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Saturday, July 10, 2010

It's a Matter of Trust

Social contracts. Those unwritten, unspoken contracts that weave the fabric of our society. Over 300 years ago the idea of cotractarianism started as a philosophical idea. It explained why a people would be better off to give up their rights provided in nature for the rule of governed law. Government and governed working on behalf of everyone's good. I'll bet that was a pretty big step philosophically.

I know, I know, pretty heady stuff for the guy behind the register.

It's become so much more than that though. Every day there are dozens of times we expect neighbors and strangers alike to act in everyone's best interest. You know, keep society on an even keel. We count on the policeman to remember his duty and not ignore us if we're in trouble. Our neighbor to not drive drunk while our children drive on the same roads. Our weekend night guy to greet us with a smile and give us the right change. In turn of course others expect the same from us.

But why?

Well, because we want to feel safe. At a very basic level we all want to feel safe - the lock on the door will protect us, the mechanic is fixing our car properly. For some, walking a hiking trail without a cell phone clutched in their hand. There has to be a certain comfort level in our daily lives. That is part of it I think. I would say there is a more basic component to all of this.

Yup.

It's a matter of trust.

Why do our children feel safe with us? Trust. Isn't love based in great measure on trust? We look for people we can trust all the time. Lawyers, doctors, carpenters, car salesmen(!) all those are people who must earn our trust. What about more mundane things? Why is trust given freely in some instances? We want to believe we are safe. We want to believe we are all looking out for each other. That you will be treated as you are expected to treat others.

I cannot speak for anyone else, but I can tell you that if you happen to wander into my store in the middle of the dark lonely night, you will be safe.

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