The 2021 International Students’ Conference will take place from 30th March – 3 April at the Goetheanum (and online). The theme of under whichwe will meet is “TRUST”. Here, Tim & Vincent, the latest co-workers to join the Youth Section at the Goetheanum’s team share their thoughts on this special topic.

Trust is an incredibly multi-faceted and subjective construct. The interpretation of the versions of trust is infinite. First of all, it’s reflexible on oneself – as in the trust in oneself, the self-confidence. Then, in interpersonal dealings, trust sets a base most importantly consisting of the belief in loyalty and affection in one another. Moreover in our society and politics, the layer of trust is of high significance and giving possibilities [in a democracy] to both the electors and the elected. This sort of reciprocal trust is based on the legitimacy of actions and statements which are made by politicians paired with the belief of the citizens about the correctness of those decisions, statements, and actions.

Trust is omnipresent in all of our lives and a base for cohabitation. And still, we experience the will to damage the trust of people, by the accusation towards, for example, a functioning postal voting system by the highest political figure of a country. Especially with the COVID-19 pandemics, we recognized the importance and clout of trust again. Without trust towards governments, citizens question decisions, which are slowing the infection rate, more often. This leads to unreasonable demonstrations, protests, or even violent riots resulting in attacks on democracy as in the storming of the German Federal Parliament. And this scheme is globally repetitive with one difference in the particular example of COVID-19. In countries like the United States of America or Brasil, where barely any measures were taken, citizens protested for more regulations to keep themselves safe and healthy. The motive remains the same – the lack of trust in (federal) decisions.

And then if this trust is weakened or even broken, it’s incredibly hard to regain. No matter if it’s on the personal, interpersonal, or societal/political layer. But is trust irreversible? It is for sure, that it is the buttress of a functioning society, a functioning friendship, and a functioning human being. Tim Bauer.

What is trust? I have not been thinking a lot about this question for a long time. Once we decided to have ‘trust’ as the topic of our next conference I realised that I was thinking about trust most of the time but without naming it.
I would say trust is the foundation of every single relationship between people. Trust is necessary for the relation between you as an individual and other people but also of you and society.

To live with other people in all-inclusive humankind, you need to have a developed and reflected trust in yourself. That means you have to know who you are by understanding your personality and human faculties. Thinking about this may open the question, who do I want to be? It is fundamental to ask this question to yourself from time to time but not to get lost in it if you cannot find satisfying answers by now.

If you have this question living with you and maybe start to develop an image of yourself you feel comfortable with, you can trust yourself and the person you are from an outer perspective.
Once you reached this point, trust replaces faith in a classical sense. You can become a human that live and act based on thoughts and not on feelings and emotions which helps you to go through life without doubting everything that happens around you and without giving everything to much importance where it not belongs.

That is a way of understanding trust which I can relate to at the moment. My point might change from time to time. Vincent Eichholz.