Expressing dominance

I grew up in a household where people expressed their dominance in unhealthy ways. I learned to associate dominance with conflict, aggression, coercion, manipulation and unhealthy competition.

Due to my own temperament and circumstances in that environment, I believed the best response was to submit and withdraw from the contest of wills. And as I grew older I interpreted spirituality through that lens of surrender, selflessness, and dying to self or ego.

But at the same time I’ve been increasingly indignant at having taken this burden on myself. Why do I alone suppress my dominance while others are so self-assured in their right to be and do and have?

The harder I tried to justify and explain my point of view to others, the more self-assured they seemed in rejecting my view and asserting their own – no matter how unexamined or invalid it might be.

So what now?

Well, it turns out that dominance is not a bad thing after all. It only looks bad when it’s used to harm or manipulate others, when it functions through conflict and aggression.

I like to use etymology to reframe loaded terms and in this case dominance comes from the Latin dominus meaning “Lord, master”, as in the head of a house or domus.

Dominance is not about aggression and control, but ownership. It’s natural and healthy for us each to take ownership of ourselves and our possessions and our beliefs, actions and choices.

Dominance means it’s your house, and you can do whatever the hell you want and if other people don’t like it they can GTFO. But dominance also means that each person is their own “house” as well, and you need to respect that or GTFO yourself.

You can be dominant without domineering, and for those of us who grew up on the receiving end, that distinction is one we need to hear.

…and enjoy. Because a tyrant’s pleasure in dominating others doesn’t tarnish our own healthy pleasure in taking full ownership and mastery of ourselves. Pushing back is not the same as pushing others down. Your freedom to disagree with others is not the same as them trying to make you wrong.

We are all free to disagree, and it’s a sign of something awry when people baulk at that freedom in themselves or others.

So enjoy your dominance. Appreciate your freedom…and the freedom of everyone else in your life as well.

The service-provider state

My latest article on MercatorNet takes the providential view a step further by speculating on what good might come out of the dismantling of traditional moral structures and principles in society and the state.

Like an internet service-provider, we will increasingly expect the state to keep us connected and free from unwanted interference, the perfect venue for the exercise of autonomy.

And despite its association with various ethical issues, autonomy is not a bad thing. It’s a part of our humanity and deserves exercise and respect.

The rise of individual autonomy is not intrinsically evil, nor was the paternalism of the past.

But with providence in mind, the overall trend suggests a development or evolution of our social and political structure, and it’s no accident of history that the rise of individual autonomy came on the heels of the most horrific expressions of collectivism and statism.

https://www.mercatornet.com/above/view/same-sex-marriage-and-the-service-provider-state/20793

Brooding on breeding

Dtcwee has had an article published on ABC Open. Check it out:

Much of the difficulty, I think, comes from the notion that children are a choice. There is even more baggage in the modern world surrounding self-determination.

Ironically, this baggage is involuntary. The truth is that circumstances play a huge part. Just as many are not childless by choice, many pregnancies are unintended; about 40 percent worldwide. Of those, quite a proportion are brought to term.

https://open.abc.net.au/explore/97611