Greater than caste, however, is Home Stone. The books make the point repeatedly that one cannot understand the significance of a Home Stone without having a Home Stone. For our purposes, however, it suffices to demonstrate the value of communal bonds.
A Home Stone is a rock. It is often simple, and minimally decorated if at all. It has no intrinsic value, except that is taken as symbolic of the heart and soul of the community that pledges itself to it and is thus invaluable. As a literary tool, it serves to exemplify the dual importance of personal sovereignty and community loyalty.
An individual or house may have a personal Home Stone, but a city will also have a Home Stone. A man in the presence of his Home Stone is absolute ruler and sovereign. “A man’s home is his castle” is a concept that Goreans take very seriously, and to challenge another’s rule of his house is a serious affront.
At the same time, the shared Home Stone of a city unites its members. Without a Home Stone, they are simply a group of people in the same place. With a Home Stone, they are a community.
“Commonality of Home Stone extends beyond concepts with which you are familiar, such as shared citizenship, for example. It is more like brotherhood, but not so much in the attenuated, cheap, abstract sense in which those of Earth commonly speak glibly, so loosely, of brotherhood. It is more analogous to brotherhood in the sense of jealously guarded membership in a proud, ancient family, one that has endured through centuries, a family bound together by fidelity, honor, history and tradition.”
Prize of Gor, Pages 117 – 118
The sharing of a Home Stone is a serious matter, and one owes a great deal to those with whom one shares one. Protection, aid, fidelity, and so forth are expected from a community to its members and vice versa.
In Ar, as in many Gorean cities, citizenship is confirmed in a ceremony of this sort. Nonperformance of this ceremony, upon reaching intellectual majority, can be a cause for expulsion from the city. The rationale seems to be that the community has a right to expect allegiance from its members.
Vagabonds of Gor, Page 303
So while Gorean philosophy may strongly value the individual and personal achievement, it values equally, if not more so, the shared community and its achievement as well.
Less often referenced, but also relevant to this discussion, is that the word “Gor” literally translates as “Home Stone”. That is, the name of the planet in the books is literally “Home Stone”. Our world is our Home Stone, to which we owe ultimate allegiance, and to those with whom we share that ultimate Home Stone.
Are we not all of the same world?