To Trust or Not to Trust

The more I think about it, the more I feel that we humans are predisposed to trusting. We are genetically wired that way. Our first instinct is to instill our trust in someone for that is what we have faced from birth. We trust our parents to take care of us and to provide for us, we trust family and friends to always be there etc. Which is a good thing, you know why? Because otherwise everyone in the world would be schizophrenic, watching over our backs all the time. This state of paranoia could be nothing but detrimental and so I would like to think trust brings order.

I must also say we are also blessed with intuitiveness or an adaptive response, at times, to be wary. And that comes with experience or knowledge. Say, I trust my friend. Everyday I find a dollar missing from my wallet. My trust is not broken yet but I have my doubts. And then one day I catch him red handed. It would not only break my trust but also I would learn. The next time around, I would try and be more careful right? Yes. Or maybe. Or….atleast I should be. Infact, this also kind of boils down to trust. Like we say, “Trust her to always make mistakes” or “trust that guy to be corrupt”.

That established, let’s zoom out into the (more relevant) broader picture. The people of D.C trusted their government. They had no qualms about drinking the water straight out of the taps because they did not believe they would be givenwater with high lead levels. The people of the little town of Libby in Montana (“An Air That Kills”) were so happy to have gotten jobs and steady incomes that they would have never imagined they were being robbed of their life in broad day light. And how did the perpetrators respond? Lies, dishonesty, treacherous disregard for lives – all in the name of money.

During Dr. Lewis’ lecture in class, I couldn’t stop but thinking how fortunately lucky the cases he and Dr. Edwards’ handled were. D.C is lucky to have had Dr. Edwards’, a scientist in the field, to fight for them. How many such situations, waiting to be exposed, are going to get so lucky? In the context of ‘science is self-corrective’, we can wait around for someone to find out, pick up years of injustice, try to run it through an ethical filter and win justice. But who’s going to stand up to do that? And more importantly, where would they turn to for help?!?!

Recently in a meeting, the topic of ‘Consumer Confidence Reports’ came up. This was new to me. A lady in the group mentioning these reports, that utilities send out periodically with each homes’ water quality data as an ‘information’. So it says, you have so-and-so mg/L of ‘x’ in your water. And then the lady said,”So WHAT? How am I supposed to know if that is a good thing or a bad thing?” Think about it. As a utility, their duty is done. Right to Know has been put in place and the information has been given out. Then what? How does one know?

I also realized after last week, the way I see it the industry is actually scared of people. They live in the paranoia of losing business. This competitiveness makes them resort to unethical behavior, to go to any means to ensure profitability. But here is where we need to understand and believe in the power of public. We need to trust ourselves and know that it our very unity that the Government, and the industry alike, are scared of.

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