Mistrust

tank_crossingAs a child, I remember being fascinated by products advertised in magazines. I remember one or more of the actual objects arriving, and noticing how paltry it was in comparison to the advertisement. The colors weren’t as bright; the product showed seams and gaps from manufacture; and it never performed quite up to the promised level.

It has baffled me since then as to why this society tolerates lies, deception and manipulation. People would tell me, “Oh, everyone knows that’s not true.” That then made me wonder: why is it profitable to continue doing it then? Clearly everyone does not know. And even more, why tolerate such an ugly, hope-crushing practice?

There are many forms of this pathology, but the summary is that our society tolerates deception and as a result has made mistrust a rule. It’s not illegal to lie, or to cheat. As a result, that’s what people expect when they encounter one another, and so they are correspondingly selfish.

Imagine deals between criminals. One offers something and the other things this is surely a sham, so what he offers is equally blighted. The result is a trade that leaves everyone feeling short-changed, resentful and angry at the world. It’s not surprising that people behave like angry nobodies when this happens.

Our society has for centuries been wracked by this internal mistrust. All of it has started to resemble Dickensian England, where the streets are lined with pickpockets and the stores all cheat, with the only escape being so rich that your staff insulates you from the mess.

By teaching new generations that this is normal, we’ve created the kind of mentality in our citizens we saw in the Soviet union. Of course the government tractor won’t start; they never do. Of course the latest policy has failed; they always do. Ignore it and keep on trucking.

It’s not the big things that bring down empires, but the little things. Mistrust means that every certification is a sham, every statement is a lie, every specification is wrong, etc. and that the only way to succeed is to work around your fellow citizens. It makes us selfish, paranoid and cruel.

It shouldn’t surprise anyone at this point that our society has become a sort of giant filter in which only the wealthy have any chance at a normal life. Everyone else is caught down there, in the churning of mistrust and squabbling for pennies, trying to get to the top.

In the name of equality, which forbade us merely selecting people for being the best and putting them at the top, we have created a vortex of “competition.” This competition isn’t for moral character, ability or intelligence, but the hours put into fighting over irrelevant details. It’s “fair” in the view of the egalitarians.

However, it has made our society a mean place, and thus made us mean, and we don’t apply that only to others, but even to ourselves, becoming so cynical that we loathe even ourselves and long for the suicide of our civilization. The cost of mistrust is higher than was advertised.

18 Comments

  1. Elijah says:

    In High School I remember thinking “at least with everything so stupid it makes it really easy to slide through classes without trying.” Actually, the same sentiment applied to College 90% of the time as well.

    That may seem nice for a kid whose only goal is graduation, but for an entire society to work that way makes for a major failure.

    1. 1349 says:

      but for an entire society to work that way makes for a major failure.

      There were many loafers among my classmates. Often they didn’t do homework and asked me for mine to copy it off. And i almost always gave it to them (out of sympathy and a wish to be somewhat popular). What a big mistake… They’ve got used to cheat and goof off every time they can.

    2. Egalitarian education is a jail sentence with a memory test at the end.

  2. lisacolorado says:

    Here’s a question: What can you or I get that is fully authentic and real, nowadays?

    1. crow says:

      If it’s real, you can’t ‘get’ it.
      You can be it, or be in proximity to it.
      But you can’t own it.
      That’s real.
      That’s probably why things need to be advertised.
      Right down to things like a “New You”.

    2. gg says:

      Searching for for things of this nature is like being in a a clear river which becomes murkier the more one sifts. Best done by invoking the spirit of the right answer in oneself. In this case where water is made obscure by others, one will need to be clear and tranquil on the inside. Like crow said. Be it.

      1. The self is a better detector of external reality than society is.

        What is real? Reality is real.

        Everything else is an interpretation, often through “a representation of a representation” as Schopenhauer portrayed the linkage of our perception and memory.

        You won’t know anything directly. Only metaphorically.

        But what’s more important is that you’re going to bring yourself into what you know regardless, so make sure the self is realistic. Disciplined, true, but even more importantly, geared toward joy in life, optimums — beauty is truth, and truth beauty — more than utilitarianism.

        There is much to discover and a better way of life than modern existence in the System.

    3. http://lisacolorado.blogspot.com/

      Interesting blog you’ve linked there.

      1. crow says:

        No kidding.
        Yet the url points only to the Blogspot signup page.
        Thanks, Brett, for tracking down the right address :)
        Some eye-catching reading there.

        1. gg says:

          I saw this blog a few days ago after that link went to the blogger main page, i typed lisacolorado as the address. Boom.. It is very interesting and worth reading.

  3. Count Cagliostro says:

    “All of it has started to resemble Dickensian England, where the streets are lined with pickpockets and the stores all cheat”

    My thoughts exactly as I was walking down the street (to grab my coffee at Starbucks)

    1. I’m reminded constantly that each Starbucks is operated by human individuals. Some of them are quite good; others are just adequate. The company does a good job of quality control, as much as it can, but some owners manage to motivate their workers to do a great job, and may just have had better raw material to work with.

      1. crow says:

        On a circuitous walk around London, I counted 24 Starbucks in the course of a single afternoon. Nothing like overkill, eh?

  4. Stuart L says:

    In the eighties I read books by the likes of Robert Ringer and William E. Simon (ex Secretary of Treasury) and was astounded to learn how the monetary system really works.

    If governments and banks (and I don’t understand all the smoke and mirrors but the practice of fractional reserve banking seems wrong to me) are prepared to create fiat money / credit and hence inflation, then how can we have trust?

    Like the rule of law, money is of critical importance, and for me, honest money is an essential component of trust in any society.

    1. Elijah says:

      They feed and encourage hedonism. It reinforces their power by offering the choices that is in their favor as the most hedonistic option.

      For example, instead of allowing parasitic banks to fail and suffer loses, they painted a picture of average Joe having a reduced and less pleasurable lifestyle if they don’t print money.

      In reality, Joe got no benefit and the decision will destroy any savings he has, but Joe would rather go back to drinking beer and watching football because it is the most comfortable and hedonistic option.

  5. lisacolorado says:

    Changed the thingy. Did it lead to my Gertrude blog?

  6. crow says:

    Yes. All is fine now.

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