The Cultures of Gorean Civilization ...

As noted above, Gorean culture is much less technologically oriented than Terran society. While the Cylinder Cities of Known Gor – called this because their principle architectural form is large round buildings not unlike Chicago’s Marina Towers – have a fairly sophisticated technological knowledge, because of the Weapons and Technology Laws (see above) they seem what a modern Terran would consider primitive at first glance. However, like Terran cities, they are organized around the principles of common defense (Gorean cities are always walled, for good reason,) economic interaction, and social activity. A citizen of Rome at the Empire’s height would not feel out of place in Ar, Gor’s largest city, although he would be amazed at the general health of the citizenry and the cleanliness of the streets.

As most of the Chronicles take place either in the Cylinder Cities, or in areas such as the basin of the Vosk River which are strongly influenced by them, they will be discussed first and in the most detail. The reader should be aware that when someone refers to how things are done "on Gor" they usually mean in the Cylinder Cities. Exceptions to almost every cultural practice can be found somewhere on Gor in some other culture and this should not be taken to mean that the Chronicles are inconsistent (although at times they are) but rather that Gor is a very complex world, not unlike our own.

One practice common to all Gorean cultures, without exception, is chattel slavery. This will be addressed in depth in the section on Gorean Slavery, but will be mentioned wherever appropriate.

*All Credit for many of the articles in this section are given, Copy write 2002


Most Goreans speak the same language, which they simply call the Language, or Gorean. It is an extremely complicated language, similar to the Romance languages but with English’s habit of absorbing useful words from other languages. A person who spoke Latin and Greek could probably make themselves understood in Gorean with some effort. Goreans of Known Gor often refer to "barbarians." This includes Terrans, such as slave girls captured and brought to Gor, and many people think that that is what it means. Actually it refers simply to people who do not speak Gorean or who are not native speakers of it. A Red Savage who could not speak Gorean would also be referred to as a "barbarian" just as a Terran girl would.

Other languages do exist on Gor in other cultures, but many members of those cultures also speak Gorean so that they may trade knowledge and goods with others. The Sardar Fairs (see below) do much to encourage the widespread dissemination of Gorean and its uniformity over most of the planet.

"One of the most interesting was the Translator, which could be set for various languages. Whereas there was a ma n common tongue on Gor, with apparently several related dialects or sublanguages, some of the Gorean languages bore in sound little resemblance to anything I had heard before, at least as languages; they resembled rather the cries of birds and the growls of animals; they were sounds I knew could not have been produced by a human throat. Although the machines could be set for various languages, one term of the translation symmetry, at least in the machines I saw, was always Gorean. If I set the machine to, say, Language A and spoke Gorean into it, it would, after a faction of a second, emit a succession of noises, which was the translation of my Gorean sentences into A. On the other hand, a new succession of noises in A would be received by the machine and emitted as a message in Gorean. My father, to my delight, had taped one of these translation devices with English, and accordingly it was a most useful tool in working out equivalent phrases. Also, of course, he and Torm worked intensively with me. The machine, however, particularly to Torm's relief, allowed me to practice on my own. These translation machines are a marvel of miniaturization, each of them, about the size of a portable typewriter, being programmed for four non-Gorean languages. The translations, of course, are rather Literal, and the vocabulary is limited to recognitions of only about 25,000 equivalencies for each language.

p.39, Tarnsman of Gor

        The Sardar Fairs

The Sardar Mountains have a narrow pass by which one may enter the range and try to reach the Priest-Kings. No one who has done so has ever returned. (Animals will not enter the Sardar and tarns will not overfly it.) However, at the base of that pass is a large area of neutral territory where the Sardar Fairs are held four times a year at the equinoxes and solstices. The individual fairs are known as "The Fair of" the month they are held: collectively they are the Sardar Fairs. These are huge gatherings for social, cultural, and economic interchange. The fairs are safe territory: no one may be slain or enslaved at the Fair, although slaves may be bought and sold. The various Castes exchange information at the Fairs, news of Gor is muchly traded, and varied goods from the far corners of the planet are interchanged.

