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(#70, Version 5.0)


   This is a collection of thirty selected posts that I have made to various Gorean message boards. They deal with a variety of different Gorean topics. Some of these posts have been modified, revised and/or expanded. Additional selected posts may be added to this essay in the future.  

  1. What is Gorean
  2. Gorean or Not
  3. Degrees of Gorean
  4. Gorean by Birth, Gorean by Nature
  5. Understanding Gor
  6. Male Dominance
  7. Alpha Males
  8. The Happiness of Free Men
  9. Critics & Slavery
  10. Is Slavery Necessary to Gor?
  11. Mastery
  12. Law School & Slaves
  13. Slave Training
  14. Female Rulers
  15. Philosophy v. Lifestyle
  1. Naturalistic Fallacy 
  2. Socratic Method
  3. Living vs. Examining
  4. Ideal vs Reality
  5. An Inevitable Society
  6. Nietzsche
  7. Heretics of Gor?
  8. Stranger = Enemy
  9. Self vs. Community
  10. Ignoring Norman
  11. Public Perceptions of Gor
  12. God & Gor
  13. Ideal vs. Reality
  14. Possibilities...
  15. Utopia

1. What is “Gorean?”   [ top ]

What is “Gorean?” Ah, that million dollar question. The answer has been endlessly debated online and still there is confusion and disagreement. I am not going to try to provide a definitive answer here. I am only going to point out one area that should be addressed when discussing this question.

Initially, you need to choose the proper context for your definition of “Gorean.” At its simplest, a Gorean is a person born on Gor. But when someone online says that they are Gorean, or are acting Gorean, they do not mean that they were born on Gor. They seem to mean that they are acting as a person would act who was born on Gor. They are usually saying that they are acting within the customs and conventions of Gorean culture and society. Thus, they may offer quotes to show that their behavior was performed by at least some Goreans in the books. Yet this viewpoint has some problems.

The Goreans within the novels engaged in a wide variety of behaviors, and not all that would seem ethical. Consider how many of the novels involve a person betraying their people, city or culture. Traitors seem to abound on Gor but would anyone say that treason is “Gorean” behavior?” There is probably little behavior, if any, which does not occur on Gor but does that mean all of that behavior is thus “Gorean?” There has to be more to the definition of Gorean than that, more than the wide range of possible behaviors. Otherwise everything becomes Gorean.

Maybe we want to limit what we consider Gorean to the most common behaviors on Gor. But then we run into the different cultures on Gor. Do we really mean the most common behaviors of the Goreans of the city-states? Or do we include the various barbarian lands as well? And even each city-state has its own quirks and differences. Compare the multitude of differences between Tharna prior to “Outlaw of Gor” and Ko-ro-ba. Defining “Gorean” is not a simple task. It takes far more than a single act of behavior to qualify as such.  

2. Gorean or Not?
   [ top ]

A person is either Gorean or not.

Is that a simple sentence? Is it quite clear? Or is it a complex and ambiguous statement?

That statement is far from either simple or clear. Context is vital to determining the validity of the choice whether one is Gorean or not. Much revolves around the proper definition of the term “Gorean.”

A Gorean can simply be someone born on Gor. Which would mean all of us are not Goreans. The only Goreans who would fit this definition exist in the Gor novels.

A Gorean could be someone who role-plays a Gorean character. Essentially, that person though is only Gorean in this respect when they are actually engaged in role-play. Thus, they are not a Gorean 24/7. They are likely not even Gorean all the time they are online. For anytime we begin to discuss real-time issues, we have stopped role-playing. We are no longer “Gorean” in this respect at that time. And nearly everyone, at the very least, discusses real-time at one point or another. Any time one steps out of character, one stops being Gorean in this respect.

Now, the fact one claims to be role-playing a Gorean does not automatically mean that person is Gorean. Some would state that unless you follow the spirit of the Gor novels then you are not role-playing a Gorean. This enters a nebulous area, one connected to the ambiguity of interpretation. Two different people could see a particular action in a different light, one as Gorean and one as not Gorean. And each of us has our standards of what is and is not Gorean. In addition, we come to the differences between ideal Gorean behavior and the reality of Gorean behavior. And that raises even more issues.

A Gorean could also be someone who lives the Gorean philosophy or is a Gorean lifestyler. That is usually something they are 24/7. But, as in role-play, there can be an ambiguity of interpretation. Thus not everyone will agree what is proper for the philosophy or the lifestyle. In addition, some only use parts of Gor in their real-time and would not be considered fully Gorean real-time. Gor to them may be an addition to their other life philosophies.

So, evaluating someone as “Gorean” or not requires more than a simple yes or no. It involves a deeper analysis of the context of the question and its applicability to the subject of the evaluation.  

3. Degrees of Gorean
   [ top ]

People adhere to the books of Gor in varying degrees, from fairly strict to extremely loose. There is probably no one who attains 100% adherence to the books. And at the other end of the spectrum, even the loosest adherent will still follow at least a few Gorean matters. So, everyone falls somewhere on this spectrum, following Gor in their own degree.

Now then, at what degree of lack of adherence does one become non-Gorean? Or does one become non-Gorean by failing to adhere to certain specific Gorean matters? Are there book matters that can freely be ignored so that a person is still Gorean despite their lack of adherence?

These are not easy questions. Yet there are often accusations that a person is nonGorean. So what is that accusation based on? There must be some rationale, which would supply an answer to the questions I have posed.  

4. Gorean by Birth, Gorean by Nature 
   [ top ]

There are often debates on what is Gorean and whether certain behavior is Gorean or not. Examples from the books will be commonly used to justify a certain type of behavior or action as being Gorean. And as the world of Gor contains a diverse selection of people, you can often find an example to justify most any type of behavior. Yet what type of justification does it actually constitute?

There are two key usages of the term “Gorean” that are relevant to our discussion. First, there is Gorean by birth, that one is a Gorean simply because one was born on Gor. Second, there is Gorean by nature, entailing someone who is Gorean by virtue of adhering to the Gorean philosophy, its virtues, principles and ethics. At times, both usages may be appropriate for someone. They may have been born on Gor and also adhere to the philosophy. But, you also can be Gorean by birth but not by nature, and Gorean by nature though not Gorean by birth. Thus, any action performed by someone who is Gorean by birth does not necessarily conform to Gorean philosophy.

Like reality, the world of Gor is a world of possibilities where any type of behavior may occur. A Gorean-born individual could be a murderous psychotic who delights in sadistic and torturous behavior. Yet that is certainly not an individual who is Gorean by nature as Goreans are generally not cruel and sadistic. If we consider just those born on Gor, we will find a wide range of exceptions to those who are Gorean by nature. So online, should we consider this psychotic to be Gorean or not? Should we consider all of the exceptions to be Gorean?

My belief is that such exceptions should not be considered Gorean per se, but should be quite clearly recognized as counter to Gorean nature. If someone wants to role-play or live by such an exception, they should not try to claim it is “Gorean” but rather should accept that it is opposed to the Gorean philosophy. There should be a clear reason why they have chosen the exception rather than the norm. And they should be willing to accept the consequences and ramifications of their choices. Other Goreans may not easily accept such exceptions, dependent on their nature. Others should not treat the exception as the norm.


5. Understanding Gor 
   [ top ]

At the risk of beating a dead kaiila, it needs to be repeated that one cannot properly understand Gor unless one reads the novels. If you do not read the novels, at best you may possess a cursory understanding of Gor, lacking true depth of comprehension, lacking an understanding of the nuances and subtleties of Gor. If you do not read the novels, then you might also only possess a derivative understanding, a comprehension based on the knowledge of someone else. And if this is true, then you may be basing your understanding on misinformation as you may have littler way of ascertaining the accuracy of the knowledge of the person you derive your knowledge from. Though derivative knowledge often does entail at least some reading, such as a perusal of an educational website.

There are varying levels of understanding of Gor, from a complete lack of comprehension to an in-depth command of the intricacies of the Gorean world, culture, society and philosophy. Reading only a few Gor books will keep you at the lower levels of comprehension. Especially dependent on which novels you might read. Some novels are geared toward a certain subject area, a limited topic, and thus do not present a more comprehensive view of the entirety of Gor. The more of the twenty-six novels you read, the greater your comprehension can become. Each Gor novel adds something to our understanding of the Gorean world. Even the newest book, Witness of Gor, presented new details about Gor, helping to shape our understanding.

Now, reading the Gor novels once leads to a certain level of understanding, but one lesser than if one rereads the novels. A single reading of a Gor novel is likely to give a cursory understanding. It is through repeated readings of a novel though that one acquires even a greater understanding, locating matters that may have been overlooked in a single reading. In addition, memory is a fragile thing. If one read the Gor novels sometime ago, one’s memory of their contents could be tentative or incomplete. Thus, a periodic rereading of the novels will always bolster one’s knowledge of Gor.

For the upper limits of comprehension of Gor, one must expand past just the novels. Norman uses terminology, concepts and ideas that may not always be familiar to the reader. And such matters may be better understood by reading outside of the Gorean series. The first place to go is to Norman’s other works, his other novels and his nonfiction. All provide insights into Gor. Then, one needs to reach out to some of the main inspirations for Gor, to Plato, to the Stoics, to classical Greece and ancient Rome.

Comprehension is also assisted by discussions with others, an exchange of ideas, questions and comments about Gor. The more you discuss Gor with others, then the greater the chance you might gain a new insight into Gor. As people come from diverse backgrounds, they might see something in a different light, might show you a new way to view an idea. Do not be afraid to ask questions about Gor, as an unasked question often is never answered. "Books cannot answer back and respond to the objections they provoke; there is no real dialogue of minds between writer and reader, only between two people actually engaged in philosophical discussion. Plato is deeply influenced by the idea that true knowledge is something that can only be gained by each individual in his or her own case, by thinking things through and questioning everything accepted. There is no short-cut to understanding by passively reading a book." (An Introduction to Plato's Republic" by Julia Annas, p.2)

You are free to choose the level of comprehension of Gor that you wish to acquire. Not everyone will be ambitious enough to seek the highest levels of comprehension. But it is hoped that a person who wishes to be part of the Gorean community does seek at least an average level of comprehension, which requires a reading of the novels. I do believe that one gains a better appreciation of Gor the more that one reads the novels. And it certainly is not a difficult task to read the novels.  

6. Male Dominance    [ top ]

The issue of "male dominance" remains an area of contention in the online community. The greatest dispute is over the validity of the premise that "men are generally dominant over women." Is this premise true or not? Are men predisposed to dominance while women to submissiveness? But, this debate often ignores what is likely the more important issue in the matter, a matter of far greater relevance. In addition, some of those involved in this debate begin with mistaken premises.  

One mistake that is made in these debates is equating "dominance" with "superiority." The Gorean books make it clear that "male dominance" does not equate to male superiority. In fact, the books make it clear that men and women are simply different, neither being inherently superior to the other. About the only time that superiority is mentioned, is in the limited area of physical superiority, where men are seen as physically stronger than women. The books do not state that either gender is more intelligent or wiser than the other. Dominance is more an issue of who possesses the control. For example, the President of the United States is a very dominant individual in our country, yet who would state that he is superior to everyone else as well? He may be in control, but that does not entail he is more intelligent, stronger or wiser than everyone else in the country.  

Another mistake made in these debates is in assuming that male dominance is an absolute, that all men are dominant over all women. The Gorean books do not state or support this premise. On Gor, male dominance is a generality, not an absolute. Women on Gor can attain the highest ranks of power on Gor, becoming the absolute rulers of Gorean cities. It is not common for women to attain these positions of power, but it is within the realm of possibility. If male dominance were absolute on Gor, even that possibility would not exist.  

There are also different levels of dominance within men, some being more dominant than others. Gor is not a constant battleground of alpha males all fighting to be on top. Many men cede control to the more dominant members of Gorean society. For example, the men of the Low Castes generally cede power to the High Castes, both men and women. Within a Caste, there will be the more dominant Caste Leaders. Gor is a very hierarchical society where people give sway to the more dominant members. That does not entail that those who cede dominance to others are necessarily submissive. It simply means that they recognize some people are more dominant than others, gradations of dominance rather than a simple division between dominant and submissive.  

Is male dominance true or not? The Gorean books view male dominance as a natural premise, a genetic predisposition. As partial support, the books state that most mammals and all primates are male dominated. (Contrary to Norman's statement, not all primates are actually male dominated. There are at least two species that are female dominated.) And if we examine the field of evolutionary psychology, we will find much scientific support for men being generally dominant over women. Historically, there is much support for this premise as well. Some exceptions can be found, but they remain only exceptions and not the general rule. Despite the prior allegation that prehistoric matriarchal societies were the norm, there is little evidence to support it and the allegation has begun to fall out of favor. 

