The Principles of Gorean Thought
THE PRINCIPLES OF GOREAN THOUGHT: A PRIMER
By _Marcus_ of Ar
1) THE THREE ESSENTIAL GOREAN VIRTUES
Their names, and more importantly, their correct Gorean definitions:
The state, property, or quality of being strong. Capacity or potential for effective action.
The state of being unimpaired. The quality or condition of being whole or undivided; completeness.
Enthusiasm or intensity. Capacity for natural growth and survival.
2) THE FIRST UNDERLYING PRINCIPLE OF GOREAN PERCEPTION
"The Acknowledgement of Difference":
The understanding and acceptance that all human beings are not inherently identical in form or function, nor is it logical that they be expected to be so.
3) THE GOREAN ARGUMENT
3a) Men and women are not identical. In fact, the two sexes are almost completely different in every way. They look different, think different, act different, feel different, and respond to two completely different emotional response-systems. Each sex has its own preprogrammed agenda, its own requirements for personal fulfillment, and its own methods of communicating. This difference between the two sexes has its roots in the basic biology of the human race, a biology which has been shaped through evolution to predispose each sex toward certain behavior and emotional conditions. According to Norman (and medical science), no single cell of a male's body is identical to any single cell of a female's body (except for small quantities of clear serum).
3b) Human males are biologically predisposed toward physical dominance over human females, who are, on the average, physically smaller and less strong than their male counterparts.
3c) The process of evolution has naturally selected for strong, competitive males and females who were both desirable to such men, and who were in turn attracted to such men.
3d) The vestiges of countless millenia of this selection process still exist within each of us, and we are all therefore subject to emotional needs and instinctive drives which our present society does not provide for.
3e) Since males and females all seem to be subject to certain drives and needs which were bred into them during a period of time when women were effectively within the physical power of men, doesn't it make sense that if that situation were recreated somehow, then the two sexes might attain a specific degree of fulfillment which would otherwise be denied to them? Wouldn't they then be accepting a part of their own inherent nature rather than denying it?
4) THE TEN IRREFUTABLE DICTA OF THE GOREAN PHILOSOPHY
The following is a list of the ten primary dicta, or explanatory statements, of the "Gorean Philosophy," as I see it. You will note there is no reference to the practice of slavery among them. That is because the practice of slavery is not a primary pillar of the Gorean philosophy; rather it is a social practice which has come into being on Gor as a result of specific technological limitations, Gorean economic imperatives, and the persistent adherence of Goreans to the basic concepts explained below.
Nor is the word "honor" used. That is because honor is also a concept and practice which has developed among the Goreans as a result of the application of the dicta below, notably the fifth and sixth dictums.
I add that, to the typical inhabitant of the world of Gor, the concepts expressed below would be so self-evident they wouldn't even bother to name or define them at all. They would simply practice them, as the Gor books tell us they do. The "Ten Dicta" below have been compiled purely for the benefit of the inhabitants of Earth, who, bereft of the supporting mechanism of Gorean society, are left to fumble through the murky landscape of Earth, attempting to find such rules and concepts to use as guideposts as they attempt to glean the truths of Gorean existence for themselves.
Please note that accepting these dicta do not automatically make one "Gorean." There are, undoubtedly, quite a few people out there who do accept these concepts in some way, shape or form, who have never even heard of "Gor" and who have no idea that the Gorean Philosophy even exists. Also, one might embrace these dicta while refusing to acknowledge the other elements which combine to comprise the Gorean Philosophy in its entirety, in which case, again, one is not getting the whole picture. However, in my opinion, the refusal to accept and embrace the dicta listed below DO make a person absolutely NOT Gorean.
So, if one wishes to be Gorean, or to understand what it means to be Gorean, one might do well to examine the ideas expressed below and decide whether or not one agrees with them.
All of the concepts below, with the exception of the tenth, are distilled almost directly from the words of Tarl Cabot, in his description of the manner in which Goreans think. The tenth one is simply and categorically self-evident.
The First Dictum
We are all creatures formed from nature, and are therefore subject to the truths of what it has made of us. This cannot be denied.
The Second Dictum
We are all part of our world, and the natural forces which made it. We are not apart from it, nor are we above it, nor can we deny its power over us. It is folly to attempt to change what cannot be changed, or to refuse to acknowledge the power which nature has over us. This cannot be denied.
The Third Dictum
The two sexes, male and female, are equal parts of the same great whole which is the human race. Equal, but separate, each bound to perform the function which it has evolved into through the course of time. This cannot be denied.
The Fourth Dictum
The greatest division which exists between human beings is the division of sex. Race, creed, nationality... all pale to insignificance when compared to the difference between the two sexes. This cannot be denied.
The Fifth Dictum
The highest devotion is the devotion to truth. The most beneficial acceptance is the acceptance of what is true. The most foolish and damaging act one can perform is the denial of what is true. Such denial is the wellspring from which the ravages of discontent emerge. This cannot be denied.
The Sixth Dictum
Conflict, argument, and clannishness are all fundamental parts of our human nature. Left to their own devices, such things result in stagnation and destruction. But when understood and harnessed in the service of the greater good, they can be a positive force for personal growth and development. This cannot be denied.
The Seventh Dictum
In matters of physical strength, the human male is naturally equipped by nature to function at a higher level of efficiency than the human female. In matters of emotional sensitivity and the innate desire to care for and nurture those she loves, the human female is naturally equipped by nature to function at a higher level of efficiency than the human male. The human male is programmed to protect and direct his female counterparts. The human female is programmed to aid and care for her male counterparts. The members of each sex are more fulfilled when they accept their own nature, rather than denying it. This cannot be denied.
The Eighth Dictum
All creatures will naturally behave according to their inherent nature. To do otherwise is the first step toward emotional and biological suicide. This cannot be denied.
The Ninth Dictum
Human society, like the natural order, will naturally structure itself along certain lines of precedence. The stronger and more able elements of human society will naturally rise to a position of superiority over the less dominant elements of society. The protectors and providers will naturally protect and provide, and the nurturers and care givers will naturally nurture and give care. Any artificial manipulation of the natural structure of a society, which is not according to its natural propensities, will eventually result in a society which is far less efficient and fulfilling than its natural counterpart. This cannot be denied.
