35 – Civilization is Based on Trust


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Little Dog: “Hi Big Dog. Have you noticed there seem to be more dogfights recently?”

Big Dog: “Yes indeed.” 

Little Dog: “What’s that all about?” 

Big Dog: “Well, dogs are less civilized these days.” 

Little Dog: “But why? It seems like nobody trusts each other anymore.” 

Big Dog: “Exactly. And civilization is based on trust, Little Dog. No trust, no civilization.” 

Little Dog: “So, how do we start trusting each other more?” 

Big Dog: “By acting trustworthy ourselves. That involves something called integrity. The two go hand-in-hand. If dogs don’t act with integrity, then they won’t be trusted by others.”

Little Dog: “Uh, can you give me an example? This conversation’s getting a bit too philosophical.” 

Big Dog: “Haha. Nobody will ever accuse you of being a philosopher, that’s for sure.” 

Little Dog: “I guess not. I try to keep my balloon tethered to the ground. Safer that way. So, do you have any examples? Anything that I can sink my teeth into?” 

Big Dog: “Certainly. But the problem with examples is that they’re so obvious and trivial that we take them for granted: That the food and drink we buy at the supermarket are untainted. That our water supply is clean. That the electrical wires in our home are properly connected and won’t burn the doghouse down. That the medications we take are pure and appropriately prescribed for our health. That the car shop down the road doesn’t use substandard parts or make unneeded repairs. That service people who visit our home won’t steal from us. The list is endless.”

Little Dog: “Well, like you said. That stuff is pretty obvious.” 

Big Dog: “Maybe, but trust is not something to take for granted. Trust isn’t inevitable. It can be shattered in a thousand ways. A smoothly functioning society has a high level of trust between its citizens. A lousy one, not so much. Look around DogWorld, Little Dog. Regardless of the political system, culture, geography, or ethnicity of the inhabitants, the countries that struggle the most have problems with trust. The citizens don’t trust each other. And they don’t trust their governments, many of which are corrupt. We dogs would do best to keep this foremost in our minds: In order to build a stable, prosperous, and civilized society, one must start with trust and integrity. Without them, there is no hope.” 

Little Dog: “Well, for me anyway, I know that I am trustworthy.” 

Big Dog: “Really? Can your spouse trust you? Your boss? Your customers? Your children? Parents? Friends? The strangers sitting on the bus with you? The other drivers on the road?”

Little Dog: “Well, I’m too young to be married and have children. But the other stuff I can confidently answer ‘yes’ to. I’m not sure about the other guy, though. Sometimes I question the motives of other dogs out there.” 

Big Dog: “Well, remember this, Little Dog. When you start questioning the integrity and motivation of your fellow citizens, when you devalue their religion, when you question their moral values, when you attack their political views, when you try to silence their voices, when you accuse them of conspiracies, you are undermining the fundamental trust that exists in society.”

Little Dog: “Golly, you really are into making speeches today. Have you been drinking some of that Whoopie Joy Juice again?”

Big Dog: “It’s actually quite simple. Yet sometimes we dogs try to cloud the issue by denying responsibility for our actions and instead blaming them on others. That type of behavior lacks integrity. And without integrity, there can be no trust. And without trust, there can be no civilization. It’s that simple.” 

Little Dog: “Uh, you didn’t answer the Joy Juice question.” 

Big Dog: “Well, maybe I had a little. Please forgive my loquaciousness. But I believe that I did answer your question.”

Little Dog: “Yeah, I guess so. I need to be trustworthy by acting with integrity. And I need to trust others, and not blame them for my own problems.” 

Big Dog: “Sounds like a good start.” 

Little Dog: “Woof!’ 

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