Most debates over male dominance end at this point, with the argument over whether male dominance is a genetic disposition or not. Once someone accepts male dominance is natural, they do not go any further in their analysis. Yet, this is only the first step in the process. There is a second, even more important step involved that is far too often ignored in these debates. Even if we accept the premise that male dominance is a genetic predisposition, that still does not automatically mean we should live according to that premise. We must delve further into the matter to determine whether that predisposition should be followed or not.  

It is a commonly held belief that one cannot derive moral values from natural facts. This can be alternatively stated that you cannot derive a proscriptive statement from a descriptive statement, that you cannot derive what "ought" to be from what "is." This is referred to as the naturalistic fallacy. (Norman's dissertation dealt substantially with the naturalistic fallacy) Thus, even if it is true that men are genetically more dominant than women that does not mean automatically that men ought to be in control. Though we have genetic predispositions, we also possess the reasoning faculties to overcome such dispositions. We need not be slaves to our genes. It is an ethical decision whether one follows a genetic predisposition or not.  

Let us use some extreme examples as a contrast. Let us assume that we feel if something is natural, then it is good. We then would collect all of those traits that are considered to be “natural.” But, rape is considered by a significant group to be a natural trait. Does this mean rape is good? Cannibalism can also be shown to be natural. Is that good? You will find few willing to support that just because something is natural it is also good. Even Norman would agree that one couldn’t simply accept what is natural as being good. He makes that point clearly in his book Imaginative Sex.  

So, the next step in the debate should revolve around whether men "ought" to be dominant. What makes male dominance good? And that should prove a rather interesting issue, raising many diverse questions. What makes a good dominant? Who should be in control and why? What are the elements of a good leader? What elements are unnecessary to a good leader? How do male and female leaders differ, if at all? Do men make better leaders than women? Does the area that is being controlled matter to our answers? Are men better leaders only in certain arenas while women are better leaders in others? Are women better leaders at home? Are men better leaders in war? Are there negative ramifications to having men in control? Are there negative ramifications to having women in control?

I should point out that this analysis would apply to many of the philosophical principles of Gor. One cannot accept those principals as valid simply because they are considered natural. A deeper examination must be conducted to assess the validity of those principals. Most people do not go that far though. They do not carefully analyze the reasons for the validity of the philosophy. They accept it only because it is natural. And that poses potential dangers, as a person could accept something that is natural but which is not good.  

7. Alpha Males 
   [ top ]

The alpha male. The dominant man.

The existence of a group of alpha Gorean males online is often given as an excuse why standardized rules and better organization never come to pass. No one wishes to be told what to do. They want complete autonomy over their lives. It is considered natural for this to be the case, that the chaos that exists online is but a logical extension of the existence of all these dominant Gorean men. By sheer numbers, most online communities are relatively small, possessing sufficient people to only fill maybe a large village.

The world of Gor contains primarily dominant men, a planet of alpha males. A typical Gorean city will contain maybe a couple hundred thousand men. In the largest city, you may have a million men or more. Yet somehow these vast communities avoid the chaos that exists online. They are cities of law, of structure and organization. There are clear hierarchies in place. These dominant men appear willing to cede some control to others, to surrender some of the autonomy in their lives.

Why is this so? How should a group of alpha males act online, as it is on Gor or as it is online? If they should act as if on Gor, then why doesn’t that occur online? Why can’t such small communities work together in a proper hierarchy? Could it be because there are actually few true alpha males online? Or do the alpha males fail to properly understand the principles of Gor, its adherence to hierarchies?  

8. The Happiness of Free Men    [ top ]

Can only a slave make a Gorean man happy? Or can he find happiness with a Free Woman?

Let us start with a premise: Gorean men are generally happy and satisfied with their lives. The books would seem to indicate this to be true. There are passages specifically mentioning that Goreans are generally happy people. The description of Gorean society also does not indicate that the mass of men is frustrated and unhappy. It would certainly seem strange if most Gorean men were not happy individuals. It would be a denial of the basic tenets of Gorean philosophy if they led such miserable lives. If this premise were untrue, then it would lead to a radical alteration of our perception of Gorean society.

In a reading of the Gorean series, you find that kajirae often take a central role in the stories. There are several novels that are even referred to as “slave” novels as they are told from the viewpoint of a slave. These include Captive of Gor, Slave Girl of Girl, Kajirae of Gor, Dancer of Gor and Witness of Gor. This gives the impression that slaves were quite numerous on Gor. In addition, there are numerous quotes and Gorean sayings that all women should be slaves, that women are happiest as slaves, that all men need a slave, that the only true love and happiness can be found with a slave, etc. This rhetoric pervades the novels and many people online have parroted those words as well. The quotes are freely passed around and often posted on websites and message boards. In addition to these quotes, the most prominent Free Women depicted in the books nearly always end up as slaves. This all contributes to the impression that slaves must be quite numerous on Gor. But what is the reality of Gor?

Let us delve into the novels, below the surface rhetoric and appearances, to determine a truer picture of slavery. Even in his latest novel, Witness of Gor, Norman states that the majority of women on Gor are free. It is stated in the books that the average percentage of female slaves on Gor is approximately 2-3%. That is a relatively low percentage, only 2 or 3 women out of 100. These figures are supported by both specific and general quotes on the slave population percentage of Gor. Remember that this is an overall average across at least civilized Gor and that particular cities may possess different percentages. For example, the city of Tharna, after its slave revolt, probably has the highest percentage of female slaves of any other city, over 90%. Ar also has a higher percentage than the average, around 15%. On the other hand, the city of Corcyrus may only possess a few hundred kajirae.

Now, accepting the average percentage of 2-3%, we then note that the number of men who own slaves is even lower. This is due to the fact that some men own multiple slaves, even hundreds of slaves, while some women own slaves as well. This could mean that as low as 1%, if not less, of Gorean men own a female slave. Only one man in a hundred may own a slave. Now, certainly other men would have some access to slaves even if they do not own them, such as paga girls, bath girls, coin girls, etc. But that would be only for brief times, and it would cost for their use. It would not be an adequate substitute to owning a slave.

This raises a series of interesting questions then. If all of the rhetoric is true, that men need slaves to be happy, then why have so few Free Women been enslaved? If you need a slave to be happy, does that men over 97% of Gorean men are not happy? If you can only find love with a slave, does that mean over 97% of Gorean men live without love? If you are not a true man without a slave, does that men over 97% of Gorean men are not true men? Certainly 100 men cannot adequately share 2-3 women. So the vast majority of men must live without slaves. This leads to a very curious situation.

Gorean men would not deny themselves happiness or fulfillment in their lives. And if we accept our initial premise, that Gorean men are generally happy, then we must try to understand why they are happy. If such happiness only came from a slave, then nearly all Gorean men would be unhappy. Are they deceiving themselves about their happiness? We must assume the only viable alternative, that men can find happiness and love with a Free Woman. If a man is happy and it is not a slave doing it, then the only other possible female would be the Free Woman. If that were not true, then Gorean men would have enslaved a substantial segment of the female population. Yet they have not done so. And no explanation is really explicitly provided by the books. The slave percentage figures contradict the rhetoric of Gor.

Though people might posit the reasons for the necessity of Free Women, such as for breeding and Caste work, those reasons are insufficient to explain the deeper issue. Those reasons might be cited for the low percentage of actual slaves. But even if Free Women are a necessity that does not mean men would necessarily be happy. They would only be happy and in love if Free Women were capable of making them so. Regardless of any reasons why women on Gor might need to be free, it seems a given that they must be able to make men happy as well.

One of the reasons some have cited for the preference of slaves over Free Women is that the Free Woman has a reputation of being frigid and sexually repressed. And such women cannot give a man love or make him happy. Are there Free Women on Gor who meet this criteria? Sure, especially in High Caste women who are highly concerned about their reputation. But Gor contains a wide diversity of Free Women, and not all fit into this criteria.

One of the keys is often the dichotomy of public versus private actions. A slave may freely express herself sexually in public, though there may be some restrictions in the presence of Free Women. A Free Woman cannot similarly express herself in public without potentially earning a legal enslavement. So Free Women must act proper in public. Yet in private, a Free Women, if she so desires, is often able to express herself sexually. And we do see this capability within the books if we examine them closely.

Male silk slaves are sexual pleasure slaves for free women. If all Free Women were frigid, there would certainly be no need for male silk slaves. In fact, there are brothels where Free Women go to be with male silk slaves. Within the Jason Marshall trilogy, Jason is lent to another Free Woman for her sexual pleasure. There was no couching law in that city to prevent such a loan. Physicians often give advice to Free Women who wish to stop being frigid to learn slave dance. Thus, the Physicians are encouraging them to learn to be more sexual, to go so far as to dance like a slave, which certainly thus seems permissible. During Carnival, there are Free Women who disguise themselves as slaves so that they can run naked in the streets. Then there was Clitus Vitellius of Ar with whom a number of Free Women would spend the night with, despite their not being his Free Companion. Other similar references exist as well.

In Norman’s personal beliefs, he does not see a sharp dividing line between Free Women and slaves. In his book, Imaginative Sex, Norman makes it clear that he feels that all women contain aspects of both slave and companion within them. And a man is considered very lucky to possess both. If a man only possessed one or the other, he would be depriving himself. Norman sees a woman’s submissive nature as well as her desire for independence and control at times. Both of these needs are meant to be addressed by a man, rather than suppressing one or the other.

What is important in understanding these points, and many other points as well is the ability to get past the surface rhetoric in the novels. One must consider the novels as a whole, drawing out the factual details rather than blindly accepting the oft-repeated slogans as the truth. Anyone can pull a quote out of the books to try to justify their position. But it gets tougher to create a more complete picture by examining numerous different quotes and passages and seeing how they form the greater whole. To say that a Free Women cannot make a man happy, show him love and be sexual in private would contradict the overall picture of Gor.

9. Critics & Slavery 
   [ top ]

Critics of Gor. Anti-Goreans.  

They create their own websites and post on message boards, often vehemently attacking Gor. Their greatest attacks are often against those who claim to live according to a Gorean philosophy or lifestyle. And their largest target is the existence of slavery within the Gor books. Though there are other targets as well, it is slavery that garners the most attention. So, let us examine the issue of Gorean slavery more closely. Let us consider those matters that these critics either ignore, do not know or fail to understand.  

1. There are an estimated 20-30 million slaves, legal or forced, in our world today. This is greater than the number of slaves that once existed in ancient Rome. This is also far greater than the number of slaves said to exist on Gor. As a rough estimate, Gor likely has less than ¼ of that number of slaves. So on which world is slavery actually more prevalent? Earth.  

2. There is a significant difference between a “slave society” and a “slave owning society.” In a slave society, there are substantially more slaves and the slaves are very important to production. Slave societies are very dependent upon slavery as an institution. Historians acknowledge there have only been 5 slave societies on Earth, though there have been numerous slave owning societies. The slave societies include ancient Greece, ancient Rome, the U.S., the Caribbean and Brazil. By this historical and sociological standard, Gor does not qualify as a slave society and is not even close to meeting that standard. To qualify numerically, Gor would need to multiply its slave population at least about 15 times.  

3. The Gor books portray a fictional world where legal slavery exists. The key word is “fictional.” It is not intended to be an advocacy for the existence of legal slavery. If mere fiction did that, then even role-playing Gor would be considered to advocate for legal slavery. Yet the most rabid critics of Gor do not rail against role-playing or feel that it promotes legal slavery. Does the Old Testament advocate legal slavery as such slavery does exist within it and that slavery is even accepted within it? Does every novel advocate all of the fictional matters depicted within them? Is Stephen King, the famed horror writer, an advocate for murder? Is Tom Clancy responsible for the 9/11 tragedy because one of his fictional works depicted a terrorist crashing a hijacked plane into a government building? Is Tom Clancy an advocate for terrorism? It is a fallacious argument to assert that a fiction writer advocates anything that exists within his novels without further supporting evidence.  

4. Norman has publicly stated that his political stance is libertarian, a stance that opposes legal slavery. Norman has never publicly stated he supports legal slavery. And there is no indication that he does support such. In fact, if you read his nonfiction works, especially Imaginative Sex, you can see that he is clearly not an advocate of legal slavery. If anything, he only supports the role-playing of slavery by consenting adults. And he emphasizes safety factors in such role-play.  

5. Slavery is not essential to the fabric of Gorean society. It could be removed from Gorean society without causing the society to unravel. Slavery is only a social institution and such institutions can always change in any society. Besides some temporary economic problems that would result if slavery were abolished, Gorean society would quickly adapt to its absence. In general, slavery on Gor is considered a luxury, not an essential.  

