Gorean Journey: Part 3. about the collar

by Pixeleen Mistral on 25/11/06 at 8:50 am

[editor's note: we kick off what might turn into a Gorean-themed sim week at the Herald with a companion piece to the two installments of the Confessions of a Gorean Slave articles here and here]

by sparrowhawk perhaps {Raddick Szymborska}

I had no clue about the journey I would be taking when the collar snapped around my neck. I was, at that time, of the opinion that synthetic worlds were not real and that I would be involved in a fantasy experience of pixels and cartoons. I had no idea at all that I had just signed up for a very grueling experience.

Most of what I learned about the collar was learned during those times when I struggled against the collars demands. I am pretty sure that somebody is going to read this and think as I thought in the beginning and wonder why I was so much affected by a bunch of pixels. I need at this point to say that there is a school of thought in the old leather D/s community that feels that online collars are not real and do not qualify as experience. To those people I would say that many RL Dominants who are online as Gorean Masters, for example, believe that while an online flogging makes no sense at all, it is indeed quite possible to enforce the psychological discipline of D/s online, and so they do. I have met Masters who came on thinking that the online collar was not real, and then changed their minds with experience. My moment came while talking with a woman I love very much. I will call her Mary. Mary is a sub, a very intelligent woman.

I met Mary at an event where she was giving a presentation. She spoke with authority on a controversial subject, and exhibited what I can only call judicial temperament. She was fair, and she disagreed with grace. She made nobody wrong, and yet proved her line of reasoning logical and correct. Afterwards we talked, and became friends. I have found her over the long time I have known her, to be a source of wisdom, and I think it is really Mary, and not me, who should be writing these essays. But one day Mary was speaking of her Mistress, and she said that her Mistress had rocked her world. Mary was not afraid for her world to be rocked, she accepted it. Suddenly I realized that my world was rocked, also, but I was fighting it. It was like being hit by a thunderbolt. Later I went timidly to my Master, and explained what happened. I acknowledged that my world was rocked by Him. It is good you learn from others, also he said, I cannot teach you all that you need to know. He was not pixels. It was terrifying. It is Mary more than anyone who knows my journey I think, who has kept me at times from flying off either edge. I want to honor her for that.

I came in time to understand that the struggles I had with and against the collar never originated with my Masters requests. The struggles were always within my inner self, a war of me against me, and me against cultural mainstream values that I had internalized to a degree I didn’t realize I had. In our culture, after all, the urge to dominate is important and the alpha dog is highly rewarded. This is, I think probably truer now of women than it is of men. The successful woman in RL world has some kind of corporate identity associated preferably with a global-level enterprise, and has the battle scars to show for it. Women who choose more traditional lives, well, they require apologists and conservative radio talk show psychologists to tell them that it is really just fine to be who they are, and that mother is not another word for dork. Words like family are code-signs for mediocre or bland and powerless experiences in entertainment and dining. People define their lives in terms of the importance of what they did or did not achieve in the outside world. Humility and modesty don’t rate, and mainstream society now needs advice columnists to tell people that being polite is not a sign of moral weakness. Against the advice of this world, I followed my Master, begged His collar, tried to stuff my enormous pride into a bag, and knelt. It was a politically incorrect act, in the extreme. He was my nightmare. I came to love him very much, almost senselessly, and I expect pretty much nobody to understand that. It is my fault, not his, that I did not understand the culture and what was required of me.

I do think that political correctness figures in the debate about Gor. I hear Gor called a cult, I read so-called analyses of Gor, and all of them appear to focus on things that in my experience mostly do not happen. I know of one article circulating that I would myself accuse even of sloppy research: the article was clearly going for sensationalism, and omitted a few of the most sensational documents in SL Gor all of which are available in scriberies open to anyone, and of which I have copies.

There were many things to learn from the Gorean collar and many things to observe. The learning and observing began about two minutes after the collar snapped on. I was standing. Then Master turned to me and said: Since when do slaves stand before the Free? I didn’t know the answer. It was at that moment that I learned I would be spending most of my time on my knees, specifically in a position called nadu with my knees open, my hands on my thighs, and my head looking downward. The position, and the general lack of clothing I was permitted offended a modesty that I did not even know I possessed. I am able to admit now that the question, the tone of the question, hurt me. There would be more lessons against modesty later, and more questions, but in the beginning I knelt on the ground. Then Master said something, and it angered me, and I turned my back on Him. There was a silence, and then he said: Turn your back on me again, girl and I will beat you. I remember this not for His response, but rather because it was the first act in my war against my collar.

