Protocol, Etiquette & Ritual

Within the lifestyle these three things are linked, though often times people will just use the word protocol to mean all of them. Each has it's place in our lifestyle, guiding how we interact, and there are variances in all of them depending on who you are dealing with.

There are a variety of "standard" protocols within the lifestyle: leather, gorean, victorian, some may even consider 1950's style a protocol. Within each of these there is a variance, what exists in one leather family may not quite be the same for another, what goes on as normal in one gorean house may be not allowed in another.

Protocol is the general guidelines that are in place, the broad rules of operations within the household or event. Protocol is a structure outlining appropriate behavior and action. Protocol is not the same as etiquette, although it may overlap in its teaching and intent.

Etiquette is a refined and specialized form of communication and self expression. It is done in a fashion that is found pleasing and appropriate.

Ritual is behavior, learned through repetition, which is done based on situation or on demand. The purpose of the ritual may be the ritual itself, the structure it enforces or the feelings the submissive feels while performing the ritual. There is generally very little variance, as the submissive will learn to perform it by instinct.

"Associate with well-mannered persons and your manners will improve. Run around with decent folk and your own decent instincts will be strengthened." - Stanley Walker

People often ask about "How do I learn protocol?" Well, the easiest way is look to those who practice it, those who follow a strict protocol, something well defined. Unfortunately there are not many who actually do that now. Most seem happy with following their own whims, even at the expense of stability.

This turned out to be a more definition and informational piece than I like normally, so I will likely be following it up shortly with definitions of the protocols and rules I use to better define the issue.

"Etiquette requires us to admire the human race" - Mark Twain

18 Jan 2008 12:20:14

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