Treachery - noun 1. Betrayal of trust; deceptive action or nature.
Throughout history, we human beings have been guilty of of lying, cheating and stealing against one another, for our own benefit, at the expense of others. There is something about a person who is so insecure, that they need to step on their fellow man to get ahead. Yet as much as people would agree with this sentiment, most of us do it anyways. Has treachery become so ingrained in human beings that it has become okay?
When I see the word treachery, it brings to mind images of perilous mountain passes, and bands of pirates ready to loot and cause mayhem. Why, you ask? Because the word is typically used in the context of something dangerous, like “the treacherous east slope of the mountain” or “a crew of treacherous pirates out for blood”. The treachery of a mountain pass exists in the fact that I am putting my trust in my climbing skills, and the integrity of the mountain pass. Betrayal comes in the failure of either. And of course, pirates live for the ability to use their victims trust against them, where betrayal brings reward. Sure, it’s a simplistic view of the term, but I’d never considered it applicable to people, until I thought about what happens to me every day. Treachery surrounds us, and happens so often, they we don’t even consider it.
Take work for example. I put my trust in my coworkers, that they will work as hard as I do. We each work for the same company, and the assumption is that we all have the same work goal. When they try their best to do great work, then the company can prosper, which means that workers prosper. But, when I see workers who show up late everyday while I do my best to be on time, or coworkers who will wait for me to refill the printer for them, or wait for me to finish their report, it feels like utter betrayal. They are purposely, not accidentally, but purposely doing things that are detrimental to me, with no regrets, and no regard to how I am feeling. It’s not so different from a thief who breaks into my home to steal something, with no regard to who he is hurting. When coworkers betray my trust in them, by using me and my efforts to their benefit, they define themselves as treacherous people.
Politicians are a prime example of treachery. Each day, politicians balance between their ability to get their agenda done, while also keeping constituents happy. Many times the two are at odds, forcing politicians to “bend the truth” once in a while to get things accomplished. As citizens, we put our trust in these politicians, that when they tell us something, that they are telling the truth. But sometimes the truth falls victim to treachery. The current White House administration can be considered the “poster child of treachery”, where truth is nothing more than a five letter word. By using the trust of citizens to their favor, the White House seizes on the opportunity each day to push their own agendas at the expense of the American people. To add insult to injury, a large majority of our nation has become either blinded by or numb to the administrations efforts to use treachery as a stepping stone for their agenda. It’s a clear example of when you say a lie often enough, people begin to believe it.
In every day life, we deal with treachery without thinking twice about it. While driving down a two lane road, you might let a person merge in front of you, only to have that person use your car to block traffic while they make an illegal left turn. At the grocery store, you might let someone get the last shopping cart, only to have them give that cart to their kids to play on. When we try as human beings to be kind to one another, we are putting our trust in others, with the “hope” that we won’t be betrayed upon. But that hope should come with a caveat, that says “Don’t mistake my kindness as a sign of weakness”. In other words, if i put my trust in you, and you betray that trust, I will not be so kind to you. Unfortunately, this brings on a whole host of other problems, the most prominent being that when enough people are betrayed, you will end up with an entire room (or an entire country) of people who won’t fall for the same betrayal twice. By shutting down our trust in others, we become a society of suspicious people that no longer trusts each other.
At some point, I think we owe it to ourselves and our society to begin to weed out treachery from being normal. People shouldn’t be allowed to get away with treachery, or allowed to normalize it either. Putting trust in your fellow man ought to be a right, not a luxury. If I give you a gun, I should be able to assume that you aren’t going to shoot me. And if I gave you my bank card, I should be able to assume that you aren’t going to steal my money. It may sound naive, but since when did trusting in your fellow man become a naive thing to do? How bad has life become when trust is considered a reckless thing to believe in?
For people in positions of power, treachery is dealt with by brute force. A drug lord, or a ruthless dictator can be shielded from treachery with armed guards or fake laws. A corporate CEO who steals millions from investors can be can be shielded from treachery with an army of lawyers. And a president can be shielded from treachery by dealing out his own, towards those who would call him out.
In the end, treachery hurts our society’s ability to be human beings. We are naturally inclined to be good to each other, to help each other, and to trust each others actions and motives. But the world is never a perfect place, and so we’re forced to deal with those people who see their fellow human beings as targets for their benefit. Like giving a fisherman access to a barrel of fish, we are all vulnerable to the treachery of man. What will it take for us, as a society and as a race, to understand that treachery and betrayal only brings us down?
... Maybe humanity is already too far damaged, to allow itself to trust anyone anymore... I hope not.