The Book Sessions – Part 1 – The Gorean Journey

These are some of Master Gorm Runo’s first classes at the Gorean Campus that were recently discovered.

The Rule Books of Gor?

These are some of Master Gorm Runo’s first classes at the Gorean Campus that were recently discovered.

Gorean Philosophy Class Lecture (5/28/15)

 

Preface:

[I had an interesting discussion with a young slave girl this week that led me to think it was time to have a series of discussions that focused on the books themselves and some of the problems and perceptions of them.  (smiles at the intelligent young slave in his audience tonight)  As I began preparing for them, I realized that I had enough material in that subject to last us well into the summer. (laughs)  But, we have to start someplace, so, today, we will sort of introduce some of the topics that we will cover in the coming weeks.  So, as always, I will give a short talk, and then open the floor for comments or questions, so hold them until I finish.]

Tal and Greetings Goreans!

This week, I was in a discussion with a girl who has often attended this class. She is a very bright young lady, and I value her insights quite highly.  She made the comment that the books are an unchangeable and consistent rulebook for Gorean role play.  I argued that they are not that, however, for several reasons.  I thought today that it might be a good idea to begin a general discussion of the books and draw some conclusions about just how efficient and sensible are the rules for role play that we find within them.

Gorean Role play

From the very beginning of online Gor, as soon as fans of the novels began to gather in chat rooms and on message boards to discuss them, it became very common to suggest to new people that they read the books.  If you want to understand Gor fully and, later, if you want to role play it correctly, we were told, you had to read the books.  It was repeated so often it became a mantra, and also became dangerously close to becoming one of the non-cognitive slogans that the books actually warn us about and tell us are the banes of Earth society.  Let’s take a general look at the series.

The first book, Tarnsman of Gor, was published in 1966, and there were roughly one novel a year until Magicians of Gor was published in 1988. These 25 books represented what I call the classic age of the novels.  There was then a gap of 13 years before Witness of Gor was released, and has been followed by 7 other novels all written after the advent of online Gor.  The first 25 novels could be divided into several groupings.  The plot line of the novels in the beginning followed the adventures of an Earthman named Tarl Cabot, as he underwent a transition in his thinking from man of Earth to Man of Gor.  These novels were interrupted from time to time by what we might call slave girl novels.  Whereas the narrator of the main line novels was Tarl Cabot, the slave girl novels were narrated by females, also of Earth origin, captured and taken to Gor for one reason or another.

All of the novels, of course, contain the words of Gor in their titles, ie. Tarnsman of Gor, Slave Girl of Gor.  So, I will emit that phrase in discussing them here.  These transitional novels of Tarl’s journey from Earthman to Gorean are as follows: Tarnsman, Outlaw, Priest-Kings, Nomads, Assassin, Raiders, Hunters, and Marauders.  In Marauders, Tarl claims, I am Gorean, so many consider that the turning point novel, although others include, Tribesman, Beast, and Explorer in this group. Either way, by book 13, he has made the transition completely.

gorbooks

book11

 

These 13 novels included two slave girl books. They wereCaptive, and Slave Girl.  To those who might be interested in collecting these novels in their original editions rather than the new E-books, or online notecards we have today…I should note that you should not get too excited about the words, “first edition” on any of the novels after book 13.  When the novels number 14-28 were offered on ebay, for example, people would proudly proclaim their copy to be a coveted “first edition,” not realizing that sales of the books were so bad that no second editions were ever published, whereas Tarnsman had many editions.

The Tarl Cabot story is interrupted by a three book group telling the story of another Earthman named Jason Marshall who is brought to Gor as a slave along with a sort of girlfriend, and who gains his freedom, seeks out his girlfriend, and ultimately enslaves her before, I suppose, living happily ever after in a kind of M/s bliss.  The story of Tarl is picked up again in several longer, more detailed novels that follow the adventures of a more Gorean man. In 1988, this group ended with the publication of Magicians of Gor, and then came the long gap during which online Gor was born. This group also contained two slave girl books, Kajira and Dancer.

Since 2001, 8 new novels have been released. The 13 year hiatus in writing has led many to speculate that the new novels are not being written by John Norman at all, but by someone else, with his permission, and using his pen name.  People have noticed a different writing style and subtle differences in the philosophical offerings, as well as more attention to plot.  There is some debate on this. Does it reflect the change that would naturally take place in a man’s style after 13 years or is there really a ghost writer penning the novels now.  In any case, what is important to note, is that there was a writing change and a subtle chance in philosophical offerings right from day one, and book one.

