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Wednesday, July 20, 2011

1 - Transcript of Governance Class

[18:05]  Jarvis Quan: I will begin by freely acknowledging I am plagiarising heavily from the physicians of Vonda.
[18:06]  Jarvis Quan: Our physicians developed an apprentice training program that works very well.
[18:06]  Jarvis Quan: They offer nine classes each one covering one aspect of being a physician and each on with an accompanying practical.
[18:07]  Jarvis Quan: Apprentices from anywhere can join in the sequence and many do.
[18:07]  Jarvis Quan: The classes are designed to be supportive and friendly as well as informative.
[18:07]  Jarvis Quan: And they are informal.
[18:07]  Jarvis Quan: So we have a specific set of material to cover today but we can pause at any point for questions and comments.
[18:08]  Jarvis Quan: Also if someone wishes to correct me, that's fine too.
[18:08]  Jarvis Quan: Any obvious errors or points of disagreement just say so.
[18:08]  Jarvis Quan: This way everyone learns including me.
[18:09]  Jarvis Quan: We are offering these classes taught each time by someone new once a week held at two different times to accomodate time zones.
[18:09]  Jarvis Quan: This class was suggested by the scribe Paul Susa.
[18:10]  Jarvis Quan: The purpose is to make sure everyone understands the structure of Gorean government.
[18:12]  Jarvis Quan: I will hand out a notecard of the laws of the city of Treve which Paul gave me. It has an excellent well written background section.
[18:12]  Jarvis Quan: So I recommend reading it.
[18:13]  Jarvis Quan: Now everything I intended to cover tonight is covered in this complex diagram I put up.
[18:13]  Jarvis Quan: So the diagram serves as a summary and as my own prompt.
[18:14]  Jarvis Quan: Let's begin at the top.
[18:14]  Jarvis Quan: Does anyone know what the Priest Kings actually are?
[18:14]  Jarvis Quan: form type whatever
[18:15]  Scribe #1: spider-like creatures, great in size, many thousands (?) of years old.
[18:15]  Scribe #2: technologically advanced
[18:16]  Jarvis Quan: Oh I am being nudged here. Classes are officially OOC but we should do them in character as much as possible.
[18:16]  Scribe #3: the PKs are a mystery to the majority of Goreans
[18:16]  Jarvis Quan: Yes all of this is correct
[18:16]  Jarvis Quan: They live in the Sardar mountain and what happens if you go there without their permission?
[18:17]  Scribe #2: death
[18:17]  Scribe #3: poof
[18:17]  Jarvis Quan: You get thrown off the mountains to your death. Carcasses are found at the foot of the mountains in the desert.
[18:17]  Jarvis Quan: In other words it's bad
[18:18]  Jarvis Quan: Now the Priest Kings control Gor and make the laws.
[18:18]  Jarvis Quan: Well the important ones. The main thing is they limit technology specifically weapons to a subset of rather primitive ones.
[18:18]  Jarvis Quan: Swords, cross bows, that sort of thing.
[18:19]  Jarvis Quan: If anyone invents or imports things like rifles they are killed for it.
[18:19]  Arealius Barbosa: Imports?
[18:19]  Jarvis Quan: If someone brings them in from Earth.
[18:20]  Jarvis Quan: It can take the Priest Kings a while to get around to it, a year or more even but eventually it comes to their attention and the person dies.
[18:20]  Jarvis Quan: What is the form of death do the Priest Kings use as a warning?
[18:20]  Jarvis Quan: Anyone?
[18:20]  Scribe #4: Blue flame
[18:20]  Jarvis Quan: crispy blue flame
[18:20]  Jarvis Quan: I sometimes wonder if the color blue isn't a warning to us scribes not to get too smart.
[18:21]  Jarvis Quan: The Priests Kings are rather neglectful, sort of benevolent dictators.
[18:21]  Jarvis Quan: They are at war with another type of alien.
[18:22]  Jarvis Quan: And these guys apparently look like abominable snowmen.
[18:22]  Jarvis Quan: And they eat slave girls
[18:22]  Jarvis Quan: There is always spies and tension between the Priest Kings and the Kur. Humans spy for both sides.