The Tenth Dictum
The Gorean societal model is based upon specific guidelines set forth by John Norman in the books which he authored regarding the fictional planet Gor. Unless it conforms to, or agrees with, those basic guidelines, a thing cannot be considered "Gorean" in any sense of the word. This cannot be denied.
5) THE GOREAN THEORY
The Gorean Theory is the belief that modern Homo Sapiens has inherited certain genetic propensities from the ancestral past, and that these genetic propensities still actively manifest themselves in numerous areas of human behavior, often in direct opposition to cultural restrictions and behavioral management systems which fail to take them into account. These propensities translate into behaviors which result in a certain measurable cause and effect relationship in regards to many elements of human interaction, notably male/male competition behaviors and both male and female sexual reproductive strategies.
Ergo, by gaining a greater understanding of those genetic propensities and by acting, where possible, in a manner through which those propensities are fulfilled rather than repressed, one might reasonably expect to reduce stress-causing confusion issues in one's life and live in a more fulfilled and personally satisfactory manner.
6) THE GOREAN PHILOSOPHY
The Gor books are an excellent source work which details a rather broad philosophical spectrum, but despite vehement debates regarding what it comprises, the message inherent in those books still seems to me to be a rather basic one. It might be broken down to the following statement:
Know who you are, be what you are, and do not be afraid to acknowledge what makes you tick. Strive to work with nature, rather than against it. Be proud of your accomplishments, work to improve yourself and to serve the citizens of your polis, and live boldly, with no regrets and as little guilt and insecurity as possible. And above all, acknowledge your weaknesses as well as your strengths, whether those weaknesses are based on either a physical or emotional plane. In other words, admit what you are, and simply be it to the best of your ability.
This basic philosophy is repeatedly hammered home, throughout the Gor series, through Norman's descriptions of how Goreans think, how they behave, and their justification for their actions. Their very society, with its included caste system, seems structured to support this series of core beliefs. Even their many proverbs and aphorisms, such as "A man in his heart yearns for freedom, a woman in her belly yearns for love" and "Be strong and do as you will. The swords of others will set you your limits" extoll the virtues of a deeper understanding of one's own natural place in the scheme of things, while encouraging boldness of action. The Goreans also believe that "A man is not a man who cannot think. But neither is he who can only think." Goreans think for themselves, yet they do not confine themselves to mere mental pursuits: they act upon what they know. Goreans display their emotions openly and with the simple phrase "I did it because it pleased me to do so" they disdain the need for guilty excuses. Such Gorean behaviors, and a thousand others like them, reinforce their insistence upon the acceptance of one's internal nature in microcosm, and the acknowledgement of the dictates of external nature in macrocosm.
Gorean Philosophy also proposes the following behaviors as being inherently correct beneath its aegis:
Be WHAT you are: Similar in many respects to a tenet set forth by the Earth philosopher Marcus Aurelius; namely that each thing which exists possesses its own unique singularity. When a thing attempts to be something it is not, problems arise. A man is a man; a woman is a woman; a tree is a tree; a flower is a flower. To the Gorean mind, it is foolish for anything to assume the properties of another thing. Therefore, each person is required to understand his or her basic nature, and to abide by it. According to such a tenet, therefore, it is assumed that there are needs, desires and activities which are specifically masculine, and those which are specifically feminine. Though the lines may blur at times, when all things are reduced to their basic forms, each thing is appreciated and celebrated for its own uniqueness, and is not forced to assume properties of another, different, thing.
Be WHO you are: This tenet applies in regard to a person's existence in society and the caste structure. It takes into account the fact that everyone possesses certain talents and abilities from birth, regardless of their familial caste.
Therefore, upon Gor a person is free to alter or raise his or her caste on the basis of ability, though it is rarely done, since most Goreans value their familial caste as a badge of their clan identity. But the above principle also applies in regard to freedom and slavery. To the Gorean mindset, each person is born with a desire for freedom, and an innate slave nature. A person's proper place in society is dependent upon how these two factors are balanced within the personality of that particular Gorean. Most Goreans believe that anyone who has within them a burning desire to exist free of strictures will not suffer slavery, dying rather than submitting to bonditude. A person who has within them a strong slave nature, the desire to be controlled and commanded, will eventually succumb to their inner need to serve others, free of all responsibility to things other than themselves and their service.
Obey the Natural Order of things: This tenet applies to the way Goreans view the world around them. They feel it is futile to attempt to disregard the effect of hundreds of generations of evolution. If a creature is naturally genetically equipped to fulfill a specific function in relation to another, then it is considered fitting and proper that such a creature be allowed to do so, even when such natural predisposition might result in stratification. In regards to human beings, it is understood that stronger, more intelligent, and more ambitious human beings will naturally assume a higher social strata in regards to their interaction with the less strong, less intelligent, and less ambitious.
In regard to male/female sexual relations, it is therefore the natural propensity of the male, who is genetically predisposed for physical dominance, to control certain physical aspects of his relationship to the female. In return, he is expected to behave as the hunter/provider, seeing to the protection of the female to insure the propagation of the race. Females, meanwhile, who tend to be smaller and less physically powerful, are expected to respect the biological truths of their lesser physical stature, while making the most of their genetic predisposition to serve and aid the male, and utilizing their superior emotional empathy and long-term endurance to do so while surviving and advancing the species. Not all women, therefore, are "slaves," though the female sex is often referred to by Gorean males as "the slave sex." Gorean females are simply expected to respect and understand that they are less able in areas requiring raw physical strength than their male counterparts, and adjust their behavior accordingly. When one considers the fact that personal combat to the death is a daily occurrence throughout Gor, such behavior among Gorean women is a wise practice to say the least.
Advancement of the Strong: This tenet is similar to that described above; it simply refers to the common Gorean belief that strength, whether it is physical strength, mental strength, or strength of will, should be celebrated and set forth as an example. In this way the Gorean feels he advances the human race, adding to its chances for survival and continued existence.
Diminishment of the Causes of Weakness: This principle acts as the inverse to the tenet described above. In order that the human species may grow stronger, it is necessary that the weaker and lesser adaptive elements of Gorean society be carefully controlled and encouraged to grow in strength and adaptability. Anti-social elements are to be excised from society through restriction of citizenship, or confined and rehabilitated. Warfare and enforced captivity are two methods by which this last end is accomplished upon the surface of the planet Gor.
