Characteristics of Masters and Slaves



This paper is about the characteristics of Masters and Slaves and the similarities in the personalities of people like Hitler and Jim Jones, the leader of Jonestown, in Guyana, where he ordered several hundred of his followers to commit suicide. They, like the millions of Germans who gave up their lives for their Fuhrer, obeyed. Why?

Rousseau said that everybody emerges out of early childhood either with a "slave" mentality or with that of a "tyrant." These terms can well be applied to the extremes of two defensive existential positions, for at about age three the child decides either that he must submit, be a "slave" or that he\'ll have to keep trying to find ways to control others at all costs, to become a "tyrant." Whichever position he settles on henceforth determines his character and his future attitude in relation to power issues, particularly at times of physical, or social stress. Of course most of us do also develop the more stable position: I\'m O.K., You\'re O.K.

As a less dramatic designation, the slave position can be called Type I- unsure, and the tyrant position, Type II- oversure. Type I are those people who seek strokes from an I\'m Not OK, You\'re OK (-,+) position. They tend to transact with others from either a compliant or rebellious Child ego state, sometimes "helpless," sometimes "bratty." They seek strokes from people who impress them as having powerful Parent ego states, hoping that it is such people who can offer them a key to the riddle of existence. In everyday life they appear as "victims" or "rebels".

Conversely, Type II persons operate from the I\'m OK, You\'re Not OK (+,-) defensive existential position, having resolved that no one can offer them any hope. Their only chance for survival in an uncertain world is to stamp it with their personal view of reality, to convince or force others to participate in their image of the world. So they operate as "oversure" acting "helpful" or "bossy." They seek out partners or followers who will transact with them from a compliant Child ego state, will acknowledge them as Powerful Parents, and will thereby offer them validation for their grandiose illusion of being "sure." They relate as "rescuers" but become "persecutors" when they don\'t obtain gratitude or compliance. Finally, they may end as victims.

Both types have a way of finding each other, and up to a point this may be fine, because they can then indulge in complementary stroking to their heart\'s content, but if they are endowed with heavy rackets, calamity may follow.

This is where the issue of rackets comes in. A few light rackets cause no harm, but heavy, persistent rackets mean that the person is not truly capable of dealing with his underlying emotions and lacks a solid sense of self. Therefore he is likely to be excessively needy and overly concerned about validating and reinforcing his defensive existential position. For it is by means of our defensive existential position that we ward off the despair that pushes to manifest itself as hopelessness in Type I persons, and murderous rage in Type II persons. By definition, persons with heavy or 3rd degree rackets, (that is: thoughts, feelings, and behaviors that lead to the destruction or confinement of body tissue) cannot stand awareness because they do not distinguish between feeling and the likelihood of behaving in unacceptable ways. It follows that, as a defense, they seek and receive strokes for unreal substitute feelings. As a result, they are never really gratified within themselves.

Both the giving and receiving of strokes are artificially induced and received--like eating devitaminized food. This only exacerbates the hunger all the more, like drug addiction that falsely seems to energize while inducing starvation. So the seeds for mutually killing each other off are there from the beginning even while mutual stroking is taking place and temporarily appeases both parties.

Although there is probably a fairly even distribution of both character types in the general population, when it comes to heavy racketeers there appear to be more slave types than tyrants. It looks as though there is a higher number of extreme Type I persons who continue to operate, even as grown-ups, with the belief, however illusory, that