One learns in many ways what things are, and are not. I learned what the collar was by fighting it. Of course now, knowing more, rather than fight I would have created dances to express my feelings. The Gorean dance tradition is the one tool the kajira has to take initiative to express feelings openly to her Master without an invitation. You must understand that the Gorean Master for the most part has little interest in his kajiras, shall we say, inconvenient feelings. This idea is very much at odds with mainstream cultures idea that people create relationships by expressing their feelings and ideas. The Gorean Master simply does not see the world this way, and he is just not interested in what you have to say unless it is pleasing or obedient. Insist on telling the man what he does not want to hear and you will end up watching your head roll down a hill or with a long pointy stick up your butt.

Sometimes, for the Gorean, the purpose of punishing the slave appears to be the act of calling something to mind the slave, in reality, plays a difficult role and in that role is extremely limited in terms of what things may or may not be expressed. Sometimes it almost seems that the act of infraction of disobedience is done almost unwittingly, as repressed inner speech finds its way to the surface. The slave perhaps at the moment of disobedience and defiance does not perhaps see herself as disobedient. The Master, if he is effective, has made it his business to touch her inner self and disturb the hidden ocean floor of her spirit. He is engaged in the act of changing her to suit himself. Now when critics speak of Gor they use words like brainwashing while disregarding the fact that when the critics do the same thing to each other, they use the words adapting and adjusting. Nonetheless, in Gor, the experienced Master expects a certain amount of turmoil now and then.

The inconsistency in Gorean culture is this: the Master wants a spirited girl thats almost a universal expectation among Masters. None of them want a doormat, really, because doormats are boring; and truthfully even the most fluffy bunny doormat slave will try to sell herself as mischievous and bratty. The Master wants to conquer a spirited girl and create her as HIS doormat. The less experienced Master is ordinarily, however, generally not up to the balancing act required to keep a spirited girl in doormat mode for any length of time. Hell either get over-confident in his abilities, or he will cave to some extent. Unfortunately for SL, experience is not something you can buy at a market stall. Many a friendship is ruined by roleplay gone wrong said a very wise man, to me, one night. I have never yet seen those words proved wrong.

Yet it remains true in any case that when the slave disobeys the Master, no matter what the cause or compulsion, not withstanding whatever has driven the slave into disobedience, the act of disobedience remains an act of self-will, even if the slave does not perceive it as such at the time, and self-will is a land she promised not to visit when the collar snapped around her neck. Here I think there is a strange parallel between Gorean and monastic cultural practice. The collar is an agreement, a vow, between Master and slave. He is the abbot and she is the monk. She may have a pencil if he wishes her to have one. If he tells her that she may not use her pencil in a certain way then she may not use it in that way. If the abbot tells the talented gardener monk that he must become a cheese maker, then the monk makes cheese. It is not so different. Hardly anybody calls the monastic system a cult. Because the collar is a strange kind of vow, the collar should not be broken any more than that people should break any other kind of serious promise or commitment. Breaking the collar is somewhat like leaving the convent without permission. The agreement of the collar can be oversimplified in the following way: the Master guides and teaches. The slave agrees to obey and be taught.

Breaking the collar, that is to say, the act of a slave releasing herself from the contract between her and her Master, is probably the most severe insult that a slave may offer the Master. Removing the collar and thereby breaking the bond created between them by the collar, is in reality a fairly self-destructive act and an invitation to severe emotional pain and a kind of death. First, if she breaks her collar it is generally in most cases unlikely that the Master will offer a second collar except under extraordinary circumstances. Secondly it is likely that the Master she has insulted in that way will probably not remain a friend. The slave who thinks she can break a collar and remain pals with Master, that she can break a collar and have the same access to his care and concern as she had when she wore his collar is about to receive a rather rude surprise.