Also at the base of the pass is a sort of shrine to the Priest-Kings. Every citizen of Known Gor, and many other cultures of Gor as well, is expected to make a pilgrimage to the Sardar before their twenty-first year to salute the Priest-Kings. While richer people can afford guards, the common folk must take their chances – and the approaches to the Fairs are not safe territory. Many women who meant to make an honorable pledge to the Priest-Kings have ended up seeing the Sardar from a slaver’s wagon. This encourages the mixing of bloodlines and slave stock from all over the planet and is also a primary, if little-known, purpose of the Fairs and the Sardar pilgrimage.

        First & Second Knowledge

One peculiar element of Gorean culture is the Two Knowledges. The First Knowledge is held generally by the Lower Castes. It holds such pre-technological references as believing that the world is flat, that names have magic power, and so forth. It is a simple worldview for simpler members of society.

The Second Knowledge, held by all of High Caste, is not exactly a secret, but is taken much more seriously by those of High Caste. It includes the knowledge that the world is in fact round, and that most superstitions are just that, superstition. Interestingly, it also includes the knowledge of the existence of Earth. As all Gorean humans are of Earth origin, it is not unlikely that this has simply been passed down through the High Castes, especially the Scribes. Not all members of the High Castes necessarily believe the Second Knowledge to be true, but they are all exposed to it.

        First & Second Knowledge

The word "Gor" translates literally to "Home Stone." Home Stones are central to the culture of Known Gor. A Home Stone is just that, a rock. Typically, each man will have his own Home Stone, a rock kept in his home to show that it is his place and that he claims it as his own. While Terrans think of borders from the outside in, Goreans think of them from the inside out, with the center being the Home Stone of a city. Citizens of a city swear allegiance to its Home Stone, not to individual rulers or ruling bodies, typically in a ceremony on reaching adulthood. Home Stones are very dear to Goreans: a man who speaks of Home Stones should stand, as matters of honor are at stake. A conqueror may destroy the Home Stone of a city, which in essence destroys the city, but while the Home Stone survives and is uncaptured, its city lives and fights. A meek and mild man is a larl in the place of his Home Stone, and a man defending his Home Stone is not to be trifled with even by a Warrior.

It is a common practice in some online circles to refer to a Home Stone as a place, as in "Let us return to the Home Stone," or "You are welcome in my Home Stone." This is categorically incorrect. A Home Stone is a rock, not a place. Persons from the same city might refer to themselves as "sharing a Home Stone," and this does indicate some minimal social bonding, but they do not refer to their City as a Home Stone. A person would not say "Ar is my Home Stone," but rather "my Home Stone is that of Ar." The reverence for the two is somewhat interchangeable: while a citizen of Ar might speak negatively of the rulers of his city, he will always express profound reverence for "Glorious Ar" herself, and a man who insults his city, insults him.

The bonding of the Home Stone, while profound, is very nebulous: for instance, merchants will try to get dear prices from customers whether or not they share a Home Stone. However, persons who do not share a Home Stone will be naturally suspicious of each other: the Gorean word for "stranger" is the same as the word for "enemy." Goreans are not irrationally xenophobic: they are aware that there are friendly strangers and familiar enemies. The sharing of a Home Stone basically entitles a person to the benefit of the doubt, whereas persons who do not share the Home Stone have a higher burden of proof to show that they are not hostile or otherwise negative.

The definition of "outlaw," on Gor, is "one who has no Home Stone." As this implies it is a very serious matter indeed not to have a Home Stone. Only outlaws and slaves have no Home Stone. Note that not all Gorean cultures have the institution of the Home Stone.

        Wagon People / Turians

In the Southern Hemisphere of Gor lie a large plain similar to the Great Plains of North America or the Steppes of Asia. Huge bands of nomads known as the Wagon People herd a form of cattle known as bosk through these plains. The Wagon People are divided into four tribes, who war amongst themselves but will band together against outsiders or Turians if the need is great enough. The Wagon People, like all Goreans, acknowledge the power of Priest-Kings but believe that the Sky is the creator-figure of the world.

