Conversations For Transformation: Essays Inspired By The Ideas Of Werner Erhard

Conversations For Transformation

Essays By Laurence Platt

Inspired By The Ideas Of Werner Erhard

And More


A Matter Of Trust

Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA

February 8, 2010



This essay, A Matter Of Trust, was written at the same time as The Life You Have.

I am indebted to Cathy Elliott who inspired this conversation.




This is how it is with the common folk lore way of trust: you're trustworthy ie I trust you because over time you've proved to me you're trustworthy. The starting point is there's no trust, and I don't trust you until you behave in a way which makes me sure I can trust you. In this way of looking at trust, I give you my trust because and when you've shown me you're trustworthy.

Everyone knows  this is how you decide if you can trust someone or not, right?
Werner Erhard asserts that's not it at all - in fact it's ass backwards. The truth is you're trustworthy because I give you my trust. Said another way, your trustworthiness isn't something you earn from me. Rather, your trustworthiness is a context  I grant you. I don't trust you because you've proved to me I can trust you. I trust you because I trust you.

This distinction is both subtle and profound.

Looking at trust Werner's way, trust is something I create for you rather than something you earn from me. Trust is an opportunity I stand for  unconditionally for you. Trust is a quality I own. Looking at trust Werner's way, trust is a space I generate for you, in which you can interact with me. It's a permission I grant you to participate with me unconditionally.

Looking at trust the common folk lore way ie when I trust you once you've proved to me you're trustworthy, is like waiting for the winning numbers to be drawn before I'm willing to take a chance betting them on the lottery.

From at least one perspective ("So and so can't be trusted"), it doesn't make any sense at all standing for  trust unconditionally. From another perspective ("So and so hasn't proved  he/she can be trusted"), it positively won't  make any sense at all granting  trust unconditionally.

Given the way we look at things before we bring transformation to bear, trust looked at Werner's way really can't  make any sense at all. That's because given there's no experience of mastery over our lives before we bring transformation to bear, given there's no experience of being the source of our lives before we bring transformation to bear, given there's no experience of creating  our lives before we bring transformation to bear, there's little chance creating a quality like trust Werner's way will ever make any sense at all.

But that's hardly new by now. Living from a context you invent for your life rather than living life reacting to your circumstances doesn't ever make any sense at all. It doesn't ever make any sense at all, that is, when looked at from any perspective devoid of transformation. It doesn't make any sense at all that trust is a space you create for others rather than a quality they prove to you or earn from you, when looked at from a perspective devoid of transformation.



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