NAAWAN, Misamis Oriental (MindaNews / 19 February) – If we now comfortably live in this modern time it is because we put so much trust, consciously or unconsciously, in people around us.
We take a jeepney or a bus or a plane to our destination without bothering to ask the state of mind of the driver or the pilot. We simply trust that he will deliver us safely to our objective.
We dine and enjoy our meals in restaurants trusting that the cook and the waiters will not do anything wicked or put anything harmful in the food we eat.
We take the elevator to the 101st floor of a skyscraper with nary a thought that the cables may snap or the tall building may collapse anytime. We trust and do not question the skills and professionalism of all those responsible for such engineering wonders.
We put our money into an ATM machine trusting that the system will record our transaction and give our money back to us when we need it.
We support a friend’s bid for a position of leadership trusting and believing that he will live up to our ideals and dreams he claims to identify with.
Society is built and grows on trust. It is to the advantage of every participant in an economic and social transaction if he offers and gives his best to a relationship. Such an effort would make every transaction mutually beneficial, lasting and sustainable.
Once trust, however, is violated the relationship established may flounder and irreversibly end. Thus, we stop returning to dine in an inefficient and unsanitary restaurant. We stop booking our flights in an airline notorious for its unreliable schedules. We stop buying our appliances from a company that negates on its warranties. And we shy away from friends who betrayed our ideals and frustrated our expectations.
There are always opportunists, scoundrels and scalawags in our midst. However cautious we may be, we at times succumb to their charm and wily schemes. But we need not sulk over our failed decisions or on the glitches of the systems around us. Life is never perfect. Nonetheless, it is self-correcting. In the final equation of things, it is still in our favor if we continue to trust and hope on the goodness of people around us.
To lean on trust, life may yet turn easy, peaceful and comfortable. To opt for distrust may yet lead us to a difficult, paranoid and miserable existence.
There are always good and bad people in whatever society and place. The good actually outnumbers the bad several hundred times. The latter, however, are more visible than the former because of their harmful deviation from accepted norms of social conduct that gets so much public attention. They weaken trust.
It is wrong to label and condemn an entire community on account of the wayward behavior of some of its members. Stereotyping is the laziest way in using one’s brains that oversimplifies things abandoning logic and reality. This is how biases and prejudices are developed and reinforced which causes disruptive and damaging divisions of society.
(MindaViews is the opinion section of MindaNews. William R. Adan, Ph.D., is a retired professor and former chancellor of Mindanao State University at Naawan, Misamis Oriental, Philippines.)