A recent discussion on honesty - originally focused on whether or not a man owed it to his property- along with the never ending debate over the concept of honor as it applies to Gorean philosophy and interaction, have caused me to put "pen to paper" and offer my opinion on such matters as they pertain to our reality.
It seems to me that a great many, when they refer to Gorean Philosophy and interaction, have a hyper developed sense of what defines such concepts as Gorean honor, honesty, and integrity. Whether their stated opinions are how they actually comport themselves, or are simply statements on how they feel these concepts should be defined, is not as germane to the issue as is whether or not these stated beliefs have any bearing on what qualifies one as being Gorean.
The truth of the matter is that they do not. All one need do - beyond possessing knowledge of the source texts - to be considered Gorean, is to believe in the concepts of Natural Order and apply them to their daily lives to the extent that such application is possible. As I, and others, have stated on more than one occasion, all ones definitions of honor, integrity and the like do, is to serve as personal benchmarks which determine whether another individual is the type of Gorean we choose to associate ourselves with. Many refuse to accept this opinion, apparently rejecting it as overly simplistic or dead wrong. The question of why they respond as they do is an interesting one.
During such discussions some will point to characters such as Ost and Dorna the Proud as examples of Goreans with less than the highest ideals in the areas in question. The response from those defending the hyper sensitized viewpoint quite often is - within the context of the fiction- that those characters were born on Gor and therefore, irrespective of their behavior, were Gorean by default. This position seems to indicate that we, as Goreans, have some higher calling in these areas simply because we are not, and could not be, of Gorean birth. Such an argument, while well intentioned, misses a very important fact. That fact being that Norman's characters were not cut from whole cloth. Rather, they are constructed from the various characteristics of the human animal. In short, we are not them, they are us. To look down from ones self constructed and self defined moral perch and proclaim someone else as being less than Gorean is no different than saying: "I am from country "X". Those of us from country "X" are human. If you do not believe as we do in country "X", you can not be human." Before rejecting the analogy remember; One need not look back all that far into human history to discover that there have been groups of people who have been set upon, in one fashion or another, and labeled "sub-human", for just such reasons.
There is a line of thought to explain why so many take this hyper sensitized, "Hollywood Bushido" approach to applying concepts of honor, honesty and integrity to Gorean Philosophy and interaction. One I have yet to see addressed. The desire to place ones self above what transpires all around us in modern society, and the desire for validation. In the case of the former if one believes that adherence to Gorean Philosophy elevates them above the morass, then it does. The latter is simply an exercise in futility. There is no need for validation among like minded individuals. Our very existence is validation enough. Validation from the rest of society will never come. At best you'll be written off as a chauvinist if you are male, and a foolish throwback if female. At worst you'll be discounted as a pervert with an odd and specialized deviance. Even with a highly developed and actualized sense of the concepts in question the best that can be hoped for is; "Well....so-and-so is okay, but..."
There is no special glowing aura surrounding Goreans, regardless of their ideals. And the only way stirring barbaric music begins to play as you come into view is if someone happens to be playing the Conan soundtrack at the time. Goreans are simply human beings, warts and all.