I was over on Seb Paquet’s Emergent Cities blog this morning, and rereading his inaugural post from about a year ago – What are Emergent Cities? He makes the claim that “we’re about to see the emergence of a new way of conducting innovation that operates quasi-independently of the current money system,” and that the chief requirements to make this happen are things like “time, imagination, knowledge, initiative and trust, with money moving from primary to secondary concern.”
The whole post is worth reading, as I think he really nailed many of the elements that need to be in place for a new economy to emerge, namely the “social DNA” piece. (where ‘social DNA’ forms the foundation for culture)
The barriers to the “new economy” aren’t so much technology hurdles, they’re mental, emotional, and behavioral ones. (highly shaped and constructed via LANGUAGE. more on this in upcoming posts.)
We discussed the concept of “culture technology” a few weeks ago, and this is exactly it.
If we want to level up our civilization and be capable of exchanging value without a pure reliance on money, there has to be some other non-monetary infrastructure that creates the vessels and channels for exchange.
Like trust, for example.
Here’s the comment I left on his blog this morning:
you were a bit ahead of your time with this post, eh?
we are just now beginning to gel and form into some type of connected node with a shared values base, but i have found that the requirements are much steeper than imagined.
you mention time, initiative and trust as key elements….
and we’ve found that it’s much easier to talk about trusting than to trust. at least i’ve found. and it’s easier to talk about getting something off the ground than to actually do it.
i’ve learned so much about myself and others these past few months as i’ve actively been cultivating relationships and engaging in small experiments working with others on a short-term basis. a book i’m reading now that i highly recommend to anyone who is interested in building an emergent city is Tribal Leadership. it’s all about how to evolve culture – starting with your own personal evolution and then radiating outward into your tribe.
one of the big insights for me right now is that in a high-functioning learning team/tribe/node/emergent city, trust is the DEFAULT.
meaning, it’s not about earning trust before you begin. you trust. you assume good will, unite around a shared vision, and start the expedition to new lands.
this has been extremely difficult for me to do. i WANT to. but i don’t just trust people, and even for the ones i do, something in the back of my head is staying alert and waiting for that shoe to drop, fearful of being let down, disappointed, or abandoned.
i wonder how many of us are on this cusp…. so ready to evolve into the next stage so we can really begin together, but are holding ourselves back, trapped in old patterns, limiting beliefs, unhelpful narratives.
i know we’re getting there, and that is exciting.
it’s also healthy for us to be aware that if we want to build a new culture, a new society, a new kind of life for ourselves — it is very much an inside job first.
So trust is a leap of faith. I don’t think I know how to actually do it.
monika hardymonika hardy said:
spot on..assume good.
saves so much energy. no?
creating spaces of permission.. where there is nothing to prove. believing.. there is never nothing going on.
Curtis Faith (@inflector) said:
Moving from knowing you need to trust to doing it is a shift in perspective.
If you view trust as a prediction you will find that you can never trust. Another may always do something you didn’t expect, or something that doesn’t fit what you’d have done in like circumstance, or what you’d have hoped they’d have done. So a predictive trust is doomed to failure.
Even the most upright and faithful person has let someone down.
If you view trust as an assessment of resonant balance, and bring a commitment to continue to trust no matter what happens, that trust will always endure. For you then place the responsibility for the failure in the bond of trust with you rather than with the others.
When you make trust conditional, the conditions for failure are possible. When you make trust unconditional, you open up the possibility for others to always remain trustworthy.
So the threshold for trusting someone changes from: can I predict this persons behavior, to do I understand this persons heart and is that heart resonant with mine.
I have found that I can only truly understand the heart of those who live their lives consistent with their stated dreams and aspirations and most of all: spiritual / ethical principles. So I confine my trust to those who live their own lives for their own reasons and actively and constantly root out their own hypocrisy. When their heart—as shown by the spiritual and ethical principles their lives demonstrate—resonates with mine, I know that I can never be let down. For if there is a failure in expectation, it is just as likely to be my failure as theirs, and I will learn from each failure.
These are the people I trust.
Laurent Marbacher said:
Very inspiring comment. Thank you.
Treat a man as he appears to be, and you make him worse. But treat a man as if he were what he potentially could be, and you make him what he should be.
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
German dramatist, novelist, poet, & scientist (1749 – 1832)
When I think of trust, it’s rather like the way writer Laurie Lee saw the essence of charm.
