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 April 18, 2019.
Tal and greetings,
I was reading chapter 10 of Captive of Gor on my radio show this week. In this chapter, Elinor Brinton has a meeting with the slaver who had been involved in her abduction on Earth, and she learns, for the first time, the horrible reason for which she had been brought to Gor.
She has been brought to Gor to murder Tarl Cabot. However, the slaver makes it clear that if she would not have been selected for that job, she would have been brought to Gor anyway to serve as a common pleasure slave.
“I looked at him. “Why was I brought to this world?” I asked.
“We bring many women to this world, ” he remarked, “because they are beautiful, and it pleases us to make them slaves.”
I regarded him.
“Also, of course, ” he said, “they are valuable. They may be distributed or sold, as we please, to further our ends or increase our profits.”
Page 147 Captive of Gor
This would have been a useful quote to use in my class entitled, “They sell well.”
The slaver also tells her that she was first spotted when she was 17 years old, but she was watched for five full years before she was selected for abduction. This would have been another useful section to support my points in the class entitled, “You are how young?”
It was nice to see this consistency in the books. Here was a chapter I had not read for years, but it had two nice supportive sections to my overall Gorean Compass interpretation of the books.
But, the real reason Chapter 10 is important is because it marks the first point in the novels where we begin to understand the true nature of the Kur. This is obviously important to a symbolic interpretation of the conflict between the Priest-Kings and the Kur.
To me, this whole chapter reeks with symbolism. Even the slaver is not described as your typical Gorean man that overwhelms a female with his mere physical presence.
“Across the room, his back to me, bending over a shallow pan of water, with a towel about his neck was a small man. He turned to face me. He face was still the painted clown’s face, but he had put aside his silly robes, the tufted hat.”
Page 141 Captive of Gor
He was a small man, with his face painted as a clown. He is the mountebank that was displaying the Kur like a trained dancing bear for entertainment. He is the same man who tells Elinor that he engages in kidnapping young women for the noble reasons, of his own personal pleasure, and the furthering of “their ends, and the increasing of their profits.”
In another words, he is a scum bag. There are so many ways to describe this basic duality of man when you think of morality. We call things right or wrong, or good and bad, and we even acknowledge the dark side, and suggests it has cookies, to further lure us into its grasp.
The Gorean novels suggest that we see it as a conflict between the rational and the animal.
When we start out, being guided by our parents and then our teachers, we are introduced to the world of the rational first. Sure, little babies only want to eat and poop, and toddlers are little beasts, but the process begins to teach them basic human behavior.
The real dangerous animal nature is there though, inside them. In the books, Tarl goes through this process. He meets the Priest-Kings first, and comes to a full understanding of them and their nature in book 3. We first become aware of the animal side as “the others”, mysterious, but obviously evil. We know that some humans are serving them, without even understanding who or what they serve. And these humans usually come to a bad end, for example Saphrar of Turia, in Nomads.
Here in Chapter 10, the reader is introduced to the true nature of the others, and it is through the eyes of Elinor, a female slave, that it is done.
“Stop!” cried the man.
The beast looked at him, eyes blazing, its face drenched in blood.
“Obey your master! I cried. “Obey your master!”
The beast looked at me. I shall never forget the horror I felt.
“I am the master.” it said.
The man cried out and fled from the hut.
page 156 Captive of Gor
So, lets put my idea of this whole thing in its most simple form. The small man represents someone not in control of himself. He is not following a rational moral compass, and he isn’t pursing happiness by setting individual moral purposes and communal moral purposes. He is not bound by codes, and he certainly isn’t viewing his actions as having consequences that reach beyond his own selfish desires. Because of these weaknesses, he is not the master.
The idea that he dresses like a clown and he keeps the Kur in chains that the Kur can easily break when it gets into a feeding frenzy, shows how easy it is to fool yourself into thinking you are in control, when that is not the truth at all.
Those who know of what is called the “12 step” program, know that the first step is recognizing that the beast is, indeed, the Master. Until you recognize that, you can’t proceed any further down the path to recovery.
There are so many things that can be seen as “the Kur.” Addictive behaviors of all kinds are one example, and simple emotional impulses, such as anger, jealousy, selfishness, and lust are others. Even things that we normally view as positive are included in the animal side of our nature.
