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Looking ahead, where does trust come from? 展望未来 信任从何而来?


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全球展望:信心与信任
● 展望未来  世界的信心何在?  / 季莫菲·博尔达切夫(Timofei Bordachev)

● 展望未来  信任从何而来?   / 扬·奥伯格(Jan Oberg)

By Jan Oberg, PhD , co-founder and director of  The Transnational Foundation for Peace and Future Research, TFF, in Lund, Sweden
文|扬·奥伯格(Jan Oberg)   瑞典隆德跨国和平与未来研究基金会创始人、主任、博士        翻译|王晓波

导读

“在不信任成为默认的情况下,合作怎样才能发挥作用?历史告诉我们,全球合作中一些最重要的向前迈进的步伐恰恰出现在难以获得信任的时刻,这些联合行动帮助重建了信任。为什么即使在对立情绪高涨的时候,合作也能奏效?简而言之,合作之所以能够发挥作用,是因为它能产生结果,而且这样的结果建立在互惠互利的基础上。”

导言——美好事物之谜

理解信任的概念

信任与安全

信任者和值得信赖的

全球视野下的信任

怎样恢复或建立信任?为何不说“对不起”?

信任与文化 

替代结论

 

 

Introduction – The enigma of good things

Like many other positive things in this world, there is little research available on what trust is and how it works. Human beings study war and other violence much more than nonviolence and peace; evil more than goodness; aggression more than forgiveness and reconciliation.

It quite strange because no society, no human relationships, can exist without these fundamentally good qualities.

One explanation is that unless people think more deeply, they believe that the good things exist when there is an absence of the bad things. Thus, peace means ’no war’ or trust means that there is no distrust. In other words, the good things are void, or the absence of something bad or evil. But to be healthy is, of course, not just to not being ill. To live in peace is so much more than just the absence of war.

And to feel trust is so much more than just not feeling distrust or betrayedal. All these positive phenomenons of life are filled with content, but there is woefully little research and public debate about virtually all good, constructive, positive aspects of human life.

 

Approaching the concept(s) of trust

One way to approach it is to see as a relationship in which the parties meet their peers’ expectations. When we trust a person, we believe that she or he will do what we expect and/or abstain from doing something we don’t expect. When expectations are confirmed in reality’s deeds, our trust grows.

In contrast, therefore, when someone disappoints us by not living up to our expectations, we lose trust.

Of course, this judgement depends on whether or not our expectations were realistic in some sense of the word, on whether we judged correctly the trustworthiness of the other.

This points in the direction of taking a risk. When I decide to trust someone, at least for the first time, I take a risk: He or she could turn out to not behave as I expected, even to cheat me – deliberately or because of an inability to meet my expectations.

To trust someone is to act into the future: I expect something in return at some point.

Perhaps the other person had a hidden agenda and only played trustful – but had actually put me up for some kind of scam. If that happens, we feel cheated, and we criticise ourselves for having been naive in the sense of having trusted that other almost blindly.

To summarise this far: Trust is a characteristic of a relationship. Trust is related to expectations – whether real or idealistic. And trust implies, at least in the early stage of a relationship, that we take a risk.

And, then, what is it we put at risk? It is our sense of security.

I feel insecure until I obtain a proof that the trust I showed the other person was realistic and she or he met my expectations. And, vice versa, if repeatedly the other meets my expectation, the more secure I feel and can then – safely – trust the other on more, and more important, things.

That said, we all try to guard ourselves against being cheated, against increasing our insecurity. Whether nations or individuals. We can say that trust is a phenomenon that applies – albeit in different ways – at the national, or collective, level and at the personal individual/small group level.

 

Trust and security

Let’s elaborate a bit on security politics – personal as well as national/global. It can never be obtained against someone – by making the other side feel insecure. By doing that, we prevent the other side from trusting us. Like trust, genuine security develops as a mutual testing over time of reliability and taking the other’s needs into account (empathy) – that is, by developing security with the other side (making him feel secure with us and trust us), not against the other.

It’s a sad intellectual and moral fact that most national military security promotes with security against the other, common security is built on the idea of mutuality: I am secure when the other feels secure – and that’s how the other feels too vis-a-vis me. Every theory of deterrence undermines trust and the feeling of security. Parties who say: I can kill your people if you do something I do not accept, is a message of insecurity. It’s offensivness.

That almost civilisational fallacy is why we have arms races, many more wars and more violence than we otherwise would. That’s why we are living in a horrendously overarmed – but simultaneously insecure – world. Arms-based deterrence signals: I do/will/can not trust you.

Building one’s security on that capability can never lead to peace – no matter the good intentions we state at the same time. Only self-defence – defensiveness – can. To use an image: The Chinese Wall is defensive, it threatens no one – but was a formidable defensive deterrence: If you come near, you’ll have problems, but otherwise not.

Nuclear weapons, in contrast, signals and do the opposite. That’s why defensiveness is a globally recognised norm in UN Charter Article 51.

We feel secure when we sense, on the basis of some kind of experience gained over time, that we can trust the other. That is, the other behaves in a way we, grosso modo, expected. There is predictability and therefore stability in the relationship.

A threat is on the extreme of a spectrum appearing in a relationship before a conflict breaks out in violent action. It is enough to feel insecurity, to feel not trusted and not able to trust – and then our psychological or national defence mechanisms set in motion: How can we guard ourselves against that other person or country that we feel we cannot trust?

Please note here that the feeling of lack of trust can have many explanations. The other can, out of the blue, have done something we could not even imagine; the other side surprised us negatively – by doing something bad or by not doing what we had expected, for instance being passive, not responding, dropping out of a deal.

