Tribal Trust

There’s a level of trust that will never rust; a deeper sense of interpersonal reliance that, no matter what happens, always remains. It’s one of our basic instincts.


It’s the same faith in each other that birds have, when they all fly off when one does, that rabbits have, when they all hide when one signals, and that horses have, when they follow to where one leads. It’s an inclination towards interdependence given to us by nature.


As a species tribal by nature we too possess this tendency. And it’s basically a beautiful thing, because it exist to provide safety and security. However, the fact that we trust unequivocally isn’t always seen as a beautiful thing; perhaps mostly because, ever since we departed from our natural habitats, it can also lead us to ugly places.


But those ugly places are merely secondary. Metaphorically speaking we are all sheep, and to us as sheep that is perfectly fine. Being called sheep, with a negative undertone, is only done by the wolves that lead us to their wolves’ dens; done by those who abuse our innocent confidence in one another for their own purposes. By doing so, they even led us to believe that our primary trust is something to feel bad about.


True, ever since we created an environment in which it became easier to prey on each other, there is a danger in following this unconscious instinct. It can basically be followed up to a point where it makes us near-universally distrust one another on overlaying levels, due to the convictions we have, the beliefs we hold dear and the things we were told. But it’s some of these superimposed layers that indirectly create the ugliness we experience, not our basic trust.


To overcome this danger we must learn to override the instinct and learn when not to follow it – and learn when it’s okay to do so. We must learn not to unconsciously follow, but to also look at the surroundings and see where we’re going. When we enter landscapes with less and less grass, which infuse more and more distrust of a secondary nature amongst ourselves, it’s time to head in another direction; towards ever greener pastures, where the reasons to be suspicious lie further apart.


And that other direction is a direction of tertiary trust; a trust that is not elementary, but a trust that is chosen; trust, both in ourselves and in each other. Trust in ourselves, and in our knowledge of things gone wrong, to overcome the automatic tribal pursuit, and trust in each other to stand by one another once we choose the right path.


We must choose for trust, both to counteract the artificial and reactive distrust created by insincere circumstances, and to compliment the trust that is naturally deep-seated. In this way we will both have surpassed and live in accordance to our natural ways.


Ignorant trust will have made way for ignorant distrust, which will have made way for conscious trust. Once we arrive at that point we will have come full circle on a long, and perhaps necessary, detour home; from and towards rudimentary meadows.

Jerry Corstens is a visionary dreamer with a blind passion for self-reflection and contemplating life, a self-proclaimed philosopher with poetic ambitions. He's serious about helping people with the insights he gathered, but playful in the way he communicates his wisdom. It made him leave a career as environmental engineer behind, in favor of becoming a personal development coach and thought-provoking writer.

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