Just a reminder that these classes are offered every Thursday at 12noon and 6pm SLT. Discussions are lively and fun and very welcome at the classes. All are welcome to attend. Now, on to the lecture from Master Gorm Runo
Tal and Greetings
I was a bit annoyed that I could not find my copy of Fighting Slaves of Gor and so am unable to follow my normal practice of giving the exact quote. So, instead, I will have to just do “story time” and say it in my own words.
The quote I was searching for takes place, I believe, in the cages of a slave house, where a slave girl is thrown to Jason Marshall for his use as a reward for fighting a good match that day. It is an interesting section anyway showing the confusion of the Earth man when confronted by the overwhelming femininity of a Gorean slave girl.
Not knowing what else to do with her, Jason strikes up a conversation to put her at ease and discovering her Earth origins asks her where she is from.
She tells him that she is from Nebraska or some such State in the United States, and it causes Jason to reflect on this difference in the Gorean world.
He notes that Gorean’s do not see boundaries as imaginary lines drawn on a map, but as matters of influence.
I am sure most of us, especially if we have origins in the U.S.A, have experienced the crossing of a state line. I tell of how I used to live about 15 miles north of the Arkansas state line and would drive visitors down to a seafood restaurant that sat just on the border. We would park and walk over to the sign announcing that you were now, “Entering Arkansas.” We would make a big ceremony of stepping over the imaginary line, and then we could say, proudly, we have been in Arkansas.
The Goreans would find this idea idiotic. What made one side of that parking lot Missouri and the other Arkansas? It was an arbitrary and unseen line. In human history, men have often left the comforts of their city and home to march way off into the wilderness to fight a war to preserve these artificial lines.
The Gorean concept is both circular and flexible. They see the Home Stone as the center of the Circle and their influence generates outward from the center in bands of actual control.
In the play, “The Lion in Winter”, the English king, Henry, is asked by the French King under what legal or moral authority the Province of the Vexin, belongs to England rather than France, and Henry answers, “It has my soldiers all over it, that makes it mine.”
This is exactly the Gorean point of view. What you actually control and influence marks the boundary and not imaginary lines.
The quote telling us this is short and buried in more interesting material, but it is a key element of Gorean thinking and is reflected in the totality of the novels point of view in several other key passages.
I have always seen it as a drawing inward, or a turning inward, toward the center rather than losing focus by always looking outward.
The technological restrictions imposed on the Goreans helps this, of course. On Earth, a man might wake up, flip on the television and spend the rest of the morning worrying about an incident that took place on the other side of the world, and despite its tragedy or impact on the people it involves, it actually has little or no impact on the watcher many thousands of miles away.
Much like Earth, until only recently, there is no instant communication on Gor and things happening far away eventually get reported by travelers and messages, but not for a long time.
So, free from worrying about what is happening all over the world, the Gorean is free to worry about what is happening in his own household, or his neighborhood, or his City.
I call this idea of turning inward, circularity or centrality, or sometimes just simply leave it at “turning inward, ” but I see it as a major difference in Gorean vs Earth thinking.
I used to make fun of soap operas and their popularity on Earth, and I guess todays “reality shows” have taken their place to some degree. The problem was that people would become so involved in the issues and concerns and problems of these other people that they could easily avoid worry about their own issues. We have talked of the acceptance of personal responsibility and not worrying about or blaming others for our problems.
The idea of personal responsibility is closely tied to this idea of centrality. The Gorean has three Home Stones. The first is his personal one. The one sitting in his own hut or his palace. This is the first concern of any Gorean. If his own life, and his own holding, and family, and his slaves are not under control and safe, he is no good to his city.
A man’s second Home Stone is the Home Stone of his city. Once his own affairs are in order, he is then able to offer something positive to his city, but if he has not lined his own ducks up in a neat row first, he is a burden to his city and not an asset.
A man’s third Home Stone is the planet itself. The word “Gor” itself means Home Stone, and this implies that man has a responsibility to his own planet and the “family of man.”: but like in the other case, if his city is not under control and safe and thriving, he is really more of a burden than an asset to Gor itself.
So, you can see how this idea of turning inward to the center and working out from there is reflected in this hierarchy of Home Stones.
I read an essay recently that seemed to suggest that this concept is one of the major differences between right wing and left wing thinking in Earth societies today.
The Right Wing idea is: Here is the world. It is what it is and we each have a chance to prosper or wither in it based on our own efforts. If we fail, it is most likely our fault and not the fault of society or others.
The Left Wing idea is: Here is the World. It is totally fucked up, and no one has a chance to prosper until we fix what is wrong with it. The ones prospering must be exploiting others, and the ones failing are victims of the system.
One way of thinking turns inward for the answer and the other way of thinking looks outward for the answer.
When you understand the inward turning tendencies of the Goreans, and their feelings about influence vs. arbitrary lines, it can provide story line confict for your role play.
For example, if a Gorean man is leaving for a city meeting and is told that there is a serious problem within his household, would he be likely to respond, “Gee, that is too bad, but I am late for this meeting!” or would he be more likely to turn back inward to deal with the household problem first?
This may seem a simple matter, but I think it is a whole paradigm change that takes us some time to get used to. We are all children of Earth and we come here to our Gorean community carrying the baggage of conditioning. We were raised on Earth in a culture of responsibility shifting and finger pointing. We come to Gor carrying our participation trophies and remembering the kind words that assured us that it couldn’t possibly be our fault that anything ever went wrong. It had to be someone else’s fault.
As a result of this conditioning, we spend hours working on making our cities great and strong, while our personal relationships are neglected and our own households failing and falling apart.
We attend discussions and moan about the sorry state of the Gorean online community because of all the messed up things being done by others elsewhere, while problems fester in our own sim.
We are very quick to point our fingers at others casting the responsibility for our own short comings on their unkind words or actions.
And we do all these things in a harsh Right Wing world. It is a world of personal responsibility, inward turned people taking care of what is most important first, and working outward from the center. It is a world of winners and losers where participation trophies are worthless. It is a world where everyone is expected to either fish or cut bait.
Many of our problems, both in the rp or lifestyle elements of Second Life Gor are caused by this disconnect from inward turned thinking or centrality. If we grasp it and can start to live more closely by it, our Second Life Gorean community will prosper, our own personal relationships thrive, and maybe most important of all. We will be much more like Gor is supposed to be!.