The Problems of Gor – Part 2

by Pixeleen Mistral on 29/11/06 at 1:43 am

Beyond Roleplay – A Cult?

[editors note: this is the second half of an abridged version of Artemis Fate's notecard on Goreans. Those interrested in more related readings should contact Artemis for a copy of the 'Problems of Gor' notecard.]

by Artemis Fate
Artrmis_fateIn one form or another, all seven conditioning tactics outlined by Dr. Singer can be found in Gorean activities. To better see this point, consider the hypothetical situation of a new slave in SL:

The first tactic is sometimes unnecessary since the slave might already have knowledge or be involved with Dominant/submissive culture. They’re already ‘Softened-up’ and ready for more. However, our slave is new and curious. She is first told that she is missing out on something in her life. In order to solve this, she must study these notecards chock full of Gorean slave philosophy in order to join them.

After this, the second tactic comes into play. Every time she acts the way the city or her Master wishes, she is rewarded not just by her master but the entire community. As she does this, she is told not to accept IMs from anyone but those her Master approves of. This means previous friends she had before Gor must be ignored. Thus, she has now cut herself off from others and has created her new family in the Gor sims. As a sign of devotion to her Master, our slave has in her profile that her Master will speak for her, and must monitor calling cards of friends or Incoming IMs, all must recieve permission from the owner. Some owners even refuse their slave girls the ability to hold money or property that isn’t directly given to them, demanding the slave give up everything she has to him.

Outsiders of Gor sims are not allowed in frequently. The Gor sims keep a stranglehold on the kind of information from the outside that reaches the sims. Strangers who express opposing viewpoints will be banned. If our slave questions or agrees with said viewpoints she may be punished or threatened with her own banishment. This is the third tactic.

The fourth tactic is a bit more subtle. The novels of Gor frequently state that everyone on Earth are all wrong when it comes to relationships. Supposedly, both men and women are unhappy because of this failure. The solution is the Gorean way, of course! This effect is increased by placing our slave in “another world” where everything works different.

Much more obvious is the fifth tactic. Slaves are told often that they’re stupid and powerless, and our slave is no exception. In fact, she’s found a Master who insists she speaks in the third person (almost mandatory for slaves in all gorean sims, rarely will a gorean slave not talk in 3rd person). This is not an uncommon practice in the D/s community and has found its way into Gorean life. Not being able to directly refer to herself reduces her to a mere object in her own mind, making our slave more ready to be used by others.

Alas, what if our slave still questions the philosophy and Masters of Gor? What if she fails to please her Master? At first offenses she’ll just be humiliated publicly in numerous ways and stripped of her privileges. In this case, our slave has been left in a cage with a floating title saying what she did wrong. She could be left there for hours and expected to stay there unless she wishes for more punishments. Of course, she stays there, not wanting to displease her Master or the community further to which she seeks approval from. Doing that might mean expulsion from Gor, probably by execution. And according to the philosophy which our slave is trying to follow, she’ll never be happy without the Gorean way.

That is tactic six and seven, respectively.

Thus our slave’s training can keep her chained to the sim and the community without physically chaining her to anything at all. After all, where are you going to go if you get banished from Gor and shunned all your old friends? What if everything you have in SL and everything you believe now, are in those sims?

This above example is not totally uncommon and sadly, it’s not strictly kept in a ‘fantasy world’. The next section will cover that in more heavily.

Beyond Roleplay

Something that must be stressed is that not all Gorean roleplay is actually fantasy. This is how some actually think and act in real life as well as online. These Goreans call themselves ‘lifestylers’ or ‘true goreans’.

In terms of danger, these are the ones to watch out for. These are the ones who whole heartedly believe in the philosophy put forth from the books. One of the few things that stop lifestylers from committing all Gorean practices is the law. However, the law doesn’t always restrain these kinds of urges.

