A Theory of the Origins of Domination

Once upon a time, homo sapien sapien and perhaps some other creatures tragically became self-aware. When I say self-aware, I mean aware of themselves and aware of themselves as selves. This led to all kinds of problems like the capitalist mode of production and rulers dominating their subjects, I think.

Allow me to explain:

At our most fundamental level, we have a natural impulse towards survival. This causes us to experience fear of things we believe will kill us and cause us pain. We also have the ability to consciously act: that means, to act, aware that we are making choices to either act or not act in a particular way. So, by extension, we use our conscious action to protect ourselves from the things that we believe will cause us death and/or pain.

With me so far?


When a thing becomes self-aware, a rift forms between it and itself. It becomes able to view itself as though from the outside, as though the self it views is another entity in existence that is somehow separate from itself. Perplexing? Highly. But you know what I mean. Think about talking to yourself. Think about yourself, period. You’re regarding something as though from the outside.

Moving on:

Once this self is viewed as separate, it becomes a potential player in the path away from death and pain. Because we have the ability to act consciously, we begin to act consciously towards ourselves. We view them as an object that can be influenced, acted upon, judged, regulated, and controlled.

Control is a word which here means “using one’s force of energy in this world to limit the ability of others to use their force.”

Fear is what leads us to seek control. If we had no fear of death and pain, we would have no reason to put forward force in the world in the direction of survival and away from the direction of death and pain. In exerting force over anything, we seek to use our conscious action to drive ourselves away from death and pain and towards the meeting of our needs and desires.

So, our naturally inclination away from death and pain led to us viewing ourselves as a thing to be controlled. We began to view ourselves as this thing to control. Our rational thought noticed our actions and sought to determine what they would be. We began to dominate ourselves as though there were two separate entities within us acting as ruler and subject.

Then, there was this whole problem of other people. Also, nature, same same, but I’m mainly talking about other people. So, in our origin story, Other People also had the ability to act, to carry force in the world and use it either towards or away from our experiencing pain and death. Thus, we sought to control others around us, and those who were the best at controlling others continued to control others and thus the systems grew embedded.

There’s a chicken and egg issue here. Which came first: domination of the outside world or domination of the self? The answer is, of course, both. And, it’s a feedback loop. And, the precise beginning doesn’t really matter.

Wasn’t this a story about origins? It was. It still is, about creating the next thing.

The story of domination became ingrained when we began to view things as separate from us. Whether this began with viewing the outside world as separate, or viewing ourselves as though that self were separate, the story still comes back to self-awareness.

With self-awareness comes other-awareness. If there is no self to place into contrast with other, there is no other that can be feared and thus controlled.

It’s obvious to those who look at “Ego” and Capitalism and Statehood that there’s an inherent overlap between the narratives we use. We believe that if we do not control and regulate our selves, we will not function. Our needs will not be met, and our survival will not continue. Likewise, we believe that if we do not have systems of domination within our society, society will not function. It will not grow, progress, survive and continue. These frameworks influence each other in, as previously mentioned, a feedback loop.

But there’s this other force in the world, the flip side of our impulse to control out of fear. It is not a separate force, but an intrinsic component of that fear for survival. That impulse is the impulse to protect.

We seek to protect ourselves from death and pain, and by extension, protect the things that feel like an intrinsic component of ourselves and of our path towards the meeting of our desires and needs. This includes things like ourselves, our children, our loved ones, and our property.

This impulse to protect is the antidote to our structures of domination.

I will illuminate that linkage now:

We’re all one interdependent entity made up of interdependent entities. We, us, existence. Whether or not you buy into the woo-woo-ness of Oneness, you cannot escape the fact that you are literally made up of your biological parents, the oxygen you breathe, some water and whatever you ate for dinner last night. You are also made up of a system of natural processes from which you cannot escape, such as your natural inclination to fear death and pain and to pursue the meeting of your needs and desires. You are made of the same stuff as every other person and entity in existence, and you could not be yourself without all of them.

I believe the next step in consciousness is awareness of other as self-awareness. When we step into the awareness that, though we are distinct, we are not separate, everything in existence falls under the category of an intrinsic component of ourselves whose survival we must protect, whose needs and desires we seek to meet. And it comes in having a view of ourselves as whole, in which we trust ourselves and allow our action to emerge organically out of our nature.

Trust is, in my opinion, the only answer to fear. It is to authentically believe that your best interests, your needs and desires, will be taken on by another. It is to authentically believe that you already take on your own best interests, rather than view yourself as a thing to be controlled in order to meet your needs. And the annoying thing is, trust cannot exist without vulnerability. Vulnerability is an inherent component of dependence, but so is mutual aid. Independence is a myth, and striving for it is kind of silly IMHO.

So, anyways.

This is why this whole Ego dissolution/Oneness thing is quite literally communalism is quite literally the revolution and cannot be separate from it. The point of a new way of forming community without hierarchy is to honor the individual and build an organically emergent whole out of individuals who are themselves organically emergent wholes.

The way we view ourselves is mirrored in the way we view each other, and forms the root of our societal structure, I think.

Blah blah blah blah.

Consciousness itself is evolving, as are each of its components and the structures between them.

In building a horizontal society, the thing to do is to take power back over ourselves by allowing power to emerge organically from ourselves, both in society and within our own psyche.

How can we do this?

  1. Trust yourself. Allow your action to emerge organically out of your own nature. Regulate, judge and control yourself less. Trust that you have your best interests at heart.
  2. Trust others. Allow themselves to emerge organically out of their own nature. Trust that others have your best interests at heart, or at least, that they have their best interests at heart, and that your best interests and their best interests will be in natural harmony more and more the less each of you has to exert control or domination to meet your needs.
  3. Try to understand people. They’re always coming from somewhere, and their path between there and here always makes sense. Find yourself in that path, how you relate to it, how you fit into it.
  4. Work towards building structures in society that honor and empower individuals within an organically-emergent community.
  5. Work on the structures that exist in society from whatever your personal authentic space is. There is no one front that will champion the fixing of it all. Do what feels authentic to you.

TL;DR: Trust yourselves. Trust each other. Tear down the old by building up the new. Go forth, ye tiny bastards, and be free.

God, this is Anna. Writing for a world where many worlds fit. www.allgodsnomasters.com