Mind Matters: It's a matter of trust

You are a trusting soul. Bless your heart for that.

You might not think you are big in the trust department, but consider how much trust you show when you drive down a two-way street.

You trust that the driver of the oncoming car will stay in the proper lane. That driver is unknown to you.

He or she might be high on drugs or busy sending a text message.

You trust because there is no good alternative. Almost always your trust works out well for you.

You get where you are going. Without becoming a nervous wreck.

Social life is founded on trust.

We trust that the party in government will not put an end to elections and lock the opposition in prison.

We trust that our money in the bank will be there tomorrow, with a dollar able to buy what it can today.

We trust that our judges will follow the law and apply good judgment.

That wild carnival ride the kids want to go on? Were the daily safety checks done today? Did the government ever inspect the ride?

We trust, and trust, and trust.

Sometimes our trust puts us in jeopardy.

I just read about a hospital in Indiana where a technician failed for many months to complete one step in the sterilisation of surgery instruments.

Thus, the instruments may have spread HIV, hepatitis, and so on.

That jumbo jet you flew on? Your plane made the trip with no problem.

Others flying on the same type of plane were not so lucky - their plane crashed because of a design error.

That government we elected?

It denies or ignores the existence of human-caused climate change, raising the musical question: "How can we sleep while our beds are burning?"

Still, if we entirely cease trusting others, we feel anxious, and we eventually enter the world of paranoia.

I trust others as much as I can. But I do not trust strangers who send me emails about a great opportunity.

I do not trust beggars to be actually poor. I do not trust politicians to be honest.

If I had kidney surgery coming up, I would talk with the surgeon just before about which kidney will get the scalpel.

Then I would trust that everyone involved will act professionally. And that the technician who sterilises the equipment did not miss a step.

John Malouff is an Associate Professor at the School of Psychology, University of New England.