Libido Dominandi: Lust for Domination

Photo: Moloch Scene, "Metropolis", 1927 (source)

Libido Dominandi
The term is taken from the first book of Saint Augustine’s work De civitate Dei (City of God) 426 AD
The will to power; the desire to dominate; the lust for government

Augustine’s City of God (426 AD), XI: Understanding the Libido Dominandi
Mar 29 2019

"The libido domanandi is a Latin term that can be roughly translated as “lust for domination.” The lust for domination is, for Augustine, the driving impulse of fallen man and his society (the city of man). The twentieth century philosopher Eric Voegelin surmised that the libido dominandi was man’s “will to power” to borrow a phrase from Friedrich Nietzsche.
Augustine informs us in the preface that the lust for domination is a major theme that he will be examining in the course of his work. “Therefore I cannot refrain from speaking about the city of this world, a city which aims at dominion, which holds nations in enslavement, but is itself dominated by that very lust of domination.”[i] This lust for domination, as what drives life—or more accurately from Augustine’s view, destroys it—is motivated by service to the self and want to control everything:
control what is good,
control what is “fact” or “true”,
control how others behave,
control who receives laurels and praise,
and so forth. This lust for domination runs counter to the ethic of service of others (love of others). The libido dominandi is tied to the incurvatus in se (inward curve to the self) for the lust for domination is all about the self: The self’s want for domination of the world and all in it."
"...Insecurity and the need to possess—to overcome insecurity—drives the libido dominandi to a renunciation of love itself. This is because the lust for domination strives after power. Power becomes that which is sought after and in possessing power humans then utilize their power against others (and the world). Love is a surrender of the self over to others (hence why God lowers himself and surrenders himself on the Cross to the world; Christ’s renunciation of power is his affirmation of love). The lust for domination is a surrender of the self over to the lust for domination in-of-itself, which manifests itself in the self’s exertion of power over others (seen most visibly in Cain murdering Abel and Romulus murdering Remus)."
"...To glorify oneself is a form of libido dominandi. It is the lust to control praise of others—praise directed to oneself. Civic mythologies, as Augustine so poignantly critiqued in books II and III, also embody the lust for domination; civil mythology covers up the nakedness of the libido with ideas of glory, nobility, and civilization, thereby turning the lust for domination into something to strive for."
"...The city of man, in being given over to this lust for domination, exhausts itself in domination. Thus, history—as Augustine recounts in Books XIV-XIX—is one long bloody power struggle"

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