Love is a good example. Even though it is a non-cognitive word, we can argue that most of the emotions that we give that name to stem from deep rooted biological impulses, that were most likely evolution’s way of giving us some reason to stay as a mating couple long enough to raise this young human animal with such a large brain capacity.
So, there is a progression in the novels, as Tarl comes to understand the true nature of the Kur, and when he is in control of himself, he calls himself “Gorean”, and then he is ready to actually find common ground with the Kur, and “share paga.”
So, I wonder why John Norman chose to have this most revealing section in Chapter 10 take place in front of Elinor Brinton, and not Tarl Cabot.
I think it was because he recognized the importance of gender. We have talked about this before here. The moral Gorean compass works well for both males and females most of the time. What is the right azimuth for one, is usually the same for both, but not always.
There are times when we must look at things from the perspective of a female, and recognize the differences. This is why there were “slave girl” books in the series.
Elinor Brinton was battling her own demons in Captive of Gor, and she needed to learn some hard lessons, but she was also very much in a submissive situation. Aside from her own struggles, she was subject to the control and whims of Men. In fact, she was subject to the control and whims, in Chapter 10, of a small man, with the face of a clown, who fled in terror when he realized the beast had grown dangerous.
Here is a connection to Second Life Gor for us. Ever since the internet opened up the world of online Gor, females, much like Elinor, have been subject to the control and whims of small men. They are not always dressed as clowns, but they might as well be, and they do tend to run away and disappear at the first sign of trouble.
Here is the deal. If Gor is supposed to be a world dominated and run by males, those males need to be of a whole different type then the slaver in the hut.
I think every potential slave girl in Second Life should be required to read Chapter 10 of Captive of Gor.
The small man could talk the talk. He slapped her around, and made her lick his feet. She was like putty in his hands then, and she knew herself a slave.
But, when that beast was taking control, the little prick ran away in terror, and left her to deal with it. I know many who hear those words will be able to identify with the experience.
It really isn’t that bad a book as a Gorean morality tale. Elinor starts off as a bit of a spoiled bitch, too, but she meets real Gorean men such as Rask of Treve, and also, Tarl Cabot, himself. She learns to tell the difference between true dominance, and pretend dominance, and she is prepared to make the right moral choice when her time of testing comes.
The Men need to be able to look that snarling beast in the eye, as scary and large as it might be, and tell it that it is not the master. The females need to be watching these exchanges carefully, even if from their knees, and deciding who really is in control.
If you desire to be the slave of a Gorean man, make sure he is one, and not the kind that will flee the hut in terror when he realizes there is danger, or that everything does not happen solely to give him pleasure, or to further his ends, or to increase his profits.
In other words, hold us to High Standards. I don’t think any Kur is going to growl at me, and tell me he is my Master, and when not only my friends, and fellow Free hold me to high standards, but also the girls kneeling at my feet, that gives me the weapons I need to prove to him that, actually, I am the Master.
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 April 11, 2019.
Tal and Greetings,
Last week, we talked about the necessity of individual moral purpose, and individual moral capacity in the pursuit of true happiness.
Conservative author, Ben Shapiro, in “The Right Side of History” tells us that there are two further elements that must be considered. He calls them Communal Moral Purpose, and Communal Capacity.
In the Wednesday night discussion from Glorious Ar, that I moderated on Gorean’s Portal Radio, the topic was community and was a sense of community important to finding happiness in Second Life Gor. Now, of course, that discussion was attended by a group of people with a very strong sense of community. They, after all, were giving up their evening to engage in a discussion designed to better understand and improve their Gorean community.
This is what we call, “preaching to the choir,” and much like this seminar, we rarely get the selfish and self-centered taker here.
Yet, despite that fact, it was amazing how person after person last night expressed the idea that it was the community involvement and interaction with like- minded Goreans that had enhanced their time here.
One female told of a year and a half involvement with a Second Life loner, who did not want to be involved with anything community related, and she said it was the most disconnected and unhappy period in her over one dozen years in Second Life Gor.
So, it seems Ben has a point when he suggests a communal purpose is essential to the pursuit of happiness. However, he is talking about the real world, and he is able to go back thousands of years to establish the history of community and discuss what might be, and what might not be beneficial communal moral purposes.
Obviously, any discussion of communal capacity is skewed by the differences between a real life community and an online community. I think we can put Ben’s book away after acknowledging the need for individual purpose and communal purpose, because the online community differs so drastically from the real life community.
