THE CREDO OF THE SILK & STEEL
The Credo of The Silk & Steel consists of both a fundamental set of Gorean beliefs and guiding principles which set this organization apart.
Section I - Gorean Philosophy
The first element of Gorean Philosophy is the concept of natural integrity, defined as being wholly and completely fulfilled within one's ideal place as dictated by the processes of natural law and not by society or current culture. Pursuit of this ideal demands self-assessment without the artifice of wish fulfillment or personal conceit to determine how one is best equipped to interact with society and all elements of one's environment. A Gorean who is happy with and proud of his innate capabilities has found the key to natural integrity.
Progressing from the type of integrity which focuses on one's place within the whole of nature and society, the next fundamental quality of Gorean Philosophy is introspective honesty. Introspection involves the contemplation of one's own thoughts, desires, and conduct. Again, a Gorean does this in an honest and genuine fashion. A Gorean need not be a paragon of virtue, though he may aspire to virtuous ideals. Regardless of the success of his aspirations, he is honest with himself. A Gorean realizes the total futility of trying to practice self-deception. "The most dangerous lies," says the Gorean proverb, "are those we tell ourselves."
The final constituent of Gorean Philosophy is intrinsic strength, defined as any quality or sum of combined qualities that emerge naturally from within and ensure the possessor a greater chance of success at a particular endeavor. The denial of such strengths, regardless of by whom they are possessed, is to accept pretense, which is not Gorean behavior. A Gorean who possesses unfettered knowledge of his strengths and weaknesses and recognizes them in others gains a definite situational advantage. The efficient use of this knowledge is the most important quality by which he can secure his natural dominance and enhance his chance of survival.
Natural integrity, introspective honesty, and intrinsic strength form the foundation of Gorean Philosophy. They appear universally throughout every book of John Norman's Gorean Chronicles and are consistently presented, repeatedly explained, and distilled through discourse and example.
Section II - Silk & Steel Philosophy
Although every Gorean possesses the qualities of natural integrity, introspective honesty, and intrinsic strength, not all of them possess principled uprightness of character. The citizenship of the Silk & Steel is a collection of individuals who reject the idea that "the lowest common denominator" is the accepted level of performance, and who instead set higher goals for themselves. A Citizen of the Silk & Steel is expected to incur ethical obligations, to justly choose right from wrong, and to display moral fortitude.
The Silk & Steel is a social organization. Each member depends on the others and is depended upon in turn by them. This interdependency gives rise to a social debt, which must constantly be repaid. In addition to the horizontal social obligation which spreads to all other Citizens, and the obligation of loyalty to the Home Stone, obligations may extend upward through a chain of command and down to subordinates. Obligation permeates the society of the Silk & Steel.
Not all obligations are ethical, however, so justice must frame them for each individual. The Citizens of the Silk & Steel are expected to use a sense of right and wrong to give their obligations the proper moral direction, even though individual morality may differ.
The obligation to simply do the right thing arises from deep moral convictions. Doing what is right out of the fear of ostracism, penalty of law, or other entanglement is not the same, as that is allowing the justice of others to form the nature of obligation. This can often make choosing the right thing a difficult matter, as conflicts may force certain choices or compromises with which a person must live. Incurring and fulfilling just obligations, therefore, requires courage.
Courage in this context does not refer to physical bravery, but the moral fortitude to make the right choice regardless of personal cost. Often, this will require the grit to take the honest but difficult path. Taking such an adverse path can be frightening, but courageous doesn't mean fearless. The man who controls his fear and stays the dangerous course displays true courage.
The Citizens of the Silk & Steel believe that the three elements of Gorean Philosophy; integrity, honesty, and strength; form a solid foundation. From this foundation rise the pillars of obligation, justice, and courage which support the core of a society that strives for the highest attainable level. Because these Citizens hold themselves accountable to these standards, they will not settle for the easy path, the level field, or the simple choice if such things are not in accordance with their beliefs.