In the center of the Plains of the Wagon People lies Turia, the "Ar of the South." A great walled city, Turia trades finished goods and slaves with the Wagon People in exchange for meat and other products. While a great deal of animosity exists between Turians and Wagon people, the two societies are extremely interdependent. Women of the Wagon People, free and slave alike, wear golden nose rings, and these are often seen in slaves from the region. Also the main alternative to the flat slave collar originated in Turia, the round rod collars often referred to as "Turian Collars."

More information on these people may be found in Book Four, Nomads of Gor.

        Rencers / Port Kar

The Rencers live in the delta swamps surrounding the city of Port Kar. They harvest a papyrus-like reed called the Rence which makes a fine paper, cloth, and other materials. They live on huge floating islands made of woven Rence. Historically the Rencers have been very vulnerable to the depredations of Port Kar slavers, but recently they have taken up the Peasant Bow and become a much more dangerous foe.

The City of Port Kar, "Scourge of Gleaming Thassa," is a city of pirates and slavers. Until recently, the city had no Home Stone, although lately it has become much more civilized as a result of the adoption of a Home Stone. Port Kar merchant-pirates trade goods all over Gor and control much of the wealth and shipping of the planet.

More information on these people may be found in Book Six, Raiders of Gor.


The Torvaldslanders live in the North of Gor. They are very similar to medieval Vikings, even following a modified version of the Norse Pantheon, while acknowledging the power of the Priest-Kings. In Torvaldsland female slaves are called bond-maids and male slaves are called thralls, both Norse terms. They know more about Kurii than most Goreans, as planet-bound Kurii can be found in Torvaldsland.

More information on these people can be found in Book Nine, Marauders of Gor.


In the Tahari Desert live several groups of nomads similar to the Bedouin of Earth. They live around oases in small enclaves or herd animals through the desert from place to place. Much of Gor’s salt comes from mines in the Tahari, notably the mines of Klima, and great wealth is to be found there. Natives of the Tahari are one of the few people on Gor who do not use the short sword: Tahari raiders use curved scimitars from kaiilaback just like Arabian raiders on Earth.

More information on these people can be found in Book Ten, Tribesmen of Gor.

        Red Hunters

The Red Hunters live in the polar regions of Gor’s Northern Hemisphere. They are extremely similar to the Inuit of North America, although they are not as isolated since they can walk to areas controlled by the Cylinder Cities and some of them make the Sardar Pilgrimage. Like the Inuit, they are friendly – much more so than most Goreans – and subsist mainly on food from the sea, notably whales and sea sleen. They also physically resemble the Inuit, being short, black-haired, and stout, with coppery skin. They are very joyous people, singing many songs and making many jokes. They believe that the spirit lives on after death and that it may move from animal to man and back again. They are also familiar with Kurii as the Kurii can be found in their territory.

More information on these people can be found in Book Twelve, Beasts of Gor.

        Red Savages

The Red Savages live on a large area of plains and hills. They are extremely similar to the pre-Columbian North American Aborigines and tend to share their physical features and culture. They do not like "white" Goreans such as are found in the Cylinder Cities and usually kill or enslave them if they find them in their territory. One tribe of the Red Savages has mastered the tarn: the rest ride kaiila. (Recently other tribes have begun adopting the tarn as well.)

More information on these people can be found in Books Seventeen and Eighteen, Savages of Gor and Blood Brothers of Gor.

           The Planet Gor

Gor, which means "Home Stone" in Gorean, the language of Gor, is an Earthlike planet which orbits the sun at approximately the same distance as Earth. It is held in this orbit by the technology of its rulers, the alien Priest-Kings, who have complete control over the phenomenon Terrans refer to as gravity. It is always exactly opposite the Earth from the sun. This fact gives Gor its other name, used only by those who know of the existence of both: "The Counter-Earth." Because the Sun always lies directly between Earth and Gor, Terran science has not detected it. The Priest-Kings presumably use their technology to counter the gravitational fluctuations in the Solar System which would otherwise reveal it.

