There was a time when honor existed within the BDSM environment. Perhaps since interaction was in real time, people took a greater stand to exert a positive position. Today, with the anonymity of the web, people simply can be whomever they desire without the difficulty of personal contact. This has led many of these scumbags to believe they can operate however they see fit.
Words such as "master" and "slave" mean little anymore. It use to be these titles were earned, not self proclaimed. Years of experience is required to operate properly at these levels yet the Internet, again, has allowed anyone who can spell these words to assume them. To me, it has degraded the worthiness of the terms in many ways. Obviously, if everyone is a master, it is nothing special.
Honoring also entailed paying proper respect to a person as a learned individual. Because the titles were not easily cast about, when one was recognized as a master, for example, everyone knew that person was of distinction. And what led to this viewpoint? It was the excellence exhibited in a particular area of the lifestyle. Contrast this with what occurs today where people instantly proclaim themselves as masters such as "I am Master Peter". Oh really? Says who? We all know the answer to that one.
Respect Is Earned
One of the biggest errors that occurs, especially online, is the belief that respect is automatically granted to an individual simply because he or she assumes a particular position within the lifestyle. This is incorrect, not only in BDSM but all of life. Respect is earned. It is based upon the person you are and the traits you exhibit. Simply demanding respect is childish and immature; two qualities the BDSM community is overrun with.
Using the above example, the term "Master" was given to someone who showed proficiency within the lifestyle. This earned respect because everyone knew the loyalty, dedication, and educational process that individual went through to achieve that state. No great level of success is ever attained without tremendous effort. Everyone know this and that is why such a title was bestowed upon one deserving. Respect was granted to the title, even if the individual was not known, because everyone was aware of what it took to earn such a title. It was not simply self granted like today.
Another area where this is relevant is with regards to slaves. So many of the comic book doms online believe that a slave is somehow beneath them. This is a crucial mistake showing their lack of understanding. While I will admit that most online are not worthy of the title slave, a true slave is something to be admired and esteemed. Sadly, the same methods are used as on the dominant side i.e self titling. Again, when I see one write "I am a slave" my first thought is "according to who?". Here we have another case of self titling which, in effect, degrades all the other true slaves out there.
Living as a slave is not an easy task. The level of submission required is tremendous. Yet few seem to realize this. It is only after questioning or getting involved with someone who is truly intent on moving it to TPE that one quickly realizes there is more than meets the eye. Most of the "slaves" you find online will quickly throw up the barriers when they realize how few boundaries exist. TPE is total by its definition and it certainly is not a path for everyone. In fact, very few have what it takes to live in this manner. That is why those who truly are slave are worthy of great esteem and respect. Being a slave, like a master, is an earned title based upon the capabilities of the individual.
Remember this idea the next time you are tempted to call yourself a master or slave. Reality is that most true masters and slaves would never call themselves that even if it is warranted. They usually leave that to other people. Even when they can get away with it, people of this nature avoid self titles. Unfortunately, this is not the case online.
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