Category Archives: philosophy of relationships

The Enchantment of the Extreme

One thing that I’ve tried to be clear in discussing M/s with other subgroups within the BDSM community is that I don’t consider M/s “higher” or “more developed” than other relationship types, but I do consider it more *extreme”. While many are wary (for good reason) of extremes I believe the extreme carries with it its own special fascination.

Nietzsche talks about “us immoralists” as the “outermost”, the extreme. As such “we” do not need the lies of other powers. All other powers are force hiding behind the semblance of law, hence lying and dissimulation are necessary to veil true intentions, to display goals that are ostensibly sought after, and so make the subjugated happy.

Within the M/s dynamic, Masters refer to themselves as such, slaves know themselves as slaves. There is no false set of goals promulgated by the Master in order to underhandedly subjugate the slave. There is no expectation of eventual equality or even a specific reward for servitude to be sought after. The power differential is decided on in advance, and maintained and welcomed by both sides. The extremism of the dynamic, far from putting people off, exerts a powerful fascination, seduction and enchantment.

The “magic” of the extreme is the power of the most powerful. Most powerful because it hides behind no false pretenses of humility. Masters do not seek power over slaves “in the slave’s interest”, nor govern “as servants” (think public servants). We seek power solely and purely for its own sake and enjoyment. Slaves do not submit to their enslavement in order to gain a future advantage. This power transports members of the dynamic to another world with its enchantment and there brings them to themselves in a different way.

Who are, then, “we immoralists”? Are we an unethical gang of bandits on the fringes of society? No, we immoralists are those who stand outside the distinction between the true and the apparent worlds promulgated by metaphysics, and the hierarchy of moral rules and values that sustains it. We stand outside the distinction that sustained metaphysics and all its correlates, instead standing in the seduction of truth. We know that ethics is always concrete, always particular to the situation and are not confused by childish a priori rules.


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.


Birthday to Me

mitda and emmie, with the help of a few of our friends, threw me a wonderful suprise birthday party on Sunday.  mitda prepared English style food and a surprisingly high number of people from our social circle showed up, especially given it was a Sunday night.

It helps to remember things like this, and all the responsibilities that go with my lifestyle, on those days where it seems like 40 years is enough time to have utilized the planet’s resources for one person.  Disappointments come and go, along with celebrations, but responsibilities remain, and unlimited responsibility is something I have taken on and endeavour to fulfill.


M/s and Privilege

E is working on a paper for a diversity class, which has engendered much conversation around our interracial, polyamorous, bisexual, kinky, bdsm and  M/s household.  In one sense E is very much, as are we all, involved in diversity issues, however like myself these are chosen ways of being, not inherited issues such as being  black, or female, or such.  emmie of course knows both of those, being a black female, along with the not-so-popular (especially in the black community) choice of becoming a consensual slave to (ahem) a white male Master.  This was pointed out at the MAsT meeting as well, where a (black) owner of a black slave said he had had issues seeing a black consensual slave with a white Master at first.  mitda is white, but female, and also a consensual slave, something that is amazingly fully accepted by her strongly feminist mother.

E and I share inherited white male privilege and the expectations that go with it, which in general is a positive thing for us but can occasionally be negative.  Being sensitive to those who don’t have such privilege a priori is a difficult but worthwhile effort for both of us and I’m glad his paper has caused so much conversation in the household.


Busy in our Own Way

Well, we’ve been pretty busy. We attended a Central Texas Kink event with a formal dinner party served by the slaves/submissives. We also attended a MAsT (Masters and slaves Together) meeting. As well we have our regular Thursday kinky coffee which for the last two weeks has turned into a small play party at someone’s apartment. Going out in the scene is comfortable for mitda and emmie and I, and I suppose it is for E as well, although likely he’d be more comfortable had he his own slave.

Are we isolating ourselves from the vanilla world? It could be argued that we are, much as other subcultures avoid subcultures that would not look kindly on them. If we have found a place, a topoi to survive in then it is fine, just as long as we don’t actually look down on other subcultures and other groups that are doing their own thing in their own way.


Topoi

Topoi

  1. Topoi

Topoi, the subject matter of topology, can be variously translated as place, terrain, event, etc. In our world of, as Schurmann puts it, “broken hegemonies”, do we still have a common topoi or are we in a situation of nearly individual topologies when it comes to the terrain of Being? This commonality that we have taken for granted for two millennia is entrenched in our laws, our institutions, and our lives, and yet it seems to be counter productive at this point in many ways. Laws are avoided if not openly scoffed at, institutions are utilized when necessary and abandoned when inconvenient. And we live our lives in a forgetfulness of these matters, because in the last analysis, they don’t matter enough.