We do not have thousands of years of history to study. We are basically making this up as we go along. Many younger people seem to have lost sight of that fact, and having been raised in the Age of Connectivity, they assume it has always been this way. I am sure that groups of early hunter/gatherers would access Google Maps on their ipads before setting out to hunt Wooly Mammoths, and most inter-tribal marriages were arranged on Caveman.Match. com.
Even though the internet has been around several decades now, it is still brand new stuff, and we aren’t really completely sure of its potential benefits, or of its potential dangers
Here are a few examples. We hear a lot about the idea of a new global world. In a real life situation, this is a dividing point. We have spoken in this seminar of the rise of tribalism in the RL world, and how the conflict between tribal and global thinking is a major issue.
Second Life Gor can best be described as a Global Tribe. In the past two weeks, listeners have tuned into GPR from 87 different countries around the world, and I would venture a guess that the majority of them would consider themselves “Gorean.”
Imagine, if you will, a commune set up , oh, maybe, on an island in the Florida Keys. People come there to recreate a Gorean society, and they come from 87 different countries. The logistical, communication, and cultural problems that would have to be overcome to make that work are immense, but this is what we have done here in Second Life Gor. We have shrunk the Earth to the size of our computer monitors, and we chat and interact each day with people that are not just far away physically, but sometimes on the other side of the planet. Automatic translators help with the language issues; the cultural differences exist mostly on the other side of the monitor, as we embrace a shared culture here, and we can exist here without food, or with “nam/nam” of G&S meals.
The ability to create this kind of Tribal/Global is unprecedented in human history. We have no frame of reference to study. As I said, Real life communities can look back on thousands of years of recorded history, and millions of years of unrecorded history to discover what worked and what did not work, but Second Life Gor has a mere dozen years of history to study to discover its mistakes and pitfalls to avoid.
Time is another problematic element of our community. In our Florida Keys commune, at least everyone would be in the same time zone. Sure, there would be night shift workers, and such, but, basically, the sun will rise and set at the same time for the whole community. The Internet community does not have that advantage, and time zones create a constant challenge to community building here.
Another problem we face here is a sense of entitlement. How many times have you heard the profile statement: “This is my SL, and I will do whatever I want.” This is a totally inaccurate statement, in the first place. It is Linden Labs’s SL, actually, and they could turn it off if they wished to do so. And unless you are a sim owner, paying Linden Labs, it still isn’t your Second Life Gor. Can you imagine a person arriving on our Florida island commune and claiming it was “His Gorean Island, and he will do whatever he wants?” We would throw him to the sharks without hesitation. Our internet community has to deal with those selfish people in a different manner.
Which leads us to the other problem. Dishonesty, deceit, and the fake courage of the online warriors sitting safely in front of their monitors safely insulated from any consequences for their behavior. Although lying and dishonesty could exist on our island community in real life, people simply would not be able to get away with what they do in Second Life. You could not be three people there at once, and you would not get very far pretending to be a female, if you were not one, and when you insult someone or act like a complete asshole, there might be some consequences that could not be avoided by clicking on a red X, and going about your business.
I think the important thing here is that we have done it anyway. Despite the problems of creating something totally new, and having to overcome language, time, and honesty problems, we have managed to create a community that is meeting many of the social and communal needs of people here, and helping them pursue that elusive happiness.
It is not an easy community to embrace. The standards are high, and excuses that work well in our rl lives do not carry as much weight here. Despite the fact that we bring our baggage from Earth with us here, we are slowly creating a Counter Earth approach to community building, and based on the discussion last night, many of us are realizing that some sense of communal purpose is essential to happiness.
It is, however, still the big kids playground. Second Life Gor is slowly evolving into a totally new and amazing creation. It has floundered around for a dozen years trying to find itself. We have approached it much as kids being given free rein in a candy store. We try this and we gouge on that, with no thought to what is good for us, and what might not be so good.
Now, we are starting to get some historical perspective. We can look at what has worked and what has not worked. We can examine the stories of those who came here, got it wrong, and left unhappy and frustrated with the experience.
There is a small and highly symbolic event in the book Outlaw of Gor that comes to mind this morning. Tarl mentions, early in his visit to Tharna, that unlike most Gorean cities, the high bridges of Tharna have guard rails. Tarl, still fresh from Earth, thinks this is one of the good things about the city. It is important, he thinks, that people be safe, and that they take no unnecessary risks, and the guard rails make sense.
