If trust exists, the possibility of breaking it—betrayal—exists, too. In a culture which values trust, betrayal is viewed with horror. It opens up the possibility that the friendships, loyalty and trust that hold society together and make it comprehensible are not what they seem. Dante’s Inferno reserves for traitors the deepest pit of hell.B8

Betrayal destroys any “now” in which logic can operate: an enemy has at least the merit of existing in the present; the betrayer derives his value in his new life from what he was, and yet his old life has been repudiated; there is nothing there. The Psalms reflect on this with a summary of why it hurts:

For it is not an open enemy, that hath done me this dishonour: for then I could have borne it. Neither was it mine adversary, that did magnify himself against me: for peradventure I would have hid myself from him. But it was even thou, my companion: my guide, and mine own familiar friend. We took sweet counsel together: and walked in the house of God as friends.B9

Betrayal is an uncomfortable idea. It is out of its time, like character. We will become aware of it again.


Related entries:

Bad Faith, Lean Economics, Promiscuous Ethics.

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David Fleming
Dr David Fleming (2 January 1940 – 29 November 2010) was a cultural historian and economist, based in London, England. He was among the first to reveal the possibility of peak oil's approach and invented the influential TEQs scheme, designed to address this and climate change. He was also a pioneer of post-growth economics, and a significant figure in the development of the UK Green Party, the Transition Towns movement and the New Economics Foundation, as well as a Chairman of the Soil Association. His wide-ranging independent analysis culminated in two critically acclaimed books, 'Lean Logic' and 'Surviving the Future', published posthumously in 2016. These in turn inspired the 2020 launches of both BAFTA-winning director Peter Armstrong's feature film about Fleming's perspective and legacy - 'The Sequel: What Will Follow Our Troubled Civilisation?' - and Sterling College's unique 'Surviving the Future: Conversations for Our Time' online courses. For more information on all of the above, including Lean Logic, click the little globe below!

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