I really feel that, as a community, we are failing our future generations by perpetuating this myth that there is both a hierarchy between masters / dominants as well as between slaves and subs. In my opinion this social cast system only serves to perpetuate the “ kink cultural divide” and must come to an end if we are to see real emotional, cultural and psychological growth in our community.
Now this doesn’t mean that we should get rid of the terms all together but, it does mean that we should understand both the explicit and subliminal nature of titles, their use, how they divide us and how they can be used to enhance our lifestyle.
I was all ways told that words have power so using a word unleashes both its affect on the world around us as well as on ourselves. Think of it as a person believing their own hype. That being said their are two connotations of the word master.
- From the latin term magister (n.) "chief, head, director, teacher"
When people operate under this definition its often because they have partners or other people that refer to them in this way. And this is because they either fulfill the role of a master in the lives or fantasies of their partner. Or people perceive them as a person with exceptional knowledge and capabilities and those that respect them recognize their mastery in a field.
I came up in the pro / performance lifestyle in Hollywood California and while this lifestyle is nearly extinct, i still remember our communities push for each individual to have a deeper understanding of all most everything we did. This was instilled in me right off the bat. Back in those days, it wasn’t enough to have the best physical skills. No, one had to also have deep and rich knowledge of our community, our clubs and our social norms. Everyone was trying to one-up each other in some way. But most of the time it was by demonstrating a knowledge advantage or the acquisition of something that improved the quality of the interaction between the top and bottom.
And while I had one mentor ( Sir Nik aka Sal ) that sired me, there were a host of surrogate mentors that were constantly guiding me. One of them, Liam Lockran, always said, the term master is the way that others refer to you; not how you refer to yourself. “ to me this is very much inline with the above origin and description of the term master. It would take a few years before I truly understood the reasoning behind this but, when I did, it hit me like a tone of bricks.
The idea behind this is that, while slaves serve the master, a master serves a community. Therefore, if a person is respected by his community, the community will refer to him as master. But, if they don’t have that reverence for him then people will not refer to him with reverence. To me this is a way that the community can not only self regulate but inspire people to do and be more of a benefit to themselves, their partners and their community. In this way we can encourage people to invest in our lifestyle and not just trying to take from it. To me, this is the only way that the term master should be viewed as a social status symbol.
This social outlook is also congruent with societies larger narratives around mastery. Where most people that are considered masters in our society either earn the title by proving their skill, knowledge and (or) abilities to a body or organization that bestows the title of master like a College or University. Or they were recognized as a master by a group of their peers who convey the title of master on them. But even then, these people don’t refer to them selves as Master John Doe. They say I am John Doe and I have a masters degree in physics or my name is John Doe and I am a master carpenter.
In our community people use the word master as if it is their first name and I feel that in some ways this is a form of neurolinguistic programming or brain washing because if you can get enough people to say it then you can get enough people to believe it. This is how people, who have no, skills or abilities can convince others that they are reverenced by their community or have some form of exceptional knowledge, skill or ability in out lifestyle. To me this is a blatant misrepresentation of one self. Its like me going to a hospital and telling everyone my name is Doctor Orpheus. If I can get enough people to call me doctor the patients will start to think of me as a Doctor. But this doesn’t mean that i have the knowledge skill and ability to be a doctor just as not everyone who has the title master actually has what it takes to be one.
And just as a person impersonates a doctor had the ability to harm a patient people who impersonate masters have the ability to harm both subs and slaves.
And just as it is up to the hospital and its actual Doctors to police its self it is up to the community as a whole to police its self.
In the second connotation of mastery which comes from the German term Meister
"he who is greater"
We see that the word master. In this case revolves around the perception of power and authority but, in reality, the term derives its power from the long standing patriarchal idea that just being a CIS gendered male is enough to be worthy of mastery or reverence. To me this is toxic mastery.
Toxic Mastery happens when a man believes that every non-dominant woman or man is in some ways beneath them. But real mastery is not contingent on the role that others play or their social position in relationship to you. Real power that directly pertains to mastery stems from the knowledge that one has attained the hight of excellence in felid, area of knowledge, skill set ability or is recognized by those they lead as a leader.