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Friday, July 22, 2011

3 - 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.

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