And then the question arises: Why? Did we misjudge the other side or did we do something the other side interpreted as non-trustworthy (whether intended so or not)?

This opens up for an elaboration of the concepts of defensiveness and offensiveness. It seems to be both a human-individual and a national-collective trait in psychology to see the other as the cause of my distrust, fear or anger. How often have we not heard this shouted out: Yes, it may be that we did something wrong back then, but they were the ones who started all this! In such a statement, we are only reacting to what they do over there. There hardly exists any violent conflict without such statements.

Unfortunately, that is an immature statement which usually serves to cover up my co-responsibility, my own faults, to blame, to preserve the (most often false) image of ’us’ as innocent, even as victims. (Victim psychology can lead to much worse violence than ordinary psychology because the victim has a moral credit in the eyes of others that the perpetrator can never have).

However, let’s remember that like it takes two to tango, it takes at least two – and usually many more – to fight wars.

My personal observations accumulated by talking with thousands of people in rather many conflict and war zones is that, if you listen carefully and also remain aware of your own biases and sympathies, all parties have some good arguments for why they do what they do. There are, furthermore, often mirror narratives of their opponents.

But this is what the media will never catch and convey to you because they stare themselves blind on the violence and blodshed and completely overlook the underlying conflicts in which the violence is rooted: What is the deeper problem that stands between the parties and lead otherwise sensible people to begin using violence and even kill each other? And that is the essential question if you want to mediate or otherwise help bring about a solution.

However, here we encounter a very important intellectual distinction: Symmetric and a-symmetric conflicts. This is about dimensions of power, say intellectual, economic, military, political, cultural and ethical power. An a-symmetric conflict is defined by at least two participants where one is very high, generally, on the most important types of power and the other is generally lower.

But there is also mixes, so to speak. A conflict party can be strong on military power and intellectual power, but low on ethical power (as seen by others) and cultural power. The typical bully profile. And the weaker side may have the opposite power profile – high on morals and sympathy but using nonviolence, such as diplomacy, because it doesn’t have any larger military resources. Most politicians and media do not even know about this distinction but hurry to take sides without seeing the larger military and civilian ’correlations of power.’

It is also noteworthy here that strong powers (in the measurable sense, like military expenditures) generally have lost wars while ’underdogs’ – being smarter and using other powers – have won. Think France and the US in Vietnam.

 

The Trustor and the Trustworthy

Most of the above has dealt with the Trustor. But we should add, perhaps, that the trustor is also a personality. Some people are strong enough to dare trust – take the risk of trusting.

They rely on themselves and if the trust they invest in other people fails, they are not going to get ruined. And there are people who, for various reasons such as traumas earlier in their lives, are quite unable to trust anyone – super-suspicious, paranoid; some even interpret kind deed towards them as part of a cheating scheme.

But who is the trustworthy?

In some cases and settings, it’s a personality characteristic – we believe that some stranger to us is trustworthy, something in the manners, eyes, way of speaking, handshake – whatever – that makes us believe that this person is trustworthy – even though there may be no concrete reason and test to build such a perception on.

And most likely, we’ve all come across someone with some different characteristics and personality traits that did everything else but give us a sense of trustworthiness.

Let’s remember that life teaches us also that, in principle and later on, we could have made wrong or unfair judgement. Perceptions may change over time – the trustworthy turned out to be a charmer, the untrustworthy was just a somewhat unconventional, strange character, but turned out to become a trusted friend for life.

Being trustworthy, of course, is not only a matter of personality or experience. It has also a professional dimension.

We have a lot of ”automatic” trust in, say, pilots, doctors, priests and psychiatrists – those whose professional task is to deal with or heal us human beings.

Then there is the contrasting side: in many parts of the world, people have much less trust in politicians, auto mechanics or marketing firms. And there are sub-societies where internal trust is everything – such as various sectarian societies, Hell’s Angles, mafia organisations and those who perform dangerous circus acts. One would assume also that there is a very high level of trust in a symphony orchestra – the conductor trusting the competence and obedience of the members as well as the the musicians trusting that if they follow the conductor, the collective result will be better than if everybody plays his or her own tune.

There is much more to be said about trust and related matters. Let’s now explore how at least some of this can be transferred to the level of global co-existence.

 

Trust in a global perspectivet  

An interesting opinion poll – the ”Edelman Trust Barometer” – is produced annually by the – somewhat unconventional – Edelman communications firm in the United States. Among many results, it shows that the Chinese people rank as # 1 when it comes to trust in their government – 91% and increasing steadily the last few years. This compares with  39% of the Americans and similar low levels in many European countries.

This global survey is based on more than 36,000 respondents in 28 countries each respondent participating in a 30-minute online interview. The report is published in January and covers a range of indicators of trust among business, media, government and NGOs.

The Edelman team formulated the main conclusions in 2022 under this headline:

”Vicious cycle of distrust fueled by government and media.
We find a world ensnared in a vicious cycle of distrust, fueled by a growing lack of faith in media and government. Through disinformation and division, these two institutions are feeding the cycle and exploiting it for commercial and political gain. 48% view government and 46% the media as divisive forces in society.”

One must wonder how long time would such deliberately manufactured distrust – fake and omission and plain lies – could produce any type of gain?

CEO Richard Edelman reflects on the – mind-boggling – role of fake news here – where you can read that ”There are now almost as many fake news local media sites in the U.S. than actual local daily newspapers.”

