Monthly Archives: April 2010

Refusal Or … ?

Between my post on refusal and now I’ve had a very odd change in my manner of being.

I had what used to be called, in the conceptual world, a “divine revelation”.  Since I live in the post conceptual (post religious-metaphysical-scientific)  world it was no long divine in any sense.   However it was reflexive in a way that no epiphany could be.  It was a revelation of the nature of revelation itself.

The reflexivity made me suddenly understand Hegel’s Absolute Knowing, Nietzsche’s Eternal Recurrence of the Same, and Heidegger’s vom Ereignis (from Enowning) simultaneously as attempts to provoke the experience.  Not that they do, but they do at least prepare one for it in a similar way to mystic practice preparing one for divine revelation.  Understanding understanding, as it were, doesn’t give you an understanding of anything in particular.  It gives you a different sense of things where understanding precedes self-conscious interpretation.

More on this later …

Freedom, freedom and Waffling

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 with. Part of the reason expressing oneself as a part of the M/s subculture is that our language betrays what we in fact do and how we structure meaning within the world. Speaking of a tendency within the community Master Obsidian makes the following observation on a common and becoming more common attitude:

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.

Freedom, for me, comes in two flavors. There is the a priori freedom that every human being possesses no matter what their life circumstances. Without this freedom we would be unable to comport ourselves towards anything whatsoever. It is a necessity of being-in-the-world itself. This is properly called ‘ontological freedom’, which can be explained as the freedom of being itself. The other sense of freedom is the practical freedom that one possesses within-the-world. This is a matter of circumstances, and is also a matter of degrees. The proper term for this is ‘ontic freedom’, which can be made clearer as the freedom to dispose of beings as one wishes.

Enhancing the ability, if the individual chooses, to exercise ontic freedom is a noble pursuit. The as-one-wishes is crucial though, as not everyone wishes to exercise every possible ontic freedom. As well, circumstances being what they are, no one can exercise every freedom they may wish. We are all constrained by law, by custom, by societal opinion, and by our own ethical sense.

Choosing to not exercise freedoms may be due to ethics or societal norms, or it may be a more personal choice in that an individual may simply not feel comfortable exercising a good number of freedoms. If this number is great enough they may choose to enter into a D/s or M/s relationship, depending on the degree of unfreedom they feel most comfortable with. In an M/s relationship, once the choice is made it is made in a permanent sense, unless one is willing to break one’s word in an important manner.

Whatever that person, who is now a slave where continued consent is not required, may suddenly feel the urge to express may now only be expressed accordng to the will of the Master . The slave has given up the freedom to “get their particular fancy struck” unless it happens to coincide with the Master’s particular fancy at that moment. That ontological freedom is still present cannot undermine ontical slavery.


Thinking on a post by Master Obsidian on his blog concerning holding space returned me to some musings I had on topology in M/s and situatedness as one’s sense of being in an appropriate place.

To quote

“Holding space for slaves.  What does this mean?  How can I as a Master hold space for my slave?  In the traditional sense, ‘Holding Space‘ for someone means staying engaged and present with them while they undergo a process of self-inquiry and discovery of truth.”

This brought up a number of thoughts I’d had – to do with the meaning of “self” and therefore “self-inquiry” – to do with the nature of truth and presence itself.

Without going too far in multifarious (and likely nefarious) directions, I’ll just note that the equation of “self” with the unified, substantive subject of the ego cogito seems untenable.

Both the being of truth, and the truth of being, seem to be co-located at a specific jointure. Our sense of being, out of which a sense of self must develop, arises from place. We know that we are because we are already-in a specific place, we are situated. From our position we can posit ourselves absolutely, if not necessarily as a specific thing, at least in a specific situation. But at the same time the topology of the open-that-gives-meaning, by allowing anything to presence-as something, arises from situatedness-itself. It’s openness is the openness of absence, absence of the substantial enduring subject in our radical finitude.

Holding Space‘ then could be explicated as en-situating ourselves in such a manner that we are the open-that-gives-meaning for the slave. In this en-situating the slave is also situated and appropriated towards the appropriate position. The slave’s is then in a position to inquire into and develop his/her own sense of self within the topology the Master has situated and grounded to begin with, and complete the appropriation towards the most appropriate position. As the movement completes Master and slave are situated most firmly and comfortably in their appropriate places. Within the final jointure what is “out of joint” can be put back in place.