[18:23]  Jarvis Quan: The way the Priest kings control Gor is normally the Initiates
[18:23]  Jarvis Quan: The Initates are the Priesthood of Gor.
[18:24]  Jarvis Quan: Some of the Initates even have little antenae and seem to be directly hooked to the Priest kings.
[18:24]  Jarvis Quan: Others seem to be wannabees who claim to be but really aren't.
[18:24]  Jarvis Quan: Occasionally even an Initiate will get the Blue Flame.
[18:25]  Jarvis Quan: The Initiates are nominally in charge of the yearly pilgrimages known as the Sardar fair.
[18:25]  Jarvis Quan: Everyone in Gor is supposed to go to a fair at least once in their life.
[18:26]  Jarvis Quan: The fairs are conducted by the Initiates but really it is the merchants who are running everything.
[18:26]  Jarvis Quan: Without the merchants there would be no fairs.
[18:26]  Jarvis Quan: And at the Fairs each year the merchants accomplish a whole lot of things such as standardizing weights and measures.
[18:27]  Jarvis Quan: Also they set the merchants laws for that year.
[18:27]  Jarvis Quan: Merchant law is the only law that is fairly well universal to Gor.
[18:27]  Jarvis Quan: Merchant law is the same city to city but laws in cities vary from city to city.
[18:27]  Jarvis Quan: So in effect, merchants are the real power of Gor.
[18:28]  Jarvis Quan: But they are wise enough to not let on to the rest of us know that this is the case.
[18:28] Individual castes also meet and exchange information and share caste standards and set their codes.
[18:28]  Jarvis Quan: Merchants are technically part of the low castes.
[18:29]  Jarvis Quan: All low castes receive a limited from of education known as first knowledge.
[18:29]  Jarvis Quan: It includes only enough detail as is needed to function and some deliberately incorrect teaching designed to help keep them content with their lot.
[18:30]  Jarvis Quan: So they are taught Gor is a flat disk and if they travel too far, they might fall off the edge.
[18:30]  Jarvis Quan: I can't help thinking merchants are not restricted in this way.
[18:30]  Jarvis Quan: I suspect it is because there are strong ties and many interactions with the high caste scribes.
[18:31]  Jarvis Quan: Merchants hire scribes, scribes hire merchants. Their work seem to overlap a lot.
[18:31]  Jarvis Quan: Others might say scribes and merchant collude to control Gor.
[18:31]  Jarvis Quan: I do not say this. looks innocent
[18:32]  Jarvis Quan: There are five High Castes.
[18:32]  Jarvis Quan: Initiates. I have already described them.
[18:33]  Jarvis Quan: Scribes are next. Our color is blue
[18:34]  Jarvis Quan: We are responsible for just about everything involved in running government. We are teachers, accountants, administrators, librarians.
[18:34]  Jarvis Quan: In short if you aren't fighting, building or healing, and you are high caste and not an initiate you are a scribe.
[18:35]  Jarvis Quan: Many of the lower caste are illiterate all but scribes are all able to read and write.
[18:36]  Jarvis Quan: All high caste have Second Knowledge which includes an understanding of astronomy, knowledge of Earth, of history geography, in short a basic good education.
[18:36]  Jarvis Quan: Most Gorean live in cities towns or villages. This is because Gor is a dangerous place and people need to band together to stay safe.
[18:37]  Jarvis Quan: Each of these units or collections of people is run by their own set of laws. Except in times of war or other trouble, cities are run by an Administrator.
[18:38]  Jarvis Quan: This is a single person who has basic charge of everything but who answers to the High Council. Our color is reportedly brown for two reasons I think. Brown is also the color of peasants so brown keeps us Administrators humble. Also all the crap hits us and stops with us.
[18:39]  Jarvis Quan: The High Council consists of representatives of each High Caste. So Gor is an oligarchy of sorts.
[18:39]  Jarvis Quan: In many cities we have one elected representative from each caste known as the "High".
[18:39]  Jarvis Quan: Also we have a Caste leader known as the "chief"
[18:40]  Jarvis Quan: There is no such distinction in the books.
[18:40]  Jarvis Quan: High and Chief appear to be used interchangably.