Later, when the revolt takes place, and Tharna is restored to being a Gorean city, the guardrails are removed.
“One change that I find of interest, though I cannot heartily approve, is that the rails have been removed from the high bridges of Tharna. I had thought this pointless, and perhaps dangerous, but Kron had said simply, “Let those who fear to walk the high bridges, not walk the high bridges.”
Page 248 Outlaw of Gor
Entering our online community of Second Life Gor can be very much like walking the high bridges of Tharna. We are seeing that we must come here with not only an individual moral purpose, but with a communal one. We are being told that it is a place where we do not tolerate a lot of the weak and excuse ridden behaviors permeating our real life communities. It is being suggested that we can not just log on here, fuck around with people, and log off, and be happy. We hear people constantly calling us to a higher standard. Now, we are even suggesting that if you are not spending some of your time here working for the good of others, and creating a capacity for the community to grow and expand, you are not going to be really happy either.
I can very well see that entering online Gor, at this time of our development into something totally new and unique in human history, is a bit like walking those high bridges without guard rails, and I am growing a bit less patient, and a lot more hard, and I am thinking like Kron. I think those who are here with no moral purpose, and who reject the notion that they are part of the community and thus owe an obligation to it, and especially those fearful or reluctant to raise the bar, should not even be bothering to walk these high bridges with us. The first little bit of wind that comes along is going to blow them right off, and they are not going to find the happiness we are here pursuing.
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 April 4, 2019.
Tal and greetings,
Back last September, I gave a class called “The Pursuit of Happiness.” If you missed it, or do not remember it well, you should go to the Voice of a HoR blog and read it. Here is a brief summary.
We are entitled to pursue our happiness, but we are not entitled to have someone else obligated to provide it for us. It is a very strong message that it is on us, which is a very consistent idea in the Gorean novels. “Here looking for others to do our work” the books say, “we find only ourselves and an arrow of war.”
So, if we are entitled to pursue happiness, it seems sensible to look into what exactly happiness is and how will we recognize it if we should be successful in our pursuit of it.
I have sometimes gone to “Google” to get a definition of a word, but that does not work so well with “happiness.” The definition of happiness is given as “the state of being happy.” I do recommend as a side project to actually google happiness, and read some of the other definitions that pop up. It is a interesting journey that goes from Aristotle sounding like a Gorean by suggesting that happiness is found in balance, to a lexicon of various chemicals released in the brain. The chemicals are familiar, of course, to those of us with a little experience in certain aspects of BDSM. I do not know how you will fare in this Google exploration, but it did not do much to define “happiness” in a coherent way for me.
I did find something that made a lot of sense, and seemed especially apt for our Second Life Gorean experience and our chances of finding happiness here. Surprisingly, I found it, not in a Google search, but in an actual hard cover book. Yes, there are actually still such things available.
This book is called, “The Right Side of History, How Reason and Moral Purpose Made the West Great.” It was written by Ben Shapiro, a conservative columnist and speaker. This certainly is not a “Gorean Philosophy” text. The author takes us on a 3,000 year journey through Western philosophy ending with our boy, Nietzsche. Nietzsche, as we have seen had a profound effect on the writing of John Norman, and you can see the connection between the following quote from Shapiro’s book and the “Why so hard/why so soft” quote from Marauders of Gor.
“That structure, he believed, had held man back; it was “slave-morality,” which sacrificed strength for weakness, which celebrated poverty and powerlessness.”
Page 119 “The Right Side of History”
However, Ben Shapiro, an Orthodox Jew, differs from the Gorean idea in a major area. He would argue that Moral Purpose comes from some supreme being, or creator, or God, if you will. I argue that the Gorean idea, while not needing to deny the existence of a creator, suggests that Moral Purpose must stem from the “hearts of men.” When Tarl talks to the High Initiate in Priest Kings of Gor, he is told that as long as we do right because of fear of punishment, and not because it is the right thing to do, we will never reach “man’s greatness.”
What Ben Shapiro and Gorean philosophy do have in common, however, is a sense of the importance of Moral Purpose in pursuing happiness. He lists four ingredients to happiness. First is Individual Moral Purpose, then individual capacity, Communal Moral Purpose, and Communal capacity. I am going to be talking about these four ingredients for happiness in the next several class sessions, and trying to relate them to our experience in Second Life Gor.
