Click here to return to Home page.


A New Vision of

Human Relationships for Business,

Education, Family, and Personal Living


Jack R. Gibb


1991 Edition

Note: Click here to read what others have said about this book.

Copyright @ 1978 by Jack R. Gibb
All Rights Reserved.
TRUST, by JACK R. GIBB was originally published by The Guild of Tutors Press, International College, 1978.
Second Edition was published by Newcastle Publishing Co., Inc., North Hollywood, California, 1991.
No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission except for brief quotations embodied in critical articles and reviews.
ISBN 0-87877-164-6
Library of Congress Card Catalogue Number: 77-93139

For Lorraine, Blair, John, and Larry


Life, being an ascent of consciousness, could not continue to advance indefinitely along its line without transforming itself in depth.

Teilhard de Chardin


C 0 N T E N T S

Foreword      by Charles Seashore

Introduction      by Willis Harman

Author's Preface













Appendix A: TORI Self-Diagnosis Scale

Appendix B: Diagnosing Your Team 

Appendix C: Defensive Communication 

Appendix D: Selected Readings on TORI Theory and Applications

Appendix E.- Selected List of Research Studies Related to Aspects of TORI Theory

Appendix F.- Selected Readings About Trust and Fear, Their Effects Upon Living, and Their Use as Constructs in Building a Theory


F 0 R E W 0 R D

"Trust me, I'm a psychologist." Laughter is the predictable response whenever I tack that phrase onto the end of a statement to a colleague in whom I sense a bit of skepticism. And it never wears thin with two particularly important people, my daughters Becky and Kim. I see it applied to many other professions on bumper stickers, on TV talk shows and greeting cards but I never stopped to ask why it is funny. As I re-read TRUST, the reason for the laughter became clear. It is the mismatch of the two concepts, trust and psychologist, which do not belong to the same logical universe. Putting two things together that are incongruous catches one off guard like a good New Yorker cartoon.

As Jack clearly outlines here, it is individual who trusts, not roles, positions, or status categories. This is one of the more interesting propositions that he articulates and develops in this revision of his book on Trust. His thesis is that trust is highly dependent upon the individual bringing their own person to the relationship, not the expectations, responsibilities, or duties that might form the basis of a role. Role taking, in his view, reduces the possibility of deep trust between people. It is a direct challenge to the promotion of a well-known oil company that "You can trust your car to the man who wears the star." Could you trust your person to that same man?

I once asked a colleague who was intellectually focused on business policy and financial viability how he felt about the concept of trust. Specifically, I asked him how he experienced work in our organization with people who were interested in trusting relationships. His answer still strikes me in a humorous way. He said, "I really don't mind working with trusting people, but it certainly takes more time and energy and is a lot less predictable than working with my traditional colleagues." I love the fact that the very ideas of time, energy, and predictability were precious to conserve from the point of view of the traditional researcher. From the perspective of Trust theory the opposite is the case. More time and energy devoted to relationships is something to value. Less predictability is likely to be one of the most vital signs of growth.

I have a long awareness of the trust Jack has championed in both his personal and professional life. I first heard his name in 1950. At that point he was only a name. I was traveling with my father en route to my freshman year in college. As he was attending a meeting of psychologists in Denver, I would be on my own for the last twenty five miles to Boulder where I would enter the University of Colorado. As we said good-bye in Denver, I must have looked anxious, or else he was, for he felt moved to give me the following piece of advice. "If you find you need help while you are there, please look up Jack Gibb. I met him recently at a meeting and he is a person you can trust Looking back now, the words seem prophetic.

The following August, my father died of heart failure during an operation for stomach ulcers. As I returned for my sophomore year, who should turn up in my life but Jack Gibb and his future partner Lorraine Miller. Jack was just returning from his summer experience at National Training Laboratories in Bethel, Maine. He was scheduled to teach group dynamics using leaderless small groups and his spiralbound book called "The Dynamics of Participative Groups" as the basis for the laboratory section of the course. That experience changed the direction of both my personal and professional life.

