The Art of Submission

Something more people need to learn. But we’re so hell bent on being right all the time and getting our way and being in control we’ve learned to view submission as a negative trait rather than an equally powerful trait.

Even when we know we’re wrong we try to save face and in doing so often end up making ourselves the fool. We forget that people are smart and can figure this out. They can see through our motives and know we’re just trying to save face. So it’s often better to just be honest and come clean and say we are wrong. There is more power in that anyway.

We actually submit more than we’d like to awknowledge or admit. How often have you found yourself in a conversation with a good friend where you know they are wrong but in the conversation you will just nod and agree because you either don’t want to spark an argument or you’re just leanding an ear for support. Often we submit because we just don’t care strongly enough about something, we don’t have an informed enough opinion about something or we’re just too lazy to take control. So we go along with it. maybe it’s our boss telling us to do something we don’t care for but the risk of disagreement is greater than just doing it.

Not all of these situation are bad things and as a result submitting is also not always a bad thing. Just like control or dominance is not always bad and not always good. Pick your battles wisely as they say.

I can’t speak for all of human history as I haven’t been around that long in the grand scheme of things. But just in western modern culture alone we tend to have a negative outlook toward submission as weakness. But without submission there is no compromise. In agreements, legal or otherwise, there is submission. Sometimes all on one party and sometimes (as in a compromise) on both parties involved. But we call it compromise because we have such a negative view of the word submission.

If you say that the wife submits to her huband you’ll have the feminists up in arms.
If you say the wife compromises with her husband it’s looked at as good and a solid relationship with good communication. Even if in actuality the compromise involves the wife taking the brunt of the load.
But compromise sounds so much better doesn’t it? Sort of like black people sounds so much better today than colored people. Even if it really changes nothing.

Submission comes in a variety of forms. In the bedroom one partner often submits to the other either during the whole session or part of it. They may switch back and forth. In this scenario submission can be equally as pleasurable and sometimes moreso.

We could say that control and dominance is fueled by ego. Yet submission is equally fueld by ego. In both scenarios ego often tells the person that what they are doing is the better thing to do. Is the submissive woman in the bedroom fucked or is she fucking? For the dominate male she is being fucked as if the act gives him all the power. Or so his ego believes. rarely will you hear a guy say that he is being fucked. However for the woman she may be fucking or being fucked. Take her pick depending on her mindset at the time. But to her ego neither of those choices are bad. her ego may be stimulated by giving herself to him. Submission as power. Or she may view the situation as an equal partaking where she is equally fucking him. So even though he may be penetrating her, she is wrapping herself around him. Unless it’s a situation of rape, which is not submission, the ego can support it.

Which leads me to the fact that submission is always voluntary. Even in war where a force surrenders (submits) to their enemy, it is done voluntarily. They have weighed the consequences and chosen submission over other choices. They may not like it, but they’ve decided it’s the better choice. it’s not weakness to submit. They’ve done it voluntarily.

That last part is the key. You always have a choice. Even if the world is stacked up against you, you have a choice to submit to it or not. You may not always have the choice to dominate it, but in situations like that domination turns into defiance. It may be the wrong choice or it may be the right choice. It all depends on the circumstances. That said, the same is true of dominance. As the Britsh and even we Americans have discovered during our occupation of certain areas. With dominance comes a level of responsibility and the constant threat of your dominance being taken away.

So why do we view dominance as the better of the two? Maybe it’s because of the responsibility factor. Maybe it’s because dominance requires effort/work. To dominate means to take control, lead and take responsiblity for the outcome. It means knowing your stuff, flexing your physical muscle and overcoming your obstacles. We think it’s easier to submit than it is to dominate, so we look up to those who can dominate. They are people who have taken charge over their world, be they kings, CEO’s, tops, celebrities or masters in their field. We look up to them to guide us through this crazy world and this thing we call life.

As a friend of mine once said “people love to watch someone giving someone else the business.” We like to see the dominate person flex their muscle. Because we are judging them. We are watching them to see if they are worth their dominant role. If they aren’t, we’ll take it away, just by no longer submitting to them.

We have allowed them to do these things only because they have shown desire to do them. No king ever defeated an army without those underneath them willing to submit to his rule. No CEO ever built a fortune 500 company without those willing to submit to their plans. In this way submission is power. The willingness to let someone else take charge for a while. Often we benefit in some way from our submission. Otherwise we wouldn’t do it. Be it a paycheck, a pleasure or just to avoid the energy wasted to argue.

In reality there are fewer that dominate than those that submit. And even those that dominate must submit sometimes. We learn to submit as a natural state before we learn to dominate. But somewhere along the way we’ve gained a negative view of submission. We need to stop looking at it in a negative way. Many of our conflicts would go more smoothly with a little more submission. This is probably something men have to learn more than women. Especailly in modern society. Looking through history you can see why men have desire dominance. Not desiring it meant your chance of procreation could be diminished and your freedom taken from you by those who would dominate unfairly.

