You are here: Start

The Non-Justifiability of Trust

Can you justify trust? Unfortunately not. Whatever arguments, experience and evidence one has – in the end none of this may be worth anything. Thirty years of loyalty and yet…! Those who trust, risk being disappointed. Luhmann says that you can recognise whether you have trusted by whether it would be possible for you to regret the decision. Trust is and remains a risky investment, as he describes it. However, one must bear in mind that control, equally, cannot be had without risk. If you are clear about this, then, when making decisions in the guiding process social complexity, you must work with the question “Are we going to trust?”, and not “Can we trust?”. Trust remains an unjustifiable decision. Therefore, with decision-makers, the psychological ability to trust is accorded great significance. Someone can trust if,

  • he has the choice between trust and mistrust within himself
  • he has a tolerance of anxiety and therefore is not forced to resort to control, to still the anxiety within
  • he has a well-developed perception to notice subtle discrepancies within the self-expressions of other people, and therefore can read signals suggesting a possible lack of trustworthiness
  • he is able to cope with disappointment in such a way that he does not accuse the other party and overload him with accusations
  • he can also respond lovingly to himself and others when individuals upon whom he has relied, turn away, become critical or give up loyalty. As trust must be unconditionally given, the giver of trust must have internal security, where external security cannot be had.