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Respect (as it Applies to Gor)


Main Entry: 1 re·spect
Pronunciation: ri-'spekt
Function: noun
Etymology: Middle English, from Latin respectus, literally, act of looking back, from respicere to look back, regard, from re- + specere to look -- more at SPY
Date: 14th century
1 : a relation or reference to a particular thing or situation
2 : an act of giving particular attention : CONSIDERATION
3 a : high or special regard : ESTEEM b : the quality or state of being esteemed c plural : expressions of respect or deference [paid our respects]
4 : PARTICULAR, DETAIL [a good plan in some respects]
- in respect of chiefly British : with respect to : CONCERNING
- in respect to : with respect to : CONCERNING
- with respect to : with reference to : in relation to

Main Entry: 2 respect
Function: transitive verb
Date: 1560
1 a : to consider worthy of high regard : ESTEEM b : to refrain from interfering with
2 : to have reference to : CONCERN
synonym see REGARD
- re·spect·er noun
(taken from Merriam-Webster, online http://www.m-w.com/)

As one can see from the above, respect has several meanings. I feel that, "On Gor", or rather, here on earth where some of us try to live our lives by the philosophies described in the Gor novels, it has all of those meanings as well. The lifestyle does not change the meaning of the word. It does, however, carry with it certain standards and protocols whereby it takes on, perhaps, more weight… more importance than it seems to in "normal" society.
Those living as Gorean tend to, and are expected to by the Gorean community in general live in a way that is honorable. Honor is a very highly valued trait among Goreans. I believe that respect where it is due is a big part of honorable behavior. Now, how this applies to the free, does differ from how it applies to slaves, of course. All who would act with honor would show respect to someone until and unless they prove themselves unworthy. Even (and sometimes especially) enemies respect one another openly in the Gor novels, incidentally.
A free person, upon discovering or deciding that an individual is not deserving of their respect, may choose not to give said respect, often without fear of consequences.
A slave, on the other hand, must show respect to all free regardless of her opinions, and, in fact, regardless of the worthiness or lack thereof of the free person in question. A slave must behave in a manner that is pleasing to the free at all times or risk punishment.
While a free person's peers may judge him/her and deal accordingly with unwarranted disrespectful behavior, a slave may be punished severely for showing disrespect to even a free person who her master despises. Slaves do not have the right to openly judge the free.
Simply put… the respect a free person shows another is based largely on respect s/he feels for that person.
The respect a slave must show is based upon her station relative to that of others.
Whether she actually 'respects' a free person is immaterial; She must behave as though she does.

© Khaos WolfKat 2003


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