The Chronicles of Counter-Earth, which in the books are distributed on Earth as works of fiction for unknown purposes, presumably by agents of the Priest-Kings, are written with a few exceptions by a man called Tarl Cabot. Cabot was born in England: he never knew his father and his mother died when he was young. He was raised by a maiden aunt. Cabot attended Oxford and got a job teaching English literature at a small liberal arts college in New England after graduation. After teaching for a brief period at a small college in the United States, he went on a camping trip in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. While there, he was abducted by the Priest-Kings, who have interplanetary flight capabilities and in fact are the owners of the famous "flying saucers." Thus began his involvement in the affairs of Gor and the Priest-Kings. Many times throughout the series, Cabot has served as a sort of independent mercenary on behalf of the Priest-Kings in their struggles with their ancient enemies, the Kurii.

The Kurii, an anthropoid space faring race, wish to capture Gor and Earth to replace their own planet, which they destroyed in internecine warfare. Currently, the Kurii operate in large artificial planetoids outside the orbit of Jupiter: the Priest-Kings do not molest them as long as they stay outside that orbit. For sixteen thousand years the Priest-Kings have fought the Kurii, protecting Gor and Earth from them. The Kurii are large, furred carnivores, extremely vicious, with technology far in advance of Terran science, but yet no match for the Priest-Kings. Many of Earth’s legendary monsters, including Grendel, the Sasquatch, and the Yeti, were in fact shipwrecked Kurii who were trapped on Earth when their ships were destroyed by Priest-King patrols. Kurii are also found on Gor, shipwrecked in the same manner, and have formed isolated outposts in the far North. (They cannot stand a hot climate and are extremely sensitive to pollution, which is why they are not found in any number on Earth.) The Priest-Kings do not molest Kurii on the surface of Gor save to enforce the Weapons and Technology Laws on them just as on humans. Therefore, a Kur who does not break the laws is safe on Gor from Priest-Kings… but not from humans, who hate them and kill them whenever they can. This is a very justified attitude, as Kurii are extremely arrogant and look on all other animals, including man, as food, and not too bright food at that.

Some of the other books in the series are written from the point of view of women who are captured on Earth by agents of the Kurii and taken to Gor to be sold as slaves. (These are Captive, Slave Girl, Kajira, Dancer, and Witness.) They make excellent introductions for the new reader as the culture and society of Gor are explained in great detail as the women are introduced to it. There is also a self-contained trilogy, known as the Jason Marshall books, within the series. (These are #14 Fighting Slave, #15 Rogue, and #16 Guardsman.) They tell the story of Jason Marshall, a Terran man who was captured incident to the capture of his would-be girlfriend, and taken to Gor to be sold as a slave.

Gor itself is much like Earth: it has one large landmass and several smaller ones. It has slightly lower gravity than Earth’s, but whether this is because it is smaller or because of some action of the Priest-Kings is not known. The Priest-Kings, an insectoid alien race, brought Gor to this solar system more than a million years ago, presumably because its original sun was no longer suitable. The Priest-Kings, who cannot tolerate long exposure to sunlight, live in what they call the Nest, a fabulous underground complex in the Sardar Mountains. ("Sardar" is the Gorean word for Priest-King.) These are centrally located on Gor’s main landmass. Interestingly, Gorean compasses point to the Sardar, and Goreans mark direction not by North and South but by "towards the Sardar" and "away from the Sardar." It is not known whether other colonies of Priest-Kings exist, or whether they are native to Gor.

Gor is inhabited by a large human population brought to Gor by the Priest-Kings, who are an extremely inquisitive race. They find human beings fascinating and study them constantly much as a Terran biologist would study lower animals. While there are many cultures on Gor, most of them correspond to one or more of the societies from which the Priest-Kings brought them. For instance, the Cylinder Cities of known Gor are similar to Roman/Greek City-states, there are nomadic desert tribesmen similar to the Bedouins, and polar natives very like the Inuit.

