Loss of Control

This notion of control is quite prevalent. I have been contemplating this a little this afternoon, and I guess what most people fear is a loss of control. They may even fear this more than being controlled, not sure about that. Loss of control can be relating to control over others which might be dominion and loss of control over self, no self-control. I would be surprised if there is a single being on the planet who has never lost control over self, lost their rag or otherwise lost the plot. For some, control over self is aimed at via control over others. Many do not like to have their buttons pushed our boundaries tested, for this risks a loss of control. Thus, we may strive to control situations and steer them away from our buttons and boundaries.

We may don protective armour of one kind or another and keep “dangerous” people at arm’s length. I am pretty sure that in the past when I might have been very useful to people I was not selected because it was believed that I might challenge some dominion or other. It was doubtful that I would be a good slave, and do as I was told without question, I was too much of a risk to the fiefdom structure. I would not be a toady or a sycophant. There was a fear that I could not be controlled which might lead to a loss of wider control. And so, someone less able was selected. Who knows if that worked out or not. Insecurity is not uncommon. We may downgrade what we want or need if that threatens our control. We kind of short-change ourselves for fear of this loss of control. Maybe we do not deserve to find out what we are made of?

This control-freakery can mean that we never experience our full potential by playing it safe. We may be excited and intrigued by a possible partner and then bottle it because we sense that they are going to take us way out of our comfort zones. We pick a safe bet and then complain we are bored. I’ll wager that many relationships in which there was much potential were never entered into because of this fear of loss of control and many more are stifled by controlling behaviour.

There is a fairly easy way to test how much someone fears losing control; offer them a tab of acid or a few mushrooms. If they go for it, they may be less controlling, but you can watch the fear in their eyes as it comes up. This speaks. If they talk their way out of it, one of the motivations aback of the justifications will be fear of loss of control.

Obviously, I am not advocating the acid test, so to speak.

Aside from manipulating people away from buttons and boundaries there is a nasty side to the dominion trip and that is some people get a kick out of power over. Some genuinely want minions to do their bidding. If you are kinky for that kind of stuff, that is for you. You may get a kick out of being a loyal minion.

To give the illusion of control we develop habits. These provide some sense of order in the world and are comforting. After a while we fear loss of that habit because we cannot control our fondness or addiction to our habits. Down that path is OCD. But we all have it to an extent. Our habits, however boring, make us feel in control. Outside of habit and habitual thinking is the unknown and as we all know from maps of old, there be dragons. This fear of the unknown is as big as big thing on a particularly gigantic day. We each of us have many unknown things, unexplored in our make-up. Some of these are nice, some not so nice.

Having cued this up:

Why do I fear a loss of control?

Am I afraid of my potential(s)?

Would it be a shame to die leaving them unexplored?

Games Gone Wrong

Do you think it fair to suggest that people play games with each other? These can be mind games, status games and power over games. Playing games is, to an extent, a part of courtship. Some measure of game playing is inevitable in most social circumstances and whenever there is a power struggle, game playing happens. These games can have some broad “boundaries” and responses according to some protocol or other. There may be an expected response, which leads on to the next set of moves. Many lash out at others so as to punish something or other, some try to test how much a person is willing to take as a proof of love. These are bordering on manipulation. Some even seek punishment and before long we are in some co-dependency game. Many of these games are to do with testing in one way or another. The prove how bad you want it, is a variety of kiss chase. Some are fond of bluffing and others love to escalate because they get a kick out of drama.

Some games go wrong and badly so. They can lead to loss of relationship, violence and death. Games of brinksmanship are common in politics and that is how war starts. Some, caught up in testing others, do not recognise when they are being tested themselves. They might imagine themselves in the driver’s seat. Games are a bit silly. For those who like competition and winning, the purpose of a game is winning. They can lose perspective from this. There may be an assumption that the other person shares a similar orientation.

As long as people play by roughly the same set of rules, the risk of miscalculation is not high. Games can go badly wrong when there is no shared rule sheet. Manipulations can fail and catastrophically so. Some people like games and so they often resort to; “I know, let’s do more of the same!”  There may be a limited set of moves, which even though they do not necessarily work, are rolled out again and again.

Now that I have cued up games and testing for tomorrow. Have a think about these:

Have I ever had a game I was playing go wrong on me?