6. Slavery is not a part of the underlying Gorean philosophy that exists within the books. It is a societal institution. One can easily adopt a Gorean philosophy into their real lives without accepting the validity of legal slavery. One can even be vehemently opposed to such slavery and still not be in conflict with the Gorean philosophy. The key is being able to differentiate between the philosophy and the societal/cultural institutions of Gor. Unless you can look past the societal/cultural institutions, you will never understand this point.  

7. Some people who choose to live a “Gorean lifestyle” engage in “consensual slavery.” The key word here is “consensual.” Such relationships are worked out before hand and both parties agree to the terms of such “slavery.” They are not forced relationships and they have no legal standing. The “slave” is free to leave the relationship at ay time. Consensual slavery is more of an oxymoron since the person is not an actual slave. It is more akin to a deeper form of submission. 

8. Are there tales of tragedy involved with consensual slavery? Are there people who abuse such relationships? Yes, there are. That cannot be denied and there is no reason to deny such. But, the risk and amount of abuse is certainly no greater than in any other type of relationship. Consider the extent of domestic violence that exists in ordinary relationships. We all know horror stories of ordinary relationships that are abusive; physically, emotionally and mentally. Consensual slavery does not have a monopoly or even a lead in such abuse.  

9. Generalizations about the harms of consensual slavery are essentially anecdotal only. They are rarely based on firm evidence and never on statistics and studies. They are based often on hearsay, stories passed on through a chain of individuals, originating from an alleged victim. And there have been alleged victims who have lied about such matters as well. Though some of the stories of harm are true, there has yet to be any proper analysis of the phenomenon. Thus, one cannot make adequate generalizations about the harms of consensual slavery due to a lack of proper examination of the matter. We can say that some harms have occurred but we cannot speak of the true extent of such dangers. Rather than making baseless accusations, critics would be better off engaging in a proper study of the matter.  

10. Most people who live according to a Gorean philosophy or lifestyle do not advocate legal or forced slavery. In general, they would agree such matters should not exist on Earth. They clearly understand that Gor is a fictional world. No one suggests that Goreans should move to those parts of the world where slavery still exists. Consensual slavery may be advocated, but the emphasis remains on consent and safety. Predators lurk in all groups, in all places. Gor is not unique in that respect.  

11. How many people actually live according to a Gorean philosophy or lifestyle? Online, there are probably 70-90% who only role-play Gor. The number who actually live it is relatively small. Overall, maybe there are a few thousand at best who live it, and that may even be overestimating the numbers. And only a percentage of them are engaged in consensual slavery relationships. Thus, if the numbers are so low, why have the critics devoted so much time to opposing it? Aren’t there vastly more important problems that they could be addressing? Why don’t they devote their anti-Gorean websites and message forums to opposing the true forced slavery that currently exists on Earth? Should they not be detailing the plight of sexual slaves in Southeast Asia or the work slaves in Africa? Some of these critics may mention such matters only in passing, devoting their efforts to opposing Gor instead. That seems to be a rather warped priority, dedicating far more time and effort to a vastly less significant problem. They are opposing a couple thousand Goreans instead of trying to protect over 20 million actual slaves. That seems blatantly twisted. Instead of slavery, these critics could concentrate on domestic violence instead. There is far more of that in non-Gorean relationships. If the critics are truly concerned about battling societal ills, they are wasting their time attacking a rather insignificant problem. So why are they doing so? What reasons do they have for such a lopsided priority? What is their real concern?  

Some of the critics of Gor may take exception with some of the matters I have raised. They may vehemently disagree with my conclusions. Yet, will they confine their arguments to my own specific points? Will they deal with the individual issues I have raised or will they try to lump everything together, thus hoping to avoid answering some matters. If you wish to debate this matter, direct your comments to the specific points raised. That is why they have been numbered, for simplicity’s sake. Delineate which of these points you agree with and which you do not. And then explain why you disagree.  

It is most likely that my comments will be ignored. It is far easier to continue their opposition if they do not have to engage in true debate. They can continue to promote their own agenda without acknowledging a myriad of issues that might nullify their own stance. It is easy to rail against the evils of slavery. No one is contesting that legal slavery is a harm. It is far harder for these critics to deal with the actuality of Gor, and the delineation between philosophy and societal institutions, fiction and real life. 

10. Is Slavery Necessary to Gor?
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Is slavery necessary to Gor? Many people online do feel that slavery is very important, if not crucial to Gor. If one reads the surface level of the Gor novels, one is left with the idea that slavery is very important and very widespread on Gor. There are several Gor novels told from the viewpoint of a slave and many of the novels contain numerous scenes with slaves. The novels often certainly revolve around the issue of slavery. But, if we examine the world of Gor deeper, beyond the plots of the novels, we are left with a very different view. Slavery will then be scene as a mere luxury, a pleasant addition but certainly not a necessity to Gorean philosophy.

First, we should examine the number of slaves on Gor. Multiple references state that 3% or less of all Gorean women are slaves. And male slaves constitute 0.3% or less. Those are certainly not significant numbers if slaves were supposed to be a necessity. In fact, Gor would not even be seen as a “slave society.” It would only be seen as a “slave owning society.” What is the difference? Well, a slave society generally contains a slave population of 20% or more. In our history, most sociologists accept only 5 slave societies, including ancient Greece, ancient Rome, and the U.S. when blacks were slaves.

In addition to the number of slaves, true slave societies heavily rely on slaves for production. On Gor, this is not the case. In a society such as Gor, like that of ancient Greece and Rome, production primarily entails agriculture. In ancient Greece and Rome, much of the agriculture was performed by slave labor. But on Gor, free Peasants rather than slaves do most of the work. A few slaves do engage in agricultural work but it is not integral to the overall production of Gor.

Most slaves, especially when you consider that most of them are female, engage in entertainment or pleasure activities, from lowly coin girls to highly trained Passion Slaves. Gorean slaves are thus much more of a luxury rather than a necessity. And if 98% or greater of the free population can exist without owning a slave, then it can’t be that integral to the society. Obviously if one had to own a slave to be Gorean, then there would be few Goreans on Gor. If slaves were to vanish from Gor, the changes would not be that significant. The same would occur if you removed any luxury from a society. There would be a period of adjustment, but very likely no long-term damage.

As for slavery being part of the Gorean philosophy that is inaccurate. Slavery is a societal and cultural institution and not a philosophical principle. There may be philosophical principles that led to the creation of slavery, but that does not make slavery itself part of the philosophy. The underlying philosophical principle is that men are generally dominant and women are generally submissive. That principle does not state women should be slaves, just submissive. And in addition, that principle does not necessarily lead to the creation of the institution of slavery. Slavery is simply one way to express that principle but it is not the only way and not necessarily the best either.

Sure, one can pull out lots of quotes from the books about slavery being natural for a woman but that is only the rhetoric of Goreans and not actual philosophy. It is akin to saying that all women drivers are terrible. It is a generalization generally not supported by reality. Consider that Gorean society certainly does not live up to all of the rhetoric concerning slavery. For if all women should be slaves and can only be truly happy in a collar, then Gor has failed by only enslaving 3% or less. But, there is no indication that Gor is a failure and Goreans, men and women, are seen as generally happy people. All of those quotes are nullified by the reality of the world of Gor.

Sure, it is a pleasure to own a slave but it is but a small part of the entire Gorean experience. And it is not a necessity. The novels would certainly be very different without the inclusion of all that slavery, but the world of Gor itself would change little. To make slavery so central to Gor is to grant slaves a status and importance that would not be Gorean in nature. On Gor, slaves are mere possessions and how important is a possession in reality? Does it affect your virtues, your ethics? Does it keep you alive? Does it define your being? Or is it but a pleasant luxury, an entertaining diversion?  

11. Mastery 
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“Mastery-of others and/or of oneself-is the definitive masculine trait in most of the Greek and Latin literary and philosophical texts that survive from antiquity. In certain of these texts, as we shall see, a (free) man's right to dominate others-women, children, slaves, and other social inferiors-is justified by his capacity to dominate himself. Moreover…this hegemonic conception of masculinity was less a dichotomy between male and female than a hierarchical continuum where slippage from most fully masculine to least masculine could occur. The individual male's position on this precarious continuum was never entirely secure."   "Taking It Like A Man: Masculinity in 4 Maccabees" by Stephen Moore and Janice Anderson, p.250 in the Journal of Biblical Literature 117 (1998) 

“Owning” a slave is relatively easy. It generally takes little or no skill. A woman might willingly accept a collar, you might purchase her from another or capture her on an unsafe page.

“Commanding” a slave is also relatively easy. All you must do is give her orders. Anyone can tell a slave to serve them paga or run to the furs. It takes no skill to give orders.

“Mastering” a slave though is the difficult part.

Consider this riddle: When you Master a slave, how many individuals are you Mastering?

The correct answer is 2. You are not only Mastering the slave but you are also Mastering yourself. You cannot truly Master a slave unless you also Master yourself. Self-mastery is an essential key to the proper mastery of a slave. Yet this is far too often ignored online. It is not seen as necessary or even beneficial. How many times do we see someone new to Gor, who fails to understand so many of the principles of Gor, owning a slave? Such relationships rarely last and that new person will likely go through several slaves rather quickly. Or the slave will be the one ending up with all of the control.

It is easy to pretend to be a Master, to seem tough and domineering, harsh and arrogant. This façade may even effectively delude many people. Yet if one looks carefully, one can see the flaws in that façade. One can perceive the lack of self-mastery, the lack of self-control. If you look closely, you can see how that person is controlled by their emotions, their baser instincts. They are easy to anger, impatient and surly. They do not understand themselves, and cannot understand others either. They lack patience, confidence and calmness of spirit. They fail to possess proper self-discipline.

Yet how does one attain self-mastery? First, it is a never-ending battle, one that will last throughout your life. Second, it does not come easy or quick. It takes much self-discovery, internal questioning and analysis, constant examination. It takes a willingness to confront one’s flaws and faults, one’s darker side. It takes a strong will to overcome one’s baser instincts and desires. It takes an accumulation of life experiences, a familiarity with the myriad vagaries of life. It takes maturity, patience and wisdom. There is no quick fix for self-mastery.

So, instead of worrying so much about mastering slaves, should one not worry about mastering themselves?

12. Law School & Slaves 
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The general public has a misconception concerning law school. The primary objective of law school is not to teach a person to know the law. In fact, many law school students rarely take any practical courses. Most of their courses deal with theory and concepts rather than specifics. The actual objective of law school is to teach you to “think” like a lawyer. If you can think like a lawyer, everything else will come easy. Statutes and case law can be referenced. There is no need to memorize them. Court protocols can be learned fairly quickly. The key is that a person thinks properly, like a lawyer. Everything else becomes secondary to that purpose.

Slave training is like law school and the same basic concept applies. If you can train a girl to think like a slave, everything else will come easy. After that point, it is more just simple memorization of certain conventions. A girl who just learns the positions, the commands, the serves a slave only learns how to “act” like a slave. Those types of matters do not teach a girl to “think” as a slave. If you are solely concerned with role-play, then a girl only needs to learn how to act the part of a slave. If you seek more than that though, then you should find a way to train her to think as a slave.  

13. Slave Training    [ top ]

How does one properly train a slave?

Much of what passes as online slave training revolves around rote memorization of positions, serves, and protocol. There are often qualifications whereby one can acquire a certain colored “silk” to designate one’s technical proficiencies. Besides these silk designations having dubious support in the Gor novels, they also rely too heavily on the superficial aspects of slavery. They certainly have little to do with whether a girl understands in her heart and mind what is means to be a slave. This superficial training can result in a “Stepford kajira,” a girl who can go through the motions but who lacks true feeling and understanding. She is technically perfect but lacks the soul of a kajira.

If we examine the various message boards, it is evident that there are a fair number of slaves who are deficient in even basic protocol. They may post in a manner that is very unslavelike. And more often than not, their owners approve of their posts. They allow their slaves to violate some of the most basic rules of Gorean slave behavior. Such girls routinely show disrespect to free people, despite their words that “this post is not intended to be disrespectful.” Those words do not hide the reality of the purpose of the post. If one wishes to be a slave, even just as role-play, they should at the very least remain true to their role and follow basic protocol.

For the purposes of role-play, mere memorization of positions and protocol may be sufficient, provided those protocols are enforced upon the slave. It is not absolutely necessary for a role-playing slave to truly understand what it means to be a slave. But, if one wishes to go further than just role-play, the rote memorization is definitely insufficient. It does not adequately address the heart of being a slave. Thus, training of such a slave needs to go deeper, to touch on areas that are not addressed by silk designations. It becomes an exploration of one’s self, an intense examination of one’s inner nature. It is not easy or quick. It is a gradual process, one that can be enhanced by the proper owner. It takes a willingness to learn, a willingness to work hard, and a willingness for honest communication.

