Master Gorm Runo has re-started his Philosophy of Gor series at The Gorean Campus in Second Life. He will be there on Thursdays at 12pm (noon) and 6pm sharing his insights and wisdom on Gorean Philosophy.
Master Gorm has offered these classes before and they were very well received. He is back now with more knowledge and insights into the Gorean novels and our Gorean roleplay within Second Life. These classes will be presented, with his permission, on this blog.
This was the introductory class presented on January 5th, 2017:
Tal and Greetings
Welcome to the first session of a new seminar called the philosophy of Second Life Gor.
The seminar will be conducted in the following manner: I will begin with a short prepared lecture introducing the topic and when I finish, the floor will be open for questions, opinions, arguments, or comments from everyone. I will ask you to hold these until I finish, however.
I have been studying and discussing and teaching about the Gorean novels for many years now. I have focused this study on the first group of novels because I believe John Norman laid out his philosophy very clearly in those early novels fleshing out a fictional world and the later novels were just fan fiction having fun with that world.
The author hasn’t commented much on his works and the philosophy behind themThe author hasn’t commented much on his works and the philosophy behind them,, but he did comment some , and one of the things he has told us was that one of the major influences in the shaping of the “philosophy” behind Gor was the work of Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche, the German philosopher who lived in the 1800’s.
Anyone familiar with Nietzsche’s work can recognize many of his themes in the early Gorean novels. In Marauders of Gor, the famous passage comparing Gorean and Earth moralities comes almost word for word from Nietsche.
One of the major themes of Nietsche was the idea of the “UberMench” This has been mistranslated into “superman” by some, but means more “The Superior Man.”
I think that I really needed to learn more of the idea of the UberMench before I had a major insight into the message the books were trying to impart.. I realized that the message of those early books could be summed up in three major points.
1.) Earth Sucked
2.) Gor Sucked just as bad only for different reasons
3.) The ideal , the superior Man, existed between both worlds.
It was very much evident in the plot structure of the novels that Tarl Cabot, the main voice and the eyes through which we view Gor, went through a transformation. It was important that the character pass through both worlds, taking the good from each and recognizing the bad and discarding it, and by doing this he becomes the UberMensch.
Here is a quote supporting this idea from Marauders of Gor, Page 7
“I sometimes envied the simplicities of the men of Gor and those of Earth, creatures of their conditioning, they are untroubled by such things, but I would not be as either of them. If either should be correct it is for them no more than a lucky coincidence. They would have fallen into the truth, but to take truth for granted is not to know it. Truth not won is not possessed. We are not entitled to truths for which we have not fought”
The key words here are, “I would not be as either of them” Of course not, he must rise above them both and be the superior man.
He also expresses this desire to merge the two cultures in this quote from the same section in Marauders.
“Earth moralities encourage tenderness, pity, and gentleness, sweetness; Gorean Morality encourages honor, courage, hardness, and strength. To Gorean morality many Earth moralities might ask, “why so hard?” To those Earth moralities, the Gorean ethos might ask, “why so soft?”
“I have sometimes thought the Goreans might do well to learn something of tenderness, and perhaps, that those of Earth might do well to learn something of hardness.” – page 8
Although most people have usually taken that “too soft/too hard” passage to be mainly an indictment of the weakness of Earth, it is just as much an indictment of the brutality of Gor. Again, remember Tarl says, “I would be like neither of them.”
When you read the books, there are a host of native Gorean anti-heroes that serve to represent the negative aspects of the Gorean side. One feeds girls to urts for not be pleasing. Others mock a disabled man in a paga den. There are bullies and cowards and dishonorable men galore, and we are supposed to see them, and the flaws of the Gorean culture as clearly as we see the blemishes of our Earth culture when Tarl looks back and reflects on his Earth up bringing.
The philosophical message of the books is very much tied to the idea of UberMensch, and rising above the shackles of the extremes. Tarl , like all of us here that come to Second Life Gor to learn of these things, is a man of Earth. He never gives up the basic decency and compassion of Earth, and , the idea of the strong existing to protect the weak, not exploiting them. But, he does give up the wussiness of Earth. He starts acting like a Man should act, and in fact, as we go into the fan fiction stage of the novels, he is often the superior man that has merged both of these worlds perfectly..
One example of this growth and change is his relationship to his Gorean born friend, Samos. In the beginning , Samos is his mentor, and clearly a superior man, but by the end, Tarl has moved past him into a higher standard of honor and moral strength.
These are some examples of how Nietsche’s UberMench idea shaped the plots of the Gorean novels. Tarl had to pass through many stages of growth to finally become “Gorean” But, here is a major contradiction. He says he feels the “power of the unified Gorean will, not divided against itself” but, really he is using Gorean now as not the native born Gorean, not the brutes and bullies, and assholes that he had overcome, but the superior Man. Forged on Earth, Hardened in Gor, and superior and free.
I think this idea is important to Second Life Gor, and that is why I speak of Second Life Gorean Philosophy. We are talking of “By The Book” role play sims here in Second Life that are attempting to recreate the negative aspects of Gor. This is exactly like the sims that are recreating “Rape alley” or “The Crack Den” to show the negative side of Earth culture. No one would question their right to run their own sims as they wish,. If people find it fun and entertaining to explore the seedy side of Earth, or the brutal nature of Gor, that is understandable. Much of the good role play in Second Life Gor is based on sudden raids, capture, force, or other negative elements of Gorean culture. These role play sims commonly call themselves “BTB” and encourage people to “read the books” to better understand the concept, but often times reading the books becomes confusing and people see contradictions.
From the very beginning of the online Gor experience, there have been people who saw something else in the books. They heard John Norman painting a picture of a Gor that did not exist so much in the words of a book or on a planet on the other side of the Sun, but rather that lived and existed in the hearts of Men. It was a vision that pulled us back a little from the technological and social chaos of our modern world, and into a much more primitive world that we could pass through and experience to harden ourselves and begin questioning “the simplicities and conditioning” of Earth.
This seminar is designed to look into some of these higher ideals and how they apply to the community that has grown here in Second Life Gor and how an understanding of them might enhance our experience here and answer the question of why we have so much confusion and misunderstanding often runs rampant and unchecked.
Be sure to stop by the Gorean Campus at 12pm (noon) or 6pm and catch the rest of the classes in the series. Not included in this blog are the wonderful discussions which follow each class. They will be well worth your time!