I think that perhaps the hardest thing in this world is not to live in it, is not to be trustworthy, but simply to trust.
To trust is a daily requirement. We trust our milk won’t be contaminated, that our cereal will just contain cereal (or our pet food won’t have pesticides), that the mailman will actually deliver our checks, that the person we opt to confide in over lunch won’t laugh, that our friends have our best interests at heart. We know the laws that require milk to be pasteurized, and our food to be inspected for and created in safety; it’s our trust in people that is so fascinating. Laws, although useful for setting up social contracts, cannot dictate things as minute as trust in an individual. Yet, as Alfonso Lingis notes, everywhere a person turns in the web of human activities, he touches upon solicitations to trust, a field of options of yes and no to be navigated, not in isolated decisions, but as part of a greater whole.
Hmm…I feel the sudden urge to re-read Goffman’s The Presentation of Self in Every Day Life.