We must always remember that any such slavery is consensual. And it should be able to end at any time, by a decision by either party involved. What we are talking about is not an actual slavery, not a legal or forced slavery. It is simply a deeper form of submission, what some might consider a more extreme form of submission. Such slavery would be akin in many ways to Total Power Exchange or Internal Enslavement. And as an aside, slavery is not an aspect of the Gorean philosophy. It is a societal and cultural institution that can be emulated and modified.

Most, if not all, women have a submissive side to them and the degree of submission will vary from woman to woman. Some have a very strong submissive nature. But, our society has frowned upon a full _expression of this submissive nature. Women are now encouraged to be more assertive, more aggressive. They are often conditioned to suppress their more submissive aspects. Thus, for a woman to become a slave may take great effort in overcoming prior societal conditioning. It can also lead to problems in societal acceptance as the role of “slave” is not generally acceptable. It is often considered at the very least an alternative lifestyle and at the worst, deviant behavior.

Online though, how can one overcome societal conditioning? There are obvious limitations online. It lacks a face-to-face rapport, which can be so powerful. It also lacks a verification system for a number of actions. So, you must then try to use the tools you do possess, the written word and the spoken word. By spoken word, I mean live chat online, even where the chat consists of typed words. The primary idea is to use those words as a tool to get the women to think, to learn, to communicate. One way this can be accomplished is by assigning the slave certain tasks to perform, such as written essays or a journal. Once those tasks are performed, then a dialogue can be held between owner and slave, discussing the completed tasks.

For example, you may have the slave write an essay on what she believes the essence of being a slave to be, or the essence of a Master. In these essays, you seek the viewpoint of the woman, her own personal feelings. You are not looking for book answers or what is the correct answer. You are looking for the woman to be truthful, how she really feels about the subject. These essays can cover a wide range of topics, from basic slavery issues to areas specific to the woman. Do not worry as much about the form of the essay, its spelling and punctuation, as long a it is legible. The content is the key.

Another valuable tool is the journal. Often kept daily, the journal is meant to be a slave’s diary, describing her feelings, thoughts and activities. To be most effective, a slave must be completely honest in her journal. She must not fear putting in even negative thoughts. Dishonesty will only hinder the process for it is all very important. Each item tells the owner more about the girl. To alleviate some of a girl’s fears about such a journal and to promote honesty, an owner can state that the slave will not be punished for anything written within the journal. Thus, she is free to express her deepest thoughts without fear of repercussion.

Having a slave do these tasks is only half of the picture. It is then important that these tasks be discussed. You can discuss the contents of the essays, possibly debating over the answers to whatever topic or question was posed or gaining more detail. You can discuss the journal contents, dealing with any problems or difficulties that are raised. A journal also allows one to gauge a girl’s progress over time. It helps ensure she is on the right track. In these discussions, the woman needs to be open, able to discuss freely these matters. She will find that she is learning more about herself. And that is crucial to the entire endeavor.

Another important way that this learning process can be enhanced is through thorough questioning sessions. An owner can ask his slave a myriad of questions about herself, her feelings, likes, dislikes, experiences. The more the owner knows about her, the better. Obviously, due to trust issues, this questioning may need to take place over a period of time, as the relationship grows closer and trust deepens. Few women would be totally comfortable detailing every intimate detail of their life to someone they just met. And there are some very real reasons why she should be careful. There are far too many online predators around.

The sum total of all these matters is that you have a man learning about a woman and a woman learning about herself. And the goal of both should be the truth. If a woman is not suitable for being a slave, then it should not be forced. There is no shame in not being capable of becoming a slave. It is not appropriate for everyone. But, if the capability exists, then it needs to come to the forefront. It needs to blossom. The woman needs to accept it in her heart and embrace this aspect of her nature. Embracing this inner nature will be ultimately fulfilling to the woman and the man will benefit as well.

Besides these more cerebral tasks, a girl can also be assigned more physical tasks, also intended to teach her about herself. Such tasks can help a girl better appreciate her senses or explore her sexuality. The key will often be for the girl to concentrate closely on the tasks at hand, concentrating when she normally would not do so. It is also essential that the woman actually performs the tasks and not just says that she does. It would be difficult online to verify a girl has completed these tasks but it only cheats the girl. She fails to learn valuable information about herself.

As an example, you could tell a girl to eat a specific meal and to take her time eating, concentrating on the flavors, smells and textures of the food. The meal could include some very sensual foods from whipped cream to chocolate, from sushi to oysters. Or you could tell her to sit in a dark room, concentrating on what she can hear and sense. These types of things are meant to get a woman better in touch with her senses. That was the intention of the “stimulation cage” from the Gorean books. Other matters can get a woman more in touch with her femininity, her sexuality. It could be as simple as having a girl not wear any panties for the day, especially if she is wearing a dress. Though no one else may ever know, the woman will often be acutely aware of her condition. Most usually get a pleasure out of the experience. If you use your imagination, you can easily come up with others ways to enhance this aspect of a woman.

So, both the mental and physical aspects of a woman can be addressed. All of these tasks are intended to teach a woman about herself and to share that knowledge with her owner. It can be a very rewarding experience for both parties. But it does take time and effort, on both parties. But, that time and effort should begin even before a woman is collared. The proper time and consideration should be given prior to any such enslavement, to ensure that both parties fully understand what will be involved.

At the very least, the parties should discuss what they expect out of the relationship. You need to be sure that your expectations are compatible. If one wants only role-play but the other wants more, then the relationship is unlikely to work. Honesty is important here as well. If you are honest in what you want, you will less likely be disappointed by what you get. A more thorough method, requiring more time and effort, is for the owner to create a written list of expectations for his would-be slave. This helps solidify the expectations and gives a girl something she can refer to from time to time. This list can be brief or very extensive. I previously posted such a list of about 100 items but such a lengthy list is not necessary for everyone. People should simply not rush into a collaring situation. It should be carefully considered.

None of these methods are guaranteed to be successful but they should enhance one’s chances of success. Much of it is just common sense as well. As in any endeavor, the effort we put into it will reflect on our results. And if your objective is important, then the maximum amount of effort is warranted.  

14. Female Rulers    [ top ]

Only a small number of the rulers of the hundreds of Gorean cities have ever been identified by name in the books. In the case where names are not provided, the gender is often not provided either. So, it is impossible to ascertain the exact number of cities on Gor that have had a sole female ruler. In addition, the possibility exists that cities that have never before had sole female rulers could acquire a sole female ruler in the future. We do know that Ar, Corcyrus, Port Olni and Tharna have all had sole female rulers. We have no reason to believe that these have been the only such cities on Gor. In addition, some cities have possessed female rulers who ruled together with a man, generally the Ubar and Ubara relationship. Though the Ubar is the ultimate authority in such an arrangement, the Ubara remains second in control, possessing great powers over the rest of the citizens. Clearly, Gorean society permits women to attain the highest ranks of power. Let us then examine the sole female rulers from the books.

In “Magicians of Gor” Talena was made Ubara of Ar, and many of the people of Ar gladly welcomed her as their ruler. Marlenus, Ubar of Ar, had vanished while on a raid against Treve and a male Regent had been left in power. This Regent was deposed and the people accepted Talena as their Ubara. The Cosian invaders were instrumental in getting Talena made Ubara. Tarl Cabot did then entrap her, by operation of the couching law, thus making her his slave. But he chose to keep her as his secret slave, allowing her to continue to rule as Ubara until he came to claim her. Tarl knew that Talena was a traitor, having betrayed Ar to Cos. She was simply being used as a pawn in their schemes. If Talena had not betrayed Ar, then it is highly unlikely that Tarl would have tries to enslave her. Such a traitor as Talena is clearly not a good role model for a female ruler.

In “Kajira of Gor” there was an intricate scheme where Sheila, the Tatrix of Corcyrus, had an Earth girl act as her double. The true Tatrix was involved in a plot of the Kurii, betraying Gor. Again, this treason is ultimately punished and Sheila ended up as a slave. Like Talena, Sheila is not a positive role model of a female ruler.

A couple hundred years ago, the Tatrix of Port Olni lost a war to the city of Ti and was subsequently enslaved. Little is known of her reign and whether she would have made a good role model or not. Her fate is not atypical as conquerors often enslave many free women within the conquered city.

In “Outlaw of Gor” we are introduced to the city of Tharna, which is led by women. The ruler of Tharna is a Tatrix, a Silver-Masked woman. We are unsure of the exact length of time that this situation has existed in Tharna but it does seem a significant time. During that time, there would have been a series of Tatrices who ruled the city. Yet, we only know the fate of one of them, Lara, who was in power when “Outlaw of Gor” begins. We do not know anything about the fates of the prior Tatrices of Tharna. We do know that after the revolt in Tharna, the people of Tharna permitted Lara to remain in power. She would later abdicate her throne and her subsequent fate is unknown. It would seem unlikely that all of the prior Tatrices of Tharna ended up in collars.

Are the fates of these female rulers indicative of a general rule about female rulers? Would male rulers have been treated any differently? What would make for a good female ruler? Why would Gorean men follow a female ruler?

It is difficult to make generalizations based only on these four examples. We can agree that female rulers are not common on Gor. But, female rulers have existed on Gor in the past, in the present and likely will exist in the future as well. Not all female rulers ultimately end up as a slave. At least one in four voluntarily abdicated her throne. And we do not know the fates of the prior Tatrices of Tharna. Norman is not explicit that all female rulers eventually end up as slaves. We should also remember that though less than 3% of the women of Gor were actually slaves, a surface reading of the books could lead one to believe that nearly all free women are enslaved. Very few prominent women in the books remain free. Yet Norman is very clear that free women are in the great majority.

A male ruler who betrayed his city, as did the female rulers of Ar and Corcyrus, might not be enslaved but he would certainly be punished, likely even executed for his crimes. Treason is certainly not limited by gender. The treason of these women was the focal point in their downfall, and not their gender. As for Port Olni, that city was conquered in a war. A conquered male ruler would likely be executed rather than enslaved. So again, the gender of the two rulers was largely irrelevant to the fate of the city. The ruler of any conquered city will usually face a terrible fate. As for Tharna, there was a revolt against the women in power yet the men of Tharna allowed a woman to continue to rule them. This says much about the leadership abilities of Lara. Such a situation has existed with Marlenus in the past, when he was ousted from Ar but then later the people desired him back.

It can be dangerous to be a ruler of a city on Gor, whether you are male or female. Female rulers may end up enslaved, but male rulers are more likely to be put to the death. Consider how many different people have ruled Ar during the course of the Gorean series. Just in Tarnsman of Gor alone, Marlenus, the Caste of Initiates, Pa-Kur and Kazrak all ruled Ar at one time or another. Assassin of Gor also saw a few different rulers within Ar. One cannot simply examine the fate of female rulers without examining the fates of male rulers as well. Examining the entire picture shows that it is the position, not the gender, which is primarily the key. No person on Gor is completely safe. Any person, man or woman, can be enslaved or killed.

A good female ruler will commonly be a dominant individual, intelligent, wise, courageous, just, respected and honorable. She will be considered of superior quality, a member of an elite class. She must garner the support of her people and be able to defend the city against any and all attackers. This can be a difficult task for a man, never mind a woman. To get men to follow her, such a woman must excel. She must be persuasive and prove her capabilities. And if she fails, then her fate may be a steel collar.

Now, good women are not the only ones who attain rulership positions. There are reasons why other women might end up in that role. For example, she could be the pawn of someone else, a puppet ruler furthering the objectives of someone behind the throne. This does seem common on Gor such as within Ar and Corcyrus. Another example of this is Tarna, the bandit leader from “Tribesmen of Gor.” She was appointed as leader of a bandit group, though she was actually a pawn of agents of the Kurii. And when her usefulness was ended, the agents had planned to enslave her.

Ultimately, a man or a woman rules only with the general support of their citizens. Such rule is always tentative as any government can be torn down, by outsiders or its own citizens.  