To put this activity in context, this course was later identified as one of the reasons a Denver lawyer identified me to the House Un-American Activities Committee headed by McCarthy, Jenner, and Velde. To them, leaderless groups were synonymous with the communist plot they alleged to be alive and well at the University of Colorado. By that time we had applied jack's theories to the development of student leaders and I had spent a summer in Europe meeting with student leaders from around the world to broaden my perspective on the role of student government in world affairs. It took some explaining to my mother what had happened to her son, the chairman of the dance committee in high school, who had gone off to college only to be labeled a threat to our national security. But it did teach me that trust and risk go together rather than being at opposite poles of experience. To trust is to explore. It is not the basis for isolation, security, or a refuge from challenge.

For me, the course was the beginning of an odyssey which continues to this day. I was fortunate to work, play, and grow with Jack for the remainder of my undergraduate and Masters program at Colorado, be sponsored for my Doctorate at Michigan and rejoin him as his research assistant at NTL in Bethel Maine in 1957. My father was right. Jack Gibb is a person I could trust, who also happened to be a psychologist, a teacher, a guide, and a friend. Jack was one of several who who take credit for my marriage to Edie, a co-trainer in my first T-group in Bethel. I did not understand all the implications of doing action research with Jack at that point, but it soon became clear that trusting the process was a clear requirement and that action was the powerful word in action research. Jack was a clear role model for linking my personal life with the professional aspects of research and training.

Forty years between 1951 and 1991 are sufficient for me to say that I know Jack Gibb, I know Trust-Level Theory, and that I can vouch for the continuing evolution in thinking, living, and adventuring that are reflected in this book. This is not "through the keyhole" research where the theorist and the theory are at a distance from that which is being observed. It is an exploration which exploits three effects which have long been seen by traditional researchers as sources of error. The Hawthorne Effect illustrated the motivational impact of treating people as part of an "experimental group" in the studying the effects of lighting on productivity. The Heisenberg Effect described the process by which the measuring instrument or person always had an effect on that which was being measured. The Placebo Effect showed the potential impact on a person of thinking and believing that they have been given medication, even when the pill was completely neutral as a pharmaceutical agent.

In contrast Trust theory says that the participants in the research process should be intimately involved and attended to and made to feel special, that the researcher certainly affects that which is being observed, and that perceptions and beliefs are indeed powerful determinants on the experience of the individual or group. However, in Trust-Level theory, these three effects are not sources of error or distortion but rather they are fundamental to the integration of experience and inquiry. In fact, trying to minimize the three effects is seen as a far more powerful constraint on coming to understand and live with concepts of development and growth than allowing these effects to be an integral part of the process of exploration.

Another significant contribution Jack makes in this book is to weave issues of the spirit into the trust equation along with perception, motivation, behavior, and emotions. Inquiry into the essence of trust is not possible without including a spiritual dimension. While others have labored to keep matters of spirit outside of the "objective" pursuit of theory and action, Jack was an early proponent of an applied behavioral science in which spirituality is one of the major threads to be woven into a unified theory of behavior in relationship, groups and organizations.

Spirituality has yet to become a significant aspect of research training in our leading institutions of graduate education in the behavioral sciences. However, it is possible to see the close cousins of spirituality emphasized and highlighted. These include the concepts of values, ethics, phenomenology, prosocial behavior, altruism and consciousness. It is clear to me that this aspect of jack's thinking will soon become an integral part of our process of inquiry. We have seen the perils of a rigid "scientific positivism" on the course of events which does not take into account the world perspective of the scientist and those who implement their concepts and ideas into the real world of practice.

Jack has modeled a way of welcoming the possibility that one may be naive, radical, uncomfortable, and quite likely near-sighted and wrong in his current formulations. These characterizations are seen as essential and integral elements in the pursuit of greater understanding of the human condition.