Do what you will: This is one of the key principles to Gorean philosophy; basically, it means that every Gorean is expected to strive within the limits of his or her existence to achieve self-fulfillment and lasting happiness. A Warrior may draw his sword and lead an army to conquer a city, if he is strong enough and fit enough to do so. A free woman may attempt to contract a profitable companionship or to build a financial empire, if she is strong enough and clever enough. Even a slave is expected to seek her deepest self-fulfillment within the bonds of her Master's chains. In such a manner, each Gorean is expected to strive and achieve something for the collective Gorean society, and struggle to attain perfection within the structure of that society. To the Gorean mind, there are always possibilities for advancement no matter what the situation.
Responsibility for One's Actions: This tenet is based upon the Gorean concept of basic "cause and effect." It is through the practice of this principle that the rest of the tenets listed above make sense, and function. This is the belief that everyone, no matter how great or humble, chooses the course of his or her destiny. When a warrior draws his sword, he can expect to suffer the consequences. When a Gorean submits to the bonds of slavery, he or she is expected to acknowledge and accept what occurs afterward. In such a way every choice made by every single Gorean is inextricably bound together with the choices of his or her fellow Goreans in a great interlinking web of cause and effect, a massive net of fate which moves the race forward into the future like an unstoppable juggernaut. Do whatever you want to, but expect it to effect you, either for good or ill. You are responsible for yourself. Excuses are futile and no one wants to hear them anyway. If you screw up, take your medicine, deal with the situation and move on to the next thing. The basic rules and maxims of the various caste codes and the fundamental principles of Gorean honor seem to be based mostly upon this concept; this, in effect, is the explanation for Gorean "cruelty." Goreans are not cruel, they are practical. "That which does not kill them makes them stronger," to paraphrase from Nietzsche. If you wear the collar of a slave, look like a slave, act like a slave, and do not either fight your way to freedom or die in the attempt, then you must really be one. In any case, you most probably were free at one point... so what happened? You either needed to be a slave, were too weak to stay free, or screwed up really badly somewhere along the way. Whatever the case, deal with it. Life is not fair, and most Goreans are far to practical to try to make it so. Life sucks. If you get hit on the head, don't waste time crying about it... accept it and next time wear a helmet.
Stratification by Natural Process: Superior strength- be it strength of will, strength of body, or strength of mind- will tend naturally to manifest itself among ordered human groupings. Even particulars such as sexual gender do not universally define how matters of strength are involved in the stratification process. Anyone who is stronger will naturally assume a position of dominance, be it mental or physical, over those weaker or less willing to match themselves in human dominance struggles. Therefore, it is categorically incorrect to assign presumed dominance or blanket superiority over anyone, or any one grouping, within the human condition, since these matters tend to be somewhat situational. While human beings are defined to a great extent by their sex, there is no "dominance gene" nor is there any "submission gene." There are only combinations of heritable genes, each of which will render the individual more prone to certain behaviors than others. These genetic leanings can be circumvented, though typically the act of doing so is costly, both to the individual involved and to the system in which he or she functions.
The final tenet, listed above, has only one interpretation: if anyone, be they male or female, possesses the ability to dominate others, he or she will naturally tend to do so when the opportunity presents itself, even against his or her preexistent genetic propensities. It is when the dominance factor clashes with the biologically ingrained sexual selection behaviors, and circumvents preprogrammed sexual-based survival behaviors, that the human being becomes, to paraphrase Norman, "a mass of conflicting drives and emotions, more prone to heightened mental stress, physical illness, psychological disease and a substantially shortened lifespan.
7) IDEAL QUALITIES IN A GOREAN MALE
Below are a few which immediately come to mind.
You will note that the intricacies of "morality" are left entirely out of the picture, as well they should be. "Morality" is dependent upon cultural rules and religious beliefs, whereas the ideal character of the consummate Gorean male seems to be found across all Gorean cultures and walks of life.
Therefore, according to the list below, both Tarl Cabot (hero to millions) and Surbus (nasty murdering pirate from book 6) fit the bill of the consummate Gorean male archetype equally.
Which seems to me to be an indication that one does not have to be "a nice guy" to be Gorean. In fact, one can even be a total brute, hated and despised by others. Whether or not one is a pleasant fellow to hang out with is something that is determined after the fact; one qualifies for Gorean male FIRST, before any such decision is rendered.
Here is my personal list, in no particular order:
Strength, both physical and mental.
Endurance, both physical and mental.
Understanding of the natural order of things, as he sees it.
Willingness to maintain the natural order of things, as he sees it.
Self-sacrifice in order to maintain the natural order of things, as he sees it.
Suspicion towards what is alien; replaced over time with devotion to what has proved itself worthy to be included within his lexicon and world view.
Pragmatism, and willingness to accept the truth despite his personal agenda.
An overall love of life, and willingness to rush headlong into the living of it, draining each moment to its dregs, making no excuses and being the consummate male in all respects.
The refusal to bow before anyone or anything which is weaker than he.
8) GOREAN BELIEFS AND A DEFINITION OF THE GOREAN CHARACTER
What is the definitive source for what makes a person Gorean?
The definitive source?
I would think that the DEFINITIVE source would be John Norman, who, after all, created the world of Gor in the first place. Yes?
So... let's go for that definitive answer. Or at least, the one which makes the most sense since it comes straight from the Gor books themselves.
If anyone examines the quotes below, all of which SPECIFICALLY allude to what Goreans believe (according to Norman), what Goreans do (according to Norman), or what Goreans are (according to Norman), and STILL refutes the author's own definition of what is, and isn't, Gorean, well, then, there's not much I can do about that.
The evidence is there. Straight from the source of the whole thing, defined by its inventor.
To deny it is not only illogical, but, in a certain sense, somewhat deluded.
So... here we go. The following selection of quotes is made up of excerpts from the Gor books in which Norman either directly says "Goreans are..." or "Most Goreans believe...", or whatever. Or those in which he compares and contrasts Earth beliefs against common Gorean ones, or in which he illustrates the reasons behind Gorean cultural mores and philosophical beliefs. They are presented in the same order as they appeared in the books, with included page numbers for reference or to enable a reader to research them further for context.
