Saturday, August 30, 2008

The Dilemma

Tradition vs. Change

by Ben, N.C.Master

As a community we are often faced with the dilemma of honoring traditions and implementing change. It is a circumstance that evokes much debate. Our lifestyle is deeply based in many traditions and these traditions have guided our journey for many years. Before the time of the internet our lifestyle was very much in the shadows of society. Meetings of individuals as well as groups were secretive and difficult to arrange or even know about due primarily to fear of persecution of various types. Society did not condone nor accept our way of living.

Because of this secretive process of meeting others, one had to “earn their way in” by various means. Some of the methods used to identify each other and the particular things each enjoyed; dress codes and behavioral activities were developed, or more likely, evolved to facilitate this recognition. These dress codes and behaviors became known and accepted over time and traditions were born. These traditions born of both necessity and preference became established and continued with honor and protocols. They worked well for the purpose that gave rise to them.

With the arrival of the internet, communications, connections, hook-ups and information were far easier to find. Suddenly, people that were never aware of this lifestyle recognized a need within themselves that reached out for what was found here. Private meetings of individuals, finding groups of like minded people and even online retail outlets for “toys” became easily found. Now we have a large influx of new people engaging in the activities of this lifestyle without having been through the trials and tribulations of the past.

Traditions come from things that are or were needed and held important and worthy of being continued. Traditions are a link to our past and the efforts of those before us to blaze the trail of our journey. We honor the traditions to hold on to that link to the past because our history is important to us. Tradition gives us an anchor on which we can remain grounded.

However, those that came to this lifestyle by a much easier path do not have the history and the struggle to tie them so tightly to our traditions. Their journey, although paved by the struggles and works of those before, has been relatively easy. The dress code and the leather may be more of a fashion statement to them rather than an earned tradition. The troublesome part for some of us that experienced the struggles is that this new generation may not care about the tradition. They are happy to just enjoy the fruits of the struggle.

Herein lies the dilemma, if those that hold to tradition shun the new generation because of their lack of appreciation, this new generation may just turn away and start their own version of this lifestyle, why do they need us to do what they do? If this occurs, the generation that honors the old traditions will fade away over time and all could be lost.

I do not hold the ultimate answer to the dilemma. However, I do think that as times change, we need to find a way to blend the honored traditions with the new circumstance. We need to educate the new generation as to the struggles of the past and the meaning of the traditions but perhaps we also need to be open to adopting some change in how things are celebrated and accepted. The traditions of old evolved from necessity. Maybe the new necessity is calling to us to recognize evolution is not quite finished.

Ben is a Leather Lifestyle Dominant married to his slave/wife, and been active in the lifestyle for over 20 years. They are very active in the local and regional BDSM community, host several groups in their home, and do demos and presentations throughout the southeast on BDSM and M/s D/s Relationships. He is a former Board Member of Capex.


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