Our professional work is no longer separated from our concerns about our future, our development, and our survival. That this book should be written by a man who did his doctoral dissertation on the endocrine glands of white rats is nothing short of a transformational miracle. That his first laboratory in group process was funded by the Office of Naval Research exploring the reduction of defensiveness in small groups is astounding.

jack's work on trust predates the major current movements related to environmentalism, futuring through visioning, empowering movements of socially oppressed groups, and the desire to build meaning into our experiences of community. Trust is a building block in our pursuit of our well-being on Planet Earth and our larger cosmos. The unabashed inclusion of concepts like transcendence, rhythm and flow, and transparency should be a clue that this is not a dry, and topic explored through statistical manipulations. It is work in progress which intimately ties our immediate experiences in life with the exploration of what is possible in our future.

Our current list of social problems is awesome. Some are predicting that future wars are more likely than ever, and will most likely be more intense than the fights over oil since they will be about a more basic resource to all people on the globe-water. The lack of trusting relationships on the national level is surely one of the more ominous signs about our odds of surviving on Planet Earth. Our technologies continue to escalate our hopes for a better life. Yet we regularly find ourselves appalled by our inability to harness those developments within a global framework of well-being. Trust-building is a strategy in and of itself, largely unresearched, unfunded, and low on the priority list of the leadership of our major institutions in government, education, science, and business. This book can stand as a light along the path of the radical changes which will be required to make our dreams for our globe become real. It speaks to the idea of the moral community, the friendly universe, and the achievement of our potential.

What is needed is collective effort on the journey towards a better world. Trust is one of many rallying points which can be linked and integrated with other hopeful approaches to working together. It starts at the most manageable level, the individual person, and can be applied at every higher level of human system. It is a concept to be worked on, developed, challenged, and transformed. It is one starting point that can serve as a frame of reference for our efforts to evolve in a constructive direction.

There are many examples around us in the fields of management and scientific discovery which could be linked to the concept of trust. We find our work life concerned with total quality management, total quality leadership, and continuous improvement processes. We have commitments to recycle material things. Our ability to communicate and to share information has exploded and we are still in infancy in the electronic age. The Human Genome project is sure to bring us to the brink of some of the most exciting and frightening decision points in our human experience, the ability to decide who will be allowed to become a member of the human race. We can identify those already among us on the planet who need to be fixed, changed, or altered. However, these developments will work for us only if there is a broadbased commitment that crosses all of the usual boundary lines of political units and geographical separations. That is what this book is about. If it does nothing more than remove a few critical bricks which are locking our current negative perspectives on the human condition in place, it will be a fantastic success. Channeling our energy into these efforts is a massive undertaking. But is it feasible. We can translate from total quality management into a total quality universe, but it will be far easier if we understood more about the dynamics of the processes that build trust.

The time is ripe for translating some of the related ideas we have from fields which share our values. We need to expand the references to the emerging set of concepts which focus on what we can become and on the essence of our being. As an example, the pediatricians have a wonderful concept in working with newborns. It is the concept of thriving. To thrive is normal while failure to thrive is viewed as a serious clinical symptom. Yet we rarely hear this concept applied to ourselves as adults in both the psychological and physical aspects of our being. If we were to translate this into trust we might also be able to respond in clear, direct, and caring ways when we observed failure to trust, whether we are talking about individuals, groups in an organization, communities, or families of nations.

For the present, it may be enough to feel fortunate to have this revision of TRUST as one among many starting places in our quest to be the best that we can be, with ourselves, with one another, the Planet Earth, and the Cosmos. Thank you, Jack.

Charles Seashore
Former Chairman of the Board
NTL Institute


I N T R 0 D U C T I 0 N

Recently I was at a training center where executives were learning to trust: Learning to trust themselves, by discovering that it is all right to reveal to oneself hidden aspects; that we have "inner guidance systems" we can depend on; that we can transcend limits we thought we had. Learning to trust others (in spite of the fact that initially some may be perceived as less than trustworthy). Learning to trust the total environment (despite the initial perception that some environments are really dangerous). In other words, we can eliminate those fears that come from lack of trust and inhibit us in subtle and not-so-subtle ways -fear of criticism, fear of hostile reactions, fear of ridicule, fear of failure, even fear of success. The key is to recognize that we only fear that which we perceive to be fearful; that our perceptions are strongly influenced by internalized "programming"; and that the "programming" (or unconscious beliefs) can be changed. Thus we can learn to trust totally-or nearly so-and the result is a more productive life in every dimension, including carrying out executive responsibilities.

