We all like a little power in our hands at times. For the world to function in a proper manner, there needs to be proper rules and regulations. But if power and these rules and regulations demean a section of the society and turn into a power struggle, force, and compulsion, then that’s ‘Domination.’ Through this article, let me help you understand what exactly domination means, how it impacts people around us, and how we can sustain dominance.
“Love does not dominate; it cultivates.” -Johann Wolfgang von Goethe 
What is Domination?
I grew up hearing various stories of domination. I learned how the British dominated the world for almost 300 years and how Alexander The Great and Genghis Khan became the world’s greatest conquerors. Today we hear about the United States of America being the number one economic and military power.
But what exactly is ‘Domination?’ It is when you are able to overpower people around you through authority, force, or manipulation. Usually, domination happens to create and maintain a hierarchy, and the number one in that aspect is the so-called ‘ruler’ .
There are three types of domination that you can see :
- Political Domination– that your country’s government has over you as they design all the laws and regulations of the country.
- Economic Domination– where powerful businesses control market situations, prices of goods and services, and distribution of resources.
- Domination in Relationships– when a person is able to physically and mentally control and overpower you.
What is the Psychology Behind Domination?
There will always be someone who is number one on something, right? But, there are a few reasons why this domination results in wanting to become a superpower :
- Power Motives: If you are someone who likes to have power and control in your hands, then you can show dominating behavior. You might be aggressive and assertive and have very little ability to understand other people. For example, Hitler was someone who liked to have power and control in his hands.
- Social Dominance Orientation: If you are someone who supports hierarchies and inequality and like being a part of the A-list of the ‘in-group,’ then you have a social dominance orientation (SDO). It is said that most men favor domination and also engage in behaviors that can build and maintain the hierarchy of a country, of the world, of an organization, or even of the house.
- Justification and Cognitive Biases: If you support domination, then it’s possible that you will create a personality of yours in such a way that you demean or dehumanize those around you. That way, your own image in your eyes will go up, and you will be more aligned with what you actually believe in; that there should be a hierarchy, and, if possible, you should be at the top of that hierarchy.
- Situational Factors: You might feel that there is a threat to your position, well-being, or resources, then you would want to overthrow the people in power and become powerful yourself. Just like many countries like the USA, India, etc., did with the British. It can also be that there are opportunities available for you to be in power, and you grab it. For example, you can be a part of a political party and then contest to win the elections and hold a position of power.
What are the Consequences of Domination?
Domination can have drastic impacts on you, the people around you, and the society at large :
- If you are a dominating person, you might make sure that the social hierarchy is imbalanced and unequal, where there is a segment that has nothing in its control.
- You might work toward limiting the resources, opportunities, and decision-making rights of those around you, keeping all these powers to yourself or a certain few people only.
- You might discriminate against people on the basis of their race, gender, class, etc.
- You might end up hurting people psychologically, you a point where they feel powerless, have very little sense of self-worth, anxiety, depression, etc.
- People around you might not have a sense of self-identity or belongingness and a place to call their own.
- If you are a dominating person, you might even be capable of building hatred in the minds of other people just so that there can be fights. This can even move to a country or global level where there are movements or protests that take place.
- Domination is anti-creativity, anti-innovation, and anti-social progress. So, there will always be individuality, no collective efforts, and no inclusivity. That way, society can never grow to its full potential.
How to Overcome Domination?
It might seem that one person has too much power and it’s impossible to overcome domination. But it’s possible by yourself being a part of organizations that can help you bring the change you want to see. Once you are there, here’s what you can do :
- Education and Awareness: You can learn to question figures of authority and increase your critical thinking skills. If you become an advocate of how domination harms people, probably other people can join you as well in that movement. For example, you know how Mahatma Gandhi and Nelson Mandela became the voice of the oppressed.
- Free Information Flow: You can make sure that everyone has access to different sources of information, social media, news channels, newspapers, radio, etc. For example, in North Korea, social media is absolutely banned. That is what domination is all about. Having a free flow of information can make you and everyone around you more aware of the issues at hand, and everyone can discuss these issues amongst themselves to design a way to overcome them.
- Organized Resistance: The way most countries got their freedom, you can also form an alliance and work from the grassroots level to overturn domination. Just like the apartheid movement, satyagraha movement, or feminist and LGBTQ+ movement, you can be an advocate for human rights, justice, and equality. That way, you can empower everyone to join you and fight against those in power.
- Legal and Political Action: Today, many countries that work on the principles of democracy have a legal system that allows everyone to challenge policies and actions that are oppressing a section of the society. So you can make use of these laws and create the change you want to bring to your society.
- Economic Empowerment: You can even help in making sure that whatever resources that are there in the house, society, country, or the world get distributed equally, or as equally as it can get, so that there are lesser chances of domination to occur. You can help in creating more job opportunities as well so that economically, there is no section of the society that is suffering.
- Cultural Transformation: You can be the person who brings inclusivity and respect for diversity to your house, country, or the world. For that, you might have to change the thought processes of those around you and help them overcome stereotypes and biases. It might be difficult, but at least people will be happier.
Needless to say that these can be done if, let’s say, you are a part of the United Nations or political parties in your home country. But, remember, one person can make a huge change without any help as well.
We all sometime like to have some power in our hands. But if this power starts harming people’s sense of free will and freedom, then that is domination. Domination can harm everyone. I mean, just look at history. It’s important to learn to overcome these political, economic, and interpersonal gimmicks. That way, you can bring equality, justice, and inclusivity to your home, society, country, and the world. Like Mahatma Gandhi said, “Be the change you want to see.” So, if you are someone who is a believer and an advocate for freedom, you can help the world be that way as well.
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