Sunday, July 1, 2012

What Is Trust?

I've thought a lot about trust recently. Not just the noun form but the verb form especially.

My attraction to the word has perhaps as much to do with semantics as it does with etymology. It's from the time frame in which I was formally trained, i.e., the Middle Ages, more specifically: 1175–1225. The time frame makes me salivate. I know, it's as nerdy as one can get. And it's one thing that's not directly impacted by change. Not yet, at least. Back to trust. The lexeme derives from the following:

(Noun) Middle English  & Old Norse: traust  trust(cognate with German Trost  comfort); (verb) Middle English trusten; Old Norse: treysta,  derivative of traust

The German noun, Trost, is what truly brings the semantic nature of this word home for me. Trost means comfort. There is comfort in knowing that one can rely on someone and something else. There is comfort in a plurality of sources of support. That is what trust is. Trust, however, doesn't happen sans interest. As a matter of fact, it's solely predicated on interest.

Someone told me two days ago that trust is not something that actually exists. They are wrong. Trust exists. Trust, however, like all else in life is of a nature that constantly undergoes metamorphoses in relation to personal interest.

It is, for lack of a better expression, a reified commodity. You can trust with more ease if all participating interests are made clear to one. Trust is easier to give and take when informed by personal interest. Without the latter it cannot be.

I'd venture to say that the most ubiquitous currency of trust is interest. Personal interest.

I can't help being a 'word' person. Just like others can't help being 'visual' people. Or 'aural' people. We tend to be one thing more than the other. Our fundamental natures are what dictate how we take in information and experience, how we go about processing it, and taking it all in. In the end, what truly governs how we react to all information is what out self-interest is bound to gain/lose as a result.

I have had reason recently to wonder why I have such an easy time processing certain things and why such ease doesn't translate to others.

However, what I do know about my nature is that once I complete a chapter, I'm done with it. The thrill of the chase calls me again and I'm off reading a new chapter. It's the ping-pong phase all over again. One year I'm on a team, going on tournaments, winning mostly, and the next I'm off reading and memorizing Dante in a place far away from where I grew up.

The thing is, we are all, to some extent, led by this desire to move to the next thing. Human nature needs novelty, edification even, for without it it's simply too vacuous to inspire anything. Life, the force of life, cannot be without the fresh blood of new pursuits.

I illustrate, a couple of nights ago I spent some time with a local friend of mine. We went to this place that was playing the sort of music I'd consider not très cool to listen to. I somehow found myself attracted to it. I got on my iPhone, hit Shazam which then told me what the song was. I then went to iTunes, purchased it right while we were finishing our appetizers and on the drive home we had the track on repeat. A couple of times of hearing it, I had the 'hook' down.

"Dude, this is nothing like you," says the other party. "I know. I kinda dig it." I retort quickly. And then I let some fresh air into the car, stick my left arm out, start nodding to the rhythm of the song, and sing along to the predictably simple lyrics,

"It’s time, time to let the predator out
Cause it’s watch your back
You’re a killer beast, you’re an animal
And it’s easy to see, you’re an animal."

What can you trust, really? What one can trust is one's relationship to what's around one. Few things remain static. Everything and everyone around one changes. If one doesn't become accustomed to the ever-evolving nature of change, one will wither. I've always been copacetic with change. The only time when I somehow got to hoping that things would not change was very recently. While I had some sort of idea as to what inspires such a desire for a lack of change, I seemed to have lost track of the notion that I've always known: that all changes: things and people alike. And that trust in said things needs to be modified and altered accordingly.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Bri, for the sake of the point you're making, I'll forgive you for listetning to JC Chases. ;)