The slave removing the collar will likely inform the Master that she has done so, or in some cases, the collar itself will inform him. At some point shortly after that act, she will experience the emotional withdrawal of the Master from her. The collar said a very experienced Master to me is a sign of My presence with you. Take it off, and you miss the closeness. The slave who loves her Master will feel the withdrawal of his affection, attention, and availability to her on all levels. It is a hard thing to explain but anyone who has experienced the withdrawal of a Master knows exactly what this means. The slave then is left to her own resources. She is left to reclaim the self-will that perhaps she is not so well acquainted with now. Emotional confusion and grief may follow. She may not even be aware of the depth of her emotional reaction even if she understands what is happening intellectually, and interesting behaviors may follow: she may choose to become a panther or an outlaw. She may create a new identity. She may acquire a series of inappropriate Masters or even choose an unworthy Master.

Choosing an unworthy Master, said a Gorean slaver to me at one point, is one way that girls will sometime punish their Masters. But here’s the thing: the Master who is the object of this behavior, even if he loves the girl enough that her behavior annoys or hurts him, will never permit himself to show those feelings. The Master is held to a higher standard of self discipline. That is what everybody, including your garden variety Gorean, forgets. No man should be a Master who has not explored himself, who cannot control Himself. Because of this higher standard of discipline and control, you are not likely to see an experienced Master running around SL chasing his runaway slave. An experienced Master is not going to pay his runaway that compliment. It is also possible that the insulted Master, particularly the more experienced Master, may never acknowledge her existence again on any level; and to the girl who deeply loves her Master in spite of everything, that is the hardest punishment of all, and the one that will follow her for the rest of her days.


12 Responses to “Gorean Journey: Part 3. about the collar”

  1. Artemis Fate

    Nov 25th, 2006

    It’s funny how, in your attempt to dispel ideas that goreans use conditioning tactics, you reinforce them, by saying things like:

    “Removing the collar and thereby breaking the bond created between them by the collar, is in reality a fairly self-destructive act and an invitation to severe emotional pain and a kind of death.”

    Reminds me of the Scientology orientation video that leaked on the net, that ended with something like “you could not join Scientology, you could leave this room today and never think about it again, or you could shoot yourself in the head or jump off a bridge, they would be similar decisions”

  2. Raddick Szymborska

    Nov 27th, 2006

    Artemis – Sparrowhawk’s article is an introspective about the symbolism of the gorean collar, and what effect it has had on her. The only reference she makes really to ‘conditioning’ as you call it, is here:

    I do think that political correctness figures in the debate about Gor. I hear Gor called a cult, I read so-called analyses of Gor, and all of them appear to focus on things that in my experience mostly do not happen. I know of one article circulating that I would myself accuse even of sloppy research: the article was clearly going for sensationalism, and omitted a few of the most sensational documents in SL Gor all of which are available in scriberies open to anyone, and of which I have copies.

    I believe she is referring to your work, ‘The Problem of Gor‘, but, she does not say so it is not certain. In any case, she is not really bothering to discuss your issue at all.

    It is a shame you didn’t feel compelled to comment on her insightful analogy of Monastic Obedience and gorean slave obedience as a voluntary set of restrictions one takes upon oneself.

    Sparrowhawk is as willful as anyone I have met in SL, or indeed most in RL. If she did not want to spend time exploring the life of a kajira, she would not do so.

    It appears you have had a terrible experience in your own exploration of gorean culture; you have convinced yourself that those who play in the gorean cultural framework are cultists, which is a laughable notion.

  3. Artemis Fate

    Nov 28th, 2006

    I think the simple fact that you don’t recognize this:

    “Removing the collar and thereby breaking the bond created between them by the collar, is in reality a fairly self-destructive act and an invitation to severe emotional pain and a kind of death.”

    As a cult-like conditioning effect, says enough to me about your intentions and persuasions, o’ gorean master of the slave writer of this article.

  4. Urizenus

    Nov 28th, 2006

    uh oh, that’s going to awaken Starhawk from her humdogmatic slumbers.

