Friday, May 6, 2011

Response to a critic

Preface - 2011. The following was the culmination of an exchange on the old silk&Steel community discussion board which I owned and ran for several years. Then, like now, most of what we did was attempt to clear up the misconceptions and outright lies about what living Gorean in this society entails. (As an aside, I find it ironic that these days most of the more popular and active Gorean discussion venues are attached directly to BDSM sites. Despite this, I have found that there exists some good discourse amongst the obvious romantic fallacies and the outright trolling that goes on).

Please enjoy my responses, below.

As always, I can be reached here at



Again, as you have done several times in the past, you confuse living the Gorean philosophy with trying to be a character out of a book. I can appreciate how confusing this can be, to someone standing outside this lifestyle and looking at the mess that "online gor" is. I assure you that we as lifestylers rarely spend too much time worrying about many of these issues. Some things are important, some not, some things are indicators that a person claiming to be Gorean (which you do not do), has not even read the novels which contain that philosophy and some things are a matter of taste.

You said:

>>>"I am a writer, and my owner would be dreadfully cross if anyone did that with my books, as of course all my work is now my owner's property."

And just what have we done with his books? We are not producing product, for profit, that interferes with his copyright or his ability to gain recompense from his work - indeed the exact opposite is true: It has been noted that without those two fellows meeting in a chat channel, without that IRC channel being formed, without the work of those two men and many many others, "GOR" would not be enjoying the popularity it currently has, nor would the books be in reprint. Nor, I will point out, would there be a glimmer of a chance that the 26th book may someday see print (indeed, that is why the author tried his hand at a non-Gorean creation recently, which did not capture the following his previous work had). The "Gor" license was moribund, Cara, before three or so years ago. 'Certain' people have communicated their appreciation to us, for doing what we did, I assure you. ;0)

I suspect the author is not going to become "dreadfully cross" any time soon, with us. ;0)

>>>"However the question that I wanted to ask is, who decides what is and what is not Gorean?"

That is simple: We do. The community of men and women who live this lifestyle. Unlike what you seem to wish to imply, there is a great wide area that covers what is Gorean and what is not. People are not living this philosophy in narrowly defined avenues. Indeed, there are men whom I am friendly with, who live a Gorean lifestyle that I could never live - for instance, some live a nomadic lifestyle patterned after the Wagon Peoples. Completely different than me, my home and my microwave oven. ;0) However, this does not make them any less Gorean than I am.

Where the rub comes in, and where you see the friction, is when the vast majority of those online claiming to be Gorean seek to change the *philosophy*, to ignore the *traditions* or to betray the codes of their proclaimed caste, usually because they are sniffing around some subbies crotch. These "gorkies" stop being "gorean" as soon as the computer goes off. Those kind of people, Cara, are what make up the vast majority of online "goreans" you have probably come to know.

But there are a few, small in number but growing, who understand what this lifestyle demands, and live it every day - not exactly as I do, nor as the next fellow, but in a way that is in keeping with what I mentioned above, so as to demand respect.

>>>"I have noticed lots of things that have puzzled me."

Indeed, we noticed you noticed. ;0)

My suggestion is to stop seeing this as a game, with "rules" that allow you to play, or not. Stop seeing it as akin to BDSM, where the rules say that when the 'safeword' is given, one must cease. Where the 'social rules' say that men must defer to a woman if she identifies herself as a "Domme".

This is a lifestyle philosophy. Those who understand it, simply do not seem to have much trouble manifesting it in a manner that others can respect, even if those ways are very very different from their own - those who do not have it in them for whatever reason, can not do so. That is the rub.

>>>"A few examples are slaves saying frequently "This one" I do not recall ever seeing this in a book."

Girls oftentimes spoke in the third person, in the novels, most especially in training and when being corrected. Indeed, when told in the novel to speak "as a slave", a girl speaks in third person. When my partner and I started all this, we decided that due to this being a text-only medium, the communication in third person is a valuable tool to reinforce to the girl (whom obviously is not there and one cannot see) that she needs to think and shift from her ordinary manner of speech, to one that is pleasing to men (See: Vector of Pleasure on the Silk&Steel web site).

