Transcript of class by Master Gorm dealing with the dual nature of man. Classes are Thursdays at 12pm (noon) and 6pm SLT at the Gorean Campus. All are invited to come and participate
[12:00] Gorm Runo: ok, time to begin
[12:00] Gorm Runo: picks up his notes
[12:00] Gorm Runo: Tal and greetings
[12:01] Gorm Runo: One of the problems I encounter when I am in the “symbolism” frame of mind is not being able to just accept that somethings are just there to advance the plot and are not filled with hidden meaning.
[12:01] Gorm Runo: One of the people attending last weeks class suggested this and questioned if, perhaps, we read too much into things, and I admit to being very guilty of this.
[12:01] Gorm Runo: I was thinking of this as I was looking into the Kur this week and how they fit into the symbolic struggle between the rational/spiritual side of humans and the darker animalistic nature.
[12:02] Gorm Runo: The Kur are plot antagonist in many of the novels, and much of the information we are given about them serves to allow that role
[12:02] Gorm Runo: They live on the massive Steel Worlds, and have been battling Priest Kings for a long time. They have a complicated social structure and some very strange sexual and gender distinctions.
[12:02] Gorm Runo: The Priest Kings had many things inside their nest also that seemed just plot structure and page filler and did not carry secret symbolic meanings.
[12:02] Gorm Runo: I guess my point is a desire to reassure you that I am not completely crazy yet, and can accept that there is little sense in poring over every word of the novels like Jewish scholars studying the Torah.
[12:03] Gorm Runo: The fun of searching for little symbolic episodes and applying them either to our Second Life Gor experiences or even our RL attitudes and situations is, like many other pleasures, best enjoyed in small doses.
[12:03] Gorm Runo: With that said, I wanted to pick out three of my favorite Kur symbolic lessons that made an impression on me.
[12:03] Gorm Runo: I believe that all human beings have an animal side. I would certainly entertain theories that suggest, as in 2001 A Space Odyssey, that something implanted a spark inside just one of many species of wild animals roaming prehistoric Earth, and that explains Man
[12:04] Gorm Runo: So, the duality of Priest King vs Kur or rational vs animal nature made sense to me.
[12:04] Gorm Runo: The animal side is very, very dangerous. It is something that we must control at all times, and that is not often easy.
[12:04] Gorm Runo: We are capable of developing addictive behaviors to just about anything and they can destroy us, and harm others around us when not checked and controlled
[12:04] Gorm Runo: And addictive behaviors are almost, by definition, behaviors that are not rational.
[12:05] Gorm Runo: The first good look we get at a Kur is in Captives of Gor. The 6th book of the series. We know of them as “the others.”
[12:05] Gorm Runo: We get a hint that they are behind a lot of bad things happening on Gor, but we do not actually see one until the silly girl running around like a newbie on Gor, has a meeting with a man that claims to be the one that brought her to Gor, and tells her why he did it.
[12:05] Gorm Runo: He has a Kur on a leash as he talks to her.
[12:05] Gorm Runo: Elinor and the other slaves see the beast as like a Circus bear and make comments like:
[12:06] Gorm Runo: “The beast frightened us. We were pleased it was so tame, so under the control of its Master”
Page 103 Captive of Gor
[12:06] Gorm Runo: But, later in the cabin in the woods, a sleen has been tracking them and breaks into the cabin, the beast kills the sleen and begins to feed on it.
[12:06] Gorm Runo: The man holding the leash, knowing what is going on yells for it to “stop feeding, don’t feed.”
[12:06] Gorm Runo: “No, no!” cried the man. “Do not feed! Do not feed!”
The beast raised its head, half buried in the sleen’s body, meat hanging from its jaws.
[12:07] Gorm Runo: “Do not feed! whispered the man.
I was terrified.
[12:07] Gorm Runo: The beast was in its feeding frenzy. I suspected it could not then be controlled. Surely the man, who knew more than I of such matters, was almost beside himself with terror.
[12:07] Gorm Runo: “Stop!” cried the man.
The beast looked at him eyes blazing, it face drenched in blood.
[12:07] Gorm Runo: “Obey your master!” I cried. “Obey your master!”
[12:08] Gorm Runo: The beast looked at me. I shall never forget the horror I felt.
[12:08] Gorm Runo: “I am the master, ” it said.
[12:08] Gorm Runo: I think that when we first get a look at the power of the animal, and see a person lost to it, we might experience the same terror.
[12:08] Gorm Runo: It can be an act of senseless violence brought on by an irrational feeling of jealousy, or it can be a destructive addiction that rips the very soul from a
[12:09] Gorm Runo: Elinor like the man, flees from the hut leaving the beast feeding.