The experience reminded me of how far we have come since midcentury. The prevailing worldview circa the mid-1950s, which influenced all institutions as well as individual lives, carried the prestige and authority of science. It was not one to inspire trust. The universe was assumed to have started with a Big Bang and ultimate chaos. Out of that chaos, through fortuitous comings-together of atoms and pieces of atoms, came the most elementary life forms. Some of these survived and reproduced; some even accidentally evolved into more complex organisms. Those organisms which had the capability to adapt to or cope with their immediate environment, survived and reproduced; through such forces as random mutations, natural selection, and geographical isolation, some of these species were eliminated or modified. Eventually the whole process culminated in the master organism we call man/woman. Because of the genetic conditioning inherent in the evolutionary process, aggression in the male is as inherent as nurturing in the female. Thus competition and aggression characterize society, and in particular, the economy. As the consequence of material evolution, material needs dominate the psychology of individuals and groups. Competition not only characterizes the economy; it is the very heart of it. Those who trust foolishly come to a bad end; this was held to be equally true in the evolutionary process and in the economic marketplace.

When Jack Gibbs' book TRUST was first published, in 1978, this worldview still dominated the scene, and the author's message was a fairly radical one. The willingness to trust eventually depended on whether one's life experience had been sufficiently felicitous to bring about that sort of conditioning.

The re-publication of TRUST in the 1990's catches a rising tide. The worldview that was antagonistic to a trusting attitude has diminishing influence, and some sort of replacement worldview, or "new paradigm, " is emerging, within which trust appears as a central key to successful living.

Two kinds of evidence make this kind of "paradigm revolution" a plausible scenario. One is the spreading doubt that the serious global problems of our day are indeed solvable within the present paradigm. The other is the many signs of a changing view of reality which show up both in various indicators of cultural change, and in a ferment within modern society's official knowledge-validating system, namely science.

We can better understand the significance of these signs, I believe, if we remind ourselves of how modern society came about. The 17th century in Western Europe can reasonably be taken as the end of the Middle Ages and the onset of modern times. That century saw an "economic revolution" centered around the flourishing city of Amsterdam, with evolution of the early capitalist institutions and the concept of markets for both goods and labor. In that century there was also the first of the modern liberal-democratic revolutions, in England. And there was the "invention," with the Treaty of Westphalia, of the autonomous nation-state, free to do anything it has the power to impose. But most importantly, that is the century of the scientific revolution, one of the great watershed epochs in history, marking the beginning of the modern way of perceiving and thinking.

From these developments stem the defining characteristics of modern society: centrality of the economic and technology-based institutions, rising demand for democracy and equity, unbridled national sovereignty, and —most fundamental of all—"reality" defined by empirical science. By now these characteristics have influenced practically every other society on the globe. They account for the present dominance of Western (European) society; they are the source of the global dilemmas we now face. They set the worldview within which trust is an attitude that one adopts only prudently and in a circumscribed area, having previously decided that within that limited region it is safe. Trust as a basic character trait, regardless of context or environment, finds no support within this "modern" worldview.

Life for the person living in the medieval world (as in many traditional societies) was a seamless whole. The world was perceived as enchanted, infused with spirit, permeated with meaning. The medieval individual felt at home in nature; for him the universe was alive and imbued with purpose. The kinds of dichotomies that come so naturally to the modern mind-man vs nature, facts vs values, science vs religion-simply didn't exist for the medieval mind. There was plenty of human misery; let us make no mistake about that. But nevertheless there was a sense in which the medieval man or woman had faith that the universe has eternal meaning, and that ultimate trust is justified.

That perception was displaced by the scientific revolution. The world perceived by the typical educated person in Western Europe in 1600 was still the world of the Middle Ages. By 1700 the "scientific heresy" had become so widely accepted that the informed person literally perceived a different reality, much more like today's. He saw essentially a dead universe, constructed and set in motion by the Creator, with subsequent events accounted for by mechanical forces and lawful behaviors. Man was seen as separate from, and potentially controlling of, nature. Although piety was still the order of the day, the importance of material achievement was in the ascendancy.

