Is it Gorean?

It's an interesting contemplation when considering the things that are Gorean. I'm not discussing role-play. I'm not distinctly pointing to online or offline. I'm pointing to ideas found in role-play, things done on earth, things accepted publicly and things sequestered. Gor is not politically correct, so if political incorrectness offends you, then close this window now.

Many things that are considered acceptable in the world we have to co-exist with are not acceptable if you are Gorean. It's nice to "fit in." It's easy to "live and let live." It's easy to tell our friends that what they are doing is acceptable. Many things are easy. Being Gorean isn't easy. Gor is a harsh, brutal and uncompromising world. I hear day after day about the things that "just can't be lived" out of the novels. The fact of the matter is, they can be lived, people are just unwilling to live Gorean, so they live a different life and call it Gorean. I refuse to accept that. Call it pseudo-Gorean. Call it quasi-Gorean. Call it semi-Gorean. Call it faux-Gorean. Don't call it Gorean if it doesn't fit.

So then, what doesn't fit? Let's take a look at some issues that come to mind. Some are directly referenced in the novels, others are inferred, but all are basic to the Gorean ethos. I will address them to the best of my ability and welcome comments.

Is the kajirus Gorean? On Gor, the kajirus was a man forced into slavery. He was never voluntarily a slave. The submissive male was an abomination to the Gorean culture. Submissive men exist on earth. Submissive men enjoy the strictness and brutality of Gor. Submissive men like the harshness and stability of Gor. There are a number of things attractive to anyone submissive about Gor. Does that make the role-play kajirus Gorean? NO! The submissive man, as said before, is an abomination to the Gorean mind. Here I must also comment on the "bisexual Master." This concept, which would require willingly submissive men, is also an abomination to the Gorean mind. While I suppose it could be presumed that a Gorean man could rape a male slave, any man that submits to another of free will without coercion is an abomination and those that accept them are placing themselves into the same category.

Is third person speech Gorean? Gorean slaves are often required to speak in the third person online and in some cases offline stating that this is "Gorean." While the novels did in some specific cases show that girls were ordered to "speak as a slave" in the third person, it was by no means the "norm." The slaves most often spoke in a natural, yet courteous tone to one another and to the Free.

Is rudeness Gorean? The Goreans of the novels were distinctly courteous. It is interesting to watch the people online and at Gorean functions having their competitions as to who is harsher and bellowing insults at one another when the Goreans we read about were courteous even to those they were about to kill. While Goreans were strict and even harsh with slaves, they were seldom rude to them. They did not thank them, but they did notice every move they made on many occasions and were appreciative to have the service.

Is kindness Gorean? Goreans, as a society, are kind people. We read that the word for "stranger" and "enemy" are the same word in Gorean, but if you read beyond that, you quickly see that they were not slow to share their water, food, salt or fire with those that they didn't know as soon as they were sure there was no threat. Many try to isolate themselves or show themselves as mean or cruel when Goreans in the novels were usually neither.

Is compassion Gorean? Without a doubt, Goreans were compassionate people. You have to understand from the beginning, though, that the Gorean vision of compassion and the one most in our feminized society have are quite different. It is compassionate to ease pain when possible, but not compassionate to do a task for someone capable of doing that same task just because it will be difficult for them. Compassion dictates we help those when they need help, not simply when they want it. Compassion, by the way, is not pity. A person in this feminized society doesn't care how they obtain help or assets, whether through work or compassion or pity. A Gorean, however, will not tolerate pity, nor is he likely to show it. Pity is an emotion of weakness, while compassion is an emotion of strength. 

Is love Gorean? Love is probably the only universal emotion. Gorean men have risked life, limb and gold for the sake of love. A slave serves, and well, because she is slave, but when she serves the Master she loves, she serves 100 times better. The Master cares for the needs of every slave he owns if he is truly Gorean, but the slave the Master loves is forced to be the best because of his love for her.

Is humor Gorean? I find it sad that so many refuse to laugh in the name of being Gorean. While being Gorean is a serious life choice, some of my greatest laughs came while reading the novels. A couple of people that come to mind are Harold of the Tuchuks and Imnak of the Red Hunters. Many times, Goreans gather just to share funny stories. If you cannot laugh in life or at life, you will not be a person others want to know.

