by Pixeleen Mistral on 27/11/06 at 6:06 pm
Philosophy, Society, Conditioning
[editors note: Our Gorean-themed week continues with an abridged version of a notecard written by Artemis Fate -- contact Artemis for a complete copy of the 'Problems of Gor'.]
by Artemis Fate
Gor is an alternate-world detailed in John Norman’s “Chronicles of Gor”, a twenty-six novel series that combines philosophy and erotica with science-fiction. It is a highly detailed setting in terms of wildlife and customs, borrowing from various ancient cultures such as the Greek, Native American and Viking cultures. Advanced technology is present, but the life of the humans on the planet remain otherwise primitive to the modern day. Followers of the philosophies and lifestyle outlined in the books are called Goreans.
Gor has been a presence online for quite some time, but their exposure has been limited to places such as Usenet and private IRC channels. However, the Gorean culture has shifted towards more open communities. Many people were not aware of Gor until joining visual chat rooms such as the Palace, Active Worlds, and Second Life.
This has not been met without problems. It has been widely believed that Active Worlds was ‘taken over’ by Goreans. This came to pass as many Goreans were placed in charge of the community as ‘Peacekeepers’, the game masters of Active Worlds. Many reports of unfair treatment, attacks on criticism and strong promotion of Gor in the beginner areas have been made.
When it comes to Second Life, Gor first became widely known when the sim Port Kar went public in the spring of 2005. However, the Gorean community have been around for quite some time along the mainland and in private islands. There are now more than a hundred public Gorean locations in Second Life.
“Strong men simply need women. This will never be understood by weak men. A strong man needs a woman at his feet, who is truly his. Anything else is less than his fulfillment. When a man has once eaten the meat of the gods he will never again chew on the straw of fools.”
– Explorers of Gor, page 12
Gorean philosophy is split between what is detailed in the books and the more common standards of the community. The main difference lies in that the books are not strictly sexual. The Master/Slave relationship is not the primary focus as most of the detail is given to the society of Gor at large.
Beyond defining the Master/Slave relationship, the books have made commentary on a somewhat diverse range of topics. These topics have included genetic superiority, the nature of citizenship and freedom and war, among other things. An anonymous author commented on that the stances taken on these kind of subjects as being remarkably similar to those of Hitler’s in Mein Kampf. As a result, some have classified Gorean philosophy as a form of nazism.
This is a key contrast as the Gorean community has placed its focus on the Master/Slave relationship as its main purpose and sometimes its only purpose.
Therefore we get into the quote above as a main aspect of Gorean community philosophy: Man wishes to dominate a woman and a woman wants to be dominated by a man. If a woman does not, she is weak. All women are inferior to men and can only be happy being owned by a man.
Generally, Gorean society in SL is made up as a series of strict rules. Some have involved themselves because these rules seem similar to heavy roleplay. To many roleplayers in Second Life, this is the only place to roleplay because few other communities exist for it.
Not only are the rules strict, but the punishments are severe. Failure to follow the rules of their society may result in being banned from the sim to having your character executed. Execution will also result in a banning from the sim..
In addition to rules and punishment, the Goreans run a slave market. The prices of slaves depend on how well ‘trained’ the slave is. Typically this can range from L$2000 to L$20,000, which is roughly $8 to $80 USD. Of course, there are cases where a slave may go for a higher price.
A man who is displeased by his slave will punish her her severely. This may take the form of harsh beatings or by outright killing her. Gorean executions can even take on the form of sexual torture in more extreme cases. A slave who tries to run away is pursued and often times eaten by a monster used for hunting.
As to be expected, the relationship dependency is skewed. Men are encouraged to treat their slaves like objects and women encouraged to give everything they have to men. This leads to problems when a Master no longer feels that his slave is of any use. A Master will simply sell the girl to someone else and get the money, he developed no huge relationship to the girl as much as you have a relationship with your car.
The girl on the other hand, is taught to be dependent and totally in love with her Master. To be sold to another so is a form of rejection. This sort of sting can be more mild, with the girl a little depressed at each time she’s traded off. However, some have gone into a full breakdown and have inflicted pain on themselves or others. While not every slave is sold without consent, those that have been will usually have a story that falls between these reactions.
This sort of dependency is only the surface of what conditioning Gorean slaves can be put through. To most starting out in Gor, it’s an innocent fantasy world of roleplay. Many would not even consider there being any possible mind conditioning or thought reform occurring. This is something that can and will be exploited.
Doublethink and Repetition
“Freedom permits a woman to live without a man. Slavery makes a woman need a mans touch… Slavery, of course, is the surest path by means of which a woman can discover her femininity. The paradox of the collar is the freedom which a woman experiences in at last finding herself, and becoming herself.”
– Magicians of Gor, page 160
“The great masses of people will more easily fall victims to a big lie than to a small one. Especially if it is repeated again and again.”
– Adolf Hitler
George Orwell’s defined the term ‘doublethink’ in his novel 1984. Doublethink is the power of accepting two contradictory beliefs in one’s mind simultaneously. A popular doublethink slogan in his book is “Freedom is slavery, war is peace”.
For some slave girls in Gor communities, John Norman’s books are mandatory readings. Each book has the repeated theme that women are naturally slaves to men. The moral of every story is that neither men nor women can be happy unless they follow this nature. This is the big lie that is repeated again and again.
They state that “Slavery is freedom”. This is the direct flip of Orwell’s quote “Freedom is slavery”. As stated above, this is repeated throughout the books and written in as persuasive and romantic of a matter as possible. The intended goal of this mandatory reading is to drill home this sort of doublethink until you have a person honestly believing that “slavery is freedom”. This is an exceptionally effective form of control.
Seven Tactics of ‘Coercive Persuasion’
For a more professional look at this sort of conditioning, Dr. Margaret Singer has written an excellent piece on ‘coercive persuasion’. For the sake of simplicity, it’s best if the paper is summarized here. ‘Coercive persuasion’ is a method of slowly manipulating the way a person thinks and feels. It doesn’t happen over night and all seven tactics do not need to be used. But, in time, a person exposed to these tactics can be influenced and conditioned.
The seven tactics she’s outlined can be summarized as:
1. ‘Softening Up’ – First a victim is prepared by focusing them on REPEATED activities, ideas or senses. This is to make the person more receptive to further suggestion.
2. ‘Social support’ – By using rewards and punishments, the victim is separated from their friends and family who are not part of the group. Being part of the group is rewarded, spending time outside of it is punished. Making a person reliant upon the group for money and other needs helps this immensely.
3. ‘Censorship’ – Rules are put in place where certain thoughts are not allowed to be expressed. What can be said to an outsider from the group is also controlled, as is communication in general. Usually a group will come up with its own ‘language’ for describing things.
4. ‘Peer pressure’ – The group makes a constant, firm effort to convince a person to rethink their own beliefs and their past life. The victim is made to believe their past way of life is wrong and that they must fit into the group.
5. ‘Low self-esteem’ – The group seeks ways of breaking a person’s self-confidence and faith in their own judgement. The idea is to make a person not wish to act on their own and instead be guided by the group.
6. ‘Non-violent punishment’ – Anything from intense humiliation to loss of privilege, social isolation, loss of status, intense guilt, anxiety, manipulation and other techniques. This is all done to make the person afraid of disobeying.
7. ‘Threats’ – A victim is lead to believe that failing to fit into the group will mean terrible things. Not just punishment mentioned in tactic six, but things such as mental illness, drug habits, being poor and homeless, a miserable love life and general unhappiness.
– TO BE CONTINUED –