15. Philosophy v. Lifestyle 
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“Philosophy begins when one learns to doubt--particularly to doubt one's cherished beliefs, one's dogmas and one's axioms. Who knows how these cherished beliefs become certainties with us, and whether some secret wish did not furtively beget them, clothing desire in the dress of thought? There is no real philosophy until the mind turns round and examines itself.”   ("The Story of Philosophy" by Will Durant) 

The ancient Greeks and Romans did not see a “philosopher” as a musty old academic. In this classical world, a philosopher was someone who actually lived a certain philosophy. A philosopher thus did not need to write books on philosophy or teach about philosophy. All they needed to do was to live by the tenets of a philosophy though this did require a specific intent to live by that philosophy. Someone could unknowingly live by the tenets of a philosophy but they would not be considered a philosopher. By the classical definition then, people who intentionally choose to live their lives in accordance with a Gorean philosophy would be considered to be “philosophers.” And as the ancient Greeks and Romans largely inspired Gor, then this classical definition is very appropriate. Thus, for those who actively choose to follow a Gorean philosophy in their lives, they should more appropriately be referred to as “philosophers.”  

Unfortunately, in our modern world, the word “philosopher” has different connotations. There is the stereotype of the cloistered academic, the man of deep thoughts who is out of touch with reality. To call oneself a philosopher no longer implies that the person actively lives by such philosophy. It is seen as more a cerebral matter, than an active or practical one. Philosophy is most often seen as a way of thinking, not a way of living. A different way of living is more commonly known as a “life-style” rather than a “philosophy.” And this different way of living may also often be known as an “alternate lifestyle” especially if it seems very different from what the majority considers to be “normal.” And “alternate life-style” does not always have a positive connotation.  

To call someone who lives by a Gorean philosophy a “life-styler” may not be fully appropriate. If we consider the adherents of other philosophies, they are rarely, if ever, referred to as “life-stylers.” They are most often referred to simply by the name of the author of the philosophy or the name given to that philosophy. A person who follows the Stoic philosophy is not normally called a “Stoic life-styler.” They would more commonly just be called a Stoic. A person who follows the philosophy of Nietzsche is not normally called a “Nietzschean life-styler.” They would more commonly be called a Nietzschean. In the matter of the Gorean philosophy then, a person who followed a Gorean philosophy could simply be known as a “Gorean.” That would be a more accurate term than “Normanite.” 

The term “Gorean life-styler” is most appropriate for those who do more than just follow a Gorean philosophy but who also choose to emulate certain societal and cultural institutions of Gor. By such emulation, one is reflecting how Goreans lived and thus the “life-styler” description is far more appropriate. Though such emulations are often modified to conform to our own reality, they are still an effort to simulate the lifestyle on Gor so the term “life-styler” is still appropriate, despite any modifications.

16. Naturalistic Fallacy     [ top ]

Gorean philosophy is often said to be valid because its principles are based on nature. “Live in accordance with nature” is a primary principle of Gorean philosophy. For example, male dominance gains support from nature in that it exists in nearly all primates and most mammals. (Norman claims in the books that male dominance is universal among primates but that is not correct. For example, rhesus macaques and squirrel monkeys are female dominated.) But the Gorean philosophy, based on nature, thus must confront the naturalistic fallacy. The naturalistic fallacy is a concept that many people may not be familiar with or have not seen applied to Gorean philosophy.  

The naturalistic fallacy, proposed by G.E. Moore in his Principia Ethica, states that “good” cannot be defined. You cannot use outside sources to define the nature of “good.” It is a matter that can only be intuitively discovered. Essentially, Moore was stating that values cannot be derived from nature or reference to another outside source. This may alternatively be formulated as that a person should not confuse what “is” with what “ought” to be. Even though something “is” a certain way in nature, does not mean that is how it “ought” to be in life. A Gorean example would be that just because male dominance “is” a part of nature, does not justify that is how humans “ought” to live. 

Moore’s arguments are thought to be very strong and naturalistic philosophies have subsequently suffered after his criticisms. The naturalistic fallacy is generally accepted to be a valid philosophical concept. It is often applied to a variety of ideas, especially anything connected with naturalism such as evolutionary psychology. Norman, in his dissertation, tried to refute some of Moore’s arguments and found himself unable to make a strong attack on Moore’s position. He felt he raised some valid questions in some areas but ultimately was dissatisfied with his refutation. 

The naturalistic fallacy would seem to apply to the Gorean philosophy, thus refuting its validity based on its support in nature. Gorean philosophy could be seen as a confusion of “ought” with “is.” So, just because the Gorean philosophical principles are based on natural principles does not automatically mean those principles should be followed.  

So, how does one deal with this matter then? Does anyone see a reason why the naturalistic fallacy would not apply to Gorean philosophy? Is there an exception to the naturalistic fallacy that the Gorean philosophy falls into? Does the naturalistic fallacy simply invalidate the validity of the Gorean philosophy? Is there other support can one posit for the Gorean philosophy? Is the Gorean philosophy more a matter of faith? If so, does that not make it more akin to a religion? Is there even a need to seek validity for the Gorean philosophy or can it exist just as well without it? Does it matter to you whether validity for the Gorean philosophy exists? If there is no validity for the philosophy, does that lead to any negative ramifications?  


17. Socratic Method    [ top ]

The ultimate goal of the ancient Greek philosopher Socrates was to discover the right way to live. To attain this objective, he spent much of his time questioning others on moral issues. His questions most often revolved around defining moral terms that were important to living a good life. Socrates felt that the foundation of truth could be found in precise and proper definitions. A precise definition of the terms is a necessary preliminary step in any problem solving process or debate. Socrates’ questions would test these definitions, trying to evaluate potential implications and ramifications. Every aspect of the definition would be scrutinized until its barest skeleton remained, its most precise definition. His style of questioning is known as the “elenchus” though we commonly refer to it as the Socratic Method.

Our common view of the Socratic Method differs in some ways from what Socrates actually engaged in. The modern version of the Socratic Method commonly refers to an educational process whereby an instructor, instead of lecturing, poses a series of questions to a student or students. The intent of the questioning is to force the students to derive the correct answer on their own. The students become responsible for more than rote memorization of a lecture. The student must actively think on their own, to truly try to understand the matter being questioned. It is a very popular and successful educational tool today, used in many different disciplines and not just philosophy.  

The original Socratic method is also known as the “elenchus” which may mean "testing," "refutation," or "cross-examination." The elenchus involved an attempt to remove those false opinions which people held that prevented them from realizing the truth. In order to do this, Socrates would pose a series of questions, trying to discern where a person’s beliefs were in some way inconsistent, ambiguous or otherwise improper. The constant questioning would force the person to closely examine his beliefs. Once these beliefs were shown to be incorrect, Socrates would then ideally lead this person to a set of more accurate beliefs. This questioning was not meant to destroy a person’s beliefs, but to create new ones, and get closer to truth. Socrates believed that this would increase the virtue of the person being questioned, as well as himself.  

The elenchus is more than just a method of philosophical analysis. It is also a framework by which the character of those being questioned can be revealed. The elenchus requires much from the person being cross-examined. Such a person must be honest enough to say what they really think about things. They must be humble enough to admit to their ignorance in certain matters. They must also possess sufficient courage to persevere with the questions even when they are getting angry or uncomfortable. The elenchus possess many different levels.  

Could the Socratic method be used to educate people concerning Gor, especially in living a Gorean philosophy or lifestyle? If it is possible, should it be done? Would the effect of using this Method be beneficial? Or would it negatively impact upon the beliefs of real-time Goreans? Would real-time Goreans even be willing to undergo the questioning of the Socratic Method? Would they have the honesty, humility and courage to face the elenchus? Would the Socratic Method be an efficient tool in assessing the credibility of those who allege to be real-timers? Would the Socratic method help to validate or invalidate the principles of the Gorean philosophy?  

If the Socratic Method was used, there are a number of words and concepts that could be the center of questioning, such as: Gorean, lifestyler, male dominance, honor, respect, integrity, loyalty and responsibility. Would it be of benefit to seek more precise definitions for these words? If not, then why not? Are the definitions too individualized and thus defy precision? Would more precise definitions bring the Gorean community closer together or would it drive it further apart? 

If we consider the Gorean philosophy to be a valid choice in how to live one’s life, then Socrates would have been most interested in questioning its adherents. His ultimate goal was to discover how to live properly. And Socrates would concentrate on defining those terms that are most central to the Gorean philosophy, those virtues embraced by real-time Goreans. But, a sage such as Socrates is not needed to perform this elenchus. Socrates felt that anyone was capable of being the questioner in this type of cross-examination. He even encouraged others to avail themselves of this method. So why shouldn’t we give it a try? 

18. Living vs. Examining    [ top ]

“Do not ask the stones or the trees how to live; they cannot tell you; they do not have tongues; do not ask the wise man how to live, for, if he knows, he will know he cannot tell you; if you would learn how to live do not ask the question, its answer is not in the question but in the answer, which is not in words, do not ask how to live, but instead proceed to do so."  (Marauders of Gor, p.9)  

“The unexamined life is not worth living.”  (Socrates) 


Compare and contrast the above two quotes. Many online Goreans will be familiar with the first quote as it is often posted and discussed. It is held up as an important aspect of being Gorean, of living life rather than talking about how one should live. Many will also be familiar with the second quote as well. The two quotes appear to present a dichotomy of thought, a mutually exclusive split in philosophies. Is this actually the case? Or are these philosophies actually more similar than it may seem?  

Sometimes when people question the philosophies of Gor, to investigate its intricacies and to delve into depths, there are others who will criticize such an analysis. These critics point to the first quote and state that Goreans do not analyze their lives. They simply “live.” Thus, these critics see any analysis as fruitless and unnecessary. They believe that if they wish to be Goreans, they only need to “live” their lives, free of analysis and philosophical ponderings. These individuals would disagree with Socrates, believing that there is no need to examine their lives. But are these critics correct?  

Socrates believed that you learned how to live properly through an examination of your life. This was primarily done by questioning others about their lives, to learn what they know or do not know, and by having your own life questioned by others. This type of questioning has become more popularly known as the Socratic Method. At its most basic, this method involves a teacher posing a series of questions to a student. The teacher never answers the questions but allows the student to come to the answers on his own. Today, the Socratic Method is used in a variety of disciplines and it often touted as an exceptional methods of instruction. Socrates felt that everyone could and should avail themselves of this type of questioning. Socrates did not claim any monopoly over this method of examination. He wanted others to emulate him by asking questions of others, by leading examined lives. 

To a Gorean of the books, there is no real need to ask questions about how to live. They have been raised since birth on the principles of what we know as the Gorean philosophy.  They are taught to live in accordance with nature. In fact, their entire society has developed to promote these principles. There is a long tradition involved and Goreans often adhere to such tradition. There is no need to question their philosophy as they are raised on its beliefs until it becomes second nature to them, until it is as natural as breathing. Why should they question something that has proven a success to their society? They simply need to live, to follow the natural ways of their society. For them, the Socratic method would seem superfluous. Thus, the first quote is perfectly applicable to them.

Now, let us turn our attentions to those of Earth who wish to live according to a Gorean philosophy. Are they in an analogous situation to the Goreans of the books?  Can they simply live without self-examination?  Can they ignore an analysis of Gorean philosophy? Or do we of Earth possess obstacles that might prevent us from being able to live according to the first quote?

We of Earth stand in a different place than the Goreans of the books. What works for them may not always work for us. Our society has conditioned us against much of the Gorean philosophy. Our society has developed counter to the Gorean philosophy in many ways. Some of the fundamental principles of our own society are directly opposite to those of Gor. The Gorean philosophy is not “natural” to us due to our upbringing. We cannot simply “live” and hope to understand what we are doing and follow a Gorean philosophy. We have too many conditioned obstacles in our path. Norman mentions these points numerous times within the books, indicating the difficulties people of Earth would have in overcoming this societal conditioning. And the only way to defeat this conditioning is to examine our lives, to subject ourselves to questioning on how we should live. We need to follow the advice of Socrates. Mere “living” alone cannot be sufficient to overcome all of the obstacles.    

Thus, we definitely need to question and analyze the Gorean philosophy. We need to determine whether it is a proper way to live. We need to determine its validity in our lives. We need to discover why and how we should break the conditioning we have received throughout our lives. We need to read the Gor books to learn exactly what the Gorean philosophy entails. We need to discuss the matter, to question each other about our beliefs. We need to examine our lives. We cannot just “live” as a Gorean until we have fully understood “why” we should do so and “how” we should do so. Only then, can we follow the first quote, and just “live” our lives without examination. 

All of thus does not occur over night. It is a lifelong process, a continuous learning curve. We often fail to realize all of the various ways we have been conditioned so it becomes even that more difficult to counter. Thus, the deeper our examinations of ourselves, our lives, philosophy and nature, then the better our chances of achieving success. And sharing this knowledge, discussing the matters with others, is another beneficial way to gain progress. In addition, such discussions may help others as well achieve their own results. It would be an ideal world where we just had to “live” without self-analysis. But this is reality. We do what we must if we want to succeed.

