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 was held on October 18, 2018
I have often tried to apply this analogy to Gor, and especially to the online Gorean community of Second Life. It seemed the same problems that Lewis was trying to rationalize existed in our community in much the same way they did in Christianity. In this very seminar, we have heard person after person claim that Gor was a matter of personal interpretation. Even our long time solution of “read the books” did no good, because the response was,
“Everyone interprets the books differently based on their own beliefs.”
John Norman was not much help. The books do contain a lot of apparent contradictions, and spanned almost half a century of writing during which it is obvious that the authors view was maturing and changing, much as his characters were evolving as they became more Gorean and less Earthling. Even the idea that we have discussed frequently in this class contributed to the confusion. If John Norman was actually creating a “Bad Gor” to suggest that what he really was trying to get us to understand was that we needed to find a balance between the two extremes, it made interpretation of the books even more diverse.
So, what if we took the same approach as C.S. Lewis and viewed Gor as a hotel. It has a lobby where we all can mingle, and a lot of different rooms where we get a bit more specific about what we believe and how we practice it. If we do this, like Lewis had to do, we would be looking for what allows us to even claim we are inside the lobby. The question is
“What makes you able to claim the label of Gorean?”
If you look at the history of online Gor, the answer would be obvious. You are a Gorean if you say you are a Gorean. C.S. Lewis would not accept that and he came up with about seven basic things that you had to believe if you claimed to be Christian. Only seven! That is why I have always tried to apply this model to Gor. What if we had seven, or maybe even a few less, basic requirements? It seems that this would have been useful, but the problem would be defining those basic requirements.
Here is an example. Let us suppose that the rules at the front door of our hotel claim that you must accept that there are only two genders, male and female, and that they are very different. Who could come inside then? Remember, we are talking about the lobby, and not what is going on inside the separate rooms. Obviously, someone who believed that gender was a social construct and not a biological reality would not get inside. How about Gay Gor? Well, it seems that is something going on inside one of the rooms. It has nothing to do with the basic premise of two different genders. What about a transgender person? This also seems to fit more inside a room than the lobby. After all the transgender person might not be denying that there are two genders and they are different. They have simply switched from one to the other, correcting what they believe was a biological error.
Approaching things this way takes a great deal of mental self discipline. Our likes and dislikes do not factor into the evaluation. You might not be comfortable with some of the things going on inside the individual rooms of our hotel, but in that case, you just spend your time in other rooms and do not go in the ones that do not make you feel comfortable. If we are able to do this all the time, we reduce the number of friction points to a reasonable amount. The only ones that we might be suggesting do not belong in our community would be the ones in total denial of our basic premise and are claiming that there are 96 different genders and we can slide back and forth between them at will.
I do not see much difference in this approach between those who call themselves role players and those who call themselves lifestylers. A role player might be more open to different beliefs once logged out of SL, but would not be “rping” these things when logged in. The lifestyler would hold these beliefs on both sides of the monitor, but inside the Second Life Gorean community, both groups would be on the same page. The lifestyler claims that it is the right way to live, and the role player claims it is the right way to role play, but the end result is the same.
The Gorean world as created by John Norman has a great deal of natural diversity. We see examples of it in book after book. People of all nationalities, races, colors, religious beliefs, and sexual orientations mingling together in the large cities, and at the Sardar Fairs. We tend to view Gor as a barbarian planet, and it is true that they are brutal, and warlike. We can not call Gor a utopia, by any means, and even the idea that Norman was painting in some “Bad Gor” to give us the “too hard” extreme does not make it easier for some of us to accept what we are reading.
Still, we can be proud of the other side of the coin. Earth is being divided on exactly those kinds of racial lines. By comparison, Earth is the cesspool of prejudice and intolerance. The enemy in Gor are the Kur. They represent the animal side of our human nature, and we are battling to control that side and pay more homage to the rational. I would suspect that there is no Gorean word for genocide. I doubt that any Gorean Martin Luther King would stand up in Ar to claim that we must judge people by the content of their character and not the color of their skin. A Gorean crowd would not cheer that statement. They would all say “Duh”
It is this natural diversity in Gor that makes the hotel idea attractive to me. Goreans are way more tolerant than the people of Earth. There is room inside our community for a great variety of beliefs and a great many ways to express them. We already judge people on the content of their character, and we do not care at all about what color their skin is or what God they worship. We also do not care who they chose as sexual partners. We can have a lot of rooms in our Gorean hotel, and in that diversity is our true strength. I might add, it is one of the things that does make us superior.
Still, we do need some rules for the lobby. If we have none at all, it will dilute our real values, and we will eventually be Earth society wearing different clothes, and saying Tal, instead of Hello. I think we are really more than that. But, what are those lobby rules? I suggested one today, and in the classes that follow, we will talk about some more.
I do not do this because I think we should be tasked with making up a list of “rules” and posting them on the lobby door. I am not sure that we will ever be able to agree on even a short list, and until we get a writer with the genius of C.S. Lewis, we might not even get a coherent list that the majority accepts. But, that doesn’t matter. The idea is to focus the discussion onto the important matters and make it so that we are not wasting our time on the trivial, the personal, and some of the very same idiotic issues tearing Earth society apart.