On trust, community, society

Inspired by: Trust by Jim Copliend

trust: to rely on expected standards of behavior. Svendsen delineates three kinds of trust in Tillid: Tænkepauser 4 (http://www.tænkepauser.dk). Individual trust draws on past experience between individuals. Individual trust alone may not serve the greater good (even criminal gang members trust each other), so we must add the dimension of community. We exhibit social trust towards strangers with whom we may share common culture and its implied moral framework. For example, between Danes, one’s word is one’s word. Last is trust for institutions. Low corruption leads to trust in the government, which is a boon for business. Smart Trust by Covey (Simon & Schuster, 2012) relates a direct correlation between per capita GDP and trust at a national level (p. 15). …

existentialism, is about responsible action without regard to any pre-formulated consequences.  Existensialistic efforts revolve around individual initiative or small, closed systems; agile approaches embraces open systems…

Svendson relates: “Social trust is thus the ability to work in groups on common goals. As the American political scientist Elinor Ostrom, who received the Nobel Prize in 2009, writes, voluntary cooperation builds on self-policing, thereby establishing an informal institution without written rules. This stands in opposition to forced cooperation enforced by an authority in accordance with formal written rules.” Forced. Enforced. Authority. Formal. Read: Not agile…

Untrusting societies waste resources on burglar alarms, lawyers, contracts, and security. Those, like social contracts, are forms of control. Svendsen adds, “If confidence in the community disappears, things become less flexible and more cumbersome.” Reach beyond individual trust and social trust to create open communities of trust in your institutions.

Obviously less developed countries are simpler and maybe that is the appeal of traveling to different parts of the world. Yes the developed world is very comfortable and “trustworthy” although we spend countless hours tackling paperwork, money on insurance and security… I would like to eliminate the waste and be more trusting and trustworthy.

On dependence and attachment

They say do not be attached, stand on your own two feet.

They also say, we are social beings, that we grow in communities, learning from others.

How to be non-attached, independent, and be amongst the people who nurture you to be better…

It is so easy to lean on especially when they let you, but when you do, it will be difficult when the relationship dissipates.

Do not get attached, Always do your thing, let others do theirs-

Then make time to do things together in building a relationship.

Conflict is essential for growth!

Sign Up and Fight! by Jim (“Cope”) Coplien

It’s hard to grow in an organization where everyone shares all your views.
You hope to learn when you sign up to a online discussion group; you hope to be challenged when you read a book. You take up a job not because you can do it perfectly, but because it will bring you to a point of creating value unachievable from your current state. Value comes in what the French call différance (different from the French word for difference, which is différence) — an ongoing interplay of conflicting ideas that play out in dialectic.

Conflict is an essential ingredient of growth.
I’ll claim that the more intense the conflict, the more rapid the growth, within a certain field of play. That field of play is sometimes difficult to delineate, and this installment is about those boundaries.

I often join organizations for the sake of the challenge. “Joining” ranges from having beers with fans of the opposing football team during a championship match to devoting my career efforts to an organization that I believe I can better change from the inside than from the outside. Neither of these postures says anything inherently bad about any football team or any organization. However, no organization (or football team) is ever perfect, and the dialectic process changes both object and subject in the process.

There are always rules for “joining.” It means playing fairly by the rules of their game. If I join an online discussion group I should not represent myself as an unqualified opponent of the foundations that draw the group together, even if I think they are all misguided. I should instead play within the group’s own rules to deconstruct our respective posture and lead all of us into learning. This is respect for the individuals that I join and courtesy in my engagement with them. Play clean, by the rules.

The group may expect something of me for the prize of joining up. If it’s a job, I need to produce. If it’s a club, I’m expected to attend and engage. Joining only to affect your agenda is subterfuge. Be trustworthy and loyal.

One rule of the game is to tackle one issue at a time. If I jump all over the place, dodging when cornered, and ever charging up new hills, I’ll at best be viewed as a flake and will certainly not achieve my objective. Paradigm shifts rarely happen from within but rather through changes in the environment or in how we view it; it’s difficult to project those views from inside a system. One step at a time.

It is always important to be open for change myself. If I make myself part of the system and if I am changing it, then I must also be willing to change. This means being able to take a dispassionate stance, at least occasionally, and of course it implies great listening skills. Keep an open mind.

Be yourself. It’s important to be genuine. People have learned over many centuries to be able to smell politics. Let the chips fall where they may. Be friendly and helpful.

You may trigger emotion — emotion which in turn can cause fear or insecurity to rise in you. Follow your heart, and do what is right. Be brave.

Most important, be aware of the prize. By joining and fighting, am I giving or taking? It’s O.K. to benefit both from association with a group of people and from the debates that go along with that association. But you will lose trust if the prize is the pride of being right or personal gain from lining them up to your position. Be generous.

What is your duty?

Robert A. Heinlein puts it so elegantly!

Do not confuse “duty” with what other people expect of you; they are utterly different.

Duty is a debt you owe to yourself to fulfill obligations you have assumed voluntarily.

Paying that debt can entail anything from years of patient work to instant willingness to die. Difficult it may be, but the reward is self-respect. But there is no reward at all for doing what other people expect of you, and to do so is not merely difficult, but impossible. It is easier to deal with a footpad than it is with the leech who wants “just a few minutes of your time, please—this won’t take long.”

