Gorean Compass – Howdy Stranger

The Gorean Compass class offered by Master Gorm Runo at the Gorean Campus within Second Life.  The class is on Thursdays at noon and 6pm SLT.  All are welcome to come and join in the discussions.  These classes cover Gorean Philosophy as it relates to either lifestyle or roleplay goreans within Second Life.  Timely lessons which are down to earth and full of wisdom.  Well worth the time spent!

Tal and Greetings,

Last week we talked about signal words.  Those meaningless words that are thrown out to make thinking a little less necessary.

I think the world’s record was set this week on Face Book when a meme was published that called a certain Earth political figure a total of 22 non-cognitive terms.   Some of them have been topics of previous classes, such as misogynist and today I would like to discuss the Gorean perspective on a couple of others.   They are racist and xenophobe.


The online dictionary defines xenophobia as a “hatred or fear of anything that is strange or foreign, including strangers and foreigners.”

If you are familiar with the Gorean novels, you will have come across the statement that in the Gorean language, the word for stranger and enemy is the same word.

It is mentioned many times.  The Gorean word for “stranger” and the Gorean word for “enemy” are the same word.

That would be considered a very xenophobic statement by many in modern Western Earth culture.

Upon deeper reflection, however, the idea that you fear strange and foreign things might well be one of those deep rooted genetically fired reactions to a successful evolutionary selection.

In other words, you have good cause to fear the unknown, and early humans that had enough sense to fear strangers and take measures to protect themselves from them might have survived more often and been more likely to pass on their genetic codes to future generations.


The citizens of a city on Gor like Kassau, that had been raided by the men of Torvaldsland, could easily be called Xenophobic for hating and fearing the ‘strangers and foreigners” to the North by progressive thinkers of today, but they might also be called prudent and wise by more conservative ones.

In the quote from last week’s class, when Jason Marshall was called a “sexist” and blew it off as a “signal word”, the girl responded by saying:

“I am afraid you do not share my values”

And that, in my opinion, is the real underlying key to this issue.   Progressive thinking tends to see the human race as one big happy family filled with different groups, perhaps, but basically all sharing the same values.

Since they are assuming that everyone has a shared set of identical values, they do not much like to discuss values, and tend to see anyone that is questioning this assumption as having hatred and fear rather than legitimate and prudent concerns.

The Gorean process would work more like this:  A stranger is one that we do not know.  Therefore, he may not share our values and he may pose a threat to our safety and wellbeing.  Therefore, he is an enemy. Once we know him and realize he does share our values, he is no longer a stranger, and thus, no longer an enemy.  In fact, he is now more likely to be a friend, or a brother.


You can find an extreme example of this in the beginnings of Nomads of Gor , when Tarl is going into the land of the Wagon People.  He is told that the Wagon People slay strangers.  And when he meets them, they do attempt to slay him.  But, Tarl shows courage, and then shows compassion and mercy, and these are all the important values of the Wagon Peoples and thus Tarl is no longer a stranger, and holds Earth and Grass in his hand as a sign of brotherhood that is displayed throughout the rest of the story.

The little incident at the beginning of Nomads, when seen in this symbolic manner, illustrates the Gorean attitude on the second of those signal words as well.

The four riders that confront Tarl are a very diverse mix of racial and physical characteristics that are represented in the tribes of the Wagon Peoples.  They range from the black skinned, to the oriental, to the fair haired blue eyed, and not one single reference is made to racial or physical characteristics that suggests those things have anything to do with “values.”

Racism is just that.  It is suggesting behavior or values might be somehow a function of the pigment of the skin, the color of the hair or eyes, or any other factor beyond the control of an individual.    It is an idea that is incomprehensible to a Gorean who understands rational thought and insists on personal responsibility and appropriate consequences for behavior.

Down on Earth these days, the idea of Intersectionality is becoming a popular idea. It suggests that the moral worth of a person can be determined by the group to which they belong and how oppressed that group has been in the past.  It would suggest for example, that the opinion of a black gay woman would carry more moral validity than the opinion of a white straight male, simple because of membership in three oppressed groups.   This is a total rejection of rationality and almost pure racism.


So, we are guilty of the xenophobia charge, but we are rather proud of it.   The world still is a rather dangerous place and in the past severely conflicting values have led to incredible violence and could well again.  It is wise to be prudent and to consider strangers as potential enemies until they are no longer strangers and we know that we share compatible values.

But, we are not guilty of racism.  In fact, it is one of the shinning stars in the Gorean online galaxy.  We reject it philosophically from every angle. It is not rational.  It is not part of Natural Order.  It is not something that could have been genetically programmed into us.  We understand that it is a cultural thing and a rather sick and shallow one at that.

With all that said, I wonder if we have been too open in our welcome to the Gorean community?  Over the years, I have seen many “Welcome Centers” and sims advertising “Beginner Friendly.”
We have displayed a very good public relations orientated attitude toward “newbies” that has made many of us feel all warm and fuzzy as we stand with open arms welcoming them to our world.

But, has that been really a proper Gorean approach?  Would it be a bit wiser and more prudent to remember that the word for stranger and enemy is the same, and the new person we might be welcoming so effusively to our world might not share our values, and the conflict that might ensue could be dangerous.


Obviously, slamming shut and locking doors is the opposite extreme and does not jive well with our sense of balance, and the middle ground might be understanding and practicing the process illustrated in our Nomads of Gor story.   We can be a bit stand offish and waste no time demanding new people quickly establish that they do share our values, and mean us no harm. Insist that they quickly cease being strangers and foreigners, because after all , for us Goreans, once you are no longer a stranger, and once you have impressed us, not with the color of your skin or hair, and not with your race or place of origin, but with your Honor, your courage, your honesty, you are very likely to become our friend and even our brother.

This idea applies across the board.  Pure role players creating story line role play in BTB sims, would do well to think in terms of quality rather than quantity in their recruiting.  Lifestyle Goreans certainly have a concern about the quality and motivations of the people with whom they interact in Second Life Gor.

Maybe our detractors will have more cause to hurl signal words at us like ripe larma fruit, but we are not worried about name calling.  A little xenophobia might help raise the bar across the whole spectrum.  Very rarely has anything been made less by raising its standards.


And we know we are not racists.  The very idea is enough to make a Priest King weep. and curl his antenna with disgust.

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