Comments on the domination-vs-submission social dynamic and on the concept of vulnerability

This is an conversation I just had on Facebook.

What do you know? To make friends, you only have two options. You dominate or you suck up. Learning pop culture? Dominate or suck up. Hobbies? Dominate or suck up. Life experiences? Dominate or suck up.

I don’t see how “dominate or suck up” applies to most of those things, but it does seem that in most or at least many friendships there’s a dominant one and a subordinate one. Also I suspect that whenever two male strangers talk they tacitly negotiate who’s the dominant one and who’s the submissive one. I absolutely loathe this social dynamic. I don’t want to dominate and I certainly don’t want to be dominated, and I don’t want to have to unnaturally focus on the corrupt, petty, manipulative tactics of the will to power in order to avoid being dominated. I just want us to be on equal grounds, so that we’re both respected and free to express ourselves and impress upon each other in whatever way.

I suspect people’s desire to socially dominate is rooted in the unwillingness to address certain aspects of themselves. If you have psychic power over someone, you can project your internal blocks onto the interpersonal dynamic between you two so that they’re intimidated from saying anything that would challenge those blocks. A related aspect is fear of vulnerability. If you’re dominant with someone, you don’t have to risk ever being emotionally vulnerable in their presence.

I guess another reason for the dynamic is a reaction to the prevalence of the social dynamic itself: the fear that, if you’re not dominant, then you’re submissive, and if you’re submissive you’ll be pushed around, and also you’ll be weak, which is disparaged in the male community, and also (for men) you’ll be less successful with the opposite sex. Conversely, if you’re dominant you’ll be more successful with women, so that’s probably a large aspect of why guys seek to be dominant. It may not be consciously for that reason, though; it may be a bit of evolutionarily psychology coming from sexual selection.

Another aspect of the dynamic is probably a desire for the esteem that comes with having a high social status and/or a fear of the disregard/dishonor or whatever that comes with having a low social status, when the dominant attitude is the result of a need to maintain one’s status among a larger group or is simply a result of the self-image that comes from such status.

Vulnerability makes you lazy and stupid. Invulnerability makes you attractive.

I have no idea how you relate vulnerability to being lazy and stupid. And vulnerability can make one just as attractive.

Vulnerability is honesty/authenticity and showing one’s true self when there’s the possibility of backlash. I guess it can mean other things, such as being vulnerable in battle, but this is what I mean by it. It takes courage, and it has immense value because it unites people through recognizing what they have in common that’s normally hidden out of fear and ego, which is one reason it can be charming. It’s deeply human and humanizing.

Another reason it can be attractive is because if you can’t see someone you can’t adore them. The fronts we put up tend to be a lot less interesting. What we love most in a person is what’s most connected to life and the core of their being. For example, someone might be afraid of being seen as the huge dork they are, while someone else might love that dorkiness or quirkiness.

Also, vulnerability is sometimes necessary for honest communication, and communication is essential for the health and success of a relationship.

Also, sticking up for the truth in the face of an deluded or insane society can make you vulnerable because everyone will hate you and pile on you. It’s a courageous and noble act done for the greater good, or possibly just for one’s own integrity, or both.

It takes self discipline to get attractive, which vulnerability prevents you from.

I took their last response to be yet another nonsensical or at least quizzical statement, which I didn’t bother to reply to because I couldn’t see it being fruitful.

Here’s a response I just had to on the platform formerly known as Twitter which explains my views on power dynamics more succinctly / summarizes them and also clarifies a couple of things:

what do you notice when you walk into a room? I notice micro facial expressions and power dynamics, my friend notices decor and things that are out of place

I hate that power dynamics is such a ubiquitous thing. The ambition to dominate others is so petty and evil, and it infuses natural interaction with corrupt/degenerate underlying motives/tactics. And I kinda think the only purpose for having social power is the ability to avoid vulnerability and hence to avoid the need to face oneself.

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