Jaded Trust

Jaded Trust

Except for those whom you know to be good
from experience or from a completely trustworthy source,
it is wise to deal with all people with your eyes wide open…
the important point is:
don’t trust anyone unless you are sure you can.
Francesco Guicciardini

Trust is a small word, but can have some major implications. Trust in its definitive essence, is a confidence or reliance in the good qualities of others. To trust someone means that you are counting on that person’s adherence to his sense of fairness, truth, and honor – traits which seem to be in short supply in today’s world. That may sound like a negative and pessimistic view of our world today, but actually that is not a new observation concerning the character of humans.

Sages and wise men throughout the ages have held the opinion that the majority of men are not men of good character, and therefore it stands, not men to be trusted, at least not in matters of importance. Wise men such as Gracian, Voltaire, Goethe, La Rochefoucauld, Lord Chesterfield, and Guicciardini, all espoused this viewpoint of men in general. They all admonished us to be careful of trusting others, especially in matters that are important to your well-being.

I would advise you not to trust either [men or women],
more than is absolutely necessary.
Lord Chesterfield

It is hazardous to trust others,
for he who trusts others will be controlled by them.
Han Fei Tzu

I did not acquire this distrust of men from reading the writings of these men, although their writings have reinforced my suspicious nature. After all, you can’t be too far off target if you agree with men such as these. Time and time again, I have found that my philosophy of expecting men in general (I use the word men as in human beings, females are just as untrustworthy as males) to be dishonest and untrustworthy, has proved to be accurate.

For of men it may generally be affirmed that they are
thankless, fickle,false, studious to avoid danger, greedy of gain,
devoted to you while you are able to confer benefits upon them,
and ready, as I said before, while danger is distant,
to shed their blood, and sacrifice their property,
their lives, and their children for you;
but in the hour of need they turn against you.
Niccolo Machiavelli

I realize that there are some who would say that I am simply manifesting what I expect from those I meet. I highly doubt that, but hey, I could be wrong. I prefer to approach the world with my eyes wide open. I have been conned too many times. Instead of seeing myself as a pessimist or a negative nail, I prefer to think of myself as vigilant in assessing the character of others. People in general don’t seem to put what is right or honorable above what is profitable or comfortable.

Generally men have higher respect
for their interest than their duty.
Francesco Guicciardini

This way of life does have some drawbacks though. I tend to be a little less open and much more suspicious of others than those who prefer to trust everyone until they give them a reason not to trust them. These people go through life with a rosier outlook towards people in general, but tend to get taken for a ride much more often as a result of their trusting personality. I have heard them make statements such as, “It is better to trust people and get screwed, than to go through life distrustful.”

Maybe it is. I don’t know. Those of you who have been reading my blog for a while know that I am definitely not perfect or infallible. I don’t have all the answers. I do know that trusting the wrong person, at the wrong time can totally change the course of your life, and not in a good way. The warrior has a responsibility to those who depend on him to be watchful and, to a certain point, distrustful of those who cross his path. He has a duty to protect those whom he loves.

Men are so false, so insidious,
so deceitful and cunning in their wiles,
so avid in their own interest, and
so oblivious to other’s interest,
that you cannot go wrong if you
believe little and trust less.
Francesco Guicciardini

Is this the most comfortable, happy-go-lucky way to go through life? No, its not. Is it the safest way to go through life? I think so. As with most everything, it is balance that truly matters. There is a time to trust others and a time to be distrustful. Always listen to your intuition. It will rarely steer you wrong. As I said, I don’t have all the answers, but I do learn from experience, and experience has taught me that the sages and the words of the wise should be listened to. It has also taught me that people are not to be trusted…but every now and then you have to take the risk to trust that you aren’t the only person in this world who is a true human being – a true warrior.

Trust the instinct to the end,
though you can render no reason.

Experience is a good school,
but the fees are high.
Heinrich Heine

Bohdi Sanders
Warrior Wisdom

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