The Active and Passive Roles of a slave: How do We/we Manage Them Together?
Consensual slaves derive a significant amount of security and reward from being directly supervised by their Masters. Because it is rewarding for both Master and slave to share in intimate and complementary forms of service, this interdependence constitutes the basis of the dynamic in many Master/slave relationships. But on occasions where a slave is intended to make decisions on her own, as a representative of her Master’s wishes, a number of potential roadblocks may come into play. For example, if she is not used to making decisions on her own, she may believe herself inadequate to make substantial choice or take independent action. It follows then that she may experience tremendous fear, frustration and anxiety about making wrong judgments in situations that require her to exhibit self-control; that is, any kind of control otherwise typically exercised by her Owner. A great danger is that the slave’s fear of failure may lead to an emotional blockage that makes the learning of self-control difficult and will hinder her personal development.
For the purpose of this essay, we make the following distinctions: Control which is based on immediate authority from the Master, where the slave acts only if her Master makes an assertion of explicit command, we refer to as direct control of the slave. A slave in this case is passive in that she directly follows the orders of her Master. We also say that she is reactive in her obedience. Conversely, we refer to indirect control of the slave, if the slave’s Master is not present or chooses to delegate some aspect of control to the slave on either a situational or permanent basis. In this case the slave is active in that she makes decisions about the delegated matters by herself.
A passively obedient slave always waits to be compelled. Although that characteristic is desirable at times, being passive is not always effective in serving her Master’s needs. In contrast, an actively obedient slave, knowing that few Masters enjoy direct management at all times, can better free her Master’s time by anticipating his wishes and striving to fulfill them. In most M/s relationships, these two forms of control exists side-by-side, and whichever is in the forefront at any particular time is determined by the needs of the Owner. Nevertheless, switching from one form of control to another is not always easy, especially for the slave. Instead of immediate answers, questions will abound, and it is easy to become entrapped by intangibles such as: “What exactly is expected me?” “How much detail is desirable?” “Will Master be pleased?” – and, may be more importantly – “What happens if I get it wrong?”
For a seemingly straightforward example, if the Master wishes his slave to clean the kitchen while he is away from home, yet does not specifically state that the trash should also be disposed, what should she do? A slave strives to be obedient, and in an ideal world she might never need to ask what will best serve her Master – she would already know – and unerringly comply. But unfortunately that cannot always be the case, and even in the age of instant communication, Master will not always be available for a direct question. In this simplified example, we may agree that a passive slave would likely wait for clarification before acting. For an active slave, it may likewise be clear that properly obeying this order would include emptying the trash as well. Not doing so will leave part of the overall task unfinished, regardless if the Master has stated that step explicitly or not.
Let us look at another situation. Suppose that the Master has ordered his slave to look for “better” employment. Most everyone will experience some anxiety and apprehension when contemplating a major change in how they earn their living. Therefore, this task may become a major challenge also for a slave. However, there are several ways to alleviate the potential distress that active slaves may experience when presented with these types of scenarios.
We’ve already discussed that, when presented with an option, a slave may either wait until her Master makes a decision for her, or she will make the decision based upon her Master’s design. Well-trained slaves are not passive robots waiting to be instructed in every move to make. They are fully capable of thinking, making reasonable and responsible decisions, and acting upon them – just like everyone else. When it is incumbent that she is to decide by herself, then that is what she must do. But learning how to effectively do so – as a “trained agent” of her Master’s interest and wishes – takes time.
So how does the slave best serve her Master in seeking new employment? Initially, the slave must arrive to the full realization and acceptance that her Master, though having directed the original command, does not necessarily intend to control every component of that order. More complex and open-ended tasks like this example often require a great deal of research – and that will take time. In fact, the Master himself may not necessarily know how he wants to proceed until more facts are available, and may therefore not have assigned detailed expectations as to what the end result should be. Instead, he may simply expect or explicitly instruct the slave to first do some research on her own.
Getting started is often the most difficult part, so let us take a look at a few concrete things that can be done during the initial stages. For one, the slave needs to understand what their Master wants accomplished. In situations where her Master does not have “all the right answers”, she still should ask her Master as many questions as are reasonable to give structure to the process. Conversely, it is the Master’s responsibility to offer this necessary guidance. Some questions for the job search may be: “Will she enjoy the job?” “Is it exciting and rewarding?” “Is she afraid of the challenge?” “Will it make her feel valued?” “How close is it to her Master?” Still questions such as these, however relevant they indeed are, may also invite turmoil. A reason for this is that the emphasis has been placed upon the slave’s own concerns and anxieties about the job – instead of focusing on serving the Master’s needs in fulfilling the task.
From the Master’s perspective, “better” employment for his slave may simply be a job that serves his and the household’s requirements and purposes more suitably than the current job. For instance, he will probably want the job to compensate his slave equitably in pay, for it to be challenging and extend opportunities for growth, and to allow adequate time for the slave to serve her Master’s other needs. Another part of what serves him may include the overall welfare of his property, which besides basic health and safety needs, would also permit enough recreational time for her to be happy. Every Master will express his desires differently, and how well his slave responds to his wishes is a good measure of how well the communication within the relationship works.
It is most important for the slave to keep organized. Dividing the task into smaller sub-goals will keep things on track and help make the task seem less overwhelming. The slave, in accordance with her Master, should set and maintain timelines for specific goals. When a task gains some momentum it often becomes easier: every small accomplishment sets the stage for further progress. Clearly though, it is important that the slave continuously updates her Master and seeks further guidance from him. She should report on any actions or decisions she has made along the way, suggest the next steps, and continue to work on her Master’s tasks.
There are several things Masters can do in order to make it easier for their slaves to follow their orders. Purpose and direction is one of the major means, and there is rarely any reason to make a task harder than necessary. Orders must be clear and unambiguous: An order should state what needs to be done, what means are available, and when it should be completed. Still Masters have to be sensitive to that their slaves can at times be overburdened. When this occurs, it is important to set priorities for the slave and possibly also to hold off on other tasks or projects. There are times when it may be necessary to allow for a more relaxed protocol or invite the slave to be playful, because any relationship based purely on work is bound to suffer unintentional consequences. slaves need to feel that they can depend upon their Master’s willingness and ability to provide structure and meaning to their lives. The motivations may change over time, but the fact that a slave’s Master is consistent in setting the course is extremely important.
A fear often expressed by slaves that are given the opportunity to exercise more self-control is that they are no longer “real slaves” and their relationship with their Master has changed. On the contrary, having to decide which direction will accomplish an order given by their Master does not result in any change in the relationship between them. Their identities and relationship dynamics are still the same: Master presents his slave the opportunity to serve, and the slave provides her Master with service – and hence, they are still Master and slave. His integrity in life sets the tone for how his slaves conduct themselves, whether active or passive. He provides the blueprint for how he wishes his slaves to live. If a slave has proven themselves worthy of their Owner’s trust and validation in taking on more responsibility, she should be proud of her hard won sense of devotion. Control has not been released. Instead, it has been personified and internalized. The slave has not been ignored. In contrast, she has been empowered with greater accountability. Once a slave is secure in knowing that they are still able to obey and effectively accomplish their Masters orders, even in his absence, it leads to an even deeper understanding and belief in their place. And most critically of all, well-socialized slaves understand that being pleased, or not pleased, is the realm and responsibility of their Master – a slave’s foremost duty is to obey, even if she does not always know the best way to do so.
Written by Eric Pride and jorgia