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(#76, Version 5.0)

(The quotations in this essay from The Republic have been taken from the book; Plato: The Republic, edited by G.R.F. Ferrari, translated by Tom Griffith, Cambridge University Press 2000. Though there are numerous translations of The Republic, there is some standardization for citing passages from the text.   This standardization follows the pagination of the sixteenth-century edition of Plato by Stephanus. The numbers listed after each quote within this essay are based on that standardization so that you can easily locate those passages in any edition you possess.)


“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, Oxford University Press 1981, p.2) 

The Gorean Caste System.

The average person who hears the term “caste system” will most likely think of India’s caste system, a system often reviled as being overly repressive. Some critics of Gor point to this repression and try to apply it to the Gorean Caste system as well. They claim that all caste systems are the same, though their only real comparison is the caste system of India and the similar system used in some of its neighboring countries like Nepal. But, is this a fair and accurate comparison to the Gorean caste system? Was the Hindu Caste system the actual inspiration for the Gorean caste system? And if it was, does that mean the Gorean Caste system is repressive? 

If we more closely examine the two caste systems we can discern some obvious and substantial differences. For example, there is no “untouchable” caste in the Gorean system. The lowest Caste on Gor is the Peasant Caste and they are certainly not comparable to India’s untouchables. Even the lowest of Castes on Gor garners respect, unlike the untouchables. The slaves of Gor would also not make an appropriate analogue to the untouchables. Slaves, though viewed as property, are not seen as “unclean” like the untouchables. India’s caste system is also extremely rigid and the opportunity for caste mobility is far greater under the Gorean system. Finally, the rationale behind India’s caste system does not seem appropriate for Gor either, dealing with matters of purity. The untouchables are seen as impure and potentially able to taint the purity of the higher castes. That has no correlation in Gorean society. So what, if anything, actually inspired the Gorean caste system if it was not the caste system of India? 

As in much of the inspiration of Gor, we should first turn in our search to the ancient world, to the societies of ancient Greece and Rome. Much of the society of the Gorean city-states seems to stem from these ancient societies so it is often beneficial to begin there in our search. And within ancient Greece we shall find the object of our quest, an ancient Greek text that is an important philosophical work. As we analyze this philosophical text, we shall initially see some obvious correlations to Gor and its Caste system. As we delve deeper into that work, we shall discover even further correlations to Gorean society. 

This work will additionally raise other philosophical questions about Gor, leading us toward avenues we may never have considered otherwise. It will take us to a deeper level of comprehension concerning Gorean philosophy, and is clearly of great value. And it is a level of comprehension that we might never have reached unless we understood the proper inspirations for Gor. It is also a level that would never have been reached through a consideration of the Gorean novels alone, indicating the importance of outside sources in trying to fully understand Gorean philosophy and society. This significant and celebrated philosophical work is Plato’s The Republic. Probably no other single text was more influential on the creation of Gor than this work. 

Plato’s & The Republic  

Plato, born in Athens in 427 B.C., is one of the most famous and influential of the ancient Greek philosophers. Around the age of twenty, he became a student and disciple of the great philosopher Socrates. After the death of Socrates in 399 B.C., Plato spent some time journeying to numerous other countries and cities. When he returned to Athens in 387 B.C., he founded the Academy, with the objective of creating an institution that would provide a philosophical education for future leaders of Greek society. But, the Academy’s curriculum included not just philosophy but also all of the known sciences. Philosophy and science at this time were seen as connected topics. Among the most famous of students of the Academy was Aristotle, who would later go on to found his own school, the Lyceum, and write numerous philosophical books and essays. Plato died at the age of 80 in 347 B.C., leaving behind a significant body of philosophical work. 

Nearly all of Plato’s works are in the form of Socratic dialogues, using conversations and debates between Socrates and others to illustrate philosophical ideas. Most often, the basic premise of these dialogues involves the definition of some philosophical term. The earliest of these Socratic dialogues apparently contained much more of the philosophy of Socrates than that of Plato. These dialogue were homages to Socrates, a preservation of his wisdom, as Socrates wrote nothing on his own. Over time, in his later works, Plato interjected more of his own philosophical views rather than just present the ideas of Socrates. But, Plato continued to use Socratic dialogues as a framework even when much of the words were Plato’s own. These were fictionalized dialogues, conversations that Socrates never actually had. But Plato infused an element of realism into these dialogues by making all of the characters in these dialogues actual historical personalities. 

The Republic is one of Plato’s later works, and one of his longest, and seems to consist far more of the ideas of Plato rather than Socrates. It is constructed as an extended Socratic dialogue, though the format is somewhat different from the earliest Socratic dialogues. Socrates does far more explaining in this work, rather than the usual lengthy series of questions he would ask in the early dialogues. The Republic is considered the crowning achievement of Plato’s philosophical output. It is both a text of political philosophy and a work on moral philosophy. It is also probably Plato’s most complete depiction of his own entire philosophy, from metaphysics to epistemology to ethics. It has been a very influential text, often cited by many other philosophers throughout history. 

Like the Gorean novels, The Republic is also a controversial work. Many people have objected to various aspects of The Republic, labeling parts of it as supportive of fascism, communism and totalitarianism. Interestingly enough, it is also seen as supportive of feminism. Some of Plato’s ideas were very radical at the time of their writing, especially in democratic Athens, and they are still considered to be radical today. Some of his other ideas, that would not have raised an eyebrow in classical Greece, are a cause of concern for modern day sensibilities. Yet The Republic is a complex work and not always fully understood. Some of the criticisms are unfounded, based on a misunderstanding of the text and Plato’s intentions. Other criticisms do possess some validity. As a philosophy professor, it can safely be assumed that Norman is very familiar with such a significant philosophical work as The Republic. But, despite this familiarity, did it inspire the Gor books? 

If we begin to compare and contrast elements of the Gorean series with The Republic, we will find that our assumption of a relationship between the two texts is warranted. There are a number of significant correlations between the two works. It also becomes obvious that these correlations are not accidental or coincidental. It is quite clear that Norman intentionally borrowed elements of The Republic in creating aspects of the society of Gor. As The Republic is the only source for some of these matters, then Norman had to have used it for inspiration. This essay shall examine the correlations between these two works, showing which areas Norman used as inspiration for the world of Gor. This essay shall also explore some of the potential ramifications of the philosophy of The Republic upon Gorean philosophy. 

This essay will not attempt to explain the entirety of The Republic. That would be a substantial endeavor and is beyond the scope of this essay. For example, this essay will touch on only briefly such matters as the Allegory of the Cave and Plato’s Forms, two important aspects of The Republic but of far less importance to this essay. The intent of this essay is to highlight certain areas of comparison between Plato’s work and the Gorean novels. The topics that are omitted, or receive minor attention, may also have some relevance to Gor but it is not as direct as the matters that will be explained herein. I do highly recommend that you read Plato’s The Republic, as you will find much of value within it. Please understand though that The Republic is not an easy text. But, there are some excellent explanatory books available that more fully discuss the philosophy within The Republic

The word “republic” is from the Latin phrase “res publica” which means “public matters” or “the state.” In Greek, the title of the book was the Politeia, which means the “Constitution.” The translated text of The Republic has been divided into ten “books,” which can be considered to be chapters. But, Plato himself did not divide his work into those books. Later editors of his text actually divided it into books for their own ease of use. Each of these “books” was originally what would have fit onto a single papyrus scroll. Though the ten books form a whole, Book One is often considered somewhat of a separate entity. Book One more closely resembles Plato’s earlier Socratic dialogues and may have been written sometime earlier than the rest of The Republic. Despite this possibility, Book One still has a strong connection to the rest of The Republic and is a fitting beginning to the rest of the text. 

One of the primary objectives of The Republic is to try to define the Greek concept of “justice.” The Greek word for justice is “dikaiosune” and that term covers much more than our own term “justice” would cover. The Greek term includes “right conduct” in general and is possibly synonymous with “righteousness” or even simply “morality.” Thus, in this sense, The Republic can be seen as a search for the right way to live, the eternal quest of Socrates. The root of this term, “dike,” means “way” or “manner of,” and was often used to designate the proper way of behaving for particular groups, including soldiers, kings, slaves, farmers, etc. In a more narrow sense, “dikaiosune” can also be used in a manner more akin to our own traditional definition of “justice.” Throughout The Republic, Plato will alternate, without any pattern or regularity, between both of these definitions of “dikaiosune.” Justice is considered to be one of the four cardinal Greek virtues, the others being wisdom, courage and self-control. 

In general, there are a number of Greek terms, especially those connected to philosophy, which do not translate exactly into English. The Greek terms are often more expansive than the more narrowly defined English terms. That fact always needs to be kept in mind when reading and understanding translations of ancient Greek texts. Assuming that Greek terms are identical to English terms can lead to confusion and misunderstanding. Certain passages will make far more sense if one considers the more expansive definition of the term. You will encounter a number of these Greek terms within The Republic so be careful when reading that text. Within this essay, I shall point out a number of these terms. 


Now, let us begin our examination of the correlations between The Republic and the Gor novels with one of the most obvious examples. A blatant correlation can be found between the two works involving the story of Gyges and the invisible ring. In Tribesman of Gor, Tarl Cabot acquired a special ring that could render its wielder invisible. This ring was one of five created by Prasdak, a secretive Kur scientist. The fate of the other four rings is mentioned in the books and one of them purportedly ended up on Earth. “One was temporarily lost upon the planet Earth some three to four thousand years ago, it being taken from a slain Kur commander by a man named Gyges, a herdsman, who used its power to usurp the throne of a country called Lydia, a country which then existed on Earth.” (Explorers of Gor, p.29) Is there any validity to what is presented in this quote? 