Just as the hypnotized person may see things that aren't there or fail to see things that are, so when the "cultural hypnosis" shifts, "reality" is transformed. It was not just that after the 17th century men now believed that the earth goes around the sun, and scientists began to explore the world around them. The change was far more fundamental. It essentially consisted of a different perceived universe, and a different basis on which truth is to be decided-a shift from the religious authority system of the Middle Ages to the authority system of empirical science. As we now know, this shift in the underlying picture of reality eventually affected not just scientists, but everyone; every institutions in society was to be profoundly changed.

As the modern era advanced, confidence in the "reality" of empirical science grew. The new knowledge proved to be astoundingly successful at providing the power to predict and control in the physical world, as our present technological prowess attests.

Yet by the latter third of the 20th century it was becoming apparent that, however useful science might be for some purposes such as generating new technologies, the modern paradigm was having a serious negative effect on our understanding of meaning and values. Science was undermining the common religious base of values and replacing it with a sort of moral relativism. Into the vacuum came, as a kind of "pseudo-values," economic and technical criteria-material progress, efficiency, productivity, etc. Decisions that would affect the lives of people around the globe, and generations to come, were decided on the basis of short-term economic considerations. The "technological imperative" to develop and apply any technology that could turn a profit or destroy an enemy endangered both the life-support systems of the planet and human civilization. Thus at the same time the developing nations were beginning to ask: "Development-for what?," the developed world had been forced to ask: "Economic growth and technological progress-for what?"

Spirituality and religiousness had not disappeared, of course. The churches still played a role in people's lives, and privately many a scientist guided his/her life by deep spiritual beliefs. But religion did not provide a consensus basis for trust in the way it had even a few generations back. Furthermore, it became apparent that modern man was attempting the impossible-namely, to manage society, and the planet, on the basis of two conflicting and mutually contradictory pictures of reality. These were the mechanistic universe of empirical science, and the spiritual universe assumed in society's religious traditions.

The root of this problem was certain assumptions that had, over time, come to characterize the scientific enterprise. Three of these are particularly important:

These are essentially the philosophical assumptions of logical empiricism. By the middle of the 20th century there was almost complete consensus that these are the proper foundation assumptions for science.

They amount to the premise that the basic stuff of the universe is what physicists study: namely, matter and physical energy-ultimately, "fundamental particles", their associated fields and interrelationships. These assumptions have seemed so integral to the scientific method that it was hard to imagine they would ever be displaced.

And yet these assumptions set the stage for an almost inevitable crisis. The prestigious and influential scientific establishment became increasingly adept at exploring the external, physical world and increasingly neglectful of the world of inner experience. This was extremely serious, because it is from this deep intuitive experience that all individuals and all societies have always derived their sense of ultimate meanings and values. Industrial society became more and more like a ship with ever-increasing power and speed, but no compass and charts to guide it.

By the beginning of the present decade the situation had indeed become a crisis. A "new heresy" was heard in the land. The scientific heresy of the 17th century had amounted to a widening group of people observing that reality is not the way the religious authorities had been telling it. The new heresy opined that reality is not the way the secular authorities have been telling it either! The controlled experiments of empirical science are not the road to ultimate truth; and the technological accomplishments of Western science introduce a bias which was useful to industrializing society but is disadvantageous with regard to the future.

just as the modern perception of reality differed from the medieval, so a growing band of individuals today are basing their lives on a different picture of reality than that of reductionist science. It is not just that some "new age" values are spreading through the populace. Rather, a fundamentally different and competing picture of reality infuses holistic health care approaches, new concepts of business management, and people seeking to replace the lost meaning in their lives.

Underlying the above assumptions in science (modified somewhat by the advent of quantum physics) is an ontological assumption of separateness: separability of observer from observed; of man from nature; of mind from matter; of science from religion; separateness of "fundamental particles" from one another; separability of the parts of a system or organism to understand how it "really" works; separateness of scientific disciplines; of investigators, competing over who was first discoverer. The assumption of separateness leads to the hubris that humankind can pursue its own objectives as though the Earth and the other creatures were here for its benefit; to the myth of the "objective observer"; to reductionist explanations; to the ethic of competition. In a universe characterized by separateness there is little justification for unqualified trust; wariness, strength, aggressiveness, competitiveness seem more to the point.

