The Gorean Compass is a class given every Thursday by Master Gorm Runo. Classes are held at the Gorean Campus and are given at noon and 6pm SLT. All are encouraged to come and join in the amazing discussions. This class was held on January 31, 2019
Tal and greetings
As I live my own life, I find myself holding to some very firm philosophical concepts. Over the past few years, one of the strongest of these is the idea that things are not really as complicated as humans in this modern age are tending to make them. Maybe, one way to express this is that there is an azimuth pointing to “the right way”, and all you have to do is hold the compass steady and see where it is pointing.
I have called this Course, The Gorean Compass, so obviously the analogy of a compass is very important in understanding what I am trying to say in these seminars.
I thought I would begin today with a brief refresher on how this azimuth business works. A circle is divided into 360 sections, called degrees. You have heard the expression, “he did a 360”, meaning he turned a complete circle.
So, imagine yourself standing in a field. There are 360 possible directions you could go to walk out of that field. If someone blindfolded you, and spun you around in a circle, and then when they stopped, you began to walk the direction you were pointing, you would be walking one of those 360 different directions, and that is called your azimuth.
When a person is following a compass, he sets in one of those 360 azimuths, and as he walks along he checks it from time to time to make sure he is following it exactly. It seems fairly simple, but the problem with this analogy when you apply it to your philosophy, is that there are 359 wrong ways to go, and only one right way. That is pretty strict.
In this age of diversity and inclusion, that is a pretty extreme stance. Most people are going to argue that there are many different interpretations and things are not always black and white.
In Mercenaries of Gor, a fellow named Hurtha expresses this idea to Tarl.
“Right,” said Hrutha, ” if that is what you are interested in, seems to me a very hard thing to understand. I am not sure if there is really any such thing, at all. I have never tasted it, nor seen it, nor felt it. If it does exist, it seems likely to me that it would be on both sides, like sunlight and air. Surely no war has been fought in which both sides have not sincerely claimed, and presumably believed, for one reason or another, that they were “right.”
Page 45 Mercenaries of Gor
It seems likely that right would be on both sides. This is the anti-compass view point in a nutshell. It suggests that there are many different ways to reach your destination, and it really does not matter all that much which one you chose.
This is the lesson that I learned when I was a compass man for an Infantry unit. As soon as the azimuth pointed to a direction that was hard, this was the time when people would begin to argue the merits of a “different way to reach your destination.” I came to understand that the arguments to embark on one of those 359 other directions and abandon the azimuth were really excuses and justifications designed to cover up weakness and laziness.
It is important to remember when trying to understand this concept, that 99% of our decisions do not require the use of this “Compass.” There is no “right” thing to chose for dinner tonight, or “right” time to go to bed. Almost everything is an individual choice and people have a tremendous amount of freedom The secret is to identify that 1% and then take out your compass, hold it steady, find the azimuth pointing to truth and reality, and follow it no matter how hard or inconvenient it might be.
In a recent seminar, we talked about the “ad hominem” problem. That was judging the merits of a thing based on the people involved and our opinion of them, rather than on the rightness or wrongness of the thing itself. This is also the reason, I have consistently bashed the idea of intersectionality and victimization. They are the ultimate ad hominem argument. They give us more moral standing and make us more “right” based on our skin color, or religion, or gender, or any other number of factors that have no relationship to truth or reality.
Truth. Reality. Right. I have come to feel that the core Gorean experience is always about a search for truth, and an acceptance of reality, and a fanatical devotion to finding and doing what is right.
This is why it is so important not to dilute Second Life Gor with the baggage that is destroying the moral fiber of Earth culture. If we are going to get anything at all from our time here, it is important that we do it right. Most of the time we do “do it right.” It is always easy to follow an azimuth over level and open ground. In our role play, and in our structure and behavior, we create a version of Gor, the Counter Earth and it is usually done very nicely.
But, then we come to the woods. Or the azimuth points right into a swamp. Things are not so easy anymore. The excuses and justifications begin to fly like gnats around our heads, and we slip back into the cultural conditioning that many of us come to Gor to escape. Truth is offensive, and reality consists of fifty shades of gray. We even wallow in ad hominem prejudices that totally obscure our ability to see what is right and what is wrong.
Once again, this is the time that you need to stop and take out the compass . You need to point it toward truth and reality and follow where it points, even if you have to wade neck deep into the swamp.
Anyway, in a rambling sort of way, that expresses a philosophical approach to Gor that seems to have become firmly entrenched in my mind, and I sometimes wonder how in hell I ever got so enamored with it. Then, I pick up one of the books, and thumb through it, and find a passage like this one.
“Culture decides what is truth, but truth, unfortunately for culture, is unaware of this. Cultures, mad and blind, can die upon the rocks of truth. Why can truth not be the foundation of culture, rather than its nemeis? Can one not build upon the stone cliffs of reality rather than dash one’s head against them? But, how few humans can think, how few dare to inquire, how few can honestly question. How can one know the answer to a question which one fears to ask?
It is scary stuff. If you realize that there are 359 wrong azimuths, and only one right one, it seems really, really, hard to stay on course. That is why it is so comforting to have a compass that you can trust. I got my compass from reading John Norman’s novels, and thinking about what he said in them.
I spent years discussing with others the meaning of his words and his ideas, and I looked honestly at the other side of the arguments. I learned to stop caring so much about what others thought and said and did, and focus inwardly on my own behavior. I still go astray from time to time, and tend to wander off course a bit, but I have my compass, and more and more it seems things are not so complex, and even from time to time, I get to taste right, and see it, and feel it.
And it is at times like that I feel the most Gorean, and less a man of Earth.