Wednesday, November 2, 2022


552. Inscrutability and Trust

 One has a right to opaqueness, not always being open in what one says and thinks. However, inscrutability can be a basis for power (Ruti, 2015). In earlier items in this blog, I claimed that trustworthiness requires openness. Then, inscrutability can be a hedge, keeping options open for breaking trust. The openness required for trust is not unlimited but restricted to intentions towards actions that might harm the trustor.

 In personal relations one can be expected to be open about intentions that harm the personal bond; are contrary to the justified expectations of the partner, built up from past interaction and vows expressed in it. Ruti claims that males tend to be more inscrutable, and women have to muster the tolerance and forgiveness for it. Women may even find the strong, taciturn man attractive, I add. Forgiveness and tolerance of inscrutability may be irritating, in the victimisation of not standing up for oneself, as a real man does.

 Excessive openness, however, can be irritating, and may be exhibitionism, express narcissism, an urge for attention. Excessive openness may come across as a lament, which is considered to be unmanly, bees buzzing around a piece of shit.

 When a relationship is governed not by trust but by control, in a legal contract, what one divulges is regulated by law, in compulsory reports, which is more precise and circumscribed than openness under trust. This may seem a relief, but can fall short, in not covering unforeseen contingencies, and thus leaving risk and vulnerability. Legal ordering of a personal relationship is often seen as degrading and even indicative of a lack of trust, where it becomes counterproductive.

 As a result, for trust relations the scope and extent of openness are  uncertain, in particular because they depend on experience with the relation. In a relation that went well, the demand for openness decreases, and the supply increases, becoming more personal, also beyond the matter at hand, developing into friendship, perhaps into irritating garrulousness, and if the relation has been bumpy, demand increases and supply decreases, in the extreme case petrifying into legal enforcement.

 Mari Ruti 2015, Between Levinas and Lacan, London: Bloomsbury.

No comments:

Post a Comment