The first one is the easy one. We need a moral purpose for our participation in Second Life Gor, or we will not find true happiness here, and ultimately, our time here will be frustrating and unfulfilling. I am sure a lot of people are going to balk at that statement. We come into Second Life to have fun. We work hard in RL and Second Life is our escape. Who cares if we find our fun in purposeless activities or games?
Ah, all of those objections said, “Second Life” and not “Second Life Gor.” Certainly, there is nothing wrong with fun for the sake of fun. Goreans would be the last ones to deny anyone the pursuit of pleasure, or suggest there was anything wrong with it.
However, Second Life Gor is not an amusement park, nor is it, really, just a game.
In order to find happiness here, you are going to first need a moral purpose for being here. That is a very sweeping statement, and does not really restrict us as much as it might seem to do. What is a moral purpose? Well, it is anything that produces a positive result without doing harm to others.
We have often spoken of the myriad reasons that draw people to the Gorean experience, and we can easily see which are moral and which are not. If we come here to learn more about ourselves; if we come here to experience different kinds of male/female relationships, if we come here to find friendship and/or companionship to enrich our lives, these are all moral purposes, and pursuing them could lead to happiness.
If we come here to fuck with people; if we come here to pretend we are something totally different than what we actually are, with an underlying intent to deceive others, if we come here purely as takers, with no though of sharing or giving anything back in exchange for what we take, these are not moral purposes, and in the end, you are not going to find happiness.
The second part of this is individual capacity. If it is impossible for you to achieve your moral purpose, if is not an achievable moral purpose. Here is an example.
If your purpose, as a man, is to find out what it is like to be a female, so that you can better understand them, and better help them find their own happiness, that seems a valid moral purpose. What a thoughtful guy. However, a man can not come here, create a female avatar, fool people into thinking he is a female, and gain any insight into what a female actually feels or experiences. He does not have that capacity. And since he can not actually accomplish that purpose, all that is left is the deceit, and the dishonesty.
You can err also by directing that individual moral purpose to far outward instead of inward and going way beyond your own true capacity.. I might say my individual purpose in Second Life Gor is to change the whole culture, and to get everyone doing everything right, and make sure everyone is happy at the same time. That is not only beyond my capacity to do in the first place, it is also more concerned with the behavior of other people, than it is concerned with my behavior.
You might think I am saying, “know your limits.” when I speak of capacity, but I do not see capacity and limits as being the same here.. We are encouraged to set high goals, and to strive for not only the mountain top, but even the stars, but we can not do what is impossible to do, and our striving needs to be moderated by reality.
From the very beginning of my time in online Gor, I have been aware of purpose. My early experiences online woke me up to a lot of personal shortcomings. I felt I lacked true honor, and honesty and truth were things of utility to me, rather than sacred principles. I did not feel very comfortable in relationships, always sensing something was wrong in the dynamic. And I was not really happy , and was still actively pursuing it.
So, my individual moral purpose was self knowledge followed by self improvement. That has not changed, and it is still an on going journey of discovery. I have always been aware of those things that I had the capacity to change and a good sense of the things that I could not change.
And I can say without reservations, that my time in Online Gor has brought me happiness many times, and has encouraged me to keep pursuing it on a daily basis. It has led me to this seminar, and to relationships and friendships that now define my life, both here, and in RL.
I was very impressed with Ben Shapiro’s idea that individual moral purpose , and individual capacity were essential to the pursuit of happiness, and encourage you to think about what your purpose is here as well as if that purpose is within your capacity.
Looming beyond those thoughts is Communal purpose and capacity, and what it means to our pursuit of happiness, but we will save that for next week. For tonight, we shall leave it with individual purpose and capacity.
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 28, 2019.
Tal and greetings,
I have been listening to an ongoing discussion the past couple of weeks. I won’t go into the details of how the issue began, but it was summed up in a debate on “why everything is the slave’s fault” when it should be “everything is the Free person’s fault.”
The first reaction was to find fault with the word “fault.” It seemed that fault finding was a rather empty pursuit, and “responsibility” is a much more positive way of viewing this.
Is it the slave’s responsibility, for example, to behave, or is it the Free’s responsibility to enforce discipline? That sounds like a more legitimate question.
