houseobsidian

Horses arent waffles.

In my travels I’ve noticed a notion, a worldview or philosophy creeping into our discussions with more and more frequency. It is the notion that there really is no objective frame of reference within the kink community. That freedom in its purest sense embraced is the freedom to do anything and to be anything at all. And if we truly are inclusive, if we truly are seekers of truth then we must conclude as often as possible that every man and every woman has the ability and the right to pursue what ever strikes their particular fancy. And perhaps even more importantly than that notion, is the notion that whatever a person comes up in their pursuit of getting their particular fancy struck as it were – is great and wonderful and not to be denied.

As a parent – I can remember the stuff that my kids brought home from school in the name of Art (and being a Dad that keeps everything, I probably have physical examples) lumps of stuff festooned with glitter, random groupings of dried macaroni in various patterns, the odd ‘turkey’ around the holidays the approximate shape and size of a child’s hand. I accepted these all with a heart of gratitude and a smile.. they truly were Art, not for any aesthetic reasons but because they had been created at the hand of my kid whom I love – but what do grade school art projects have to do with definitions in the Power Exchange community? Roll with me for a minute – I do have a point here.

Fast forward a number of years and now I find myself a stranger in a strange land, so to speak. Not as parent to child certainly because we are talking about the adventures of other adults. But as one of those that have been around a fair amount of time, I’m noticing with more frequency suspicious ‘lumps’ of philosophical thought with regard to our kink community. Random groupings of letters and such with obscure meanings and yes even the occasional figurative ‘turkey’ in our midst. Relative newcomers to the scene seem to be more confused about basic meanings and much like the kids in my earlier example are seeking validation from both peers and elders, as we all do from time to time. But this phenomenon does not seem to be confined to those that are new to WIITWD. There are those that have been around for a while that seem to suffer with it as well.

The point of confusion that I’m referring to seems to be a confusion of the basic freedom that each and every one of has for self-actualization with the disturbing tendency toward re-defining what we see around us (and even our own actions) in ways that fit our personalities and desires in a manner more to our liking. I like to believe that everything has a Name – sometimes it’s a secret…other times it slaps you upside the head, but a foundational characteristic of that intrinsic Name is that it is not interchangeable with another Name or meaning.  It is bound to the item so Named and is a part of it. Imagine if you will a Horse. A horse standing in a field of tall grass, contentedly grazing under an azure sky. Add sunshine and perhaps some white clouds if you like.

Now, no doubt we each ‘see’ a different horse in a different field in our ‘minds eye’….however I believe that virtually none of us are going to quarrel over what a Horse is, or tall grass, white clouds, sunshine, etc…  Its not a bad generalization to point out the fact that everyone knows what these things are. They all have a Name…attached to a set of definitions that is somehow tethered to our collective reality – similar to the ‘geas’ of mythology,  the Name is bound to the essence of a thing so Named and cannot be separated from it.  A horse is, well….a Horse of course.  Anyway…..

Why then are some in our community so easily led down the path of ‘anything goes’ to believe in a world where Names are interchangeable, depending on the whim of the persons involved? Like incredible creatures of legend now made flesh, we now are compelled to accept such fanciful archetypes as additions to the M/s pantheon like……..The Master who Cannot even Utter The Word Slave, and is horrified at the prospect of owning such…along with the Dominant Slave and the submissive master and their friends the Slave Who Eschews Ownership and her sister the Submissive that Respects No One.

The definition of Master;  a person with the ability or power to use, control or dispose of something.  An owner of a slave.  Someone eminently skilled or knowledgeable about something.  Someone whose teachings are followed by other people.

But what about the Master who doesn’t want to own a slave, or isnt particularly skilled or knowledgeable? What of them? How come we cant just let them be – let the Name Master be redefined as whatever the person speaking wants it to be, that day. Isnt that okay?

I say no.  It isnt okay.  Not by a long shot.

Why isnt it okay? Because Master is a Name.  The term ‘Master’ means something.  It cannot by definition mean everything else that is NOT Master at the same time.  It just doesn’t work like that.

Dominant is a different Name than Master. They aren’t the same thing although they may have similar characteristics. Can one be Dominant and not a Master? Certainly.

To be Dominant; is to be ruling, governing or controlling; having or exerting authority or influence; occupying or being in a commanding or elevated position.

What of ‘slave’?
The basic definition of slave is a person that is the property of and wholly subject to another. Or a person entirely under the domination of some influence or person.

This too is a Name.

The person that says “I’m a slave, but I’m not in any way submissive” isnt a slave. Plain and simple.  The Name slave defined, points to the fact that the person is under the domination of some influence or person.  If one cannot identify as someone who is going to cotton to being under someone else’s domination then you cannot by definition be a slave. Simple. We cannot, nor should we redefine the essence of slave to accommodate all that which is NOT slave and still have the word continue to resonate, continue to retain its basic meaning.

