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 January 31, 2019
“Right,” said Hrutha, ” if that is what you are interested in, seems to me a very hard thing to understand. I am not sure if there is really any such thing, at all. I have never tasted it, nor seen it, nor felt it. If it does exist, it seems likely to me that it would be on both sides, like sunlight and air. Surely no war has been fought in which both sides have not sincerely claimed, and presumably believed, for one reason or another, that they were “right.”
Page 45 Mercenaries of Gor
Once again, this is the time that you need to stop and take out the compass . You need to point it toward truth and reality and follow where it points, even if you have to wade neck deep into the swamp.
Anyway, in a rambling sort of way, that expresses a philosophical approach to Gor that seems to have become firmly entrenched in my mind, and I sometimes wonder how in hell I ever got so enamored with it. Then, I pick up one of the books, and thumb through it, and find a passage like this one.
“Culture decides what is truth, but truth, unfortunately for culture, is unaware of this. Cultures, mad and blind, can die upon the rocks of truth. Why can truth not be the foundation of culture, rather than its nemeis? Can one not build upon the stone cliffs of reality rather than dash one’s head against them? But, how few humans can think, how few dare to inquire, how few can honestly question. How can one know the answer to a question which one fears to ask?
Page 11 Explorers of Gor
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 January 24, 2019
“In short: males and females are far more similar than different.
Today’s existing sex-role differentiation is the product of a patriarchal society based on male dominance. In that system, males are socialized into patriarchal masculinity to become men, and females are socialized into patriarchal femininity to become women.
In patriarchy, sex-role differentiation supports male power and helps make the system’s domination/subordination dynamic seem natural and normal. Moral, intellectual, and emotional traits are assigned differentially to each sex, creating what we today typically call gender roles. This patriarchal system of control—which is complex, adapting to changing conditions and to resistance—is designed to justify and perpetuate male dominance.
The gender roles in patriarchy are rigid, repressive, and reactionary. These roles constrain the healthy flourishing of both males and females, but females experience by far the most significant psychological and physical injuries from the system.
In patriarchy, gender is a category that functions to establish and reinforce inequality.
“The Goreans do not believe, incidentally, that the human being is a simple function of the independent variables of his environment. They have never endorsed the “hollow body”, theory of human beings, in which a human being is regarded as being essentially a product of externalities. They recognize the human being has a genetic endowment which may not be , scientifically, canceled out in favor of the predilection of theories developed by men incompetent in physiology.”
Hunters of Gor, page 311
“Further, in the Gorean view, female slavery is a societal institution which enables the female, as most Earth societies would not, to exhibit, in a reinforcing environment, her biological nature. It provides a rich soil in which the flower of her beauty, and nature, and its submission to a man, may thrive.”
Page 311 Hunters of Gor
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 January 10, 2019
Tal and greetings,
Last week, I said that we would be asking questions this year in this seminar. I said that I did not have a lot of answers.
The advertisements for this course, that the campus is nice to provide for the seminar, sometimes refer to me as “an experienced educator”, and I think that actually suggests that I know the answers and people should come here and learn them from me.
When a class is given on just about any other topic here at the Campus, it is important to do what is called “citing from authority.” That is when we use a book, or the words of someone qualified and educated, to back up the facts that we are presenting. This method works well, and is essential when the subject is any of the trivia that makes the Gorean world so rich and unique.
When you are teaching the geography of Gor, or the customs of the people of the Tahari, you are presenting facts and you need to be prepared to back these facts up, usually with the appropriate book quote. The idea of a seminar on the philosophy underlying Second Life Gor, and our participation in it, does not work that way. In fact, it is fairly important that I avoid “citing from authority.”
I think it is also wrong to try to pretend to some special insight or secret knowledge, or even worse, to some authority of my own, to attempt to impose my beliefs or interpretations of Gor on the people that attend.
In the third book of the Counter Earth Saga, Priest-Kings of Gor, there is a scene at the end that serves as a bit of a guide to this approach.
Tarl has spent most of the book in the Nest of the Priest-Kings, high in the Sardar Mountains, and is involved in the Nest War, and arguably understands more about the true nature of things there than just about any other man on Gor. When he leaves the Sardar, the gravitational field of Gor has been weakened, and of course, this is felt, but not understood, by the Goreans below, and the High Initiates from the various Gorean cities, and thousands of worried people, have gathered to perform sacrifices and rituals to appeal to the “Gods/Priest-Kings” to have mercy on them, and save them
Tarl, for a moment, is tempted to use his position as one who has “seen the Priest-Kings in person” and knows their will, to try to instill some positive values in the people.