* * *
"We met in the center of the room and embraced. I wept, and he did, too, without shame. I learned later that on this alien world a strong man may feel and express emotions, and that the hypocrisy of constraint is not honored on this planet as it is on mine."
-pg.25, Tarnsman of Gor
"For the Gorean, though he seldom speaks of these things, a city is more than brick and marble, cylinders and bridges. It is not simply a place, a geographical location in which men have seen fit to build their dwellings, a collection of structures where they may conveniently conduct their affairs. The Gorean senses, or believes, that a city cannot be simply identified with its material elements, which undergo their transformations even as do the cells of a human body. 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. The Goreans, generally, though there are exceptions, particularly the Caste of Initiates, do not believe in immortality. Accordingly, to be of a city is, in a sense, to have been a part of something less perishable than oneself, something divine in the sense of undying. Of course, as every Gorean knows, cities too are mortal, for cities can be destroyed as well as men. And this perhaps makes them love their cities the more, for they know that their city, like themselves, is subject to mortal termination."
-pg.22, Outlaw of Gor
"I was puzzled that the garb, like the helmet and shield, bore no insignia. This was contrary to the ways of Gor, for normally only the habiliments of outlaws and exiles, men without a city, lack the identifying devices of which the Gorean is so proud."
-pg.24, Outlaw of Gor
"The Gorean, having little idea of progress in our sense, takes great care in building and workmanship. What he builds he expects men to use until the storms of time have worn it to dust."
-pg.25, Outlaw of Gor
"According to the Gorean way of thinking pity humiliates both he who pities and he who is pitied. According to the Gorean way, one may love but one may not pity."
-pg. 31, Outlaw of Gor
"Unlike the men of Earth, the Gorean has little sensitivity to race, but much to language and city."
-pg.48, Outlaw of Gor
"The Gorean is suspicious of the stranger, particularly in the vicinity of his native walls."
-pg. 49, Outlaw of Gor
"Perhaps it should only be added that the Gorean master, though often strict, is seldom cruel. The girl knows, if she pleases him, her lot will be an easy one. She will almost never encounter sadism or wanton cruelty, for the psychological environment that tends to breed these diseases is largely absent on Gor."
-pg. 53-54, Outlaw of Gor
"Paradoxically, the Gorean, who seems to think so little of women in some respects, celebrates them extravagantly in others. The Gorean is extremely sensitive to beauty; it gladdens his heart, and his songs and art are often paeans to its glory."
-pg. 54, Outlaw of Gor
"...I was confident they [the downtrodden men of Tharna] could accomplish what they set their minds to, that they might succeed in tasks which the average Gorean male, with his impatience and lightness of heart, would simply abandon as distasteful or not worth the effort, for the average Gorean male, it must be admitted, tends to regard the joys of life somewhat more highly than its duties."
-pg.65, Outlaw of Gor
"I once asked a Gorean hunter whom I had met in Ar why the larl was hunted at all. I have never forgotten his reply. 'Because it is beautiful,' he said, 'and dangerous, and because we are Goreans.'"
-pg.20, Priest-Kings of Gor
"In all these kneeling positions, incidentally, even that of the Pleasure Slave, the Gorean woman carries herself well; her back is straight and her chin is high. She tends to be vital and beautiful to look upon."
-pg.46-47, Priest Kings of Gor
"The Tuchuks, not unlike Goreans in general, are fond of gambling."
-pg.60, Nomads of Gor
"The Gorean girl is, even if free, accustomed to slavery; she will perhaps own one or more slaves herself; she knows that she is weaker than men and what this can mean; she knows that cities fall and caravans are plundered; she knows she might even, by a sufficiently bold warrior, be captured in her own quarters and, bound and hooded, be carried by tarnback over the wall of her own city."
-pg.63, Nomads of Gor
"Aphris of Turia, pleased with herself, assumed her place between the merchant and Kamchak, kneeling back on her heels in the position of the Gorean Free Woman. Her back was very straight and her head high, in the Gorean fashion."
-pg.94, Nomads of Gor
"Goreans do not generally favor begging, and some regard it as an insult that there should be such, an insult to them and their city."
-pg.12, Assassin of Gor
"Goreans are extremely sensitive about names, and who may speak them."
-pg.12, Assassin of Gor
"I supposed the requirements of the slaves were high. Each of the girls, I suspected, would be vital and much alive. Each of them I knew was beautiful. Each of them I suspected would be intelligent, for Goreans, as the men of Earth commonly do not, celebrate quickness of mind and alertness in a girl."
-pg.125, Assassin of Gor
"The Goreans claim that in each woman there is a free companion, proud and beautiful, worthy and noble, and in each, too, a slave girl. The companion seeks for her companion; the slave girl for her master. It is further said, that on the couch, the Gorean girl, whether slave or free, who has had the experience, who has tried all loves, begs for a master. She wishes to belong completely to a man, withholding nothing, permitted to withhold nothing. "
-pg.102, Hunters of Gor
"Goreans, in their simplistic fashion, often contend, categorically, that man is naturally free and woman is naturally slave. But even for them the issues are far more complex than these simple formulations would suggest. For example, there is no higher person, nor one more respected, than the Gorean free woman... Goreans do believe, however, that every woman has a natural master or set of masters, with respect to whom she could not help but be a complete and passionate slave girl. These men occur in her dreams and fantasies. She lives in terror that she might meet one in real life."
-p.311, Hunters of Gor
"The Morality of Earth, from the Gorean point of view, is a morality which would be viewed as more appropriate to slaves that free men. It would be seen in terms of the envy and resentment of inferiors for their superiors. It lays great stress on equalities and being humble and being pleasant and avoiding friction and being ingratiating and small. It is a morality in the best interest of slaves, who would be only too eager to be regarded as the equals of others. We are all the same. That is the hope of slaves; that is what it is in their interest to convince others of. The Gorean morality on the other hand is more one if inequalities, based on the assumption that individuals are not the same, but quite different in many ways. It might be said to be, though this is oversimple, a morality of masters. Guilt is almost unknown in Gorean morality, though shame and anger are not. Many Earth moralities encourage resignation and accommodation; Gorean morality is bent more toward conquest and defiance; many Earth moralities encourage tenderness, pity and gentleness, sweetness; Gorean morality encourages honor, courage, hardness and strength. To Gorean morality many Earth moralities might ask, 'Why so hard?' To these earth moralities, The Gorean ethos might ask, 'Why so soft?'"
