Measured Distrust

While it can be debated that a high trust culture is at least partly a matter of DNA common to northern European societies, the only reason that matters is it helps to explain why so many Americans are gullible against the predatory behavior of those who don’t come from an Anglo-American background.

Folks who absorbed that Anglo-American culture are burdened with an all-or-nothing trust model. They struggle with the concept of nuanced distrust. You’ll typically find them walking away from situations where they can’t clearly define areas of trust, instead of trying to work through the options. And when their trust fails, they aren’t very good at social aplomb. They feel compelled to say something about their sense of betrayal because of the strong feelings they invest in social bonds.

These are broad tendencies. That I would have to note that testifies to what I’m saying here. Even when it should be obvious that we are talking about discernible trends, not hard and fast rules, Anglo-American culture seizes upon words, as if there is some mythical sacred trust in writing about things so that readers feel compelled to make binary judgments about the writer. It’s all part of the same weakness that makes Americans so easy to manipulate.

If I tell you that Microsoft is more trustworthy than Google, you might tend to jump on board the MS train and go whole hog. But I was careful to qualify that announcement. It was offered in the context of “every Big Tech is a threat” — including the Open Source ones — to suggest that, in order to move forward, we sometimes have to make guarded accommodations for using one or another OS and all the baggage that comes with that choice. I say such things in terms of choosing which collection of baggage you can afford to carry around, but that you will most certainly carry some baggage.

On a side note: There are reports some folks using fully paid Outlook for email are seeing advertising that they can’t remove. They claim that complaints to Microsoft fell on deaf ears. If this becomes more prevalent, then you will know that Microsoft has become no different from Google, and worthy of the same level of distrust over the same abusive baggage. But plenty of Linux distributions make decisions for you that aren’t in your best interest, so it’s everywhere you turn.

And why would you pay any attention to the mainstream media? Well, right now it’s very hard to get any decent weather reports any other way. Any technology you use to obtain those reports invariably passes through some gatekeeper. Pick one; pick the one you can tolerate best, but by no means actually trust them. Meteorology is a science with a modicum of interpretation involved; that’s what journalists pretend they are doing with the news. Thus, the mainstream media buries their weather reports in a bunch of propaganda so that you’ll associate the two as similarly trustworthy. (If your meteorologists are bad at estimating future weather events, I suppose it helps you distrust the rest of the news from that source.)

This somewhat the same with personal relations. In our daily lives we are forced to deal with all kinds of gatekeepers who may or may not be trustworthy in any degree. If you rent or buy a place to live, you are forced to deal with neighbors who may or may not be interested in your actual welfare. Your place of employment is no doubt loaded with random characters. Our American life is filled with gatekeeping. You should learn to expect betrayal, if for no other reason than you can look in the mirror and see your own sinful nature.

The heart-led path of Christian Mysticism is to count this world unworthy of significant care or worry. Guard your hearts from trusting the wrong things in this life.

About Ed Hurst

Avid cyclist, Disabled Veteran, Bible History teacher, and wannabe writer; retired.
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