Tied to yesterday's thoughts about emotional disconnection I wonder - have we become a people who are unable to trust?
My first memories of politics are after Watergate (for those friends who are ex-US, this was in 1974) - in fact, my very first memory is Gerald Ford being sworn in as President. As a result, I cannot remember a time where Americans did not have a high (and ever mounting) distrust of their governmental institutions. In some ways that is arguably a healthy thing (surely the Founders would have thought it so); on the other hand, a consistent and constant distrust makes actual forward progress a very difficult thing.
Or take our own personal lives. So much of what many have now is based on a carefully controlled social image. As someone pointed out to me last week, we almost never post about our fights or arguments or the things that put us in a bad light; to look at social media is to think that we are almost always photogenic, in a good mood, and our lives are smooth sailing. I wonder if this too breeds a certain instinctive level of distrust: after all, no-one's life can be 100% on all the time, can it?
We build images around ourselves, insulating layers of how we wish to be perceived - and suddenly find that insulation has made us different than what we thought we were. And perhaps on some level we begin to distrust ourselves as well, if we really admitted it. We have become disconnected from ourselves and in some cases, we - or at least I - begin to not trust the things that I am saying to myself in the dark corners of the night.
Do I have a solution for this? Not really. I certainly wish I did of course - much like with emotional disconnectedness, relationships and societies (which are really just a very complicated web of relationships) cannot be maintained long term without it.
Trust implies a confidence, a faith in the other that they are what they are and will do what they say. But if all we have become are images and layers, what is there that we can find to have faith in the other person?