-pg.8, Marauders of Gor
"Gorean enemies, if skilled, often hold one another in high regard."
-pg.70, Marauders of Gor
"I suddenly realized the supreme power of the united Gorean will, not divided against itself, not weak, not crippled like the wills of Earth. I felt a surge of power, of unprecedented, unexpected joy. I had discovered what it was to be Gorean. I had discovered what is was, truly, to be male, to be a man. I was Gorean."
-pg.290, Marauders of Gor
"'On Earth,' I said, 'women try to be identical with men.''Why should that be?' asked the man.
'Perhaps because there are few men,' I said.
'The male population is small?' he asked.
'There are many males,' I said, 'but few men.'
'I find this hard to understand,' said the slave master.
'The distinction,' I said, 'makes little sense to a Gorean.'"
-p.76, Tribesmen of Gor
"There is perhaps little to be said for the Gorean world, but in it men and women are alive. It is a world which I would not willingly surrender. It is a very different world from mine; in its way, I suppose it is worse; in its way, I know it is better. It is its own place, and not another's. It is honest and real. In it there is good air."
-p.212, Slave Girl of Gor
"Caste is important to Goreans in a way that is difficult for members of a non-caste society to understand. Though there are doubtless difficulties involved with caste structure the caste situation lends an individual identity and pride, allies him with thousands of caste brothers, and provides him with various opportunities and services."
-pg.213, Slave Girl of Gor
"Goreans commonly exhibit good taste and aesthetic sense. Indeed, good taste and aesthetic good sense, abundantly and amply displayed, harmoniously manifested, in such areas as language, architecture, dress, culture and customs, seem innately Gorean. It is a civilization informed by beauty, from the tanning and cut of a workman's sandal to the glazings intermixed and fused, sensitive to light and shadow, and the time of the day, which characterize the lofty towers of her beautiful cities."
-pg.215, Slave Girl of Gor
"Gorean men have a way of looking at women which is like stripping them and putting them to their feet."
-pg. 267, Slave Girl of Gor
"The youth of Earth have no Home Stone. Citizenship, interestingly, in most Gorean cities is conferred only upon the coming of age, and only after certain examinations are passed. Further, the youth of Gor, in most cities, must be vouched for by citizens of the city, not related in blood to him, and be questioned before a committee of citizens, intent upon determining his worthiness or lack thereof to take the Home Stone of the city as his own. Citizenship in most Gorean communities is not something accrued in virtue of the accident of birth but earned in virtue of intent and application."
-pg. 394, Slave Girl of Gor
"The Gorean, in general, regards many things in a much more intense and personal way than, say, the informed man of Earth. Perhaps that is because he is the victim of a more primitive state of consciousness; perhaps, on the other hand, we have forgotten things which he has not. Perhaps the world speaks only to those who are prepared to listen... The man of Earth thinks of the world as being essentially dead; the Gorean thinks of his world as being essentially alive... He cares for his world; it is his friend; he would not care to kill it."
-pg.29-30, Beasts of Gor
"Honor is important to Goreans, in a way that those of Earth might find it hard to understand; for example, those of Earth find it natural that men should go to war over matters of gold and riches, but not honor; the Gorean, contrariwise, is more willing to submit matters of honor to the adjudication of steel than he is matters of riches and gold; there is a simple explanation for this; honor is more important to him."
-pg.42, Beasts of Gor
"In some respects the Gorean are, perhaps, cruel. Yet they have never seen fit, through lies, to inflict suffering on children. They seem generally to me to be fond of children. Perhaps that is why they seldom hurt them. Even slave children, incidentally, are seldom abused or treated poorly, and are given much freedom, until they reach their young adulthood."
-pg.155, Beasts of Gor
"Race, incidentally, is not a serious matter generally for Goreans, perhaps because of the intermixtures of people. Language and city, and caste, however, are matters of great moment to them, and provide sufficient basis for the discriminations in which human beings take such great delight."
-pg.156, Beasts of Gor
"'Gorean men,' I said, 'you will learn, are less tolerant of pretense than the men of Earth.'"
-pg.202, Beasts of Gor
"'Goreans are not men of Earth,' I said. 'They will have what they truly want from a woman, everything.'"
-pg.230, Beasts of Gor
"Civilization may be predicated upon the denial of human nature; it may also be predicated upon its fulfillment. The first word that an Earth baby learns is usually, 'No.' The first word that a Gorean baby learns is commonly, 'Yes.' The machine and the flower, I suspect, will never understand one another."
-p.37, Explorers of Gor
"'Why is it,' she asked, 'that the men of Gor do not think and move in herds, like those of earth?'
'I do not know," I said. Perhaps they are different. Perhaps the culture is different. Perhaps it has to do with the decentralization of city states, the multiplicity of tradition, the diversity of the caste codes.'
'I think the men of Gor are different,' she said.
-pg.333-334, Explorers of Gor
"'On Gor,' she said, 'we would not even break our male slaves as the men of Earth are broken.'"
-p.73, Fighting Slave of Gor
"I sensed that in Gor there was a youth and openness which had long been missing from my old world. In Gor I sensed an ambition, a freshness and hope, and sparkle, that had perhaps not been felt on Earth since the Parthenon was new. Doubtless there is much on Gor to be deplored, but I cannot bring myself to deplore it. Doubtless Gor is impatient, cruel and heartless, but yet, I think, too, it is innocent. It is like the lion, impatient, cruel, heartless and innocent. It is its nature. Gor was a strong-thewed world, a new world, a world in which men might again lift their heads to the sun and laugh, a world in which they might again, sensibly, begin long journeys. It was a world of which Homer might have sung, singing of the clashing of the metals of men and the sweetness of the wine-dark sea."
-p.89, Fighting Slave of Gor
"I think the explanation for the Gorean political arrangements and attitudes is the institution of the Home Stone. It is the Home Stone which, for the Gorean, marks the center. I think it is because of their Home Stones that the Gorean tends to think of territory as something from the inside out, so to speak, rather than from the outside in. Consider again the analogy of the circle. For the Gorean the Home Stone would mark the point of the circle's center. It is the Home Stone which, so to speak, determines the circle."
