Another in the series of Gorean Compass classes taught by Master Gorm Runo at the Gorean Campus every Thursday at noon and 6pm SLT. All are welcome to attend and participate in the discussions
Tal and greetings
All of my life I have been involved with and fascinated by role play type games. They gave me the chance to expand my imagination and for a short time pretend to be something other than what I actually was.
Long ago, before the internet, I was involved in Civil War reenactment groups. I would dress as a Confederate soldier and try to experience what it might have been like to march into a field shoulder to shoulder with other men and fire volleys of lead at men standing only 100 yards away shooting volleys back at me.
Even when I was serving in the Army National Guard, I realized that most of our drills were role play. At one time, a bunch of vets of the Vietnam war would go to the woods one weekend every month to role play the recently ended Vietnam War. An amazing device called, “miles gear” that we wore acted almost like the meters popular in Second Life combat. When we were “shot” by a laser beam from an enemy rifle, the device would beep until someone with a key turned it off. Realistic War Role Play.
Computers and video games opened that world up beyond my most wild fantasies. Now, I could pretend to be a general and command great armies. Or pretend to be a might warrior fighting awesome monsters to save a princess, or even a little Italian guy jumping over mushrooms.
The sky was the limit. I could pretend to be whatever I wanted to pretend to be while sitting in safety in front of some kind of screen or monitor. It all seemed so harmless, and so much fun, and there were even arguments that role play’s role was to expand our experiences, help us understand difference and even “walk a mile in someone else’s shoes” to see how we would react.
Certainly, the “combat role play” in the National Guard was training soldiers to perform more efficiently. So, I encountered the world of online Gor with a rather favorable outlook on role play.
But, in the past few years, I have noticed an increasing tendency in Western Society on Earth to leave the den and computer and gaming room and take “pretending” to a whole new level. They did not like to use the word, “pretend” because it had a meaning that suggested that truth was not involved, and began to use the word, “identify” instead. Identify had a much more truthful ring to it. So, now men could identify as women. Women could identify as men. People could even identify as mermaids, or puppy dogs.
So, it is no wonder that when Linden Labs introduced a totally new thing—- a user created interactive online venue—- people would find it a perfect place to pretend and identify. A show that was made about second life featured a young man that pretended to be a young girl. He created an avatar, and wondered around doing kid like things. The show made it clear that the young man’s real life was consumed by this. He was spending so much time at it that he didn’t sleep, eat, or even work anymore. All he did was learn what it might be like to be a popular and bratty 11 year old girl, something he would never have a chance to actually be.
So, it was not any wonder either that when Second Life Gor began people would flock to it to pretend.
When the early online Gorean thinker, Marcus of AR, wrote his essay on “The Philosophy of Gor” and 8 core concepts, the very first one said: “Be What You Are.”
Lets read what he had to say.
1) Be WHAT you are: Similar in many respects to a tenet set forth by the Earth philosopher Marcus Aurelius; namely that each thing which exists possesses its own unique singularity. When a thing attempts to be something it is not, problems arise. A man is a man; a woman is a woman; a tree is a tree; a flower is a flower. To the Gorean mind, it is foolish for anything to assume the properties of another thing.Therefore, each person is required to understand his or her basic nature, and to abide by it. According to such a tenet, therefore, it is assumed that there are needs, desires and activities which are specifically masculine, and those which are specifically feminine. Though the lines may blur at times, when all things are reduced to their basic forms, each thing is appreciated and celebrated for its own uniqueness, and is not forced to assume properties of another, different, thing.
Since this does not address the issue of “where you are”, but talks about “what you are”, it seemed that a logical rule for how people would interact in this user created interactive world of Gor would be something like this: Here pretending is all about where you are and what you are doing, but no one is allowed to pretend that they are something other than what they actually are.
This type of role play was no different than the Army role play. We didn’t pretend we were someone else, we merely pretended we were somewhere else doing something else. So, in Second Life Gor, we pretended we were suddenly on Gor.
Is it possible that confusion and conflict might develop in a role play world that has as one of its major philosophical tenets that we seek out and be true to our actual reality and has everyone running around pretending to be something they are not.
Sure, a Gor roleplay game, purchased at Game Stop, and played on our X-Boxes would be amazing and I would be first in line to purchase one and try it out, but, the truth is that Second Life isn’t a Gor role play game at all.
The truth is that at this point, I don’t think anyone really knows what it is really. Nothing like it has ever existed and so we have no reference points. Most people solved that problem by making it what was familiar to them. Many made it a game, and called it that. Many saw it as a chatroom, and made it into that. A lot of people even saw it as a sort of animated “Match.com” and made it that.
This is the essence of our current problems, as well as our challenge. Second Life Gor is increasingly drawing to it, people who are really engaging its philosophy. It is drawing more and more people distressed by the direction of Earth society and exploring alternative ideas. it is drawing more people frustrated and unhappy and thinking society is conditioning them in a dishonest way to deny basic truths and want to explore other ways to express themselves.
And it is, at the same time, attracting game players who poo pah all that, and say this is just a place where you get to be an Italian guy jumping over mushrooms if you want to be because we are free to be whatever we want now. We have evolved to shape shifters in the last couple of generations
So, our problem is how do we reconcile all these different motivations into some sort of a cohesive community. And also, how important is it, in a Gorean based community, to actually, “Be who and what you are??