One would believe that Edelman’s 2022 Barometer should be a shocking finding to the world, not the least those parts of it that considers themselves to be democracies in contrast to autocracies. But as far as we’ve been able to investigate, it did not make headlines or create much debate – at least not as much as some news about sports or celebrities.

Now, Edelman is a private communications corporation with some 6000 employees around the world, it is not a research institute per se. But it does have a research institute and learning laboratory for trust, and it publishes data-driven insights around trust that inform leadership, strategy, policy and sustained action across institutions.

Strangely, we’ve not been able to find on its site how Edelman actually defines trust or what methods it uses to operationalise such a definition into the set of question put to people around the world. And some of its publications are not exactly free of political biases. But let’s leave it at that for now.

In an Edelman anthology on ”Restoring Trust in a Fractured World,” we’ve found a couple of interesting insights. One is by Gargee Ghosh who says: ”So how can cooperation work at a time when distrust is the default? Well, history suggests that some of the most important steps forward in global cooperation came even at moments when trust was difficult to come by, and that these joint actions helped rebuild trust. And why does cooperation work even at moments when animosity runs high? In short, cooperation can work because it delivers results and is built around mutual self-interest.”

Another one is made by Parag Khanna who argues that the West could learn from the fact that Eastern governments generally enjoy higher levels of trust by their citizens than those in the West. That there is something interesting about what he calls Asian values, namely ”an almost scientific approach to governance, one that applies trial and error methods to deliver utilitarian outcome.”

Khanna then argues that there are basically three principles underlying that Asian trust: a) technocratic government (except China) and a citizenry not afraid of tossing under-performing governments; b) a strong belief in the government’s essential role in driving long-term strategic planning – which is a necessary corrective against over-reliance on free-market orthodoxy, and c) taking a cautious and incremental approach towards societal change, one that places a premium on maintaining social harmony. This too, he says, is a natural corrective to some of the excesses of the me-first, liberal ideology that prevails in much of the West. It’s an attitude rooted in the region’s history.
I tend to believe that these are actually essentials for building trust between people and their governments and also explains to some extent why China ranks so high on the Trust Barometer.

And it is indeed time for low-trust countries to read the writing on the wall, re-think trust and to do things differently. But that implies a willingness to learn from others, a humble awareness that ’we can still improve,’ and a capacity to adapt and to integrate other, perhaps even non-Western, values. It’s no more strange – or difficult – than it has been for non-Western societies to infuse some Western values and ways of thinking into their societies and culture and make something new out of the mix.

That sort of long-term melting processes surely also contribute to trust: You have something good – but we dont like all of it – and we can use that in our way! And we may have something good too – among aspects you may not like with us – and perhaps you can use that. In short, a little us in you and a little you in us!

Such a view is preconditioned on an ability to look at others in a differentiated manner rather than painting everything about the other in black. It also requires a sense that there is something we can do better, rather than a sense that we are the top of civilisation and our only task is to teach other lessons and mould them into copies of ourselves.

One may certainly ask today whether the West – the Occidental culture – has such an ability or it will decline because it lacks it.

That latter sort of attitude makes for anything but trust – it makes for distrust and vertical subordination, win/lose rather than horisontality, mutuality, commonality and win/win.

 

How trust can be restored or built – and why not say ’I am sorry’?  

Where would trust then come from ? If lost how could it be restored? As stated in the introduction, truth is, I believe, that we know where little about it. However, given this author’s background as an expert in conflict (Diagnosis, Prognosis and Treatment/Solution), I would venture that (re)building of trust is close to conflict-resolution, shaping a new vision that permits the former conflicting parties to accommodate and feel safe. I would argue that it is close to reconciliation and forgiveness. Why?

Because, underlying distrust – as well as various kinds of violence – is always one of more conflicts. Distrust and violence are merely symptoms of something deeper – like the pain in the human body is not the problem and cannot be solved in a genuine sense by painkillers, but only by asking: What is the roots of the pain? What are the roots of the violence – or the distrust?

That’s the Diagnosis, then comes Prognosis – what if this continues and escalates, what if we do this or that about it and what if we do nothing? And then comes Treatment: Some kind of intervention with the parties and with the structure of the relationship between them – and changing attitudes, behaviours and conflict issues to such an extent that the same conflict – distrust – will not come back again. If it does, the conflict has not been dealt properly with and trust could not be built.

Sometimes a war or other violence have to rage – but at some point, the parties will have to address what it is that made them take to the violence in the first place. The same process, one can argue, applies to trust: We can achieve nothing and will harm each other and ourselves in the long run unless we stop to think and address why we do not trust each other. And then do something new that can re-build trust.

One sure way to rebuild trust is to say: I am sorry – sorry, for example, for being too suspicious of you or for trying to manipulate, or fool, you. Even for my threatening you. I should not have done that. Human beings can say: I am sorry for what I said or did – I truly repent and ask your forgiveness.

It’s a huge problem that there is no such mechanism at the state level. There do exist cases when a intellectually and ethically towering politicians has had the civil courage to say: I am sorry. – In 1970, then German chancellor, Willy Brandt, spontaneously fell to his knees at the war memorial in Warsaw to apologise for Nazi-Germany’s crimes.

Undoubtedly, that physical, symbolic deed created a huge opening for forgiveness and reconciliation. And for trust – trust on which to build a new more trust- and peaceful Europe.

