Gorean Compass class offered every week at the Gorean Campus and taught by Master Gorm Runo.
Tal and Greetings,
Over the last few weeks, we have been discussing some of the tenets listed by an early online Gorean philosopher named Marcus of AR. Number 7 on his list of core Gorean concepts was “Responsibility for one’s actions.”
We have made reference to this concept several other times in different contexts, and it seems on the surface a rather simple and straight forward idea.
I think Marcus expressed it very clearly in his essay from the Gorean point of view and I think you will agree that it is a much more complex and timely issue than it first appears.
7) Responsibility for One’s Actions: This tenet is based upon the Gorean concept of basic “cause and effect.” It is through the practice of this principle that the rest of the tenets listed above make sense, and function. This is the belief that everyone, no matter how great or humble, chooses the course of his or her destiny. When a warrior
draws his sword, he can expect to suffer the consequences. When a Gorean submits to the bonds of slavery, he or she is expected to acknowledge and accept what occurs afterward. In such a way every choice made by every single Gorean is inextricably bound together with the choices of his or her fellow Goreans in a great interlinking web of cause and effect, a massive net of fate which moves the race forward into the future like an unstoppable juggernaut. Do whatever you want to, but expect it to effect you, either for good or ill. You are responsible for yourself.
Excuses are futile and no one wants to hear them anyway. If you screw up, take your medicine, deal with the situation and move on to the next thing. The basic rules and maxims of the various caste codes and the fundamental principles of Gorean interaction seem to be based mostly upon this concept; this, in effect, is the explanation for
Gorean “cruelty.” Goreans are not cruel, they are practical. “That which does not kill them makes them stronger,” to paraphrase from Nietzsche. If you wear the collar of a slave, look like a slave, act like a slave, and if you do not either fight your way to freedom or die in the attempt, then you must really be one. In any case, you most probably
were free at one point… so what happened? You either needed to be a slave, were too weak to stay free, or screwed up really badly somewhere along the way. Whatever the case, deal with it. Life is not fair, and most Goreans are far to practical to try to make it so. Life sucks. If you get hit on the head, don’t waste time crying about it… accept it and next time wear a helmet.
Quoted from the Essay. “What is the Philosophy of Gor” by Marcus of AR.
I think that passage is permeated with so much of what makes Gor unique and also points to what has hindered and haunted Second Life Gor, indeed, Online Gor, since its birth. It is another of those Counter Earth types of ideas that force us to turn a mirror back to Earth society and see how this idea of personal responsibility and an acceptance that life is essentially very unfair is not the direction things seem to be going.
One of the great dividing issues in Western Earth culture these days is the conflict between equality of opportunity and equality of outcome. The advocates of equality of outcome have turned “fair” into a sacred word. One commentator remarked that if two men were sitting in a room and one had five dollars in his wallet and the other only one, there are people who are going to claim that it is unfair, and that the only way that such a discrepancy could exist is if one man had exploited, robbed, oppressed, or otherwise hindered the poorer man from earning or saving an extra four dollars. The idea that it might just be harder work and more frugality on the part of one, and some personal weakness in the other would never occur to them.
Goreans have a saying, “Do as you will, the swords of others will set your limits” It is really a fancy way of saying that actions have consequences , and every choice you make is “inextricably bound together with the choices of his or her fellow Goreans in a great interlinking web of cause and effect,”
This concept so applies to Second Life and is at the root of the lack of success that has befallen many Goreans and Gorean sims and groups.
Many people come to Second Life with the equality of outcome mindset of Earth. They are used to elaborate games with elaborate graphics that they can bounce around in and they forget that Second Life was not created by a bunch of programming wiz kids and packaged up and sold at Walmart. They put in their profiles comments such as “This is my Second Life and I will do whatever I please.” And in 99% of Second Life such an attitude is fine. It is how the majority of people feel, so no big deal. But, in the Second Life Gorean community, it is a total repudiation of the very core idea of Gor.
The people that form the heart of the Gorean community recognize that we are indeed bound together in that web of fate and cause and effect and that the actions of people have consequences for either good or bad. They know that they are not guaranteed equality of outcome, and no one can guarantee that they will enjoy or benefit from their experiences here except themselves. Hundreds of people have struggled to build this world and to pay large sums of real money to maintain it, and they have watched hordes of people take advantage of it because they think that opening a Second Life Account is like buying a ticket to Disney Land and they run around like kids expecting to be entertained and enlightened.
This is not a new idea. An American President was stated, “Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.” This is the very point that I am trying to make today. We need to, every so often, stop and ask, “what can I do to make Gor better, or more fun, or more worthwhile?”
In the beginning of the movie, “The Dead Poets Society”, at a ceremony opening a new term of school, the Headmaster yells out, “What are the Four Pillars”, and the boys all stand and recite.
Tradition, Honor, Discipline, Excellence
What a Gorean moment. Those are the four words that best describe what the Gorean ethos and experience should be all about. If you come into this world with a sense of entitlement, and with a feeling that honesty is unimportant, or even with that Earth sense of unicorn fluidity that suggests you can really do and be anything you want whenever you want, then you are not going to further the understanding and execution of any of those four pillars and you are going to be a burden to the people that are fervently trying to do so.
It isn’t really that hard or demanding either. You do not need to contribute great sums of Lindens, or end up working harder in Second Life than you do in Real Life in order to create a positive influence in Second Life Gor. Just as Marcus tells the slaves that if you are a slave, be a slave, and do it right, and accept the consequences, we can tell the same thing to everyone regardless of Caste, or status. This is why he says all the other tenets rest on this one. Be who you are and what you are, and strive for those higher goals and standards and realize that we are really all bound together in that web of cause and effect, so when you improve yourself, you are helping all of us in that ” massive net of fate which moves the race forward into the future like an unstoppable juggernaut. ”
Another line from “The Dead Poets Society” that seems to fit here was delivered by the teacher to the boys. He tells them, “The powerful play goes on and you may contribute a verse. What will your verse be?”
Second Life Gor is a powerful play, and it will go on, and you can very well contribute a verse. But, you are going to have to accept the idea of personal responsibility and the reality that actions have consequences. You are going to have to leave entitlement behind like excess baggage and accept some inequality and a lot of unfairness. If you can do that, it is very possible the verse you contribute will be extraordinary. It is , in the end, all on you.
*Note added by Xtabi Galaxy: just found this and it’s so perfect I had to add it! I hope it works: Trust, Commitment, Love – Born with a silver spoon