Time is your total capital, and the minutes of your life are painfully few.

If you allow yourself to fall into the vice of agreeing to such requests, they quickly snowball to the point where these parasites will use up 100 percent of your time—and squawk for more!

So learn to say No—and to be rude about it when necessary. Otherwise you will not have time to carry out your duty, or to do your own work, and certainly no time for love and happiness.
The termites will nibble away your life and leave none of it for you.
This rule does not mean that you must not do a favor for a friend, or even a stranger.

But let the choice be yours. Don’t do it because it is “expected” of you.

On preparing an advanced directive

It has been on my list of things to do but I have not had the chance to get to it unfortunately. But it is very important to outline what you would like done in the event that you fall into a situation where you can no longer communicate your wishes.

I’d like to outline them here for reference so that at least my family may know what I wish:

No experimental surgeryNo life-support when
brain death
partial permanent damage of brain controlling vital function

… I realize I have to do more research as I am not familiar with what the clauses must include…
Anyways, it’s vital that you live knowing that we all die and it is vastly better to be prepared.

minimalist approach

  • dress simple

choose plain functional clothes
choose black/tan sneakers

no more accessories

  • live simple

minimize the routine waste and use natural products
—–make the switch—-
all your cleansers (shampoo, bodysoap etc) to bronners of your choice*
toothpaste to bronners or salt
lotion/moisturizer to cold-pressed oil of your choice
toilet paper to water and rag
tampons/pads to menstrual cup

  • eat simple

eat more raw fresh local produce
only when hungry
drink water
buy in small quantity frequently

  • organize occasionally

get rid of stuff not used over a year
do not take if not necessary

*Dr. Bronners Castile Soap

Food Choices


  • Asparagus
  • Cauliflower
  • Cabbage
  • Lemon
  • Lime
  • Avocado
  • Coconut
  • Mango
  • Grapefruits
  • Melons (inc. watermelon)

*ok to eat all local organic produce


likely genetically modified

sugar, soy, corn, alfalfa, papaya, summer squash, canola oil

most chemically infested

antibiotics- flesh, egg, dairy

pesticides– apple, celery, peppers, stone fruits, berries, summer squash, leafy greens, coffee, chocolate, wine


honey, gluten, yeast, coffee, chocolate

chose fair-trade when available

the mundane pleasures of life

Outdoor swimming, floating in water, walking on grass, sitting in the sun… with no one around. It pays to be out early morning.

The time to contemplate all the good things in life… gratitude.

I had recently read that discipline nurtures freedom, and its been on my mind. And today I felt it.

It requires discipline to stay fit, to work out regularly, and this provides me with the comfort of knowing that I can go out there and hike miles even if I got lost- the freedom to roam about in the back country.

It requires discipline to remedy a bad habit like smoking, overeating, etc – providing you with the freedom from addiction.

I used to hate the word discipline as I had not known the difference in being disciplined and the simple noun discipline. It MATTERS.

Being told to conform to tasks are significantly distinct from having discipline. As in, being in the forces living a disciplined lifestyle is different from doing it on and of your own will.

That difference is FREEDOM, that you are choosing how to live your life on your term, a commitment to yourself.

Sticking to that commitment is discipline.

Do not let others discipline you against your will nor be disillusioned of the myriad of choices made on consensus with your common sense.

The pleasures of developing thicker skin

The more I think about my difficult jobs, the more I appreciate the experience.

How time makes everything seem so nostalgic!

The memories…

At my first attorney job, when I gave a week’s notice, the principal partner became very hostile and didn’t pay me my last week’s wage. I told my supervising attorney that I would file a complaint and I did. I won and they paid me. Thank you for wasting my time.

At another firm which worked their employees like slaves, I ignored the quota, took my time, and got fired. And then a managing attorney assumed I quit and wrote me an angry email for bailing out. I wonder how she is doing, in response to my email that I in fact was fired she said “that’s for you to keep to yourself, you were great to work with”. We all have different priorities.

Another sweatshop firm- At one meeting with the founder/partner of the office, I stood up for my team and said I will not be a sweatshop manager. Another co-worker with conviction of saving my job volunteered to be the slave driver, “your welcome” he told me later.

All wonderful experiences that shaped me into who I am today.

A life lesson

Never respond when you are not calm. If you are not sure that you are calm, don’t respond. Take a deep breath as a first step to calm yourself down. Speak in gentle tone to reduce the tension of the situation.

Realize that you can find opportunities in negative situations.

Albert Einstein: “In the middle of every difficulty lies opportunity.”

Look at the content of what people say to you for something positive that you can act upon to improve yourself. Don’t just reject the whole messages. For the rest of the messages which is negative, simply ignore it.

Maintain positive view of the people. Maybe you don’t like their messages or behavior, but that doesn’t mean that you can hate them personally.

Look at the negative situations as your training sessions, the higher you climb in life, the worse the negative situations would be.

Realize that having negative feelings will hinder you.

If you make mistakes, be open to admit it.

George Bernard Shaw: “A life spent making mistakes is not only more honorable, but more useful than a life spent doing nothing.”

Realize that you can’t please everyone. Just let go.

Focus on the people that you can positively interact with.


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