Also, such speech is pleasing, to our ears. ;0)

Since that day, it has become a tradition for girls to talk this way. Indeed, since we are not playing a game, nor are we portraying characters out of the books, we will tend to, as a living breathing community end up developing our own traditions over time. And that is a good thing, as long as they do not conflict with the philosophy.

I might point out that 95% of the online traditons, including the online collar {}, the third person speech, asking to enter/leave, using alcoves instead of having 'relations' in front of everyone, etc., were all originated in and copied from the Silk&Steel.

I might point that out, but then, I am far too humble to do so. ;0)

>>>"There is a lot of mention of slaves *failing* if they behave in certain ways, and yet in the books they were often haughty, and indignant and displayed other unsubmissive behaviour. I could go on and on citing examples, but I don't want to be too boring."

Slaves in the novels cannot fail, Cara, for if they approach that, they are either beaten into submission, crippled and left to beg for substance, or killed.

Now, if we were simply playing characters out of a book, we would be a very dangerous bunch, in this society, indeed.

But we are not. We do not harm those who are too weak, stupid or incomplete to be a slave. Simply, we release them and let them go. Attached to that, is the stigma of failure. Not every release is due to failure, of course, but when a girl fails, release is inevitible.

And *failing* is simply deciding to behave in certain ways, Cara. *Failing* is defined simply: It is when a girl decides on her own to stop being a slave for her own comfort or ego. It is, truly, also the definition of a subbie/slubbie.

Slavery is a goal, Cara, and as a word is tossed about with abandon, but few girls actually ever reach it. Most are submissives, putting the cloak of servitude on and taking it off when they need to (such as when their hubby comes in the room), and fooling themselves about the truth of it.

But there are some who, no matter what they are doing at the job, at the office, at the grocery, at the dentist, never forget that their very lives are owned and that they exist for the pleasure of men.

Those girls, Cara, are very hard to find, and when a sub blossoms into a slave, she can be very highly prized among men.

>>>"I appreciate that many adaptations have to be made to live in our respective cultures, but who decides what these adaptations might be? Is there a committee of elders? Is it thrashed out through debate? Do you follow the dictates of one or two *leaders*? And what happens if someone does not agree with something? Who then decides that the person concerned is *not* Gorean?"

Ah, it would be easy to do so, Cara, if we were only playing characters out of a book. I direct you to AOL/gor and such places, where just what you speak of has manifested - where no one claims to be Gorean, and it is all just a roleplaying game to them. There, things are pretty cut and dried - there are rules, dice tables, and saving throws. They step in and out of "character" (ooc) and speak of their real selves as "muns" (mundanes).

Only one problem: They bicker and hurt one another more than the lifestylers and the gamers on all the rest of the venues combined. ;0)

Who decides? Again, *we* do, as a community of Gorean men and women. What you try to assert is that there is some 'board' that oversees what is Gorean and what is not, and if we were playing a game ala AOL, then we would need one. The truth of the matter is that Gorean men and women are by and large intelligent and honorable, and will honestly look at how another is living their lives based on the philosophy, traditions and codes, and judge them thusly. If they are very different, but meet the criteria, then they are respected - they might not be liked, they might have nothing at all in common - but they are respected as Gorean. I gave an example of this earlier.

Indeed, I have sat and watched this community reject those who claimed with all kinds of shouting and gesticulation to be Gorean, yet who did not walk the talk. Those people, once rejected, have slunk off to other venues, to form their own nets where they could be Ubar (indeed, to my knowledge only one "gorean" net in all that have been tried, was not formed for the reason that the owner was rejected by the Gorean lifestyle community) and try to *MANDATE* the respect that they could not earn by their actions. These people, some who read here today [Bear waves], sit on those silent and empty nets, wondering why people have deserted and still seek to desert them.

Where you see friction online, Cara, is the point where a multitude of people have changed that philosophy, have emasculated it, dumbed it down and who seek to change the traditions and codes into something that more fits what they *are*, rather than changing themselves to more fit what the philosophy demands.

That, Cara, is where you see friction between those who live this - a very diverse bunch to be sure - and those who *want* others to *think* they do.

That, Cara, is why you must ask the things you do.

I hope that things are a bit clearer for you, now.


copyright 1999 Bear- All rights to reprint are reserved.