These are some of Master Gorm Runo’s first classes at the Gorean Campus that were recently discovered.
Gorean Philosophy Class Lecture (5/21/15)
Tal and Greetings Goreans,
I am going to give a short talk, and then we will have time for questions and comments, so please hold them until I finish. I am a bit frustrated today because I cannot find a quote in the books that illustrates today’s concept. Perhaps someone in the class with a good handle on the books will be able to help me with it.
In this part of the books, either Tarl Cabot or Jason Marshall is asking a slave girl what country she is from on Earth. He then gives one of those annoying little side comments that so often break up the action in the books. He tells us why the Goreans do not have countries. It has to do with the idea of borders as arbitrary lines on the map. I thought of this quote during my trip to Earth last week. I was driving along on one of those massive Earth interstate highways, and suddenly, a sign announced that I had just passed from one State to another State, and yet, as a Gorean, it was pretty clear that nothing had really changed. They had drawn an imaginary line on a map. We are told, however, that Goreans think in circular terms. They would not understand how someone would claim that territory belonged to them unless they actually had full control of it. Circular thinking begins with a single point. For example, the Home Stone of the city would represent this central point, and the influence of the city would radiate out from this point, and the city consists of what is directly influenced by the city. This influence would extend in all directions creating a circle of influence and that circle of influence would define the border, not a line drawn on a map.
In Earth history, there are many examples of wars and conflicts over disputed pieces of land, or border excursions. One time, the United States and Great Britain almost went to war over where the border between Washington state and Canada would be drawn. The disputed land consisted of forests that were, at the time, actually controlled by an Indian tribe anyway. In the Gorean way of thinking, this land belonged to that Indian tribe because they were on it and they controlled it, and all the imaginary lines any scribe cared to draw on a map would not change it.
This idea is a bit more than just another interesting bit of trivia about Gor and how it differs from Earth. It reflects a totally different mindset that permeates Gorean philosophy and thinking. On Earth, we think in terms of borders in terms of boxes. Of lines that hem us both mentally and physically. We also have a tendency to focus our interest and our concerns outward and away from the center. The pervasive media on Earth and the connectivity that it gives us is restricted on the Gorean world, because of the control of the Priest-Kings. When there is an earthquake in southern Gor, for example, the men in Torvaldsland are not glued to their tv sets following the story instantly.
And why is this really important? This idea of circular vs box thinking is reflected in the personal approach to life and not just the political approach. A person has a center, too. This is why a Man has a personal Home Stone, also. In the books, we hear the term, holding. Tarl speaks of his holding in Port Kar, for example, and this is a good example of the circular idea. It is his because he actually holds it, protects it, and defends it, not because he has a piece of paper or deed that says it is his. A Gorean man would see himself at the center of a circle and he would see the things that are most important to him, his family, his slaves even, making up the inner rings of his circle, and his influence, and with it, his concern and his first attention are most directed thusly. When all is well there, he becomes concerned with his neighborhood, and then his city, and then, maybe, he might take some interest in events taking place in another city 50 pasangs away.
Putting his idea in Earth terms, my primary concern as a Gorean is what is happening in my own home first and foremost, and then, I worry about the apartment complex, and then the neighborhood around it, and then, the part of the city that neighborhood is in and then the city, and then the State, and then the country, and then finally, I might have some concern about something taking place on the other side of the world. Earthmen, due to their lack of this solid sense of center, often are more concerned with the problems of others than with their own issues.
We bring this baggage with us into Second Life Gor where discussions are often based on how badly others are messing up and rarely on how we are messing up ourselves. We can easily abdicate responsibility for anything, because it is the fault of someone else, somewhere else, that is doing everything wrong. When we adapt the Gorean circular idea, we are more likely to take personal responsibility. When our focus turns inward to the center of the circle, we tend to what is not only important to us, but to those things we actually can control and influence. We might sit in front of our tv sets, or surf the internet, to find problems to worry about all over the world, but we really can do little about any of it. But, we can influence our own home, our own neighborhoods, our own holdings. I think this might explain why second life Gor is so rift with confusion and chaos. It is based too much on sims, that are boxes with defined borders and not as much on groups or families, or holdings, that reflect the more circular idea of Gorean thinking.
Maybe, it is time to start thinking a bit out of the box.