The analysis of these two quotes also touches upon another important issue, unrelated to the actual subject matter of the quotes. When we wish to rely upon a quote from the Gor novels, we should not automatically assume that it has direct applicability to our own lives. As we saw above, the quote concerning just “living” is not fully applicable to those on Earth. That quote is set within the context of Gorean society and cannot be removed without considering that context. So, when considering other quotes from the novels, we should ask ourselves whether the societal and cultural contexts of Gor are relevant. And then we must consider if that context exists on Earth or whether Earth society is very different in those regards. We must always remember that the governing philosophical principles of our present Earth often differ drastically from those of Gor. 

19. Ideal vs Reality    [ top ]

The Greeks considered philosophy to be a practical matter, not simply some esoteric ponderings conducted by scholars. They viewed philosophy as a set of guidelines for the proper way to live their lives. They put their philosophy into action rather than simply discuss it as an abstract. When the Gorean philosophy is considered, it is often viewed in this same manner, as a set of principles to live by and not just something to contemplate.  

The Gorean philosophy, like most philosophies, sets up an ideal, a pinnacle for people to attempt to reach. And it is most likely that very few people, if any, will ever attain that ideal. No person is perfect and their adherence to any philosophy will not be perfect either. They will make mistakes; fail to abide by the standards. So, if it is so unattainable, then why even try? Why make the effort to reach an ideal if you can never reach that ultimate objective?  

The answer is that there is no absolute need to ever reach the ideal. The true objective is the striving for that ideal, not the ideal itself. The closer one can approach the ideal, the better one’s life will be. You may not be able to attain perfection but that is no reason not to strive to be the best that you can be. Each movement toward that ideal will improve your character and life. Each step forward is a step away from the errors of the past. Each step forward brings one closer to the ideal. 

It is very important to learn from our mistakes and endeavor to change our behavior that leads to those mistakes. Our lives should not be stagnant, but should be in a constant dynamic of progress. If we understand our flaws and faults, then we should be working on overcoming them. If we do not understand them, then we should explore ourselves and seek comprehension. We all have personal matters we need to work upon. Those who ignore such matters are those who will never move towards that ideal. By overcoming our mistakes, we move closer to that ideal.  

And as in most things, education is very important to this striving for the ideal. Learning about yourself is crucial. It can be difficult to assess ourselves objectively, to understand one’s own shortcomings. But, it is essential that we try to be as neutral in our assessment as possible. Self-deception is self-defeating. Understanding our world and the other people in it is also important. We need to comprehend our surroundings, the environment in which we reside. We need to comprehend our family, friends and acquaintances. All of these matters are things that cannot be found in the Gor novels. They are matters that must be learned through experience, through interactions with others or introspection about ourselves. It is a matter that we possess sole power over. We choose to make those efforts or we choose to ignore it. Thus, if we fail, it is solely our fault. But if we succeed, we can be pleased with our efforts. 

Those who desire to follow a Gorean philosophy will be at different places upon the road to the ideal. Some will just be starting their journey while others will be well on their way. Yet one’s place on this path is not a definite indicator of a person’s worth. It simply indicates your place within the Gorean philosophy. A person’s worth is assessed by a myriad of factors, many which have nothing to do with Gor. A newcomer to Gor could be a superb person. Yes, the closer one gets to the ideal, the better a person you should be but there are other paths to similar ideals. The Gorean path is not the only such road. Thus, there is no reason to insult those who choose against a Gorean road. They have simply chosen a different path. And whatever path we choose, we should all endeavor to push onward to the final destination. 

20. An Inevitable Society    [ top ]

It is my belief that what makes one “Gorean” is an adherence to the principles of the Gorean philosophy. Following the societal and cultural aspects of Gorean society does not determine whether one is Gorean or not. Such aspects are unnecessary and can confuse what is truly important about being Gorean. Such aspects include such matters as the Home Stone, Caste system and slavery. Few would disagree that you do not have to practice those societal institutions to be Gorean.  

Let us remember that Gor contains a wide variety of societies and cultures from the civilized cities such as Ar and Ko-ro-ba to the barbaric lands of Torvaldsland and the Red Savages. And some of these societies and cultures vary significantly from each other. Yet, they are all Gorean, and not just by virtue of their being on Gor. All of these societies and cultures adhere to the same basic philosophies. And it is those philosophies that make all of these diverse societies and cultures truly Gorean.  

Within the Gorean lifestyle, most adopt societal aspects from the civilized cities such as the Home Stone or Caste system. And such aspects are modified to conform to real-time concerns. Very few emulate the barbaric cultures of Gor. Yet, the books show how the same basic philosophy can spawn some very different cultures. Thus, the society found within the civilized cities is not necessarily the only possible society that can be derived from the philosophy. The society of the civilized cities is not an inevitable result of the philosophy. It is but one possibility among many.  

So, why is there a need or desire to emulate the societal and cultural aspects of Gor real-time? It is clearly not a necessity. And equally as clear is that many different types of society can be formed based on the Gorean philosophy. To better separate one from the fictions of Gor, would it not be better to form one’s own society based on the Gorean philosophy? Would it not be better to develop your own traditions, customs and institutions to better assimilate into our own world? Yes, this a more challenging option, one that require some serious effort. It is far easier to use and modify bits and pieces of the existing fictional Gorean society. Yet would not the benefits of such an endeavor be worth the costs? 

How would one go about starting such an endeavor? The first place to start is within the Gorean novels. You must begin by extracting the various philosophical principles of Gor from the books and organize them into a complete philosophy. Then, you must try to comprehend each philosophical principle and how they interact with each other to form a cohesive whole. Once you understand the philosophy, you can begin to speculate on the various ways how that philosophy could be put into practice into your life. Like-minded individuals can meet to share ideas on these matters and perhaps agree on certain basics. This could lead to the formation of a small community, united by certain institutions they have enacted to put into practice their guiding philosophical principles. In some ways, such a community might not seem on the surface to resemble the Gorean societies seen within the books. Yet, if one looks below the surface, one will discover how that community does follow the principles of Gor. 

This endeavor is at least theoretically possible but it is unknown whether it will ever be put into practice. There are likely some individuals who will attempt to do this in their own lives. It is less likely whether any community will attempt such a matter. It does though make for some interesting speculation. 

21. Nietzsche     [ top ]

It is very interesting that those who denigrate Gor often have never read the books or fail to understand the philosophy within them. That holds true for Nietzsche as well. Most who criticize him have either never read his works or fail to properly understand him. It is very easy to rip quotes out of his books to try to make him seem like some demented monster. It is easy to check a few websites and grab the anti-Nietzsche rhetoric that is there. Yet, much of it is simply wrong. This is important to Goreans because the philosophy of Nietzsche was partially an inspiration for Norman in the creation of Gor. Because of this connection, critics of Gor try to use anti-Nietzsche information and apply it to Goreans as well.  

Some call Nietzsche a Nazi and thus try to label Goreans as Nazis as well. But this label is clearly absurd. Nietzsche died in 1900 and the Nazi party was not even formed until 1919. So there is no way that Nietzsche could have been a Nazi. Yes, the Nazis did late use selective pieces of Nietzsche's philosophy to support their own views but they twisted much of what they took and omitted anything that contradicted their position. Can you blame a philosopher for the uses of his philosophy more than two decades down the road? Can you blame Aristotle for the American slavery of blacks as his philosophy of natural slavery was used as a support? Is Hegel responsible for the fascism of Mussolini?  

If you look closely at the life and philosophy of Nietzsche, you can see that he was not a fan of the Germans. He ridiculed their pretensions of Aryan superiority. He praised the mixing of the races, not racial purity. And Nietzsche was not an anti-Semite, despite numerous critics trying to label him as such. At the time of Nietzsche, anti-Semitism was rife in Germany and had been that way for quiet a long time. Thus, any German speaking of Jews was nearly automatically called an anti-Semite, especially if his comments, taken out of context, might fit that mold. Nietzsche was critical of many different peoples, for many different reasons. Yet, he did not hate any particular race. He simply railed out against what he saw were flaws in all races. His comments about Jews were no different from his comments about Christians, English and Germans. Nietzsche also praised Jews in his works as well though the critics tend to ignore such passages. 

Part of the problem is that Nietzsche's sister, Elisabeth, controlled his literary estate when he became incapacitated and after his death. She supported fascist causes and she was an anti-Semite. She married an anti-Semite and Nietzsche refused to attend the wedding. She would publish alleged works by Nietzsche that would support her beliefs. Though many of these forgeries were later discovered, the damage was already done. Nietzsche's name got twisted into a relationship of Nazism and anti-Semitism. His reputation suffered and there was nothing he could do about it.  

It is far too easy to lodge insults at Nietzsche, to declare him guilty of all sorts of abominations. But, if you take quotes out of context from any person, you would likely end up with the same results. It is much harder to take the time to truly read a person's works, to study them and come to a fuller understanding of them. Understanding irony, analogy and such helps one understand. Lodging hate at a man for a few out of context quotes makes one no better than what you criticize. It shows your own intolerance and unfounded biases. 

Some critics of Nietzsche also discuss the infamous "the will to power" phrase from his philosophy. In essence, "power" is seen to be the most compelling motivation for man. Some critics then see this as the same as "might makes right." To those critics, it seems to lead to the type of power hungry men who became Nazis. It is the type of power that oppresses others. This is not actually the case. Part of the confusion is over the word "power." Remember that Nietzsche wrote in German. In German, the word "reich" basically means power over others, the oppressive power the critics abhor. But, Nietzsche did not use the word "reich." Instead, he used "macht" which is more personal strength, rather than power over others. In German, the term “will to power” is  der Wille zur Macht.” That is a significant difference in meaning. Nietzsche is more referring to self-mastery as the key to his will to power philosophy.  

I will provide a couple of references to further reading one might want to do in this area, to more properly understand Nietzsche. 

1) What Nietzsche Really Said by Robert C. Solomon and Kathleen M. Higgins (Schocken Books, 2000)--This company has a website at where you can find this title and other similar titled texts about Freud, Jung and Darwin. This book does a great job at debunking many of the myths that revolve around Nietzsche. 

2) Nietzsche, Genealogy, Morality edited by Richard Schacht (University of California Press 1994)--This book contains 24 essays dealing with Nietzsche's work, On the Genealogy of Morals. But, many of the essays deal with far wider topics as well. There is a particularly good essay on Nietzsche and Anti-Semitism, written by Yirmiyahu Yovel, a Professor of Philosophy at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. It explains how Nietzsche was not an anti-Semite. In fact, he was an anti-anti-Semite. In addition, the essay shows how Nietzsche’s philosophy is counter to the Nazi philosophy. 

There are plenty of other books you can read in this area. The key is always to be properly informed. You must be careful of your sources and deal with topics with an open mind. Don't blindly accept the common myths. 

22. Heretics of Gor?    [ top ]

"The word 'heresy' comes from the Greek 'hairesis,' simply meaning 'choice.' The heretic is one who has chosen to take a different path from the orthodox."     (Philosophy Now, March/April 2002, Editorial) 

Thus, are those who choose to follow a Gorean philosophy “heretics” for following an unorthodox path? Sure. But, different does not necessitate bad. It is simply different. And being orthodox may not always be a good thing. “Orthodoxy is not invariably equivalent to soundness,” said the player. “Your great master, Centius of Cos, should have taught you that. Besides, from whence do you think orthodoxy derives? Does it not blossom from the root of heresy? Is it not true that today's orthodoxy is commonly little more than yesterday's heresy triumphant?…Similarly, the more orthodox your play, the more predictable it will be, and thus the more easily exploited." (Players of Gor, p.328) So being a heretic can be a good thing. 

23. Stranger = Enemy    [ top ]

It is well known that on Gor, the word for "stranger" is the same as for "enemy." But why it this so?  

The answer may be in part because it is a natural principle. Harvard's E.O. Wilson, one of the original pioneers of sociobiology, states that xenophobia, a fear of strangers, is natural and universal among all of the higher animals. The higher animals are often quick to expel strangers to their worlds. All human cultures and societies develop ways to differentiate themselves from strangers that enter their culture or society. We can see it in our everyday life as well, how people are often hesitant in the presence of a stranger. Strangers are not immediately embraced. There are worries over whether that person is an enemy or not. Thus, the Gorean concept that the stranger is an enemy is considered part of the natural order. 

24. Self vs. Community    [ top ]

Why are you part of online Gor? Is your primary motivation to benefit yourself or to benefit the online Gor community? How much of your online efforts are geared to your own needs and desires, and how much are geared to the needs and desires of the community?  