-pg.145, Fighting Slave of Gor
"Total warfare, with its arming of millions of men, and its broadcast slaughter of hundreds of populations, is Gorean neither in concept nor in practice. Goreans, often castigated for their cruelty, would find such monstrosities unthinkable. Cruelty on Gor, though it exists, is usually purposeful, as in attempting to bring, through discipline and privation, a young man to manhood, or in teaching a female that she is a slave."
-pg.145, Fighting Slave of Gor
"Gorean men, I had learned, are not patient with [male] silk slaves."
-pg.181, Fighting Slave of Gor
"Caste membership, for Goreans, is generally a simple matter of birth; it is not connected necessarily with the performance of certain skills, nor the attainment of a given level of proficiency in such skills."
-pg.209, Fighting Slave of Gor
"The welfare of a larger number of individuals, as the Goreans reason, correctly or incorrectly, is more important than the welfare of a smaller number of individuals."
-p.210, Fighting Slave of Gor
"Many Gorean women, in their haughtiness and pride, do not choose to have their features exposed to the common view."
-p.41, Rogue of Gor
"Goreans place few impediments in the way of the liberation of a slave female's sexuality."
-p.186, Rogue of Gor
"'The brutes of Gor have their way with you, as it pleases them,' I said, 'and you serve them well. Do you think the men of Earth should be content with less?'
'No, Master,' she whimpered.
'If the men of Earth choose to surrender the birthright of their dominance, to exchange it for the garbage of a political perversion; if they should choose to deny their genes; if they should choose to subvert and violate the order of nature; if they should choose self-castration to manhood, that is, I suppose, their business.'
'I do not know, Master,' she said.
'Provided, of course, that they are willing to accept such penalties as anxiety, guilt, misery, frustration, sickness and shortened life spans.'
'I do not know, Master,' she said.
'A subverted nature cannot be expected not to retaliate,' I said.
'No, Master,' she said.
'Does a man have a right to be a man?' I asked.
'I suppose so,' she said. 'I do not know.'
'And are there not hierarchies among rights, and some which take priority over others?'
'Be kind to me, Master,' she begged.
'And is not the right of a man to be a man the highest right of such a sort that man possesses?'
'Yes,' she said.
'What right takes precedence over that?' I asked.
'None, Master,' she said.
'Has man,' I asked, 'the right to bring about his own downfall, to destroy himself?'
'He has the capacity, Master,' she whispered, 'but I do not think he has that right.'
'He does not have that right,' I told her, 'for it conflicts with the higher right.'
'Yes, Master,' she said.
'Rather,' said I, 'he has, beyond rights, duties, and high among his duties is his duty to be true to himself, his duty to be a man.'
'Yes, Master,' she said.
'The denial of his manhood, then, by a man, is not only irrational, but morally pernicious. Men have not only a right to preserve their manhood, but a duty to do so.'
'Perhaps there is no such thing as manhood,' she whispered, 'or womanhood.'
'Tell that,' I said, 'to strong men and yielding women, and history.'
'Perhaps there are no such things as duties, and rights,' she said,
'perhaps there are only the words, used as the instruments of manipulative rhetorics, devices of conditioning, cheaper and more subtle than guns and whips.'
'That is an interesting and profound possibility,' I said, 'but then there would still remain needs and powers, forces and desires, and the facts of the world, that certain courses of action lead to certain results, and that other courses of action lead to other results. And in such a world who will argue with the larl as to whether or not it should feed, or with a man as to whether or not he should be a man? In such a world the larl hunts, and the man is a man.'"
-pg.152-153, Guardsman of Gor
"The men rose as one to their feet, for Gorean men commonly stand when a free woman enters a room."
-pg.255, Guardsmen of Gor
"'To be sure,' I said, ''white' in the context of 'white-silk girl' [virginity] tends less to suggest purity and innocence to the Gorean than ignorance, naivety, and a lack of experience."
-p.205, Savages of Gor
"Musicians on Gor, that is, those of the Caste of Musicians, are seldom, if ever, enslaved. Their immunity from bondage, or practical immunity from bondage, is a matter of custom. There is a saying to the effect that those who make music must, like the tarn, and the Vosk gull, be free."
-pg.297-298, Kajira of Gor
"The insignia of men, like male garments, become empty mockeries when permitted to women. This type of thing leads eventually both to demasculinization of men and the defeminization of females, a perversion of nature disapproved of generally, correctly or incorrectly, by Goreans. "
-pg.56, Mercenaries of Gor
"The most fundamental property prized by Goreans in women, I suppose, though little is said about it, is her need for love, and her capacity for love."
-p.322, Mercenaries of Gor
"Many Gorean games, incidentally, have features which encourage the development of properties regarded as desirable in a Gorean youth, such as courage, discipline, and honor. Similarly, some of the games tend to encourage the development of audacity and leadership."
-pg.278, Mercenaries of Gor
"It is seldom wise, incidentally, to impugn, or attempt to manipulate, the honor of a Gorean."
-pg.297, Mercenaries of Gor
"In Gorean culture, generally, it seemed to me that people stood closer to one another than I was accustomed to on Earth. In this way it was natural for men here, for example, to stand much closer to the scantily clad slave than the average man of, say, northern Europe, on Earth, would be likely to, to a woman of his area. Indeed, he usually stands so close to her that it would be easy for him to put his hands on her, and draw her to him, taking her in his arms."
-pg.156, Dancer of Gor
"On Earth, as I understand it, there are certain romantic notions about, for example, that heroes may be expected to 'win' damsels in distress, so to speak, by the performance of certain heroic behaviors which, for example, might bode little good to dragons, evil wizards, wicked knights, and such. These damsels in distress, once rescued, are then expected to elatedly bestow their fervent affectations on the blushing, bashful heroes, and so on. Needless to say, in real life, to the disappointment, and sometimes chagrin, of the blushing, bashful heroes, this denouement often fails to materialize. Although such notions are not unknown on Gor, the average Gorean tends to be somewhat more practical and businesslike than the average hero of such stories, if we may believe the stories. For example, the damsel of Earth, if she found herself rescued on Gor, might not have to spend a great deal of time gravely considering whether or not to bestow herself on the rescuer. She might rather find her wrists, to her surprise, being chained behind her, her clothing being removed and a rope being put on her neck. She might then find herself hurrying along on foot, beside his mount, roped by the neck to his stirrup."