Sadly, however, most politicians do not have such a human scope. It requires a genuine personality and a refusal to just play the leader’s role. It requires taking off the tough statesman role and becoming yourself. Brandt, by the way, had himself been a refugee from Nazi-Germany in Norway. He understood suffering and could empathise with those who suffered.
Playing tough and self-righteous, showing no willingness to recognise one’s own wrongdoings but, instead, go about (often militarist) business as usual – being a real Man and not showing emotions – seems, strangely and regrettably, still to be expected of national leaders – or what defines political leadership in everyday life.

This fact may one day cause a nuclear annihilation: Leaders playing it like a ’chicken game’ and not giving in to any ’soft’ policies.

Danish philosopher Piet Hein has formulated it brilliantly:

The noble art of Losing Face
may one day save the Human Race
and turn into eternal merit
what weaker minds would call disgrace.

The general inability of national leaders’ to say sorry – or ’lose face’ – points to the importance of building people-to-people trust instead. Based on my own work with reconciliation and forgiveness in war zones, I believe more in building trust at that level, from the bottom-up, and then let it inspire leaders. It’s easier for a top leader to reach out and say: My people wants to re-build trust so that’s what I am now working to do with you – than moving alone.

One more aspect of trust-building is appropriate here: Trust and distrust work differently in symmetric and a-symmetric relationships. Ceteris paribus, it is easier for the big and strong to say ’I trust you’ to the smaller and weaker party.

And vice versa – the weaker side who says ’I trust you’ may lose everything simply because that side has a larger dependence spectrum – trusting someone completely can be devastating if everything is put at risk.

Most likely, the loss from being cheated is smaller to the topdog than to the underdog. In contrast, in symmetric relationships, the risk one takes is about the same as that which the other side takes.

At the end of the day, one can see trust – and the willingness to trust – as an indicator or relative power. A-symmetric parties may pay very different prices the day it turns out that the other could not be trusted.

In the best of cases, mutual trust is a win/win. But we must add one quality to that: Not a win/win where the strong wins 90% and the weak 10%. Trust is about moving as close to 50/50 as possible in symmetric relations and doing the inverse in a-symmetric relations: The strong party may build trust effectively by letting the weaker get 60% or more and obtaining only a smaller ’win’ for itself.

 

Trust and culture 

How is trust – and its definitions – influenced by cultures? How does different ways of thinking conceive of trust?

I think it is fair to say that people’s perception of trust has a lot in common across cultures. But the role of trust may differ. For instance, David de Cremer argues in the article ”Understanding Trust, in China and the West” that the Western concept is sometimes described as being fast or primary – you build trust while you go, so to speak. If cooperative efforts go well, trust will develop.

In contrast to that, he maintains, it seems that the Chinese conception of trust is more time-consuming and fundamental, and it is only after you’ve build trust between parties, that the Chinese is ready to enter into negotiations and make deals.

If this is so, it is interesting for at least two reasons: The Chinese want to build a basis for cooperation first – before cooperating. This means that what the West does prior to dealings with China will influence later chances for building cooperative relations.

Further it means that the Western blend of quick action – ”let’s get things done now!” – with the classical combination of mixing deterrence/offensive statements or actions with also signalling a will to cooperate selectively simply won’t work. Because it is culturally insensitive. The comparative advantage is on China’s side here as, generally, the Chinese know much more about the West than vice versa.

The Transnational Foundation’s publication from 2021 about the US Cold War policy against China – ”Behind the Smokescreen. An Analysis of the West’s China Destructive Cold War Agenda And Why It Must Stop” – regrettably is one long documentation on how to build distrust.

 

In lieu of a conclusion  

Time for a summary – but not a conclusion; much more research and experiments are needed:

• Little is actually known researchwise about trust; the world must experiment with it to the best of its abilities, because we cannot do without it.

• Trust is a relational concept that implies taking risks and therefore also stimulates defence and security mechanisms and thinking.

• While it is a relational phenomenon, it depends to a large extent on the parties ’personality’ and life experience.

• Trust depends very much on whether we talk about a symmtric or a-symmtric relationship.

• There is a considerable difference between building trust for the first time and restoring trust after it has broken down. The latter comes close to conflit-resolution, forgiveness and reconciliation.

• The human experience of trust is probably rather similar across the cultural spectrum but the place, or role, of trust-building surely varies according to ways of thinking in different cultures.  

• Trust takes time – and like virtually every positive value (peace, freedom, truth), it takes time to build it and only a short time and perhaps even just a single wrong deed to ruin it.

• Trust can be seen as a synergetic: relations built on 100% fundamental, solid trust can achieve positive results a 100% more effectively.

• Sadly, we live in an era where there seems to be a rapidly decreasing level of trust throughout society and in governments and the media, particularly in the Western world. It’s high time to identify the causes behind because no society can live for long without trust among its citizens.

 

Some recommended readings

• The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy – on Trust
• Psychology Today – Trust
• The Philosophy of Trust – Key findings
• Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews – The Philosophy of Trust
• The Open University – On Trust and Philosophy
• The Marginalian – Collection of articles on Trust
• David de Cremer
Understanding Trust, in China and the West
Harvard Business Review
• Steve Farber
Understanding Chinese Trust
• Learn Chinese Weekly
The Chinese word for trust
• Goodreads
Quotes on trust

 


导言——美好事物之谜

与世界上许多其他积极的事情一样,关于信任是什么以及它的运作机制的研究很少。人类对战争和其他暴力的研究远远超过了非暴力和和平,比如对邪恶比对善良的研究多,对侵略比对宽恕与和解的研究多。

