The whole and its parts

The whole & its parts

Seeing Trust

Looking up words in a dictionary is an interesting exercise. Looking up words in a variety of dictionaries is even more interesting as it allows to see small differences and changes in the way we use language.

According to the Merriam-Webster trust is “assured reliance on the character, ability, strength, or truth of someone or something”.

Whereas the Oxford Living Dictionaries shares a slightly different definition: “firm belief in the reliability, truth, or ability of someone or something”.

While the definitions seem similar, I’m interpreting some differences. To me “assured reliance” indicates some verification and questioning of the trust before it comes to existence, whereas “firm belief” might very well have been established without evidence or investigation.

Engaging in trust building through verification results in shared responsibility. The person trusting has done some homework before giving her trust and the person being trusted can live up to it.

Going for it based on a belief is putting the responsibility on the other. There has not been any prior engagement into trust-building – it simply “is”, possibly an open door for disappointment.

These are nuances of understanding, but they shape our behavior.

I had been triggered to look up the word trust while reading in Seth Godin’s This is Marketing. In a section related to “frequency”, he describes that our main method to remember things is by rehearsing them.

Rehearsing can happen based on the learning and training we do.

Rehearsing is also the result of events that happen over and over again. The story we repeat, the people we recognize when seeing them regularly, the brand we’ve always used, the actions we perform every day. It’s the drip, drip, drip establishing habits.

It eventually leads us “to associate ‘trust’ with the events and stories that happen again and again. The familiar is normal and the normal is trusted” as Seth writes.

What I’ve found fascinating in this is the realization of how many details influence my ability to see a verified reality. The sheer mass of information makes it difficult to question every information received. We are on the road to “acceptance of the truth of a statement without evidence or investigation”  as the  Oxford Living Dictionaries also describes trust.

The more information we consume, the more difficult it becomes. The more we’ll move towards seeking the “normal”.


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