Okay, so I’m definitely not that great at keeping up with my blog… I promise… I’ll get better at this! I have two half-finished ones saved and in due time, hopefully sometime this week – Insha’Allah, they will be finished and posted!
I’m going to take a different approach and rather than directly addressing ideas and concepts that I have been thinking about in regards to class, I’m going to draw on a personal dilemma that seems to be inescapable even as I am half way around the world from California. Some of it however, does pertain to some intriguing material that I have been reading in a couple of my classes and has subsequently resulted in further contemplation. Not too sure how much of class contemplation will arise in this current rambling, but if not here then the next. As suggested by the title, the anticipated topic of the last couple of weeks has been the concept of “trust”. What is “trust”? How does one know what “trust” is? How does one know when to or when not to engage in the act of “trust”? Lastly, how does one know when “trust” is genuine, if there is even such a concept of genuine?
Before I get well over my own head, let’s start with basics.
What is “TRUST”? Provided by the Oxford English Dictionary, linguistically, “trust” is defined as the following:
- Confidence in or reliance on some quality or attribute of a person or thing, or the truth or a statement
- To accept or give credit to without investigation or evidence
- Confident expectation of something; hope
- Confident, safe, secure, sure
- Faithful, trusty; reliable, sound
- To have faith or confidence; to place reliance, to confide.
- To give credence to, believe (a statement); to rely upon the veracity or evidence of (a person, etc.).
Of course I must acknowledge that the definitions I have chosen to present are not representative of ALL the definitions in the Oxford English Dictionary. I have merely chosen what I believe are the most inclusive of the listed (please visit the attached link if you wish to read all definitions provided). What one should notice that within the definitions of “trust” is that the words “confident” and “reliance/reliable” reoccur. What isn’t listed (but I believe implicit) to the definitions is the notion that “trust,” regardless of the part of speech, is based upon relationships, whether it’s between individuals, an individual and a group (family, community, society, company, etc.) or trust within oneself. Trust seems to be a fundamental necessity for the world to function. When there is a lack of trust, relationships are broken and conflict, however minute or immense, becomes common ground. So what happens once “trust” is understood linguistically?
UNDERSTANDING VERSUS “KNOWING”
How does one know what “trust” is and how does one know when to or when not to engage in the act of “trust”? Let’s again, start with the basics. If “trust” stems from relationships then one should examine the first relationship one engages in, family. Family in this sense is not contingent on biology but rather the core unit in which a group of people are living together and functioning as a single household (Encarta Dictionary). A familial relationship is important as one learns the roles of society, culture, and of interaction between individuals. The concept (and cycle) of trust is taught, developed, maintained and recycled continuously within the family and upon introduction into society, the cycle of trust is reenacted. But what if the foundations in which trust is supposed to be understood, is not established? What if the first encounter that one has with the cycle of trust is fragmented and unstable? How does that affect one’s understanding and ability to “know” what trust is in other relationships and within oneself?
To understand trust as merely a concept is to hinder one’s ability to truly comprehend the “act” and reciprocation of trust. In other words, to understand the “cycle of trust” and to know when one is experiencing genuine trust, then one must first understand the meaning and concept of it linguistically but also is able to experienced it in performativity. The development and progression of human life is based on our ability to both rationalize and experience the world around us. If we only understand concepts but are unable to experience it with our sense(s) – see, hear, smell, taste, hear – or vice versa, experience the world with our senses but are unable to comprehend our experiences, and then we may find ourselves lost in indulging either extremes rather than finding a medium between experience and conceptual understanding. Of course this is merely my understanding and one may surely debate the topic, but from this I further beg the question, if the foundations of trust are not initially established, then how does one truly “know” what trust within oneself is and likewise, what trust is in other human-to-human relationships?
Personally, the concept and experience of trust is constantly called into question. One could define my curiosity with trust as a lifelong series of contemplations. Since one is only able to comprehend the world through one’s own experiences, I have realized that as much as I would hate to admit it, my personal experiences with trust have ultimately affected me in such a way to make me unsure of what it is I truly desire from others. On the one hand, I value human-to-human relationships – I make an effort to get to know people and I try my best to be there for others, both as a family member and as a friend. However, what I have also begun to notice, is my hesitance and to an extent, my inability to maintain relationships. Which brings me to question the notion of trust? Having grown up in an unstable household, trust was a concept often spoken of but more often not performed through action. At the rarest times in which trust seemed to be established, it was just as easily revoked or countered with verbal and emotional guilt trips. How then, does one come to comprehend and experience trust if all that one knows is fragmented pieces of what seems to be emulate the linguistic understanding of trust? Of course one can always shift blame to some external influence, but individual responsibility must also be taken. As an adult, if one wish to change, then time, dedication and effort are needed… but I can’t help but wonder, with a concept like trust, how much change for a better understanding and experience of it can be made? How much of oneself must be sacrificed or be put up for gamble before enough is enough?
So after all the rambling, what now? What was the point of outlining my understanding of trust? Before my return to Egypt, I thought I had at one point understood who I was as a person, a single individual living amongst so many others. But over the course of the past year, I’ve discovered I know nothing significant of myself at all. No, I suppose that’s not fair to say, as I know my history well, my motives, my drive, my inspiration, my sorrow, happiness, every fiber of my being… I know them well… But maybe that’s the problem. There are no more fragments left to find as they have all been uncovered, and maybe that’s the problem. I’ve spent so much time trying to uncover all the broken pieces that I’ve forgotten how to piece them back together.
I spent years in high school blaming others for the conflicts in my life, and then I spent an equal amount of years (if not more) blaming myself for the lack of self-control and the inability to decipher right from wrong. Of course we cannot control the actions of others as they must control themselves and we, ourselves, but what happens when the necessary foundations of say, trust, are needed in order to interact with others were not properly established from the start? How much blame can be shift to others and of ourselves before obsession over conflict start to fester and corrode us internally? How do we break away from the recognizable bad cycles and habits of our life? Again, an individual can only blame external forces and one’s self for so long and for so many things. And with this I leave the questions that plague…
How does one take ownership of one’s own faults, learn, and move on to the better? How can one even be sure that the processes in which they decide to engage in is the right one? How does one determine when someone is genuinely apologetic? How can one be sure if someone is truly sincere in their words if their actions have suggested otherwise? One can never be 100% sure of anything, so when and how is one “sure enough” or am able to deem something “worthy enough” to move on to the next level of trust or the reestablishment of trust? Regret should not rule life, but I wonder when does regret not play a role in decision making? When do we have full control? And is control even remotely possible?