With some historical research, we can learn that the country of Lydia actually once existed in classical times and there was even a historical figure named Gyges. But, the historical Gyges was a bodyguard to the King of Lydia. He was not a shepherd. Gyges, with the assistance of the King’s wife, plotted against the King and eventually overthrew him. Gyges then assumed the mantle of King of Lydia. The history books do not mention that Gyges was assisted by the use of an invisibility ring. So, did Norman simply modify the historical truths about Gyges to fit his own needs? Did he invent a legend for Gor based on the framework of a historical figure? Or did he borrow from a different source, a nonhistorical source, for his story of Gyges? 

The basic tale of Gyges presented in the Gor books, except for the part concerning the Kur, is not really the creation of Norman. Norman borrowed it from another source, the source where the tale originated, The Republic. Plato created a fictional tale about Gyges, a shepherd who would become the king of Lydia. One day, after a terrible rainstorm and powerful earthquake, Gyges discovered a large hole in the ground. He explored the hole and found within it a hollow horse of bronze with windows in it. (This hollow “horse” with windows could easily be thought of as a Kurii spaceship, considering that their spaceships do have apertures. It could have crash landed on Earth, causing the ground to shake like an earthquake.) Through the window, Gyges viewed a corpse, but a being larger than a human. (This seems to indicate the body may not human and thus could easily be a Kur.) The corpse was bare except for a golden ring on its hand and Gyges took the ring. (This thus becomes the Kur invisibility ring.) 

Some time later, when Gyges twisted the setting of the ring toward himself, he suddenly realized that he was now invisible. (Which is how the Kur invisibility ring operates in the Gor novels.) With this new power, Gyges then seduced the King’s wife, killed the King, and then assumed the throne of Lydia. One of the characters within The Republic used the story of Gyges to illustrate the point that even the best of men will engage in unjust acts if they are assured of not getting caught. The invisibility ring allowed Gyges to avoid being caught so he willingly engaged in unjust behavior to become King. Socrates would later refute this point, claiming that such unjust behavior was never better than being just. 

As Plato originated this tale of Gyges, then Norman had to have borrowed it from him. This thus gives us our first major clue that Norman was inspired at least in part by The Republic. And this then puts us on the trail to discover if Norman used other aspects of The Republic as well. So we shall now begin a more comprehensive examination of this work to determine what other elements might have inspired Norman. We shall now start near the beginning of The Republic and work our way through its ten chapters. And on our journey, we shall find many more correlations between the two works. 

The Sophist 

In Book One of The Republic, we are introduced to Thrasymachus, a Sophist, who will be the primary opponent of Socrates in Book One. Sophists were often wandering tutors, commonly paid a fee to teach people skills like rhetoric and especially how win any argument, right or wrong. The Sophists saw worldly success as the key to happiness. They felt that there was no infallible guide for human action beyond the principle of self-interest. Some Sophists felt that the most basic law of nature was that the strong overcame the weak, “might makes right.” In their view, this basic law thus over rode any rationale for the creation of laws to protect the weak against the strong. This basic law is based on the idea that human society is just an extension of the animal world. In fact, irrational animal nature was used by some Sophists as a model for human behavior. Irrationality was seen as a dominant element in human nature. 

Socrates and Plato were disturbed by the Sophists' emphasis on material values and by what they perceived as the amorality of their teachings. Socrates, like many Greeks, characterized the Sophists as mercenaries, caring not for the truth but only for success in argumentation. Winning was everything to the Sophists. They were often figures of derision and even Socrates was accused by some of being a Sophist. In a number of Socratic dialogues, Socrates faces off against famous historical Sophists. Plato disagreed strenuously with the Sophist characterization of the law of nature, that the strong should overpower the weak. Plato felt that there had to be objective standards of morality. And Plato’s objections to the stance of the Sophists would see their presentation within The Republic

During a gathering of men at dinner, the discussion turns to definitions of justice. Thrasymachus, arrogant and abrasive, proposes his own definition of justice and challenges Socrates to refute him. Socrates gladly takes on that challenge, unable to resist a good discussion. Thrasymachus begins by claiming that justice simply means obeying the law, a law that is created by the stronger for their advantage. “In making these laws, they make it clear that what is good for them, the rulers, is what is just for their subjects. If anyone disobeys, they punish him for breaking the law and acting unjustly.” (338e-339a) Essentially, in any system of government, those in power always make the laws to their own financial, political and social advantage. Thrasymachus compares a ruler and his citizens to a shepherd and his sheep. Shepherds watch over their flock not for the benefit of the sheep, but so that the sheep can later be shorn for their fleece or slaughtered for their meat. Though the sheep are protected from other predators, all of the true advantage adheres to the shepherd. And that holds true for rulers and their citizens. This is the typical Sophist argument that “might makes right.”

Socrates will propose a far different definition of justice than Thrasymachus. He does not accept the “might makes right” definition. And as we shall see, Norman, in the Gor novels, will choose to emulate Socrates rather than Thrasymachus. Thus, Norman clearly did not design a “might makes right” philosophy for Gor. In fact, it is just the opposite. Thus, the critics of Gor who try to label Gor as such have failed to properly understand Gorean philosophy, drawing inappropriate conclusions about the “might makes right” concept. By adopting elements of The Republic, Norman has shown that he never intended Gor to be a “might makes right” society. Justice on Gor is much closer to the Socratic definition of Gor. 

Socrates is able to show Thrasymachus the inadequacy of his definition of justice so Thrasymachus decides on a different tact. Instead of trying to define justice, he will describe why it is better to be unjust. Thrasymachus agrees that justice is a virtue but counters that an intelligent man would embrace being unjust for all the benefits and advantages it can provide. He states “….a just man comes off worse than an unjust in every situation.” (343d) And follows that with “…justice is in fact what is good for the stronger, whereas injustice is what is profitable and good for oneself.” (344c) This position is often called “immoralism.” Thrasymachus will laud praise on the tyrant who is unjust and thus receives a plentitude of benefits. He will pay fewer taxes, gain wealth from bribery, acquire gains through cheating and much more. All will envy this unjust man because of all he possesses. 

But, once Thrasymachus agrees that justice is virtue, then Socrates capitalizes on that agreement and presents an argument revolving around a craft analogy. “Techne” means basically any craft or art, and in a very expansive way which thus would include everything from farming to nursing to poetry. Every techne has a “telos,” which means “goal” or “end.” Basically, the telos is the primary objective of the techne. For example, the techne of farming has the telos of crops, which fulfills the need for food. Now, skill within a particular techne will vary, from people who are poor at their craft to those who are masters of their craft. “Arête,” which is often translated as “virtue,” is the specific excellence of a techne. For example, a farmer who is excellent at farming, producing fine crops all the time, is considered to possess arête. To possess arête, a person needs to develop the skills specific to their techne. To gain these skills, one must gain a specialized education, emulate a role model or mentor, and gain plenty of experience within the techne. If successful, when the person is able to effectively, efficiently and consistently achieve the telos of the techne, they will attain arête. In other words, you will possess excellence in your craft when you consistently achieve its objective in an effective and efficient manner. 

Socrates then goes on to make the analogy that moral character is similar to the mastery of a craft. Thus, the same application of techne, telos and arête will be applicable. Thus, Socrates states that the basic techne is the craft of life. Its telos is “eudaimonia” which is commonly translated as “happiness” but which is more closely “human flourishing.” Eudaimonia is essentially the best type of life for a person. The arête for this techne consists of the four virtues: wisdom, courage, self-control and justice. Thus, these virtues are necessary for the attainment of eudaimonia. A lack of any of these virtues will lead to unhappiness. This then goes on to support the critical importance of justice. 

As the human soul cannot flourish without justice, then the unjust person will never be happier than the just person. This serves to defeat the claim of Thrasymachus that it is better to be unjust. At this point, at the end of Book One, Thrasymachus refrains from almost all further argumentation with Socrates, making only a few brief comments in the later Books. Socrates now realizes that while he proved the basic necessity of justice, he truly never defined the term up until this point. And without a proper definition for justice, then one will not understand how to pursue that virtue. So, he understands that his task is not yet complete. 

Desirability of Justice 

Once Thrasymachus finishes, two relatives of Plato now begin to question Socrates. Glaucon and Adeimantus, who are brothers, are much less adversarial than Thrasymachus and are generally interested in hearing the views of Socrates. They have some questions about justice and hope that Socrates can bring clarity to their confusion. Glaucon begins by delineating the three reasons why good things are desirable: 1) for their own sake, but not for their consequences (i.e., harmless pleasures); 2) for their consequences, but not for their own sake (i.e., medicine or money); and 3) for their own sake and for their consequences (i.e., knowledge or health). Glaucon then asks Socrates which reason would apply to the desirability of justice. Socrates responds that it definitely belongs to the third reason. 

Glaucon then tries to counter the argument that justice is desirable for its own sake by attempting to show that injustice is ultimately more preferable than justice. He makes his point through the story of Gyges (which I mentioned previously in this essay.) Glaucon’s point is that people behave justly only to avoid the negative consequences of being unjust. They are afraid of being punished by the law for any violation. If a person could behave unjustly, and avoid being caught, then they would do so. Thus, people do not desire justice for its own sake, but only for its consequences. Glaucon tries to reinforce his position by asking a hypothetical question, comparing the lives of a perfectly just man and a perfectly unjust man. Who is better off? The perfectly just man who is poor and lives with great suffering or the perfectly unjust man who is wealthy, famous, respected and powerful? No one would choose to be just if all of the consequences were terrible. But, if justice were desirable for its own sake, people would choose it despite the consequences. 

