Link to video: http://youtu.be/WpYeekQkAdc
In “The Consequences of Modernity,” Anthony Giddens takes us down a path where he highlights the growing disparities between pre- and postmodern intimacy. This is discussed through the idea of trust as well as values incorporated by romantic love, self-identity, empowerment or powerlessness in the face of globalizing tendencies, and perceptions of day-to-day life.
Trust is an essential element of human nature. Psychology proves that this is a normal development among humans and is prevalent in various different relationships throughout one average lifespan. For example, we have trust (or distrust) amongst ourselves as peers, coworkers, teachers/ students, parent/ child, husband/ wife, etc. On a larger scale, we see trust (or distrust) between society and government, consumer and producer, etc. ‘Trust’ is basically the expectation we have that another being or institution will acknowledge and foster our own interests. Without trust how could we create the aforementioned relationships that are required in our day-to-day lives? Trust, I believe, is severely undermined. It plays a role in everything; democracy, community, economy… suggesting that, if there were a decline in trust and a sudden incline in distrust, this can be quite damaging to society.
“Take a chance!” is this what we think when we deposit our payroll checks into our checking accounts? Or when we give that failing relationship a 2nd-3rd-4th try? When we leave our house unarmed despite multiple robbery and rape stories on the news? Or not protesting our doctors’ analysis of an oddity we thought was worth mentioning? Why is it so easy for some of us to give others the benefit of the doubt in that they are honest and true and equally concerned about our on personal interests and well-being?
Giddens hit the nail on the head in his statement that “Trust on a personal level becomes a project, to be ‘worked at’ by the parties involved, and demands the opening out of the individual to the other.” Today we look for references, certifications, success/failure rates, testimonials of others who are or have been in our current situation. We require this reassurance in order to establish the trust that is needed to keep social life going.
When thinking about the issue of trust and how big a role it plays in the functioning of our society, I vaguely recalled the lyrics of a popular 2003 song by The Black Eyed Peas titled “Where is the Love?”
“Yo', whatever happened to the values of humanity?/ Whatever happened to the fairness and equality?/ Instead of spreading love we're spreading animosity/ Lack of understanding, leading us away from unity.”
“It just ain't the same/ old ways have changed./ New days are strange/ is the world insane?”
Though the title doesn’t specifically mention trust, the lyrics surely imply that it’s a similar concept. Trust is a ‘value of humanity’ that ensured ‘fairness and equality’, as a result of this lack of trust, we stray away from one another… isolating ourselves and becoming powerless as we bring social life to a halt. The music video for “Where is the love?” questions the direction in which we’re heading, the influences of social media, what is to come to the youth, it questions why issues are being ‘swept under the rug,’ and most importantly asks who can be trusted.
Nothing can function without trust; society isn’t configured to do so. Democracies, economies, and communities are all founded on it. When it comes down to ‘trust’ and ‘security,’ it is critical that we understand its mechanisms in order to solve the vast array of issues such as justice and the law, global warming, politics, relationships, families, etc.
I wonder… how real is trust? Is it a social construction that has been deeply embedded in our human functioning or is it simply an over emphasized illusion?