Being A Slave Before Being A Master
One idea which keeps coming up is the concept of, or in some cases, the practice or requirement that someone should learn to serve before they learn to master. In other words, spend time being a slave before they can become the Master of a slave. Many people believe this is an Old Guard or Leather tradition and from my reading the history of both, there is some small truth to the first and more to the second but nothing has ever been official except within certain groups.
As a concept, it also fits under the same rule for BDSM toys that you should know how something feels when used on you before you use it on others. This is not a bad idea for implements of pain or pleasure but it does not completely carry over to service as a slave being required for mastering a slave. There are certainly people who have done it and people who advocate for it including Laura Antoniou in “The Marketplace” series. She has trainers of slaves and even trainers of trainers who are currently slaves such as her primary character of the series, Chris Parker. Therefore, I have created a few pros and cons about doing this as I can see good and bad on both sides of the discussion.
Topics to Consider:
The more knowledge you have of a subject the better you can do it.
Pro: I consider this statement to be a truism. If you are going to do something you should learn as much about it as you can. This does mean that anyone who wants to master a slave should learn as much as they can about the slave’s need to be Mastered as well as how to do it effectively.
Con: I do not see anything that that makes this statement false. Whether or not you can do something with insufficient knowledge is not in question. You can. People will always try to do more than they know how to do and some will, at times, succeed. That you will always be able to do something better with more knowledge has been repeatedly proven.
It is good to know what something is or feels like before doing it to others.
Pro: This is the toy analogy. I believe it to be a good analogy. It goes along with the previous ‘more knowledge is better’ concept very well.
Con: It is not a perfect analogy. There are many things that you do not have to have done to you before you can do to others if you have the appropriate and required knowledge to do them. For example, you do not have to undergo open heart surgery yourself to be able to do it to others if you are a competent surgeon and properly trained in the procedure.
It ensures that you understand something of what can be required of a slave and how it feels to be a slave.
Pro: A true statement. Once again, this fits with the more knowledge the better. It does mean that especially if you are part of one of the traditions which carry over cultural expectations among the group you will have learned those expectations, traditions and customs and know how to teach them as well as knowing when they have been learned and internalized.
Con: Within the traditions you do not have to be slave first to understand these things and all the cultural expectations are learned knowledge so that can be passed on without having had to practice all of them. There are ways of testing if someone knows or has internalized certain information which do not require having internalized it yourself in the same form the other person has. This is all part of standard education theories. While the statement true and useful, it is still not something that is actually required to do this safely and successfully.
It ensures that you know what a slave needs to know.
Pro: This is true only if you are assuming you were taught those things. It also assumes that what you learned as a slave to one person will apply and are the same things you wish the slaves you teach or train to know. In the traditions this is, as above, often the case for a certain subset of information and that subset does carry over from one Master to the next.
Con: If what you learned does not apply to the next Master then this breaks down. Outside of the traditions it is, not including a very few things such as being obedient, less likely to apply to the next owner and new things will need to be learned and old things unlearned. The knowledge an egg omelet includes eggs may be universal but what else the omelet includes varies a lot as does how to prepare it. While some things may be the same does not mean that what you wish a slave to know will include everything you were taught as a slave.
You cannot really know something unless you have done it.
Pro: I believe this to be generally true. You may know very much but you will not know all parts of something unless you have been directly connected with all parts of it.
Con: You do not need to know everything intimately to be able to teach or do it. The more something is a skill, activity or even information the more knowledge and understanding of the subject can be acquired after the initial instruction. There can be knowledge and understanding that the instructor did not or could not know but still conveyed enough to be able to later learn it. While true and useful, it is not universal and not absolutely required for most purposes, if at all.
You should always start at the bottom and work your way up.
Pro: This is a good way to learn the many aspects and parts of a subject. It is done in some organizations from the military to McDonalds. You will be able to work with everyone at every level and understand their jobs and their problems better than if you have never done or experienced them.
Con: This is a good way to do this, but the military does not universally do this and even McDonalds only requires some of their employees to learn working in the store for a limited time. Some specialties are not required to do that if their area has nothing to do with in-store activities. The same is true of training slaves. If you have the knowledge and skills needed and the ability to transfer the information then you can do so without ever having been on the receiving end of such training.
It is a tradition.
Pro: For some people it is. Upholding and continuing traditions, especially shared ones can be a very good thing.
Con: It is not a tradition for everyone or even for most.
It is our tradition and if you want to be part of us you must do this.
Pro: If you want to be a part of their tradition or group and they require it, then you will do it.
Con: If you do not do it you will not be a part of that tradition or group.
I did it so you have to do it too.
Pro: You share a link and background with the person who did this before you.
Con: Just because they chose or were forced to do it does not mean you must choose or be forced to do it. It does remove some shared background but that shared background may or may not be required.
I started out saying that I can see good and bad reasons for being a slave before being a master. When I started learning and doing consensual enslavement and slave training, I did not serve as a slave first. There are two main reasons for this. First is that I am Gorean and such service is not a tradition or requirement within the Gorean tradition and culture. Second, I did not wish to serve others as a slave. I wished to own and train them. I did learn from slaves what their side was like, why they did it, what they gained from it and how it felt to be a slave to the best that I could learn without being one. I have not stopped learning more about their side since then. I have done my best to learn both sides without doing or being both sides. This was my personal choice even though I did know about some non-Gorean groups who had this as a requirement.
I have full respect for those who have chosen to be slave before becoming a Master. I understand and fully acknowledge that they will have knowledge and experiences that I will always lack. I feel that it is therefore my obligation to make up for that the best I can where such knowledge is useful and/or needful. This is why I do not have a solid, it must be done this way, opinion on the topic in either direction. It can be done either way and both are right and proper for the person doing them if the result of mastering a slave and successful training of them is accomplished. Both ways are right for some and wrong for others.
I have an example of learning to serve in addition to learning to train that I wrote. My book, “I Can Do This” is an example of someone with experience mastering and owning slaves learning to serve as a part of learning to train. The main character becomes a slave to learn how to train slaves at a much higher level. The reasons for this are given in the book.
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