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Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Who Can You Trust?

According to recent research, three different forms of trust exist: (1). Trust is being vulnerable to someone even though they are trustworthy. (2). Trustworthiness is the ability to trust. (3). Trust propensity is being able to rely on others. (Colquitt, Scott, LePine. Journal of Applied Psychology. Vol 92 (4). Jul 2007.) In form #1, the operative word is vulnerable. Anyone who enters a relationship of trust is certainly vulnerable to the other participants in the alliance. Complete trust should deny any attacks against vulnerability; however, human nature being the fallible force it is, causes people to manipulate relationships because their moral accountability is not strong. Too often, people choose to deny trust in their relationships because of the need for power. Trusting another party when one is compelled to do so is sometimes called reliance, and reliance refers to behavioral, not moral obligations. Since trust is an action that involves a voluntary transfer of resources (physical, financial, intellectual, or temporal) from the truster to the trustee with no real commitment from the trustee, it is a risk. Depending on the trustworthiness of the person in whom trust is placed, the truster may be better off or worse off than before granting an alliance. This is the classic prisoner's dilemma in game theory (betrayal for reduced sentence). In form #2, the variable is ability. Since most intelligent people have the ability to trust, people could accept pure reliance simply enough. Trust is built by believing other people will do what is socially learned and rightly expected, and it starts at the family and grows to others. It is increasingly adopted to predict acceptance of behaviors by others. Yet, those who wish to betray trust know it is easier to influence or persuade someone who is trusting. In essence, these people learn to prey on a vulnerable virtue. Some are not consistent as they exercise their own abilities of persuasion, instead preferring to use others who possess confidential integrity. The trusting person is manipulated by the devious. For example, trust allows actions to be conducted based on incomplete information on the case in hand. Ironically, false information is often trusted as truth and the result is further lying misbehavior. The ability to trust has often been destroyed in such a manner. In form #3, the key term is rely. French author Rochefoucauld said, "The passions possess a certain injustice and self interest which makes it dangerous to follow them, and in reality we should distrust them even when they appear most trustworthy." Many times trust is forged in times of romance and intimate emotion. Mutual reliance that allows people to share such soul-divulging information is meant to be permanent and sacred, but, unfortunately, many people cannot be relied upon to be trustworthy and true. When people cannot rely on trust in vital situations, they experience betrayal. Sometimes betrayal is broken reliance on personal and/or cultural expectations ("The Truth"). And, sometimes betrayal is based on unreliable expectations of whole-hearted loyalty given to another. For example, a friend knowingly breaks a confidence that causes hurt and loss of reputation, or a boss pretends to be honest and fair while manipulating employees to exploit their talents. The propensity to trust in the future is directly affected by such false reliance. The Soul Selects Her Own Society The soul selects her own society, Then shuts the door; On her divine majority Obtrude no more.

Unmoved, she notes the chariot's pausing At her low gate; Unmoved, an emperor is kneeling Upon her mat.

I've known her from an ample nation Choose one; Then close the valves of her attention Like stone. -Emily Dickinson

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