[12:09] Gorm Runo: We get exposed to the dark side , all of us do, sooner or later. We might shield our young from it as long as we can, but if we are in denial of its existence, we are shielded children still.
[12:09] Gorm Runo: But, we need to at least recognize it and its power. The first exposure to this idea comes here in Captive.
[12:09] Gorm Runo: The second example ties into a previous class when we spoke of the world that is and the world that is not, rather than the world that should be.
[12:10] Gorm Runo: The second example ties into a previous class when we spoke of the world that is and the world that is not, rather than the world that should be.
[12:11] Gorm Runo: It would be nice if we were not savage beasts
[12:11] Gorm Runo: that we had evolved past all that
[12:11] Gorm Runo: This idea is expressed a couple of books later when the girl telima appears on the Skerry where Tarl Cabot has come to meet the Kur face to face, and without weapons.
[12:11] Gorm Runo: “in the marshes, ” she said, “I was contacted by Kurii.”
She looked at me. “They desire peace,” she said.
[12:12] Gorm Runo: I smiled.
[12:12] Gorm Runo: “It is true, ” she said, angrily. “Doubtless, ” she said, “you find it difficult to believe. But, they are sincere.
[12:12] Gorm Runo: There has been war for centuries. They are weary of strife. They need an envoy, one known to Priest Kings, yet one independent of them
[12:12] Gorm Runo: . one whom they respect, a man of valiance and judgement, with whom to negotiate, one to carry their proposals to Priest Kings.”
[12:13] Gorm Runo: she goes on a bit later in what is to me one of the greatest examples of seduction to the dark side since I saw a t-shirt that said. “come to the dark side— we got cookies!!”
[12:13] Flavius Kjalarr (gnaeusflavius) laughs
[12:13] Gorm Runo: “What little I know, ” said Telima, “is more than enough. In the marshes was I contacted by a mighty Kur, but one courteous, one strong and gentle. I would be difficult to speak directly with you. It would be difficult to begin this work if Priest Kings understood our enterprise.”
[12:13] Gorm Runo: Page 272 Marauders of Gor
[12:13] Gorm Runo: Of course, this is bullshit.
[12:14] Gorm Runo: The Kur is there to kill Tarl Cabot, and the girl was just being used as a lure. She was offering the anti-reality argument.
[12:14] Gorm Runo: The dark side wants peace, it isn’t out to fuck you up anymore, sure it was bad for other weaker people, but you have balance and judgement and it respects that. Of course, we keep this quiet and don’t subject it to rational thought or the truth might out.
[12:14] Gorm Runo: Telima’s naïve and seductive words were totally dismissed. Tarl just smiled.
[12:14] Gorm Runo: He also killed the Kur with a knife hidden in his sleeve. The Kur came out with a big axe.
[12:15] Gorm Runo: Their exchange is one of the parts of the novels , like the Golden Beetles in Priest Kings, that I often struggled to understand.
[12:15] Gorm Runo: The Kur is surprised by Tarl breaking the deal and bringing a knife and says, “I thought humans had honor.”
Tarl replies, “well, you were wrong.”
[12:15] Gorm Runo: I don’t know. Maybe the message here is that our animal side and the addictive forces of the dark side are never to be completely trusted and we should never be seduced into underestimating them.
[12:16] Gorm Runo: I will say that over the years, when someone says the Gor novels were a bunch of books written about slaves and stuff, I would think of the passages I spoke of today.
[12:16] Gorm Runo: The girl fleeing into the woods at the sight of the beast, and then trying to convince Tarl the beast was really a nice guy, and I would shake my head and suggest that maybe the Gorean novels weren’t about slave girls so much after all, but more about Men and how they need to behave.
[12:16] Gorm Runo: We make excuses in that other world for weakness and failure. We shrug when the beasts are on a rampage.
[12:17] Gorm Runo: In the Gorean view of things, we don’t do that.
[12:17] Gorm Runo: We are expected to keep that beast on a leash and be the ones in control. Honor has little to do with the animal. It is a thing of the rational and spiritual.
[12:17] Gorm Runo: Well, I wanted to throw out all of these random ideas, and I could talk all day about the implications of the issues raised.
[12:17] Gorm Runo: But, I won’t.
[12:17] Gorm Runo: The idea was to show again that there is more than simple trivia in the novels and that it is fun and worthwhile to dig into them a bit deeper.
[12:18] Gorm Runo: Even if you should be doing so with restraint.
[12:18] Gorm Runo: puts down his notes
============================ after class discussion =======================
[12:19] P.Iornside (purunn): @
[12:19] Gorm Runo: ok, we can open the floor for any questions or comments on any of that. please type @ and “done” so we can stay orderly and not animalistic
[12:19] Gorm Runo: smiles at the Lady
[12:19] Flavius Kjalarr (gnaeusflavius): @
[12:19] Gorm Runo: thank you, Plu, go right ahead
[12:21] P.Iornside (purunn): along the line you have been speaking of Gorm i think it is interesting that although the Preist Kings and the Kurii are Mortal enimies there is one character that makes friendships with both races and that is Tarl….