The Goreans of the books are members of several different communities. They may belong to a Home Stone, a Caste, a House, a clan, and a family. And in general, their individual needs and desires are secondary to the needs and desires of the community. This is explicitly outlined in the novels, especially when discussing the Home Stone and Caste system. A good example is the prerequisite concerning women of the Physician’s Caste bearing two children before they can fully practice medicine. Part of the rationale involved is that individuals of the Caste consider the welfare of the Caste to be more important than their own individual desires. Having children helps ensure the future continuity of the Caste so women freely accept the restriction. Selfishness is not a Gorean virtue.  

I will assert though that the situation is reversed in online Gor. Most people are concerned about their own needs rather than the needs of their community. People rebel against restrictions, even when those restrictions would benefit the community. There is far less loyalty to a community than you would find on Gor. People find it easy to leave a community if that community does not meet their own individual needs. Why should this all be so? Why don’t people rebel against selfishness if they wish to be more Gorean? Why is there such a lack of commitment to community online? Are such individuals simply the product of Earth society, of societies that value individuals far more than community? Can this situation be reversed? If so, how? 

25. Ignoring Norman    [ top ]

Why have Norman’s non-Gorean books been largely ignored by the Gorean community? If you consult all of the many Gorean websites, how many of them contain essays on Norman’s non-fiction works such as “The Cognitivity Paradox and “Imaginative Sex?”   How many contain essays on his non-Gorean fiction such as the “Telnarian Chronicles,” “Time Slave and “Ghost Dance?”  At best, you might find one or two websites that significantly deal with any of these other works. A number of websites mention the existence of these other works but say little about their contents. All of these works are out of print so it can be difficult to obtain many of them. That would be at least a partial reason why these other works have been ignored.  

From talking to others, Norman’s other fictional works did not resonate with people as did the Gor novels, even though these other works do revolve around themes similar to the ones in the Gor books. The Telnarian books are a challenging read, more so than the Gor books. They are not likely to appeal to people seeking a more casual read. But there is value in all of the non-Gorean fictional works. They help to reinforce some of the themes and philosophical concepts within the Gor novels. And they do provide more information on the mind of Norman. They are worthy of further discussion and analysis.  

But it is Norman’s non-fiction works that should hold even more interest for us. We can see Norman’s thoughts and words devoid of the guise of his fiction. We can better understand Norman’s personal feelings on certain matters.  

For those interested in Gorean philosophy, especially those trying to live it, Norman’s “The Cognitivity Paradox is highly recommended. This book deals with the nature of philosophy, attempting to define it and determine whether it can possess a truth-value or not. It is a small book and generally not a difficult read. Yet it contains some very powerful statements concerning philosophy, truth and life. I have an essay on this book on my own website and am unaware of any other Gorean website with such an essay. It is surprising that the Gorean community has largely ignored this book as it contains such worthy information. 

Imaginative Sex is an intriguing book dealing with relationships and this book should also be of interest to many Goreans. Though much of the book deals with various sexual role-play scenarios, there are other essays as well that deal with love, relationships, imagination and more. Though the book was far more controversial when it was originally published, much of its content is now far more generally accepted. Numerous other books now exist, dealing with similar issues. I am unaware of any website with a significant essay concerning this book. I do have plans to write such an essay but it is still some vague time in the future. Again, I am unsure why others have not done essays on this work.  

(If anyone is aware of Gorean websites with essays on these two works, please either post them here or send me the URL. Thanks.)  

I feel that the best understanding of the Gorean novels requires reading outside of the Gorean series. Some of the terminology alone in the novels is likely unfamiliar to many readers, especially those terms derived from ancient Greece and Rome. Historical books concerning these ancient societies can give one a better comprehension of the inspirations for Gor. Reading Norman’s other works can also provide insight into Gor, especially his non-fiction works. And essays concerning these other works can help those who cannot obtain those books. They may even interest those people into trying harder to locate the books. If we are interested in a topic, why not study everything we can obtain concerning that subject, especially if we wish to embrace that topic in our lives? 

26. Public Perceptions of Gor    [ top ]

How does the general public perceive the Gorean community? By the Gorean community, I am including all types of Goreans, from role-players to lifers. In general, it seems the public is largely unaware of the Gorean community. The average person on the street has never heard of John Norman and the Gor books. Gor is not a major aspect of our pop culture like Star Trek or Star Wars. There are no books written about the Gor series, trying to detail and explain its complexities and diversities. Most of the novels themselves are out of print. Its presence is largest on the Internet, in scattered communities in many different forums.  

The few magazine articles or mentions on television/radio programs often touch on the more sensationalistic aspects of the Gorean community, primarily slavery. And though such references are often criticized for not being fully accurate, there is little organized opposition to this sensationalism. There are no magazine articles written by Goreans who wish to set the record straight. Gorean writings are largely contained to the Internet, primarily on websites and message boards.  

So, when the general public stumbles upon Gor, where do they get their information about it? How do they determine the nature of Gor? How deeply will they delve into the depths of Gor seeking answers? Do they even care about Gor at all? 

Remember first that we are generalizing here concerning the public. There will always be the exception but we are discussing the “average person.” The average person might encounter some of the few media references to Gor and he might also see some of the Gorean websites. But, the average person will only skim over the information he finds on Gor. He has no time or inclination to read the novels. He will prefer a quick capsule review of the Gorean community. If the information is longer than a magazine article, he won’t likely read it. There is no guarantee that he will even do more than skim a magazine article. And he will draw conclusions based on the limited information he acquires. He has little motivation to seek a balanced viewpoint.  

The first conclusion he will likely draw is that Gor is about slavery. A sampling of websites, including both role-player and lifer sites, will reveal a strong emphasis on slavery that will indicate to the average man that slavery is a major aspect of Gor. As such, he may draw one of two conclusions. If he has any knowledge of BDSM, he may assume that Gor is but a sex game. Otherwise, he may feel that Gor is evil in its support of slavery, a practice he finds abhorrent. Very few people will properly understand the place of slavery within the Gorean community based on a skim reading of a few websites.

The average person will also likely see references to spaceships, Priest-Kings, an alien world and strange technology. He will likely also draw the conclusion that Gor is some weird science fiction world that people try to emulate. To the average man, he will most likely equate it to the Trekkies, the science fiction community he may be most familiar. He has seen the news articles about people dressing up like Star Trek characters, assembling in large conventions and trying to emulate Star Trek philosophy. Star Trek is firmly ingrained within our pop culture and few people are unaware of it existence. So, the average person will view Gor through a lens he is comfortable with, one that conforms to his established opinions. Thus, when he combines the slavery aspect as well, the average man may see Goreans as simply Trekkies with T&A.

The average man is not going to carefully scan through the many Gorean websites, seeking some deeper meaning to Gor. He will glance and skim his way through the sites, reading what catches his eye. Appearances are everything to him. What is most visible will be what is remembered. So pictures of naked kajirae will likely be high on the list of remembered matters. It is hard enough to get people interested in Gor to read the books, never mind the average person who does not care one way or another. Why should the average person even care? There is no real reason why he should have to understand Goreans. Their existence does not really effect his life.  

The existence of anti-Gorean websites and message boards will also impact the public’s view if those sites happen to be the ones they visit. These sites often fail to properly understand Gor and engage in vociferous, caustic and fallacious arguments against Gor. The general public is not going to get embroiled in trying to cut through the controversy to properly understand Gor. They may simply accept the criticisms as valid.  

It is not the fault of any one group of Goreans how the general public perceives the community. Each group shoulders some responsibility in this matter. Maybe people simply overestimate the interest level of the general public, assuming they will take sufficient time to investigate Gor before passing judgment. They won’t. They will skim the surface and create an opinion based on very limited information. But, we do have some control over that limited information. We can do more than simply point a finger of blame at each other.  

Concerned individuals can write articles about Gor and try to submit them to various magazines. There are some excellent writers within the Gorean community and I am sure that someone could get such an article published. Instead of dreading each sensationalistic article that is published, take a more proactive role and get your own articles in print. It does little good to just complain about the bad articles. Counter articles need to be presented to more accurately describe the complexities of the Gorean community. Such articles can also serve to counter the anti-Gorean sites that exist.  

People should also review their own websites and analyze if they truly provide the message about Gor you wish the general public to see. As an example, consider if the first page of your website contained a picture of a spaceship, described traveling to another planet and mentioned the Priest-Kings. What conclusion would you draw from that first page? Would you think you had reached a serious website? Would you think the website dealt with role-play or the lifestyle? The average person, seeing only that page, would not assume that website dealt with anything serious. He would tend to assume that Gor was something like Star Trek, just another science fiction world. He may not even go any further than that first page so he would be left with a very skewed image of the website.  

Other sites, with pictures of naked or near-naked kajirae, may present the image to the average person that Gor is but a sex game. The voluminous articles on slavery in these websites also help solidify that mindset in the general public. The general public is not going to look deeper into the issue of slavery. They will prejudge Gor based simply on its existence within the community. They will make assumptions based on their own knowledge of such matters, tying it into kinky sex games they have heard about. Or they will be horrified about slavery, equating it with many evils. Do you truly wish to emphasize slavery on your Gorean website?  

The Gorean community is diverse so there is no one picture that will encompass each particular group. There are fans, scholars, role-players, lifestylers, philosophers and much more. The general public is unlikely to ever truly understand the diversity of Gor. They will form opinions based on the limited information they receive. We can but only try to give them better information, concise and accurate. And that responsibility falls upon all of us even though few are likely to accept it. 

27. God & Gor    [ top ]

Is a belief in God, or some other Higher Power, compatible with following the Gorean philosophy? Is a belief in a particular organized religion compatible with following the Gorean philosophy? Is worship of the Priest-Kings necessary to follow a Gorean philosophy? The answers to these questions do require a deeper understanding of Gorean philosophy, a grasp of its metaphysics and ethics. Obviously, a person can believe what they wish, adapting the Gorean philosophy to their own belief structure. In that regard, any religious beliefs can be integrated into the Gorean philosophy. But, our inquiry here is to get to the heart of the Gorean philosophy, and to see if religious beliefs are compatible without modifying the philosophy.

Gorean philosophy has several elements, such as epistemology, metaphysics and ethics. It is far more than just about the natural order. Metaphysics generally includes religious beliefs. Now, the Gorean world contains a diverse selection of religious beliefs, from the Priest-Kings to the Spirit in the Sky, to Odin and Thor to Sun worshippers. Thus, it would seem that there are few, if any restrictions, as to which Higher Power one believes in. Gorean metaphysics encompass a wide range of gods. Thus, it seems on the face that we too can believe in any Higher Power without going against Gorean philosophy. But, our true concern is not with Gorean metaphysics but rather with their ethics.

Gorean ethics has little to do with the religion of Gor. The religion of the Priest-Kings, promulgated by the Caste of Initiates, is mostly concerned with worship and ritual. It cares little about ethical issues. Gorean ethics are very similar to the ethics of ancient Greece and Rome. It is an agent-centered morality, an ethical system based on strengthening an individual’s virtues. By holding to certain virtues, you become a good person. As an example, Plato, in The Republic, discussed four cardinal virtues: wisdom, courage, self-control and justice. You need a proper balance of these virtues to become a good person. Plato’s The Republic was a significant inspiration for Gor so it makes logical sense that Gor shares a similar ethical structure. Gorean ethics do not provide an elaborate list of permissible and prohibited ethical actions. Such lists are part of action-centered moralities. Such lists often say little about the type of person one should be, only what actions one should not engage in. Gorean ethics though are concerned about creating good people, rather than obedient ones.

This is where we start to see potential problems of melding Gorean philosophy with organized religions. Most organized religions, including Christianity, Judaism and Islam, possess action-centered moralities. They rely upon elaborate lists and rules of what is right and wrong, such as the Ten Commandments. Good and evil are thus judged by adherence to these lists of actions. Obedience is the key here, without regard to the motivations behind it. Most modern moralities, especially as they are often based on modern religions, are action-centered ones. But, such moralities are fundamentally different from agent-centered ones. This generally creates a dichotomy when you try to mix Gorean ethics with the ethics of an organized religion. They rely on radically different points of view when deciding ethical issues. And their answers may thus be different to the same ethical questions.

Consider that generally rule-based ethics do not create absolutes. There often appear to be exceptions to the rules, but then how are those exceptions decided? Does that lead to a more complex set of rules with enumerated exceptions and caveats? For example, one of the Ten Commandments states “Thou Shalt Not Kill.” Yet, this is rarely seen as an absolute. Some killings are permitted and are not seen as violative of this commandment, such as killings during war. This can also lead to disagreements over whether some action falls within a permissible exception or not. Now, with an agent-centered ethic, an individual’s virtues are nurtured and this should lead to a person who chooses the proper ethical action, without regard to rules or exceptions. Such a person will understand when killing is wrong and when it may be justified.