What if anything did I learn?


The term “taboo” comes from the Tongan tapu or Fijian tabu (“prohibited”, “disallowed”, “forbidden”),[4] related among others to the Maori tapu, Hawaiian kapu, Malagasy fady. Its English use dates to 1777 when the British explorer James Cook visited Tonga, and referred to the Tongans‘ use of the term “taboo” for “any thing is forbidden to be eaten, or made use of”.[5]

He wrote:

Not one of them would sit down, or eat a bit of any thing…. On expressing my surprise at this, they were all taboo, as they said; which word has a very comprehensive meaning; but, in general, signifies that a thing is forbidden.[6]

The term was translated to him as “consecrated, inviolable, forbidden, unclean or cursed”.[7] Tabu itself has been derived from alleged Tongan morphemes ta (“mark”) and bu (“especially”), but this may be a folk etymology (note that Tongan does not actually have a phoneme /b/), and tapu is usually treated as a unitary, non-compound word inherited from Proto-Polynesian *tapu, in turn inherited from Proto-Oceanic *tabu, with the reconstructed meaning “sacred, forbidden”.[8][9][10] In its current use on Tonga, the word tapu means “sacred” or “holy”, often in the sense of being restricted or protected by custom or law. On the main island, the word is often appended to the end of “Tonga” as Tongatapu, here meaning “Sacred South” rather than “Forbidden South”


This word taboo is so taboo that it can be taboo to talk about it. An etymology is given above from Wiki. It has two edges to it, in its original it is sacred or holy, in its more common it is forbidden and unholy. It is taboo to molest children for example. One might think that in the 21st century taboo doesn’t exist, but it does. There are many things which cannot be spoken of. Related to taboo are sacred cows, people or things that cannot be criticised. This can provide a layer of protection to people, usually powerful people. There are recent examples in the press when the taboo of speaking about sacred cows has been broken. And these sacred cows are anything other than sacred.

To some people both these terms are “superstitious” but their metaphorical use is widespread. They speak on a society and its mores. People who fall from grace, an erstwhile sacred cow, can rather quickly become taboo. People may seek to associate themselves with a sacred cow to gain power by association, the minute the cow starts to fall, they disassociate themselves as quickly as is possible.

Sat in a modern high-rise block, with intravenous internet, it is easy to scoff at taboo. Yet to suggest that someone might spend the night alone in a graveyard is to demonstrate that taboo is alive and well. This taboo thing pervades, it is of course culturally specific, though there is commonality of theme.

Anything which society excludes is taboo. To give an example; smoking is now becoming taboo. People can become incredibly self-righteous about smoking and the tribal response is, “you should quit”. There is some desire to educate the transgressors. Cancer is taboo, in that it is spoken of in hushed tones. People are fearful of death and disease. About two and a half years ago I had a stage II tumour removed, so I joined the cancer taboo club. Now to have had cancer and still smoke is ultra-taboo…

These taboos are societal in origin mostly. Within my erstwhile profession as a scientist, it is taboo to be a part trained shaman, which I am. These taboos are on all sides and usually indicate a lack of knowledge or understanding. One could say that taboo is sometimes simply a prejudice. To imagine that I got a welcome and an invitation from a Maasai holy-man shaman to stay in his compound whilst I was a laser spectroscopist, is a little hard. But it happened, we got on rather well, something just clicked between us as human beings.

Anything which is taboo holds power over us. We deem it forbidden, too risky, scary etc.. I am not advocating that you spend a night in a graveyard unless you want to. I am however pretty convinced that you would learn something about yourself if you did. Some taboos are based on common sense, the taboo is introduced for health reasons. Pork is taboo in some religions. So, smoking is a kind of health-related taboo. Other taboos are introduced for sensible societal functioning. Some are based in handed down traditions. Some are new taboos. Scientists don’t, as a whole, like anything which is to them somehow flaky. They would not want to be tarnished by association with anyone who is a whacko or a nutter.

Taboo is alive and well and prevalent in the 21st century.


As an exercise:

Make a list of all your taboos…

These can be verbal, practical, imagined or otherwise.

Then if you are brave, select a couple of taboos which are legal to do and break them.

What did you learn?