“Charm, in the end, is a most potent act of behavior, the laying down of a carpet by one person for another to give his existence a moment of honor. It is close to love in that it moves without force, bearing gifts like the growth of daylight. It snares completely, but is never punitive. It disarms by being itself disarmed, strikes without wounds, wins wars without casualties–though not, of course, without victims.”
It is by continuing to offer trust, in spite of having trust betrayed, that we become trustworthy and disarm without force.
Fabio (@faboolous) said:
I am working on trust as well in a different context. It takes practice. I had to drop thinking about how to trust. Trusting is from the heart. For me personally, it also comes to trust on a deeper lever, after I dropped most of what I connected to “spiritual”. It’s about trusting in life generally.
David Sherr said:
Trust is the most fragile of human feelings. Long and arduous in the making, so easy to destroy in one moment. A new order begins with counteracting the emerging social order: Feudalism. We’ve undone the Renaissance, the Reformation and Bourgeois Capitalism. And all since 1980. The Boomers built this economy Post-WWII, first with the size of the generation and then with their productivity, But by 1980 when they wanted it all, it was time to not care about what happened to others–it’s all about ME. And now, as they begin to retire in large numbers, the powers that be want to take it all back. Ironic Retribution? This is certainly worth a blog, if not a book.
True Davit, but:before smiting all the kulak boomers….
‘It is only when wealth begins to concentrate in the hands of a relative few at the expense of billions of others who are denied even a small share of finite wealth that trouble starts and physical, human suffering begins. It does not have to be this way. Massive greed and consequent massive human misery and suffering do not have to be accepted as a givens, unavoidable, intractable, irresolvable. Just changing the way business is done, if only by a few companies, can change the flow of wealth, ease and eliminate poverty, and leave us all with something better to worry about. Basic human needs such as food and shelter are fundamental human rights; there are more than enough resources available to go around–if we can just figure out how to share. It cannot be “Me first, mine first”; rather, “Me, too” is more the order of the day.’
Terry Hallnan (boomer) 1997
Doug Breitbart said:
To amplify an element of Jeff’s comment, the ying and yang of trust ultimately maps to the degree one trusts oneself, or does not, that ultimately equates to the degree to which one trusts or distrusts others. Perhaps a personal decision and commitment to living in integrity and alignment will organically attract those that do the same. So the question becomes less about learning how to trust; but rather, in the face of cuing up untrustworthy people or situations in your life that affirm your fears about trust, you ultimately are vested in affirming that folks just are not trustworthy. The decision to and request of the universe to re-cast who you play with in a trust infused frame is ultimately up to you. We actually do get exactly what we ask for, whether consciously or not.
And in this little dramatisation based on the Tao Te Ching, it’s why the boy is told to leave the temple 🙂
David Sherr said:
Trusting oneself? The capacity for self delusion is infinite.
Daniel Kahneman provides the encyclopedia of how this happens psychologically: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/11/27/books/review/thinking-fast-and-slow-by-daniel-kahneman-book-review.html
More like the advice of Polonius to his son: “To thine own self be true, then thou can be false to no man.”
Venessa Miemis said:
i interpret “trust thyself” not to mean ‘trust that the decisions you make will always be the “right” ones’, but rather ‘trust in your capacity to act, adapt, iterate, and continually work towards better solutions’
Doug Breitbart said:
That was my thought in making the statement. There is also an emotional dimension that says if the sponsoring thought or inspiration comes from love, rather than fear, generally the results will reflect a positive outcome. If the starting premise is derived from fear (in this case of the others betrayal or failure to meet commitments), then generally we are likely get exactly what we asked for, and they will in fact betray our trust in the outcome.
David Shere said:
Yes, indeed. And the more “right” you think you are, the surer you are about your position
Alvis Brigis said:
I disagree that trust is a giant leap of faith. It can be achieved incrementally. Emerging culture tech like the EBay rating system allows for reduction in the amount of faith required before a transaction is made. Trust can be developed by working with people on bite-sized projects systematically, rather than making deep plunges!
Lori Kane said:
Trust is a leap of faith in your self. Until it isn’t.
My answer became a story and got long winded, so I put it here:
My answer got long winded, became a story, so I put it here: http://www.collectiveself.com/self-organizing-groups2/self-organizing-work-groups-3/impacts-of-self-organizing-work-groups/how-do-we-trust-each-other-without-proof/
Scott Lewis (@jazzmann91) said:
I’ve never had issues trusting. I have been abandoned, deceived, and betrayed, but it never has made it more difficult to trust.
For me, trusting is as easy as breathing. I trust flakes to not follow through on what they say. I trust liars to try and deceive. I trust people to be who they are. Most people would say that a liar is untrustworthy, but they haven’t broadened their view of what it means to trust.