Adeimantus then adds his own argument, trying to counter the other aspect of the desirability of justice, by stating that justice is not desirable for its consequences either. People are basically taught to be just because of the alleged beneficial consequences it will bring. But, Adeimantus claims that does not happen in reality. Many just people undergo great suffering while unjust people thrive and prosper. In addition, the unjust will often have the opportunity to repent for their sins before they die, thus gaining a reward in the afterlife too. So, the consequences of being unjust outweigh the consequences of being just. 

Socrates is now left with trying to prove that justice is both good for its own sake and for its consequences too. And he savors the challenge the two brothers have set forth for him. Their arguments are considered to be more powerful and convincing than those of Thrasymachus. Within the rest of The Republic, both brothers will ask further questions of Socrates, either seeking more details on some point, or trying to refute an issue. By the end of the text, both brothers will be in full agreement with Socrates. And Socrates will have proved the desirability of justice for its own sake and for its consequences. 

A Definition  

One of the crucial steps for Socrates in his refutation of the brothers’ arguments is to define justice within the individual. Without a proper definition, he cannot adequately make any conclusions about justice. But, Socrates thought that by first examining justice within a larger framework that it would be far easier to notice and then define it rather than trying to do so on an individual level. So, Socrates proposed the example of the creation of an ideal city as a philosophical exercise to explore the concept of justice on a grand scale. Socrates felt that justice is essentially the same whether it is in a city or in an individual so his exercise would be fruitful. Socrates would thus first show justice within this city and then show its applicability to the individual. This would eventually lead to an explanation of why it was always better to be just rather than unjust.

As an aside, unlike many other Socratic dialogues, The Republic actually provides a definition for the term it is discusses. Most Socratic dialogues simply raised questions about definitions, without offering clear answers. Those dialogues showed the inadequacy of many other definitions but failed to provide their own more applicable definition. You were left with a better idea of what was an improper definition of a term, but you were not left with its best definition. Thus, such dialogues often feel incomplete or unsatisfying to some as there is no clear resolution of the matter. You are still left with questions as to what was the best definition for the term that was discussed. That is much more the style of Socrates rather than Plato. 

John Norman’s The Cognitivity Paradox, which was written under his real name of John Lange, resembles in some ways The Republic and other Socratic dialogues. The Cognitivity Paradox, which I examine in another essay on my site, is a philosophical work that possesses some of the elements of a Socratic dialogue, with Norman taking on the role of Socrates. Norman essentially speaks directly to the reader, placing the philosophical community in the place normally occupied by a Sophist. The objective of the book is to define the term “philosophy.” Norman first goes through a refutation of a litany of other definitions for that term, terms provided by many of his colleagues in the philosophical community, showing the inadequacies of their definitions. This is what Socrates would have done to the definitions provided by the Sophists. Norman then presents his own definition. After presenting his definition, he proceeds to show the truth-value of philosophy. This is what Plato has Socrates do in The Republic: refute other definitions of justice, provide his own definition and then show the value of justice. 

The bulk of The Republic deals with the myriad details of the cities proposed by Socrates to assist in the definition of justice. A number of the factors possessed by these cities inspired the creation of certain aspects of Gorean society. Though there are some significant differences as well, the basic structure and rationale of the cities was emulated on Gor, to serve as the foundation for the civilized city-states. What Norman chose not to adopt from The Republic were many of the more specific details of the actual operation of these cities. These details are often considered to be some of the more controversial aspects of The Republic. In addition, some of these details would conflict with other concepts and principles that Norman desired for Gorean society. Thus, although Norman borrowed certain aspects from The Republic he chose to ignore others as well. 

That is very common with Norman, being selective in his choices of what to adopt for Gor. This is part of what makes Gorean philosophy a unique philosophy. Despite possessing multiple derivations and inspirations, the particular combination of these matters is specific to Gorean philosophy. Though Gorean philosophy may reflect the philosophies of the ancient Greeks and Romans, there are sufficient differences to ensure that it is truly a unique philosophy. Thus, while each individual tenet and concept within Gorean philosophy may not in of itself be unique, when you combine all of these disparate parts together you do arrive at something original. A basic analogy would be to consider Gorean philosophy to be a recipe. Though it may contain familiar ingredients, how those ingredients are put together can make the recipe original to its chef. 

Ideal City  

The Republic begins its discussion of the creation of an ideal city with the foundation that cities are a necessity for man, an association of people that is based on need. No individual can provide for all of his own needs. We are thus necessarily social animals. “The origin of a city lies, I think, in the fact that we are not, any of us, self-sufficient; we have all sorts of needs.” (369b) Thus, people seek out others to fulfill those needs they cannot meet on their own. “Different individuals, then, form associations with one person to meet one need, and with another person to meet a different need. With this variety of wants they may collect a number of partners and allies into one place of habitation, and to this joint habitation we give the name ‘city,’ don’t we?” (369c) It becomes easier when these people settle near to each other, allowing easier access to people who can provide their needs. This unity defines a city and it is when the city acts as a whole that it is best. No single person is more important than any other. 

This clearly reflects the basic Gorean concept of the city. Socrates posited a city in accordance with nature and that is exactly what Gorean cities seek. "A civilization, you see, need not inevitably be a conflict with nature. A rational, informed civilization can even, in a sense, refine and improve upon nature; it can, so to speak, bring nature to fruition. Indeed, a natural civilization might be the natural flowering of nature itself, not an antithesis to nature, not a contradiction to nature, not a poison nor a trammel to it, but a stage or aspect of it, a form which nature itself can take." (Savages of Gor, p.194) The welfare of the city is considered more important than any single individual. The city itself is considered to be of vast importance. “For them a city is almost a living thing, or more than a living thing. It is an entity with a history, as stones and rivers do not have history; it is an entity with a tradition, a heritage, customs, practices, character, intentions, hopes. When a Gorean says, for example, that he is “of” Ar, or Ko-ro-ba, he is doing a great deal more than informing you of his place of residence.” (Outlaw of Gor, p.22) The Home Stone becomes the symbol for the vast importance of the city to its citizens. 

The depiction of the Gorean outlaw also emphasizes the importance of the unity of a city, the fact that man survives far better together than on his own. Outlaws on Gor live a precarious life, cut off from all the benefits of a city, all the unity of caste and Home Stone. The life of an outlaw is not romanticized on Gor. No one envies the life of an outlaw, an outlaw who must fight for mere survival each and every day. And it is clear that outlaws are not really self-sufficient either. Many of them must rely on trade while others, such as the Panther Girls, form small bands to help each other. The books mention that outlaws may even make agreements with Peasants for assistance. The world of Gor shows that man does need others to survive, and that a city is the best way to meet that need. 

Once Socrates has shown the essential rationale for the creation of a city, it goes on to sketch the outline of the structure of a simple city. Within this city, for maximum efficiency, productivity and development, each individual should perform a single task. By concentrating on a single task, an individual can perform their job much better than someone who engages in many jobs at once. Such a specialist can eventually become a master of his trade. This is essentially the creation of a caste system, a division of labor according to profession. This, not the caste system of India, is the true inspiration for the Gorean Caste system. Thus, critics of the Gorean caste system should concern themselves not with an analysis and comparison to the system of India but with the ideas within The Republic

Socrates states that this specialization of tasks is a natural principle. “And one thing immediately struck me when you said that, which is that one individual is by nature quite unlike another individual, that they differ in their natural aptitudes, and that different people are equipped to perform different tasks.” (370b) This quote clearly reflects Gorean philosophical principles. A primary premise of Gorean philosophy is that all people are naturally different, each with their own capabilities and limitations. “All creatures are not the same, nor is it necessary that they should be.” (Savages of Gor, p.30) And the Gorean Caste system shows they believe people are better when they remain within a single profession. Gorean philosophy does not stand for the premise that men are inherently superior to women. It stands for the premise that everyone is simply different. “In such a small thing as knots I was again reminded of the central differences in sex and personality that divide human beings, differences expressed in thousands of subtleties, many of which are often overlooked, as in the way a piece of cloth might be folded, a letter formed, a color remembered, a phrase turned. In all things, it seemed to me, we manifest ourselves, each differently.” (Assassin of Gor, p.80) 

We should emphasize that the Gorean Caste system is in place because it is considered a natural and beneficial way to order society. It was not put in place to be repressive or contrary to nature. And the Caste system is intended to promote efficiency and productivity. “Most Goreans take Caste very seriously. It is apparently one of the socially stabilizing forces on Gor. It tends to reduce the dislocations, disappointments and tragedies inherent in more mobile structures, in which men are taught that they are failures if they do not manage to make large amounts of money or excel in one of a small number of prestigious professions. The system also helps to keep men of energy and high intelligence in a wide variety of occupations, this preventing the drain of such men into a small number of often artificially desiderated occupations, this tending then to leave lesser men, or frustrated men, to practice other hundreds of arts the survival and maintenance of which are important to a superior civilization.” (Dancer of Gor, p.186-187) Norman is simply taking the lead from The Republic

A City of Luxury  

This first city that Socrates describes is a very simple one, plain and basic. It has formed for purely economic reasons, to fulfill the varied needs of a group of individuals. But, this city has no amenities and simply exists for the absolute necessities of life. Socrates reluctantly admits to his listeners that this type of city is more an ideal, a harmonious utopia. Realistically, most people would not be contented in such a place. They would desire more of the luxuries and pleasures of civilization. So Socrates puts aside a discussion of his small, ideal city and chooses instead to discuss a more practical one, a city that possesses such luxuries and comforts. The discussion of this more practical city will consume much of the rest of The Republic. The simple city will be largely ignored. 

