Saturday, June 6, 2009
Inimical or not?
The current brouhaha about Vivian’s e-book on DD has me musing on some anomalies.
First and foremost, I can’t comment on her qualifications (or not) to write a book on Domestic Discipline. I haven’t read her blogs. I don’t know her entire story except through other voices. Thus I won’t even begin to speculate on the veracity of her writing.
There is one thing I WILL say – I think as compassionate, thinking human beings, we need to avoid what tastes like a ‘witch hunt”. Condemning out of hand a book no one has actually read just doesn’t seem fair. Not that I discount the opinions of those whom I respect – but I would be far more comfortable if the criticism were directed more at the content of the e-book and less at the individual who wrote it.
On a general scale, however, I think some interesting arguments arise in terms of who is qualified to write/talk/give advice on the less documented aspects of the human experience.
On the one hand, there are a plethora of experts in the world (and I’m not talking specifically kink here) – who write erudite tomes on subjects, situations and syndromes with which they themselves do not have first-hand experience. Psychiatrists and psychologists can discuss symptoms, case histories and treatment plans for OCD patients, for instance, and not suffer from the syndrome themselves.
Counselors successfully (sometimes) deal with a myriad of issues that don’t impact on a personal level, their own lives.
Anthropologists talk about social structures in societies they have no in-depth understanding of – and in view of the fact that their very presence already destroys any legitimate empirical evidence – puts to question their conclusions.
The gist, however, of the criticism (and it certainly sounds legitimate) is that dispensing advice about how to create a successful DD relationship requires insight and personal experience, but MOST importantly (my emphasis) – a successful DD relationship.
I know that one of the issues I’ve struggled with in my own writings is the understanding that my experiences are unique to me and to the dynamic and life experience that I’ve personally internalized. I am fully cognizant that the dynamic I lived for many years was probably in some respects, the antithesis of many apparently “successful” and even envied D/s dynamics out there.
Certainly, when I first began perusing the web, I found myself questioning the veracity of what I had always felt was a rich, varied and working dynamic. Fortunately, I quickly wised up to the plethora of “wanna be” kingmakers and quickly learned to dismiss anyone that rigidly defined what is ultimately a human dynamic – for as each of carries with us our own exclusive and exceptional set of quirks, so too will each of our relationships display and internalize its own distinctive flavor.
So, first, there are many, many experts out there that write insightful books about subjects about which they have no personal experience.
Second, the reality is that each of us is unique with a distinctive and exclusive experience of our own dynamics.
BUT – and herein lies the rub.
Is it equally true when talking about a choice someone makes to pursue a certain type of lifestyle that cognitive understanding supersedes empirical knowledge?
I know that a on personal scale, I give far more credence to individuals who have walked the walk, individuals whose honesty about their lifestyle choice incorporates the bad along with the good, the warts together with the smooth skin. Because the reality is we are fallible human beings, we make mistakes, we take missteps, we screw up … and that is further compounded by the reality that our significant others do as well (yes, even the Masters, the Sirs, the dominants, the HOH’s too- last I looked, they belonged to the human race).
But admitting to mistakes, taking ownership of bad decisions, discussing situations and reactions that are counterproductive and inimical to a healthy relationship are only valid if there is a commensurate sharing of what works in the relationship – the actions, reactions, efforts and understandings that together create a healthy dynamic (of any flavor).
I have never subscribed to the “Do as I say not as I do” school of Christian thought.
In the end, all the insight in the world is pointless if one has not achieved a level of understanding on how to make things WORK. And it is difficult indeed to swallow advice based on speculation and a thought process – perhaps insightful, perhaps not – that did not yield in the end the desired result – a successful relationship based on the tenets of the lifestyle you have actively chosen to follow.
From a practical perspective and to illustrate – flogging can be done by anyone choosing to pick up a whip – but proper flogging (wherein the participants both benefit and achieve the desired state of mind) can only be done only by someone who has had “hands-on” experience, training and practice.
I do understand that many of the criticisms of the author’s self-proclaimed expertise is induced by a genuine concern for those who are unfamiliar with the author’s background and history taking to heart the nature of what she preaches.
Unfortunately, the credulousness of the human species continues to astonish.
But the reality is that exponentially there is probably far more disinformation out there on the net than valid information – that is the reality of the web.
It is ultimately the individual who must take responsibility for their own choices and accept their compliance in being lectured to and deceived rather than apportioning blame to those who either knowingly or through their own ignorance create a patina of expertise and purport to hold the key to the incredibly complex world of human relationships.
Posted by selkie at 6:22 PM