Trust is inherent in travel. We ask a stranger for directions, or for a ride. We live among people whose language, culture, and motivations we don’t understand. Trust binds us to another with an intoxicating energy; it is brave, giddy, joyous, and lustful. A sudden attraction careens into sexual surrender, and trust becomes unconditional. Trust laughs at danger and leaps into the unknown.
The author of Abuses and Foreign Bodies, Alphonso Lingis has traveled the globe for many years, and in Trust he reflects on journeys from Latin America to Asia to Antarctica. Whether feeding chocolate sauce and tuna to the baboons who visit his campsite in Ethiopia, celebrating the millennial New Year in Mongolia, or indulging in a passionate love affair in Vietnam, Lingis evaluates what happens around him and how it affects him and others. From these experiences he gains new understandings about spirituality, masculinity, love, death, ecstasy, and change.
In the tradition of such international travelers as Paul Theroux, Pico Iyer, and Ryszard Kapuscinski, and with insight reminiscent of John Berger and Joan Didion, Lingis shares both the private revelations and the universal connections he acquires on his exotic journeys. “Travel far enough,” he concludes, “and we find ourselves happily back in the infantile world”-where trust is ultimate.
Alphonso Lingis is author of The Community of Those Who Have Nothing in Common, Dangerous Emotions, Abuses, and Foreign Bodies. He is professor emeritus of philosophy at Pennsylvania State University.