Saturday, May 9, 2009

The Concept of Slavery (Training and Conditioning 202)

Choices ... in the end it is ALL about choices, but choices predicated on certain immutable precepts. With full awareness of the consequences of each path stretched before one – and needing, indeed, REQUIRING some insight and inner knowledge about the individual who is the other part of the desired dynamic.

For choosing to submit, be it as a slave or a submissive must, in the end, be an internally driven decision. A decision based on information only the individual can decide is crucial to taking the step.

The bottom line is that none of us can predict the outcome of the choices we make– all we have is the knowledge that there WILL be a consequence to that choice. One we may think a solid probability, one that based on logic should occur but in the end, it is ALL a gamble, a roll of the dice. For every action there is a reaction ... for every choice there is a consequence. That is the reality.

Labelling oneself “slave” or “submissive” is, when all is said and done, a pointless exercise. The reality is that no one individual will have the same vision of that label. For in the end, labels are useful only in the sense that they give a grounding to those outside the dynamic. Within the dynamic, only the individuals involved have a full understanding of what the label encompasses – and then only after open and honest communication and sharing of that concept. (Gillette gives a truly insightful discussion about how communication can be misinterpreted and have different meanings here)

And because NO dynamic is immutable nor static, every relationship is an evolving, constantly shifting work in progress. Thus, even within the magic circle, the nuance and impact of words will themselves change and shift.

But another paradigm which has been postulated by PK is equally crucial and to my mind perhaps marks the biggest differentiation between the fantastic and reality – and that is RESPONSIBILITY.

I think PK’s erudite (grins) grasp of the subject says it best - It's not that living with someone and choosing a M/s dynamic is wrong as long as both parties know what is what. It's that it is (for me anyway) the absolutely fucking WRONG choice to choose that when it is not a choice, but rather an ABDICATION of my own personal responsibilities and power.

And that, dear friends, is one of the places I see the demarcation between reality and fantasy. Because while the concept of abdicating all decision-making can have a delicious and compelling pull to it, the reality is that it would be almost impossible to live a life wherein one would have the inclination, time and degree of effort required to make the fantasy work every moment of every day.

I also personally view it as the ultimate ‘cop-out’ to seek someone who will live your life vicariously and make all decisions for you because you refuse to find the strength of character and discipline to take the responsibility yourself. I would also question the stability of such a relationship –as I believe it inevitable that ennui and burn-out will occur in the Master and on the submissive’s part, believe it is a foregone conclusion that constantly having to seek advice and guidance on even the most mundane matters will quickly pall.

I would also, at this point, emphasize again that submission is not for the weak of heart. Putting your mind, body and spirit into the often untested safekeeping of another`s hands is at best, a leap of faith, at worst, a sometimes overwhelming and often frightening proposition; a step which takes great strength of mind, a willingness to trust and in the end, a certain fatalistic acceptance and willingness to experience possibly negative consequences.

That takes strength, and I believe that part of a submissive’s attraction to the right person is the strength required to submit; D. often said that there was no victory in mastering someone easily mastered by anyone – that the true satisfaction lay in having a strong, independent, capable individual kneel through choice.

And as I truly believe an ongoing M/s or D/s relationship is simply a variation on ANY type of relationship, it also requires ongoing and committed dialogue, a willingness of both parties to open up insecurities and concerns, and finally – and Swan says it best – ultimately an understanding of the parameters of the dynamic – thus the choice of both to live inside of that apparent inequity.

Crap days happen. Real life intrudes. Work, family issues, health concerns are all inevitable parts of each of our lives. And while as M:e says We strive for the perfection of it...whilst recognising it will always be imperfect, because relationships contain human being and humans are imperfect. So yes, maybe a mix of fantasy AND reality....for many of us heavily weighted towards the latter though .... there is an understanding there that as in ANY relationship, the ebb and flow will fluctuate, the intensity increase or decrease, that as in any of our lives, the incandescent moments that many of us have experienced at those seconds of complete understanding cannot (and probably should not) be there at every interaction.

There are real people involved. There are real, ongoing issues that affect the individuals entwined in the dynamic. As every parent I have ever noted has said at some point why don’t they come with instructions .... that comment about children can be equally apropos when referring to either the dominant or submissive element of the equation.

The complexity of the human mind, the sensitivity and quirkiness of the human spirit should never be underestimated. There is a reason that the submissive and dominant are attracted to each other. It is not a universal truth that every dominant is equally attracted to every submissive nor that every submissive is automatically compelled to serve and bow to every dominant – that’s the fantasy thing again.

While there are certain intrinsic traits that are perhaps comparable among individuals (without question, service for the submissive, control for the Master), it is the personality of the individual that triggers the initial attraction. Which brings me to my earlier querying of the reality of training and conditioning. I believe, that ultimately, a good dominant enhances and embraces ALL the qualities of a submissive as the submissive does the intricacies and idiosyncrasies of the Master’s personality. Otherwise, it would just not make sense to create a personal dynamic in the first place; i.e. any port in a storm (or any submissive when in the mood). But if that were the case then we’re not talking about a Master/slave or Master/submissive dynamic – we’re talking about “tops” and “bottoms” - an equally valid but very different kettle of fish.

Sir J I think has an excellent grasp of it when he talks about his initial contract with his h - -h has the right to expect her Master to both know her, who she is and has always been, and to respect these facets of her personality and not to require her to do or become anything which would make her uncomfortable or in any way interfere with those facets of her personality.

And Vesta, when she says two people like each other fundamentally as they are.

