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 March 14, 2019.
Tal and greetings,
It is fun to take a passage from the books and try to get some understanding or symbolic meaning from it. This is not always an easy thing to do, however, because I realize that when a person does this, he sees things through the perspective of his own experiences and level of education. In other words, no two people are going to see the passage in exactly the same way, but that is the very thing that makes the process perfect for stimulating discussion.
Here is an example. In the book Nomads of Gor, there is an event that I have often thought about, and that I have used to make various points in many discussions over the years.
And yet, I am not really sure how to take it. It appears to be one of those contradictions that we hear about. I decided to give you my thoughts on it, but be aware these are “thoughts” and not conclusions, and I am going to be still digging deeper into it and eagerly hope for your thoughts on it.
It takes place in the City of Turia. Kamchak, who we learn later is the leader of the Tuchuks, is attending a banquet being hosted by a rich Turian Merchant. It is a very tense banquet because of the hostility between the Turians and the Wagon People, but Kamchak has a sort of diplomatic immunity for the event and is serving as a sort of ambassador on this night. Tarl attends the banquet with Kamchak.
The young, rich, and spoiled Free woman of Turia, named Aphris, is there, and there is a lot of interaction between her and Kamchak. Kamchak intends to enslave her eventually, and Aphris just wants to humiliate him.
In an attempt to accomplish this humiliation, Aphris summons a dancing troupe to entertain them at the feast. The dancing troupe is made up of captured Tuchuck girls that have become the slaves of the Turians. The girls come running into the banquet hall, to begin their performance, but when the leader of the girls sees Kamchak, she runs to him, and kneels in front of him. The dance Master is furious, and approaches the girl, raising his whip, but before he can strike her, Kamchak slips a hidden knife, a quiva, from his sleeve and throws it pinning the man’s whip arm to a post. Here is what happens next.
“Even I had not seen Kamchak throw the knife, Now, to my satisfaction, another of the blades was poised in his finger tips. Several of the men had leaped from behind the tables, including Kamras, but they hesitated, seeing Kamchak so armed. I , too was on my feet. “Weapons, ” said Kamras, “are not permitted at the banquet.”
“Ah,” said Kamchak, bowing to him. “I did not know.”
“Let us sit down and enjoy ourselves,” recommended Saphrar. “If the Tuchuk does not wish to see the girls, let us dismiss them.”
“I wish to see them perform.” said Aphris of Turia, though she stood within arm’s reach of Kamchak’s quiva.
“Kamchak laughed, looking at her. Then, to my relief, and doubtless to the relief of several at the table, he thrust the quiva in his sash and sat back down.
“Dance,” ordered Aphris.
The trembling girl before her did not move.
“Dance!” screamed Aphris, rising to her feet.
“What shall I do?” begged the kneeling girl of Kamchak.She looked not too unlike Hereena, and was perhaps a similar sort of girl, raised and trained much the same. Like Hereena, of course, she wore the tiny golden nose ring.
“Kamchak spoke to her, very gently. “You are slave, ” he said. “Dance for your masters.”
The girl looked at him gratefully and she, with the others, rose to her feet and to the astounding barbarity of the music performed the savage love dances of the Kassars, the Paravacci, the Kataii, the Tuchuks.”
Page 98 Nomads of Gor
One of the things we recognize about the Gorean world, and even take pride in, is it’s structure and order. I have been told many times that this is one of the attractions of it. There are rules and people know their place within the society.
Yet here are two examples of that order being challenged by a higher order.
First, Kamchak had brought a weapon into a place where weapons were not allowed. Later, he tells Tarl, that in a place where weapons are not allowed, it is wise to carry a weapon. Tarl takes this advice seriously, as we find out later in Marauders of Gor, when Tarl brings a weapon to the Skerry to meet the Kur, despite the fact it was agreed they would not bring weapons. Of course, this saves Tarl’s life on the Skerry.
There seems to be a message here. I have always been involved in this debate about a “higher order.” I remember being involved in a series of discussions on a Gorean message board with a man who insisted that right could be determined by popular vote. He often used this argument against me. He would claim that a majority of people agreed with him, therefore, that proved his opinion was the correct one. I think this is a very common belief system in our world today. I heard it expressed this morning on a newscast when a politician claimed that , “most Americans are not in favor of” some issue or another. The logic was that if most people were “in favor” of it, it had to be the right thing to do.
This way of thinking gives us way too much credit. History teaches us the danger of this method of determining right or wrong. There was a time when the majority of people in the world believed the world was flat and if you sailed to far out to sea, you would fall off the edge. However, despite the fact that a ‘poll” would have found 97% of the people believed it, it turned out to be wrong.
This whole process gives us way too much confidence in our laws and in our government, and I also think tends to take the moral burden off of us, and places it on society.
Perhaps, this is the message I should be taking from this incident. The idea of carrying a weapon where weapons are not allowed, might be the Gorean idea of personal responsibility. Ultimately, you can not rely on society or government, or rules and laws to determine what is “right”, and you also can not depend on them to protect you completely. It is always going to come back to you.
The other part of this is also interesting. The Tuchuk girl is a slave of Turians now. She wears their collar, and is subject to their control. Yet, when she sees Kamchak, she runs to his feet and kneels in front of him. Is this suggesting that their is a higher level of submission involved here that goes beyond legality and collars and ownership papers?
This higher submission is based on something more solid and real, and the Tuchuk girl is risking the whip to express it. Although nameless and a very minor character, she is one of my Gorean slave girl heroines. She was not going to listen to anyone else, or respond to any other commands or threats, until Kamchak had spoken. She knelt in front of him, and waited for his words.
Kamchak tells her to dance for her Masters though. I think this is important. He also puts his knife away and sits down, and claims ignorance of the no weapon rule, and apologizes.
I get the feeling that we are being given some very sound advice in this passage. First, we need to rise above the sheep level. We can’t let other people, even the majority, make our moral decisions for us. That is for sheep. I believe that there is such things as right, and good, just as surely as there are things that are just plain wrong and bad. it is our responsibility to search for them and to learn how to tell them apart., and we can’t pass that responsibility off to anyone else, or anything else.
However, we can not ignore the rules and laws completely. There is a process to effect change, and it would be just as wrong to stand alone as an outlaw defying order totally, as it would be wrong to be a sheep following along blindly and unquestioningly
Kamchak had his weapon hidden until he needed it. He only used it when a great wrong was about to take place.
And just as important, he told the girl to dance for her Masters, and she was grateful to him for doing so.
In the end, I think, Kamchak captured the city, and I am pretty sure those dancers were rescued and returned to the Wagons.
Martin Luther King once said that the arc of the moral universe curves very, very slowly, but it curves toward justice.
The Gorean world is a world of order, and structure, and rules, and laws, and customs, and traditions, and I love it for being that, but I never forget that it is also the world of reality, and truth, and a search for natural order. The structure exists to provide a framework for strong, and independent men and woman to be able to interact and co-operate with each other in a civilized manner. It does not exist to make us robots or mindless followers or minions. It does not exist to make us weaker either.
Sometimes, in a place where weapons are not allowed, we have to carry a weapon, and sometimes, despite legal papers, and the inscriptions on collars, a female must kneel in front of a Master she respects and trusts, and ask, “what should I do?”