The simple city contained only individuals engaged in absolutely essential occupations and thus was relatively small. The creation of a more practical city though would result in the need for more specialized skills in the city to provide the desired luxuries and comforts. The principle of division of labor would still remain in effect. Thus, more people would be needed in the city, people possessing more diverse skills. As the population of this new city grew, there would be a commensurate need for additional resources, especially land for agriculture to feed everyone. And to obtain additional land, a city would likely need to expand their territory through war. And that would require warriors to fight. As the city was built of specialists, the warriors too would need to be professionals, men devoted only to war. The importance of an army is not lost on Norman as the Gorean Warrior Caste is very important in defending the Gorean city-states. Such a Caste is a clear necessity on Gor. 

For Socrates, war becomes an important necessity for growth. Socrates labels the military leaders the Guardians and states that they should be the rulers of the city as their function is so vital to the city. This is reminiscent of the society of the ancient Spartans, who are also the subject of another essay on my site. Socrates understands though that a potential danger exists that the military leaders could easily use their force of arms to turn the city into an oppressive dictatorship. Fortunately, Socrates had a solution to this possibility, the proper education of the Guardians. The military leaders would need to be educated, or trained, to be benevolent to their own citizens but still able to fiercely combat their enemies. So, what should such education entail? Socrates spends much time discussing his proposed curriculum for these Guardians. 


We must understand that when Socrates discusses “education,” he is referring to different subject matter than what we may commonly consider. His type of education centers on training a person’s character, with the objective of creating a moral person. It is not just book knowledge or learning a skill. It is a true moral education. In addition, it tries to connect ethics with aesthetics, so that people are attracted to the good and repulsed by evil. This type of education tries to maintain a proper balance between intellectual and physical training. It is a comprehensive education, touching on many vital areas, mind, body and soul. 

Socrates stated that proper education of the Guardians of a city is crucial for it is education that can create the best in someone. In the converse, an improper education can bring out the worst in a person. Socrates felt that education should contain two main elements, music (“mousike”) and gymnastics (“gymnastike”). “It consists, I take it, of physical education for the body, and music and poetry for the mind or soul.” (376e) The translations of those Greek terms though are imperfect and the Greek words are more expansive than what we might commonly consider. “Mousike” includes a number of different artistic endeavors including poetry and dance. “Gymnastike” includes all types of physical training, and not just what we know as gymnastics. Overall, this education is meant to create superior people for the city. “And as simplicity in music and poetry gave souls self-discipline, so simplicity in physical training gives bodies health,…” (404e) 

Why music and poetry? What is so important about them in a person’s education? What do they do for someone? “Aren’t there two reasons, Glaucon, why musical and poetic education is so important? Firstly because rhythm and mode penetrate more deeply into the inner soul than anything else does; they have the most powerful effect on it, since they bring gracefulness with them. They make a person graceful, if he is rightly brought up, and the opposite, if he is not. And secondly because anyone with the right kind of education in this area will have the clearest perception of things which are unsatisfactory—things which are badly made or naturally defective. Being quite rightly disgusted by them, he will praise what is beautiful and fine. Delighting in it, and receiving it into his soul, he will feed on it and so become noble and good.” (401d-402a) But, not all music and poetry is considered beneficial for the Guardians. Socrates spends a significant portion of time explaining the dangers and benefits of certain types of music and poetry. 

Much of Books Two and Three of The Republic concern the specific types of poetry to which young Guardians will be permitted to be exposed. When we mention poetry here, we include stories as well. Children in ancient Greece were expected to learn famous poems, especially the works of Homer, which include the epics the Iliad and the Odyssey. Such poetry was meant to be recited and not just read silently. And children were even expected to memorize portions of these poems. An educated man was expected to be able to recite passages of these works. It was Socrates’ contention that as young children were very impressionable then certain types of poetry and stories could result in a negative effect upon a child. This could harm a child’s character, making them the wrong type of person to be a Guardian, and obviously Socrates wished to prevent this. Thus, Socrates believed that certain types of poems and stories should be prohibited from the curriculum of children, in order to create the best type of children possible to become Guardians. 

Socrates believed that all “false” poetry should be banned and this included any and all poems and stories about gods and human heroes that presented them in a bad light. Since the gods are supposed to be good, then any poem or story that shows them engaged in indecent or immoral acts must be by necessity untrue. The gods should not be seen as a source of evil. Human heroes too should only be presented in a positive light, nothing to tarnish their good image. This would lead to even great works like the Iliad and Odyssey being heavily edited to remove anything deemed false. Both works contain numerous scenes of gods and men in less than good depictions, showing a myriad of flaws in these individuals. Children are unable to properly understand allegory, and what they learn as young children is often unchangeable. Impressions made when they are young can remain with them their entire lives. Thus, they must only see the gods and human heroes in a positive light.

Socrates also believed that all immoral poetry should be banned. This would include any poem or story that depicted vice of any form. It was irrelevant whether the poem or story was factual or not. Children were not supposed to be exposed to such stories of vice, as they might desire to emulate them. This would be especially true of any poem or story that did not show a negative impact from the practice of that vice. Other poetry and stories that Socrates wished banned included anything that would discourage courage by heightening the Guardian’s fear of death. He wanted poets to soften the images of the underworld so that men would fear slavery over death. He did not want the underworld to seem so terrifying that men would fear dying in battle. Socrates also wanted to eliminate poetry and stories that encouraged excessive laughter or discouraged self-discipline, thus encouraging desire, greed or excess. In addition, he did not want any poetry or stories that would inspire anyone other than the rulers of the city to lie, or that taught that injustice could be profitable in any way. 

After discussing what types of poetry and stories were wrong, Socrates then went on to discuss how permissible poetry and stories should be related. Socrates distinguished between two different types of poetry; those involving “mimesis” and those that do not. “Mimesis” is usually translated as “imitation” and refers to taking on the character of another, like in acting out a role. If one were reciting poetry, and you came to a speech made by a character in that poem, the speech would be an example of mimesis. You would step into the shoes of that character while reciting their speech. Non-mimesis poetry would be simple narrative verse, the impartial relating of events, actions and words. 

Socrates objected to mimesis for two reasons. First, he felt that it could lead to the lowering of one's character. He believed that such imitation could induce someone to emulate the character they imitated. So, if a person imitated a bad person, that person would tend to become bad, especially if that person was young. “Have you ever noticed how imitation, if long continued from an early age, turns into habits and dispositions---of body, speech and mind?” (395d) Second, he felt it led to the fragmentation of one’s character. A person who imitated many people would possess traits from all of those imitations, thus leading away from a single solid character. The only kind of mimesis that Socrates would permit to occur was the imitation of good men as he felt that would help strengthen a person’s character. Other than that, Guardians should be limited to narrative works. 

Plato has been criticized for his views on the censorship of such art. Some though may see some validity to his arguments of protecting children from certain types of materials better suited for adults. Is that not part of the reason for our movie rating system and the “parent’s advisory” warning labels on other materials? Do we not fear that our impressionable children will become more violent if exposed to violent movies, television or video games? But, The Republic would later go beyond merely banning such materials for children. Socrates would later call for the ban to extend to most adults as well. He stated that the exposure of adults to such material could lead to them transmitting the wrong values to their children. Such a ban was a revolutionary idea in classical Greece, especially where poems such as the Iliad and Odyssey were so strongly ingrained in their culture. 

Besides poetry, Socrates stated that certain types of music should be banned for the good of the Guardians. Music was said to be composed of three elements: words, harmonic mode and rhythm. Socrates felt that each of these elements needed to be restricted in some ways. First, the words should conform to all of his restrictions on poetry. Thus, such words should deal only with the good. Second, Socrates wanted to restrict the modes, eliminating mournful music, and relaxed music that would be ill suited to the necessary temperament for a warrior. Certain musical instruments would be banned as well, those that could play too many different modes. The lyre, cithara (a stringed instrument) and panpipes would be kept. Third, as for rhythm, complexity and a wide range of meters were unnecessary. In addition, Socrates felt that music possessing an erratic harmony and rhythm was dangerous as it could lead to disorder and chaos in the soul. He wanted graceful music, music that would lead to harmony within a person. Proper music should benefit the characters of the Guardians and instill the virtues of courage and self-control. The proper use of music would promote harmony and order within the Guardians. They should not be so riled by strident music that they would then harm their own citizens. They also should not be lulled so much by soft music that they would be unable to battle their enemies. 

This concern with the harmony within the Guardian’s souls is also seen in Socrates’ statements concerning the types of crafts, art and architecture to which the Guardians should be permitted to be exposed. Socrates rejected all crafts, art and architecture that were “…undisciplined, slavish, or wanting in grace,…” (401b). Socrates strongly believed that there is a connection between beauty and orderliness in the arts and the beauty and orderliness of the soul. He thus wanted the Guardians to be exposed only to things that were beautiful, virtuous and harmonious. “Music and poetry ought, I take it, to end in love of beauty.” (403c) 

This quotation strikes a strong accord with Gorean society. Norman has stated previously that Gor is a world of beauty and that if something is not beautiful, then it is not part of Gor. “These people have, as I have suggested, a highly developed aesthetic sense.” (Witness of Gor, p.226) According to Plato then, if Goreans are surrounded by such beauty then they will receive it into their souls and become noble and good. Though Gorean education does not specifically concentrate in the areas indicated by Plato, the emphasis of Gorean society on beauty is still in accordance with the intentions of Plato. The effect may thus be the similar, that such beauty makes Goreans better individuals. “The Gorean is keenly susceptible to beauty; it gladdens his heart, and his songs and art are often paeans to its glory.” (Outlaw of Gor, p.54) In addition, as will be discussed later, the Double Knowledge touches upon the concerns of Plato in some of his caveats against poetry. 