这很奇怪,因为如果没有这些基本的良好品质,任何社会、任何人际关系都不可能存在。

对此的一种解释是,除非人们进行深入的思考,否则他们会认为,只要没有坏的事情,好的事情就必然存在。于是,和平意味着“没有战争”,信任意味着没有不信任。换言之,美好的事物都是虚无的,它只意味着没有坏的或邪恶的东西。但是实际上,健康并不仅仅是不生病,和平生活也不仅仅是没有战争。

同理,感受到信任也绝不仅仅是感受不到不信任或背叛。所有这些积极的生活现象都是有内容的,但令人遗憾的是,对于人类生活中所有美好、建设性和积极方面的研究和公开辩论少之又少。

 

理解信任的概念 

理解信任的一种方法是,将其视为各方期望与自己同类的人保持的一种关系。如果我们信任一个人,我们相信他或她会做我们期望的事和/或不做我们不期望的事。当期望在现实的行为中得到证实时,我们的信任就会增加。

反之,如果有人辜负了我们的期望而令我们感到失望的话,我们就会对其失去信任。

当然,这种判断在一定意义上取决于我们的期望是否现实,取决于我们是否对对方的可信度做出了准确的判断。

这样的做法是存在一定风险的。当我决定相信某人时,至少在起初,我是冒了风险的:他或她可能会表现得不像我期望的那样,甚至会欺骗我——故意或因为无法满足我的期望。
信任某人其实是针对未来的行动:我期望在某个时刻能够得到回报。

或许对方有着隐藏的目的,只是表现出值得信任的样子,实际上却让我陷入某种骗局。如果出现这种情况,我们会感到被骗了,我们会因为近乎盲目地信任对方而责备自己过于天真。

至此总结一下:信任具有关系的特征。信任与期望有关——无论现实的还是理想的。信任意味着,至少在关系的早期阶段,我们需要冒风险。

那么,我们面临的风险是什么?它是我们的安全感。

在我得到证据,证明我对对方的信任是现实的,而且他或她满足了我的期望之前,我会感到不安全。反过来也一样,如果对方不断地满足我的期望,我就愈发感到安全,并且会很放心地在更多更重要的事情上信任对方。

也就是说,我们都试图保护自己不被欺骗,不让我们的不安全感增加。无论国家还是个人,都是如此。我们可以说,信任是一种现象,它适用于国家或集体层面以及个人和小团体层面,尽管方式会有所不同。

 

信任与安全 

这里我们详细阐述一下安全政治——涉及个人以及国家和全球。安全永远不可能通过让对方感到不安全的方式获得。如果那么做,我们就是在阻止对方信任我们。与信任一样,真正的安全感是随着时间的推移建立起来的,它是一种相互测试可信度,并考虑对方需求(同理心)的过程——也就是说,通过与对方发展安全感(让他感到和我们在一起是安全的并且信任我们),而不是与对方对抗。

一个可悲的来自理智和道德层面的事实是:大多数国家在强调军事安全时都是通过与对方对抗以换取安全,可是共同安全建立在相互性的基础上,即当对方感到安全时,我才安全,反之亦然。每一种威慑理论都会破坏信任和安全感。当事方说:如果你做了我不接受的事,我会杀你的人。这是一种不安全的信息,是冒犯。

这种文明的谬论就是为什么我们会有军备竞赛、更多的战争和更多的暴力的原因。

这也是为什么我们会生活在一个可怕的过度武装但同时又极不安全的世界里。基于武器的威慑发出的信号是:我不/不会/不能信任你。

建立在这种能力基础上的安全永远不可能带来和平——无论我们同时表达了怎样的善意,它只能带来自卫和防御。打个比方:中国的城墙就是防御性的,它没有威胁到任何人,但它会产生一种强大的防御威慑:如果你靠近,你会有麻烦的,否则就没事。

相比之下,核武器发出的信号却正好相反。这就是为什么联合国宪章第51条对防御性给出了全球公认的标准。

当我们基于一些久而久之获得的经验感觉到我们可以信任对方时,我们会感到安全。也就是说,对方的行为与我们的期望大体上一致。这种关系具有可预测性,因此也就有了稳定性。
在冲突以暴力行动爆发之前,威胁是关系中的极端现象。它足以令人或国家感到不安全、不被信任和不能信任,然后我们的心理或国家的防御机制就启动了:我们怎样才能防范另一个我们觉得无法信任的人或国家?

这里请注意,缺乏信任的感觉可以有多种原因。对方可能突如其来地做了我们简直难以想象的事情;对方可能从负面令我们感到惊讶——做了坏事或者没有做我们期望的事,比如表现消极、不回应、退出交易。然后问题来了:为什么?是我们误判了对方,还是我们做了对方认为不可信靠的事情(无论是否有意)?

接下来就要阐述防御和进攻的概念了。从心理学的角度讲,将他人视为自己感到不信任、恐惧或愤怒的原因,似乎是人类个体和国家的集体特质。这样的斥责我们一定听过多次了:是的,或许我们当时做错了什么,但这一切都是他们挑起的!按照这种说法,我们只是对他们的行为做出回应而已。可以说,没有这样的说法,就几乎不存在任何暴力冲突了。

但遗憾的是,这是一个幼稚的说法,它通常用来掩盖我们应当承担的共同责任和我们的错误,责备对方,并维护我们无辜的、甚至是受害者的形象(大多数时候都是虚假的)。(受害者心理会导致比普通心理更恶劣的暴力行为,因为受害者在他人眼中有着施害者永远无法拥有的道德信誉)。

