Walking the High Bridges

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 11, 2019.

Tal and Greetings,

Last week, we talked about the necessity of individual moral purpose, and individual moral capacity in the pursuit of true happiness.

Conservative author, Ben Shapiro, in “The Right Side of History” tells us that there are two further elements that must be considered. He calls them Communal Moral Purpose, and Communal Capacity.
In the Wednesday night discussion from Glorious Ar, that I moderated on Gorean’s Portal Radio, the topic was community and was a sense of community important to finding happiness in Second Life Gor. Now, of course, that discussion was attended by a group of people with a very strong sense of community. They, after all, were giving up their evening to engage in a discussion designed to better understand and improve their Gorean community.

This is what we call, “preaching to the choir,” and much like this seminar, we rarely get the selfish and self-centered taker here.

Yet, despite that fact, it was amazing how person after person last night expressed the idea that it was the community involvement and interaction with like- minded Goreans that had enhanced their time here.

One female told of a year and a half involvement with a Second Life loner, who did not want to be involved with anything community related, and she said it was the most disconnected and unhappy period in her over one dozen years in Second Life Gor.

So, it seems Ben has a point when he suggests a communal purpose is essential to the pursuit of happiness. However, he is talking about the real world, and he is able to go back thousands of years to establish the history of community and discuss what might be, and what might not be beneficial communal moral purposes.

Obviously, any discussion of communal capacity is skewed by the differences between a real life community and an online community. I think we can put Ben’s book away after acknowledging the need for individual purpose and communal purpose, because the online community differs so drastically from the real life community.

We do not have thousands of years of history to study. We are basically making this up as we go along. Many younger people seem to have lost sight of that fact, and having been raised in the Age of Connectivity, they assume it has always been this way. I am sure that groups of early hunter/gatherers would access Google Maps on their ipads before setting out to hunt Wooly Mammoths, and most inter-tribal marriages were arranged on Caveman.Match. com.

Even though the internet has been around several decades now, it is still brand new stuff, and we aren’t really completely sure of its potential benefits, or of its potential dangers

Here are a few examples. We hear a lot about the idea of a new global world. In a real life situation, this is a dividing point. We have spoken in this seminar of the rise of tribalism in the RL world, and how the conflict between tribal and global thinking is a major issue.

Second Life Gor can best be described as a Global Tribe. In the past two weeks, listeners have tuned into GPR from 87 different countries around the world, and I would venture a guess that the majority of them would consider themselves “Gorean.”

Imagine, if you will, a commune set up , oh, maybe, on an island in the Florida Keys. People come there to recreate a Gorean society, and they come from 87 different countries. The logistical, communication, and cultural problems that would have to be overcome to make that work are immense, but this is what we have done here in Second Life Gor. We have shrunk the Earth to the size of our computer monitors, and we chat and interact each day with people that are not just far away physically, but sometimes on the other side of the planet. Automatic translators help with the language issues; the cultural differences exist mostly on the other side of the monitor, as we embrace a shared culture here, and we can exist here without food, or with “nam/nam” of G&S meals.

The ability to create this kind of Tribal/Global is unprecedented in human history. We have no frame of reference to study. As I said, Real life communities can look back on thousands of years of recorded history, and millions of years of unrecorded history to discover what worked and what did not work, but Second Life Gor has a mere dozen years of history to study to discover its mistakes and pitfalls to avoid.

Time is another problematic element of our community. In our Florida Keys commune, at least everyone would be in the same time zone. Sure, there would be night shift workers, and such, but, basically, the sun will rise and set at the same time for the whole community. The Internet community does not have that advantage, and time zones create a constant challenge to community building here.

Another problem we face here is a sense of entitlement. How many times have you heard the profile statement: “This is my SL, and I will do whatever I want.” This is a totally inaccurate statement, in the first place. It is Linden Labs’s SL, actually, and they could turn it off if they wished to do so. And unless you are a sim owner, paying Linden Labs, it still isn’t your Second Life Gor. Can you imagine a person arriving on our Florida island commune and claiming it was “His Gorean Island, and he will do whatever he wants?” We would throw him to the sharks without hesitation. Our internet community has to deal with those selfish people in a different manner.

Which leads us to the other problem. Dishonesty, deceit, and the fake courage of the online warriors sitting safely in front of their monitors safely insulated from any consequences for their behavior. Although lying and dishonesty could exist on our island community in real life, people simply would not be able to get away with what they do in Second Life. You could not be three people there at once, and you would not get very far pretending to be a female, if you were not one, and when you insult someone or act like a complete asshole, there might be some consequences that could not be avoided by clicking on a red X, and going about your business.

I think the important thing here is that we have done it anyway. Despite the problems of creating something totally new, and having to overcome language, time, and honesty problems, we have managed to create a community that is meeting many of the social and communal needs of people here, and helping them pursue that elusive happiness.

It is not an easy community to embrace. The standards are high, and excuses that work well in our rl lives do not carry as much weight here. Despite the fact that we bring our baggage from Earth with us here, we are slowly creating a Counter Earth approach to community building, and based on the discussion last night, many of us are realizing that some sense of communal purpose is essential to happiness.

It is, however, still the big kids playground. Second Life Gor is slowly evolving into a totally new and amazing creation. It has floundered around for a dozen years trying to find itself. We have approached it much as kids being given free rein in a candy store. We try this and we gouge on that, with no thought to what is good for us, and what might not be so good.

Now, we are starting to get some historical perspective. We can look at what has worked and what has not worked. We can examine the stories of those who came here, got it wrong, and left unhappy and frustrated with the experience.

There is a small and highly symbolic event in the book Outlaw of Gor that comes to mind this morning. Tarl mentions, early in his visit to Tharna, that unlike most Gorean cities, the high bridges of Tharna have guard rails. Tarl, still fresh from Earth, thinks this is one of the good things about the city. It is important, he thinks, that people be safe, and that they take no unnecessary risks, and the guard rails make sense.

Later, when the revolt takes place, and Tharna is restored to being a Gorean city, the guardrails are removed.

“One change that I find of interest, though I cannot heartily approve, is that the rails have been removed from the high bridges of Tharna. I had thought this pointless, and perhaps dangerous, but Kron had said simply, “Let those who fear to walk the high bridges, not walk the high bridges.”

Page 248 Outlaw of Gor

Entering our online community of Second Life Gor can be very much like walking the high bridges of Tharna. We are seeing that we must come here with not only an individual moral purpose, but with a communal one. We are being told that it is a place where we do not tolerate a lot of the weak and excuse ridden behaviors permeating our real life communities. It is being suggested that we can not just log on here, fuck around with people, and log off, and be happy. We hear people constantly calling us to a higher standard. Now, we are even suggesting that if you are not spending some of your time here working for the good of others, and creating a capacity for the community to grow and expand, you are not going to be really happy either.

I can very well see that entering online Gor, at this time of our development into something totally new and unique in human history, is a bit like walking those high bridges without guard rails, and I am growing a bit less patient, and a lot more hard, and I am thinking like Kron. I think those who are here with no moral purpose, and who reject the notion that they are part of the community and thus owe an obligation to it, and especially those fearful or reluctant to raise the bar, should not even be bothering to walk these high bridges with us. The first little bit of wind that comes along is going to blow them right off, and they are not going to find the happiness we are here pursuing.

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