Every time I read that part, I think of our Earth culture and its insane habit of thinking that there are people who have wisdom and should be listened to based on something other than displaying wisdom. For example, if a person can throw a football well, he obviously is an authority on which razors shave best, and which jeans are the most comfortable.
Perhaps, the most insidious example is that if a person is a good actor, he must be an authority on politics and we should listen closely to his opinions.
In any case, Tarl says he is tempted. This is the quote.
“I had hoped that might have used these moments, that priceless opportunity, before the men of Gor realized that the restoration of gravity and normal conditions was occurring, to command them to give up their warlike ways and turn to the pursuit of peace and brotherhood, but the moment, before I realized it, had been stolen from me by the High Initiate of Ar, and used to his own purposes.”
Priest Kings of Gor, page 297.
Tarl had just come “from the Gods” so to speak, and thought to take advantage of this situation to command people to behave the way he thought they should behave. He watches as the Initiates steal the spotlight, and even clearly try to prevent the people from knowing the truth that Tarl had actually emerged from the Sardar.
Later, however, Tarl discovers a strange truth about the High Initiate. Here is their conversation.
“And how do you differ?” I asked.
“I –and some others—” he said, “wait for man.” He looked at me. “He is not yet ready.”
“For what?” I asked.
“To believe in himself,” said Om, incredibly. He smiled at me. “I and others have tried to leave open the gap that he might see it and fill it—and some have–but not many.”
“What gap is that? I asked.
“We speak not to a man’s heart,” said Om, “but only to his fear. We do not speak of love and courage, and loyalty and nobility–but of practice and observance, and the punishment of Priest-Kings–for if we so spoke, it would be much harder for man to grow beyond us. Thus, unknown to most members of my caste, we exist to be overcome, thus in our way pointing the way to man’s greatness.”
Page 300-301 Priest Kings of Gor
That quote captures the experiences of many of us that come to Second Life Gor. We do not always come here worried about love, and courage, and loyalty, and nobility. We get wrapped up in trivia, practice, and observance, and rules. Even most of our best role play sims have focused on getting details right at the expense of the big picture.
This was the problem with the BTB approach to Second Life Gor. It was not speaking to man’s heart either, but only to his fear. It was a fear of not doing the little things the way the books were written.
Yet, this kept our eyes focused on little things, and not on the deeper truths, and hidden meanings found in the books. Perhaps, the BTB movement, like the Initiate Caste that Om spoke of, existed to eventually be overcome, too. Maybe it was there only to point the way to man’s greatness?
I, personally, believe Gor is very much about believing in yourself, and being true to yourself. It is an extremely individual journey into an alternative way of thinking. This is why I have never found anything of benefit in creating alts, or in establishing a role play persona where my attributes are determined by choice, or the role of dice.
What was I going to learn about myself by pretending to be someone else? Or by changing the reality of who I was, day to day, with the fluidity that is so popular in our modern day society?
I wanted to address those more important things. My experiences in first life, on Earth, had only created confusion about the meaning of love, and what true courage was like. I had seen way more displays of disloyalty than of loyalty, and I thought much of what constituted nobility was slowing seeping from out culture.
What if “Counter Earth” had some insights into what was going wrong, and how I might, as an individual, take a stand, and not be swept up into the increasingly foul cesspool of a failing society on Earth?
So, jumping into an online world of Gor made a lot of sense to me. Despite the demands on my time, and despite the handicaps of an online world, I thought and hoped to find something different here, and maybe some insights. I was willing to learn the trivia, and the practices, and the observances, but I did so with the idea of eventually “overcoming” all that and finding the greatness of man.
Many of the past seminars have focused on how bringing the baggage of Earth to Second Life Gor has messed up that process. Way too often, we are men of Earth with all our warped ways of behaving, dressed in Gorean clothes, and observing Gorean customs, while making the same mistakes that have marred our First life experiences.
I have been listening to people urging that we need to take a much harder approach to Gor. If we are going to be a true Counter Earth, we have to leave the baggage behind, and, perhaps, be much harder, much more demanding of excellence, and much more aware of the importance of Honor.
The problem is that a lot of people take the other side of the issue. They claim that online Gor is nothing more than a game, or a way to relax after the hard daily struggles of real life. They view it as pure recreation and do not buy into the idea that there could be something more.
At the end of Priest Kings, Tarl is in a symbolic way, in that same position. He is being asked to go to the land of the Wagon Peoples and search for the last egg of Priest Kings. The mission is going to be dangerous, difficult, and with little chance of success. The alternative is to continue his search for his true love, talena, and to enjoy the physical pleasures available in the wild and primitive world.
