Friday, June 3, 2005

A Whiff of Trust

One of the greatest problems that plagues contemporary society is our penchant for turning anything we can get our hands on into a commodity. We have commodified education, health care, religion and even basic things like plant properties, seeds, water and human genes. Now, according to scientists, we're on the brink of commodifying human emotions!

According to a wire service report, scientists have isolated the specific hormone -- oxytocin -- that is an essential ingredient in the human capacity to build trust. In an experiment, the researchers had participants squirt oxytocin up their noses with a spray and then measured whether or not it increased the ability to trust another. It seemed to work.

While a discovery such as this may well have prove beneficial for individuals suffering from autism (who often lack an ability to build trust), I foresee far more sinister uses. Even one of the researchers stated that he is very worried about the hormone's potential application.

Oxytocin could easily become the next date rape drug. What better way to convince the girl at the party to have sex with you than to slip a dose of trust in her drink! Hey, the rapist says, she willing agreed to let me tie her up and have my way with her.

The hormone could become a new weapon in the war on crime, particularly with juveniles and the developmentally disabled. Having trouble getting the suspect to talk? Shoot 'em up with some instant trust, tell them all sorts of outlandish things and watch them incriminate themselves. Hey, the detective says, I read him his Miranda rights and he voluntarily spilled his guts.

What about the world of high finance? Having trouble finishing off a merger or hostile take over? No problem. Just make sure you slip a little liquid trust to the board and watch them agree to anything. Hey, the financier says, is it my fault the board of Company X agreed to sell at 50 cents per share below market value?

In almost every situation in human discourse, TRUST is an essential ingredient. It is something that must be developed slowly and nurtured. In other words, trust must be earned! To have the means to bypass this process could easily alter the whole of human society and alter it in a very negative way.

At the rate we're going, we are unwittingly destroying the very essence of our humanity.

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