Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Trust. Even more than Love

It's about Trust.

Even more than Love.

I am coming to realize that.

Love without Trust is more trouble and complication than it is worth. (Though it's produced a lot of good opera, drama, novel, folk balladry.)

Trust without Love is still valuable: You know that your
friend/ partner/ relative/ whatever has enough self-esteem not to do you dirty, to look out for you, simply because it is necessary to that self-image.

My aunts, for instance, loved their sister and looked out for her every step of the way through the vicissitudes of old age, last illness and death, and they look out for me because ... it just wouldn't occur to them not to do so. I can rely on that. I can tell them my troubles and get good advice. I can turn to them in need — they both said that if I needed a loan for expenses when Mum died, they would be happy to provide it; I was happy not to need it, but it made me very calm that they could say it, and that I knew they meant it.

It is necessary for me – maybe for anyone – to have someone to whom I can say anything and know my privacy will be respected. To be able to give someone my keys (and passwords!) and know they'll take care of things in my absence or illness.

(God knows what it was like to live under communism or fascism, when informers were everywhere! I've read some fascinating books on this subject, notably Anna Funder's Stasiland and Timothy Garton Ash's The File, but ... how much of the real experience do they convey? Especially as Funder and Ash, like me, were outsiders, though, in Ash's case, across the Wall and under observation. It is unimaginable to us, privileged to live in America. I cannot forget certain conversations I had in Berlin while The Wall was still up, in Prague soon after it came down. A world with little trust.)

Plenty of people probably do not have such totally trustworthy persons in their lives, or are themselves unable to yield absolutely to Trust. Others grew up in families that did not nurture that sort of trust, or had lovers or friends become addicted to something. Among Witches, one encounters many children of betrayal, searching for the kindly parents they didn't have, and it worries me, and complicates coven politics. I'm sure it's true of priests and evangelical ministers, certainly of those who head radical political movements.

Freud spoke of The Transference: His patients began to see him as a father, a lover, a god, fixing all their betrayed hopes upon his omniscience and benevolence. He could see this might easily lead to trouble, and of course it often did.

Trust is key to making a society.

Love may be a good idea for one's ethical life, but one can live without it.

Plenty of people do.

Or it turns up in the oddest, most unpredictable places.

But Trust is key.

Or we are all, shatteringly, alone. And, facing mortality, we are alone anyway. But we can seek some relief for that.

As Grace Slick would say, "You better find somebody to trust."

This is a reflection on my great number of dear and trustworthy friends, especially perhaps on the ones who were attentive and useful after my surgery in November, and the unforgotten many who were so devoted after my lymphoma in 1997.

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