Here are relevant references from the Books where the Third Knowledge is mentioned.
I make no pronouncements on these matters, but report them as I find them.
Arrive at your own conclusions.
I wish you well,
I wondered, however, if the Second Knowledge, that of the intellectuals, might not be as carefully tailored to preclude inquiry on their level as the First Knowledge apparently was to preclude inquiry on the level of the Lower Castes. I would guess that there is a Third Knowledge, that reserved to the Priest-Kings.
Those of the High Castes of Gor are permitted by the Priest-Kings only the Second Knowledge, and those of the lower castes are permitted only the more rudimentary First Knowledge. I had speculated that there would be a Third Knowledge, that reserved for Priest-Kings, and the girl's account seemed to justify this conjecture.
"Hold, Claudius," cautioned a man. "Consider whether or not it is proper for mere mortals to inquire into such matters."
"Such thoughts are surely to be reserved for the second or third knowledge," said another man.
"I am a man," said another. "I repudiate the distinctions between knowledges. Knowledge is one. It is only knowers who are many.
"We are not Initiates," said another man. "Our status, prestige and livelihood do not depend on the perpetuation of ignorance and the propagation of superstition."
"Heresy!" cried a fellow.
"I shall inquire into truth as I please," said another. "I am a free man."
"It is our world, too," said a fellow.
"Surely it is permissible to inquire into such matters," said another, "if we do so with circumspection and respect."
"I think," said Claudius, "in these matters both our fears and our noble, belligerent vanities are out of place. Gods, for example, I trust, do not have need of the silver of Argentum, nor do they have need of fiery ships for plying the long, dark roads between worlds. Gods, I trust, do not leave spoor in subterranean chambers nor deep wounds in remote turfs. These things of which we speak, I think, are things which can eat and bleed."
"We do not speak, then, of Priest-Kings," said a man, relieved.
"Who knows the nature of Priest-Kings?" asked a man. "Some say they have no form," said a man, "only that they exist."
"Some say that they have no matter," said a man, "except that they are real."
"Surely they are like us," said a man, "only grander and more powerful."
"Let us not waste time in idle speculations," said a man.
"Let us not waste time in idle speculations," said a man.
"Speak," said Claudius to Sheila.
"There are two worlds involved, Master," she said, "Gor, and the world called Earth."
"Lying slave!" said a man. "Earth is mythical! It is only in stories. It does not exist."
"Forgive me, Master," she said, "but Earth is real, I assure you. I am from Earth, and so, too, is the slave to my right."
The man looked at me, closely.
"Yes, Master," I whispered, frightened.
"That Earth is real is in the second knowledge," said one of the men, a fellow wearing the yellow of the Builders, a high caste.
"I was taught that, too," said the fellow with him, also in the yellow of the Builders. "Do you think it is really true?"
"I suppose so," said the first man. The classical knowledge distinctions on Gor tend to follow caste lines, the first knowledge being regarded as appropriate for the lower castes and the second knowledge for the higher castes. That there is a third knowledge, that of Priest-Kings, is also a common belief. The distinctions, however, between knowledge tend to be somewhat imperfect and artificial. For example, the second knowledge, while required of the higher castes and not of the lower castes, is not prohibited to the lower castes. It is not
The sun was now dipping into the grasslands in the west, as the sun, Tor-tu-Gor, Light-Upon-the-Home-Stone, the common star of Gor and Earth, now took its rest after its diurnal labors, as the first knowledge would have it, or, as the second knowledge would have it, as the planet rotated eastward. There is rumored to be a third knowledge, as well, but it seems that this is reserved to those whom the men of this world commonly speak of in hushed tones, the Priest-Kings of Gor.
I looked at him. Surely he knew Earth was another world. Did he not have access to the Second Knowledge? Perhaps he was indeed a Metal Worker, one of a lower caste, and had attained only to the First Knowledge. It is said there is a Third Knowledge but that is reserved to Priest-Kings. He must know of other worlds. Had he not spoken of a steel world, one flung farther away than Tor-tu-Gor itself? Was he testing me, somehow? I supposed he might well not be aware of how such worlds might be reached.
The vaccination mark, on the other hand, is often taken as a subtle brand, this leading some Goreans to suppose that the woman was already a legal slave somewhere, and has only been stolen from, or purchased from, her former master. These misunderstandings commonly occur with Goreans who have been limited to the "First Knowledge," as it is called. There is a "second Knowledge," to which intellectuals, and the higher castes, have access. For example, many Goreans limited to the "First Knowledge" do not realize their world is one of many, and think that "Earth," of which they have heard, and from which many barbarian slaves are obtained, is merely a remote country or land falling outside "known Gor." Much of Gor of course, even for educated Goreans, is terra incognita. One might add that it is speculated that there is also a "Third Knowledge," which is limited to Priest-Kings. I know little or nothing of Priest-Kings. They are supposedly the "gods of Gor." I take it that they are men, or some sort of men, perhaps more handsome or godlike than others, with a technology capable, at least until now, of holding Kurii at bay. It seems they inhabit the Sardar Mountains, from which geographical feature Goreans orient themselves and their maps. It might be mentioned that there is no perfectly clear distinction between the "knowledges," as much in the "First Knowledge" is, as would be supposed, included in the "Second Knowledge." The "second Knowledge," in a sense, "goes beyond" the "First Knowledge." Also, it should be noted that it is not unprecedented for an individual of one of the lower castes to be apprised of the "Second Knowledge." There is nothing secret, or, at least, altogether secret, about the Second Knowledge. On the other hand, this seems not to be the case with the "Third Knowledge," that attributed to Priest-Kings. Indeed, many of the "Laws of the Priest-Kings" seem intended to discourage humans from inquiring into certain forms of knowledge, for example, those leading to technologies by means of which, eventually, after a cascade of steps, a planet might be rendered unlivable, even shattered and destroyed. Men, or common men, may be unaware of what is in their own best interests, but Priest-Kings, whoever or whatever they may be, one supposes, are very much aware of what is in their own best interests. A suspicious, thoughtless, bellicose, territorial, aggressive species is perhaps best limited to clubs and caves. In the "examination position," as noted, the slave stands with her legs widely spread. This anchors the slave in place, so to speak, as it is difficult to move easily from this position. Physically, it increases the slave's vulnerability and, psychologically, it exponentially augments her sense of, and her awareness of, her vulnerability. In this position she well knows herself a slave, a domestic animal, being appraised as what she is, stock.
"Many who are limited to the First Knowledge," said Sakim, "do not even know there is a Second Knowledge."
"And it is said," said Clitus, "that there is a Third Knowledge, known only to Priest-Kings."