Do not confuse self exploration and/or self actualization with the right and freedom to redefine.

Horses are not waffles. Apples although fruit aren’t pears and we cannot deny people that aren’t submissive their place in our community – nor would we want to.  They too are somebody as the old rallying cry goes – and certainly persons worthy of respect and love and all the rest…but if they do not identify with basic qualities and/or definition of a slave they simply aren’t slaves.  This isnt discriminatory, “One True Wayism” or anything of the sort.  It is a statement of fact based upon commonly accepted definitions.  Persons wanting to be masters that will not dominate, own another person or be an influence over others to any appreciable degree,  or do the necessary work to become knowledgeable concerning their craft aren’t Masters.  Period.

I’m sure there are those among us that are skeptical, that are unbelieving of something as objective as a simple truth. Perhaps 1+1 can in fact equal 4, using sufficiently high values of one in the equation.  Insert your excuse here as to why anything can mean anything else – but isnt the fact that the disclaimer must be inserted into the discussion, the fact that the objective reality must be sufficiently explained away in order to admit the ‘new definition’ – isnt that indicative of something?  When we were in school and we were asked that time honored old saw to “compare and contrast….” We groaned inside because it meant that we were going to have to THINK about what our next words were going to be.  Many of us have forgotten those days but I suspect not all of us have.  Think before you speak.  Dont confuse inclusion with being obtuse – words are important and they do have specific meanings.

Remember beginning philosophy class? When we learned what nihilism was?

An extreme form of skepticism; the denial of all real existence or the possibility of an objective basis for truth.

I believe that this recent trend toward re-definition is little more than nihilistic wandering by people too lazy to do the real work of actually pursuing whatever it is that they want to achieve. The concept of achievement without work is so attractive that it is therefore much easier to try and redefine the Name under the banner of ‘freedom’ than it is to face the truth.  Words can be sexy, trendy…attractive even.  Perhaps its our sense of wanting to belong to a larger collective that drives us toward these nihilistic fantasies.  But again – words do have meaning.  It takes courage to stand alone and say “the word slave makes me uncomfortable.  It doesnt resonate in my heart and I dont feel good saying it.  I understand what it is – and that’s not what I want for myself. ”

I applaud people who have that type of conviction and will take that stand.  And in my opinion that is far better a stance than spending one’s time trying to convince those around you that it is possible, if you turn your head sideways and squint really hard to be a non-submissive, dominant, insubordinate SLAVE.

Understand me – there is room in our community for the non-submissive, the Dominant, the insubordinate, bratty whatever-you-want-to-be.  Those are fine qualities to display if that’s what gets you where you need to go.  But dont expect the community to call that activity “modeling good  slave behaviour.”  And you shouldn’t be telling people that you’re a slave.  Cause it isnt. And you’re not.  It just doesnt fit – it reminds me of the  guys in the two piece horse costume trying to ‘act’ horselike around other horses.  Its hilarious at first – because the premise is SO absurd.  Until you realize that the guys in the horse costume arent doing it for the laughs.

Then its not funny anymore.

Ok, spleen sufficiently vented.

Master Obsidian

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  1. I think the key issue is everyone wanting so damn hard to BE accepted and so many people making that hole of acceptance so damn small. The “be free to be you” gets overextended as a reaction TO the hyper-exclusionist One True Way Assholes and rather than respecting and enjoying the subtle nuances that DO exist, we end up with deep ugly trenches of disparagement on all sides.

    I don’t have “the solution” but I think a good place to start would be stop expecting and asking everyone in the first five seconds you meet them how they identify, stop reinforcing the social peer pressure that there SHOULD be a clear universal name forever and always and that you SHOULD know what it is right away. And second, to obliterate the heirarchy of orientations- destroy the more/deeper/better illusions people place on being any particular orientation. Refuse and kill any attempt by others who would do so, even against vanillas.

    I think once we take away the stigma/cool points social status, them people will be a lot more comfy and understanding about labels and their usage.

    But I can’t even get locals to stop saying “dommay” so I really doubt anything will change soon.

  2. This has hit the nail squarely on the head and slammed it into the wood. I have even seen some say they don’t like ‘titles’ yet they rename themselves to be whatever they want. I think the internet has a large influence on this ‘trend’ you write about. This was a great read. Respect!

  3. Wow! Very well written and for myself I totally agree with this article.

  4. Very thoughtful and well designed post. Thank you. As a linguist, I personally have difficulty with the current popular belief that meanings and definitions are fluid. I truly apprecite your perspective.

