Monday, March 23, 2009

trust vs. suspicion

I have always been very trusting. There are those who might say I have been foolish and others who think that I have been lucky. I have walked in places that weren't very safe, including "Needle Park" in New York, the back alleys and drug dens of Morocco, and the after dark areas of the sleaziest parts of most of America's biggest cities. I never had any problems or even felt vulnerable except when I look back on some of the situations and wonder whether I might have gone a little too far.

I have investigated and infiltrated cults, offbeat religions, and weird fanatics of all types. I spent years penetrating the spiritualist church, participating in wiccan rituals, befriending self-proclaimed teachers who believed they had special powers or connections with higher authorities. I was never cursed, or voodooed or harmed in any of these explorations.

I have had numerous business dealings with psychopaths, schizophrenics, criminals, and a host of unsavory characters. Matter of fact I have been in two business partnerships in which I've had to visit my partners in mental hospitals after they were committed. One of them, one of my best friends ended up killing himself, and the other one ended up threatening to kill me. In spite of these misfortunes I have had several long term partnerships with good friends that were very profitable in which there were never any major financial or personal problems.

I have hardly ever worked with a contract and in over forty years of business and hundreds of various deals have never been sued or had to sue anyone. I have lent small amounts of money to people who never paid me back, but I would have given them the money even if they had not promised to return it.

I have always felt more comfortable in the underground than in the mainstream. I am not especially proud of this or have any romantic belief that "street people" are more real or can be more easily trusted. I do feel though they are less hypocritical and you know where you stand most of the time.

What I do believe is that for most people the world today is a place where you need to be in constant fear and always protecting yourself against the unknown and unseen. This has created tremendous business opportunities for those products, services, and individuals who claim they can protect us. Lawyers, accountants, home security specialists, financial advisors, insurance agents, realtors, vitamin salesmen, identity theft protection services, religions and a host of other industries are all capitalizing on our fears, insecurities, and unwillingness to trust ourselves and each other. Is this the type of world we want? A world dominated by fear does not offer us much hope for the future. This issue of trust vs. suspicion is critical for any one serious about creating a new world.

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