In 2000, a man was found to have killed a string of women connected to the Gorean lifestyle. Using the name ‘Slavemaster’, he would obtain ‘slaves’ from several online Gorean communities. From there, he would attempt to organize a real life meeting with these women. During these meetings, some unfortunate women had refused his advances. This resulted in their murder. Their bodies were then placed in 55 gallon drums and dumped in a nearby pond. (2)

This is something the Gorean books have spelled out clearly — if a slave displeases you, you may kill her. While the above may be considered by many to be an extreme case, to a true Gorean lifestyler it is not a crime. The dangers are not just limited to that of women, but children as well.

Many parents would not want their children to see what they do in the bedroom. However, this doesn’t always apply to Goreans. Their ‘lifestyle’ isn’t considered to be a bedroom game. The following quotes have been taken from a popular Gorean lifestyler site named On September 22, 2003 a discussion was held on the site about Gorean lifestyle in terms of children.

A few members were commented to say:

“(swan{Ursa}) swan has tried to teach the children that males in the household are to be pleased by females .. they tend to take that as gospel now.”

“(swan{Ursa}) We have one boy 10, two girls aged 12 and 14 soon to be 15. Then there are swan’s two sons in Australia – 21 and 24 – both who know of our lifestyle, even to the degree that swan is slave to Master”

“(antigone`) a girl hasn’t any children , but she imagines an easy way to “introduce” them to the concept of Gor is to give them the books to read…many have read the books when they were 15 or so… “

“(Ursa) It all boils down to doing the things that every parent should do: raise your children to be the best people they can be. If I believe that the Gorean lifestyle is a good one, why would I not teach my children in its ways?”

“Ursa nods to Aahzmandius…. I told him that if the kid hit him he was to do his best to flatten the kids nose. A suspension will be over in a day or two. The respect from defending himself will last a lot longer.”

“(Ursa) Yes, she does dress appropriately when the children are here. Though, of course, the collar never leaves her pretty neck. And she wears ankle bells.”

“(Ursa) I don’t think I restrict myself to eye gestures as commands. It’s my nature to sometimes ask and sometimes tell swan to do things for me. That doesn’t change because the children are in the house. ;) swan has been known to sit at my feet, even with children in the house.”

Is it a Cult?

“But then there are things like cults – there, mind control happens when a cult wins over another person’s consciousness through hypnotic-like inducements including ‘love bombs’, a form of praise, overseeing an inductee’s every action, and eventually using shame and the threat of being expelled by the cult as a means of controlling them.”
– Professor E. Mark Stern of Iona Collage in New York

Love bombs, shame, and threat of being expelled. All things Gorean sims use on slave girls. If a slave girl obeys, she is rewarded. If she disobeys, she’s shamed and punished. If she speaks her mind or questions the philosophy, then she’s threatened with expulsion from the sims. But is Gor a cult?

This is a complex question that is best answered by ‘Yes and no’. A major thing that every cult generally has to start is a charismatic leader. One who personally founds a real life organization and most likely writes a series of manuals or books that describe the cult’s philosophy.

A Gorean will state that the Goreans have no charismatic leader. This is both true and untrue, as John Norman could be considered this. He’s not expressed much interest in personally founding a real life version of his Gor philosophy. However, it’s impossible to deny that people have formed a ‘lifestyle’ around his prolific writings, none the less.

Simply because John Norman isn’t working with these people directly does not mean that it is directionless. It does have a series of community leaders fostering their own smaller groups based off the Gor books. If any one of them were able to be charismatic, motivated, and influential enough they could concievably spark the trigger to the full blown Gorean cult.

Some Goreans would like to label Gor a ‘lifestyle’ when confronted with these sorts of questions. Can this be considered a lifestyle? A lifestyle, in definition is based on a multiple series of writing from multiple authors, dictating some sort of way of living. Thus something like D/s may be considered a lifestyle because it’s a concept based in no particular world and no particular one creator. Gor however, is based entirely on one series of books, by one author, as D/s it could be considered an extreme version of such, however, once you include gorean culture, gorean philosophy, and gorean writings as tomes of knowledge, you now have crossed the line past lifestyle and more into cult. You have a seemingly harmless series of books, but seem to have the sole purpose of dressing up a cult-like philosophy as fantasy. Because of this, despite the Sci-Fi/Fantasy label, the books are much closer to philosophical guides to life and love. They encourage the reader to take on the Gorean perspective — getting them into the cult, so to speak?