然而,我们需要记住的是,一个巴掌拍不响。战争需要至少两方——通常是更多方——的参与。

通过在多个冲突和战争区与那里数千人的交谈,我个人积累的观察结果是,如果你仔细倾听,同时也能意识到自己存在的偏见和同情心,你会发现各方对其做法的原因都能给出一些很好的理由。而且,他们常常会使用与对方同样的叙事方式,只不过过失方是对方。

但是媒体永远不会捕捉和传递这些,因为他们对暴力和流血视而不见,也完全忽视了导致暴力的背后冲突:各方之间的深层次问题是什么?是什么造成了原本理智的人们开始使用暴力,甚至互相残杀?如果你想调解或者帮助他们达成解决方案,这是需要考虑的核心问题。

这里我们遇到了一个非常重要的来自认知层面的区别:对称和非对称冲突。它涉及到能力,比如知识、经济、军事、政治和道德能力。非对称冲突被定义为至少有两方参与,其中一方在大多数重要能力上占据优势,而另一方则处于劣势。

不过,也有混合的情况。冲突中的一方可能在军事和智能方面很强,但在道德层面(被他人认为)和文化能力上却很弱。这就是典型的霸凌情形。弱方的实力情形可能正好相反——道德和同情心很高,并且会使用非暴力手段,比如外交,因为它没有强大的军事资源。大多数政客和媒体甚至都没有认识到存在这样的差别,可是他们在没有看清更大范围的军事与民事的“力量关联”的情况下,就急于选边站队。

这里还值得注意的是,强国(在可衡量的意义上,比如军事支出)常常会输掉战争,而“弱国”——表现得更智慧并且通过使用其他力量——却取得了胜利。想想法国以及美国在越战时的情形。

 

信任者和值得信赖的 

上面主要在讨论信任者,或许我们还应该补充一点,信任也是一种个性。一些人足够强大,敢于信任——冒着相信的风险。他们依靠自己,如果他们对他人的信任出了问题,他们也不会因此被毁掉。还有一些人,由于各种原因,比如早年经历的创伤,导致他们无法相信任何人——超级多疑、偏执;还有些人甚至将别人对他们的善意行为看作是欺骗方案的一部分。

但是谁值得信赖呢?

在一些情况下,它是一种性格特征——我们认为某个陌生人对我们而言是值得信任的,无论是透过其举止、眼神、说话方式还是握手,我们都相信这个人是值得信赖的——尽管这样的认知可能并没有具体的理由或经受过检验。

最有可能的是,我们会遇到一些与我们性格和特征迥异的人,他们做了该做的一切,但就是无法给我们信任感。

我们需要记住的是,事实上,生活后来会让我们知道,我们可能做出了错误或不公正的判断。我们的认知会随着时间发生变化——那些以为值得信任的人被证明是迷惑人的人;而被看作不值得信任的人则不过是个有点另类、不同寻常的人物,但实际上却是值得一辈子信任的朋友。

当然,值得信任并不仅仅与个性或经历有关,它还具有专业属性。

我们会对诸如飞行员、医生、牧师和精神病学家等产生“自动”的信任,因为这些人从事的职业与我们人类的生命和生活息息相关。

与之相反的是,在世界上的许多地方,人们对政治家、汽车修理工或营销公司的信任度非常低。还有在一些亚社会,内部信任就是一切——比如各种教派社会、地狱天使、黑手党组织和那些从事危险马戏表演的团体。人们还可以假设,交响乐团的信任度非常高——指挥家相信成员们的能力和服从,音乐家则相信,如果他们听从指挥,整体的效果会比每个人在演奏时都自顾自好。

关于信任及相关的内容,还有许多可说的。现在让我们来探讨一下怎样将其中的一部分转移到全球共存的层面。

 

全球视野下的信任 

一项有趣的民意调查——“爱德曼信任晴雨表”——由美国的爱德曼通信公司有点另类地每年进行一次。在众多调查结果中,中国人对政府的信任度排名第一——91%,而且在过去几年中稳步上升。相比之下,美国人对政府的信任度只有39%,许多欧洲国家也差不多一样低。

这项全球调查基于28个国家的36000多名受访者,每位受访者都接受了30分钟的在线访谈。该调查报告每年1月发布,涉及企业、媒体、政府和非政府组织的一系列信任指标。

爱德曼团队在2022年的报告标题下公布了主要结论:

“政府和媒体助长了不信任的恶性循环。我们发现,一个陷入了不信任恶性循环的世界,会对媒体和政府越来越缺乏信心。通过虚假信息和制造分歧,这两个机构正在助长这种循环,并且利用这种循环获取商业和政治利益。48%和46%的受访者分别认为政府和媒体是社会中的分裂力量。”

人们不禁要问,这种故意制造的不信任——虚假、遗漏和纯粹的谎言——会在多长时间里产生任何类型的益处?