When you look at the meat of it, it all comes down to procreation. Women have needed dominance less than men because procreation was almost a given for them. Even if they ended up submitting to the harem of a king they stood good chance of having offspring. So while they may have desired more independence it came with less weight than it did to a man. For a man, not having dominance meant the chance of losing out on procreation to the men that did dominate. This also explains why men have often built governments that eventually lead to democracies. They figured out that they were all a little better off splitting up the dominance into smaller pieces than allowing one person to have it all. They submitted all dominance at the higher risk of losing it all in favor of some dominance with less risk of losing it.

But in the western modern world men need less dominance. With the womens rights movement women have taken on more dominate roles. They are breadwinners and/or equal partners. We’ve learned (or are learning) to split the dominance up into even smaller pieces like we did with democracy. Which should allow the man to submit more and we have. You see this in many forms today that 60 years ago would have been less so. The conveniences of the modern world have taxed us less and we’ve set up a system that finally allows us to submit more and take some of the load off of us. Yet in our society we still have a stigma in regards to submission, especailly with men. We’ve spent so long hoarding the dominance we’re finding it hard to give up. Partially because other men in our society still expect us to take a bigger piece. Even women still expect us to take a bigger piece in some regards. It’s hard to undo the programming of thousands of years.

I think that also explains why our society sees gay sex between men as less natural than even gay sex between two women. When a man submits to another man we (men and women) still see it as a man committing weakness. After thousands of years of men taking a bigger piece of the dominance pie in order to ensure his procreation capability, in a world where that is no longer necessary it’s difficult for us to make the switch in mindset. Whereas women have always been more submissive as a whole. With that they learned to be more loving and more caring and more empathetic. We do not see a woman submitting as either unreasonable or unnatural. Either to a man or another woman. When she dominates we can see that as a threat or as a turn on depending on the mans comfort with his own role. But if she is dominating another woman it is no threat to any man.

As men in the modern world though, we need to practice more in the art of submission. We have sliced up the dominance pie enough at this point in time and have changed our perceptions enough as a society that too much dominance is seen as a threat. So we’ve already created a ceiling we can’t break though. A ceiling that may not have existed for Julius Ceasar, but one that we created to be more fair to more people. So we need to learn to live under it. To help us do that it’s time to shift the balance of dominance/submission a little more toward submission and learn about all the wonders it provides. Hopefully like women, with it we’ll learn to be more compassionate, empathetic, nurturing and understanding. We’ll learn to submit (compromise) a little more instead of defy and make our society a better place for everyone.

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0 thoughts on “The Art of Submission

  1. It’s gradual. Might take another 50 to 75 years, but we’re getting there. The way the world is going, we’re not going to have much room for compassion and compromise. Survival of the fittest, sadly… unless we get some sort of utopia before that. I don’t know.  

  2. Interesting thoughts on domination and submission. I like the polemic nature of this argument, and it’s definitely something worth considering even if it’s just for rhetorical purposes (and more, in my opinion).

    I think you’d be interested in the works of Michel Foucault, who talks extensively of power and agency (the will and ability to change something) and modernity, for sure. I think your examination of submission is Foucaultian like that; I tend to disagree – submission isn’t necessarily an act of agency, it’s not always voluntary. I need to read more to provide evidence for my counter argument.

    But I’d caution you against thinking there have been deep rooted strides made against patriarchy (the form of male dominance that most of the world is familiar with). I think patriarchy, like other forms of domination and power (economic, social, political, etc.) is fluid and flexible (a la Foucault). Taking that into consideration – both the evidence of women in the work force and male homosexuality can be seen as a reformulation of patriarchy. Middle class women may have entered the work force and take decisions in non-domestic contexts, but this labor isn’t consummerately reduced in the domestic context; middle class women’s labor output has only increased with such supposed “women’s rights” rhetoric. For sure, the economic independence this has afforded them is wonderful; they may leave their partners if they want, marriage now isn’t always necessary, etc. but more often than not, this workforce integration has resulted in women being in subordinate positions rather than unilateral decision-making positions (i.e. low wage hourly workers vs. CEOs). And of course, much of the popular discourse of homosexuality is unfortunately very much centered on the “rights” of a middle class white male homosexual subject rather than a more liberatory sexual rights project. Both these can be read as reifications of patriarchy once again.

    That said, I like the direction of your thinking. And for sure, in this case – the male case, submission will need to be, in some small part at the very least, voluntary. I don’t think it’ll happen in @Jack_Hawksmoor – 50 or 75 years, but it’ll take hundreds of years to unravel and hopefully be subsumed into another, more empowering project rather than a reconfiguration of patriarchy.

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