There is another problem with such action-centered moralities, especially those based on religion. What happens if a person loses faith in the basis of their religion? If you stop believing in Gor, why then would you follow the Ten Commandments? If you do not believe in God, then you would not care about committing a sin as sin would have no meaning to you. You may still believe in good and evil, but you will have lost your basis for morality, your religious faith. So what can you rely on then? In agent-centered moralities, as long as you desire to be good, you will follow that ethical path. If you stop desiring to be good, then it never would have mattered what ethical structure you followed in the first place.

Now, if, for example, a person wanted to be a Catholic who follows a Gorean philosophy, which ethical system would they then follow? By making a choice, they would have to deny the other as the two systems are essentially opposites. Thus, this is where many try to modify Gorean philosophy to be more in sync with their religious beliefs. That is fine if that is their choice, but they do move from the original form of the Gorean philosophy. As the primary key to Gorean philosophy is their ethical stance, then why follow the philosophy if you wish to impose your own ethical stance instead? Is it not a primary objective of Gorean philosophy to adopt a different ethical stance? If not, what is that primary objective?  

28. Ideal v. Reality    [ top ]

There are often accusations that someone is not playing their “role” properly, that such people are not “Gorean.” Such accusations though are a bit misguided and inaccurate. What is actually meant by these accusations is that a person is not following a certain “ideal” role, such as the ideal free woman, free man or slave. If we examine the Gor novels, we will find a wide variety of people within each role. For example, not all free women are the same. They range from the utterly submissive to dominant harridans. And we could probably find examples of behavior of nearly all of the online free women within the books. The same applies to the men as well. The men of the Gor books also run a wide gamut of personalities and behaviors.

Let us consider a few examples. In a number of cities of Gor, veils and robes are not legally mandatory. And the books clearly state that some bold free women do not thus wear veils. The books also state that some free women wear makeup, such as in Ar. If we consider free men, there is evidence in the books that some men were controlled by their women, even by their slaves. There are men who are craven, deceptive, dishonorable and such. Yet all of these men and women are technically Gorean. They simply do not conform to the “ideal” Gorean role. But would it be desirable if everyone met that ideal? Would the Gor novels be as exciting if everyone was the same, if they all met those ideals? I very much doubt it.

And what is the “ideal” role for a free women, free man or slave? Can we adequately define the parameters of such or does it vary dependent upon what area of Gor we are discussing? It is obvious that the ideal free woman of the Red Hunters is very different from the ideal free woman of Ar. The public nudity and mate swapping of the Red Hunters runs quite contrary to the acceptable behavior for a free women of Ar. There are even significant differences within the same location, but say of different Castes. A man of the Warrior Caste and a man of the Merchant Caste have a number of significant differences. At best, we might only be able to talk about a few generalities when we discuss the “ideal” role.

One of the best ways to handle those individuals who do not conform to the ideals is to treat them as depicted in the books. Let their actions and words have consequences, plausible and realistic ramifications. Peer pressure is a significant factor on Gor. Free women may insult and ridicule other free women who do not conform to what they consider the ideal. A free woman who is brazen enough not to wear a veil, especially a free woman of High Caste, might be derided by other free women as someone seeking a collar. And such derision certainly follows the books. A man who continually acts dishonorably would likely be shunned by his male peers, insulted and ignored. If a man were controlled by his slave, his peers may ridicule him mercilessly for his weakness.

In addition, the operation of law can also handle some of these situations. Though Ar in the books does not make it legally mandatory to wear a veil, it does possess other laws that can punish a free woman’s behavior. For example, there is a legal principle involving conduct indicating suitability for collar. If a free woman engages in certain behavior, better applicable to a slave, she can be arrested and stand trial. If she is convicted, she could be enslaved. Thus laws could then be used to prevent undesirable behavior. If a man broke his Caste Codes, he could be expelled from his Caste and city, made an outlaw. This all places a burden on city rulers to handle their troublesome citizens. It requires responsible leadership.

Some of those who are accused of negative behavior get very upset at their accusers. They get offended over the insults, or protest any punishment that might be suggested. They then point out how their behavior did occur in the books, thus claiming justification for their behavior. And they are generally correct that their behavior might be “Gorean,” insofar as it may have occurred in the novels. But, that certainly does not mean their behavior conforms to the ideal Gorean role. It certainly does not mean their behavior ir proper or appropriate. In addition, their accusers are acting Gorean as well, reacting as many Goreans would in the books.

The key is to understand that our actions and words often lead to certain consequences. And we should be willing to accept those consequences, good or bad, if we desire to act and speak as we wish. We possess the freedom to act and speak as we wish, but we must comprehend all of the ramifications that can result. A free woman who wishes to act more like a slave must realize the dangers inherent in such behavior. A male Warrior who chooses to ignore his Caste Codes must realize the dangers as well. A mouthy slave must realize the dangers too. When people accept responsibility for their words and actions, and are willing to accept the consequences as well, then matters may improve.  

29. Possibilities…    [ top ]

What is impossible on Gor? If we carefully consider that question, there is probably very little that is actually impossible. The same would apply on Earth as well. What is in the realm of possibility is always quite encompassing. What is possible includes everything, no matter how unlikely or improbable it might be. It has little to do with plausibility. The Gor novels do not often make wide statements explicitly prohibiting matters. This leaves openings for people to exploit, openings that allow them to justify a wide range of matters. There are also numerous examples in the books that many people can use to justify certain possibilities. For example, many people will point to Tarl Cabot’s actions and words to justify their own behavior. But, should the standard for our role-play simply be what is possible? Or should there be a stricter standard? And if a stricter standard is warranted, what are the benefits of such a standard?

Let us examine these questions. Let us begin by relying only on what is possible and see how far that will take us. Let us see how desirable a standard that would be. Or let us see the potential problems that such a standard can wrought.

First, it is known that the Kurii smuggle items from Earth to certain Goreans, including technology that is forbidden by the Priest-Kings. Thus, it would be possible for a Gorean to acquire C-4 plastic explosives, automatic submachine guns, grenades, mortars and similar weaponry. The books also mention that the Priest-Kings can take up to a year to detect forbidden technology. This would give a Gorean with these weapons plenty of time to use them. So, should we allow this possibility in our role-play? How do we deal with a suicide bomber with a dead man’s switch? Should a man with an automatic submachine gun be able to attack and kill multiple individuals? Should a mortar be allowed to lob explosives at a city?

Second, let us take this one step further even. The Kurii have been shown to possess an explosive capable of destroying the entire planet of Gor. It would be possible and likely that they possess explosives of lesser power as well, maybe just big enough to destroy a Gorean city. It would thus be possible for the Kurii to give such an explosive to one of their Gorean agents who could then use that bomb to blow up a city like Ar, Ko-ro-ba or Turia. Should we allow this possibility into our role-play? How does a city defend against such eventuality? What if it was a nuclear explosive?

Third, we have had people role-play Kurii before. Should we allow such characters to smuggle whatever they want from Earth? Should we allow them free reign to use the superior technology of the Kurii? For that matter, should we allow someone to role-play a Priest-King? If we allow people to role-play Kurii then why not a Priest-King? And if a person role-plays a Priest-King, what power should they possess? The books mention the Priest-Kings have the power to destroy an entire city with their Blue Flame. Should that be permitted? Should they possess the ability to use the Blue Flame on specific individuals? And if we do not want someone to role-play a Priest-King, then what are the reasons against it?

Fourth, let us examine some areas where there are no explicit prohibitions. The books do not specifically state that women may not belong to the Assassin Caste. The books also do not specifically state that women of the Warrior Caste are not trained in weapons. The books do not specifically state that vampires and fire-breathing dragons do not exist on Gor. We could go on and on in this vein. The books saw little sense in providing a detailed list of all that is prohibited on Gor. But, do we really want all of these matters in our role-play, just because there is no explicit prohibition against them in the books? What would the inclusion of these items do to our role-play?

Fifth, let us examine Tarl Cabot as a role model. Tarl Cabot is the main hero of the Gorean saga. He is intended to be larger than life, the epitome of the best of the best. There are few limits on what Tarl can do. He performs many actions that no one else has ever done, or could do. He is a pioneer in many respects, the ultimate jack-of-all trades. He is not intended to be an everyman. He is not intended to be the average Gorean. What is possible for Tarl is often improbable for other men. By basing your role-play actions on Tarl, you may be elevating your character to Tarl’s status, a superman of sorts. Now, if the Gorean series were populated with thousands of men equal to Tarl, would that be interesting? Would Tarl then just be considered ordinary, losing his hero status? Should every character in our role-play be the equal of Tarl Cabot? Or should Tarl Cabot remain special, a hero above heroes? Should Tarl’s feats become mundane rather than epic?

If we carefully consider these five areas, we are most likely to decide that we desire a standard for our role-play that considers more than just what is possible. We are likely to object to some areas that are nonetheless possible. The realm of possibility is far too broad and ultimately would be destructive to our role-play. There do need to be limits or we allow the seeds of chaos to grow. Allowing whatever is possible in our role-play would eventually make it far less Gorean in nature. So, if mere possibility is an insufficient standard, what higher standard should be employed? Should we move to a standard of “plausibility?” Should we move to a standard of what is fitting for the Gorean setting, of what is appropriate for the themes and philosophy of Gor? Though a stricter standard is limiting in some ways, it is also a protection as well. It helps prevent the realm of possibility from overwhelming our role-play.

If we hold to a higher standard than mere possibility, then one ramification is that we must find additional ways to justify our behavior. We can no longer simply point out that our behavior is possible according to the books. We must also show how it adheres to a higher standard. For example, we cannot role-play a vampire on Gor without providing a rationale for why it is plausible or why it fits the Gorean setting. We cannot just point to Tarl Cabot and say that because he did something then we can do it as well. We must indicate why such actions should be acceptable by others besides Tarl, why such actions will not diminish such heroic actions. If we choose not to hold to a higher standard, if we choose to rely on mere possibility alone, then we must be willing to accept the consequences. We must be willing to accept the possibility of the five areas discussed previously. And I cannot imagine that anyone would want all such possible matters within their Gorean role-play. We also should not hold to a double standard either. We cannot rely on a standard of mere possibility for ourselves but deny others that same standard.  

30. Utopia    [ top ]

Is Gor a Utopia? Did Norman design Gor to be a Utopia?

Let us begin by first defining “Utopia.” A Utopia is essentially an ideal society, a perfect society. Realistically, a Utopia is an impossibility, an ideal one can strive for but will never reach. Obviously, one could write about a Utopia in a book as such a society would not be real. It would not be bound by the practicalities of reality. As Gor is a fictional world, then it would be possible for it to be a Utopia. But, is Gor a Utopia?

I would say Gor is not. Tarl Cabot certainly does not claim Gor is a Utopia. He is critical of Gor at points, though often stating it is better than Earth in many ways. Om, the High Initiate of Gor, does not see Gor as a Utopia. In fact, he thinks man has a way to go before achieving greatness. He mentions this when he describes the rationale for the existence of the Initiate Caste. “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 of practice and observance, and the punishment of the Priest-Kings—for if we so spoke, 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.” (Priest-Kings of Gor, p.300-1) The society of Gor has flaws. Not everyone is happy on Gor. Many threats exist that make life difficult for Goreans. It would be impossible to say that Gorean society is perfect.

What might be a better issue to discuss would be a comparison of Earth and Gor to determine which is the better society, which is closer to being a Utopia. Which would you choose, Earth or Gor? Maybe an even better society could be created by picking and choosing the best of Gor and Earth. So, what are the best parts of each world? What are the worst parts? Are the worst parts tradeoffs for some of the best parts? Could either planet be easily modified to take on the good parts of the other world?

Now, did Norman design Gor to be a Utopia? The easy answer would seem to be no as we have already stated Gor is not a Utopia. So maybe the better question would be, did Norman try to design Gor to be as close as possible to a Utopia? The answer to this question appears to be yes. But, one would probably not answer affirmatively unless one understood an important inspiration for Gorean society, Plato’s The Republic.

Plato’s The Republic is often said to depict a Utopia, the ideal just city. Plato though admitted that his city would probably never exist in the real world. But he did think it was possible for a city to try to approach the ideal. Norman borrowed significant elements of Plato’s ideal city for Gorean society. This would seem to indicate that Norman is trying to emulate Plato’s Utopia. That would mean that Norman had the intention of designing a city that would strive to get close to the Utopian ideal, acknowledging that attaining the ideal was impossible.

There are many other questions and issues we can address under this topic. Is Gor more a Utopia for men than women? Can slavery exist in a Utopia? Must technology be limited in a Utopia? Is Earth moving closer to becoming a Utopia? Was there a historical period on Earth that was closer to Utopia than the present day? The list is endless.



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