[12:22] P.Iornside (purunn): it is almost written as though he has kinship with both, understands both, his mind understanding the PK while his insitincts understanding the Kur…..
[12:23] P.Iornside (purunn): in Misk and half ear we are almost given relationships to show us the best and worst about Tarl and through him humanity
[12:23] P.Iornside (purunn): done
[12:24] Gorm Runo: yes, very good. That fits with what we spoke of in the talks on the “superior man” idea of Gor. Not only taking the best of both worlds, but of both sides of his nature.
[12:24] Angel (thewolfslilangel): @
[12:24] Gorm Runo: Yes, Flavius
[12:24] Flavius Kjalarr (gnaeusflavius): You have wandered in Nietzsche’s world just a bit I think Gorm “He who fights with monsters should be careful lest he thereby become a monster. And if thou gaze long into an abyss, the abyss will also gaze into thee.” Or perhaps Uncle Remus “br’er rabbit and the tar baby” (for those of us old enough to catch that reference), but I tend to see the Kur much like the Klingons in Star Trek, a simple plot device; “good v evil” and all of that
[12:24] Gorm Runo: you were next
[12:25] Flavius Kjalarr (gnaeusflavius): done
[12:26] Gorm Runo: yes, I did want to keep reminding myself of that aspect today, because I tend to get addicted to searching out deeper meaning in things that don’t even have much shallow meaning.
[12:27] Gorm Runo: I do like the part, referenced by Plu, and more of what will make up next weeks class, about the connections Tarl does make with the Kur that are not totally negative.
[12:27] Flavius Kjalarr (gnaeusflavius) nods
[12:28] Gorm Runo: That is when I get into full justification mode for my own lusty behavior and excessive paga drinking in our taverns.
[12:28] P.Iornside (purunn): loll
[12:28] Flavius Kjalarr (gnaeusflavius) laughs
[12:29] Gorm Runo: I was wondering if any of the girls had a comment on my suggestion that the Gor novels were a “man’s manual”
[12:29] P.Iornside (purunn): angel put her hand up Gorm
[12:29] Gorm Runo: ahh, right, thanks Plu
[12:29] Gorm Runo: go ahead angel girl
[12:29] Angel (thewolfslilangel): Master.. as the story of the Kur unfolds we learn there are two sets of Kur in play upon Gor, those of the steel ships and the wilder more Ferrel, Kurii that have been abandoned almost by the “higher command” it has always puzzled me why the Kurii would abandon their kin to become wild and not rescue them?.. what indeed is the nature of that relationship?
[12:30] Angel (thewolfslilangel): Done
[12:31] Gorm Runo: oh, I love that question, because I have actually thought of it and have a “symbolic” explanation all ready. “laughs”
[12:31] Angel (thewolfslilangel): smiles
[12:31] P.Iornside (purunn): lmao
[12:32] Meg Madrigal: laughs
[12:32] Gorm Runo: I think people tend to view things way to simplistic. Like saying, we have an “animal” nature is very general, and saying addictive and irrational behaviors are dangerous even more general.
[12:32] Flavius Kjalarr (gnaeusflavius): @
[12:32] P.Iornside (purunn): @
[12:34] Gorm Runo: there is such a wide variety ,,from harmless to very dangerous. Some are even tinged with more rational thought than others. Things like a gambling addiction are less physical and more mental than, say, drug addiction. So, I always see a lack of unity in the dark side world anyway. It is usually wrong to lump them together and not see big differences in who they are and what dangers they present.
[12:34] Gorm Runo: yes, Flavius
[12:34] Flavius Kjalarr (gnaeusflavius): Orcam’s Razor, sometimes the simplest explanation is the correct one, we are after all taking about a work of fiction, this isnt the Dialogs of Plato we are talking about
[12:35] Flavius Kjalarr (gnaeusflavius): done
[12:35] Gorm Runo: although I suspect Flavius is right, but my example just shows it as a tool that I use to shape conclusions that I should and often do arrive at with other processes.