These cultures are much less homogenous than Terran society is and will remain that way because of the Weapons and Technology Laws of the Priest-Kings. While the Goreans know nothing of the nature of Priest-Kings, they do know the nature of the Weapons and Technology Laws, which have been communicated to them through agents of the Priest-Kings over the centuries until they have attained the status of everyday knowledge. The Weapons and Technology Laws which are set forth specifically in the books are:

    1. Metal armor is not allowed except for helmets and small shields (bucklers.)

    2. Chemical explosives of any kind are forbidden.

    3. Long-distance communication (any form of communication which can extend beyond line-of-sight) is forbidden. Messengers are allowed but they must physically move from place to place. (Thanks to tarnsmen , information and goods can still move fairly quickly if necessary.) Long-distance detection equipment, such as radar or sonar, is also forbidden. Telescopes, known as "glasses of the Builders," are allowed.

    4. Mechanized transport of any kind is forbidden.

It is also strongly implied in the books that large-scale environmental degradation, such as slash and burn agriculture, is against the rules. Violation of the Weapons and Technology laws brings the Flame Death. When the Priest-Kings observe a violation through their surveillance system, they cause a beam of energy to be transmitted into the culprit, who literally explodes in a flash of bright blue flame.

The Priest-Kings have three objectives in enforcing these rules:

    1. They prevent mankind from evolving to the point where they could challenge the rule of Priest-Kings. The Priest-Kings are not an aggressive species but they will defend themselves, violently if necessary. Rather than risk eventual conflict, they simply keep humans at a level where they cannot constitute a threat.

    2. They prevent damage to the environment of Gor, which is their home.

    3. They encourage what the Priest-Kings see as desirable natural selection in humankind. Since metal armor is not allowed, for instance, fast and intelligent warriors are at the advantage over slow stupid ones, even if they do not have as much capital. If richer but otherwise inferior fighters could equip themselves with armor, it would have a negative effect on the population.

One by-product of these rules is that cultures do not mix much on Gor and they tend to be much more individual. Cultural change is slower and the pace of life more leisurely. However, whatever is not forbidden is allowed, and the Goreans have made some impressive technological advances. In a way, they owe this to the Weapons and Technology laws, because the energies that Terran civilizations have put into armaments and other areas which Goreans cannot explore, have gone into alternative researches.

The most dramatic example of this is the Stabilization Serums. The Physicians of Gor see what Terrans call aging as an illness- they call it "the wasting disease." They have developed what they call the Stabilization Serums, which prevent deterioration of cellular replacement activity. In other words, once the Serums have taken effect, the person no longer ages. The Serums provide no other benefits – persons who do not take care of their bodies can be and are corpulent, unhealthy, and subject to death from any number of other causes. Nor do persons who have had the Serums have any unnatural resistance to disease or injury. Because the main focus of Gorean medicine for centuries was development of the Serums, lesser illnesses were not studied as hard by Gorean Physicians. Therefore, people subject to them were quite likely to die of them, with the result that the population of Gor is highly resistant to disease. Plagues are known but are very rare: epidemics are almost unheard of. The Physicians of Gor have diagnostic and therapeutic technologies equal or superior to those of modern Terran doctors.

The Serums are not equally effective in all persons: they can fail to work, wear off, or even occasionally trigger what Terrans call Methuselah Syndrome – ultra-rapid aging. However, they are generally safe and effective and all Goreans who need them take them if they feel age setting in. The effect of the Serums is transmitted to children of inoculated parents and so many Goreans do not need them at all. They are viewed as a universal human right and anyone who asks a Physician for them may receive them, even a slave or a barbarian.

Other Gorean technologies include the Energy Bulb, an electrochemical light source, controllable, which uses no external power source and lasts for years, and the Translator, a small device which can translate between languages instantaneously. Goreans also have what Terrans call "cattle prods," electrical goads. These are found as "tarn goads," which produce a set charge, and "slave goads," which are controllable. These items are extremely expensive, very rare, and are never used as weapons.

Other than the above instances, one can assume that a Gorean society will have the technological capabilities of its Earthly counterpart, be it the Roman Empire or the Zulu Empire. There is trade and communication between the various cities and cultures and so technologies which are useful across cultures will eventually wend their way wherever they may be used.

Again, Gor is very like Earth in its basic nature, but most of Gor’s fauna are either native to Gor or are Priest-King imports. In particular, the predators of Gor are very large and powerful, much more dangerous than Terran predators.

