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 April 4, 2019.
Tal and greetings,
Back last September, I gave a class called “The Pursuit of Happiness.” If you missed it, or do not remember it well, you should go to the Voice of a HoR blog and read it. Here is a brief summary.
We are entitled to pursue our happiness, but we are not entitled to have someone else obligated to provide it for us. It is a very strong message that it is on us, which is a very consistent idea in the Gorean novels. “Here looking for others to do our work” the books say, “we find only ourselves and an arrow of war.”
So, if we are entitled to pursue happiness, it seems sensible to look into what exactly happiness is and how will we recognize it if we should be successful in our pursuit of it.
I have sometimes gone to “Google” to get a definition of a word, but that does not work so well with “happiness.” The definition of happiness is given as “the state of being happy.” I do recommend as a side project to actually google happiness, and read some of the other definitions that pop up. It is a interesting journey that goes from Aristotle sounding like a Gorean by suggesting that happiness is found in balance, to a lexicon of various chemicals released in the brain. The chemicals are familiar, of course, to those of us with a little experience in certain aspects of BDSM. I do not know how you will fare in this Google exploration, but it did not do much to define “happiness” in a coherent way for me.
I did find something that made a lot of sense, and seemed especially apt for our Second Life Gorean experience and our chances of finding happiness here. Surprisingly, I found it, not in a Google search, but in an actual hard cover book. Yes, there are actually still such things available.
This book is called, “The Right Side of History, How Reason and Moral Purpose Made the West Great.” It was written by Ben Shapiro, a conservative columnist and speaker. This certainly is not a “Gorean Philosophy” text. The author takes us on a 3,000 year journey through Western philosophy ending with our boy, Nietzsche. Nietzsche, as we have seen had a profound effect on the writing of John Norman, and you can see the connection between the following quote from Shapiro’s book and the “Why so hard/why so soft” quote from Marauders of Gor.
“That structure, he believed, had held man back; it was “slave-morality,” which sacrificed strength for weakness, which celebrated poverty and powerlessness.”
Page 119 “The Right Side of History”
However, Ben Shapiro, an Orthodox Jew, differs from the Gorean idea in a major area. He would argue that Moral Purpose comes from some supreme being, or creator, or God, if you will. I argue that the Gorean idea, while not needing to deny the existence of a creator, suggests that Moral Purpose must stem from the “hearts of men.” When Tarl talks to the High Initiate in Priest Kings of Gor, he is told that as long as we do right because of fear of punishment, and not because it is the right thing to do, we will never reach “man’s greatness.”
What Ben Shapiro and Gorean philosophy do have in common, however, is a sense of the importance of Moral Purpose in pursuing happiness. He lists four ingredients to happiness. First is Individual Moral Purpose, then individual capacity, Communal Moral Purpose, and Communal capacity. I am going to be talking about these four ingredients for happiness in the next several class sessions, and trying to relate them to our experience in Second Life Gor.
The first one is the easy one. We need a moral purpose for our participation in Second Life Gor, or we will not find true happiness here, and ultimately, our time here will be frustrating and unfulfilling. I am sure a lot of people are going to balk at that statement. We come into Second Life to have fun. We work hard in RL and Second Life is our escape. Who cares if we find our fun in purposeless activities or games?
Ah, all of those objections said, “Second Life” and not “Second Life Gor.” Certainly, there is nothing wrong with fun for the sake of fun. Goreans would be the last ones to deny anyone the pursuit of pleasure, or suggest there was anything wrong with it.
However, Second Life Gor is not an amusement park, nor is it, really, just a game.
In order to find happiness here, you are going to first need a moral purpose for being here. That is a very sweeping statement, and does not really restrict us as much as it might seem to do. What is a moral purpose? Well, it is anything that produces a positive result without doing harm to others.
We have often spoken of the myriad reasons that draw people to the Gorean experience, and we can easily see which are moral and which are not. If we come here to learn more about ourselves; if we come here to experience different kinds of male/female relationships, if we come here to find friendship and/or companionship to enrich our lives, these are all moral purposes, and pursuing them could lead to happiness.
If we come here to fuck with people; if we come here to pretend we are something totally different than what we actually are, with an underlying intent to deceive others, if we come here purely as takers, with no though of sharing or giving anything back in exchange for what we take, these are not moral purposes, and in the end, you are not going to find happiness.
The second part of this is individual capacity. If it is impossible for you to achieve your moral purpose, if is not an achievable moral purpose. Here is an example.
If your purpose, as a man, is to find out what it is like to be a female, so that you can better understand them, and better help them find their own happiness, that seems a valid moral purpose. What a thoughtful guy. However, a man can not come here, create a female avatar, fool people into thinking he is a female, and gain any insight into what a female actually feels or experiences. He does not have that capacity. And since he can not actually accomplish that purpose, all that is left is the deceit, and the dishonesty.
You can err also by directing that individual moral purpose to far outward instead of inward and going way beyond your own true capacity.. I might say my individual purpose in Second Life Gor is to change the whole culture, and to get everyone doing everything right, and make sure everyone is happy at the same time. That is not only beyond my capacity to do in the first place, it is also more concerned with the behavior of other people, than it is concerned with my behavior.
You might think I am saying, “know your limits.” when I speak of capacity, but I do not see capacity and limits as being the same here.. We are encouraged to set high goals, and to strive for not only the mountain top, but even the stars, but we can not do what is impossible to do, and our striving needs to be moderated by reality.
From the very beginning of my time in online Gor, I have been aware of purpose. My early experiences online woke me up to a lot of personal shortcomings. I felt I lacked true honor, and honesty and truth were things of utility to me, rather than sacred principles. I did not feel very comfortable in relationships, always sensing something was wrong in the dynamic. And I was not really happy , and was still actively pursuing it.
So, my individual moral purpose was self knowledge followed by self improvement. That has not changed, and it is still an on going journey of discovery. I have always been aware of those things that I had the capacity to change and a good sense of the things that I could not change.
And I can say without reservations, that my time in Online Gor has brought me happiness many times, and has encouraged me to keep pursuing it on a daily basis. It has led me to this seminar, and to relationships and friendships that now define my life, both here, and in RL.
I was very impressed with Ben Shapiro’s idea that individual moral purpose , and individual capacity were essential to the pursuit of happiness, and encourage you to think about what your purpose is here as well as if that purpose is within your capacity.
Looming beyond those thoughts is Communal purpose and capacity, and what it means to our pursuit of happiness, but we will save that for next week. For tonight, we shall leave it with individual purpose and capacity.