Trust and Love

[From Bruce Buchanan 940905.15:00 EDT]

[Bill Leach 940905.08:49 EST(EDT)]

[Bruce Buchanan 940904 21:25 EDT]

I am dead against blind trust, and all for responsibility, alertness and
vigilance that are the price of liberty!

I feel that "discovering" that you can trust a person and realizing that
another trusts in you is probably close to the most "wonderful" experience...

Here I rise to the bait once again!

Please let me clarify what I meant on this important point. What I believe
is a mistake is for a responsible adult to have _blind_ trust.

The first step in survival and security in infancy involves trust, and
whatever resonates with that in later life may recall a similar warmth and
And such real trust is operationally important for ever after. Sane and
normal life requires some level of trust at the interpersonal level.

However in more complex social situations particularly, and in dealing with
unknown persons or unthinking institutions, _blind_ trust can have fatal
consequences, so that responsible adult behavior requires one to ascertain
the truth of claims, assess reliability of data, etc., and in general to
match words against behaviors.

From a PCT perspective what may be involved here, (correct me if I am

mistaken) is a high level reference variable, perhaps of some compexity,
which adjusts what any of us may perceive as worthy of trust in particular
circumstances (i.e. the standards applied by the controlled perception). My
own reference signal (controlling variable?) tells me not to apply
standards rigidly however, but to check things out if the consequences may
be important for myself or my loved ones, and allow modification depending
upon circumstances or systems at stake.

What is the reference signal for Love and loved ones? Obviously this is
one of the great areas of human need, hope, deception and exploitation, of
life and death significance. The most useful understanding I have come
across, which is consistent with what I know of systems theory, psychiatry
and social anthropology, is that love essentially involves reciprocal
cooperation. At one stage a potentially loving relationship may be mainly a
hope and maybe a promise. But it has to be worked out operationally in all
the dimensions of importance to needs of the persons involved - material
aid, emotional support, sexual needs, financial cooperation - for both
parties, and _as perceived_ by both parties. Woe betide if perceptions
differ by much and cannot be adapted!
As we know, the relationship, if it can be said to exist at all, completely
falls apart.

Anyway, this is a suggestion of what (I think) my own controlling variable
for love is. It certainly involves emotion, etc., and at my stage a great
interest in the grandchildren, but no single aspect is in control, other
than what may be described as the health of the relationship (reciprocal
cooperation in the meeting of intrinsic needs).

And I hope (trust?) that it is clear that I am not really talking about
myself, but that I am trying to explore, for purposes of discussion and
comment, what a certain higher level reference/controlling variables -
namely, trust and love - might look like. Is such an approach inappropriate
for some reason? Any alternative suggestions?


Bruce B.

<[Bill Leach 940906.20:59 EST(EDT)]

[Bruce Buchanan 940905.15:00 EDT]

Arg! Forgive me... I failed to mention that I fully agree with what you
said about "blind faith" and that I believe that I understood it in the
manner in which you intended.

If one really digs into what I said, one sees that I used such
expressions as "... when one discovers that one can trust another...".
One can not "discover that one can trust another" unless one has made
some sort of objective check with reality. The "discovery" goes much
deeper than just knowing that in one or more situations, a particular
individual was found to be "trustworthy" but the "testing" in the
situations is still real and relevent.

What is the reference signal for Love and loved ones? Obviously ...

This and the entire paragraph that follows could "keep us going" for
years! Without a doubt PCT will/has shed some light of understanding
upon such matters. This may well be one of those areas where Ed Ford's
specific input would be most valuable.

... It certainly involves emotion, etc., and at my stage a great ...

Emotion is one of the "things" that I personally believe that PCT has
"cleared up" more than just about any other. Understanding the true
nature of "feelings" and "emotions" is, I think, very important in
understanding ourselves and others.