Gorean Compass – Tribalism

The Gorean Compass is a class given every Thursday by Master Gorm Runo.  Classes are held at the Gorean Campus and are given at noon and 6pm SLT.  All are encouraged to come and join in the amazing discussions.

Tal and greetings

I have been thinking on the idea of tribalism, this week.   My investigation and research led to some very interesting articles that have recently been written on the subject.  A look for an online definition yielded this:

noun: tribalism
the state or fact of being organized in a tribe or tribes.
the behavior and attitudes that stem from strong loyalty to one’s own tribe or social group.
“a society motivated by cultural tribalism”

sectarianism, chauvinism; esprit de corps
“the latest waves of violence were blamed on tribalism”

I found it interesting that they included a “derogatory” definition that didn’t seem at all derogatory to me.  “The behavior and attitudes that stem from strong loyalty to one’s own tribe or social group” did not strike me as derogatory at all, but they added a “use it in a sentence” example that cast it definitely in a negative light.

“The latest waves of violence were blamed on tribalism”     Yeah, that is an unbiased example.

family tribe

There is no question that the Gorean society was very tribal.  In one of the later books, we are reminded of the idea that the Goreans do not understand the concept of “arbitrary borders.”   And the very first book, Tarnsman of Gor, features a classic conflict between the idea of the “nation state” and the smaller city states that reflects the conflict on Earth between the unifying idea of ‘one world” and “tribalism.”

At the time, John Norman was writing the early Gor novels, the one world idea was still on the rise, and once again, he seemed a bit prophetic in predicting the conflict and the rise of tribalism.   In an essay written in 2014, Robert Reich wrote an essay entitled. “Tribalism is tearing America apart.”

He says,

“The nation state, meanwhile, is coming apart. A single Europe – which seemed within reach a few years ago – is now succumbing to the centrifugal forces of its different languages and cultures. The Soviet Union is gone, replaced by nations split along tribal lines. Vladimir Putin can’t easily annex the whole of Ukraine, only the Russian-speaking part. The Balkans have been Balkanized.
Separatist movements have broken out all over — Czechs separating from Slovaks; Kurds wanting to separate from Iraq, Syria, and Turkey; even the Scots seeking separation from England.”
—–Robert Reich,  article in Salon.com.

This all made sense to me as a “Gorean”, because the more I read, the more I understood that tribalism was an evolutionary successful trait that contributed to the rise of humans as the dominant species and like many other such traits was being discarded by modern society to its great peril.


I came across this little tidbit of information in the Wikipedia article on Tribalism.
“According to a study by Robin Dunbar at the University of Liverpool, primate brain size is determined by social group size.[14] Dunbar’s conclusion was that most human brains can really understand only an average of 150 individuals as fully developed, complex people. That is known as Dunbar’s number. ”
One of the results of this little bit of exploration into a definition, especially by one such a myself, so inclined toward seeing symbolism in the early novels, was that I suddenly felt I understood a bit of the symbolism in the book Outlaw of Gor.   This is the second book in the series, and a hotbed of symbolic meanings with its drab female controlled city of Tharna.
In the book, Tarl is imprisoned in the mines of Tharna, chained to a collection of men, mostly strangers, and they are fed like swine from a feeding trough.
Tarl insists they act with order, and control, and rules, and respect, and distribute the food in an orderly manner.  This is the turning point for mankind. No longer would we be a pack of animals snarling at one another as we tore at scraps of meat.
And in this symbolic story of man’s rise from the depths (mines) of the animal to the civilized heights of the rational, Tarl lays out his Gorean version of tribalism.
“Little by little, I tried to restore the self-respect of my fellow slaves. It began simply enough at the feeding trough.  Then I began to encourage them to speak to one another, and to call one another by their names, and their cities, and though there were men of different cities there, they shared the same chain and trough, and they accepted one another.

When one man was ill, others saw that his ore sack was filled. When one man was beaten, others would pass water from hand to hand that his wounds might be bathed, that he might drink though the chain did not allow him to the water.  And in time, each of us knew the others who shared his chain.  We were no longer dark, anonymous shapes to one another, huddling in the dampness of the mines of Tharna.  In time only Ost remained frightened by this change, for he continually feared the flooding of the chamber.

My chain of men worked well, and the quota was filled day after day, and when it was raised, it was filled again. Sometimes even, the men would hum as they worked, the strong sound resonant in the tunnels of the mine.”
pages 157-158   Outlaw of Gor

he's my brother
This clearly lays out the vision of Gorean tribalism.  Note first that it contains no word of the color of one’s skin, or the geographical location of his home, nor of even family ties of blood.  The tribalism is based solely on the sharing of the chain.
This is what the Gorean tribe is all about in a nutshell.  Especially, the Gorean tribe that gathers here in Second Life.  People claim that humans are constantly evolving into higher and more rational, spiritual beings, and it is true.  But, we should be doing so in a controlled and respectful manner, altering and improving our basic natures, but never seeking to deny them.
So, our tribalism has evolved quite a long way from the days when we killed strangers because they looked different or came from a different part of the valley.  But, we have retained the positive and successful aspects of tribalism.  People log into second life, and they are, at first, dark anonymous shapes to us, but the order and structure of Gor, and the codes and laws that bind us together as a tribe and community soon shine light on that darkness.
We are of the same chain.   Think of that concept and what it means.  We are so different, so unique, and so complex that it is said we can only truly know 150 others totally.  But, we are socially oriented creatures, too.  We have evolved to our current state by cooperation and not by being alone.
We are of the same chain.   We tend to gather in groups that share our values, or have suffered similar misfortunes, or dreamed similar dreams.  We look for totems that represent what we share and have in common with others and we cling to those totems.
I am suggesting that the Second Life community has become a tribe in the truest definition of the word.  It would behoove us to explore the ideas of tribalism further, and look for ways that we can use it to make our online interactions even more fruitful and positive.

tribe-silhouette meme
It will not be easy to do this because the basic conflict is between one world thinking and tribal thinking, and we are awash in our RL life with the idea we are all the same and the individual is really unimportant,  And tribal thinking tells us we are all different and important, but we need to get along and cooperate despite that fact.
In the coming classes this month, we will look at some of the ideas of tribalism and will have a look at John Norman’s book “Time Slave” and how it relates and differs from his Gor novels.   We will have a class just on how men relate to other men in a tribal vs. a non-tribal culture.
I am looking forward to the discussions that this should provoke, because I think we are going to be attacking some sacred cows and exposing some deep philosophical rifts.  Which is exactly the goal of these seminars.  And it should benefit us all, because, we are all of the same chain, after all.  Or are we?

Different hands form a tower

A Brand New HOR – The Advancement of Mari

The House of Runo slaves undergo a rigorous training program in order to become full fledged HOR slaves.  The training consists of learning the ways of the house, learning to serve and learning what is expected of a HOR pleasure slave.  Very few have accomplished all the steps and met all the requirements.  That is why we are very excited to announce the newest graduate of the first level of HOR training and the newest full fledged HOR pleasure slave….Mari!


Congratulations Mari!  She now joins a very carefully selected group.

As a HOR slave she is considered to be one of the best of the best.  After working her way through each lesson and improving in her abilities to be exquisitely beautiful and completely obedient (and I might add pleasing) she was presented to Master Gorm Runo as a candidate for advancement.  Master Gorm Runo looked over the evidence and agreed.

So preparations were made and the other slaves of the House of Runo brought mari up to the Caer – the place of collaring and advancement – a sacred place within The House of Runo.  There mari and the other slaves waited for the Masters that would be involved to appear.

tiggy, rhiannon, mari and tabi waiting for Master at the Caer

Once Master Gorm Runo arrived the ceremony began.  In attendance was also The House of Runo head guardsman Master Draco.

Caer HomeStone: for in the vacinity of their Home Stones, men fight with all the courage, savagery and resourcefulness of the mountain larl.

Gorm Runo: mari, in all my experience , I have learned that the thing earned is the thing of more value. Many times, girls have knelt among these stones, and received the recognition of being known as a HOR slave. And despite the little play on words of those letters, it stood for the House of Runo, and Goreans who were dedicated to being the best.

It seemed fitting that we made a girl earn that tag. To show enough interest to actually work for it. You are already a beacon, girl. And even more importantly, your real training begins now. basic training is over, and now we will see if you are an “elite” slave like these girls around you.

— The Oath —

Gorm Runo: Do you submit yourself totally now, as a slave girl, to the House of Runo, and to its goal of excellence?
mari: “yes Master with all my heart and body I desire to be found to be worthy of such Master.”


rħiᾱὴὴoὴ: bounces on her knees .. “congratulations mari .. a wonderful day for you and for the HoR!”
Gorm Runo: and now, tabi, just the blood initiation thing. I always hate that part. “shivers”
TABI:giggles… well, she was forewarned!
mari: bites her lower lip softly but holds her position.
Ϯɪ͠ĝʟɛϮϮ: tilts head back and woots loudly “Congrats mari… never more truly deserved!! Well done!”


The traditional belly dance of the new HOR slave!

Gorm Runo: I hope this girl is just the first of many that will make our House known across all of Gor as the place where Gorean slaves are trained. kajira and we have a lot of work to do, too, don’t we girls?
rħiᾱὴὴoὴ: “Yes Master!”
Ϯɪ͠ĝʟɛϮϮ: always Master!!
mari : smiles “Yes Master

And thus The House of Runo grows and flourishes.  Currently there are three more girls undergoing training.  Our hopes is they will all follow in mari’s footsteps and achieve the lofty goal of HOR slave!

Gorean Compass – We Are Only Human

The Gorean Compass is a class given every Thursday by Master Gorm Runo.  Classes are held at the Gorean Campus and are given at noon and 6pm SLT.  All are encouraged to come and join in the amazing discussions.

Tal and Greetings

I want to start off today with one of my favorite book quotes.  It comes from the end of the book, Raiders of Gor, and has always been of interest to me because the Speaker is Samos of Port Kar. Now, Samos is one of the few characters that we get to see often in the book series who is actually born and raised on Gor.

Most of the people in the books who give us long and detailed philosophical musings are not native born Goreans, but were raised and conditioned by their Earth culture before discovering Gor.  Despite what our role play back stories might claim in our “Picks”, all of us have had the same pathway.  We see the Gorean world through Earth conditioned lenses, like Tarl Cabot, and Jason Marshall, and the pretty young girls who narrate the “slave girl” books see it.

So, Samos is an exception, and when Samos speaks, I listen closely.

“The human being,” he said, “is a chaos of cruelties and nobilities, of hatreds and loves, of resentment and respect, of envies and admirations. He contains within himself, in his ferments, much that is base and much that is worthy.  These are old truths, but few men truly understand them.”

Page 308   Raiders of Gor

and a couple of pages later, he continues:

“When you lost your images of yourself, and learned your humanity, in your diverse ways, and shame, you abandoned your myths, your songs, and would accept only the meat of animals, as though one so lofty as yourself must be either Priest-King or beast.  Your pride demanded either the perfection of the myth or the perfection of its most villainous renunciation.  If you were not the highest, you would be nothing less than the worst; if there was not myth, there was to be nothing.”  Samos now spoke softly.  “There is something,” he said, “between the fancies of poets and the biting and the rooting and the sniffling of beasts.”
“What?” I asked.
“Man, ” he said.

Page 311 Raiders of Gor



I guess among the reasons this quote is one of my favorites, especially when preparing classes on the “Philosophy of Second Life Gor”, is the fact that it encapsulates the Nietzche influence in the Gorean novels perfectly.   The pathway, he argued, to the superior human began with the rejection of “myth”, which would be followed by nihilism.  Exactly like Samos is expressing it here.  When you no longer believe that moral authority comes from some supernatural higher order, than the next step is to believe that there is no such thing as moral authority at all.  Nothing has meaning

And then, comes the Gorean realization, that moral authority doesn’t necessarily come from commandments written in holy scrolls.  It comes from inside each individual.

I often struggle how to explain this idea especially to people who hold religious beliefs.

They might tell me that I should behave a certain way because “the good book” tells me I should behave that way, and I tell them it is like a chicken and the egg thing, because I think I should behave that way because it is the “right” way to behave.    The Codes, we talk of so much in Gor, are much the same way.   The Warrior does not adhere to the Codes, for example, because they are the Codes, he adheres to them because they are proper way for a warrior to behave.   Of course, it is always good to have the “rules” match one’s own perception of what is right and wrong.


Now, this is all very simple and straight forward, but the problem comes when we fuck up.

And we all do, sooner or later.  For Goreans, it is usually sooner, because we are told to set high standards, and adhere to strict Codes, and behave in an unselfish manner that advances the entire human race, and for males to accept the responsibility for the fulfillment of our females even, and with all that pressure on us, we are going to eventually slip up.

This is where our Earth conditioning is hurting us, and we would be wise to listen closer to Samos’ words.    The advancement of victimization and the abandonment of personal responsibility so common in modern day Earth culture leads us to react to our own failures by placing the blame on something other than ourselves.   The sinner is quick to deny God, and the coward mocks the Codes.  If the rules are broken, it must be because the rules were wrong.

I always say that we should not use “we are only human” as a justification for failure and especially not for bad behavior.   But, “we are only human” is an explanation for why it happens.  There is much in all of us that is base and much that is worthy.  There is something between the fictions of perfection and myth, and the rooting of beasts.


Many years ago, when I got my first understanding of this concept, it had to do with the “failure of slave girls” which had become an online Gor issue.  A website had been started where ex-online slave girls who had “failed” could go to heal or something, and as I thought on it, the light bulb went off.    That website should have been called “The Quitters” or maybe, “Exit Here”, because the only way a slave girl could fail was to quit.  She could make a million mistakes, and many of them might come close to that mark, but they could only “fail” if they quit.

This applies to us all.  We are all going to screw up and fall short of standards.  We are especially susceptible to it because we do set our standards high and have Codes that are strict and unselfish.  Resist the urge to attack the Song, when the problem is the singer.

When I look back on my life, this lesson resonates very strongly.  I have done much I am ashamed of having done, and I have fallen short of my own codes and standards more times than I like to admit,  But, I have not given up.

A winner is

Second Life Gor fits into that first quote.  There is much in it that is good and much that sucks.  There is much to admire and much to abhor.  Maybe this isn’t such a bad thing though.  Maybe that is what makes Second Life Gor so real, and so addictive to us.   We would love to see the myth, a perfect world filled with extraordinary people doing amazing things, but many of us fear it is a cesspool filled with the dregs and predators of the internet.  I would like to think it is actually hanging in a balanced middle ground, and maybe that is where it not only should be, but realistically, it is the only place it could be.

Halloween – HOR Style

Halloween has come and gone and as usual The House of Runo had it’s Gorean Halloween Celebration.  Because we do believe that we are neither IC (in character) nor OOC (out of character) we do celebrate the earth holidays.

It has become a House of Runo tradition to create a haunted realm for Halloween festivities and this year was no exception.  Most usually this is created by tabi.   Every year seems to get better and better and this year the Caer Cadarn Haunted Realm took up a whole sim, but up on a platform.  Also this year a tour of the Haunted Realm was filmed and is presented here for your enjoyment:

And of course, what is the use of a Haunted Realm if we did not party!  The House of Runo is like most goreans and we love to celebrate life.  As such we never miss a chance to party.  A few parties were held at the haunted realm.  One was a tavern night in the haunted asylum.  Another highlight was a wild Halloween Costume Party held on the grounds of the Haunted Realm.  I do believe everyone had a good time.  Following are some highlights of both parties:

Dancing among the ghosts.  Everyone joined in.
Protocol is relaxed, yet slaves are slaves and Masters are still Masters.
Master Gorm as Gandalf from Lord of The Rings presided over the celebration.
Rhiannon and Tiggy with matching costumes.
Tuka as either a wolf or kur… either way, she’s a beast – with scream in the background!
Goreans celebrate fully and with exuberance.
The ghosts were restless, but that didn’t stop us!
Halloween – HOR style!
Halloween 8
Tabi the witch and Rhiannon the devil – the two who broadcast the music for the celebrations.

As you can see Goreans are not a stuffy lot.  All of us in Second Life Gor are from earth but we choose to live a Gorean Lifestyle.  That doesn’t stop us from having fun and from celebrating the holidays of earth we’ve all come to love so much.

Gorean Compass – They Sell Well

The Gorean Compass is a class given every Thursday by Master Gorm Runo.  Classes are held at the Gorean Campus and are given at noon and 6pm SLT.  All are encouraged to come and join in the amazing discussions.

Tal and greetings,

One of the discussion points introduced in this seminar and one of the questions we have been asking, as well, is “why are there so many females coming into Second Life Gor, and why is the male to female ratio so out of balance

Man woman scales concept

Last week,  at this seminar, it was suggested that this class and the campus as a whole did not accurately represent the male/female ratio. but I think that it actually does, and pretty much everyone who has been involved in online Gor for any length of time has observed the disparity.

In the book, Renegades of Gor, book 23, there is a passage that might shed some light on the issue.   It is long and full of John Norman/Tarl Cabot’s fondness for using big words, but I will read it here as it contains an important point as well as an answer to our question.

Tarl is discussing the reasons why Earth girls make good slaves, and after listing a few obvious reasons from the Gorean point of view, he says this:

“The major reason, however, in my view, is that the Earth female, raised in a pathological, neuteristic culture, one in which they are taught to fear, suspect, and reject their most basic sexual urges, and their genetically coded depth female nature, find in the natural world of Gor a wondrous blossoming of, and liberation of, their basic femininity, that of the basic, primitive, natural women.

After the constraints and lies of an environment warped politically to sub-serve unnatural interests and goals they encounter for the first time in their lives men who are quite different from most of the men they have been familiar with, men who have not been culturally tamed, men who have not been thwarted, frustrated, crippled, diminished and reduced, and nearly unmade, by calculated regimens of social engineering, men who straightforwardly, unapologetically, forthrightly, innocently, naturally, robustly, virilely, and powerfully desire them, and will possess them, and treasure them, and own them and master them, and fully, as men are wont to do with women.

They have then escaped the sexual desert of Earth and found themselves brought into the radiant , glorious reality of a word such as the Earth once was, a natural world where the males were men, and the females theirs.

I think that Earth females are prized on Gor for a very simple reason.  Categorically mastered, and owned, they make superb slaves.   They thrive in bondage.  In the uncompromising domination to which they are subjected, they find exhaltation.  Nothing less, than the fullness of their womanhood is permitted them.  They are grateful, joyful, to be at last a women in the arms of a true man.

………….Nature fulfilled is nature triumphant, and nature triumphant Is nature as it should be. Happiness is not evil.  Joy is not wrong.  How few people understand that! But, alas, how many livelihoods and profits would be jeopardized or vanish if such truisms were acknowledged!  In any event, for whatever reasons, Earth girls are popular on Gor.

They sell well.

That doubtless explains why they are being brought to Gor in ever larger numbers.” -Page  410   Renegades of Gor        (1986)


Well, that certainly answers that question.  Now, we know exactly why so many females are being brought from Earth into Second Life Gor also.  Apparently, they sell well.

But, if you take your time, and read that passage over slowly and carefully, you are going to see that once again the ball is being served directly into the court of the males.

The females, it is suggested, are fleeing an “environment warped”, and now for the first time meeting men who are quite different than the men they have known before.

The idea here is that the females are frustrated and denied their true natures by the failures of the men of Earth, and now they get to Gor and meet real Men, and now they thrive.

They must come through the gateway to Gor and to punch their admission ticket they need to be willing to surrender control and put their fate in the hands of their Men, who will guide them to happiness and joy.

found myself

But, look at what the Men must do to punch their admission ticket to Gor, and be worthy of the title Gorean male, or Master.   They have to be, at the minimum, culturally untamed, as the passage tells us, and then goes on to suggest a whole list of attributes that would , if openly espoused in Western society on Earth, get a person in serious trouble.  Toxic masculinity and Patriarchy run amok.    Sexist to its very core.

One of the great paradoxes of online Gor has been that from the very beginning the emphasis has been on the training of the females.  Great academies and slave schools have covered the landscape, and great detail and attention has been paid to training from the very beginning.  But, the paradox is that the books tell us that Earth females will come, in great numbers, frustrated and unhappy, disappointed and let down by the males of their world, but assumes that they will be greeted by true Men.   All of the schools and training courses should have been focused on getting males up to the level they needed to be.

The books are sort of suggesting that the females are going to respond naturally to exposure to real Men and a more natural dynamic between them, but, again and again, it is telling us that there is a pretty high standard to being male in this world.  It is unapologetic and uncompromising.


Yet, none of us males were born on Gor.  We, too , were subjected to the same regimen of social bullshit that the females were subjected to back on Earth, and we come to Gor with the same baggage and disappointments and frustrations.

For this to work, however, we had to dump our baggage, and take control.  We had to be the ones with no excuses, and standards so high that they seemed impossible to achieve.  Is it any wonder so few men are up to the task?

I sometimes think why there are more men sitting in Second Life “titty bars” paying lindens for females to remove their tops, or maybe, for a few more lindens, call them “hun”, than there are usually men sitting in my Gorean tavern watching a line of female slaves dance naked.

But, I know the answer.  It is clear as glass.   The man who pays for his little bit of sensual pleasure owes nothing in return.  He paid, he enjoys, end of story.   The man in the tavern should have taken on the mantle of responsibility.  He must be so grounded in Honor and so unselfish in his adherence to codes and duty.   He struggles to control monumental desires and lusts and animal impulses.

And, according to what I read in book 23 , earlier., he is responsible for the fulfillment and blossoming of the females of his former world who have been brought to Gor.


It seems very unfair.  John Norman did not anticipate the internet.  If he had, he might have told us stories of men and women going to Gor in equal numbers, and telling us how both genders were coping with the transition.  Instead , he created a world where frustrated females were going and meeting Gorean men.

So, maybe we have answered two questions today in that passage.  The reason there are not as many males in SL Gor as females might be that an awful lot is being asked of the men, and not that many are willing to pay the price despite the perks they get in return

and why are there so many new females arriving?

Of course, they sell well.