The power/submission dynamic

A couple of posts in the periphery blogosphere hit the cyberpresses earlier this week. Chateau Heartiste and In Mala Fide elucidated on the innate drive and untapped desire women have to be dominated and “roughed” up, not necessarily in the physical sense (though it can certainly involve that) but also in the emotional and socially constructed sense in which the man plays the part of “master” and “ruler” of the house or any other modern context you can come up with. Domination is not so trite as to be confined to simplistic notions of physical domination, but also to the realm of male/female interactions which follow a subtle quality men exude by a multitude of behaviors and actions which signal personal power over the weaker female. Much of this male power is denoted by a sense of confidence and emotional strength which do not humor female intransigence. Male dominance, especially in 2012, is largely a byproduct of this non-physical type of dominant masquerading. Men merely need to display the character of a dominant man in selectively sincere levels of gradation in order to conjure a suitable level of surrender from women. A man in our First World neutered, whitewashed society of purchased bliss and non-hardship must instead convey dominance on an intellectual and behavioral level. Rare is the man who can express dominance (without being arrested or fired) in the same way evolution might have instructed him over hundreds of thousands of years. A man must now repress his innate dominance and contrive some social bullshit to hypnotize gullible women into perceiving him as dominant.

Women do naturally submit to dominance. But this is merely one power/submission interaction in human society. We live in a complex, lattice-like entanglement of infinite interactions and possibilities and power/submission interactions occur on all levels between all people, not just between men and women. It’s because the man/woman power/submission dynamic is obfuscated by the sexual dynamic which lends it an entirely different complexion to the power relationship between man and woman. However, the very same power/submission dynamic can be extended to all sorts of other dualities: parent/child, manager/employee, policeman/citizen, politician/voter, oligarch/tax-paying citizen…in all these cases, the power/submission dynamic is more linear and not subject to sexual or breeding expediencies.

All of society can be halved. Every interaction can be sliced at an infinite number of angles, vortices, degrees…but in all cases, only one slice leading to 2 outcomes. The Power and the Submission quotient if rendered. In every transaction or interaction there is the one who dominates and the one who submits. And further, I believe we all welcome some situational submission. Even the strongest, most powerful man seeks the unlikeliest submission in at least one aspect of his life. Submission is as pertinent to our soul as is power. We shift roles throughout the day. Our existence is a flux of roles and in an instant we can shift from power to submission if the situation demands it or we revert to reactive habits.

My favorite power/submission dynamic is not man/woman, but parent/child. This power dynamic is the most elemental and illustrative of all power sharing relationships. Once again, I believe that children welcome their own submission. When very young, it is the fear of the unknown and other childish notions that drives them to seek the powerful and protective aura of a parent. As children grow older, they begin acting in defiance of power and are resentful of parental power. Such rebellion is fitting and rehearsed and many times, they don’t second-guess or examine their subversion of authoritative power. As children grown into young adults, the empowerment of social and emotional maturity acts as a lure which causes them to resent any form of parental control. They may act out. Ultimately, our children, even those in their teens, will respect absolute, judicious power from their parents whether they admit it or not. They want the parents to say YES and NO in firm, unyielding measures of power. Children, of any age, do not respect a lackadaisical parent. The power/submission dynamic shifts and changes in nature, but the essential structure remains: the parents are the power brokers. If their children sense that the rigidity of their rules wavers or softens, if the parent is not playing the part of stern authority figure, the parent’s validity suffers in their eyes and the children suffer for being set adrift.

This is the power/submission dynamic that molds society, at all levels and niches. We tend to fixate on the man/woman facet but this is just one of many. Women seek to be dominated, and they respect domination. Like a maturing teenager, they rebel as they taste the fruits of personal empowerment, but it’s not real. They know who the boss is and they want the boss to act like a boss. When men act like lazy, apathetic parents, women lose respect for them and themselves.