-p.99-100, Renegades of Gor
"From the girl's point of view, of course, she whose sex has in effect been hitherto denied to her, and who has hitherto encountered only men of Earth, most of whom have been sexually reduced or crippled by negativistic conditioning programs, and instructed to rejoice in the fact, Gor comes as a revelation. There they find men who, for the most part, are quite different from those they are accustomed to on Earth, strong, powerful, uninhibited, uncompromising men, men who have never been subjected to pathological conditioning programs aimed at the taming or debilitation of the male animal and its instincts, men who have never been tricked into the surrender of their natural dominance, men who have retained their sovereignty, that mighty sovereignty in nature without which they cannot be men, without which women cannot be women."
-pg.444-445, Vagabonds of Gor
"Gorean men do not surrender their birthright as males, their rightful dominance, their appropriate mastery. They do not choose to be dictated to by females."
-p.51, Magicians of Gor
"I might also mention, in passing... that many Gorean artists do not sign or otherwise identify their works. The rationale for this seems to be a conviction that what it important is the art, its power, its beauty, and so on, and not who formed it.. Indeed many Gorean artists seem to regard themselves as little more than vessels or instruments, the channels or means, the tools, say, the chisels or brushes, so to speak, by means of which the world, with its values and meanings, in its infinite diversities, in its beauties and its powers, its flowers and its storms, its laughters and rages, its delicacy and awesomeness, its subtlety and grandeur, expresses itself, and rejoices."
-pg.107, Magicians of Gor
"The focus of the Gorean artist, then, at least on the whole, tends to be on the work of art itself, not on himself as artist. Accordingly his attitude toward his art is less likely to be one of pride than one of gratitude. This makes sense as, in his view, it is not so much he who speaks as the world, in its many wonders, great and small, which speaks through him. He is thus commonly more concerned to express the world, and truth, than himself."
-pg.108, Magicians of Gor
"'Is not everyone to be permitted anything?'
'No,' said Marcus, 'Freedom is for the free. Others are to be kept in line, and exactly so. Society depends on divisions and order, each element stabilized perfectly in its harmonious relationship with all others.'
'You do not believe, then,' I asked, 'that everyone is the same, or must be supposed to be such, despite all evidence to the contrary, and that society thrives best as a disordered struggle?'
Marcus looked at me, startled.
'No,' I said 'I see that you do not.'
-pg.119, Magicians of Gor
"He was not a fellow of Earth, he was Gorean. Too, he was of the Warriors, and his codes, in a situation of this sort, their weapons drawn, entitled him, even encouraged him, to attack, and kill."
-pg.169, Magicians of Gor
"'You are still troubled,' said Marcus.
'It is like seeing a larl tricked into destroying himself,' I said, 'as though he were told that the only good larl is a sick, apologetic, self-suspecting, guilt-ridden larl. It is like vulos legislating for tarns, the end of which legislation is the death of the tarn, or its transformation into something new, something reduced, pathological and sick, celebrated then as the true tarn.'
'I do not even understand what you are saying,' said Marcus.
'That is because you are Gorean,' I said."
-pg. 173-174, Magicians of Gor
"The Gorean tends neither to view the world as a mechanical clockwork of independent parts, as a great, regular, predictable machine, docile to equations, obedient to abstractions, nor as a game of chance, inexplicable, meaningless and random at the core. His fundamental metaphor in terms of which he would defend himself from the glory and mystery of the world is neither the machine nor the die. It is rather, if one may so speak, the stalk of grass, the rooted tree, the flower. He feels the world alive and real. He paints eyes upon his ships, that they may see their way. And if he feels so even about these vessels, then so much more the awed and reverent must he feel when he contemplates the immensity and grandeur, the beauty, the power and the mightiness within which he finds himself."
-pg. 254-255, Magicians of Gor
"It might also be noted, interestingly, that the Gorean, in spite of his awe of Priest-Kings, and the reverence he accords them, the gods of his world, does not think of them as having formed the world, nor of the world being in some sense consequent upon their will. Rather the Priest-Kings are seen as being its children, too, like sleen, and rain and man."
-pg.255, Magicians of Gor
"A last observation having to do with the tendency of some Goreans to accept illusions and such as reality is that the Gorean tends to take such things as honor and truth very seriously. Given his culture and background, his values, he is often easier to impose upon than would be many others. For example, he is likely, at least upon occasion, to be an easier mark for the fraud and charlatan than a more suspicious, cynical fellow. On the other hand, I do not encourage lying to Goreans. They do not like it."
-pg.255, Magicians of Gor
"Goreans are not stupid. It is difficult to fool them more than once. They tend to remember... there would always be the dupes, of one sort or another, and the opportunists, and the cowards, with their rationalizations. But, too, I speculated, there would be those of Ar to whom the Home Stone was a Home Stone, and not a mere rock, not a piece of meaningless earth."
-pg.489, Magicians of Gor
* * *
Summary of the selected quotations:
Goreans believe it is healthy to openly express their emotions. They believe that any city, built by human hands, is a living amalgamation of those who have built it, and reside there. They are proud of their cities and display their civil affiliations openly. They take great care and pride in what they make, and construct. They feel that pitying another person is humiliating, whereas loving them is not. Goreans have little sensitivity to matters of race, but much to language and city. While strict, they are seldom sadistic or cruel. Outwardly they seem to think little of women, in some ways, but make a point of extravagantly celebrating them in other ways. The average Gorean is somewhat impatient and lighthearted, enjoying the joys of life somewhat more than its duties of drudgery.
The Gorean feels compelled to challenge himself against what is beautiful and dangerous. Gorean women express vitality, and carry themselves with an upright posture, indicating their appreciation for grace and beauty. Goreans are fond of gambling, and of taking risks. Gorean women understand submission behaviors and the particulars of slavery as practiced on their world, and understand and accept the reality of its existence in relation to themselves.
Goreans are not fond of beggars or panhandlers. They are extremely sensitive about names, and who has the right to speak to them. Goreans celebrate and value high intelligence in women.
Goreans believe that in every woman there is an inner competition between the desire to be free and the desire to be owned by her man. They believe that any woman can be forced to submit- yet they celebrate those women who are capable of making the necessary sacrifices required for them to maintain their freedom and independence within the boundaries of Gorean society.
