The cost to a slave of disobeying

One of the topics from the last workshop had to do with a story about a boat. For those people who weren't here for that, it was about a slave who, with his friend, built a boat. Then, sometime later the slave's master ordered the slave to destroy the boat which he had co-built with his friend, and the slave did.

If it's not obvious so far in these workshops, I'm trying to introduce fundamental principles of BDSM and leather into the discussions we have (or which I start and then leave to run wild!). Last month's boat story was intended to be about Respect.

Respect has to do with values, values other people have, rather than values we have.

The cost to a slave of disobeying

In this light, and because it seemed to be skimmed over in the last workshop, I'd like to look at the cost to a slave of disobeying. That is, what they suffer, rather than what other people might think about the ethics or morality of the situation the master might have put them in.

One cost is fracturing or degrading of identity. Last month Lynn commented that, for a slave, disobeying can be the first step on a path they don't want to be on---namely, second-guessing their master. We might say that, for a slave, surrendering to their condition is the goal they aim for. Note that I said "condition", and not "master". If they passionately and deeply need to be "slave", then achieving that establishes and provides a solid foundation for their identity. To need to question that foundation destabilises it and necessarily devalues the person in their own eyes as a slave.

Beyond this, we can say as a generalisation that no one becomes a slave just to do what they're told. They look for more than that out of it. It might, for example, provide mental or emotional contexts in which they can function best. For example, we have a couple here where the female was originally the submissive, but who is now the dominant because the male functions better overall as a slave in that context. Losing their slave identity (or losing the master/mistress they trust and with whom they can be slave) can have a high price.

Third, when a slave is member of a group or community, then the cost of disobeying can be ejection from the group and the consequent loss of friends and other benefits the group affords. For example, there's a large, and for want of a better term, secret society of masters and slaves with thousands of members, where when a slave fails to obey three times they're out. This provides a very big motivation to obey because the cost of not doing so can be loss of friends, loss of community and associated benefits, and isolation.

All of these things weigh on a slave when they receive an order which is "questionable" and they will, as the cost of potential disobedience gets higher, look for ways of justifying obedience. E.g., denial, projection, "master must know something I don't", "it's not really that bad", "it's not my responsibility", "he'll understand", etc.---all of which are probably not good things anyway because they do introduce mental gymnastics which take away from the M/s.

The above is all about the Respect of a slave.

The cost of disobedience to the master

The disobedience of a slave also has an effect on the master.

They may question themselves, because they may simply not see the problem which their slave does.

It may also create a situation where, instead of trusting the slave, they'll begin to wonder when the slave is going to disobey next.

In short, when the slave disobeys, it destabilises the master (or mistress) and they can begin to question themselves. Of course, this may be appropriate, or it may not.

The value of the boat to the co-builder

Getting back to the boat episode, there was a whole lot of projection going on during the discussion, and not just in regards to the slave (of which there was a lot), but also in regards to the co-builder of the boat where, for example, many people seemed to think that the actions of the slave ended the friendship. There was nothing said about this in the story and anyone who thinks this must be projecting their own values into this somehow.

The story had to do with Respect, and this idea of respect absolutely requires you to understand what is of value to the co-builder of the boat. What you think and our own values are irrelevant in someone else's regard when deciding on right action, and if you try to operate as if your values are the same as your slave's (or your master's, or your dominant's, or your submissive's) then you are inviting problems because you will NEVER understand them fully.

Having been in this sort of situation, it is vital to understand what is of value to the slave; then, regardless of the master's own set of values, you need to accept that the actions of their master can cause the slave to behave negatively AND positively, worse or better (as far as the master is concerned) than they may do ordinarily. This is something you have to understand can and will happen. It's like Tourette's Syndrome---they can't help themselves, but they may be able forewarn.

In regards to illegality, which seemed to be a focus of the discussion for a while, it's true that there was property damage (i.e., the boat), but for that to be prosecuted, the co-owner of the now-defunct boat needs to complain in a legal sense. And what if the completed boat is not that valuable to him or her? What if they aren't materialistic at all and that it was the building of the boat which was important? What if the friendship is more valuable than the boat?

Last modified: Sunday, 12 May 2013, 9:24 AM