Is respect Gorean? Respect is an interesting concept of which many have little or no understanding. Respect is afforded to a position simply because a person holds it, but to offer that person individual respect takes time. One has a right to courtesy until it is forfeited. One has a right to be served by slaves until it is forfeited. One never has a right to respect as that is given by each individual to those that individual feels is deserving. Yes, I believe that even slaves, while they may not have the right to choose who they will serve or who they will be pleasing to, have the right to choose who they respect.

Is requiring slaves to always be pleasing Gorean? What is the purpose of a slave if not to be pleasing? A slave's value is determined by her ability to be pleasing. A pleasing slave has positive value, a slave neither pleasing or displeasing has neutral value and a displeasing slave is a liability. A man will treasure an asset, will be ambivalent about a bauble, and will seek to rid himself of a liability.

Is submission or surrender Gorean? Submission has its place in every society. It is most often claimed by those in BDSM. They treat submission as a gift to be bestowed on a worthy Dom/me. Goreans know submission occurs for everyone. A man submits to law. A woman submits to a man. An animal submits to a trainer. These things are not special, they are realistic. A Gorean Master doesn't expect submission in a slave, it is a given. A Gorean Master expects surrender. Surrender is the giving away of all rights simply to receive what the one surrendered to is offering. This brings up a number of questions and concerns regarding slavery. A woman who is married to a man other than her Master cannot truly surrender, as she has already given her husband rights over her that she can't surrender, so her surrender and her ownership is incomplete. A slave married to her Master cannot surrender some rights legally bestowed on her, so her surrender, though perhaps emotionally complete, is overall incomplete. A slave becomes the property of the Owner. She is chattel to be used as he chooses. She has no rights or limits other than what the Owner permits. Anything less than this makes her submissive, but not a slave. What then of her children? Goreans are generally kind to children, but beyond that, any man who takes a slave with children takes on the well-being of the children as his responsibility as well. Goreans, as a society in whole, tend to look at the whole picture where the earthen mindset causes tunnel vision.

It should be noted the difference between Alpha males, Beta males and submissiveness within males. Alpha males, I would estimate, occur less than 1 per 10,000 men... and Beta, perhaps 1 per 1,000 at best. Alpha males are the strongest, most aggressive of the group. They have a killer instinct and a strong leadership characteristic, almost always finding themselves at the head of whatever they choose to do. Beta males are almost identical to the Alpha males in perception, but they readily submit to the Alpha males as men of character and strength; as worthy leaders. Submission is not a degrading characteristic in a man as surrender is. A man submits to law, to those in his command, and to his environment. The only time submission in a man is degrading is when the submission is unwarranted and detrimental to his environment. The Waniyanpi of Savages of Gor and Blood Brothers of Gor are examples. A true man, a Gorean man, will never surrender his right to free choice. To do so would neuter him and make him other than Gorean.

Is the natural order Gorean? The natural order is the core belief of Goreans. Men are to be masculine, virile, strong beings. They are sure of themselves and usually perceived as arrogant until a person gets to know them. They exhibit leadership as a part of who they are. They may not seek out the role as front-runner but often find themselves in that place. They are the Alpha and Beta males of society, not a part of the pack, but at the head of the pack. The women of Gor are much the same way. The free women and slaves are both very feminine. The free women exhibit submission but not surrender as the slaves do. Each, though, take their place in society with a fervor. They aren't happy to just be where they land, they find the place they belong and thrive there. Not only so, but they are also mindful of their place. A Free Man isn't free to do everything he wants, he is governed by his place in society. A Free Woman, as well, realizes that she is free by the will of men, not by some power she holds within herself. Slaves, too, know that their place is service.

Is honor Gorean? Honor, by definition in is: That which rightfully attracts esteem, respect, or consideration; self-respect; dignity; courage; fidelity; especially, excellence of character; high moral worth; virtue; nobleness; specif., in men, integrity; uprightness; trustworthiness; in women, purity; chastity. These characteristics, though not exclusive to Gor, are required of honorable Goreans. That is not to say there are not dishonorable Goreans. Those are the men, in my estimation, that meet the other qualifications of a Gorean man except in the case of honor. Honor requires that a man develop himself, that he learn his own strengths and increase them. He must know his own weaknesses and overcome them. These things are honorable. These things are Gorean.

