“Why is success so ephemeral? Ego shortens it. Whether a collapse is dramatic or a slow erosion, it’s always possible and often unnecessary. We stop learning, we stop listening, and we lose our grasp on what matters. We become victims of ourselves and the competition. Sobriety, open-mindedness, organization, and purpose – these are the great stabilizers. They balance out the ego and pride that comes with achievement and recognition.” – Ryan Holliday – Ego is the Enemy
It seems as of late many levels of the BDSM community has had issues with a multitude of things: consent violations, predatory behavior, divisiveness, and hero worship. I don’t profess to have the answers to all of it, but I do truly believe that most things can be attributed to ego.
Ego breeds divisiveness, the belief that so-and-so is better than others, that somehow their knowledge or past deeds affords them the ability to remain above or separate from both the community on a whole and consequences of their actions (or inactions). The belief that one group is more deserving of loyalty over another, based on an imagined (and often unseeable) line in the sand. The inability to constructively criticise or not attend an event for personal reasons without being ostracised. It all leads back to community divisiveness and a less safe environment for all. We fail to discuss predatory behavior, or consent violators, or toxic people because we somehow believe that these discussions are drama.
“Choose not to be harmed — and you won’t feel harmed. Don’t feel harmed — and you haven’t been.” — Marcus Aurelius
Ego is something I have struggled with over the years. In turn, it led me down a path of divisiveness, rather than learning, and comfort rather than progress. I’ve learned that if someone has an honest opinion of you that you disagree with rather than being hurt and taking the path of divisionism find what can be improved in yourself and move forward with unity in mind.
Now, that is not to say that if a person is a repeat offender/predator/unwilling to learn – that you should go out of the way to be inclusive. On a whole, a unified community would police itself much easier, rather than these individuals hiding in the “camps” of a divided community, because communication and shared goals have broken down.
I’ll be honest there have been times rather than “rock the boat” I’ve kept quiet due to politics, I’ve since realized that while tact and neutrality are important, I will always be pigeonholed into having chosen a side, whether I personally believe I am neutral or not. Do I attend every event? no, is it because of people? sometimes honestly it is. Other times, I dislike the venue, venue staff, offered learning experiences, etc. The problem with this being that ego can lead people to believe it’s an “us against them choice”.
“The problem is politics is made a sport, almost as much a sport as football or baseball. When it comes to politics, adults and politicians do more finger-pointing and play more games than children ever do. Too often are we rooting for the pride of a team rather than the good of the nation.” — Criss Jami,
Thriving communities have one thing in common, and that is that the people who are involved in it are looking out for each other and the well being of the collective – there will always be dissenting ideas, but no voice should be too small to be heard, if not listened to. It should not be about political clout, it should be about moving toward the same destination if not in harmony, at least without sabotaging one another as well as some level of civility.
Just a few thoughts,