Respect

I wrote to a slave yesterday and as is my way, I asked if I needed to obtain permission from her Master to speak with her, or if she did.  She replied:  “Sir – to talk … requires only respect on my part.”   I have strong convictions about the subject, so let’s talk about that tonight… even though there is a storm brewing that I want to dig into.  I want to collect more information about the recent decision in the US that we have no constitution right to engage in consensual BDSM sex, before commenting.  So on to the topic of respect.

I like to imagine that if royalty, say a Queen, were speaking with a dirty, half clothed, person with low intelligence and poor hygiene, she would be gracious and respectful.  Not because they are on equal stations – they are not.  Not because the person deserved respect, the Queen could hardly know this.  The Queen would should show respect because this is what civilized people do.  Showing respect is not a measure of the person it is shown to, it is a measure of yourself, of the culture and refinement that YOU possess.

I have often heard of Dominants demanding respect from slaves after identifying themselves as a Dominant.  I don’t have a problem with that.  I don’t have a problem with a slave demanding respect either.  We all walk in as equals.  To place ourselves above or below another is something we consent to.  But respect has nothing to do with power or consent.

I need to go back to the Dominants who make demands.  If a Dominant demands submission, or trust, or recognition of authority, that is an entirely different matter.   I think sometimes people say: This person demanded that I respect them, when what they meant was, this person demanded that I recognize their title and authority.  Those are two entirely different matters.  If  you have read or heard me much, you can anticipate the quote that is coming next:

The only titles of value are those acquired thru recognition by others. One claims that title by exercising that recognition, not asserting it. ~Xtac Quote

I do not believe in asserting that you are a Master.  If you own property, you are THEIR Master. If people choose to call you a Master, then you have achieved a new level of respect.  Which means that there is respect that we give because of who we are, and respect we give because someone has demonstrated to us their worthiness to be respected.  It think the distinction is important.  When we respect another, it is good to consciously consider which one we are giving.

There was a person who came into the local community some time ago, and though they were new, they declared themselves to be a Master in the dungeon I frequented at the time.   There was a stairwell, not far from the play space, and asked him aside for a private conversation. I explained what I thought… direct as always..

I suggested that perhaps later might be a better time to project himself as a Master.  But this person was insistent that they were worthy, and would prove themselves.

The person of whom I speak, ran afoul of the local community later, not for the Master thing but consent violation charges.  This kind of thing tends to pull a community apart.   I relate this because I believe that to be worthy of a title like Master, you must also have a certain degree of humility, a willingness to earn recognition.  I will always assert this concept.

Respect should be something we give, until it is lost.   But we can also have new found respect, a deeper and more genuine respect that is earned.  Don’t say respect, when you mean authority, it confuses things.  Authority is consented to.  Anyone attempting to assert authority based on their perceived title should lose your respect.

Honesty is the building blocks of a BDSM relation.  Since it is what people do that reveals their honesty, it takes time to build trust.  Trust is earned through the demonstration of honesty.   These are the basic values we should understand and apply.  On a side note, because I know these things, it is why I promote the concept of three collars, and a collaring ceremony.  This process allows time for trust to be built, and stages at which a person can choose to move to a deeper commitment, or back out.

Respect is not always desirable.  For a person who seeks humiliation and objectification, respect would be poisonous.   For such a person, once you learn of their need and have acquired consent, you would want to drop any hint of respect.

What role does respect play in BDSM?  Since respect given is a reflection of the grace, culture, and sophistication of the person who gives it, I would say that when you observe it in a prospective partner, mentor, or friend, it is a good sign.  A sign that says, investigate this person more thoroughly.

I am offended

If a tree falls in the woods doe it make a sound?  There is a science that boarders on philosophy and religion that says a thing is neither black nor white until it is observed. If that is correct, then the answer is no.

More importantly, if observation creates reality, how much of the reality we see around us is created by the desire to see what we want to see?   And why am I asking these questions?  I had a conversation with an activist who directed quite a bit of micro-aggression at me.  It has caused me to do quite a bit of thinking.

Not too terribly long ago in  a BDSM support group for Afro-Americans*, I used the term Orientals.  I had not gotten the memo that this was politically incorrect now.  It makes sense though.  Americans hail from America.  Africans from Africa.  Europeans from Europe.  Australians from Australia.  People from Asia probably shouldn’t be called anything but Asians.

.*The group mentioned in paragraph three was the “The Dark Lair”, lead by SirGuy of NYC, and this was a wonderful experience.  Let me also give a shout out to SirGuy who is a hell of a great person. If you are near the NYC area, I strongly recommend attending Dark Lair workshops that are open to you.  I definitely learned quite a bit and was made to feel quite comfortable even with my gaff.   Their Fetlife page refers to the group as primarily for blacks and people of color.  So I should have just said black.  But for the last twenty years I have been trained to say Afro-American and now I carry a fear of saying the wrong thing.  I am constantly trying so hard to not be judged as prejudice that is boarders on uncomfortable and so it makes me doubly upsetting therefore when I am accused of being insensitive.  Maybe I should just stop trying, stop caring, and go with what i know is in my heart, assuming that if someone is going to hate me, they are going to no matter how hard I try or what I say.

If Martin Luther King were alive today, he might quite famously say:  People should be judged by the content of their character and not by the color of their skin, or their gender, or their age, or their sexual orientation. I don’t like feeling that I might be treated as a  prejudice idiot because I don’t know the language.  I hate walking on egg shells and there are so many strewn about these days.  Ageism, sexism, racism, the list goes on and on.

There is a concept that I feel is being lost and its this:  Though I may disagree with you and possibility even be deeply offended by what you say, I will defend to the death your right to say it.  At one time this might have included “hate speech” but no longer.  We are creating categories of speech and thought that are not permitted and its dangerous territory because there are so many activists whose reality sees some speech and thought as too dangerous to be allowed.  The important question becomes, who gets to decide this?  If I think something is wrong, of course I think THAT needs to be shut down but if its my personal area of offensive activism, then I don’t want MY speech and thought to be limited.

My area of activism is consent and BDSM.   The funny thing is, even in my own camp with my own kind, I will be at odds with some people that will disagree with my conclusions or think differently about what changes should be made.  Even in your own camp there is always some discord.  Some days I just want to move to Alaska with my slave, and spend my days working hard to sustain us, and my nights in ecstasy.  Or maybe Canada.  Nobody I know hates the Canadians. Oh wait, they are from the American continent, which makes them Americans too, right?  Ow! My head hurts now.

If you don’t think ideas are dangerous, make a list of words ending in “ism”. Every “ism” has followers willing to bitterly fight and possibly die over words. ~ Xtac Quote

What people do reveals what they really think and feel. Even if we do not ignore the words and do not observe actions consciously, we still know this instinctively. This is why trust takes so long. ~Xtac Quote