The Pursuit of Happiness

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 am happy to be back here after a week off.   I have been thinking of the word “entitlement” lately, and also of happiness.
Are we entitled to be happy?
Well, one of the definitions of entitlement tells us that it is the belief that one is inherently deserving of privileges or special treatment.
And in the famous Declaration of Independence, it says
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.
So, the pursuit of happiness is an unalienable right.    But, is happiness itself an unalienable right?
right to be happy
I think there is where our confusion lies, and the words entitlement and happiness connect.  We have a right to pursue it, but we aren’t granted any privileges or special treatment that guarantee we will find it.
In the book, Fighting Slave of Gor, #14 of the series, Jason is talking to a slave girl and decides to tell her about the women of Earth.   Here is the conversation.
“Would you like to tell me about the woman on my world,” I asked, “who are fine and free.”
“Are they happy?” she asked.
“No, ” I said.  “But neither are the men,” I added hastily.
“Surely some men and women on your world must be happy,” she said.
“Some, I suppose,” I said. “I shall hope so.”
There did not seem much point to me to tell her in detail of the broadcast misery on my world, its pettiness and frustrations. If one judges a civilization by the joy and satisfaction of its populations the major civilizations of Earth were surely failures. It is interesting to note the high regard which certain civilizations are held which, from the human point of view, the point of view of human happiness, would appear to be obvious catastrophes.”
Page 112-113  Fighting Slave of Gor
John Norman wrote that 38 years ago.   I have pondered on if that has become another of his remarkable predictions on the direction that Earth was heading.   Is there more broadcast misery on our world right now than true happiness and satisfaction?
I think so.    I think we have been sliding further and further into a morass that drains our chance of engaging in the “pursuit of happiness.”
And that morass is our sense of entitlement.  Somehow we have come to believe that we do not need to pursue happiness any longer. That it is a privilege and someone else has the responsibility to provide it to you seems to be the idea today.
On my radio show this week, I talked about the early days of Second Life.  I said that most people, calling SL a game, came into it expecting it to be a lot like Mario Brothers or Final Fantasy.   A world had been created by someone else and filled with mushrooms to jump over and dragons to battle, and you just paid your money, jumped over the mushrooms, and slayed the dragons.
What they missed was that SL was a blank and empty platform, and other users (players?) were the ones creating everything and paying for it, too.   But the sense of entitlement is strong in us and we came into SL expecting others to provide our fun and happiness, not realizing we were not going to be given it, but would have to pursue it.
This is at the core of entitlement, in my opinion.   We expect other people to provide our happiness, our security, even our liberty, and are upset and disappointed when they fail to do so.
A underlying idea in the Gorean mindset is personal responsibility.   The Gorean does not expect others to be responsible for his happiness.    And he does not tend to blame others for his lack of it.    It is on him.
Where this gets a bit more complicated is when we are discussing the M/s relationship that is such a part of Gor.
The slave girl is going to surrender to the Master, give him control, yield to his wishes and desires, and submit to his will.   Doesn’t that effectively transfer responsibility from slave to Master.   Is he not now responsible for her happiness?
One of my girls has been posing this question lately.  Is the Master or the slave “responsible” for keeping her slave fires lit?
At first glance it certainly seems that the act of surrender is going to change the responsibility dynamic greatly.   A Master is going to be accepting the responsibility that a girls basic needs are met, and if he wants to keep her surrendered and submitted to him, he had better be showing some concern with the “igniting of slave fires within her.”
But, I don’t think the Master is going to accept the responsibility for her ultimate happiness or lack of happiness.
Remember, the slavery we talk about in Second Life Gor is consensual slavery, and not the forced slavery of the books.
Who he is, how much honor and decency is within him, what he believes, what codes he follows and how closely he lives by them, how many other slaves her owns, and a host of other factors about the Master will determine if the slave girl is going to be happy submitted to him or not.
But, the sad truth is that she is not going to change him if something about him is standing in the way of her happiness.   Her status as his slave does not entitle her to happiness.  She can’t demand he alter himself, betray his codes, violate his standards, or even deny his own “pursuit of happiness” because she has surrendered to him!   The idea of vector is totally skewed once that happens and the whole M/s dynamic becomes something else.
Master change
I guess on the planet Gor where slavery was legal , an unhappy slave girl was just screwed.  That is why we do not really advocate for force and non-consensual slavery.  Everyone has an inalienable right to pursue happiness, and with consensual slavery a girl is free to do just that
Pursue it.  Chase it.  Seek it.  It doesn’t say it is easy to catch.  It didn’t apply that it is laying around all over the place and you just have to bend over a pick up a handful of it.  It didn’t say other people may be selected and appointed to provide it for you.  It is something we have a right to pursue.
Even within the world of pure role play, the idea of pursuit of happiness is important.  When a slaver has a girl begging to be sold or given to someone else, he has to rp that out.  To deny it and “force” her to remain in an unhappy or uncomfortable position will just lead to the big red X being used, and the girl might even be lost forever to our community.
Here is what I think, in summary.  We come to Gor to pursue happiness.  It is our right.  And we are responsible , totally, responsible for finding it.   We can’t look to others and demand that they accommodate our search.   Your Master, your slave, your fellow citizens, your fellow Goreans, the things you do here, can be the source of your happiness.   But, they are not responsible for providing it.
If you want to be happy, get out there and exercise your right to pursue it.

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