Voluntary Enslavement, i.e., Proxy Control

I was reading an interesting text today by E. Tory Higgins, Beyond Pleasure and Pain: How Motivation Works, when I stumbled across one of the most cogent cases for the benefits of voluntary enslavement as a small part of a logical case Higgins builds of value, truth, and control being at the very least equally powerful motivators to human beings as pain and pleasure:

“Your sense of control is also sustained if you choose to have someone else make a choice for you. In discussing “proxy control,” Bandura says that people ‘are not averse to relinquishing control over events that affect their lives in order to free themselves of the performance demands and hazards that the exercise of control entails.’ In such cases, you still have some control in the fact that you choose to use someone else as your proxy agent, and you have the greater value from the fact that the benefits that accrue to you come at less cost.”

Higgins is referring to the work  of Albert Bandura, uber famous social psychologist most famous for his theories on observational learning. Since I’m not familiar at all with his work relating to proxy control, and the psychological underpinnings of power exchange relationships are (understandably) a chief intellectual interest of mine, I suppose it’s research time!

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