Dominating versus Domineering


1. To have or exert strong authority or mastery.

  1. 2. To be situated in or occupy a position that is more elevated or decidedly superior to others.


  2. having or showing an exaggerated opinion of your importance, ability, etc;

These definitions, short as they are, point towards a fundamental difference between the dominating individual and the domineering individual. Notably, “mastery” is present in the definition of dominating but absent in the definition of domineering, while self-opinion is the decided factor in the domineering individual but absent in the definition of dominating.

Mastery is defined in the following way:

  1. Possession of consummate skill.

  2. The status of master or ruler; control: mastery of the seas.

  3. Full command of a subject of study: Her mastery of economic theory impressed the professors.

Notably mastery over another human being is only mentioned in “the Status of master or ruler” and even there ignored in the example. However mastery in the sense I understand it when my slaves call me such involves all three definitions, in that I have a certain status to them, I have a command of them as a subject (of study and otherwise), and this command of them is a consummate skill. In fact the three definitions could be simplified into “full command of a subject” assuming that subject means what is inferred in the phrase “British Subject” as well as a subject of study such as economics.

People outside the M/s community, however, often conflate dominating and domineering in terms of the personality of the dominant partner. People within the M/s community also can mistake a domineering personality, for a while at least, with a dominant personality type. There is however a strong element of facade in the domineering personality type born of personal insecurity. The self-opinion of the domineering type is often a facade covering insecurity regarding their abilities, personality, and self-worth.

Not that the Master is never insecure. There is no school of human mastery, no examination of one’s abilities, other than the daily examination of the effect of one’s actions upon one’s subjects by oneself and one’s subjects, or slaves in the popular M/s terminology. However the domineering individual cannot maintain their “dominating” style when mastery is completely absent, and their apparent dominance is soon seen through,

Mastery itself, especially in the idea of a “Discourse of Mastery”, is very much frowned upon in postmodern circles, this in spite of the fact that “vom Ereignis”, in the subtitle of Heidegger’s Contributions to Philosophy, could as easily (and more frugally in terms of adding new verbiage to an already verbose language), be translated as “from Mastery”. Translating Ereignis as the “Event of Appropriation” as it was in earlier translations only underscores this meaning, as what is “ Appropriation” if it doesn’t involve both “taking” and “placing into the appropriate, or proper, positions”? Of course the “ appropriate” position of a human being could be egalitarian viz another human being, and I would promote any laws upholding this idea. But self chosen servitude or mastery, appropriately enacted, should be a choice available to the individual. I often see the term “enowning” as a correspondent term to “enslaving”, in that the slave or subject “enables” the Master to own them, just as simultaneously the Master enslaves the subject in his/her submission.

This enownment is impossible for the slave to grant to the merely domineering individual as they do not possess the mastery inherent in accepting the slave’s submission and working with it. Human mastery is a consummate yet constantly evolving set of skills that ensure the safety, satisfaction and fulfillment of the slave’s being, as well as that of the Master.

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