The world of Gor we are exposed to in the first six or seven novels, as seen through Tarl’s eyes, differs greatly from the world we see in books, 21, 23, 24…for example.  Even the slave girl books change.  In Captives of Gor, for example, the girl is exposed to a world much less harsh and demanding than the average BDSM Friday night play party in Austin , Texas.  But, by Dancer of Gor, the poor slave finds herself in a very harsh, uncompromising, dangerous, world that is as unlike the experience in Captive that you could hardly tell the difference.  This increase in intensity as the books progress, most likely the result of the fact the series has been written over close to 50 years, in a rapidly changing Earth environment makes it a very poor “rule book” for role play.

200912-omag-beck-blue-clocks-600x411

Which Gor are you RP-ing? The harsh uncompromising world of Magicians or the almost childlike, by comparison, world of Outlaws?  This coupled with the fact that the novels are not focused on one city or region or culture, but paint a broad picture of a diverse world, as different and diverse even as our own Earth.

I am afraid the poor young lady is going to become very confused if she attempts to use the books as “rulebooks” for her Gorean role play.  The attitudes of the author were impacted by the reaction of the publishing industry to his novels.  They had early success, and popularity, but as his message became clearer in the 70’s and 80’s, they came increasingly under fire.  This at a time when I would not be surprised to find children’s books using “fuck” on every page, and graphic porn a mainstay of even mainstream novels.  The Gorean novels, were clean books by that standard, but the message was terrible and violated our growing sense of political correctness.  They were banned from many libraries and bookstores until I believe John Norman stopped writing them out of disgust in 1988. Maybe he had said all he had wanted to say…the last books were often repetitive, more so than the earlier ones even.

gorrpguide

Then came, online Gor…an increased demand, and acceptance, and thus the new books still being released.  In the coming weeks, we are going to break down these various groupings of novels in more detail and look at how they evolved, and how their message changed and how valuable a resource they really are…or are not, in our Second Life Gorean world.

 

Gorean Compass – What do we do with free women

The Gorean Compass classes offered at The Gorean Campus available to all to come learn and discuss.  Held every Thursday in Second Life at noon and 6pm SLT.  Here is one of the latest classes offered by Master Gorm Runo


Tal and Greetings

I want to start off today by telling a story.

Once upon a time, almost half a century ago, a man wrote a book in which he suggested that fantasy could improve the sexual relationships of couples.  He suggested several “bedroom” fantasies that would provide a spark and if done properly could revitalize stale relationships.

One of the suggested ideas was “Big strong Man from a distant planet enslaves female and reduces her to total sexual slavery.”   A few details were given to spice it up, and then the book moved on to pretending your partner was a French Maid, or young School girl in a plaid skirt.

imaginative sex

Some time later, the author, becoming concerned over social trends and the rise of feminism decided to expand the “Man enslaves girl” idea into a novel where he could present some of his ideas.  He wrote a book called “Tarnsman of Gor” and the rest is history.

Now, he was suddenly wrapped up in a whole new genre.  Science Fiction and Fantasy, and in the books that followed, he fleshed out a whole world on a planet on the other side of the sun.  He had to provide details and geography and alien plants and animals and hundreds of other details.

But, he faced a problem.  He couldn’t suggest, even in fantasy, a whole planet consisting of nothing but strong dominant men and hot enslaved females.

There were other considerations.  After all, the bedroom fantasy of Master/slave did not address many of the most important aspects of the male/female dynamic.  It did not address the birth and nurturing of children, which is arguably the most important biological and evolutionary purpose of pair bonding.  Obviously, he needed females to perform the myriad other roles necessary in an advanced society.

So, he introduced Free Women.   They were really just a fictional device to make his world make a bit of sense.

Free Woman

On one hand, we are told quite a bit about Gorean Free Women, but on the other hand, when compared with information on Gorean men and even more so , with slave girls and submitted females, we have very little to even provide a good role play guide.

And much of the information is contradictory.  We get quotes about how there is nothing greater or more glorious than the Gorean Free Women, most of the ones we meet after the first few books are not glorious and admirable females at all.  They are mostly arrogant, or ignorant, or really slaves waiting for a Master.  Most of the ones we encounter, especially in the later books, act badly, are enslaved for their behavior, and turn into marvelous slaves.

free-woman-ubara

Of course, we have to remind ourselves that the author was not laying out the ground work for a massive online role play world, nor was he hinting at a potential lifestyle based on his writings or philosophy, so he was under no obligation to flesh out the Free Women of Gor  and he mostly continued to use them as a plot device and trivia prop, much as he did sleens and kalana groves.

