Wednesday, 13 February 2008

Gullibility...the Betrayal of Trust

I've just been introduced to the writing of British Sociologist Anthony Giddens Now, as a heavy weight academic he's probably not the prefered reading of us every day types...and that's a shame really because he has some interesting things to say about Trust and by implication Gullibility.

In his book Consequences of Modernity (Modernity being the sort of world we live in today) he say "Trust may be defined as confidence in the reliability of a person or system regarding a given set of outcomes or events, where confidence expresses faith in the probity or love of another, or in the correctness of abstract principles (technical knowledge)"

So, there we have it "confidence in the reliability of..." If such confidence is betrayed then the gullible are clearly victims and not stupid, feeble minded, weak and deserving of bad treatment.

In Dilemmas Of Leadership p142 "trust is a way of exploiting the gullible"

The sad fact of this reality though is that in order to protect oursleves we have to be constantly sceptical and cynical...maybe that's why trust is a priceless commodity in the social affairs of human beings, and why its betrayal deserves no quarter? Or does Saying Sorry make it better?


  1. reasonable robinson,
    So where does faith fit into this schema? Or does it? And why is it that "sorry" never really makes it better?

    I would love to tag you as I have been tagged, stop by to see!

  2. Hi, I think you've made two very interesting observations here. My take would be that in one sense people who betray us are precisely the ones that take advantage of our faith in them. Consequently I suppose that is the point of expressing religious Faith, as it demonstrates an unshakebale belief that we will never be let down or taken advanatge of. (I make a very clear distinction here between the theological premise of 'faith' and individuals who claim to be faithful to a religion and behave badly)

    As for 'sorry' the actual content of the phrase as a word means nothing, philosphically I think it can be described as a 'speech-act' such that you have to 'be' sorry as well as 'say' sorry. Additonally I supsect it is related to forgiveness too and as such for 'sorry' to work it has to tie up with 'forgiveness'. Vice versa then forgiving doesn't completely do the job unless the other party is sorry.

    Interesting we have the word 'forgiving' as the act of forgiveness but do we ever say we are 'sorrying' or being in the act of being sorry!

    I'll be over soon...