Gorean society has no real limitations on poetry. Poets and Singers are considered to be "…a craftsman who make strong sayings,…” (Outlaw of Gor, p.103). They are often a happy Caste, loved by many and permitted to freely travel across Gor. And they are seen as providing an important function in society. They are not seen as harmful to the masses. “He has his role to play in the social structure, celebrating battles and histories, singing of heroes and cities, but also he is expected to sing of living, and of love and joy, not merely of arms and glory; and, too, it is his function to remind the Goreans from time to time of loneliness and death, lest they should forget that they are men.” (Outlaw of Gor, p.104) Norman does not seem worried that such Poets and Singers will corrupt the youth of Gor. 

Socrates then begins to discuss the physical training of the Guardians. The objective here is once again to achieve harmony, to produce health in the body. His advice for physical training is quite sensible, and far less controversial than his stance on poetry and music. The Guardians are supposed to avoid overeating, eating foods that are too rich especially sweets, and excessive drinking of alcohol. They are also supposed to engage in a simple exercise program. Simplicity is the key to this training. This physical training also helps to bring harmony to the soul. As Socrates puts it, "In that case, we would be entitled to describe as perfectly musical and harmonious the person who best combines physical with musical and poetic education, and who introduces them into his soul in the most balanced way.” (412a)

But the controversy returns before too long when Socrates addresses medical treatment. Socrates feels that the aim of medicine should be to maintain the health of the body, not to restore it in someone who is ill. He desires to reserve medical treatment only for generally healthy people or in certain rare situations such as healing wounds in battle or an occasional illness. The sickly are considered a burden to the community and therefore must either be left to die or permitted to commit suicide. This position results from the original principle of specialization by which everyone must fulfill their role within the city. An ill person often cannot fulfill their role. “It was because he knew that in any well-run society each citizen has his own appointed function to perform in the state, and that no one can afford to spend his whole life being ill and being an invalid.” (406c) Thus, if one cannot fulfill their duty, then they should not exist within the city. At least Plato does not discriminate in this view as he does not make any exception for the wealthy or powerful. Norman does not follow this aspect of The Republic. Instead, Gorean Physicians are highly valued and have done much to eliminate illness in the world. Though it is true that Goreans live generally healthy lives, especially as most diseases have been eliminated and the Stabilization Serums exist. 

The reason for all of this education was to protect the citizenry from the warriors and to ensure that the warriors possessed good character. What exists in Gorean society to protect its citizens against the Warrior Caste and ensure that each Warrior is of good character? There is no restriction on poetry and music. Instead, a key component of a Gorean Warrior’s education is the Caste Codes. These Caste Codes help lead Warriors in the proper direction, promoting them to act honorably. The Caste Codes are a form of protection for the general citizenry. They are intended to promote Warriors to act against their enemies and not the citizenry of their Home Stone. These Codes are probably not as effective as the education promulgated by Socrates though as sometimes Gorean Warriors do seize control of the government and act as tyrants. But, overall, they do seem to be largely beneficial. Most Warriors are very loyal to their Home Stone. 

Caste System 

After finishing the basics of education for the Guardians, Socrates begins to better hone exactly who should be a ruler. Essentially, Socrates states that the rulers of the city must be the elite of the Guardians. The Guardians are considered the best members of the society because they are best able to preserve and defend the city. Therefore, an elite from these Guardians should clearly be the ones to rule the city. This leads to the creation of a division within the city of three groups, each group that will later be seen as reflective of a greater philosophical principle. This tripartite division is extremely important to Socrates in his definition of justice in both the city and the individual. And this tripartite division is also emulated within the Gorean Caste system, further cementing the correlation between Gor and The Republic

Socrates divides his city into Guardians, Auxiliaries, and the Productive Class. The Guardians have now been split into two groups, Guardians and Auxiliaries. The Guardians are now just the rulers of the city while the Auxiliaries are the warriors. The Auxiliaries though remain elevated above the Productive Class. The training for the Auxiliaries is essentially the same as for the Guardians. On Gor, the Guardians would correlate in general to the High Castes of Gor, the Auxiliaries specifically to the Warrior Caste and the Productive Class to the Low Castes. Norman’s main change is that he elevates a few classes which Socrates would have kept in the Productive Class, such as Builders and Physicians. 

Socrates’ Guardians are those people who rule the city, those who make the most important decisions. This type of government is considered by Socrates to be an aristocracy, the rule of the best, and he believes that it is an ideal form of government. To rule best, these Guardians require the proper education and Socrates later continues his elucidation on the details of their education. We should note that the education proposed by Socrates applies only to the Guardians and Auxiliaries and not the Productive Class. The Productive Class is largely left to their own devices. On Gor, it is the High Castes who rule the cities of Gor, just like the Guardians rule their city. The High Castes are the only ones permitted to vote and city rulers are supposed to come from the High Castes. And the High Castes are commonly well-educated people, professionals, often with significant intellectual prowess. The High Castes include the learned priests, the scholars, the inventors and the doctors. 

Socrates’ Auxiliaries are a caste of Warriors, essentially the same as the Gorean Warrior Caste and also bearing some resemblance to the ancient Spartans. Socrates felt that all cities required a permanent class of Warriors and that they needed to be elevated above the common masses. These Warriors needed to be devoted solely to war, as single-minded in their profession as any other member of the city. Their education was important as well, to assist in preventing the military from seizing control of the city. In addition, Socrates wanted to institute certain restrictions on the Auxiliaries, ones similar to those followed by the ancient Spartans, including communal living and a prohibition against their use of money. Socrates did consider the Auxiliaries to be a type of Guardian but also wanted to clearly delineate the differences between the function of the Auxiliaries and the other Guardians. So, by Gorean society considering the Warrior Caste to be a High Caste that would be in accordance with the ideas of Socrates that the Auxiliaries were still a type of Guardian. By placing the Warrior Caste as the least of the High Castes, this is again in accordance with Socrates. 

Socrates’ Productive Class is the most populous segment of the city, encompassing many different castes from merchants to farmers and from artisans to laborers. These would correlate to all of the Low Castes of Gor. Like the Productive Class, the Low Castes of Gor would comprise the largest part of the city. The Productive Class has an important function in the city, performing their proper tasks as well as they can. But, they are supposed to leave the governance of the city to the Guardians. The Productive Class was also free from the educational requirements of the Guardians. As long as the members of the Productive Class did their duties, they were left alone. The Low Castes of Gor possess a similar function to the Productive Class and also are supposed to remain out of city governance. 

Socrates’ system made allowance for caste advancement and demotion, just as exists within the Gorean Caste system. His caste system was not static and permitted upward mobility. Demotion, downward mobility, was also a possibility. Socrates even allowed for the possibility that a person could advance from the Productive class to become a Guardian. On Gor as well, a Peasant, the lowest of Castes, could technically rise to High Caste to become the ruler of a city. But, Socrates realized that such promotions would be rare, just as they are on Gor. And as on Gor, people in Socrates’ city would be assessed early in their lives to determine whether they had the potential for advancement or not. The Guardians bore a responsibility to monitor children to see whether they should be elevated or demoted according to their abilities. Socrates wanted people to fit where they best belonged. Mere birth was not as important as innate talent and skill. 

Noble Lie  

One aspect of Gorean society, integrally linked to the Gorean Caste system is the Double Knowledge. My previous essay on Gorean epistemology detailed numerous aspects of the Double Knowledge, explaining that it was a tool of control, a method for the High Castes to keep the Low Castes in order. It is the one type of education concerning the Low Castes that is controlled. Essentially, the Low Castes are instructed in the First Knowledge, a collection of falsehoods concerning the world, the universe and society. For example, they are taught that the world is flat, that Earth does not exist and that magic is real. As The Republic is the basic inspiration for the framework of the Gorean Caste system, it is not surprising that it would also be the inspiration for this Double Knowledge. 

Socrates felt that the rulers of his city would have to lie to the citizenry. “The probability is that our rulers will need to employ a good deal of falsehood and deception for the benefit of those they are ruling.” (459d) Socrates stated that such a “noble lie” was permissible, that the Guardians were justified in promoting certain lies to the Productive Class. “Then again, truth is another thing we must value highly. If we were right just now, if lies really are useless to the gods, and useful to men only in the way medicine is useful, then clearly lying is a task to be entrusted to specialists. Ordinary people should have nothing to do with it.” (389b) And who are those specialists? Who should have the ability to lie? Obviously the Guardians. “So if anyone is entitled to tell lies, the rulers of the city are. They may do so for the benefit of the city, in response to the actions either of enemies or of citizens. No one else should have anything to do with lying, and for an ordinary citizen to lie to these rulers of ours is as big a mistake---bigger, in fact—as telling your doctor or trainer les about the condition of your body when you are ill or in training,…” (389c) These lies were intended to generate loyalty to the city and its ruling class. They were also intended to help the Guardians maintain control over the people in the city, just as they are on Gor. 