[18:40]  Jarvis Quan: Perhaps in some cities High + Chief and in others High =Chief. Nor is there any quote I am aware that says only one of each caste in High Council.
[18:41]  Jarvis Quan: We elect ours here in Vonda but in some cities they may well be appointed.
[18:41]  Jarvis Quan:  In Vonda only male caste members vote for the High Council representative. This seems to be a Gorean standard.
[18:41]  Jarvis Quan: I very recently was reviewing Vonda laws, which I did not write myself. I was stunned to see that contrary to what I thought Women can be elected to serve on High Council if the men vote them in.
[18:41]  Jarvis Quan: As in the Books rules vary by city.
[18:41]  Jarvis Quan: There is also often tension between the competing interests of the High Castes.
[18:42]  Jarvis Quan: Blue and Green versus Scarlet, Scarlet and Blue versus Builder, Builder and Physician versus Scribe and everyone against the Initiates.
[18:42]  Jarvis Quan: And then there are Ubars....
[18:42]  Jarvis Quan: There are two types of Ubars as far as I can tell.
[18:43]  Jarvis Quan: There are "nice" Ubars who are given absolute power in times of war, appointed by the High Council and chosen from among the warriors by the warriors. They give power back after the crisis is over.
[18:43]  Jarvis Quan: Then there are Ubars who declare themselves in charge and because the warriors back them they seize power.
[18:44]  Jarvis Quan: We scribes think of them as bad ubars, warriors think of them as great leaders who cut the crap.
[18:44]  Jarvis Quan: I have not met a warrior yet who doesn't wish we had an Ubar all the time.
[18:45]  Jarvis Quan: So depending on who is power, either the Ubar or the High Council make the laws for the city and enforce them.
[18:46]  Jarvis Quan: If they step on the merchants toes they get smacked around because the merchants withdraw all their business.
[18:47]  Jarvis Quan: Law is enforced by warriors but warriors are directed by and controlled by the Magistrates and Prefects.
[18:48]  Jarvis Quan: Magistrates are of two types.
[18:49]  Jarvis Quan: They are merchant magistrates whose job it is to enforce and to support merchant law.
[18:49]  Jarvis Quan: And then there are city magistrates who are responsible for enforcing city law.
[18:49]  Jarvis Quan: Magistrates are technically scribes. They are one of the subcastes of scribes. I would say Magistrates are more a combination Lawyer/Judge, but people can appeal their ruling and so you get Praetors who are judges as well.
[18:51]  Jarvis Quan: Because magistrates are appointed in a particular city you may find someone who is a magistrate who is not a scribe.
[18:51]  Jarvis Quan: This goes for Ambassadors as well. There are instances in the books of Ambassadors who are warriors.
[18:52]  Jarvis Quan: So in general Ambassadors and Magistrates are scribes but that is a matter of convenience because they are educated to take these jobs. It is not an absolute rule.
[18:53]  Jarvis Quan: I came across some other terms that were mentioned including archons who seem to be record keepers who judge from the records in the past.
[18:53]  Jarvis Quan: Ubara. In some situations an Ubara is like a Queen with great power.
[18:54]  Jarvis Quan: and in others it is simply a title given to a companion of an ubar and she may be one of 200 Ubaras an Ubar may have.
[18:54]  Jarvis Quan: Tatrix is a specific name for a female leader of one city.
[18:55]  Briny Ninetails: Is it Tharna?
[18:55]  Jarvis Quan: Are we all asleep
[18:55]  Jarvis Quan: ?
[18:55]  Jarvis Quan: Yes Tharna
[18:56]  Jarvis Quan: All right so we have finished our flying summary of government in Gor. I will now pause and we can take questions or comments or discuss points.
[18:56]  Jarvis Quan: Yes
[18:56]  Jarvis Quan: Well I will ask then if this was useful?
[19:04]  Jarvis Quan: Well the low castes were apparently beset by superstition and magical thinking.
[19:05]  Jarvis Quan: All right, we have gone on for nearly an hour now. So I am going to formally end the lesson so those who wish to leave are free to do so.
[19:08]  Jarvis Quan: I must admit it took me a long time to understand this stuff, especially the tension between the various groups, the vying for power.

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