DOES A MASTER LOVE HIS SLAVE?
by _Marcus_ of Ar
Can slaves really desire to be owned by one who will never love them? Does a Master “love” his slave?
Anthropology dictates that there are only two basic emotions in the human emotional lexicon: love, and fear. All other emotions… hatred, jealousy, greed, suspicion, platonic fondness… all are born of those two parent emotions.
We all seem to have a particular cultural conception about what “love” is supposed to entail. Perhaps we should qualify it, and refer to it as “romantic love.”
According to our cultural dictates, “romantic love” consists of a monogomous sexual partnering which lasts for life, and in which both partners are perfect equals in the amount of effort they expend to maintain the relationship. Both partners are supposed to instantly give to the other what they require to be fulfilled and happy. There is no violence between them, nor are there any disputes. They are perfect friends, perfect partners, and perfect lovers… ala, “True Love.”
But there are many different kinds of love. I love my Free Companion. I also love a good steak and a cold beer on a hot summer night. Both examples of “love,” except love to varying degrees and according to varying circumstances.
All love is like that. Not often does it live up to the cultural dictates which we have assigned to it. If it did so, there would be fewer divorces, since everyone would faithfully and faultlessly “love each other always,” which is precisely what they promised to do when they both stood at the altar and exchanged wedding vows.
But love doesn’t work like that. It has its high points and low points. It comes and goes, and sometimes it just goes away when the factors which contributed to its original existence are altered. One has to work hard to maintain it. And it comes in countless variations.
So when a male collars a female, he almost certainly “loves” her, on some level. He must. The only alternative would be that he fears her (though the feminists would undoubtedly crow that fear is precisely why he does it). So, yes, he loves her. Just maybe not in the same way he would love a Free Companion or wife.
Well, maybe he cannot do so. If his female seeks to be dominated and ruled by a strong Master, he might never do such a thing if he were to feel the sort of “romantic love” we have discussed above. Because the demands of Mastery and the narrow definition of “romantic love” don’t really have matching criteria. The traditional fairy tales embraced by our culture say that no true lover would enforce his will upon his loved one. The same way that our culture says that no true lover would ever have any respect for a female partner who was a sexually active “slut” in the bedroom.
It is our very unrealistic concept of “romantic love” which gums up the works, and screws us up when we seek a fulfilling relationship which is not within those narrow parameters.
Some men have the brass cajones to remain true to their manhood and to be strong men for their women, and do so within the confines of “true love,” without turtledoves crooning and lovebirds flitting outside their window. They express their great love for their female but do not allow their females to walk all over them in the process. A bargain is struck, and all is well.
Other men cannot do this. Their culture has imbranded deep emotional compulsions within them, and threatens them with severe punishment if they do so. So they must psychologically place their females outside of the invisible boundaries and unrealistic limitations of so-called “romantic love” in order to preserve their independence from what they perceive to be cultural and feminine control, and to preserve their inner manhood.
Ladies… ever wonder why men are so often unwilling to confess their love for you? Well, that’s why.
In the Master/slave relationship, the stakes are even higher. The control over the female must be total, and it must be maintained at all costs. To adhere to our culture’s concept of “romantic love” while still maintaining the integrity of the M/s relationship is often perceived to be a crippling impediment to the aloofness one requires to punish and dominate. Therefore, it is easier to “Master” a female whom one does not “love” (in the traditional, romantic sense).
Love is still a very important part of it. But it is not “romantic love” as our culture defines it. It is romantic love as the Master and the slave have chosen to define it. It is a new thing, and can be deeper and more emotionally fulfilling than all the flowers and chocolates and moonlit strolls ever envisioned.
We all must fight the stereotype. Formerly, we used to be much more practical about it… marriage was a social contract which was not supposed to be a mystical soul-union at all, but a long lasting partnership and friendship with the mutual goal of creating a family. Love can and often does exist within that contract, though it is not the most important factor which determines the success of the relationship. That is what the Free Companionship on Gor is, and what marriage used to be here on Earth.
Romantic? Not really. Practical? Absolutely.
The fairly recent “have your wedding cake and eat it too” attitude which hit western culture during the Victorian era has altered how we perceive such relationships, and what we expect from them. The refusal to acknowledge human failings within such unions has wreaked much havoc with those who chase the romantic version of marriage and simply cannot achieve it. But the kind of love which is most beneficial is built over a long period of time, and does not occur during a six month courtship.
The same holds true for the M/s relationship. In time, the Master may come to redefine his feelings as love, and as the intense devotion to one’s female which we all associate with “romantic love.” But first he must leap the hurdle which results in his embracing “tough love” as a very valid form of male/female love.
Heck, even the Goreans in the books worry that by embracing love for their slaves they will lose some measure of control over them. Even Samos, Master Slaver of Port Kar, elicits such fears when he encounters the woman who seems ideally suited to become his “love slave” (“love slavery” is basically the Gorean term for the ideal monogamous Master/slave union).
So… there is always that nagging fear in the male psyche that love empowers his female over him. All a Master can do is be strong, and refuse to soften his stance in the area which matters… that of control over the slave in all situations.
Some men can do this easily. To others, it takes longer and is much more difficult.
I add that Gorean love, like Gorean friendship, is not granted swiftly or for no good reason. The yearning to “fall in love” with anyone one has sex with, or moves in with, or who happens to be handy, is pretty much an Earth thing, encouraged by our culture, our romantic literature and our media.
We all want to be “in love.”
What a Master must do is be “in love” and still be willing to control, completely, the object of that love. And that takes a pretty serious mental leap, and the guts to go against what our culture defines to be the rules for romantic love.
I wish you well,
Copyright © 1999, _Marcus_ of Ar, all rights reserved.