The next pair of paired and opposite primary emotions are Submission and Contempt, and we’ll begin with Submission.

Merriam-Webster defines Submission as,

: the state of being obedient : the act of accepting the authority or control of someone else

As a primary emotion, Submission is the blend of two basic emotions, Trust and Fear.

In secular terms, Submission involves deference to the authority of someone else – an employee to their boss, a student to a teacher, a citizen to their laws, children to their parents. Submission involves conscious choice in willingly accepting the superiority of another. There is trust in the knowledge and wisdom of the authority, along with fear and respect of their superiority.

In religion, Submission involves recognition of a higher authority – God – and obedience to that rules and laws of that authority. For example, Islam literally means Submission to the will of God. In Christianity, Submission is used in reference to God and God’s law, and the call to be humble to one another.

Submission is related but different from obedience, humiliation or shame. Submission involves an affirmative choice in the willing and conscious yielding to someone else, while obedience suggests unquestioning compliance without a choice. Humiliation is when social status is decreased. Finally, shame results from the comparison of the self’s actions with the self’s standards.

The artist for Caricatures used the physical images and gestures of Submission. The head is lowered and bowed, the eyes averted, the body compact and tight, while the lips are pressed together. The sketch conveys deference and acceptance.


The emotion Submission in the Caricature series of sketches.

The artist for Watercolors used the meaning of Submission to show a puppet in the hands of the master. The puppet has given up control, and the master is directing the puppet through the motion of the strings. The puppet is faceless to demonstrate the full acceptance of the authority and control of the master.


The emotion Submission in the Watercolor series of sketches.