I stumbled upon this recent quote from Melih Abdulhayoglu in the Comodo Forum. The context for this quote was that in software security, applications may be trusted to do certain things but not other things. Said simpler, Melih introduced in my mind the concept of limited trust – all trust is related to the function at hand.
He meant it in a technical sense of course, but that idea just grabbed me and wouldn’t let go. Taken to its logical (albeit cosmic) conclusion, his simple technical idea started a storm in my mind that suggested that there can be no situation where one person completely and wholly trusts another, all the time.
This idea put a knife in my highly precious set of beliefs that include you can trust completely or, that love triumphs over all and I was determined to protect this idealistic concept.
At I first tried to answer the question by looking at my own experience. Was there anyone, when I really analyzed it rationally, that I totally trusted? On everything? I thought long and hard and the answer was a depressing no. There was no one I trusted all the time for everything.
Then I thought – damn he was right. I was feeling worse. It was going to be a long night. But the more I tried to rationalize this concept, the further the knife was driven into the heart of my now, on life support idea, that we can trust people in our lives completely.
I needed to be inspired and so I turned inward. I started to think about the people I love in my life and I realized how closely tied love and trust really are. Once I made that connection, the answer became clear.
Trust can be bestowed wholly and unquestioningly … but there is a trick. Just like love, we can trust completely but we must really understand the people we give our trust to because then we know what not to count on them for. If trust is “done right”, trust can be maintained because there is no situation where they are being “set up to fail”. And there’s a sweeter side too if we trust this way. The power of trusted-ness, means that it can withstand the occassional dings of disappointments that inevitably occur.
In the end, if someone we trust disappoints us too much – we should look to ourselves first. The answer is not that they failed (if our trust was well placed), but that we failed to observe well enough. It’s not that we can’t trust universally, it is that we did not do it right.
It’s a meaningful difference that frames the concept for me better. After all, trust so fundamental to how we live a rich life – I couldn’t let that sad “you can’t trust anyone” thought roam freely in my mind.
I’m glad that’s settled.