I found this online and found it very interesting:
Dominating: 1. To have or exert strong authority or mastery.
2. To be situated in or occupy a position that is more elevated or decidedly superior to others.
Mastery: 1. command or grasp, as of a subject: a mastery of Italian.
2. superiority or victory: mastery over one's enemies.
3. the act of mastering.
4. expert skill or knowledge.
5. the state of being master; power of command or control.
What peaked my interest is that contained in the definition of dominating is the word mastery. This take the concept to a totally different level.
Power vs. Authority
Many years ago I was taught the difference between power and authority. Many have authority without power and vice versa. These are two totally separate characteristics which is applies to the BDSM world.
Authority is "power" that is granted because of position. The power in this instance is backed up by something else. For example, the power of the IRS agent comes from the organization itself and what it can do. The individual is meaningless.
Much in the same way we see a dominant with the authority over a submissive. The power comes via the recognition of the title. Dominants are viewed within this lifestyle as being superior to submissives in regards to power. We even structure our relationships based upon a certain amount of power exchange.
But is this true power? The answer is no. True power is the ability one has to influence another or others. We see this many times in the business world. A certain individual will have the authority based upon being the manager yet everyone defers to another person and listens to him or her. Perhaps a long time employee or highly successful individual. Whatever the reason, this is the person with the power.
Notice how authority is "forced" while power is voluntarily given. When a person has no authority yet others are following him or her, that is power. The President of the United States is "the most powerful man in the world" based solely on the authority of the office and not the man himself. We saw some pretty weak leaders in the White House over the years which validates this point.
So what does it take for one to freely give his or her power over to another individual who does not have the authority? The simple answer is mastery. When one is proficient at a certain skill, others will defer to him or her. It is really that basic. Hence, using the example above, if someone is not the manager yet others are listening to him or her, the reason is because there is a level of expertise or success that enables people to grasp onto. This individual attained a degree of mastery over the particular craft which other people want. It is not something that is recognized based upon position of authority. There is no "forcing". People are drawn to what the individual has.
In the BDSM world, a submissive (slave) will turn her power over to the dominant (master). This is a foundational aspect of this lifestyle. However, does it remain that way is the question. A dominant has authority based upon the position of dominant. That is the case in every instance. Nevertheless, does he have any power? This is where uncovering a deeper level is helpful.
If a dominant is into mastery, the power will remain in his hands. The problem arises when one takes the route we so commonly see these days: self titled domination. Simply because an individual calls himself a dominant or master, that does not make it true. Sure he just obtained the authority that goes along with the title. However, when interacting with another, he will soon exemplify the fact that he has mastery of little. This is the point that submissives question the free choice of turning power over.
How often did we see two people "get together" online only to read a profile a few weeks or months later that he was a fake or was misleading her? It is something one comes across everyday in the online world. What was the basic problem? Considering those situation where the person was not just a total liar and fake, I will guess the issue is with the fact that he lacked mastery. He simply failed to exemplify to her the ability to get her to follow.
Mastery, i.e. the study of being dominant, is a course unto itself. One who excels in this area will spend the time learning and becoming proficient at this "art". This is an intellectual exercise coupled with experience. It is not contingent upon one's personality. This is what separates domination from domineering. Many seem to think that a strong personality or some natural quality makes one dominant. This is untrue. True domination comes because one has mastered the ability to dominate.
We find 3 variables that are necessary for successful domination in the BDSM world.
1. Mastery or possession of the ability to dominate.
2. The status of dominant or master
3. The following of the submissive because of his mastery
Notice how all three are required and cover both power and authority. The authority is presented second. It comes only after one is in possession of #1. The reason for this is because without that, the authority is empty. There is no true power. Finally, the submissive needs to choose to follow. Simply because I possess the ability to dominate (power) and call myself dominant (authority), that does not mean that every submissive I encounter will listen to me. This is the last stage which is based upon the individual qualities of that particular dominant.
Mastery is an evolving skill which is why the journey is never complete. Within the BDSM realm, there is always something more to learn. Of course, in the area of human development, as individuals we always have things to work upon. Mastery of another always starts with mastering oneself.
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