Every Man His Own Dominion

“And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.”

The Book of Genesis

Whatever your views of Genesis, the idea of human dominion holds water.

All humans need freedom and responsibility in their lives. Together, those map pretty well to the ancient Judeo-Christian idea of the “dominion” of all humans with regards to the creation around them.

So how do we find this dominion and sovereignty in the midst of a world full of people who want to dominate us? From bosses, cubicles, and controlling relatives to restrictive apartments, consumer debt, and backed-up traffic, we can tend to feel less like people exercising dominion and more like peasants or sharecroppers living in someone else’s world.

The answer can be to cultivate at least one thing, place, or activity you can truly call your own – where *you* are master.

Maybe it’s an art studio. Maybe it’s a woodworking shop. Maybe it’s a piece of land. Maybe it’s the animals you take care of. Maybe it’s a blog. Maybe it’s your family. Ideally, it’s all of the above. Whatever it is, it must be *yours*, something or someplace or sometime in which you are answerable only to God.

Your area of dominion should be more than just a haven from the parts of your life in which others dominate (though it can serve that purpose). It should be the spiritual heart that feeds everything you do.

Here you get to express your creativity on your terms. Here you get to bring uncommon order and beauty and attention to detail. Here you get to lavish time on the small things. Here you get to rest and enjoy or work all night through. Here you get to share with pride or keep your work secret.

Dominion brings out our best selves, and as we find more and more spaces in which to exercise it, we become better people. Pretty soon we become hard to dominate. And pretty soon we find we can exercise dominion in our whole lives.

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James Walpole is a writer, startup marketer, intellectual explorer, and perpetual apprentice. He opted out of college to join the Praxis startup apprenticeship program and currently manages marketing and communications at bitcoin payment technology company BitPay. He writes daily at jameswalpole.com.

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Alex Knight
Alex Knight
3 months ago

A good one, James!