Is slave ownership Gorean. Slaves seem to be the focus of many "Gorean" chats, discussions and gatherings. Slavery was a part of the Gorean society, but a small part. I have seen figures from 5% to 10% of the Gorean female population were slave. Slaves take a lot of work and effort to maintain. Even from the view of livestock, those slaves require dedication and maintenance. Goreans do own slaves, but a man or a woman can be Gorean without owning a slave. At this point, it should be mentioned that an un-owned slave is not a Gorean slave. An un-owned slave, while she may be Gorean, is not kajira. A kajira, by definition, is a slave owned by a Gorean man.

Is censorship Gorean? To censor is control the flow of information to reach a specific goal. There are two forms of censorship. One is acceptable, the other is not. The first form is when information contrary to a specific opinion or not meeting a certain criteria is restricted. This type of censorship is not Gorean. The novels show us that time after time opposing viewpoints were expressed. Slaves were permitted to say virtually anything to their Masters. In fact, Masters often sought the thoughts of slaves. The slaves of Gor were highly intelligent and expressive creatures with active and fertile minds. Free opposed and objected to one another with relative freedom. The only rule seemed to be that such interactions were courteous (except in the case of slaves where Masters would provoke an outburst by the slave to make a point). The other form of censorship that is Gorean is the ejection of hostile, rude, crude or inappropriate communications. As I have stated, Goreans were acutely courteous. Abusive or repulsive activities are commonly and appropriately censored from the Gorean way of life. It must also be noted, however, that on Gor, many times lower castes and slaves were given only the information needed for them to accomplish their purposes. While they did not have access to information outside their reality, the exchange of information within their own sphere of existence was not prohibited. 

Is sadomasochism Gorean? Sadomasochism is the psychological pathology in which a person is sexually gratified through pain. The sadist receives gratification solely through he infliction of pain on another whether the recipient is willing or not. The masochist receives gratification solely through receiving pain. This should be distinguished from sensual and sensory play which is often a prelude to sexual interaction or even other modes of slave use. Also, it must be noted that Goreans do not engage in resistance play (i.e. a girl intentionally commits an infraction so a master will discipline her). A master disciplines as he feels is necessary, not to fulfill the sexual needs of a slave.

Is humiliation Gorean? Humiliation has two meanings. There is the denotative, or dictionary meaning, then there is the connotative or societal meaning. In the denotative sense, humiliation, the act of humbling, is acutely Gorean. The Gorean man will make sure that his slave is humbled, that she knows her place. In the connotative sense, the Gorean doesn't take pleasure in the demeaning of another, except perhaps, an enemy. The Gorean, while knowing the worth of a slave, keeps her in her place. 

Is cruelty Gorean? While a Gorean man is decisively strict and completely unwavering when it comes to discipline, he will not be cruel simply for the sake of cruelty. While the onlooker might believe his actions to be cruel or unwarranted or even "overkill," nobody knows the Gorean man's slave better than he does, and so nobody can know the best way to discipline the slave effectively better than he can. Perhaps it should only be added that the Gorean Master, though strict, is seldom cruel. The girl knows, if she pleases him, her lot will be an easy one. She will almost never encounter sadism or wanton cruelty, for the psychological environment that tends to breed these diseases is largely absent from Gor. This does not mean that she will not expect to be beaten if she disobeys, or fails to please her Master. - Outlaw of Gor page 53

Is role-play Gorean? This is a touchy subject, and one I've waited a very long time to address. There are two kinds of role-play I will address at this point:

  1. Online adaptation of a persona different than the persona an individual has offline. Creating of a fantasy 'other-world.'

  2. The offline use of role-play as a personal interaction between two individuals for a specific purpose known to all individuals involved in the event. This particular type of role-play is for a specific and pre-determined period of time.

I will address them in that order. The first is possibly the easiest for me to answer, because I tend to use a role-reversal of sorts to make the comparison. Simply ask yourself, "would a man from Gor (if Gor really existed) who had been brought to earth where we have computers and such choose to go online and pretend to be on Gor or would he just be himself whether chatting online or anywhere else?" I have to say no, he wouldn't. I believe a strong part of being Gorean is to always be distinctly who you are. That brings me to the second type of role-play. There are a few times in the novels where a girl was given the task of seeing things from an alternate perspective. In this case, my opinion is that so long as reality is never in jeopardy, there is nothing wrong with limited role-play interaction for teaching, training or pleasure, but when it interferes with a person's life, a reality check is in order.

Coming topics include:

  • waiting on your suggestions...

If you have a suggestion you would like to see discussed or compared, email me at

2004-2007 Hayal Seyyal


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Last modified: December 22, 2010