    Actually, at first I thought, with a bit of surprise, that I fit your description of the “non-slave” .. then I re-read your statement. I tell people that I am not *a* submissive, but I am a slave. Part of that comes from my belief that the word submissive is not a noun. People who know me, now that I do not have a submissive personality. And yet – I have submitted in the past to one, and know that I will do so again in the future. I do submit, and when I do it is total. But I do not fit the “community definition” of what A SUBMISSIVE is.

    I have heard the comment, as you stated it: “I am a slave, but not in any way submissive” … and always felt it missed the point. Thank you for helping me see the point of dissonance and giving me the space to clarify my own personal definition.

  5. I would like to translate and quote a part of this text in my dutch blog. Is that ok with you?

    • yes that will be fine as long as the proper credit is noted, thanks

      Master Obsidian

  6. I do agree with most of your article. I can identify with your dislike of people who end up giving your terms definitions that are in fact contrary to your own, and sometimes contrary to common sense. I have a point of contention though. I normally wouldn’t bring it up, but I’d like your input on my thoughts if that’s possible.

    [quote]
    “I’m a slave, but I’m not in any way submissive.” isn’t a slave. [/quote]

    I personally define a slave as being property. A slave in definition has more to it than that, simply because I define slave differently than the historically accurate definition, as slavery in it’s truest form is in fact illegal, and all slaves in the US (and most countries) do have some inalienable rights that will be afforded them by the state and/or federal government if they ever decide to contest their position of being owned. We are all aware of that. So, in order to make the term “slave” a reasonable and sensible term in the M/s arena, I personally define it as a person who has given up their rights to another. (Or in some cases, will do so if ever they find a suitable master)
    A case I use to validate this definition follows:
    A person often labels and categorises themselves in accordance with their most endeared and/or common habits. In other words, a businessman is a person (or man if you’re using P.C. terms) who runs or owns a business. When you love what you do, and do it well… when you do it for so long… you will become even more saturated with it. So if a businessman loses his business, or his job, that does not mean he is no longer a businessman. He will retain many of his habits, he will retain many of his skills, and he will probably look for another opportunity to be himself at his best.

    That being said, my slaves have days on which they are submissive, and I reward them. They also have days on which they are not at all submissive, and I will try to work with them on that. But submission does not make a slave, nor does being a slave conjure submission. Submission is yielding… and we all are submissive at times, depending on the circumstances. But I will also agree with you on a part of this, for the person that says “I’m a slave, but I’m not in any way submissive”… I would wonder if they were being honest with themselves. Simply because giving up your rights to please or be with another is in fact a submissive act, in itself. So the statement is self-contradictory.

    You might believe that I have agreed with your own statement, but I believe it to be a point of semantics. I’m not usually one to nitpick, but in a discussion about semantics and definitions, the semantics of your supporting arguments are in fact vital.

    I believe that the statement is self-contradictory, but I do not believe that being a slave always implies submission either.

    I hope to hear your thoughts.

  7. @impyre – actually identification as a slave implies that one is in fact surrendered or submissive to something. If one is a slave and is not at all submissive – then whence cometh the slavery Im thinking? And in truth, its not that I dislike the people who are semantically and definitionally challenged – I dislike what they do in this context, which is different than disliking them in particular. Being a slave means that one is considered property by another, fundamentally I agree with that. Surrender of one’s independant person hood to the hand of another seems to me to be apriori evidence of something…I would call that submission. The person that identifies with this state of being, being true (for them) and then subsequently claims to be ‘not in any way submissive’ is being either disingenuous or is ill informed. If they clarified it by saying “Im a slave and only submissive to my Master/Mistress/LordGodBubblykins, then that would be something else entirely. But they dont say that, lol. Or at least they havent when I’ve been in the conversation.

  8. […] under Uncategorized Leave a Comment  I’ve been reading Master Obsidian’s House blog site some more and a paragraph in another post caught my eye as something I’ve also been concerned […]

  9. Nicely done, and it needed to be said.

  10. Loved this article.

    I identify as “submissive property” rather than slave, because for me the word “slave” means the non-consensual use of men women and children as chattel. I have seen non-con slavery due to my professional work, and I find I cannot use the word “slave” for myself. I see this as merely a personal choice, and I can use the word slave for those who self identify as that within the Lifestyle. Master and I are mature people with several years together in a 24/7 heavy P/e relationship, and we know what we are.

    It seems that people within the Lifestyle at times want to define “submissive” as a personality trait (and as a defect or pathology), rather than as a relationship characteristic.

    I see myself as a submissive in the same way I am a masochist; I acknowledge and celebrate that I need and enjoy being submissive, in consensual and selective relationships. I enjoy that he enjoys being dominant to me, and he enjoys that I enjoy being submissive to him.

    Some “non-submissive slaves” or others try to make “submissive” into a bad word. I wish they would stop; they are redefining something they simply cannot identify with.

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