爱德曼公司的首席执行官理查德·爱德曼反思了虚假新闻在美国所起的令人困惑的作用——你在这里会发现,“现在美国制造虚假新闻的地区媒体网站太多了,几乎与当地的日报一样多。”
人们可能会认为,爱德曼的2022年度晴雨表应该是一个震惊世界的发现,尤其对那些自认为生活在民主国家而不是专制国家的人来说。但就我们所能调查到的情况看,它并没有成为头条新闻,也没有引起太多的争论——至少没有像一些关于体育或名人的新闻引起那么多热议。

不错,爱德曼是一家私营通信公司,在全球拥有约6000名员工,它本身并不是一家研究机构。但它的确有一个针对信任的研究机构和学习实验室,并且能够发布由数据引领的有关信任的见解,为领导层、战略、政策和机构间的持续行动提供信息。

奇怪的是,我们一直无法在其网站上找到爱德曼是如何定义信任的,或者他们使用了什么方法来将这样的定义用于向世界各地的人们提出的一系列问题中。它的一些出版物也并非完全没有政治偏见。但这些我们暂且不谈。

在爱德曼出版的选集“在破碎的世界中恢复信任”中,我们发现了一些有趣的见解。其中一个来自加吉·戈什,他说:“那么,在不信任成为默认的情况下,合作怎样才能发挥作用?历史告诉我们,全球合作中一些最重要的向前迈进的步伐恰恰出现在难以获得信任的时刻,这些联合行动帮助重建了信任。为什么即使在对立情绪高涨的时候,合作也能奏效?简而言之,合作之所以能够发挥作用,是因为它能产生结果,而且这样的结果建立在互惠互利的基础上。”

另一个观点来自帕拉格·卡纳,他认为西方可以从这样一个事实中有所借鉴,即东方国家的政府通常比西方政府在民众中享有更高水平的信任。他所称的亚洲价值观有一些有趣之处,即“一种近乎科学的治理方法,它采用试错的方法来获取实用的结果。”

卡纳还认为,亚洲信任基本上遵循三个原则:1.技术官僚政府(中国除外)和不惧怕抛弃表现不佳的政府的公民;2.坚信政府在推动长期战略规划方面的重要作用,这是对过度依赖自由市场观念的必要纠正;3.对社会变革采取谨慎和渐进的方法,这一做法非常重视维护社会的和谐。他说,这也是对西方大部分地区盛行的“我为先”的自由主义意识形态导致的一些过分行为的自然纠正。它是一种植根于该地区历史的态度。

我倾向于相信,这些的确是在人民和政府之间构建信任的必要条件,它们也在一定程度上解释了为什么中国在信任晴雨表上排名如此之高。

事实上,现在是信任度低的国家意识到问题所在,重新思考信任和采取不同做法的时候了。但这意味着要愿意向他人学习,谦卑地意识到“我们仍有需要改进的地方”,并且有能力适应和整合其他价值观,甚至是非西方的价值观。对于非西方社会来说,将一些西方价值观和思维方式融入其社会和文化,然后通过接纳创造出一些新的东西,这并不稀奇,也不困难。

这种长期的融合过程当然也有助于信任:你有一些很好的东西,虽然我们并不很喜欢它们,但我们可以用我们的方式使用它们!我们可能也有一些好东西,你或许并不像我们一样喜欢它们,但你也可以使用它们。简而言之,你中可以有一点我,我中可以有一点你|!

这种观点的前提是能够以不同的方式看待他人,而不是将他人的一切都染成黑色。它还需要一种我们可以做得更好的认知,而不是总感觉我们处在文明之巅,我们唯一的任务就是教训他人,并把他们塑造成我们的复制品。

现在人们肯定会问,西方——西方文化——是否具备这样的能力,或者是否会因为缺乏这种能力而衰落。

后一种态度会导致信任之外的任何东西——包括不信任、纵向的从属关系和赢输而不是平行的相互关系、共性和双赢。

 

怎样恢复或建立信任?为何不说“对不起”? 

那么信任从何而来?如果失去了,怎样才能恢复?正如导言中所述,我认为我们对信任知之甚少。不过,考虑到作者具有作为冲突专家(诊断、预测和治疗/解决)的背景,我愿意冒险说,构建或重建信任几乎就是解决冲突,形成一种新的愿景,使之前冲突的各方能够适应并感到安全。我认为它与和解和宽恕很接近。为什么这样说?

因为,潜在的不信任——以及各种暴力——始终是更多冲突的导火索之一。不信任和暴力只是更深层次问题所显现的症状而已,就如同人体疼痛不是问题所在,不能靠止痛药真正解决,而要问:疼痛的根源是什么?暴力或不信任的根源是什么?

这就是诊断,然后是预后——如果这种情况持续下去并升级、如果我们对它采取这种或那种做法、如果我们对它什么都不做,情况会怎样呢?接下来就是治疗:对各方和各方之间的关系结构进行某种干预,改变他们的态度、行为和冲突问题,使同样的冲突——不信任——不会再发生。如果冲突又发生的话,那就说明它并没有得到妥善处理,信任也无法建立起来。

有时,战争或其他暴力不得不爆发,但在某一时刻,各方也不得不解决促使他们起初采取暴力行动的问题。人们可以认为,同样的过程也适用于信任:除非我们停下来思考并解决为什么我们会不信任彼此这一问题,否则我们什么也做不成,而且从长远看会伤及彼此和我们自己。在此之后再采取一些可以重建信任的新做法。

重建信任的一个可靠方法是说:对不起。比如,对不起,我对你过于怀疑,或者试图操控和愚弄你。我甚至威胁你,我实在不应该那么做。人们可以说:我为我所说或所做的感到抱歉——我真心忏悔并请求你的原谅。

在国家层面没有这样的机制是一个巨大问题。但也确实出现过这样的情况,一个在理智和道德上都很高尚的政治家用普通人的勇气说出:对不起。1970年,时任德国总理威利·勃兰特在华沙的战争纪念碑前主动下跪,为纳粹德国的罪行道歉。

