From the Gorean Compass class taught at Gorean Campus on Thursdays at noon and 6pm SLT. All are invited to come and participate in these amazing classes taught by Master Gorm Runo.
Tal and Greetings
Lets start out today with a quote from Marauders of Gor.
“Incredibly, perhaps, the values, wealth and power which had driven me in the forest, when I had sought Talena, no longer seemed of much interest to me. The sky now seemed more important to me, and the sea, and the ship beneath my feet. No longer did I dream of becoming a Ubar. In the north I found I had changed. What had driven me in the forests seemed now paltry, irrelevant to the true needs, the concerns of man. I had been blinded by the values of civilization. Everything that I had been taught had been false. I had suspected this when I had stood on the heights of the Torvaldsberg, on a windswept rock, looking upon the lands beneath, white and bleak, and beautiful. Even Kurii, on its height, stunned, had stopped to gaze. I had learned much in the north.”
Page 295 Marauders of Gor.
“Everything I had been taught had been false.”
That is a pretty dramatic statement for anyone to make. Lets talk about the ramifications of that statement and see if we can put it into the context of our Second Life Gorean experience.
Last night, in the Wednesday night discussion at Glorious AR, we were talking about some of the fundamental differences between Earth and Gor. I was reminded that the early books proudly proclaimed that they were “The Counter-Earth saga.”
On the surface, the expression “counter-Earth” could be taken to mean that the planet Gor was on the opposite side of the Sun, always blocked from view or detection from Earth because its orbit kept it always with the sun between it and Earth.
But, the meaning was much deeper than that. It implied that it was a society that was the opposite of Earth, and that society had changed the “homo sapiens” there in ways that made them different from the “homo sapiens” of Earth. It might have been called “Opposite-Earth” saga, and that would have more accurately reflected the authors intentions while crafting his fictional Gorean world.
Here is a short list of some of the major distinctions, or “opposites.”
1. The dynamic between women and men. On Gor, they were enslaving beautiful women and dominating the society. On Earth, they are screaming of sexism, wage gaps, the patriarchy and toxic Masculinity.
2. On Earth , the industrial revolution had ushered in pollution of the air and water, and lazy consumer driven people, with way too much idle time created by time saving appliances. On Gor, the technological restrictions of the Priest-Kings had led to clean water, clean air, and almost all research and advancement centered on health care, extending life, fighting aging, curing disease, and not on weapons capable of killing better and faster and from a greater distance.
3. On Gor, the governments were at the most local level. There were no countries with arbitrary boundaries, no United Nations moving us toward planet wide unity. It was a world of City states and villages, maintaining their independence in any way possible and resisting the control and domination of entities far distant.
4. On Gor, individual responsibility was paramount. A person was judged, as Martin Luther King put it, on the content of their character and not the color of their skin. On Earth, group identity is slowly taking over. Political writer, Ben Shapiro, claims that group identity is giving people moral status, not based on anything other than membership in a group thought to be oppressed. People are given a free pass, and their words thought to have more importance based on such things as their skin color, or sexual orientation, or religious beliefs. Gor is a world free from such prejudice, racism, and bigotry where people are held accountable for their actions.
Those were four of the examples of this Counter-Earth idea.
When you understand them, it is sometimes easy to see where we are going astray in Second Life Gor, often times even when our purpose is merely enjoyable role play and not deep philosophical engagement.
Many times in the past, attempts have been made to organize governing bodies, ie, groups of sim owners who meet to make binding rules that will make role play on their sims more uniform and co-ordinated, and they have always failed, usually miserably and quickly. Yet, in discussions, again and again, the idea is advanced. The reason usually given for why it is a bad idea is that it was tried and failed in the past. That is a totally non-Gorean excuse for not attempting it again!
A better reason for opposing it is point #3 on my list above. Goreans, not exposed to Earth’s worship of democracy, ie. the tyranny of the majority over the minority, would oppose the idea based on their own desire to decide for themselves what is best for themselves. The books tell us that the Gorean saying goes this way. “The Laws of a City do not extend beyond its own walls.”
Another example of this has to do with tolerance and inclusiveness, two popular concepts in Earth’s Western cultures. I remember an incident in the town square of a Gorean role play city several years ago, where an avatar arrived. It was a male avatar, obviously, but dressed in a long flowing gown, and behaving, well, offensively to the people that he encountered. A major discussion broke out in the city’s group chat that got quite heated and bitter. “we need to be tolerant of people, ” one side proclaimed when it was suggested that the person be ejected from the sim and banned. The other side , much smaller in number, was adhering to #4, and suggesting that the guy was acting like an asshole and behaving rudely, and should not be given a free pass simply because he was confused about his sexual identity and thus a member of a minority that has often faced discrimination and ridicule on Earth. In other words, his group identity was not a free pass to behave inappropriately.
I suggest that one of the most difficult things about our Gorean interaction in Second Life is that most of us are not aware of these major paradigm differences that really make Gor different than Earth, that make it, in fact, Counter-Earth. We think submissive slave girls and dominant Masters are where the differences begin and end. Thus, we bring our Earth baggage into Gor, and even into our role play without even realizing what we are doing.
I understand that there is a bit of “preaching to the choir” involved here today. Obviously, people attending a seminar that is called “Making sense of our Second Life Gorean world” are not the primary offenders of this baggage carrying tendency. However, we all might think of this analogy. When you are taking a plane trip, you usually check your big baggage at the terminal, and I think most of us here do that in Second Life Gor as well, but, once on the plane, we are also told to “stow our handheld baggage in the over head compartments, and put on our seatbelts, and place our seats in an upright position and get ready for take-off.”
All of us, myself included, try as we might are coming here with some hand held baggage. We are going to be totally unwilling to admit , as Tarl did, that we have been blinded by the values of civilization, and even less willing to admit that “Everything we have been taught is wrong.”
Yet, I think that if we are to ever maximize our experience here, we need to stow that baggage in an overhead compartment, at least while we are in online Gor, and then we can put on our seatbelts, get our seats in the upright position, and really take off on this journey.