Species of Interest on Gor

    1. Tarns. Tarns are large flighted predatory birds, similar to the Rocs of legend. In Gor’s lighter gravity they can be ridden by one or more people. Various breeds exist which are used for racing, war, and transport. People who take care of domestic tarns are called Tarn Keepers, whereas those who ride them are Tarnsmen. Though not all Tarnsmen are Warriors (and not all Warriors are Tarnsmen) all Tarnsmen are extremely brave men. Tarns know who is a Tarnsman and who is not, and they will unhesitatingly kill and devour anyone who tries to ride them who does not have the stuff of a Tarnsman. (Female tarn-riders are almost unheard of: most females and many males are terrified by tarns.) Wild tarns are also common and are extremely dangerous, coming in a variety of sizes and plumages depending on their habitat.

    2. Tharlarion. Tharlarion are a genus of reptilian animals. They are found in all shapes and sizes, from tiny water tharlarion no bigger than a man’s hand to draft tharlarion which can pull huge wagons. There are also ul, or winged tharlarion, similar to the prehistoric Terran pterodactyl. Riding tharlarion are bipedal (think of someone riding a very large velociraptor) but all domesticated tharlarion are herbivores. Wild tharlarion may be herbivorous or carnivorous and are likewise extremely dangerous.

    3. Urts. Urts are Gorean rodents. Like Terran rodents, they come in all sizes, from mouse and rat sized to large enough to carry a man in their jaws. They are generally omnivorous. Domesticated urts exist but are not common. Urts have horns which extend over their eyes and meet tusks growing from the jaw, giving them a very ferocious appearance.

    4. Sleen. Sleen are large mammalian predators, very intelligent, and Gor’s greatest trackers. They can follow trails which a Terran bloodhound wouldn’t even notice, weeks old. They have six clawed legs and are phenomenal jumpers. Sleen can be domesticated and come in a range of sizes, from cat-sized to somewhat larger than a Terran tiger. There are also polar sleen and aquatic sea sleen.

    5. Larls. Larls are huge feline predators, twice as big or more as a Terran lion, and Gor’s most dangerous land animal. Larls cannot be domesticated.

    6. Bosk. Bosk are herd animals, very similar in appearance to Terran longhorn cattle, but larger.

    7. Kaiila. Kaiila are somewhat like the Terran alpaca or llama, but larger, and carnivorous. They can be ridden and are likewise found in a variety of environments.

    8. Tabuk. Tabuk are single-horned antelope, varying in size from two to five feet at the shoulder. They are the preferred prey of tarns and the command "tabuk!" means "hunt" to a domesticated tarn.

    9. Verr. Verr are mountain sheep, raised for meat, milk, and wool.

    10. Vulos. Vulos are domesticated pigeons raised for meat and eggs.

In the Nest there exist an unknown number of non-human, non-Priest-King life forms, some of which may be sentient. On the surface of Gor, there exists a race known as the Spider People, a large arachnidian life-form, which is sentient and can communicate with humans using special Translators. They are very isolated and rarely interact with humans. There is also a race known as the "urt people," who exist symbiotically with a species of large urt found in herds like capybara. They are generally humanoid and may simply be a subrace of homo sapiens. Other than shipwrecked Kurii, these are the only known sentient inhabitants of Gor other than humans and Priest-Kings.

          Gorean Philosophy

Most of the Gorean approach to life can be observed in the Gorean aphorism:

"Do not ask how to live; rather, proceed to do so."

Goreans do not see life as a mystery to be solved, but as a reality to be experienced. They enjoy what they can and endure what they must. They do not rely overmuch on what they would see as the crutch of religion, but treat the unknown and unknowable with a matter-of-fact and direct approach.

Goreans are very concerned with honor, both in the context of the Codes and in general. However, the fundamental tenet of Gorean philosophy is not honor, but honesty. Self-honesty. This manifests itself most often in the idea that most men are masters, and most women are slaves, and they should not heed the urgings of a sick society to lie to themselves about the thing. Well and good. But if what you are, at heart, is a Scribe, it's silly to play at being a Warrior. If what you are at heart is a thief, then be a thief, and don't claim a bad childhood and economic repression drove you to it. (But see below about consequences.)

