Thursday, November 21, 2013

The Schizophrenia of Trust

Trust is a reciprocal transaction.

When we ante up first, people follow suit. When we approach others as already being trustworthy, they prove us right. And when we think the best of people, seeing everyone as good until proven otherwise, our belief encourages them to reveal their better selves. And they usually do.

We give what we need.

That’s human nature. Our communal caveman wiring makes trust possible.

The interesting thing is, at this point in our culture, trust is simultaneously at all time low—and an all time high.

On an institutional scale, we’re losing trust in the powers that be.

Government agencies and multinational corporations and mainstream media and religious organizations and financial institutions and law enforcement agencies and political administrations are, statistically, no longer the pillars of trust they once were.

Commanding moral authority has become a side job.

But on an interpersonal scale, we’re gaining trust in the persons that be.

We’re letting complete strangers sleep and eat and bathe in our homes and loaning our bikes and cars to people we’ve never met before and delegating mundane tasks to microfreelancers from across the globe and sharing and trusting our secrets with thousands of people we hardly know and depending on existing customers of a brand to tell us whether or not we should become customers ourselves.

Depositing and withdrawing from our social capital accounts has become a lifestyle.

Holy. Shift.

Random people used to trust big organizations.

Now they only trust other random people.