Of course trust was still taught in the area of religion. But with positive science in the ascendancy, the power of religion was basically weakened. Science and religion will always be somewhat separate activities, of course; there are important areas of science that have little to do with religion, and important activities in religion that have little to do with science. Nevertheless, there is a region of overlap, and there the two should agree. This common region includes the answers to questions basic to any culture: What kind of beings are we? What kind of a universe do we live in and how do we relate to it? If we trust, what do we trust in? What is ultimately important?

This region of overlap in the interests of science and religion comprises three main areas:

  1. The sorts of "meaningful coincidences" that appear in people's lives that seem not to have a physical explanation, but do not feel like random events. Examples of "meaningful coincidences" include, for instance, the "coincidence" between the act of prayer and the occurrence of the prayed-for, such as healing; the feeling of having a "guardian angel" when a person feels warned about a danger, or provided with a particularly fortuitous circumstance in life; apparently "telepathic" communication; seemingly clairvoyant "remote viewing."

  2. The basic phenomenon of states of consciousness: of "religious experiences, " of " mystical " states of consciousness, of " other dimensions of reality."

  3. The origin of the universe and the evolution/creation of humankind. Positivistic science has very little to say about either of the first two areas; in fact, it tends to deny their existence or importance and is intrinsically unsuited to their exploration. It does have a story about the third, apparently incompatible with the sort of story one finds in spiritual traditions. Until science and religion can come to some common understanding of these areas of common concern, the adequacy of both will be open to question.

There is increasingly widespread agreement that science must somehow develop the ability to look at things more holistically. In a more holistic view, where everything, including physical and mental, is connected to everything, a change in any part affects the whole. Only when a part of the whole can be isolated from the rest-sufficiently isolated that reductionistic causes appear to describe adequately why things behave as they do-only then do the ordinary concepts of scientific causation apply. In general, "causes," even scientific causes, are limited explanations that depend upon context.

The mistake of modern society has been to assume that ultimately, scientific causes should explain everything. One should not expect reductionistic scientific causality to comprise an adequate worldview. The context of reductionistic science is the desire to gain the ability to predict and to control through manipulation of the physical environment. Within that context its description of causes works amazingly well. However, problems arise when we change the context and attempt to elevate prediction-and-control science to the level of a worldview. That is when conflicts are generated like "free will versus determinism" and "science versus religion."

It has not been fashionable to point out that modern science is in fact based on underlying ontological and epistemological assumptions. These are not scientific findings, as is often tacitly assumed; they are assumptions, adopted in the early decades of the modern era for a set of reasons which ranged from the political to the practical to the psychological. These assumptions are typically taken to be inviolate, to be an inherent and ineluctable part of the definition of science.

Some, however, would argue to the contrary-that it is precisely here that the resolution of the most fundamental puzzles in science may well lie. More specifically, I see the likelihood of increasing support for the idea of some sort of "wholeness science" which would complement the very effective science we have now. The present "separateness science" is based on (a) an ontological assumption of separateness and (b) an epistemological assumption of physical sense data as the sole evidence on which the scientific picture of reality is to be based. The complementary science would be built upon (a') an ontological assumption of oneness, wholeness, interconnectedness of everything, and (b') an epistemological assumption that we contact reality in not one, but two ways. One of these is through physical sense data-which form the basis of normal science. The other is through being ourselves part of the oneness-through a deep intuitive "inner knowing."

In other words, there is implicit in the "new heresy" a basic epistemological issue: namely, whether our encountering of reality is limited to being aware of, and giving meaning to, the messages from our physical senses (sometimes referred to as "objective"), or whether it includes also a subjective aspect in an intuitive, aesthetic, spiritual, noetic and mystical sense. (It should not escape our notice that an intuitive and aesthetic factor already enters into normal science in various ways-for example, the aesthetic principle of "elegance"; the "principle of parsimony" in choosing between alternative explanations.)

