The great contemporary political philosopher Francis Fukuyama wrote that our foundations of society are based fundamentally on “Trust”. Societies that have strong “trust” traditions tend to last, while societies that have weak “trust” traditions tend to self-implode and become dominated by their more dynamic “trusting” neighbors.
Those of you who are reading this in North America and Europe….congratulations….you are residing in a more or less Trust based society. The cultural advancement, and dynamic legal systems….as well as a more robust economy proves that.
Well….up to a point.
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See our Trust instinct can become a hardwired cultural determiner that can lead to our demise when we encounter someone unwilling, or unable to play by our societally accepted rules.
We are not prepared to wait for each and every action from our partner, neighbor, or threat to determine their mindset and agenda. Through their past actions, their formal and informal current actions and dialogue, laid across a broad spectrum of societal constructs we can predict future behavior. We need to have this in order for our society to function efficiently.
But what happens when someone decides not too?
When the guy walking down the street smiles at you, you predict that he will continue walking after a harmless flirtation.
Forceable rape would never cross your mind.
When the salesman tells you that this product is going to work for you far better than the cheaper brand you tend to accept that …because you need to for our society to work.
When the lover tells you there is no one but you…you believe it…because the alternative is too hard to accept.
But the rapist, the dishonest salesman, the deceitful lover…they all have one thing in common that gives them tremendous power….they have abandoned the Trust culture and are now able to profit on the desire of their victims to believe them.
Personal protection is a holistic endeavor.
We must be constantly vigilant against our own victimization both physically as well as psychologically.
A mountain road may be designed by the most advanced state funded engineers, but taken at too high a rate of speed the road still becomes treacherous. We must use the road for what it is designed for…but we must be cautious in its use.
People that seek advantage on us physically will look for an easier mark when they realize that the cost of attacking will be too great and not be outweighed by the benefits of their ill gotten gain.Likewise, those that seek to do us psychic harm must be dissuaded from doing so….not out of pity of our gullibility but out of a realization that their efforts are simply going to go unrewarded.
While we must trust in others for our civilization to continue…we must have confidence in ourselves that we can spot the interlopers…the deceivers, before they can do us damage.