More important than love. In every relationship. The reason why we have governance of any form. Contracts, constitutions, boards, police, CCTV, pre-nups, regulation..all of which foster trust in a system.
There once was a time when little of this was needed. When a ‘word was as good as a bond’. I don’t seek to hark back to days of spit-filled handshakes, but I do feel we spend a disproportionate amount of time ensuring that the governance of society is in order. Human behaviour will always find a way to flout and circumvent morality, whilst remaining within the bounds of the law. We can create the most intricate system within which humans interact, but we cannot change intention.
Trust underpins the very fabric of society. Whether it is the paper bill you use to pay for your Cheerios, or the A380 you step into to fly home, you rely on others, a system and a culture. In our current uncertainty, the question of trust will become one of the most important in the post-covid world. Can we shake hands with people anymore? Can I leave my children at school with others? Can I rely on others to have taken as many precautions as I did?
The opposite of trust in today’s age is not deceit, it is uncertainty. Uncertainty is far more dangerous an enemy. The efforts of today’s leaders must be to consolidate truth and present a single narrative. Post-truth storytellers seeking to gain notoriety and traction will sway some of the crowds, but the loudest voices have to realise their power and ensure they sing in unison to keep us, the uncertain, stable.