  5. humdog

    Nov 28th, 2006

    yes. i read “The Problem of Gor” and it is BS. it is BS because it was sloppy research, it was a moderately skilled act of “pick and choose” having more in common with the howling of prokofy neva on a bad day than it had with any kind of thoughtful analysis. there are problems in SL Gor to be sure, but the author of “Problem of Gor” clearly has not thought about what they are, so intent was she on creating a “punish the Master” polemic. a person understanding D/s and intending to go after Gor in SL would address the problem of free-account alt imposter Masters; would address slavers-in-training with kennels of their own; would address the irritated/angry kajira-alt panther — the kajira-alt panther probably constituting the single most common type of panther in SL gor — and perhaps most insanely, would address the gor-sim-run-by-kajira-in-freewoman-drag. The author of Problem of Gor does not address any of that because she simply does not know it exists. instead, she comes across with some Tom-Cruise based interplanetary sunset blvd based nonsense about scientology. i dunno. maybe she never heard of the monastic system so she can’t speak to it. Problem of Gor does not define any terms, does not attempt to understand, or adress the culture of Gor, does not address in fact say anything other than apparently this: once upon a time, artemis went to the library and found six or seven cards that she thought would do a job on some Gorean male who pissed her off.

  6. Artemis Fate

    Nov 28th, 2006

    I don’t find it coincidental at all that 100% of the notecard’s detractors (the minority response), are all hardcore goreans who callously throw out insults at me personally more than my points, whereas all the majority response to the notecard, from non-serious goreans and non-goreans, seems to be calling it insightful or well-argued.

    I especially enjoy this quote:

    “artemis went to the library and found six or seven cards that she thought would do a job on some Gorean male who pissed her off.”

    Since the notecard states quite the opposite within the first couple paragraphs, which means either you didn’t read it, but are more than ready to criticize my quality of research, or you got within the first couple sentences and quit because you were too eager to start insulting me, and just pretended like you read it all.

    Certainly, I could address the alt relationships in gor, but my points weren’t based around the slight intricacies of kajira trying out different positions in Gor, it was about operating procedure and philosophical comparisons. This “problem” of gor only comes from insecure lifestyle masters who fear that they were losing their already slight pimply grip on their digital dream girl, but in a roleplay gor society would be hardly a problem at all.

  7. Raddick Szymborska

    Nov 28th, 2006

    Artemis – For the record, I am indeed sparrowhawk’s current Master, and proud that she wears my collar.

    I do disagree with your Problem of Gor notecard, but I have not publicly addressed it yet, although I now have an opportunity since it is published on this site. A point I wish to make here is that sparrowhawk’s article is not about you, or your writing. I do not care to fall to insults, I would rather have reasonable debate about her article here, and discuss your article over on that page. And so:

    When sparrowhawk describes a kind of death as the result of taking off a collar, do you believe that her feeling is a result of brainwashing, or the result of taking her roleplay seriously, and thereby experiencing real emotions as a result?

  8. rhianna

    Aug 28th, 2007

    Its ages since this was posted, but i feel i must comment. Am in the bdsm lifestyle in real life and gor online at http://www.thepalace.com in Silver Moon Village.
    There’s a point being missed. The slave *chooses* this collar, just as a monk chooses or a nun chooses or whatever.
    So if she breaks that promise, it is not just something broken to the Master it is something she has broken to her self too. To her own honour and truth.
    If a person breaks an oath and it doesnt bother them, thats a good thing in my opinion. It means they pretty much lied to themselves in the beginning and shouldnt have taken the oath ( collar is a symbol of that oath).
    If the person breaks the oath ( removes the collar)- without discussion or asking to be released ie negotiating a release – she is going against her own honour and truth. And that is why she would be lost and broken. Not just to miss whatever love was there, but because she has dishonoured her own self and her own heart.

  9. Hurra Smalls

    Oct 31st, 2007

    Miss Artemis Fate, please look into it before you judge. It is not a cult, it is merely a set of like-minded people who want to fantasize about a nice book. Like Trekkies, or better yet, Harry Potter fans. Generally, except for the psychos, everything is kind and consensual when out of your “Character”. Nothing cult-like of any sort. Don’t like it? Leave!

  10. Callista

    Feb 19th, 2008

    It is in no way a cult, it is merely a group of people who enjoy BDSM, but unlike BDSM, there is no safe word. It is a true way of life. It is an honor to have a Master, and to Kol’lared. It is the best day in a slaves life…

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  12. [...] Confessions of a Gorean Slave – Carmen Hermosillo (Humdog): 1 2 3 [...]

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