If we think about the data on which a science of total human experience might be constructed, it includes all of the following:

  1. Those data admissible in the strict logical empiricism, namely measurements of physical parameters.

  2. Data depending on the connoisseurship of expert judges, such as those on which systematic taxonomic) biology is based.

  3. Data which is essentially self-reports of subjective experience, obtained in an environment that promotes high levels of trust and candor, subjected to sophisticated skepticism because of our known capability for self-deception, and checked in other ways wherever possible.

  4. The subjective self-reports of trained 'inner explorers' of various cultures. 

In none of these categories, of course, are data to be accepted without some sort of careful consensual validation. But it is a limitation of present science that it mainly takes into account only the first category, and almost totally ignores the last.

Now such a "wholeness science" as I have described does not yet exist, nor has the scientific community yet shown any great zeal toward creating it. Nevertheless, there is a growing tendency among thoughtful people to ask the sorts of questions that create pressure for such a science. We sometimes overlook that modern science, in its present form, is the consequence of cultural changes in and around the 17th century. That is to say, culture influences science in the longer term, just as science affects culture in the short term.

As people are taking with increasing seriousness the disclosure of an ontological and epistemological bias in Western science, it is leading to a very different attitude regarding what might be learned-and how it might be learned-from knowledge systems that start from a different perception of reality, such as Chinese medicine, Tibetan Buddhist psychology, Native American relationship to nature, or the esoteric inner-circle understandings of the world's spiritual traditions.

The central finding of the study of comparative religion over the past half century or so has been that within any of the world's spiritual traditions there are typically various exoteric or public versions, and an "inner-circle," esoteric version. The latter tends to be more experiential and less sacerdotal, and usually involves some kind of meditative discipline or yoga. Although the exoteric versions may vary greatly from one tradition to another, the esoteric versions are essentially the same. This "perennial wisdom" or "primordial tradition" (as John Rossner terms it in his book of the same title) is to be found within every religion and can be owned exclusively by none. As Rossner says, "The primordial tradition is not merely an ancient system of belief and practice.... It is, rather, a whole set of archetypical realities waiting to be discovered, at the highest reaches of the human consciousness, by all people."

The "perennial wisdom" tends to include convictions such as that Nature is directed from within by a higher intelligence or mind; that all minds in the universe are linked together by participation in one universal mind or source; that various mental or physical rituals can sometimes effect what they symbolize, or set the proper conditions in motion for the desired events or result to occur; that prayers, thoughts and mental projection might directly heal sick and diseased persons through the release of powerful, life-giving energies; that all individuals have a powerful, if hidden, motivation to discover and identify with a higher Self which is, in turn, in immediate connection to the universal mind. Since this "perennial wisdom" has been distilled from inquiry persisting over a far greater span of time than the duration of modern science, it can hardly be simply set aside as inconsequential.

All of this boils down to an observation that the concept of trust which is implicit in the executive training course referred to in the first paragraph is not just some religious or sentimental notion. It is supported by a kind of worldview that is not only gaining adherents rapidly, but amounts to a serious challenge to the dominant science based on logical empiricism. In that worldview, the concepts in TRUST, far from seeming radical, are almost self-evident.

Management consultant Roger Harrison once expressed it this way: "Seen from a global viewpoint, the organization exists only as part of a larger reality, supported and nurtured by the larger system on which it depends: the nation, its culture, the world economic and political system, the physical and biological planet itself.... Were we to approach strategy from the point of view of endeavoring to discover the place of the organization in the larger [evolving] systems of which it is a part and on which it depends we would do far better [than with the usual strategic planning efforts]. From such a viewpoint, organizational purpose is not simply decided by its members, but is in large part 'given' by its membership in the larger system....

"We can take the view that our organization has an appropriate place in the larger system, and that our task as managers and leaders is to attune our organization to its environment in order to discover what our part is and play it. The difficulties we experience are interpreted as signs and signals from the environment that we are somehow out of resonance with our true role.... According to this point of view it should not be difficult for an organization to survive and thrive, any more than an organ in a healthy body has to work especially hard to survive. When it plays its part, it receives the nourishment it needs. From a system point of view, then, strategic thinking is a search for meaning, rather than a search for advantage."

