Misplaced Trust

I imagined this morning I’d write about misplaced trust. Then I thought I’d check the dictionary definition of “trust”. I’m not sure I’ll continue writing.

Definition of trust

“1 a: reliance on the character, ability, strength, or truth of someone or something”

Considering trust applied to politics I laugh out loud, and stop dead.

Abuse of trust so overwhelming. Meaning so totally debased. The scope of annihilation universal, what can be the point of writing about even misplaced trust?

Living lifetimes adrift in an ocean, never having met another who’s even dreamed of terra firma, everyone adrift in plastic rafts, born in rafts, dying in them, everything between birth and death a polyethylene pressing of limbs and ass against a thin yellow film – what can one say about hikes through forests, feet on the ground, evening rambles through Paris? What can one say about trust in anything tangible?


A few years ago a young woman asked me:

What do you think about Bernie Sanders?


I calculated whether to recite a background lifetime watching political promise run aground, head smashed on the rocks. But what are “rocks”? No one’s ever seen them. Hip and elbow brrrip across the yellow petrol bubble:

I think he’s an imperialist, racist, fascist.

OK. Well that answers that. 🙂

I tried to calibrate a bit.

I think what he says about healthcare and education are right enough, as good as you can get anyone to say in the United States. Healthcare and education should be public goods, not privatized. The extent to which Bernie Sanders actually says that is debatable but irrelevant, his raft shredded, Bernie Sanders crossfire hurricaned to oblivion, sunk, his rhetoric smashed metaphorically onto the rocks, his persona meme-ified, cross armed mittened alone in the cold, swaddled in a gore-tex (polyethylene) jacket.

His policy proposals, long before his meme-destiny reached its final realization, straightjacketed:

Sanders promotes the ISIS-ification of Syria, the Nazification of Ukraine, the annihilation of socialists in Venezuela, the demonization of Russia, the anal rape on television of Libya’s leader, the colonization of Africa, the partition of China, and so on. Classic imperialism, duded up in the rhetoric of “humanitarianism” and R2P. The fullest possible, most violent expression of supremacist racism, despite (and even FUELED BY) a re-amplification of tokenism.

Tokenism: A word even 5th graders were aware of in 1970s.

Dinner Friday night with a Danish friend who lives in Sweden.

I derailed a comment (neither of us remember what “something” is):

I know (something). But I believe (something)


What’s the difference between knowing and believing?

You’re my friend. You’re not supposed to ask questions like that.


I know. I know. A friend once told me to stop this; the absolute certainty that the fate of anyone claiming to philosophize: to be hauled out into the town square, tied to a whipping post and lashed.

This is me being your friend, just wanting to clarify the distinction. What is it?

I think when I know something, I have a stronger feeling about it than when I believe it.


(my friendliness now in doubt for sure, and the town square calling my name): Are you sure you want to make your argument from that position? That knowing is distinguished by stronger feeling?

(Actually, it’s not a bad argument.)

I think knowing is something that can be confirmed by others around me.


(the whipping post now in clear sight): You’ve moved your position from standing on shaky ground to standing on thin ice…

(Also not a bad argument. It just depends on what one actually means with these words)

Best I came up with so far for the difference between wissen and glauben is from example:

I know how to get to COOP (the food store).

I know how to drive a car.

I believe life is meaningful

Every word, in every language, has multiple meanings, and the meanings overlap. Clear distinction is not simple.

Focusing on the difference, the difference between knowing and believing seems related to demonstration. I can demonstrate knowing. And the demonstration is straightforward, ordinary, easy.

I know how to get to the store. I can demonstrate that by walking there. Arrival is the demonstration. Easy for anyone to verify, with ordinary means.

Beliefs are harder to demonstrate. I can say, “I believe in God.” People mature in religious belief recognize the matter of faith, not demonstrable in straightforward ways.

You can believe that life is meaningful, demonstrably a good idea, but the demonstration is more complex and requires demonstration of a set of other supporting beliefs. A hitchhiker’s guide to the galaxy computing the supporting beliefs for 10,000 years arrives only at:


Is 42 meaningful to you?

Do you know this guy? Bill Gates. Do you believe him?


yelling “fire” and literally selling fire insurance, “the best insurance the world can buy”. Classic mafioso... arson and extortion in tandem.

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