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 Blooming Stars

Humanity’s Crisis of Distrust

            The greatest crisis humanity is facing currently is one of distrust. It is a vicious cancer that is rotting the vitals of humanity and human relations. It took a long evolutionary period from the beginning of humanity until now to develop meaningful trust among humans. Until recently, it was generally presumed that everyone is fair and honest until proved otherwise. Now just the opposite is gaining ground. Expressions such as ‘all are dishonest and untrustworthy’ and ‘nobody can be believed and trusted these days’ are not infrequent. While there were scattered instances of terrorism and violence taking place in different parts of the world before September 11, 2001, that evil historical event of terrorism occurring on that day in the sky before the very eyes of humanity in New York, the biggest city of the mightiest nation on earth, killing about 3000 persons is the beginning of the great shattering of trust. This was a blow at the very root of trust and all the values human hold so dear. This unique traumatic event for humanity gave a great boost to the paranoid, consumerist culture that was gradually spreading everywhere. The expensive security needed for air travel and innumerable public buildings all over the world took away the precious money from the scanty budgets ear-marked for the basic necessities of life for many, especially the poor and the down-trodden. Poor nations were the ones that were hit awfully hard.

            According to Erik Erikson, a famous developmental psychologist, the first of the eight stages of human development spread over the entire life-span is trust. Not developing trust at the earliest stage of one’s growth leads to major problems in life. Major mental disorders such as paranoia and paranoid schizophrenia result from one’s inability to trust and develop strong bond with others. Distrust is the reason for breakdown in all kinds of relationships between husband and wife, parents and children, and nations. All fights and wars start with distrust. Without trust there is no cooperation. We are able to drive on the road, for instance, because we trust that the person driving from the opposite direction is going to keep his/her side of the road. As oxygen is for survival so is trust for cooperation.

            Before it is too late humanity needs to develop trust among its members. A crash course to foster trust for sheer human survival is essential. A compassionate, truth-based meditational approach in the place of current litigious legal system is very much needed. Training in effective conflict resolution skills, and building a just and equitable society where there is a fair distribution of wealth for all can go a long way in building trust. Societies that respect human rights and are free of corruption maintain and increase the trust level.


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