But, regardless, a massive role play world did develop online, and an alternative lifestyle based on his writings emerged, and thus we had to deal with the “left out” part of the original fantasy.

What to do with the Free Women?

In the very early days, when the Gorean online community leaned more toward a group of fans of the books, and people interested in recreating some of the dynamics in their real lives, there were many people who did not see a need for Free Women in online Gor at all.

After all, they argued.  The Women of Earth sort of represented the Free Women roles, mothers, wives, companions, soul mates, and that minority of females whose true nature was such that submission was not an option.  On Gor, they were necessary to flesh out the fictional world, but online they just got in the way of exploring the Master/slave dynamic fully.

1_Scribe

 

Online “Panthers” were even more out of place in those early days.  After all, panther girls totally rejected Gorean society, and lived in the jungles avoiding as much contact with it as they could.  So, some people questioned why anyone would come online to be part of a community when they were identifying with a group that rejected that communities values?  After all, wouldn’t the panther girls of Gor have jumped at a chance to escape the jungles of Gor and settle down in a nice house in New Jersey, or a condo in Florida?

Yet, even back in the very first chat rooms, there were Free Women, and Panther girls.

When Second Life Gor became a reality, and role play exploded, and the chance to do exactly what JN had to do to flesh out his world became our challenge, the roles of Free Women and panther girl expanded and became a more logical part of the equation.

From my own observations over the years, I generally recognize three distinct types of Free Women in Second Life Gor.

 

Type one is the most rare.  They are women who have found something in the whole idea of Gor that appeals to them, but slavery and submission are not an option.   They are generally women with great dignity and usually extremely intelligent.  They defer to males and accept their leadership in the Gorean world, but without any of the blind submission of the kajira.

free-woman-ubara

Type two is what would be called a Domme in the BDSM world.  She is one of those women that we recognize as the statistical exception to the general Male-dominant, female-submissive rule and exhibit roughly the same kind of dominant attitudes of the Gorean male.

Type three is what I would call “the silly girl.” type.   This is a female fascinated by the Gorean world, but not really understanding it at all.  They see FW as a romantic idea much like the ladies in Medieval fantasy or Game of Thrones.  Most of the complaints that we hear about these girls are based on the fact that on many rp sims, the Men spend a lot of time sitting around the tea shops sipping tea and trying to court and impress these girls like a group of high school nerds in the cafeteria trying to impress the cheerleaders.

I say that those distinctions come from my own observations because as we have discussed previously in this seminar, I am a Gorean male, and can not ever hope to understand females. What motivates Free Women?  Why do they chose Gor when it is, if nothing else, a place that stresses male leadership and dominance.  Gor is the “patriarchy on steroids”, and yet since its early days, females have been drawn to it while not embracing the totality of the sexual slave fantasy that gave it birth.

pride3

It would be wonderful if the answer to those questions pointed to the underlying philosophy and suggested there is much more to this whole Gor experience than sex and the desire to spice things up in the bed chambers.  Perhaps, Free Women are an essential clue that might unlock the real lessons of Gor, and more effort should go into understanding their role in our online Community and in how they are portrayed in our role play cities.   This is a subject that I have no clear answers on, but it is one that I am always willing to ask questions about, and to listen to the opinions of others.

Gorean Philosophy Class 2 – Overcoming Otherworldliness

Once again presenting the transcript from Master Gorm’s class on Gorean Philosophy at Gorean Campus.  This class was held on 1/12/2017.

Just are reminder, these classes are held every Thursday at The Gorean Campus in Second Life at 12:00pm (Noon) and 6pm SLT.

Tal and greetings Goreans.

Today, we are going to continue laying the groundwork for a new look at the message of the Gorean Novels, and how an understanding of some of the underlying themes of the novels can enhance our experience in Second Life Gor.

In last weeks introduction to this seminar, I attempted to make two major points.

The first was that the Gorean novels in no way were intended to be a utopian view of a counter earth.  The whole Counter Earth idea was opposition. The things that were the most wrong on Earth were better on Gor, and the things that were right on Earth were really wrong on Gor.  I suspect, in my own humble opinion, that the author never doubted that the readers would get this, but he also never dreamed of the internet, and the online community and role play, and lifestyle Goreans. I wonder if he had known these things, would he have written the novels differently?

earth-to-gor

The second idea that I introduced was something strongly influenced by the writing of  Friedrich Nietzsche.   The discussion in the second class session was useful in clarifying that the Gorean philosophy had only borrowed a few things from Nietzsche, while discarding other elements, and in no way held up the entirety of his work, or his personal behavior as a role model for us.

