Trusting people is risky. Trust me on that.
Years ago I posted an article about the different types of dumb in the world. There was another kind of dumb I could have mentioned, but I felt it deserved its own post. This article comes after years of thought and contemplation.
Being gullible is another form of dumb. I didn’t include it in my previous list because there are so many factors that go into gullibility. Determining the balance between trusting the information in front of us and questioning everything around us is not an easy thing to judge.
First off, consider your feelings. I’m a very calm person who likes to think things through before taking action. When new information is presented to me the calm is gone and replaced with uncertainty. A judgement needs to be made. Is this new information positive or negative? I consider the evidence, make a decision, and go back to being calm. The ultimate conclusion we are looking for is whether or not the new information makes sense. We want to be in a state where everything feels right. No uncertainty to bother us.
This process happens constantly in our lives. I received a letter in the mail recently saying I could get money from a court case if I just send them my social security number. Something doesn’t feel right about that. If the story doesn’t check out, then we either find out if there is more to the story or we walk away from the situation. When I was a journalist working in Idaho I would enter into government buildings or companies and simply tell them I’m a reporter and they would let me right in. My story made sense to them and they didn’t question it.
My worry is that people too often trust the information presented to them without testing it out for themselves. Not every source of new information is reliable. Many people seek to control the narrative by being persuasive and appealing. Skilled speakers can pacify a crowd of people tricking them into a false sense of calm. When calm we can mistakenly feel that everything must be alright because we feel good about everything. A healthy bit of doubt keeps us from being fooled by smooth talkers.
On the other hand, we have to trust someone eventually. We can’t just question all information presented to us. My image of how the world operates is based on all the reading I’ve done. I trust that the writers did a god job of telling the truth. If not, my knowledge is based on a false sense of reality. I don’t have time to see the world with my own eyes. I have to rely on other people’s eyes if I want to see it all.
My hope is that people will have trustworthy friends and family members to turn to. It’s frustrating when you don’t know how to feel about what you see around you. Good judgement allows us to find the bright side to our circumstances even when things don’t go our way. I choose to have an attitude of hope. If there are people I can trust, I will find them.