So, I guess I really did identify with him, when long ago, I sensed something deeper in this Gorean thing than simply the flesh of women, and the intoxication of paga. Why embark on a journey to the difficult, dangerous, and little chance of success land of self discovery, and honest reflection? Why not just lighten up and enjoy it. So, what if you didn’t really understand love? Or knew what it was to possess true courage? What did it matter if you had never really had your loyalty tested? Who cared if your existence was more base than noble?
You could have fun, focus in on little by the book technicalities to prove how cool a Gorean you really were.
But, when Tarl is standing talking to Misk at the close of the book, Misk suggests this idea of recurrence. What if existence was a recurring cycle, and we found ourselves facing the same choices again and again. Here is what he said.
“Perhaps,” he said, “we have stood here, on this hill, thusly together, unknown to either of us, already and infinite number of times.” The wind seemed now very cold and very swift.
“And what did we do?” I asked.
“I do not know what we did,” said Misk, “But, I think I would now chose to do that action which I would be willing that I should do again and again, with each turning of the wheel. I would choose so to live that I might be willing that I should live that life a thousand times, even forever. I would choose to so live that I might stand boldly with my deed without regret throughout eternity.”
Wow. That is a pretty high standard.
I think from the first time, I read this passage, my decision was made on how I was going to approach Second Life Gor. It is something so different, so unique, so full of potential, that to waste it was going to be a shame.
Yet, what a standard.
Each action I took, would be taken in such a way, that if I was to find myself in some loop, facing the same circumstances again and again, I would always behave the same. I would take the high ground, and behave so that if I did find myself repeating events in some future cycle of life, I would act the same always, standing boldly with my deeds, and without regret.
Obviously, I have fallen way short of such lofty goals, many times. I have a whole lot of regrets, and would act differently if given another chance. But, that does not matter, and as we read the books, we are told again and again that failure and falling short is not the end, but just a lesson and a learning experience on the way. It is holding up that standard and striving for it that really matters in the end.
But, my friends, this is me.
I am not speaking from any position of authority. I am not advising people how to approach Second Life. I am not sure my way is not a waste of time, and maybe I have missed out on some physical pleasure, and hedonistic joy, by pursuing it. I think looking for something more in the Gorean experience has enriched my life, and that has made it worthwhile to me. I can only hope, whichever course you all chose to follow here will do the same for you.
I wish you all well on that personal journey.
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 January 3, 2019
Tal and greetings,
I am excited to be back at the Campus to begin another year of seminars trying to make sense of our Second Life Gorean experience.
During the holiday, as I was preparing for the new year’s classes, I found myself returning to the slim volume 1, Tarnsman of Gor. I read again those first fifty or so pages that tell the story of Tarl Cabot coming for the first time to the planet Gor. He gets to meet his father, and hear a bit about Counter Earth, and the Priest Kings. He drinks his first glass of Ka la Na, and he sees his first female slave girl. I picked out three short passages that I thought might be of interest.
At the end of Chapter 2, on page 36, Tarl is telling us that he plans to record and share his experiences with us, and he states that he thinks the Priest Kings are allowing him to do this and he speculates on their reasons.
“It appears great efforts have been made to control the actual orbit and speed of rotation of Gor to keep it directly opposite of Earth on the other side of the sun where it can not be detected.”
Why then would Tarl be “allowed” to record his adventures and eventually get them back to Earth where they could be published and the secret exposed? After thinking of some possible reasons, such as vanity, he finishes with the following thoughts on the subject.
“After all, suppose you should accept this tale, should learn of the Counter Earth and the voyages of Acquisition, what could you do?
You could do nothing, you with your rudimentary technology of which you are so proud—-you could do nothing for a thousand years, and by that time, if the Priest-Kings choose, this planet will have found a new sun, and new peoples to populate its verdant surface.”
-Tarnsman of Gor page 36.
Indeed, in the year 1966, when those words were written, what could we do?
I have suggested that John Norman had seemed almost like a prophet predicting the increasing social problems that have inflicted Earth in the 55 years since that was written, but he clearly did not predict the one major technological advance, of which we are so proud, that changed everything. I do not think he knew that this amazing thing called the internet was looming in the near future, and it was going to be a game changer.
I remember when I read the first dozen books. I remember the reaction to them and how deeply they resonated with something inside me. Yet, what could I do?
I did not know a single person who had read them, with the exception of my nephew who gave them to me as he departe
d for the Navy. I knew that there had to be other like minded people out there, but I had no way to contact them, and certainly no way to interact with them.
Tarl suggested we could “do nothing for a thousand years.” He was quite a bit off. The internet was going to usher in the new age of massive connectivity and we were going to be able to do something about it in way less than a thousand years. I think this is an important thing to keep in mind as we interact with each other here in Second Life Gor. We weren’t suppose to be able to do this yet.
