POEM: Trust is the Glue

is the glue
Sticking me to you
The favored few
The spoils of many
Consume mating
The fool
and credit
Kindly mirror
Or unwelcome
A confidence game
And quiet passably
Escaped convictions
Sow what
Is the catch
Having been borne
Into a flimsy throng
With shortcomings taut
Exposed arrears
And know weigh out
From what hangs in the
And scaling up intimates dread
Give and take
Be for you
A forward looking
Offering as such
Seasons swimmingly
A rested development
And good grief
Those early mournings
In one’s out look
As prodigal hearts aplomb
And despite
One knows
Turning out
To be
Better than goaled
And silver locks fall away
Any hitch
A mere trailer of coming attractions
The untangled web weave
And too the our
Looming cleave

is the real currency of human relationships and civilization.  True can only be built upon .  We are born vulnerable, and remains at the center of human throughout .  Authentic human can only be achieved through .  Exploring our with others, and sharing our burdens of with others, is a necessary process for building .  If we put ourselves out there and we are accepted and embraced, the space where we can truly be ourselves and truly learn about others grows wider and deeper.  This knowledge and of ourselves and others is essential for reaching our full human potential.  In its most simplest terms, we need others to be fully human.  is an invitation to .  If another reciprocates that trust, then trust grows.  If another shuts us down or hurts us, then trust stagnates or recedes.  Similarly, mistrust becomes an invitation to mistrust.

We have all experienced rejection and hurt, and many have experienced outright trauma.  These facts of human existence provide the baseline for how much trust we might expect at any given .  However, building trust or from mistrust can only occur by inviting others to trust, which requires a from anyone inviting another to grow trust.  These are the true heroes of human , not those who “make” things happen (the purview of force).

Without trust we devolve into isolation and .  Individualism can only be maintained by increasing control over others whom we do not trust and consider threatening.  This does not well with the people sought to be controlled.  This is the most fundamental division in forming, maintaining, and building human .  There may be a nominal alignment of interests within social classes to secure common goals, but these interests will remain forever in tension and at of erosion if the primary driver is individual .  The perpetual warring of competing interests, and continual realigning of interest groups, is an inescapable result of an unwillingness or inability to share vulnerabilities with other people, to invite mutual trust.

Further, the drive to control others emanates directly from a subjugation of the common good to our own perceived good.  Whether conscious or unconscious, this drive is based on the calculation or assumption that, as an individual, one can fare better by against rather than with others.  While this may be true in limited contexts and -frames, such and subjugation erodes the potential for human progress or at any given moment.  There are many things that a trusting community, of two or more people, can build than an individual, no matter how much force they can apply to others to control others according to their own will.  If you have any doubt about the benefits of trust, consider the simple advantages of unlocked doors versus locked doors.  A fortress mentality, built on mistrust, is costly both physically and psychologically.  Of course, physical for one’s person and property is perhaps the crudest manifestation of trust’s benefits.  At the of trusting relationships is in the safety of accepting and loving others, and deep knowledge of others; both of which vastly improve our functioning in the human world in realistic and effective ways.

Since community builds from a growing trust in others, it is not surprising that families and close personal relationships are the building blocks of community.  Even the trust of near and far is powerfully mediated by our personal experiences and from the example, , and opinions of those whom we trust, those closest to us.  For this reason alone, building community is a bottom-up enterprise.

You can’t legislate trust.  Trust is synonymous with , not to coerce but that which we believe has a legitimate claim upon us.  seem to have a of their own, a self-replicating or self-perpetuating .  However, human are dependent on humans.  Any that an institution has is derived somewhere down the line from the “street cred,” the level of trustworthiness of that humans associated with that institution.  are comprised of a set of humans associated with it, and a set of “corporate” relationships that govern its behavior.  The and trust of humans determines the legitimate of institutions (as opposed to simply force), not the other way around.

At the nexus of the personal relationships of humans and the corporate relationships of an institution, is the next level of human community where trust and mistrust manifest themselves.  Institutions guided by trust are mere tools, a to be used, by humans, to achieve some common good.  They act in accord with the will of the people associated with it, and demonstrate authority in as much as it behaves in ways with legitimate claims to creating common goods.   Institutions guided by mistrust are those plagued by humans who value the tool more than the people it was designed to serve.  Such human plague trusts tools, things, more than people.

The difference is between humans using a tool or the tool using humans.  Of course, the tool does not have a of its own, but its is derived from the humans associated with it.   Used appropriately, institutions serve as a tool to magnify the common good, and they both deserve and build trust.  Used inappropriately, institutions are weaponized by some to control others, magnifying the invitation to mistrust, and degrading community.  This weaponization of institutions hinges on a mistrust that chooses valuing “things” over people, in a quest for individual .  In essence, such institutional abuse is a form of dehumanization, reducing people (and their institutions) to things simply to be used for one’s own advantage.  This tension or outright conflict within institutions greatly magnifies the dividing line between people and things.  While institutions can leverage the common good, I suspect that the ease of hijacking institutions compared to the great effort required to build healthy institutions does not bode well for the total net benefit of large institutions in human and community.  Large institutions with their relative ease of weaponization sets up access to perhaps the greatest area of differentials in human society.  Perhaps the best basis for securing human is minimizing large institutions which can magnify differentials between people.

I suspect that widespread trust is much more efficient and effective than the widespread large institutions, the hallmark of , at bringing about healthy, happy, and free human communities.  The fulcrum between trust and mistrust is , or love.  Without toward ourselves and others regarding our vulnerabilities and imperfections, we will forever fall short of being whole human beings, who can only be made whole in community.  builds trust and can banish .  I am hopeful that the of authentic, healthy community is more powerful and attractive than fearful isolation and individualism.  May it be so…

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