  1. Place

What is our place when it comes to our Being? This place has to do with World and our World formation. We say that in a particular world formation things “have their place” and yet we ourselves live in a mode of exile. The state of the exile, the homeless one, has become the existential situation of the most stay at home of us. The homeless one is in the first instance in-appropriate, without rights, and without the freedom that privacy engenders. It is in fact this lack of privacy, this need to be always available, always on call, that has led to the feeling of exile encountered in the modern situation. Comfort and ease become fleeting apparitions chased after, in the way security was chased after incoherently in earlier generations. We know better than to look for security, but scant comfort or ease of being has also been taken away and we scamper after them.


Narcissism, BPD, Bipolar, Mastery and Slavery

“and the DSM-IV diagnostic criteria for Narcissistic Personality Disorder came up. These include “has a sense of entitlement, i.e., unreasonable expectations of especially favorable treatment or automatic compliance with his or her expectations””.

This quote is from a well thought out post by Tanos on Entitlement, posted in his weblog and linked from the ownership wiki on The Slave Register

I lived with someone with Narcissistic Personality Disorder. Looking back on it he had a somewhat D/s relationship with his lover, who had obvious Borderline traits. However there was no sense of mastery in his actions, attitudes, etc., merely entitlement without responsibility. Looking at my own behaviour I do, of course, act entitled, while at the same time discouraging such acting in my slaves. But I have a sense of responsibility and a dedication to them and their lives that is simply lacking from the purview of someone with NPD. I will and do take risks, including the risk of simply being an overt Master in a country where human ownership, consensual or not, is simply illegal. And that is a minor one given all the things in our lives.

A couple in our local scene are an obvious NPD/BPD couple, and the two tend to go together. While he seems to take reasonable care of his charge I feel a sense of creeping unease in their presence. Although emmie and mitda (and I myself) have all been diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder 1 it doesn’t seem to have any direct bearing on our M/s relationship. Obviously my moods and theirs impact the day to day functioning of that relationship but I can’t say I see an overall tendency that runs from BP symptomology to M/s dealings.


Being and Time; and Place?

I am currently reading a book by the name of “Heidegger’s Topology: Being, Place, World”. Why topology when Heidegger’s most famous book is “Being and Time”? Heidegger’s notion of Being and his notions on philosophy imply a certain situatedness and site, and he was certainly aware of Jasper’s work on the limit-situation, having been the first reviewer of “The Psychology of Worldviews”. I will post more on this topic and how it relates to the M/s situation as I assimilate the ideas therein with the work on the mathematical topology of Being by Alain Badiou.

The Situation and State of Absolute Enslavement

The situation in Absolute Enslavement is that of a limit-situation, but in a sense every situation is a limit-situation, though this is not always transparent to those within the situation. In a transparent limit-situation something of the Absolute comes to the fore. It is my contention that the Absolute is that which partakes of the always excessive-to the-situation, or the Void.

Firstly the Void is not the classical physics notion of “Space”. Unformed matter, as Aristotle pointed out correctly, would be indistinguishable from such a concept of Void. Matter is formed space, as the fundamental particles of matter have no mass, and space has a “fabric” that can be distorted into form.

The Void, then, is punctual (there is a proof of this in the ZF system of set theory but I’ll leave that alone for now). This point is, in itself, the point of Being, that is always in excess of any given situation. This is the Void, the unpresentable, the unnatural, the source of terror to any given Situation, that is hidden away by the situation’s reduplication in the State.

The Site of the Situation is the proper place for some “thing”. Each situation has a “point of Being” that in a hidden way structures the Situation and makes it appropriate or proper for that particular being, yet always remains excessive to the Situation and therefore the point of that Situations finitude and destructibility.

Site and Situation come from the Latin Sitere, which also means to let, permit. “What is permitted” is what is appropriate to the situation. The State of the situation then is what is expressly permitted, while the Situation is the extent of the real possibilities inherent in it. In the M/s situation what is expressly permitted is up to the Master, and is made explicit in the slave’s ongoing training. In this sense the Master is the State. In large part, then, the slave has to follow the Master’s directions, however there are always things extant in the situation that are excrescent or singular to the State.


Unlimited Responsibility and the Discourse of Mastery

I have been reading Derrida and others on the dangers of a “Discourse of Mastery”. The (vom Ereignis) in the subtitle of Heidegger’s Contributions to Philosophy, pointing to the author as “enowned”, is of course a subtle indication that it contains a discourse of Mastery, and in fact Mastery comes up quite often within the text. As has been pointed out by Derrida, a discourse of Mastery implies “unlimited responsibility”, and while I do not think this is defensible in a horizontal manner (my responsibility for my cat doesn’t imply responsibility for all cats) it seems to me appropriate that it imply an unlimited responsibility to the cat I in fact own (assuming I owned a cat, which I don’t).

What does this do for human ownership? It means I have unlimited responsibility for the people who are consensually enslaved to me, through their enowning (enabling to own). Working this out in practice is always a situational, ethical problem, but it’s one a Master cannot shirk or shy away from.