I finished a book last week—I read at least a dozen books a week—called, Fighter Pilot: The Memoirs Of Legendary Ace Robin Olds. If you’re interested in the history of fighter pilots in WWII or Vietnam from an American perspective, then I can recommend this non-fiction book. This essay however, is not about any of the details of war, nor about Robin’s lifelong battle against the military hierarchy and political stupidity he blamed for losing Vietnam and costing countless lives, but about discipline.

From December 1967, to January 1971, he served as Commandant of Cadets at the United States Air Force Academy. On page 358 [the softback edition] is the following paragraph:

Some people saw a paradox in the notion of a maverick fighter pilot instilling discipline in the Corp of Cadets. Many thought fighter pilots were probably the most unruly, undisciplined bunch of people in the military. Complete nonsense, of course. Every aspect of a fighter pilot’s life demands strict discipline. Flying itself takes discipline. It is, in fact, both the end result of highly disciplined training and the constant application, through self-discipline, of the lessons of that training. I have a pet definition of discipline: It’s what makes a person do the right and proper thing under many different circumstances. That doesn’t mean by sheer instinct or innate ability, it means through knowledge gained by life experience, training and learned judgement. If discipline were instinctive, I wouldn’t be needed as commandant. To do the right thing moment to moment, a person needs to analyze and judge a situation correctly, make the right decision for the proper course of action, and then take that action. All these steps require discipline and training.

Now obviously Robin wasn’t taking about D/s, but his definition works quite well in terms of BDSM and all the various ways we interact in relationships. Doms and subs have to learn discipline, together and separate, so that each time life seems to throw the D/s off-course, there is a base of ever expanding knowledge to draw upon.
Many different posts from many different Doms and subs I’ve read recently, have a common theme of feeling lost, or overwhelmed by forces outside of their control. Not to be trite or make light of reality, but life sucks some of the time for everyone. I don’t claim to have any answers to any metaphysical questions D/s may raise, but I do know this: Love and respect go a long way when discipline becomes a matter of personal intimacy.