallibility most of us are aware that our instincts, intuition, and sometimes our reasoning are tenuous guides. Knowing this we seek support –by listening to authoritative sources, by triangulating our views with others', by applying logic and critical thinking and by keeping an open mind to the possibility that our ingoing assumptions may not prove out. That is a hard stance to preserve of course as we are highly subject to confirmation bias—that is seeking out only that information that agrees with us.

Attacks on what we once considered authoritative sources have escalated at an unprecedented pace over the past decade and particularly the past four years. All news is fake news. The media—all of it, is controlled by forces and people whose aims are inimical to our own. Other religions, life experiences, are inventions—false and pernicious in intent. Science does not exist—it is just opinion or at best a theory, and no proof however substantial overcomes belief to the contrary. The earth is flat, we never went to the moon, the climate is not changing. 5G cell signals are mind control devices. The election was stolen. When confronted with actual facts— those who contradictory evidence are immediately suspect—they must be members of the cabal working to create mass delusion for their own gain.

Meanwhile, liars, misanthropes, grifters, phonies and those who in fact have an agenda that is solely invested in personal gain are held up as truth tellers—and those who follow them are awakened. They have taken the red pill and are newly aware of the disturbing reality hidden from the rest of us.

We can shake our heads at this mass schizophrenia but it is happing in our country and around the world—perpetuated by those whose agenda is destabilization for political gain and power disruption and abetted by human nature. You see humans trust themselves least of all. From birth on we experience revelation, some of it insignificant like the moment we find out that the tooth fairy and Santa aren’t real, to the litany of historic revelations that inform us what we were taught in school may not be the entire truth or is greatly distorted.

Our reaction in the face of revelation is to try to find something in which we can still believe and when we do we will cling to that person or that belief system with all the power in us. Former QAnon believers, or anti vaxxers describe their behavior in messianic terms. They are not simply believers but so committed to their alternate reality that they are willing to engage in actions that are violent, self destructive, and in the end outside all social norms.

I’ve learned a few lessons over my lifetime that have so far kept me from falling off the edge in the swirl of mistrust and chaos. I trust those whose counsel has served me well in the past. I accept that new information is neither a revelation nor a reinforcement of closely held views—but rather an opportunity to consider whether there is anything that might affect my understanding. I neither accept nor reject what I hear, but I question the heck out of those who are quick to do so.

I trust science—or at least I trust that the world is not capricious but operates by certain demonstrable principles and unless or until those are shown to be inconsistent or flawed, I base my response on the rules that science has uncovered at great cost. You might suggest that my belief in a higher self—a power greater than my own is inconsistent with my belief in science—but I find an order, a precision of purpose in the self actualization of humans that defies a cellular explanation.

I am responsible for my actions and the same is true for everyone else. Bad things happen—to good people and those who are not. I wish that were not the case, but it does not alter my belief that however painful or difficult life may be at times it is not as a result of a struggles between good and evil on a cosmic scale but rather within me. Nature follows its course however much I might wish it would take another at times.

So, who or what should we trust? Trust yourself—and trust your instinct to treat others as you wish to be treated. Trust science but be prepared to alter what you understand as we learn new and more about our universe. Trust people who love you and have shown that they deserve your trust my placing your interests at the heart of their actions. And finally, trust that those who insist the world is a nefarious, evil, malevolent place intent on harming you or others you care for are peddling hate, fear and ignorance. They’re not here to save you but to serve a different master. Ignore, reject and place them outside your circle of trust forever.

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