Obedience & Submission, take 2.

During the Mexico Olympics of 1968, two Black American athletes, Tommie Smith and John Carlos, gave the clenched fist, Black Power salute during the medals ceremony.

I just had an aha….let’s see if this lands.

I wanna post before I forget that I think this is a good plank in my platform here…

* * clears throat **

“OBEDIENCE is bowing to the letter of the law,

while  SUBMISSION is bowing to the SPIRIT of the law.”

Whaddya think?

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  1. Stella on June 8, 2009 at 10:11 PM

    nice. I like this explanation a great deal.

    • lilyblue on June 8, 2009 at 10:45 PM


  2. kahlana on June 9, 2009 at 6:12 AM

    simply but elegantly put. I agree too

  3. Freakbear on June 9, 2009 at 9:15 AM

    I like, but what comes to my mind when reading it is that Submission would be bowing to the Lawmaker…

    Just my .02

    • mollena on June 9, 2009 at 1:51 PM

      Kiiiinda….but kinda not…see my response to Heidi below!



      • Freakbear on June 9, 2009 at 3:30 PM

        That make sense… I think (if I am reading correctly) that the difference came from the interpretation of spirit… I think I understand your usage of it better now…


  4. Heidi on June 9, 2009 at 11:37 AM

    That is a lovely turn of phrase and I see where you’re coming from, but I don’t completely agree, I think. The obedience one, absolutely. To me, though, submission is willingness to obey the law before you even know what it is. (It’s possible this isn’t so different from what you said, if by “law” you are referring to the whole system of rule, rather than specific law(s). However, I think knowing the spirit of the law entails knowing the law first.)

    Here’s a Biblical example: When the Israelites get the Law from God at Mt. Sinai, they say, “All that the Eternal has spoken we will do and we will hear!” (Exodus 24:7). The rabbis ask, why would the Israelites say “we will do” first, before “we will hear”? Shouldn’t it be the other way around?

    The rabbis answer that the Israelites are declaring willingness to accept God’s law before they even understand (another way “nishma,” can be translated is “we will understand”) what the expectations of them will be. (And by the way, the rabbis think this is good.) That, I think, is what submission is. Saying, “I am going to willingly obey anything you tell me, even though I don’t know yet what you will require of me.” Obviously, it involves a very high level of trust.

    I don’t think I can come up with as pithy a phrase as you did, and I may be splitting hairs here, but you know that’s part of what I do. :)

    What are your thoughts?

    • mollena on June 9, 2009 at 1:51 PM

      Hey there Madame AWEsomeness! :-D

      I think that my idea of what “The Law” is has to do with the idea of the “law” being embodied by the will of The Other.

      Whether “The Other” is an actual Law, or a person to whom one is in/voluntarily subordinate, or a Higher Power, or a dominant.

      SO, obeying what “The Law” (any aforementioned value of such) is as it stands without bending of one’s own will is the part I am thinking is part of the differentiation.

      If you bottom to someone, you DO get to know beforehand what is going to happen unless you negotiate that you won’t. IN Submitting it is the whole of the scene / person / situation that yo are subsuming your will.

      I have to think more on this but it is my initial take….by bowing to the spirit, you acept the Law as it stands as a whole.

      Very few people fully know their rights and restrictions under US law, for example, but you live by them by default.

      more mulling



  5. lamesabassman on June 9, 2009 at 10:57 PM

    this has been the center of all ” isms” … someone,somewhere
    get a notion and like when a butterfly’s wings flutter in Osaka …
    there’s ill wills blowin’ about downtown LA humming ” little pink
    houses for you ‘n’ me…” when one starts defining letter to spirit
    of anything… starts a ball rolling that will never stop… and when
    that beat rolls on…. people try and people die…. and whomever
    is left…. bests win the coin toss… this is the time to look inward
    and decide to drop any and all baggage …. just change the face
    of an ism….. trim the edges and fill it in with some reality checks….. tell your leaders to lead…. then listen to decide
    if you wish to sign up and ride…. good isn’t suppose to hurt..
    but to some dudes out there who think otherwise….. a very
    wise man once said…” if you dont stand for something…
    you’ll fall for anything…” try to do some good … somewhere
    out there for someone….. it may change your life… forever..
    and if ya gets an owie…..

    lamesabassman…. I gots plenty band-aids…. all X-Men stuff

  6. Kalebarkab on June 10, 2009 at 12:59 AM

    I want to find good pop music. Help me please.