We did speak of his idea of the Ubermensch.  The superior man that blends the very best of both worlds and rises to a much higher standard as a result.   It was suggested that Tarl Cabot’s journey showed how the two extremes eventually found balance and that a superior man had emerged.

Today, I want to touch on two more elements from Nietzsche that influence the Gorean novels.

The first concerns religion.  It is one of those topics that, along with politics, we are warned to avoid in polite discussions.   Nietzsche’s views on religion were very complex and were a major theme of much of his work.  One thing that it is very safe to conclude is that he was very negative on what we would call organized religion, more specifically Christianity.

I found it of interest that the idea of opposition in the Counter Earth model missed out in this area.  The main religion of Gor and its adherents were painted in a totally negative way.  All that was wrong with organized religion on Earth was “wronger” on Gor.  The Caste of Initiates was constantly painted with a very negative brush ranging from absurd rituals and practices to the wicked and corrupt Initiates that dabbled in politics and sought personal enrichment.

initiatesgr

Friedrich Nietzsche spoke of “otherworldliness.”  He said that it had been holding back the real advancement of the human race with its focus on reward and punishment, and a moral code passed on to man and enforced by a higher power not of Earth.   In Tarl Cabot’s famous comparison of Earth and Gorean morality, the slave morality is a reflection of this idea.  That morality is the morality imposed on us by the higher power, and not a morality with its origins in the hearts and souls of man himself.

In Priest Kings of Gor, we see this Nietzsche idea guide the plot.  Tarl Cabot emerges from the Sardar at the exact moment all the Gorean religious leaders are burning a bosk thigh to appease the “gods.”   For a moment, he thinks to use this event to push his own morality on the Goreans.  After all, in Earth terms, he has just returned from Heaven where he had an adventure with God himself, and he figures people will do what he tells them.  The moment is lost as the Initiates use the events to fit their own agenda.

But, this story ends with Tarl having a talk with the High Initiate of AR, who tells him that not only does he have some knowledge of the reality of Priest Kings, and the foolishness of the rituals and beliefs of his own caste, he is an enlightened one, a budding Ubermensch himself, who realizes that religion exists to be overcome.  That man will never rise to his full potential unless he does it by pulling himself up by his own bootstraps.

tarl-and-pk

Here is the very heart of the exchange from the book.

“We speak not to man’s heart, ” said Om, “but only to his fear.  We do not speak of love and courage, and loyalty and nobility, but to practice and observance and the punishment of Priest Kings—-for if we spoke so, it would be that 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.”
Pages 300, 301  Priest Kings of Gor.

Tarl’s affirmation of his release from the slave mentality of otherworldliness comes in Marauders in the Tomb of Torvald, when he says,

“”If the land is to be saved, it is by us, and others like us, that it must be saved.  There are no spells, no gods, no heroes to save us. In this chamber, it is not Torvald who must awaken. It is you and I.
Page 235 Marauders of Gor

The Nietzszsche influence should be clear in both quotes.   The idea that otherworldliness is holding us back and must be overcome.

I can not recall a single time that religious belief as it pertains to Gor was ever the topic of a single public discussion.  However, I have engaged in many private discussions with concerned and confused individuals who were having trouble reconciling their own beliefs with the Gorean morality or lack of it in certain cases.

It is obvious that such things as slavery, paga sluts, brutal forced collarings, and a host of other Gorean blemishes would cause such trouble, and for those people the answer would be found in the “theme of the Gorean novels , #2” from last week.  Gor sucked, but for different reasons.

Yet the UberMensch idea rejects the same things, lumping them in  the “why so hard” bin.  The true conflict that they face is the Gorean rejection of slave morality.  When the negative aspects of Gorean culture are viewed as fodder for nothing more than game type role play, they create little or no conflict.  When confronted with a culture that is focused on love, courage, loyalty, and nobility, rather than practice, observance, and the punishment of Priest-Kings as Om puts it, they are at the point where they have to decide how that jives with their own individual beliefs.