There is even a specific lie used by the Guardians that Norman adopted for Gor. “There is a prophecy, god tells them, that the end of the city will come when iron or bronze becomes its guardian.” (415c) Each class was symbolized by a metal. Gold stood for the Guardians and silver for the Auxiliaries. Both iron and bronze were representative of the Productive Class. Thus, the Productive Class was taught that if a member of their class, iron or bronze, were to become a Guardian, a ruler of the city, that city would be destroyed. That is exactly like a part of the Gorean First Knowledge, warning of the consequences of a man of the Low Castes coming to power. “In fact, in the First Knowledge, there is a story told to the young in their public nurseries, that if a man from Lower Caste should come to rule in a city, the city would come to ruin.” (Tarnsman of Gor, p.42) This is another clear indication that Norman was inspired by The Republic, a matter that cannot be simple coincidence. 

City Details 

Book Five of The Republic begins an examination of some of the more specific details of the functioning of Socrates’ city. Prior to this Book, Socrates had created only a bare bones framework. And it is that framework that Norman adopted for Gor. Norman would choose to exclude many of these later details that Socrates added to his city. And it is these details that are considered the most shocking and controversial ideas of The Republic. Even within the dialogue, Plato has Socrates hesitant to discuss these details because he knows that they would be controversial, that they would shock the ancient Greeks. “But it’s not an easy matter to explain. It’s open to objection at a number of points—even more so than the suggestions we have made so far. There may be doubts whether it is practicable, and however possible it may be, there will be doubts about its wisdom.” (450c-d) And many of those ideas still have the power to shock even modern day sensibilities. But, Norman did not avoid adding these details to Gor because they would be shocking or controversial. He avoided them only because they did not conform to his own idea of the philosophy and foundations of Gor. Norman certainly does not fear controversy. 

Socrates, though he felt that men and women were different, felt that women possessed an equal aptitude to men in the performance of nearly all occupations. He did admit that women were inferior in regards to strength when compared to men. But, he felt women could occupy nearly any profession just like a man. Women could thus become Guardians, rulers of the city. So, women should then receive the same education and training as men. This was controversial in Greece as women only received a basic education, certainly not the same as a man. In this regards, Gorean society is essentially in agreement. Gorean philosophy states that men and women are different, but it does not state that women are inferior to men, except when comparing physical strength. In addition, there are only a few Gorean Castes where women are not permitted, including Initiates, Assassins and Players. As well, women on Gor can even become the leaders of cities, a Tatrix, Ubara or Administrator. 

There is then a significant divergence between Socrates and Gorean society. Socrates felt that women could even engage in warfare with men. They could become Auxiliaries. Socrates did not see their lesser physical strength to be a significant hindrance in this area. Gorean society does not permit such a thing, seeing no need or reason to allow women to fight as Warriors. Though women may belong to the Warrior Caste, they are not trained in weaponry or combat. Norman has made this very clear, that he is adamant that female warriors have no place on Gor. Panther girls are not considered to be warriors. And Tarna, from Tribesman of Gor, was an aberration and not a member of the Warrior Caste. 

While touching on women in battle, Socrates also spent a little time discussing other aspects of warfare related to his city. For instance, children will be permitted to observe battle so that they can acquire some experience in such matters. They will even be permitted to act as assistants and servants during wartime. One positive side effect was that it was felt parents would fight more fiercely when their children were at risk. Every effort though would be made to assure the security of these children. They would be instructed in how to ride a horse at a very early age. During battle, the children would then be placed on the fastest horses so they could flee if they were in true danger. Though Gorean children will learn of the Warrior Caste Code, they are not brought into battle. 

Socrates also stated that cowardice in battle would not be tolerated. Any Auxiliary who displayed cowardice would be summarily demoted to the Productive Class. He would have failed in his duty to the city. Socrates then explained the differences in how war would be waged against other Greek city-states and against non-Greeks. Other Greeks would be treated as potential friends. Any necessary warfare would have its limitations such as not taking slaves and not ravishing their lands. Against Greeks, no plundering of the dead or prevention of claiming their dead for burial would occur. Non-Greeks on the other hand would be treated as strangers and potential enemies. Warfare against them would know few boundaries. This all stems from a belief in the unity of the Greek people, despite their separation into independent city-states. “I maintain that to a Greek, the whole Greek race is ‘his own,’ or related, whereas to the barbarian race it is alien, and ‘not its own.’” (470c)

There is not truly a unity on Gor like the unity that existed among Greek city-states. Though the Gorean city-states are united by a common language, and see all non-speakers as barbarians, this unity of language does not extend to seeing other city-states as friends. The city-states of Gor treat each other as Socrates would treat non-Greeks, as strangers and potential enemies. The Gorean word for stranger also means enemy. Subsequently, warfare among Gorean city-states knows few limitations. Enslavement of a conquered enemy is common. Greek city-states, though they often warred against each other, still saw themselves as all Greeks. The Gorean city-states might unite at times against a common enemy, such as a barbarian tribe, but that still does not unite them as the Greeks once were. 

Socrates then continues to describe some of the restrictions placed upon the Guardians. Again, these restrictions do not apply to the Productive Class. They are intended only to keep the Guardians in line, to ensure they remain as proper rulers. One significant restriction is that the Guardians must own all of their possessions in common with the other Guardians. There is basically no concept of personal property for them. In addition, they are not permitted to have dealings with money. This is reminiscent of the society of the Spartans who also were not permitted to deal in money or engage in trade. The reason for all this is that it will help prevent the Guardians from having divided interests, that they will not be more concerned about accumulating wealth than caring for the city. This will help reduce corruption and conflict, preventing lawsuits and other divisive arguments. In addition, it helps reduce potential jealousies from the Productive Class. They cannot then covet the wealth of the Guardians as they do not have any to covet. Such restrictions do not exist in Gorean society. Gorean rulers are often quite wealthy, and thus Gorean society is susceptible to the problems related to such. 

Personal property is not the only matter that is to be shared communally among the Guardians. Their very families are to be shared as well. There will be no traditional marriage for the Guardians. Instead, mating privileges are determined by a annual, random lottery. But, though it is supposed to be random, the process is actually rigged by a few of the Guardians. This is done so that children can be bred deliberately to produce only the best offspring, the concept of eugenics. Once a child is born, he or she will be immediately taken and placed into a public nursery so that no one will know whose child it is. A few of the Guardians would be the only ones who truly knew the truth as they would also have to monitor matters to prevent potential incest. Children are then raised in common and never told the identity of their actual parents. Again, this is not a part of Gorean society. Gorean society has the Free Companionship, a form of marriage. It is important that children know the identity of their parents, especially as children take on the Caste of their father. 

Socrates states that if a child is the product of an unsanctioned mating, two Guardians who mate outside of the lottery, then the woman is expected to abort her child. If a child is born with defects, then that child will be exposed, abandoned in the wilderness to die. Exposure was a common practice among many ancient cultures so this was not really controversial then. In some areas, where it was common to leave exposed children, slavers would often lay in wait to claim any children that were abandoned. On Gor, it appears that exposure also exists. The Alars, nomadic barbarians, examine their newborns to ensure that are healthy enough to be permitted to live. If the children do not pass inspection, they will be exposed. Mercenaries of Gor also makes a passing reference to leaving a child exposed in the Voltai Mountains, with a wooden skewer through its heels. It is unknown though how common or how rare the practice of exposure is within the city-states of Gor. 


Socrates continues to refine his concept of who should rule the city. First, he placed the warriors in charge. Then he split the warriors into Guardians and Auxiliaries, allowing people to specialize in ruling the city. Socrates now introduces the concept of the philosopher-king, what he sees as the ideal ruler. Socrates felt that his proposed city would possess the best chance of working properly only if philosophers were allowed to rule or if rulers become philosophers. Plato felt that a city needed a virtuous and expert ruler but that the only kind of ruler that could guarantee possessing those attributes would be a philosopher. A philosopher is someone who loves all wisdom and learning, not just wisdom and learning of a certain kind. The rationale is that a philosopher loves every kind of knowledge and is the only type of person who does so. This love of knowledge will lead to knowledge of ethical matters, thus also producing virtue. A philosopher’s passion for wisdom would also reduce his other, baser passions. Since those other desires were suppressed, the philosopher would attain all of the cardinal virtues. 

A significant aspect of the knowledge a philosopher must possess is an understanding of the “Forms.” This is what makes a philosopher proper to rule. In essence, a “Form” is the ideal and unique truth of all items. There is a “Form” for everything that exists from items like a couch to the “Good.” Philosophers understand the Form of the Good. The explanation of the “Forms” occupies a substantial section of The Republic, touching on the Analogy of the Sun and the Allegory of the Cave. This is probably the most complicated section of The Republic as Socrates discusses these metaphysical ideas. But, in large part it is irrelevant to our discussion as it only tangentially at best touches on Gorean issues. Thus I shall generally not address these topics in this essay. The topics would certainly fill their own essay. I will only make a brief reference to the Allegory of the Cave as the Gor novels do make an allusion to this Allegory, 

In the Allegory of the Cave, Socrates states the mass of men are prisoners in a dark cave. They can see only shadows on the walls, which is their reality though obviously it is not a true reality. Once they achieve enlightment, these prisoners will leave the cave and enter the sunlight, a symbol for their revelations of reality, of the truth. Norman too makes uses of this imagery in a passage from one of the Gor novels. "The test of a society is perhaps not its conformance or nonconformance to principles but the nature and human prosperity of its members. Let each look about himself and judge for himself the success of his own society. Man lives confused in the ruins of ideologies. Perhaps he will someday emerge from the caves and pens of his past. That would be a beautiful day to see. There would be a sunlit world waiting for him" (Slave Girl of Gor, p.212) In this quote, Norman places the mass of men in the darkness of a Cave, hoping for the day man finally leaves that Cave and finds the sunlight, the truth. 