You almost wonder what might have happened if the books had been written with the knowledge that the internet would give us the ability to recreate Gor and, to some degree, actually live in it through the use of avatars.
A word that we in Second Life Gor hear often is “drama.” Drama has always been a part of our experience here. It is such a major part that most of us have recognized that the people who write in their profiles that they detest it and refuse to have anything to do with it because they are tired of it all the time, are actually, usually, the ones that cause the most of it.
When Tarl meets his father for the first time, they share this emotional moment.
“We met in the center of the room and embraced. I wept, and he did, too, without shame. I learned later that on this alien world a strong man may feel and express emotions, and that the hypocrisy of constraint is not honored on this planet as it is on mine.”
-Tarnsman of Gor, page 25
I love that expression. The hypocrisy of constraint.
Now, of course, since at least none of the people behind the keyboards here are native born Goreans, like Tarl, we all come from a planet that honors constraint and is not as open and free with emotion. Yet, there is some strange magic in Gor that seems to intensify emotion
Maybe it is just the idea of the Natural Order, or the redefining of Manhood, or the emotional power inherent in Dominant/submissive relationships, but whatever does it, emotions get intense here.
We might come to SL Gor for diversion and relaxation after hard RL days where those things are difficult to find, and we have mentioned how, here, we are all handsome and beautiful, and healthy, and can leap about like Tarl does when he first recognizes the lesser gravitational field on Gor. Yet, somehow, the very nature of this experience seems to draw many of us into a way deeper emotional involvement than we anticipated. All of the emotions get involved, too. We feel deeper attractions, stronger passions, more intense jealousy, and even more heated anger.
I think we feel these things because the inner design of the experience of Gor encourages us to do just what Tarl is saying in the quote. We are in a place where we may “feel and express emotion.”
But, we have a hard time giving ourselves totally over to this lack of constraint. We carry our Earth baggage with us, and that is what causes the thing we call “drama.” It is our inability to accept emotion with honesty and not shy from it, or fear it. Naturally, things are going to me more intense. Naturally, emotion is going to be raw and close to the surface.
Is it possible the people of Earth have become too sensitive, too victimized, too ashamed of their natural feelings and desires to be able to deal rationally with them anymore? Is this why our world is one of PC culture, and people getting offended over the most minor expression of emotion. When I play, “Get over it” by the Eagles, on my radio show, it always gets a strong reaction from Goreans. It is like their anthem.
It should be our standard here, to try to be more Counter Earth, to fight against the tendency to be ashamed of our own strong feelings, or offended by the strong feelings of others. We should show our passion, be honest about our feelings, unashamed of our beliefs and if that is seen as drama, so be it.
The final quote comes when Tarl’s father is speaking to him of the voyages of Acquisition.
“‘Yes,’ said my father. ‘And long ago, I made the same strange journey. As have others.’
‘But for what end, to what purpose,’ I demanded.
‘Each perhaps for a different end, for each perhaps, a different purpose, ‘he said.”
-Page 32 Tarnsman of Gor
For many years now in Second Life, I have heard people suggest the same idea.
I am a big fan of the Television show, Game of Thrones, and am looking forward to the coming season with great anticipation. And I know that there have been GOT sims, and GOT roleplay, and it was pretty cool for awhile, but I do not see it as anything but a passing fad. No other fantasy world has ever enjoyed the run that “Gor” has had, and we never had a popular show on Netflix to support us or gain recruits for our community. All we got were a couple of lousy movies and books that are still not available in the big book store shelves.
It is true that there have been almost as many ends and purposes, expectations and goals, as there have been people, but there seems to me that there has to be something to all this that has brought all of these ends and purposes to a more common expression.
I have suggested that Earth society is troubled, and those troubles were talked about and explored in the Gorean novels, long before they became as serious as they are today. Counter Earth continues to be a reaction to that.
Sure, Role play is fun. Yes, the overt sexuality of the kajira is a definite lure. I even recognize that the close relationship between the large and wide spread BDSM lifestyle and many elements of Gor helped it become popular in the early days of the internet.
Yet, still there seems to be something more.
Some deep truth about us, and about our world, that has drawn us to create this alternative world and invest so much of our time and our energy, and our emotion to it.
I love Gor, and like any true lover, I want to know the object of my love intimately. Even after more than two decades online involved in it, even after how deeply and personally, it has touched and shaped my offline life, I still do not know it or understand it as completely as I crave to do.
So, I am excited about this coming year, and grateful that the Campus allows this seminar and supports it as they do. I still do not have a lot of answers, but damn, if I don’t have a lot of good questions
This coming year, and in this seminar, I hope to get a chance to ask them.