In pondering my own response to that question, my thoughts drifted down to Earth again, and I began to give some thought to the idea of “group identity.” In this seminar, I have often attacked the very popular Earth idea of intersectionality. This idea is actually group identity on steroids.
The idea is that we are all the product of our various group identities. These things tend to define you, and even more exonerate you from a lot of personal responsibility. If you happen to be, say, female, Hispanic, gay, handicapped physically, and born to poor parents, all of those things are groups that intersect to create you, and if you are having trouble in life, it is because you are a victim of discrimination against one or all of your groups.
All my life, I have bought into a totally different view. I call it “The Draw poker” theory. I see each of those groups in the above sample as one of the cards a person has been dealt. Some are good cards, and some are not, but in the immortal words of “The Gambler”, “Every hand’s a winner, and every hand’s a loser.” You can discard your bad cards, and draw some new ones, and everything then depends on how you play your hand. And from time to time, you come across a story of a gay, Hispanic woman, from a poor family, in a wheel chair, doing something amazing and having overcome tremendous odds.
Obviously, the Gorean world involves much group identity. In addition to gender, sexual orientation, economy condition, race, place of origin, and all the other groups of Earth, we add Caste, and slave vs. Free, to the mix. Certainly, much of how we behave is going to be determined by our membership in those various groups.
However, the Gorean idea does not allow these group identities to become excuses. In fact, in typical Counter Earth fashion, our group identities become sources of pride. I said in a recent class that I am a big fan of “pride parades.” This is one of the facts of the Gorean Caste system. There wasn’t a lot of “class conflict” in Gor, because the low castes did not feel oppressed at all. I am proud to be a Free male, and proud to be from Caer Cadarn, and proud to be a Slaver. I am sure there are Free women, proud to be Free Women, and slaves proud of their collars and their skills and talents.
I am also proud that the world of Gor, that I so love, is totally free from the irrational group identities. An irrational group identity is actually one that has nothing to do with anything, period. The color of your skin, like the color of your eyes, or the color of your hair, is ultimately of no importance, and although you might be proud of your blond hair, or dark skin, it gives you no additional moral authority.
So, Gorean group identity can give pride, and dictate custom and behavior, and help to explain and understand personality, but it can never excuse failure, or justify bad behavior.
We do not do something wrong because we are female, and we do not make a mistake because we are a Free Man.
When I had gone through the above thought process, I realized that when I heard people talking about if it were the slave’s responsibility or the Free’s responsibility, I immediately saw the group identity problem with the question. And I knew the answer, too. It is the slave’s responsibility to behave, and it is equally the Free’s responsibility to discipline her, and insure that she does so.
It always comes back to the same thing. No excuses.
In Tarnsman of Gor, Marlenus makes a well known statement to Tarl Cabot, and I have never quite understood it before today. Here is what he says.
“Before the sword, ” he said, “there is no right, no wrong, only fact— a world of what is and what is not, rather than a world of what should be and what should not be.”
page 113-114 Tarnsman of Gor
Now, I used to argue that this quote was saying that Gor was about a realistic approach, and that there was no room for dreaming about what could be and what should be, and we need to stay grounded in reality. But, that misses the idea of “before the sword.”
Before the sword means before we were civilized, and before we had moved out of our animal beginnings and embraced a higher standard. Now, it is the time to dream. We need to be concerned about what should be, and what should not be. Once our primary daily goal was not mere survival, we began to address proper behavior. We are no longer a pack, we are now a community, and we should be striving to do the things we should do, and imagine even greater things that we might do.
This moral compass is not as complex as many like to imagine it. I know that out on the fringes of morality there are still many gray areas and we continue to debate and even fight over them, but there are many, many things that have fallen solidly into the middle ground of rationality and morality, and it is not rocket science. We usually know when we have done wrong, and we can usually tell when we do something right.
Like behavior vs discipline? It is the slave’s responsibility to behave properly, with exquisite beauty, and absolute obedience, at all times. If she fails to do so there are no excuses.
It is the Free’s responsibility to discipline and correct, and even more their responsibility to maintain personal high standards and consistent guidance. If they fail to do so there are no excuses.
This Gor thing is hard, my friends, when you do it right. You can’t blame others. You can’t use your status, or gender, or if you have freckles or not, to excuse your failures and your short comings. It is on you.
