My friend Visa challenged his friends to explain their thing rapid-fire style, and specifically DM’d me to ask me to do one on my Non-Naive Trust Dance framework. So I’ll write a 6th introduction or whatever this is now, and try to get all the way through the basics to the depths in about 15 minutes of nonstop writing.
- trust sure is important. it would be nice* if we knew the laws of trust-physics: in general what works and what doesn’t work for building trust. (* tbh it might be necessary for humanity’s survival)
- it’s tempting to try to build perpetual motion machines w/ trust (assuming trust in order to build trust) but this is impossible with the laws of trust-physics. but it seems possible (& awesome) to build engines!
- obviously trust-building is contextual. eg, in a tense meeting in Dune, a desert-dweller spits as a sign of respect (releasing precious water) and nearly gets killed when that’s interpreted as a sign of disrespect.
- so what can be said about trust-building in general? well, one of the most important things that CAN be said is that it’s extremely contextual!! and a remarkable amount follows from this, eg:
- the only way to build trust with someone is by doing something that builds trust with them. however, they may seem to want you to do something that’s abhorrent or senseless to you, which you refuse to do. somehow what needs to be found is something that works for both/all parties. there is a remarkable open space of possibilities here if we can get out of the trap of being frustrated that our first attempts didn’t work as we’d hoped
- notice that the bolded line above is a self-evident statement; a tautology; something that’s true by definition. this is not a coincidence, because self-evident statements are another basis for building trust since anyone can confirm them for themselves (although of course we may have different interpretations of what the implications are, and that can get tricky)
- the central tautology to NNTD is “you can’t trust what you can’t trust” (this is kind of the same one as the previous). inherent to this idea is the reality, not quite a tautology but also pretty self-evident once you consider it, that different people trust differently. (different parts of people trust differently too).
- thus [me trusting something] and [you not trusting something] is not a contradiction in the slightest.
- what do I even mean by trust? a few lenses:
- trust as an unquestioning attitude (from C. Thi Nguyen’s paper of that title)
- trust as “what truth feels like in first person”
- we could describe naive trust as being an unquestioning attitude that comes from ignoring some sort of warning signs in order to deliberately adopt an unquestioning stance, and non-naive trust as an unquestioning attitude that comes from an absence of any warning signs, or having investigated the warning signs and discerned to one’s own integrated relaxed satisfaction that they’re not a big deal (or that one could handle the situation if the issue did occur)
- when I use “trust” I’m generally referring to non-naive trust, since naive trust is fake & flimsy
- I generally think in terms of trusting situations more than trusting “people”
- there is a logic to (non-naive) trust and how it scales up:
- if I trust a situation (eg this salesperson to not be scamming us) and you don’t trust it, then we don’t trust it
- if I trust it and you trust it, but we don’t trust that each other trusts it, then we still don’t trust it
- if we have common-knowledge of our trust, then we trust it
- there’s a thing it feels like for this sync-up to occur
- as an example, have you ever made a decision and there’s a clear sense of “yes this is obviously what we want”?
- by contrast, have you ever made a decision and you’re left feeling either that something you care about wasn’t adequately incorporated into the tradeoff process, OR you feel like someone else isn’t actually totally satisfied with it?
- in general, trust-building works via respecting that distrust contains the wisdom that allows trust to be non-naive (ie sane & robust) and finding a way to respect & dance with it, vs trying to bypass it. quoth Aurelius: “The impediment to action advances action. What stands in the way becomes the way.”
- since trust ~= subjective truth, this process is literally perceiving the world together
Whew! Not quite one breath or one foot, but it was all in one go and it did fit on one page. It took more like 20 minutes though.
For slightly more uhhh edited introductions to NNTD or elaborations, you can check out these posts: