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.
This class given on April 12, 2019
Tal and greetings
I came across a rather complex paragraph in the book Savages of Gor, and I had a hard time getting it out of my mind this last week. Part of the problem was John Norman’s pedantic use of big words and conversations that seem very unnatural in the context they are taking place, but even once I had defined the terms properly, the underlying message nagged at me.
I will give the entire quote and then we can break it down and see if we can make any sense of it, and also see if it has any application toward our Second Life Gorean experience.
It can be found on pages 298-299 of Savages of Gor
“The most pernicious beliefs, ” I said, “are not actually beliefs at all, but, better put, pseudobeliefs.
The pseudobelief is not assailable by evidence or reason, even theoretically. Its security from refutation is the result of its cognitive vacuity. It cannot be refuted for, saying nothing, nothing can be produced, even in theory, which would count against it. Such a belief is not strong, but empty. Ultimately it is little more, if anything, than a concatenation of words, a verbal formula. Men often fear to inquire into their nature. They tuck them away, and then content themselves with other concerns. Their anchors, they fear, are straw; their props, they fear are reeds. Truth is praised, and judiciously avoided. Is this not human cleverness at its most remarkable? Who knows in what way the sword of truth will cut? Some men would rather die for their beliefs than analyze them. I guess that it must be a very frightening thing to inquire into one’s beliefs. So few people do it. Sometimes one grows weary of blood-stained twaddle. Battles of formulas, you see, as nothing can count against them, are too often decided by wounds and iron. Some men, we have noted are willing to die for their beliefs. Even larger numbers, it seems are willing to kill for them.”
Ok, how many know the definition of “concatenation?”
Actually, it is defined as :a series of interconnected things or events.
I suppose that someone could have written out that paragraph in a much more concise and easy to digest manner. I had to read it several times and go to the dictionary once to make complete sense of it.
But, once I did begin to get the message, I was once again impressed with the fact that John Norman was seeing a trend beginning at the time he was writing these novels that would eventually explode into the idiocy of our current times.
In a seminar last year, we discussed how he had coined the term “signal words.” Those were those words and expressions that are thrown out in place of rational argument. When you call someone a signal word label, such as racist, or gamer, or leftist, or even lifestyler, it can not be defended by reason. The quote says they can not be refuted because they really don’t mean anything. They have “cognitive vacuity.” (Wow, how I love finding examples of non-cognitive expressions, and different ways of expressing the concept) Cognitive vacuity.
I had to look up “vacuity” too, and was pleased to find it is defined:
lack of thought or intelligence; empty-headedness.
Now, I was pleased to be able to define many of these non-cognitive expressions as not only having lost all meaning and use as communication, but also they imply that those who use them frequently are showing a lack of intelligence and empty headedness..
Anyway, it occurred to me as I thought on this wordy quote that I might have been on to something recently when I proposed the idea that the least by the book thing we could possibly do in our creation of a Gorean role play world would be to be too religious in our adherence to the idea of “btb”
My favorite part of the quote is when he says, “Who knows in what way the sword of truth will cut.”
When we create role play venues such as “ancient Rome” or “Game of Thrones” or any number of other examples, we can focus our major attention on the accurate depiction of how it might look and how people might speak and act within such a world.
The Gorean novels could give us a similar experience, unless we make the mistake of actually reading them and understanding them. When we do that, when we are really starting to be “by the books”, we have to change our focus a bit. We need to be more concerned with truth and the search for it than the physical environment in which it takes place.
I am not suggesting that we do away with the attempts to accurately create a realistic looking Gorean world. And we should not give up all the fun and interesting trivia that makes Gor so unique. Neither should we abandon the desire for role play that depicts great adventures and exciting story ;lines. And we shouldn’t stop seeking fun and enjoyment.
But, I am suggesting that the longer we stay here, and the more we learn of Gor and the deeper into the novels we dig, the more the search for truth is going to be forced on us.
Gor is a direct challenge to the pseudobeliefs that are becoming so prevalent in our modern society. This is one time I am not mocking the Liberal Left down there on Earth either. Both sides of the political spectrum are becoming more and more guilty of retreating into verbal formulas that defy refutation simply because, broken down, they actually are just virtue signaling and meaningless concatenations of words.
The Gorean novels are not self-help books that you can use to get comfortable. They are books of questions and suggestions that are demanding we re-evaluate some basic truths of human nature, and the natural order of the world.
I am sure many people will laugh off this rather dire warning about the dangers of participation in Second Life Gor, but my experience in the online world of Gor for the past two decades has shown me that you can not roll around in this for very long before some of it starts to get inside you. You can not continue to pretend to be a Man for very long before you begin to ask some serious questions about the responsibilities and nature of manhood.
And you can certainly not play a harmless game of pretending to kneel naked at the feet of a Man forever, before something stirs inside your belly. Maybe it will be a knot of disgust and a total rejection, or maybe it will be a smoldering ember of submissive fire, but sooner or later, it is going to be there.
Maybe, to get to my point here, we can see the whole idea of “by the book” as being the guiding mantra of Second Life Gor, but isn’t that a pseudobelief that JN was warning us about. It is the easy way because it doesn’t mean anything, and so doesn’t even require us to think. We say it, and go off to our other concerns.
I think it is much better to create a brave new world that is not going to be afraid of which way the sword of truth cuts. If we adhere to a definition of “by the book” that has, as the quote put it, cognitive vacuity, we are going to be continuing to operate a potentially dangerous and very adult community irresponsibly.
It is very clear that John Norman was not creating utopia and urging us to emulate it. He was showing us a rational middle ground, and that rational middle ground has been the thing that has resonated with us from our first exposure to Gor.
We have been gifted with the opportunity to create a real world here, based on the basic truths of the Gorean ethos, in many ways , a counter-Earth that is very strong, where Earth is weak. We are led by visions tempered by practical realities, and not by “sacred scrolls” or pesuodbeliefs.