Justice of the City 

Once Socrates has sufficiently described the city, he then feels capable of trying to locate justice within that city. As mentioned earlier, the Greeks held that there were four cardinal virtues: wisdom, courage, self-control and justice. Socrates stated that these virtues applied not only to the individual but could also be found within a city. In some respects, this treats a city as almost a living entity, another concept borrowed for Gor. So, if one can locate justice within the city, then Socrates felt it should be easy to analogize justice to the individual. To find justice within his city, Socrates first decided to determine where the other three virtues could be found. And once that was done, whatever was left over should be justice. 

A city possesses the virtue of wisdom if it is structured so that the wise rule. “In which case, the wisdom of a city founded on natural principles depends entirely on its smallest group and element—the leading and ruling element—and the knowledge that element possesses.” (429a) Thus the Guardians represent the virtue of wisdom, and if they are the proper rulers, then the virtue exists within the city. The virtue of courage is found within the bravery of its Auxiliaries, its valiant warriors. A city possesses self-control when its people agree that the proper people should rule and give proper deference to their superiors. This is an acceptance by all of the citizens of the tripartite structure of the city. The Auxiliaries also play their part in a city’s self-control because they serve as the enforcement arm of the Guardians without desiring to usurp the government. Further they are willing to defend and serve the citizens instead of abusing them. Finally, the virtue of justice exists when all three classes of the city work as they are supposed to, each doing the task for which they were appointed. No class meddles within the purview of any other class. Justice essentially entails that the city runs well with the caste system that has been put into place. 

We can assess any Gorean city in the same manner, determining whether such cities possess the four virtues or not. We can examine whether each stratified city possesses justice as Socrates defines it. Goreans acknowledge and accept that such a stratified society is both natural and desirable. “Society depends on divisions and order, each element stabilized perfectly in its harmonious relationship with all others.” (Magician of Gor, p.119) “On this world hierarchy exists, and status, and rank, and distance. Such things, always real, are not here concealed. Here they are in the open. The people of this world do not deign to conceal that each is not the same as every other, and not merely is this true of those such as I. Such articulations, of course, so healthy with respect to maintaining social stability, constitute an institutional counterpart to the richnesses of difference in an articulated, ordered, holistic nature. On this world, for better or for worse, order seems most often preferred to chaos, and truth to fiction.” (Witness of Gor, p.79) So it is clear that Gorean society values justice as Socrates defines it here. 

As an aside, there is a well-known passage from Tarnsman of Gor concerning justice, a discussion between Marlenus, the Ubar of Ar, and Tarl Cabot, when he is a relatively new arrival to Gor. Marlenus explains to Tarl his ideas on the source of justice. “Do you know Tarnsman,” he asked, “that there is no justice without the sword?” He smiled down grimly on me. “This is a terrible truth,” he said, “and so consider it carefully.” He paused. “Without this,” he said, touching the blade, “there is nothing—no justice, no civilization, no society, no community, no peace. Without the sword there is nothing.” (p.155) “There is no justice until the sword creates it, establishes it, guarantees it, gives it substance and significance.” (p.156) “First the sword—“ he said, “then government—then law—then justice.” (p.156)

First, we must understand that Marlenus, though loved by many, is also considered a tyrant by many. He desires to conquer all of Gor so that he can be its sole ruler, the Ubar of a vast empire. These quotes are his own personal philosophy and may not be indicative of the general Gorean idea of justice. These quotes have sometimes been used by critics of Gor to assert that Gor stands for the proposition that “might equals right.” These critics will also comment on other related quotes such as those stating how any man is a Ubar within the reach of his sword. Yet is that what Marlenus truly means? Is this what Norman intended for Gor?

We have already seen earlier how Norman does not follow the beliefs of Thrasymachus, thus not supporting the principle of “might makes right.” If we analyze the words of Marlenus from the viewpoint of Socrates concerning the virtues of the city, then Marlenus is saying nothing that Socrates would deny. According to Socrates, justice cannot exist unless the three other virtues also exist. The courage of the Auxiliaries, the “sword,” is absolutely necessary then to achieve justice. A denial of the need for this “sword” will show a lack of the virtue of self-control. Without this “sword” then, the city cannot operate properly and thus will lack justice. Socrates emphasized the important of the warriors for his city, a need echoed by Marlenus. The warriors were the first rulers of the city Socrates devised, showing their great importance in the establishment and growth of the more practical city. 

Justice of the Individual 

Once Socrates has defined justice in the context of the city, he then directed his attention back to the concept of justice within the individual. This was one of his original objectives. But how does the construction of the ideal city mirror the structure of a person? Socrates stated that the tripartite division of the city reflected the three parts of a person’s soul. The three parts of a person’s soul include the reason (or rational aspect), the spirit and the desire (or the irrational aspect). In the city, the Guardians represent the reason, the rational rulers. The Auxiliaries represent the spirit, that part of man that savors honor and victory. The Productive Class represents the irrational aspect, man’s base desires. Thus, there is a direct correlation between the city and a person’s soul so the justice analogy will be appropriate. 

A person’s soul is considered to possess wisdom when it allows its reason to rule. It is courageous when its spirit acts bravely. The spirited soul can react with anger, assertion or aggression. Man’s desires are often for sensual satisfaction, such as food, drink or sex. The soul possesses self-control when all three parts of the soul accept the rule of reason. And finally, justice entails that all three parts of the soul work properly, each performing its assigned function. Each part of the soul does what it is natural for it to do without unduly interfering with the functions of the other parts of the soul. Thus the reasoning part rules over the appetitive and spirited parts. Spirited anger or aggression allies itself with the reasoning part to help battle desire. Only a soul possessing all four of these virtues can hope to attain eudaimonia, a happy and flourishing life. This is considered the goal of all mankind, that perfect harmonious life.

As an aside, we should examine one of the Greek virtues, self-control, so that we adequately grasp its meaning. Wisdom and courage are relatively close terms to what we might think but self-control is not quite the same. The Greek term “sophrosune” is often translated as “moderation” or temperance” though it actually has a much broader definition that that to the Greeks. It is more properly defined as “self-control” or “self-mastery,” an important aspect of Gorean philosophy as well. Within The Republic itself we can grasp a better understanding of this term. “Self-discipline, I take it, is a kind of order. They say it is a mastery of pleasures and desires, and a person described as being in some way or other master of himself.” (430e) This indicates that self-control works to prevent a person from allowing desire to control their actions. “But isn’t the phrase ‘master of himself’ an absurdity? The master of himself must surely also be slave to himself, and the slave to himself must be master of himself. It’s the same person being talked about all the time.” (430e-431a) “What this way of speaking seems to me to indicate is that in the soul of a single person there is a better part and worse part. When the naturally better part is in control of the worse, this is what is meant by ‘master of himself.’ It is a term of approval. But when as a result of bad upbringing or bad company the better element, which is smaller, is overwhelmed by the mass of the worse element, this is a matter for reproach. They call a person in this condition a slave to himself, undisciplined.” (431a-b)

Plato’s primary concern, whether at the level of a city or an individual, is to ward against unlimited desire. The irrational aspect of man cannot be allowed to control either a soul or a city. That is a clear path to ruin for both. This concern, the Greek cardinal virtues and the tripartite division of the soul all touch upon the matter of virtue ethics and agent-centered morality. As detailed in another of my essays, we see that Gorean morality is based upon an agent-centered morality as opposed to an action-centered morality, or rules-based morality, such as the philosophies of Kant and Bentham. That is a very significant issue in Gorean ethics, a substantial difference from most modern ethical systems. Though Plato is supportive of an agent-centered morality in The Republic, it was endemic to the ancient world. On the contrary, much of our modern world now relies upon action-centered moralities though there is a small contingent pushing for a return to virtue ethics. 

If we agree that Norman was following Plato’s tripartite division in the creation of the Gorean city-states, then we get our first intimation that Norman may apply this to the individual as well. And as Gor clearly does not possess a rules-based morality, then the agent-centered morality it embraces can very easily be the one Plato has espoused in The Republic. Thus, The Republic becomes an important tool in better understanding Gorean ethics. And the system of Gorean ethics, as an agent-based system, is rarely addressed online. There are many who do not even know it exists as such. But as it is so crucial, many more people should be studying and discussing it. And the cultivation of the cardinal virtues, wisdom, courage, self-control, and justice, become an important imperative in Gorean philosophy. 


In Book Eight of The Republic, Socrates begins an analysis of various forms of government, through an examination of how a city can degenerate from the ideal state to a tyranny. He discusses the primary reason why each form of government will eventually decay. Socrates also feels that each form of government can be correlated to different dispositions of the soul in a person. Thus, when he discusses each form of government, he also describes the type of person most similar to that form of government. 

Socrates begins with his ideal state, which he calls an “aristocracy,” the rule of the best (from “aristos” which means "best" and “krateîn” which means "to rule"). The common, modern-day impression of an “aristocracy” is much different than what Socrates refers to. The aristocracy of Aristotle is the city he has previously described, his ideal just city. A person who resembles an aristocracy is also good and just, the best type of person to be. But, if the Guardians within an aristocracy begin to acquire self-interest, to lose their focus on the good of the city, they will eventually lose the respect of the Auxiliaries and Productive Class. In addition, mistakes in the breeding program are almost inevitable which will further dilute the Guardian class over time. In time, the Auxiliaries will feel forced to react to this degeneration and eventually seize power. 