It is not any wonder that so few wish to embrace this idea, or even to roleplay it out. It is hard.
But, to me, and many of you, it is the hard that makes it great.
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?”
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 7, 2019.
Tal and greetings,
I wanted to talk about two slave girls mentioned in the early books today. Their stories support the idea of my premise of “Earth Sucks and Gor Sucks, but for opposite reasons.” In the very first book, Tarnsman of Gor, we are introduced to the slave girl, sana. When we first meet her, she is hooded and strapped to Tarl’s tarn as he is flying to Ar on his mission to steal the Home Stone of Ar.
It appears that sana is from the city of Thentis. She was captured in a raid, and brought to Ko-ro-ba and enslaved. Now she is part of the plot to capture Ar’s Home Stone. Now, here is the plan. The Home Stone of Ar, sitting on a high cylinder of the city is left unguarded for brief moments while the various Heads of Caste make offering to the Priest-Kings asking for their blessings on the Caste’s endeavors for the coming year. The final offering is when the daughter of the Ubar will sprinkle some grain on the Home Stone base to seek a bountiful harvest. For a few moments, she will be alone and unguarded. The plan is that at this exact moment, Tarl will swoop in, kill the Ubar’s daughter, replace her with the slave sana, wrapped in Free Woman robes, and then grab the Home Stone and take off.
The idea is that sana will fool the guards long enough for Tarl to make his escape. The body of the Ubar’s daughter will be dumped in the swamps outside Ar, and Tarl will return to Ko-ro-ba with the Home Stone of Ar. Thus, Ar’s power and prestige will be broken, and their dreams of conquering and uniting Gor into one Empire will be crushed. All and all a good plan, right?
Well, you might be able to justify the killing of the Ubar’s daughter in some way. After all, war is war, and Ar is the enemy, and there are always going to be some casualties. But, how about poor sana, the slave girl? The people of AR are not going to get a good laugh out of being fooled when they discover sana, and pat her on the back and say, “good one, you sure fooled us,” and then let her go. No, it was suggested she would be tortured a bit and then impaled on the walls of Ar.
Now, it was important to note that sana was not a volunteer. She was a slave girl on Gor, a piece of property, an animal, with no rights and completely disposable. The Goreans apparently did not think twice about sending her to certain death for a cause in which she had no interest or no stake.
However, Tarl could not accept this.
Here is what happens:
“You are free,” I said. “And we are going to Thentis.”
She sat before me, stunned, her hands unbelievingly at her throat.
“Why?’ she asked. “Why?”
What could I tell her? That I came from another world, that I was determined that all the ways of Gor should not be mine, or that I cared for her, somehow, so helpless in her condition—that she had moved me to regard her not as an instrumentality of mine or of the Council, but as a girl, young, rich with life, not to be sacrificed in the games of statecraft?”
Page 50 Tarnsman of Gor
Sana, being a Gorean female, and certainly no Gorean female suffers from an over blown sense of entitlement, immediately tries to repay Tarl. First, she suggests her father and brothers would be honor bound to give her to him, and without a “bride price.” (There is one of those contradictions that annoy us in the books…bride price does not seem to be accurate here, since the Goreans have Companionships and not marriages, but anyway.)
Then she suggests that he land the Tarn and let her “serve his pleasures.” Tarl does not accept this offer, and tries to trick her into hushing about repayment this way.
“It occurred to me that there was at least one reply which she, bred in the honor codes of Gor, should understand, one reply that should silence her. “Would you diminish the worth of my gift to you?” I asked, feigning anger.”
Page 51 Tarnsman of Gor
Tarl then detours, flies to Thentis, famed for her Tarn flocks, and lands on a high cylinder and drops her off. Sana is now free to return to her family. And apparently, security at Thentis was pretty lax on that particular day, because Tarl flies off to continue his mission minus his doomed decoy.
But, there in that story was a critical statement by Tarl. “I was determined that all the ways of Gor should not be mine.” Later, he was to express this same feeling when he says he envies the simplicities of Earth and of Gor, but would be as neither of them.
Tarl continues this practice through the early books. The Tatrix of Tharna is released from slavery and restored to her city in Outlaws of Gor. And in Nomads of Gor, Tarl wins the Kassar slave girl, formerly known as dina of Turia, in a contest of skill. He takes her back to the walls of Turia, and sets her free also.
