I know I am someone who does not trust people easily. Perhaps that makes me hard to trust as well, but thats something I will have to sort out myself...
The thing is, society has hammered a default setting of mis/dis trust into us. We worry about what that stranger who smiled at us in the street might have been thinking. We always try to find a motive behind the actions of pretty much everyone we come into contact with.
But rather than the examples of mistrust between people, I want to talk about why the mistrust is born; about how and why that default setting of mis/dis trust gets hard wired into us, and about how current trends in society will only perpetuate this trend.
That hard wired mistrust can come from various sources:
Childhood traumas? Betrayal by a relative friend or business associate? Unfaithful or gold-digging husband/wife/lover? Things of that nature...
These examples are outside our control and can hit us hard. People often are unable to ever fully recover from these sorts of things, and thats only natural.
But the common thread of those betrayals is that even con-men and gold-diggers are working for personal gain AND the personal gain (to them) is a direct result of the betrayal that they are perpetrating. This fact at some level makes their actions understandable or logical or justifiable (or some weird amalgam of those three words).
But get this! Here is a new and scary assault on the concept of trust between the common man.
They call it stealth marketing...
According to Wikipedia: Undercover marketing (also known as buzz marketing, stealth marketing, or by its detractors roach baiting) is a subset of guerrilla marketing where consumers do not realize they are being marketed to. For example, a marketing company might pay an actor or socially adept person to use a certain product visibly and convincingly in locations where target consumers congregate. While there, the actor will also talk up their product to people they befriend in that location, even handing out samples if it is economically feasible. The actor will often be able to sell consumers on their product without those consumers even realizing that they are being marketed to.
So... Yeah... The most recent example of Stealth marketing that was uncovered in the USA involved the Blackberry cellphone. The mobile makers hired an undercover marketing agency which hired pretty young women to hang out in bars and such like to flirt with men. These women would then invite these men to enter their phone numbers in their cellphones (which would all be the Blackberry Perl). The objective was to get the 'marks' to hold the cellphone and try to use it. They would promise to call back, make small talk and then leave. Never to be heard from again.
This is one example of the betrayal of trust, and while it is for personal gain, the gain does not come from the act of betrayal. The gain comes from somewhere else. The act of betrayal is being turned into a job... a real... legal... job... Perhaps 'betrayal' might be too strong a word, but you get my meaning. It is an example of a breach of trust.
I think that it is a worrying precedent. Ethics of this kind of marketing aside, it presents us with a troubling moral dilemma. What kind of world will we leave our children when people can hold jobs where they are paid to lie to others? Where the act of lying becomes akin to someone assembling a machine on an assembly line, a programmer writing a line of code?
I wonder... What are those men who gave their phone numbers to those women be feeling right now? How will they feel the next time a woman flirts with them? What will any guy who has read that story feel when they flirt with a girl and she whips out a Blackberry Perl?
Will they feel pleased? Or will they feel that twinge of suspicion, mistrust... fear or disgust even?
I for one would perhaps feel less distrustful if that girl had been flirting with me just for her amusement who may think of me as a nerd.
But the thought of being 'worked over' by a professional who is not even getting something directly form the act of betrayal, for whom it is merely a job; that appalls me, disgusts me, worries me. I know that I will feel that twinge of suspicion... of mistrust... whenever I see a pretty girl holding a Blackberry Perl. (Hey that rhymes!)