I think the word trust is too often associated with expectations. If I expect someone to be who they are not, then I will be disappointed and thus lose trust. But what really happened is I trusted my assumption or expectation. When they fail to meet those, then I mistrust my self and that hurts. Then I push the blame on them for not meeting my expectation. When I drop my expectations, then trust can be freely given without issues.
My good and bad experiences have reinforced my idea of trusting. So if you want to trust more, just be aware and don’t make assumptions about who people are or how they will behave. Trust your own ability to observe, and you’ll feel much freer giving it out. 🙂
I hope that makes some sense. Thanks for writing!
Lori Kane said:
Wow, Scott, what a fantastic, thoughtful answer. Reminds me of what I’ve heard the Dali Lama say. They may be looking for the next DL already. You should send them your resume! 🙂
Scott Lewis (@jazzmann91) said:
ha. thanks Lori. not sure my resume is monk enough for that. 🙂
Dan Mezick said:
A strict policy of keeping commitments is useful for generating trust. A useful exercise in this domain is to re-frame commitment by viewing all commitments not as promises to others but rather as promises to yourself.
Denise Iordache (@DeniseIordache) said:
Trust is within ourselves. I believe it is something you either have or you don’t.
Indeed, you can nurture the feeling and you can teach yourself to trust someone else than yourself, but it can be hard on a personal level.
When it comes to trust in business, I think that is a different story. You tend to trust the person’s expertise and abilities, rather than the person. When opening a startup, for example, you need to trust the other founders. But you don’t need to trust them as people, but their capabilities of making the business grow.
This is what I believe, feel free to disagree.
I’d been trying to think of an example of how trust began with a leap of faith and began to propagate. A recent investment in trust then reminded me of how a group of people came together and without knowing each developed into a small but coordinated effort.
” trust is a leap of faith”, yes, and you know how to do it. Everyday in traffic you trust drivers to do the right thing to keep your life intact, and most do. Trust is what we do when we lack data. We may justify and reinforce our trust or leave it and abandon the new challenge.
Thank you, Venessa and commenters. This metacognition sparked a blogpost. Summarizing what virtual acquaintances taught me about digitized trust-building.
Anutha Human said:
We created Digger Street in a quest for a new urbanism where money did not exist within the community and the community took care of the exchanges between Digger and the default world. It continues to discover cultural technology and a better understanding of the psychological landscape many consumers will find themselves in in a post-consumerist society. Nothing to buy will equal less work which asks the question. What is everyone going to do with their days if suddenly countless hours become available? – We have found art/culture and the exploration of self expression to be a beautiful answer – diggerstreet.com
Jay Collier said:
Trust is a distancing phenomenon, a measurement of correlation between what is and what will (or might should or could) be. It reinforces the separations between people, space, time.
But, if the world is moving along as it will and as it must, then we (self and others) are simply being as we must be.
Trust is about forgiveness. No one truly lives up to our expectations because dreams never match reality. We can’t even dream about what will happen, because we can’t know all the possible directions the stream might take.
When we forgive — and recognize that all are being as they must — then that resonance gives rise to trust. Even when people behave “badly” or in an untrustworthy, or even evil, manner, they are simply being. You can always trust that people will be. And take it as it comes.
One may need to oppose the behavior, not not the actor. And, when done within a context of forgiveness and trust, that action is more pure.
I connect very well with your personal distrust-as-a-default. I am just out of a team retreat where “stories” were identified as running our past, present and future. Since then, i have been asking myself “what storied made me so distrustful, up to a level where it seriously hampers my social contacts in general. What are your stories, Venessa ? Don’t feel obliged to answer via your blog in public or even privately. In any case, i know you don’t feel obliged to anything, anyway 😉
Jordan D H Shaw said:
I think that you’re asking the wrong question. Rather than “How do we trust without proof?”, it should be “How do we prove that our trust is well-placed?”
The first question essentially gives no option but to take a leap of hope – to engage in wishful thinking and see if things come out ok.
The second question gets us to reflect on our experiences – it dares us to pay close attention to “gut feelings” (and whether ours tend to be right or wrong). It challenges us to be scientific about our decisions – to carefully record our histories of trust, success, and failure, and look back at them often.
We can never be certain about something fundamentally unknowable (whether or not a leap will land us in a good spot). We can be certain about our own abilities.
Just like a teacher cannot be certain of whether or not a student will learn but can know what style works best for him/her, we become the most comfortable in our positions and most effective by looking at our own behavior.
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