When people today are so untrustworthy how can we develop relationships?
Transcription: Suresh Gupta
Editing: Keshavgopal das
Question: When people today are so untrustworthy how can we develop relationships?
Answer: There are two extremes. One is being naive and the other is being cynical. Being naive is believing that everybody is a wonderful person and hence trustworthy. If we are naive, we will be smashed, betrayed and may end up being cynical. Being cynical is also a very dark place to be in. There was an atheistic philosopher who was asked whether he believed in hell. People thought, since he is an atheist, he will not believe in hell, but he said, “Of course I believe in hell. Hell means other people.” He almost became a misanthrope, hating humanity. In Los Angeles, America, I saw a car in front of me and the bumper had a sticker written, “The more I get to know people, the more I love my dog.”
We all have bad experiences with people but in between naivety and cynicism, is the courage to trust. We do not want to trust manually. Basically, if we are driving a car, it needs a brake and an accelerator as well. While driving through the journey of our life, doubt is like the brake and trust is the accelerator. To drive safely, we need both. If traffic is huge and car is wearing off the road, we need to press the brakes. Similarly, we should not trust naively but instead should doubt using our intelligence. The Bhagavata Purana says: Doubt is the sign of intelligence and intelligent person have doubts. However, doubt is not the only sign of intelligence. If we keep doubting always, that is like driving with our foot on the brakes all the time. A lot of fuel will be consumed, and the car will lead to nowhere.
We cannot live our life only by doubts. At the same time, we cannot live our life only by trust. Like we cannot drive a car which has only accelerator and no brakes. Just as we intelligently drive and look around to keep the car on track, similarly, we use our intelligence before trusting someone. The problem with trusting absolutely and opening our heart is that we become vulnerable to being cheated. We expect absolute guarantee that the other person will not disappoint us. However, if we are humble enough to admit then such a degree of trust, we cannot have, even from ourselves.
Life does not come with hundred percent guarantee at any time. However, we should use our intelligence and take small steps with respect to trusting other person by opening the door of our heart in a small way. If the reciprocation is well received, we put more trust and gradually things may become better. Some relationships work out well, some do not. Sometimes, different relationships work out best at different distances.
To summarize, we use two things: intelligence and experience. Intelligence will help us to make sense about the person and assess the amount of trust we can place upon them. Experience will help us to reciprocate accordingly and place more trust. Thus, by intelligence and experience we can have the courage to trust as a balance between naivety and cynicism.
End of transcription.