The Auxiliaries, the warrior class, would then create a “timocracy”, the rule of honor (from “time” which means “honor”). The principle of this type of state is the spirit of the warrior, a love of victory and glory, similar to ancient Sparta. The type of individual represented by this government would be an arrogant and ambitious man, a less educated, and more forceful person, courageous but sometimes brash. This is reflected in part on Gor by the position of the Ubar, the war-chief who seizes power in a city in times of war or civil upheaval, when the civil government fails. A timocracy will begin to fail when the children of the warriors fall to the temptation to use their military power to obtain wealth. This creates a chain reaction of jealousy and greed, where more and more of the leaders begin to seek to acquire wealth.

Once then a number of rulers become wealthy, this will lead to the formation of an “oligarchy,” the rule of the few (from “oligos” which means "few" and “archê” which means "power" or "sovereignty"). A more appropriate term, however, might be one that we use, “plutocracy,” the rule of wealth. The principle of this state and the main trait of the corresponding individual, is simply greed, the desire for more and more wealth. Such individuals are never sated in their quest for wealth. This form of government begins to degenerate though when the children of the rich decide simply to enjoy themselves and dissipate their wealth, or when the poor finally decide to take advantage of their numbers by overthrowing the wealthy. A desire for great wealth often leads to a lack of self-discipline, leading to more chaos. This fuels discontent among those without such wealth. 

The resulting new government will then be a “democracy” (from the word “dêmokratia” where “demos” means “people”), the rule of the people. Socrates pays grudging respect to democracy, considering it to be the fairest of constitutions. The principle of this type of state is the desire of the many. This is “democratic” in the sense that all desires are equally good, which means anything goes. The individual spends his time satisfying one desire after another. Freedom is claimed as the most desirable quality. Because the desires and possessions of some inevitably interfere with the desires and acquisitiveness of others, Socrates felt that democracies would become increasingly undisciplined and chaotic. In the end, the people would desire for someone to step forward and institute law and order amidst the growing chaos.

Once someone is given sufficient power to take control, it will lead to the next kind of state, the “tyranny” (from “tyrannis” which means “tyranny”). This is once again similar to the Gorean position of the Ubar, who seizes power in times of chaos. A tyrant generally has unlimited power within the city, as does a Ubar. A Ubar is only supposed to remain in power until the crisis is over. But there are some who refuse to abdicate and they are labeled as tyrants. A tyrant certainly succeeds in quelling the chaos but the principle of this state remains the same, desire. In this case though, it is just the desire of the tyrant himself. This type of individual is someone who lives only to sate their own desires. 

In Book Nine of The Republic, Socrates continues to explain about the tyrant. Socrates first though diverges for a moment to discuss the nature of desire, how all men possess good and bad desires. “What we need to know is that there is in everyone a terrible, untamed and lawless class of desires---even in those of us who appear to be completely normal.” (572b) A tyrant succumbs to these desires, repressing the good desires. This leads to him trying to sate all of his desires without moral compunction. He will do whatever he wants to sate those desires. A city ruled by a tyrant is enslaved. If that is the effect on the city, then it should translate over to the man who is a tyrant. The good parts of his soul have been enslaved by the smaller evil part. This helps to prove Socrates’ original point, that a just man is always better than an unjust one. 

Poetry Again 

In Book Ten of The Republic, Socrates returns to the subject of poetry and a denunciation again of imitative poetry. He uses an analogy of the creation of a couch to differentiate three types of “truths.” He begins by considering three types of couches. First, there is the “form” of the couch, that ideal and unique couch created by God. This is the “truth” of the couch, its ultimate reality. Next, there is the couch created by a craftsman. The craftsman creates a particular type of couch, but not the “form” of the couch. So, this couch is reflective of the truth but it is not the complete reality. Then there is the painter who paints a picture of the couch, or actually a picture of a particular type of couch, an imitation. It is an imitation of appearance, not truth. In fact it is two levels removed from the truth.

This analogy applies to the poet and storyteller, and they are akin to the painter. A poet or storyteller speak of matters they do not know about, relating what others do and say. Thus, they are imitating those who are engaged in action, those who are creating and doing things. Now, a person who was skilled in both actual creation, like a craftsman, and imitation, would rather create than imitate. Thus, since poets and storytellers prefer to imitate then they cannot be good at actual creation. And as they are two levels away from the truth, it would be far better to get closer to the source of the truth than to rely on imitation. Socrates also mentions once again how poetry can make people emulate what they hear, good and bad. 

Myth of Er  Near the end of Book Ten of The Republic, and as the finale of the text, Socrates relates the Myth of Er. His intent is to describe the rewards and punishments one receives after death, depending on whether one is just or not. Er was a warrior who was struck down in battle and left for dead. But, ten days later, when the bodies were being collected for burning, Er’s body was found to be whole, without decomposition. Though surprising, the people still prepared his body for the burning. Two days later, when the appointed time arrived, Er returned to life. He then claimed that he had been sent back to relate what he had seen and experienced, the reward of the good and the punishment of the wicked in the afterworld. 

Upon death, the gods judge each soul. Depending upon their judgment, a soul will either go to a place of reward, up into heaven, or to a place of punishment, down to the underworld. In time, these souls would then return from these places to go back to Earth, a form of reincarnation. Punishment was often doled out tenfold for the offense, indicating the amount of time a person had to spend in the underworld before they could return to Earth. Only a few evil men remained in the underworld permanently. Those souls that did return to Earth were given the opportunity to choose the character of their next life from a variety of alternatives. 

Gor lacks an afterlife, except in the beliefs of the Initiates. Thus, Goreans do not fear punishment when they die, but then they also do not seek a reward after their deaths. Thus, this myth has little relevance to Gor. And as a finale to The Republic, it is less than satisfying. The Republic would lose none of its strength and impact if this section had been eliminated. If anything, the addition of the Er story may dilute the power of the text. 

Reality of the Ideal City  Socrates states he is only creating a theoretical model of a good city. He states there is no necessity to prove this city is actually possible, and his listeners agree. Socrates freely admits that the city he discusses was very unlikely to ever exist as a reality. Socrates though did propose one method by which his ideal city might be realized. “Let them send everyone in the city over the age of ten into the countryside. Then they can isolate these people’s children from the values they hold at the moment—their parent’s values—and bring the children up according to their own customs and laws, which are of the kind we described earlier.” (541b) Essentially, this entails taking all of the children under ten away from everything and resocializing them according to the guidelines set forth by Socrates for his ideal city. Commentators on The Republic are unsure whether to take this section seriously or not.

Did Norman though consider this idea when developing Gor? Gor was populated by individuals who were kidnapped from Earth and taken to Gor. These people on Gor could be said to have been resocialized. Thus, could the first people brought to Gor have been children? Was that the best way to start Gorean society properly? Or was age unimportant as long as the people taken were free from the corrupting influence of Earth society? In this respect, the Priest-Kings might be seen as the ultimate Guardians. They do know far more secrets than the general populace of Gor, and they do possess the ultimate power on Gor. They are the ones who arranged for the initial kidnappings from Earth, and they arranged some of the basics of Gor. 

There is some indication that Socrates felt the goal of a city is only to try to get as close to the ideal as possible. If a real city were close to what Socrates had described for his model, then that city would be considered a success. The striving for the ideal would only benefit us. Thus, his discussion of an ideal city is far more than just a philosophical exercise. It was also a map toward a better lifestyle, to one more in accordance with natural principles. These thoughts on “ideals” and “philosophy” are mirrored in Norman’s non-fiction work, The Cognitivity Paradox. In that text, Norman describes how to assess the truth-value of a philosophy by considering its proximity to an ideal. Even though a philosophy may never reach the ideal, Norman states that it still possesses much validity and that the ideal should be the objective, though unattainable. Thus, Plato’s influence on Norman extends even further than the Gor novels. 

Conclusion  We have now seen numerous correlations between The Republic and the Gorean series. The Republic was quite clearly a significant inspiration for Gor. Understanding the correlations and inspirations has provided us with a deeper comprehension of Gorean society and philosophy. This type of comprehension has also been shown to elude many of the critics of Gor, as they fail to grasp the true inspirations of Gor. This deeper comprehension would not have been possible if we had only read the Gor books. It necessitated a reading and understanding of Plato’s The Republic. Thus, it would be fruitful for anyone who truly seeks the deepest comprehension of Gor to explore materials outside of the Gorean books, outside of Norman’s other novels and non-fiction materials. If you seek out the inspirations for Gor, you may find more answers than you might have thought possible.

Our examination of The Republic has also opened up more questions concerning Gor and Norman’s intentions in the creation of Gorean society. Was Gorean society an attempt to create a Utopian society based on the ideal city within The Republic? Does Norman use the framework of the ideal city to indicate that Gorean society relies upon the four cardinal virtues of ancient Greece? Why did Norman omit some of the details from the ideal city? Why did those omitted details not fit into his conception of Gor? Did Norman rely on another source as well, one with some significant differences from The Republic? The list could go on and on. We should never believe that we know everything. Never stop asking questions. Never stop learning. 

“I wondered how men should live. In my chair I had thought long on such matters .

“ I knew only that I did not know the answer to this question. Yet it is an important question, is it not? Many wise men give wise answers to this question, and yet they do not agree among themselves.

“Only the simple, the fools, the unreflective, the ignorant, know the answer to this question.

“Perhaps to a question this profound the answer cannot be known. Perhaps it is a question too deep to be answered. Yet we do know there are false answers to such a question. This suggests that there may be a true answer, for how can there be falsity without truth?

(Marauders of Gor, p.7)