Every single one of us has individual character traits which to a greater or lesser degree define who we are – traits whose complexity and nuance create the uniqueness of one person. Some can (and in many ways should perhaps) be altered to some degree; we all carry baggage, baggage from life’s many buffetings and experiences, baggage that is not always healthy nor desired. In that sense, a good guiding hand can help us get rid of unwelcome baggage. However, there are other personality traits that to some may look like baggage but are in fact, an important part of our perception of self. Innate personality quirks that define the essence of what we are. I strongly believe that to fully integrate acceptance of self, then those that profess to care about us, must accept those parts of us that may not always make the person comfortable but are understood to be part and parcel of the whole package.

This includes understanding motivations and triggers for a submissive or slave. Vesta, for instance, brings up another valid point about training which touches on a personal hate of my own – the useless imposition of pointless exercises on the submissive. I just don’t understand what demanding pointless exercises simply for the sake of ensuring the submissive completes them does and to me, again smacks of the online fantasy thing rather than reality. She says:

The things I am asked to do need to be meaningful or else I am going to struggle
to consistently do them. Unless the submissive (or slave, or whatever) feels
that there is a purpose for the change, then I don't see how she can maintain
her desire to make the changes simply because another person desires her to do

The reality is that there IS no Manor in the country where naive submissives can be sent for training. Many of the “rituals” one reads about are in fact variations on practices derived from the Leather community; certainly many of the rules and regulations originated there. And there is nothing wrong with that – in fact I find generally speaking the Leather community’s open and honest appraisals are refreshingly free from pretence or fabrication.

When all is said done, an M/s or D/s relationship is a relationship with all the nuance, variations and distinctions of any other relationship. The dynamic that works provides a rich, fertile and luxuriant tapestry of pleasure and a deep soul-satisfying background to living that is compelling and ultimately intensely rewarding to all parties.

But it is premised, based on and intrinsic to personal choice. Choice, which when given, ALWAYS has the possibility in our society of being revoked. Slavery in a free society is only possible if the individual chooses it – in a sense, an oxymoron yet intrinsically valid as a lifestyle choice if you are so inclined.

As Gillette puts it, succinctly, humorously yet effectively ...Muahahahahaha...she takes herself wherever she goes... the individual is ultimately in control of her destiny even to the extent of putting that destiny in the hands of another.


Buffalo said...

I believe there are several points that could be debated, but I will refrain from doing so.

What can't be debated is quality of the writing.

M:e said...

I concur with Buffalo. There are points here I could agree with, and points here on which I think we will probably always have to agree to disagree, but that's ok. Well written though, and plenty of 'musing' fodder.

love and hugs xxx

Anonymous said...

Personaly I agree with your entire premise. I would not want nor would I accept service from h of any kind that she did not freely choose to give. I am and I remain her Master by leading her on a path she chooses to follow. That I can keep her on that path is the Masterful aspect of what I do.

If she should decide not to follow it will not be because she is not submissive enough but likley becasue I was not Master enough to tap into it.

I also completly agree and have argued in my own posts that whatever else M/s and D/s relationships are they are relationships. They may add to the rules but they do not change the basic rules of relationships. Ignore the basics and it will soon be over.

gabby said...

Very well written! I've been thinking on this subject quite a bit lately. Your emphasis on relationship reminded me of a conversation that My Master and I had a few weeks ago. We were musing on how we would explain our relationship to others. It went something like this:

Scenario one with a counselor: Explain your relationship with gabby. Well, we communicate well together, I tell her what I need and she learns to anticipate my needs wonderfully, often before I realize what I need myself and I listen when she speaks and try to understand. I ask her questions and pull information from her when she can't express herself, because I want to know her needs and we understand each others situations and emotions. We are constantly building trust. Yes we have a very active sex life and are comfortable experimenting with each other and finding ways to heighten the sensations and closeness. The counselor looks up amazed and happy for us. He says it sounds like you have a healthy and thriving relationship and we both nod.

Scenario two - explaining it to the kid: Hi Mom and Dad! So how did y'all meet? Oh its really funny, we met on a BDSM website, we live it you know? WTF!!

Funny thing is that both scenarios are exactly how it is. The relationship is what comes first and everything else flows out of that place.

On your issue of slavery, I consider myself a slave to My Master but I wouldn't be able to be a slave to just anyone. It comes down to the absolute trust I have in him. I know that My Master would never do anything that would harm me and he does indeed delve deep into my psyche to see what makes me tick and what would damage that ticking. I think it takes a very special D/s relationship to be able to move into an M/s relationship and it's definitely not for everyone.

Thank you for your insightful post. I've really enjoyed reading it and getting to know you better. Your obvious intelligence and time spent on this post is inspiring.


selkie said...

M:e and Buff- I wold love you to debate me LOL - but not to worry - I know for certain there are areas that one can always agree to disagree - which is a fine thing as that tells me that friends are being accepted for who they are.

Sir. J- thank you - reading your blogs I sensed that we might agree on some things as I had a very similar relationsihp to your h for a very long time.

gabby= I LOVED the way you put that - truly it is all in the "spin" - the nucleus is the same and that is an excellent comparison!

I'm not entirely sure I would agree though that a D/s necessarily morphs into an M/s. i THINK the two are quite distinct although there are simalarities, I think the mindset is different. I think it can change one into the other, and vice versa - but I don't think it inevitable. Interesting to muse on though.

john smith said...

I also had the similar relationship once when I was in Lechron....whatever nice blog.

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