[12:36] Gorm Runo: yes, Plu
[12:36] Flavius Kjalarr (gnaeusflavius) nods and smiles
[12:37] Meg Madrigal: @
[12:38] P.Iornside (purunn): I agree with Falvius that the Preist Kings and Kurii are symbolic of good and evil but I think the author has made it alot more complex than that…in the novels it is not good and evil, black and white, there is honour and trust as well as distrust and lies is both camps….the two sides could be there as symbols of what happens when extremes are reached, either aminal with no logic to guide it or logic with no instint….both equaly as dangerous and both equally as untrustworthy in the long run
[12:38] P.Iornside (purunn): done
[12:39] Drusus (tippy.carver): @
[12:40] Gorm Runo: I love Lady Pru’s comments today. She seems very much in line with my own takes, and that doesn’t always happen. “laughs”
[12:40] Gorm Runo: I think what Flavius pointed out is that the question of angel did not have an answer. which was my point about ideas and not facts being presented. I could respond with an answer that reflected not just the books, but also my own world view and experiences. But, it would remain my opinion that would hopefully spur a thought process in angel to either see it that way, or throw it away as simple plot. Which always remains one of our options.
[12:41] Angel (thewolfslilangel): nods
[12:41] Gorm Runo: It is important to stress this I think, because it is often presented to new people as dogma when it is opinion and interpretation.
[12:42] Gorm Runo: and they are welcome to add their own takes to the discussions of it, which is way more fun than memorizing holy writ
[12:42] Gorm Runo: yes, Drusus
[12:42] Drusus (tippy.carver): I think teh High command had left the kurii behind to stow fear and cause mischief to the goreans, Tis lamsot like teh difference between a panther girl and taluans. easiest way to piss of a pantehr girl si call them a taluna. done
[12:42] Drusus (tippy.carver): meg was before me
[12:42] Gorm Runo: ahh, sorry
[12:42] Gorm Runo: meg
[12:42] Gorm Runo: go ahead
[12:43] Flavius Kjalarr (gnaeusflavius): @
[12:43] Meg Madrigal: thank you 🙂
[12:43] Meg Madrigal: Norman was an academic philosopher and I think there’s good reason to think that he used fiction as a way to illustrate his philosophy of the nature of human beings and his view on modern industrialized society and people’s quality of life.
[12:43] Meg Madrigal: I’m not so sure that I experience Gor books as a “man’s manual”. In the books I’ve read he seems to spend a lot of time focusing on his woman characters “realizing” their “true nature” which might be evidence of it being a woman’s manual. It’s been some time since I’ve read one, but didn’t women have “honor” too, as well as homestone ties?
[12:44] Meg Madrigal: done on these points I find I’ve been writing notes furiously.
[12:44] Flavius Kjalarr (gnaeusflavius): @
[12:46] Gorm Runo: yes, good points, meg. for one thing, I don’t think we are totally foolish for searching for the philosophy. He was not the best writer, but few believe he wrote only for the sake of creating mindless fiction. And yes, I agree that the message is a cross gender message as far as the most important basic behaviors go I think he felt women ,both free and slave , were being more true to their natures than Men were, and as a man, I don’t shy from taking blame for a lot of what is messed up.
[12:46] Gorm Runo: Flavius
[12:46] Gorm Runo: was next?
[12:46] Flavius Kjalarr (gnaeusflavius): Discussing Gor with people here in SL always reminds me of the parable of the three blind men asked to describe an elephant: and with that I will sit on my hands for the rest of the class. *grins
[12:47] Drusus (tippy.carver): miesn was more of a comment
[12:47] Meg Madrigal: laughs
[12:47] Angel (thewolfslilangel): giggles
[12:48] Gorm Runo: oh, I like that. Most people have heard me calling it a ball field where several groups have come to play “ball” and each is playing a different game, like football, or baseball, or basketball
[12:48] Flavius Kjalarr (gnaeusflavius) laughs and nods
[12:48] Gorm Runo: but, that analogy doesn’t explain why they haven’t noticed yet, when I add Flavius’s comment, it makes sense, they are seeing anymore than their game, are they?
[12:48] Gorm Runo: are not seeing
[12:48] Gorm Runo: even
[12:48] Gorm Runo: laughs
[12:49] Drusus (tippy.carver) chuckles
[12:49] P.Iornside (purunn): people can be amazingly blinkered when they want to be
[12:51] Gorm Runo: And I think that is why we play this symbolism game , too. I think one of the few things we share, like the players share a “ball” is our love of something in those books. Something that makes it fun, or makes it interesting, or makes it real. So, to me , examining things openly and seeking your own truths is one of the things that makes this great.
[12:51] Gorm Runo: ok,,,I didn’t miss anyone?
[12:52] Gorm Runo: I think I will have to get my assistants to open an im and keep the question order for me.
[12:52] Gorm Runo: I am not good at it
[12:52] Gorm Runo: smiles
[12:52] Gorm Runo: ok, we will call it a morning
[12:52] Drusus (tippy.carver): welll nto today Gorm your usally spot on
[12:53] Gorm Runo: and I wish you all most well
[12:53] P.Iornside (purunn): ty Gorm