But with no formalized process past that step, they just splinter off into smaller groups with individual leaders and different levels of seriousness. Another way of looking at it, is perhaps it’s simply a cult without a leader. It could be likened to a pot with all the ingredients mixed and ready, waiting to be cooked. Or perhaps more appropriately: a bomb waiting to be detonated.

What can I do?

So by now you’re either one of four things: worried, enraged, incredulous, or apathetic. Taking in account the first one, say you read this because your friend recently became a Gorean slave and is beginning to show the signs of early conditioning, you may ask, “What can I do?”. As much as you might like to rush in like a valiant knight in stories and fight off the tormentors, it doesn’t quite work that way, in fact, any rash and violent actions towards your enslaved friend’s captors may cause her to dip deeper into Gorean hands. In this battle your weapon will be knowledge and you’ll have to wield it well.

The first and most important thing is, don’t lose contact! Often when a person who dislikes Gor finds out their friends are getting into it, they may shun them. This is a very bad idea. In the conditioning process, Goreans want their new slave to be cut off from her old friends so she becomes dependent on the Goreans for social contact. If you remain in touch, it reminds them that they still have someone outside of Gor to go to should they decide to leave. You’ll be her anchor for the non-Gorean world.

Gently remind her of your opinions on the subject. If you can, give her any information about it that’s not from a Gorean source you can. Again, you have to be gentle with this, if you are too harsh she may take it as a form of rejection and slip into Gor for approval.

Remember overall that in the end, this is the choice of the person getting involved. If you’re lucky they may decide based on what they’ve seen that it’s not for them. However, it’s not uncommon for a person to exit Gor only after a large tragedy. Unfortunately this is usually the only time a Gorean slave leaves Gor for reasons other than making up her mind.

Remember though, that Gor — like cults and drugs — is subject to relapses. While your friend may have exited Gor for now, that does not mean they’re done with it. Often times an ex-Gorean through tragedy will return to Gor soon afterwards. Thus, the important thing to do in this situation is an increased version of the aforementioned tactics: Remind her she has friends outside of Gor and comfort her, while gently reminding her of the bad things of Gor and thus why it’s not worth going back too.

The main thing Goreans run on is the concept of it being harmless roleplay and therein the ignorance of people as to what’s really happening in Gor. These conditioning effects can sometimes even be unintentionally produced. It’s a side effect of closely following John Norman’s already structurally manipulative persuasiveness and the general concept of slavery.

In the spirit of this, the best thing that can be done (for those who don’t have a friend involved) is to distribute the knowledge. Whether by this notecard, other notecards, conversation, debate, or any other form of communication, it should be done. It may be very tempting to lash out in griefer ways, but honestly is not recommended as it tends to just give Goreans examples of how non-Goreans are immature and that their way is the only proper way.

In the end, the only thing that can get a person out of Gor is themselves.

[Artemis Fate whishes to thank Belaya Statosky for editing and proof reading as well as ideas and support.]

51 Responses to “The Problems of Gor – Part 2”

  1. Steve

    Feb 11th, 2012

    Just have two notes to add:

    1. You do realize that about half the female avatars in sl are actually men. Even if the entire gor idea turns off a lot of men. There must still be a significant amount of men playing kajira in sl.

    This makes the idea that gorean role play in sl is designed to condition women into the slave position, also in rl, highly questionable.

    2. it seems that things have changed significantly. Because i haven’t had any of these experiences on any of the gorean sims i visited (playing a kajira).

    This makes me think that it really is all your own ideas you are trying to push and it’s not happening on any of the major sims in sl.

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