Trust in the Modern World by Saelen Ghose
In a world where we are all connected by the touch of a button or the click of a mouse, trust is declining faster than the oil spilling out beneath the ocean floor. It seems counterintuitive to think that as the world becomes smaller, we trust our fellow humans less, but it’s happening before our very eyes. It’s possible we just don’t like what we see.
Information isn’t dispersed anymore, it’s shot out through one of those T-shirt launchers on the “juice.” A kid can’t forget his lunch box at school without it being on the news. And the news is no longer just newspapers, magazines, television and radio. It’s also blogs, forums and every social networking site on the web. We are inundated with information, and this plethora of news, accurate or not, is causing us to live inside little bubbles, creating even more divisions within a country already divided by politics, faith and ethnicity.
I’m not saying ignorance is bliss. It’s not. I’m also not saying we should return to the days where information was disseminated by horseback, or by young boys yelling the headlines in crowded city streets. However, too much information has a paralyzing effect on us and causes us to question everything and everyone. And overanalyzing sure takes the fun out of life’s adventures.
Let’s examine the sports world for a second. I don’t trust anything I see anymore because every time there’s a feel good story, there’s another not-so-feel-good story behind it. Take the summer of 1998 when Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa battled for the most storied record, possibly in sports history. What a magical summer that was!! That is, until it was tainted by admission of steroid use. In fact, now I question every one of the great sports stories in the last ten years because I just don’t trust what I see anymore.
It only begins with sports, but it’s part of every facet of our lives. The news tells us of predators lurking at every corner, and politicians having affairs, and corporations lying to the world. And we don’t receive just the basic facts about these events, but all the lurid details behind the facts, reported over and over and over. We never have to worry about missing something either. If we miss it the night it happens, we surely won’t miss it the next day, or the next week. It’s news to match the fast pace of our lives, but it’s overkill.
Now don’t call me a hypocrite please. I realize you’re reading this in the newspaper and that’s a good thing. I’m not complaining about news sources, but more how we process the news and what we do with the information. It’s important for us to be informed and up to date with what’s happening in the world. But let’s start thinking for ourselves again shall we? Isn’t that what we try to teach our kids; not to let peer pressure guide them? Haven’t we all said, “Would you jump off that bridge if Johnny or Sue told you to?”
But here we are ignoring our own advice and letting everyone tell us how to think. And what’s the common theme in this message? Don’t trust anyone. Those OTHER people are bad. They don’t look like you, they don’t think like you, they don’t pray like you, so they must be bad people. Stay away from them and keep to yourself. And we are all guilty of this paranoia. Sure it’s normal to gravitate toward people that are similar to us, but how do we know how similar or different they are without actually having a conversation?
Technology has provided us the power to reach anyone on this planet in a matter of seconds. But this technology can only introduce us to the world. We actually have to leave our houses and explore for ourselves in order to take advantage of that introduction. And surely that’s a lot more interesting than sitting behind our desks.
So if you see me out and about in the world, stop and say hello. I won’t bite. Trust me.