I recently came across a book that I think I’ve been waiting for all my life … a philosophical inquiry into, yes, stupidity. Stupidity, while we all know it intimately, is hard to pin down to any specific locale, hell it’s difficult to even define its manner of being.
Although obviously often paired oppositely (sometimes appositely) with intelligence, stupidity can easily form the same pairing with mastery, as well as such things as understanding and wisdom.
The author of the book is not one of those writers who removes herself from view, above and beyond the matter, pairing her nails, as it were. She puts herself right into the heart of the matter of stupidity, heart wrenchingly in the way stupidity seems to lurk around the corner of every endeavor. And the more daring the endeavor, the more stubbornly does stupidity stand in wait. I would like to quote from her book where she describes the fear of being ‘found out’ as stupid, as a writer, and how it infects every aspect of the act of writing. After that I would like to discuss the matter in regards to mastery, particularly the mastery involved in an M/s relationship.
“On another register of ethical anxiety, though not discontinuous with what has been said until now, stupidity sets the mood that afflicts anyone who presumes to write. To the extent that writing appears to be commandeered by some internal alterity but that proves always to be too immature, rather loudmouthed, often saddled with a pronounced narcissistic disorder no matter how much it makes you want to hide and isolate; or, as part of the same debilitating structure, to the extent that the powerhouse inside you is actually too smart for the dumb positings of language, too mature even for the superego’s sniping and way too cool to put the Saying into words; to the extent, moreover, that writing makes you encounter time and again the drama of the lost object never lost enough, summoning you once more to commit to pointless chase scenes and sizeable regressions all enacted before a sinister superegoical tribunal of teachers and colleagues and those who dumped you and mean-spirited graduate students trying to surpass you, packing heat [sometimes they’re on break, but not all that often] – it abandons you for these and other reasons, more reasonable ones, that momentarily elude me, to the experience of your own stupidity. There is the additional turn of the vise when it comes to publishing what you write, submitting to a judgment without end. The folly of publication combined with the sense of the utter dumbness that comes with putting yourself on the line – anyway, who cares; and Heidegger is still contemplating the line, so what line? – makes one always wander in the precincts of the uncertain justness of what has been said.”
Ethical anxiety? Of course. Not just the ethical anxiety involved in trying to always take the best available course of action without ever having all the parameters to go on, but to also “be seen to have taken the best course of action”, to not be seen as having done something totally stupid. And what Master in an M/s situation never comes off as commandeering and loudmouthed without having to provide an internal alterity to do it for him/her? And while there is the audience of one’s peers in an occasional sense, there is the audience of one’s slaves in a constant sense. Am I looking the fool in their eyes at this moment? They wouldn’t say so, it wouldn’t be slavely.
And publication? Oh, I can write what I want on a blog, the readers that know who I actually am can see me be stupid in person anyway. But is there an equivalent of what publication means to a writer in our lifestyle? Well of course there is.
Two friends of ours won a very distinguished award in the M/s & leather community recently, an award that required them to allow themselves to be subjected to public interrogation of their dynamic, and not in an online forum. And the reward of the award? That they get to display those intimacies for numerous others at various functions nation and perhaps worldwide. Why in the hell, one wonders, would anyone subject themselves to this?
Apparently in the name of education, in the name of sharing something that for them is wonderful, fulfilling and worth understanding.
Myself, mitda and emmie, as a family, have had many strokes of luck. The three of us had come together in an M/s dynamic, in person 24/7, prior to going to online or in person M/s or even BDSM groups. When we ventured to dip our toes in the public BDSM scene, with its tiny M/s contingent, we met two wonderful people at the first real public event we attended.
They were well known locally, while we had moved to the area relatively recently. And they were giving a class on the M/s dynamic, which we decided to attend. We recognized them from the single semi-event we had gone to previously, the munch you had to go to in order to purchase tickets to the event itself.
Over the last few years we’ve gotten to know them better. They’re like family to us ( as long as you keep in mind the caveat that they’re the kind of family you don’t fuck up with ). We’ve shared holiday occasions and had some very memorable conversations both privately and in public discussion.
It’s ironic that reading a book entitled “Stupidity” made me think of these two people, specifically because they never do appear stupid, while maintaining roles in which it can be all too easy to act the fool. They deserve the award they received as International Master and Slave of the Year 2010 for the way they genuinely portray what people in the community can be like. They deserve it in that extra special way in my mind, though, for taking the risk of appearing stupid, over and over again, and by doing so opposing stupidity itself.
Thank you personally to Master Obsidian and slave namaste.