毫无疑问,这一身体的、象征性的行为为宽恕与和解开创了巨大的机会,也包括信任——建立一个新的、更加信任与和平的欧洲所需的信任。

然而,可悲的是,大多数政客不具备这样的人格能力。因为它需要真实的人格,并且拒绝仅仅扮演领导者的角色。它还需要摆脱强硬的政治家形象,做回自己。顺便说一句,勃兰特本人曾是挪威纳粹德国的难民,因此他理解苦难,能够同情那些受苦的人。

表现得强硬和自以为是,不愿意承认自己的错误,总是按常规做事(通常是军国主义者)——做一个大丈夫,不表现出情绪——似乎仍是国家领导人的期望,或者仍是日常生活中对政治领袖的定义,这实在让人感到奇怪和遗憾。

这一现实有一天可能会导致核毁灭:领导人像玩“小鸡游戏”一样,不愿屈服于任何“软”政策。

丹麦哲学家皮埃特·海因精彩地阐述了这一点:

丢面子这一高贵的艺术
也许有一天能拯救人类
并将弱者称为耻辱的事
变成永恒的美德。

国家领导人普遍不肯说“对不起”或者担心“丢面子”,这显示出人民之间建立信任的重要性。基于我自己在战争区在和解与宽恕方面所做的工作,我更愿意相信在这一层面建立信任的可能性,自下而上,然后让它影响领导者。对高层领导人来说,这更容易做到,他会说:我的人民希望重新建立信任,所以我现在所做的就是与你展开合作,而不是独自行动。

建立信任的另一个方面在这里也是适用的:信任和不信任在对称和非对称关系中所起的作用不同。在同等情况下,强大的一方更容易对弱小的一方说,“我相信你”。

反之亦然。如果弱小的一方说“我相信你”,那他可能会失去一切,因为他的依赖范围比较大——在一切都处于危险时,完全相信某人可能会产生毁灭性的后果。

最有可能的是,因欺骗所蒙受的损失对强国来说要比弱国小。相反,在对称关系中,一方所承担的风险与另一方所承担的风险大致相同。

在一天结束时,人们可以将信任和对信任的意愿视为一种指标或相对力量。如果另一方被证明不可信,非对称各方可能会为此付出非常不同的代价。

最好的情况是,相互信任是双赢的。但是我们必须加上一个标准:所谓双赢绝不是强者赢90%,弱者赢10%。信任是指在对称关系中双方尽可能各赢50%,而在非对称关系中则相反:强势的一方如果想有效地建立信任,可以让弱势的一方赢60%或者更多,而自己则少“赢”一点。

 

信任与文化 

文化会对信任及其定义产生怎样的影响?不同的思维方式是如何看待信任的?

我认为可以公平地说,在不同文化中,人们对信任的看法有着很多共同点。但信任所起的作用可能会不同。比方说,大卫·德·克雷默在其“理解信任,在中国和西方”一文中指出,西方有时将信任的概念描述为快速或首要的——就是说,你在开始的时候就建立了信任。如果合作顺利,信任会继续发展。

他认为,与此相反,中国人对信任的概念似乎更耗时和根本,只有在与各方都建立信任后,中国人才愿意进行谈判并达成协议。

如果是这样的话,至少有两个方面很有意思:中国人希望在合作之前先为合作奠定基础。这意味着,西方在与中国打交道之前所做的事情将影响其后期与中国建立合作关系的可能性。

这还意味着,西方的快速行动——“让我们现在就把事情做成!”和将威慑和攻击性声明或行动与选择性合作意愿相结合的经典组合做法根本行不通。因为它缺乏文化敏感性。相比之下,优势在中国一边,因为一般来说,中国对西方的了解要远远多于西方对中国的了解。

很遗憾,跨国基金会2021年关于美国对华冷战政策的出版物——在烟幕背后,西方的中国破坏性冷战议程以及它必须停止的原因分析——是一篇关于如何建立不信任的长篇文档。

 

替代结论

该做一下总结了,但不是结论,因为还需要更多的研究和实验:

● 关于信任的研究实际上少之又少;世界必须尽其所能对它进行试验,因为我们离不开它。

● 信任是一种关系概念,它意味着需要冒风险,因此也会引起防御和安全机制与思维。

● 由于它是一种关系现象,因此它在很大程度上取决于当事方的性格和生活经验。

● 信任在很大程度上取决于我们所谈论的是对称关系还是非对称关系。

● 第一次建立信任和在信任破裂后恢复信任之间有着相当大的区别,后者接近于冲突解决、宽恕和和解。

● 不同文化背景下,人们对信任的体验可能非常相似,但建立信任的重要性或信任所起的作用肯定会因不同文化的思维方式而有所不同。

● 信任需要时间——实际上如同所有积极的价值观(和平、自由、真理)一样,建立信任需要时间,可是摧毁信任却只需要很短的时间,甚至可能只需要一次错误的行为。

● 信任可以被视为具有协同作用:建立在100%基本、牢固信任基础上的关系可以获得100%更有效的积极成果。

● 可悲的是,我们生活在这样一个时代,社会、政府和媒体的信任度似乎都在迅速下降,尤其在西方世界。现在是找出背后原因的时候了,因为没有公民的信任,任何社会都无法长久生存。

 

一些推荐阅读的材料

● 斯坦福哲学百科全书——信任
● 今日心理学——信任
● 信任哲学——主要发现
● 圣母院哲学评论——信任哲学
● 开放大学——信任与哲学
● 边缘人——关于信任的文集
● 大卫·德·克雷默:理解信任,在中国和西方,哈佛商业评论
● 史蒂夫·法柏:理解中国人的信任
● 学习中文周刊:中文中的信任
●  Goodreads(一个图书分享型网站):关于信任的引用