Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Hierarchy & Leadershp

I have been blessed with a certain degree of personal power, the effects of which I have often noticed in various situations involving group dynamics. I used to fret over the self-consciousness and existential angst that this would inevitably bring up for me. To feel watched and then imitated, a process which usually struck me as more unconscious than not, as if all the players involved were simply acting out a primeval, collective dance.

Hierarchy comes naturally to most primates, and on this instinctive level, we are no different. Yet I am not a believer in biology as destiny. Far from it. In this day and age, it may seem that the extra brains of our species have only burdened us with the folly of intelligence-driven destruction. Yet the one thing we may cherish as human beings is the ability to transcend the vestiges of our evolution and envision an as-yet-unrealized ideal.

As for the effects of everyday hierarchy, the reality is one of limited options and minimal personal control felt in the lower echelons of society. We are finding out that the stress of being on the bottom rung of the ladder is insidious, long-lasting, and highly impactful on factors such as life expectancy, overall health and well-being. Even just a small step up the ladder significantly decreases these negative effects.

This real-life exercising of heirarchy is toxic, not to mention boring and non-consensual. Though many people express resignation about this state of affairs, saying things like "It's always been this way and it always will be," I am not so pessimistic. Women's liberation and the civil rights movement has demonstrated how deeply engrained social structures can be transformed. Technology is also on our side, with scientists working to create a "vaccine" to combat the ravages of low status stress (though of course, a medical intervention of this kind would open up a whole other can of worms. Would the vaccine be used to substitute for more equal access to resources? But actually, this status stress has been measured in developed cultures where even the lowest rung has a fairly high standard of living. So it appears that the lack of heirarchical power, more than inadequate basic needs, may be driving these negative effects).

In the big picture, I wish for hierarchy to remain where it belongs; as a titillating game which gouds us into action, provoking innovation and the inspiration of passion. I would not support attempts to obliterate that which is in our nature. I simply believe in manipulating the variables, re-directing energies into more useful, playful, creative and positive avenues.

As for myself, I have spent quite a bit of time shying away from the leadership roles which have come my way. In some ways, I took humility too far. Now, I understand that to lead can be the fulfillment of duty and responsibility, not just a narcissistic crown on one's head. Particularly for my circle of supplicants, some of whom did not serve anyone else during my leave, I feel a desire to connect, fulfill, and transcend. I see my singular vision of what it means to be a domina as both an artistic impulse and a spiritual obligation.

And while, in the past, the gifts I have been blessed with may have seemed like a burden, my experiences during my break taught me plenty, including just how great I have it. Those down-time explorations which were marked by barrenness, banality, and the taking on of shame. Yes, there was dabbling in vanilla and femme sub to boot. No, it didn't work for me, but I suppose I had to see for myself once and for all. And now I am that much stronger and wiser for having gone down those paths, so that I could really know in my heart that this is where I belong. Amen.