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Thursday, July 21, 2011

Customs and Social Norms

Scribe's Note: This document is intended to describe the kind of behavior that is acceptable and polite within Fina.  As such, failure to comply with these customs and social norms is not punishable under the law, but rather by the censure of one's fellow citizens.  Customs and social norms are essentially part of the social contract, the things everyone subscribes to in order to achieve community and stave off anarchy.  The Rule of Law, as necessary as it is, cannot cover every situation, so much of what binds the community together must come from the individuals within it.  Customs are simply the "unwritten laws" of the city, carrying penalties that are often far subtler but no less harsh than the civil laws enforced by the caste of magistrates.  In life, they are instilled from birth.  Presumably, none of us can claim to have been born and raised on Gor; thus, they are submitted here, Fina's unwritten laws in written form.
Wherever possible, I have chosen to apply the social norms ascribed to Ko-ro-ba, as that city's customs and traditions are described most often and used to contrast with those of other cities in many of the narratives in the books of John Norman.  Every item contained herein is supported by a quote from the books which identifies it as the way of things in Ko-ro-ba, or as a common Gorean practice.
        ALL FREE
1.  The Home Stone is so central to Gorean life that the planet's name, Gor, means "Home Stone".  In a Gorean's view, a city's buildings may be destroyed, its people scattered, but while the city's Home Stone exists, the city itself still exists. 
2.  Free persons rise to their feet when speaking of their city's Home Stone.
3.  Free persons are attentive to the thoughts and feelings of one another, especially if they share a Home Stone.
4.  Goreans are typically suspicious of those who claim a Home Stone other than their own.
5.  Caste forms the structure upon which Fina's society is built.  There are three categories of person who have no caste: Priest-King, slave, and outlaw.
6.  A free person's ethics are based on the Codes of their Caste.  The Codes of each Caste form the basis of honor.
7.  Free persons of low caste commonly have a true name known only to their closest relatives, and a use name, by which most people address them.
8.  Companionship with a person who has no caste, family, or position is considered a gross and incomparable mistake.
9.  Those of lower castes are typically illiterate.  Warriors, whether it is true or not, will often claim to be illiterate.
        FREE MEN
1.  A Gorean free man values freedom, his own and that of others, above all things, save for honor. 
2.  Free men pay attention to free women when they speak.  It is their due.  They are, after all, free.
3.  Free men of Gor commonly stand when a free woman enters the room.
4.  Free men will find it easy to ignore insolence in a free woman, simply because she is free.
5.  One treats a free woman with deference, honor, and respect.  By contrast, one treats a slave with condescension and authority.
6.  A free man, walking with a woman, permits her to walk beside him or before him.  It is the slave who follows him at his heel.
7.  In the temperate climate of Fina, a free man wears either a tunic or robes, depending on his station and the level of physical activity he expects.  He will wear either sandals or boots, again depending on the activities he expects to be involved in.  His clothing will bear the insignia of his Home Stone and of his caste.  In Fina, the colors of a man's attire will also be primarily those of his caste.  He will take pride in all these things, even if his clothes are torn and dirty.

1.  Free women may address a free man by his name.  Doing so marks her as free.
2.  The free women of Fina do not willingly travel outside the walls of Fina with fewer than two warriors in attendance.
3.  Within Fina's walls, free women may move about the city unaccompanied without first obtaining permission from a male family member.
4.  When seated, free women kneel with their knees together, and their wrists before them, uncrossed.  Crossed wrists can be interpreted as an indication of submission.
5.  Free women of high caste do not perform menial tasks.
6.  A free woman may sell herself into slavery, and even negotiate the terms of it.  Once she is in a collar, her new Master may change the terms as he sees fit.
7.  A free woman is considered to be free, and will always be treated as one, until she has been branded a slave.
8.  Free women command attention when they speak.  It is their due.  Yes, this is noted twice.  It is that important.
9. A free woman does not change her name as a result of Free Companionship.
10. Free Women do not use cosmetics, nor do they wear earrings.  They will also not wear any jewelry or adornment that encircles their throat.
11. A free woman may often make a man angry with impunity, but not always.  A wise free woman will not make a habit of it.
12. Free women keep their hair long and, at least in public, wear it up.  Wearing the hair down is a sensual thing, which, as with all things sensual, will be avoided by modest free women.
13. Free women commonly wear veils in Fina.  To go without is considered immodest.
14. Free women of Fina dress modestly, wearing robes or gowns which conceal their entire form from shoulder to foot.  They will typically choose to wear multi-colored robes or gowns, though the central colors will usually be those of their caste.  On her feet, she will wear sandals, slippers, low-heeled boots, or platform shoes designed to help keep the hem of her clothing out of the mud.
15. In Fina, free women will typically turn away from an immodest woman and refuse to speak to her.  Free men may, if they choose, strip the immodest woman and force a veil upon her, then march her to her home or to the docks and aboard the next departing vessel if she does not live inside the city walls.  If this treatment must be repeated, the men may also turn her over to the magistrates, and she will likely be enslaved, in accordance with Fina Civil Law.
16.  No free woman would dare to bare her legs, shoulders, or wrists.  Likewise, a free woman will commonly conceal her throat, since it is natural for a Gorean male to look at her bared throat and think, "collar".
17.  A free woman walks proudly beside a free man, or before him.  She will be protective of this right, and should she ever find herself in a collar, she will acutely feel the loss of it.
18.  A free woman is considered justified if she chooses to be aloof, unapproachable, vain, petty, selfish, supercilious, or arrogant.  She may also choose to be proud, haughty, insolent, and outspoken.  She may treat males with contempt and ridicule.  She may certainly be deceitful.  She is, after all, free.
19.  High caste women typically regard vulgar language and gestures as being incompatible with the dignity of their caste.  Low caste women generally do not constrain themselves in this way.

1. Slaves are not permitted to touch legal documents.  This includes slave papers. 
2.  The purpose of a the collar is to identify a slave's owner.  The slave, when commanded to identify her owner, will present her collar.
3.  Slaves in Fina will be branded.  City slaves will be branded with the kef.
4.  Kajirae will kneel in nadu, unless in the presence of free women or when her doing so might distract men from important tasks or discussions.  She will then kneel in the position of the tower slave.
5.  Slaves do not teach classes which might be attended by the free, or instruct free persons.
6.  Slaves are not permitted either dignity or frigidity.  Those things are reserved for free women.
7.  A slave does not lie.
8.  The pain that Gorean men will accept from their free women, in deference to their freedom and their sharing of a Home Stone, they do not, and will not accept from their slaves.
9.  A slave has neither Home Stone nor caste.
10.  The Gorean slave girl is commonly not permitted to be vulgar, though she may, of course, be ordered to use vulgar langauge in referring to herself or in begging for use.

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