Put another way, the personal spiritual beliefs of Friedrich Nietzsche and John Norman have very little to do with our own spiritual beliefs.  If we listen to what they are telling us, we would know they would be the first to affirm that.  We are supposed to be out searching for our own truths, fighting for the understanding of them.  Freeing ourselves from the slave mentality that forces us to behave out of fear rather than enlightenment.

wholedude-wholenihilism-nietzsche

In Nietzsche’s time, and in European culture especially, religion was waning and being replaced with the idea of nihilism.  This is a belief that life has no real meaning.  There is no longer a set of moral codes passed on in holy books, or in any other form, and so there is no real morality at all.

Tarl Cabot passes through the nihilism stage beginning in Raiders of Gor, when he loses his honor, and actually continuing on through book 8, Hunters of Gor.  He admits to seeing no good in anything, (Port Kar becomes a sort of nihilistic city symbol)

In Raiders, he tells us this:

“I hated Port Kar, and all that was of it.  And I hated myself, for I, too, was of Port Kar. That I had learned this night. I would never forget this night.  All that was in Port Kar was rotten and worthless.  There was no good in her.
The curtain from one of the alcoves was flung apart. There stood there, framed In its conical threshold, Surbus, he who was a captain of Port Kar.  I looked at him with loathing, despising him.  How ugly he was, with his fierce beard, the narrow eyes, the ear gone from the right side of his face.  I had heard of him, and well, I knew him to be pirate; and I knew him to be slaver, and murderer, and thief; I knew him to be a cruel and worthless man, abominable, truly of Port Kar and, as I looked on him, the filth and rottenness, I felt nothing but disgust.”

Page 120-121  Raiders of Gor

My understanding of both Nietzsche and Norman was that they welcomed the onset of nihilism because it signaled the abandonment of otherworld driven morality and paved the way for the advent of the Superior man.  In the following passage, Samos, a native born Gorean, and at this stage still Tarl’s mentor, speaks to this.

“When you lost your images of yourselves, and learned your humanity, in your diverse ways, and shame, you abandoned your myths, your songs, and would accept only the meat of animals, as though one so lofty, as yourself must be either Priest-King or beast.  Your pride demanded either the perfection of the myth or the perfection of its most villainous renunciation. If you were not the highest, you would demand to be the lowest; if you were not the best, you would be nothing less than the worst; if there was not the myth there was to be nothing.” Samos now spoke softly.  “There is something,” he said, “between the fancies of poets and the biting and the rooting and sniffing of beasts”
“What?” I asked.
“Man, ” he said.
Page 311 Raiders of Gor

nietzsche-tightrope-diagram

“If there was not the myth there was to be nothing” says Samos.

“After the abandonment of otherworldliness comes nihilism”  says Nietzsche.

Over the years that a Gorean community has flourished here in Second Life, this same drama has played out numerous times. Otherworldliness has been represented by those people who have seen the Gorean novels as sacred writ. To my embarassment, the Wikipedia article on “Gor” mentions that many Goreans refer to the novels as “The Scrolls.” Many of our sims focus everything on what Om called practice and observance, and fear of the wrath of Moderators telling you that you have a minor detail wrong.
They miss the underlying message of individualism and do not listen to Tarl Cabot’s message that we are not entitled to truths for which we have not fought, and blindly follow websites and struggle to get the smallest detail exactly right “by the books.”

Mixing with them, and often in conflict with them, are the nihilists. They tell us the books have no meaning at all, and we are taking the whole thing way too seriously, as we were told by a student in last weeks discussion. The nihilist like to tell us that the books are poorly written, make no sense, are full of contradictions, and are just poor sci fi anyway. Sometimes they go as far as Tarl in Port Kar and tell us that Gor is actually a stupid, evil, totally disgusting thing, that they enjoying role playing, but can not accept that anyone would see any worth to it beyond that.

So, in the writings of Nietzsche, and in the plot structure of the early novels there is, represented by Tarl Cabot’s adventures, a movement from otherwordliness to nihilism, and a conflict looking for resolution. Perhaps, in the solution found in the books, is a clue to the solution for the conflict and division in Second Life Gor. Next week, this seminar will delve a bit further into this idea and hopefully, we will find some clues that might help us better understand not only the themes of the novels, but the root causes of the chaos of Second Life Gor.

Thank you Master Gorm for offering such interesting insights into the Gorean novels and how they relate to Second Life Gor.

We welcome all to come to these classes and give us your input.  Classes are held at The Gorean Campus in Second Life every Thursday at 12:00pm (noon) and 6pm SLT.