Gorean morality encourages honor, courage, hardness and strength. Goreans render their enemies the respect which is rightfully due to them. They refuse to divide or cripple themselves in opposition to nature. They see no reason why all who are male should not embrace their maleness and be men. The Gorean worldview is one of honesty and vitality, devoted to the joy of being alive. A Goreans' caste, i.e his career and its supporting industry, is a large part of his personal identity.
Goreans commonly exhibit good taste and aesthetic good sense. They are highly attuned to beauty when they encounter it. They appraise their women openly and without artifice. They feel that the rights and benefits of citizenship, like all things of worth, should be actively earned. The Gorean experiences life in an intense and personal way. He loves his world, and does not wish to do it harm, or see it destroyed. Honor is important to him. In some ways he is seen as cruel, but he does not lie or make excuses. Goreans are fond of children, and take pains to care for them. When Goreans discriminate against others, rather than due to race, they tend to do so based upon the city which one claims, their misuse of his language, or their caste... yet on the average they value all castes, and the work done by all.
Goreans are not tolerant of pretense. They insist upon having their own way, and experiencing their women to the ultimate degree possible. The Gorean refuses to accept that civilization must be based upon the denial of nature. Goreans do not celebrate sexual naivete or sexual repression.
Gorean men do not move, and think, in herds. They are highly individualistic. They value masculinity in men, and femininity in women, and refuse to repress either. The Gorean mindset is one of ambition, and freshness, and hope.
The Gorean measures his world from the inside outward, starting at what he can personally own and control. When Goreans are cruel, is it for a particular purpose. Goreans do not embrace the concept of modern, wholescale warfare on a continental scale, either in theory or in practice.
Gorean men are not patient with male slaves who willingly serve the whims of women.
Caste membership, as it exists to him, is indicative not only of career but of family trade.
Goreans believe that the welfare of the many is more important than the welfare of the few.
Many Gorean women are haughty and proud, some even to the point of veiling themselves from the prying eyes of the unworthy. Goreans value worthy free women greatly, and will honor them for it, by such actions as rising when they enter a room.
Goreans refuse to inhibit the sexuality of women who have embraced their slave-nature. Goreans do not celebrate sexual naivete. Rather, they appreciate sexual maturity and experience.
Goreans do not support the denial of anything's true nature, nor do they long tolerate such repression when it appears before them. Goreans believe it is morally wrong to enslave what must, by its nature, be free to exist.
Goreans do not support the adoption of male insignia or customs by women, or vice versa. They see this as an attempt at gender unification, which lessens and degrades both sexes.
In women, Goreans celebrate their need for love, and the depth of their ability to express such love.
Even Gorean games, taught to Gorean youth, are such that they encourage courage, discipline, honor, and audacity.
Goreans do not appreciate any attempt to mess with their honor. Goreans disdain physical insecurities about their bodies, and stand close to one another in one-on-one interaction. Goreans are practical in areas of romance, and do not subscribe to fairy-tale notions of the relationship between men and women.
Gorean men are strong, powerful, uninhibited and uncompromising. They are proud of the fact that they are men. They refuse to be dictated to by their women.
Gorean artisans and craftsmen feel that they are simply the vessel through which their art flows, and are not overly vain about their abilities and talents.
Goreans believe in the value of order. They do not subscribe to anarchy. Goreans don't understand why anyone would want to prevent another from being what they were created by nature to be. The Gorean believes that the world and all things in it are a living, breathing biological system of which he is a part, and does not subscribe to the belief that he is above it, or outside of it. He understands that he, too, is subject to nature and its forces.
A Gorean takes honor and truth very seriously. He can sometimes be fooled, or hoaxed, by those less honorable than himself... but he learns fast. He will not long tolerate being lied to.
That, in my opinion, pretty much says it all.
I add only the following:
I have been told that Norman's work supports totalitarianism, and mass conformity beneath the heel of tyrants.
The following words are Norman's. Is this man extolling the virtues of conformity?
"All creatures are not the same, not is it necessary that they should be. Jungles may be as appealing to nature as gardens. Leopards and wolves are as legitimately ingredient in the order of nature as spaniels and potatoes. Species unification, I suspected, would prove not to be a blessing, but a trap and a bane, a pathology and curse, a societal sanitarium in which the great and strong would be reduced to, or must pretend to be reduced to, the level of the blinking, the cringing, the creeping and the tiny. To be sure, values are involved here, and one must make decisions. It is natural that the small and weak will make one decision, and the large and strong another. There is no single humanity, no single shirt, no correct pair of shoes, no uniform, even a gray one, that will fit all men. There are a thousand humanities possible. He who denies this sees only his own horizons. He who disagrees is the denier of difference, and the murderer of better futures."
-pg.31, Savages of Gor
I have also been told that Norman must be a misogynist, and obviously hated all women.
Are these the words of a misogynist?
"Human females are such rich and wonderful creatures. Their sexual life, and feelings, are subtle, complex and deep. How naive is the man who believes that having sex with a woman is so little or so brief a thing as to fall within the parameters of a horizontal plane, the simple stimulations of a skin, the results attendant upon a simplistic manual dexterity. How woefully ignorant are the engineers of sexuality. How much to learn have even her artists and poets! Women are so inordinately precious. They are so sensitive, so beautiful, so intelligent and needful. No man has yet counted the dimensions of a woman's love. Who can measure the horizons of her heart? Few things, I suspect, are more real than those which seem most intangible."
-pg.181-182, Blood Brothers of Gor
Again, I say it to any who might be reading this, who insist upon misinterpreting all that we say here, or who vehemently decry all we say without having the slightest understanding of what we are actually saying, or why we are saying it:
READ THE DAMN BOOKS.
ALL OF THEM.
Then, make whatever judgement seems good to you.
To do less is to do a disservice to their author, and is an exercise in willful intellectual dishonesty.
Truth not won is not possessed. We are not entitled to truths for which we have not fought, or for which we have not expended the effort to ascertain their possible validity by at least CONSIDERING them.
That is a Gorean Maxim.
I wish you well,
Copyright © 2006, 2002, 2000, 1999, 1998, 1997, 1996. Marcus of Ar.
All rights reserved.