One can hardly imagine, 15 or 20 years ago, such advice to the manager, to "let go and trust." The fact that it makes sense in the present cultural climate is testimony to the many factors that have influenced that climate, one of the factors being Jack Gibb's book. It is with these thoughts that I welcome the appearance of this new edition of TRUST.

Willis Harman

Willis Harman is President of the Institute of Noetic Sciences, Sausalito, California. The Institute, founded in 1973, is a research foundation, an educational institution, and a membership organization. Its purpose is to expand knowledge of the nature and potentials of the mind and spirit, and to apply that knowledge to the advancement of health and well-being for humankind and the planet. P.O. Box 909; Sausalito, CA 94966-0909.


A U T H O R ' S  P R E FA C E

This book is my personal statement of my beliefs and attitudes about trust, which is the primary construct of TORI (Trust Level) theory. It is also a description of the theory, meant for the general reader interested in trust and its singular relevance to today's world. It is addressed to all parents, managers, teachers, therapists, ministers—to any person who is interested in becoming more role-free, which is at the heart of the matter of becoming more trusting and more trusted. Lorraine Gibb and I created our lives and TORI theory together, and thus in a very real sense we co-authored this book out of our shared years of living, loving, trusting, and many co-authorings. Our interbeing relationship is a primary focus for our lives. I know of no adequate way of expressing my gratitude to and love for her.

This book is the first in a TORI series of publications being written and created by members of the TORI International Community and describing the continuing evolution of the theory and its application. We will present the more formal theory and its empirical and research foundations in later books in the series. A number of research and training instruments are being developed and will also be discussed in later volumes. Included in the Appendix in this book are two unstandardized forms of the original scale which we have used and which are included here for those readers interested in exploring the theory further.

Though Lorraine and I and our colleagues have refined and tested the structure of the theory through many years of research and pilot studies, the heart of the theory, as the reader will see, is experiential. We are developing our trust and our insights about it through our lives in the TORI communities.

Our larger community consists of about 5,000 or so members of the TORI International community, our friends, colleagues, life partners, co-learners, and co-theorists. So many warm memories emerge when I start thinking of this group of people, that it would be impossible to mention all of those who have changed my life.

During the period between 1976 and 1990 a total of sixty-three TORI community members have been granted Ph.D. degrees based upon research on some hypothesis derived from TORI theory. Most of the degrees were granted by International College or William Lyon University. The results of these studies and other TORI research will be summarized and analyzed in a volume soon to be published in the series of books on TORI theory in which this TRUST book is the first volume.

Robbie Robertson's pictures speak for themselves. Robbie and I are dear friends and co-members of our original TORI community. He and I have co-created many of the ideas and images that appear in our book and which he illustrates with his beautiful pictures and images.

I wish to acknowledge with a special feeling of depth and gratitude my mother, Ada Dyer, whose life and faithtrust are the genesis of my focus on trust and its derivatives.

I also wish to express my love and deep gratitude to my lifelong friend, Diane Beakey. She and I have co-created many of the newest developments in the theory itself. Her loving care during my many years of surgery and cancer treatments have saved my life.

Those of us in the TORI community who have been working on improving the early manuscripts in the TRUST series feel especially fortunate in having the expert professional help of James Strohecker and Nancy Shaw Strohecker in this process. They have been amazingly exciting to work with, and are irreplaceable in our process of writing.

I wish to make special mention of my deep gratitude to Donald Cole, Byron Lane, Kathy Powell, Dave Perlis, Bruce Barr, Barbara Hulsing, Rob Parker, and Gloria Powers.

Jack R. Gibb
San Pedro, California
March 1991

Note: Jack died on January 10, 1995. He had turned 80 on December 20, 1994.—ds

*(From Pierre Teilhard de Chardin's The Phenomenon of Man, (translation by Bernard Wall), Harper Torchbooks edition, p. 166,  with permission of Harper and Row Publishers, Inc.)


Go on to Chapter 1

Return to Table of Contents

Return to Home Page