One result of this is that Goreans rarely lie. Even evil ones. They do a lot of misleading, wearing costumes and masks, not correcting misapprehensions or even going out of their way to create misapprehensions, and so forth, but even such anti-luminaries such as Pa-Kur or Kliomenes rarely tell outright untruths. It almost seems that lying is worse than killing or stealing to the average Gorean. ("On the other hand, I do not recommend lying to Goreans. They do not like it." – from Tarnsman of Gor)

If the basic tenet of Gorean philosophy being honesty, this makes sense. If your core belief is that people should be free, even jails for convicted wrongdoers seem immoral. (See Valentine Michael Smith's action regarding the jails in Stranger in a Strange Land.) If your core belief is that life is sacred, the tendency is to make even necessary killing seem somehow bad. (How many Americans think that meat comes from the supermarket?) If your core belief is, as it seems to be on Gor, that denying your own truth is evil, even the lies of others, or to others, take on a more negative connotation.

A related aspect of this is the method of dealing with consequences. Those persons who find consequences visited upon them on Gor don't waste a lot of time railing against their fates. Of course, Gor is a harsher world than Earth, so part of that is probably also simply that they know it won't do any good. But Goreans, while not generally superstitious, also almost seem to have an underlying belief in "destiny." This can be seen in the Caste system, which comforts them and prevents the sort of economic malaise and desperation we see in Western culture. It can be seen even in the behavior of Tarl and his various companions-in-chains when enslaved. Even in the mines of Tharna and Klima, there was little railing against the vagaries of fate.

If one believes that one has acted in accordance with one's nature, and with self-honesty, then for the most part, one can have confidence that what happens to one is in accordance with one's nature. Generally speaking, the best route to having what happens to one be in accordance with one's nature is that rigorous self-honesty. No matter how true you are to yourself, if you live in a city that falls in a war, you run the risk of having something awful happen to you. But that's a different question. This concept of "I will get what I deserve, not because I am entitled, but because that is what I deserve," would go a long way towards explaining why most Goreans are generally content with their lot, and most Westerners are not.

Once you get the idea that anything besides your own fundamental nature should be considered in determining what you should "get," be it material possessions or treatment by others, you enter a spiral of entitlement and greed which ends in the modern welfare state, crushing consumerism, and widespread feelings of failure and lack of self-worth we see in modern Western society. Cabot once described the difference between Goreans and Terrans as that Goreans live in a society where people know their places, and are generally content in them, whereas Terrans live in a society where all are expected to succeed, and most must fail. Even when a man changes Caste, he doesn't do so because his Peasant parents decided they wanted a Physician son, or he decided that the prospects for women and money were better for a Scribe than a Leather Worker, but because he knows that his talents and interests lie in a different direction. Again, self-honesty.

An interesting and counter-intuitive result of this belief is that while Goreans are less likely to bewail their fates, they are also less likely to be resigned to them. If a person honestly and truly believes that they are worthwhile, and that eventually people get what they deserve, they will be unlikely to accept a temporary setback, even a radical one such as imprisonment, as their lot in life. In the unbelievably harsh mines of Tharna, and Klima, men still believed that they could be free if only they could find it within themselves to be so. This is similar to Heinlein’s famous quote "You cannot enslave a free man: the most you can do is kill him."

Honor is not a bad thing. The more honorably everyone behaves, the better society works. However, one cannot say that a person is not Gorean because they act without honor, nor that if a person is Gorean, he is honorable. A Gorean thief might walk up to you and grandly proclaim the classic, "Stand and deliver: Your money, or your life!" He might even take your money and then kill you anyway. But you simply would not see Gorean Scribes taking the work of others and claiming it as their own. Or Metal Workers taking the result of others' labor and proclaiming it to be their own skill which had produced the fine result. That is purely unGorean, not because it is dishonorable, which it most surely is, not because it is stealing, which it most surely is, but because it is a lie. Lies are unGorean. Whether told by Society or the individual, whether by design or by custom, untruth cannot long bewilder those who adhere to Gorean philosophy. As Shakespeare said:

"To thine own self be true: it then follows as the night from day that thou canst not be false to any man."