This part of the story takes place around page 108-110 in Nomads of Gor. Tarl takes dina out alone to just outside the walls of Turia. The Tuchuks think he is taking her to sell her, but he sets her free, gives her a gold coin, and tells her to run for the city. Just like sana, dina suggests that she show her thanks by serving his pleasures one last time, and Tarl, much more Gorean now, sees no harm in this. I laughed when I thought about this change. He turned down sana, but he is apparently wising up a bit, and shares a little splendor in the grass moment, before Turian guards come out shooting arrows. Tarl hurries off and dina is again a Free Woman of Turia.
As time goes on in the books, and in Tarl’s story in Gor, he gets over this habit of freeing slave girls, and in fact, often enslaves Free Women, who all turn out to be happy slaves eventually.
I spend a lot of time thinking about this change, and I think that a lot of understanding about the Gorean process can come from examining this change. Did John Norman change? Did his attitude towards women change? Did he become a bit more of a misogynist as time went on and started to think of females as just sluts who belonged in collars rather than the glorious Free Women, he praised so highly in the earlier books?
My take on it is that as he fleshed out his Gorean world, and as Tarl became harder and more Gorean, we got a closer look at a more realistic world, but not a necessarily better one. I do not think Tarl ever backed off on his original determination that not “all the ways of Gor…would become his.” The idea was always going to be to point out the middle ground. It was a recognition that the most important idea in the whole Gorean experience was that the novels were going to focus on extremes. The softness of Earth and the failure of its Men to assume their birthright and relate to their females in a natural way that allows them full expression of their own identity was one extreme, and the books constantly remind us of that failing. The harsh non-consensual slavery of Gor with its idea that women were no more than domestic animals with no rights represented another extreme, and the ideal was going to be somewhere in the middle.
It would seem that this argument could be made to support the idea of an evolved Gor. It would be a Gor where women were considered totally equal and run around shooting arrows, and waving swords with the best of Men, and would take a completely equal role running things. In other words, we could make Gor more like modern day Earth. It would be like the Goreans had seen the error of their ways, recognized they were “too hard” and were mellowing out their society to be more like Earth.
The problem with this approach is that we are not really Goreans in need of softening. That was never the idea of online Gor. What we are is Earthlings in need of toughening up. In order to reach a balanced middle ground, we didn’t need to become bigger wussies. We were doing just fine there. The structure of online Gor, and even the role play world of Second Life Gor was going to be a platform to experiment with the process of becoming stronger and more true to the natural order of male/female relationships.
It is interesting to note that in both cases, sana of Thentis and dina of Turia, Tarl’s good deed of setting them free pays dividends to him later. Sana comes to his rescue in the battle of Ar, and ends up with his Sword Brother, Kazrak, and dina saves him and hides him out when he is trapped in Turia and in grave danger. This is always Norman’s pattern. I call it ” the good guys wear white hats, and the bad guys wear black hats, method. He shows us that Tarl did the right thing, and it was rewarded. It is sort of a morality karma method of making his point.
So, I wonder a lot about those two girls. I wonder if we have girls here in Second Life that are not meant to be slaves, or who are being treated badly or unfairly because they are slaves, and we should be setting them free and sending them on their way like Tarl did in those two cases.
And then I remember that big red X, and the consensual nature of our Gorean world. We do not force slavery on anyone here. We open the doors to it , and invite girls to come in and embrace it. And we do not have to fly them to Thentis and leave them with their families on a cylinder top, or sneak to the gates of Turia to let them go. They are free to leave at any time.
However, if they chose to stay, and they pass through that gateway of consent, we owe it to them to create this world right. We don’t need to evolve into the foolishness and weakness of Earth, and in fact, we are much better off portraying a bit more of the harshness of Gor.
All the ways of Gor will never be mine either. I will never lose my compassion for the afflicted, or my feelings of the need to protect the weak. I will treat my Gorean experience like a giant buffet, knowing some of the things available there can nourish me and make me stronger, and some of the things available there can make me a prick if I select them as my guideposts.
Perhaps, this has always been my complaint about “By the Book.” If it meant learning how to be the superior middle man…hardened by Gor, and softened a bit by his Earth experience, and occupying that middle, balanced ground, I was all for it.
If it meant being like the “too hard” Goreans, of that fictional world in any way outside of pure story line role play, I was going to resist it.