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Blue Lion's Lair

Hunting for Answers and Devouring the Issues

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Category: Philosophy

Good day all! We’re getting to the end of the book reviews. We are now up to my Top 4 Books That Everyone Should Read.  And off to the countdown.


In 4th place we have a book that will change your concept of money, how to earn it, and how to invest it.  However, in researching this book for this list I saw a critique that gives me reservations about recommending this book.  After much soul searching (which delayed this post), I’ve decided to still recommend this book, but with a caveat.  The book I still believe you should read is Rich Dad Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki.  Why the caveat?  Well, after you read the book you need to read the critique of the book by John T. Reed at this link.  However, I’m going to still recommend the book for two reasons.  Kiyosaki’s treatment of Investments and Expenses is exceptional and most people will benefit by understanding it.  Also, his “Cash Flow Quadrant” is something everyone needs to understand as well.  Kiyosaki explains why it is much better to be earning your living via “passive” income instead of  “active” income, both from a lifestyle and a tax consequences standpoint.  The book is engaging and entertaining.  You’ll feel you learned something after reading it.  However, balance what you read by looking at the Reed critique and make your own decisions on how much to believe.


My 3rd place book was written in the 1930’s by Ayn Rand.  If reading this book doesn’t remind you of the present leaders of our country and scare the fecal matter out of you, go back and read it again.  I’m talking about Atlas Shrugged.  It’s a fictional story about an alternate 1930s scenario.  In this scenario, liberal thinking people have gained control of the Government and are making rules that unfairly treat successful businesses in favor of business owners who are friends with the Government leaders.  As things go south, a man named John Galt is trying to change things, or at least rescue those who think like he does from the ensuing destruction.  There is much to like about Shrugged.  The story is interesting and the characters are, for the most part, well drawn.  I won’t lie to you.  It is a very long book that will take a while to read.  It’s also not the easiest reading at times.  John Galt’s climactic 30 page rant about the evils of liberalism and religion and the benefits of objectivism is fairly unbearable.   There are also some things that are quite out dated, like a positive fixation on smoking and descriptions of smoke stacks spewing pollutants as being “beautiful”.  However, when the book was written, the dangers of these things were not known.

But the concepts of objectivism spelled out in this book should be required reading by everyone over the age of 18 in this country.  While, as I’ve stated before, I have a problem with the objectivists total lack of wondering “why we are here”, I believe the way we need to live our lives is almost exactly the way objectivists do.  I guess you could call me a spiritual objectivist.  I live my life in a rational manner, but I also spend some of my mental energy wondering about the bigger questions of God and our reason for being here.  When I read this book, many of the concepts I had about life and how to live it were crystalized in my mind.  I hope it can do so for you as well.


All Covers From The Sword Of Truth

All Covers From The Sword Of Truth

For our second place book I’m going to cheat again.  This is actually a collection of 11 books.  They are the Sword of Truth series of fantasy novels written by Terry Goodkind.  This series is, bar none, the best work of fantasy I’ve ever read.  Mr. Goodkind has taken a genre that is often written for younger audiences and turned it into a truly adult medium.  I don’t mean in any way that this series is “adult entertainment” (ie. pornographic).  What I mean is that the concepts discussed and the, sometimes brutal, events experienced by the protagonists are only going to be truly understood and appreciated by a mature audience.  The characters are completely realized and incredibly deep.  Characters don’t always end up to be who you think they are.  Redemption is possible, but certainly not easy or frequent.

This series covers much of the same ground as Atlas Shrugged, but in a much more fulfilling manner.  I can’t think of a single weakness these books have as a work of art.  They are emotionally deep, humorous, philosophical, exciting, and inspiring.  While the concepts of objectivism are fully explained here as well, the relationships between the characters are much more realistic and fulfilling.  The hero, Richard Rahl, is someone I wish existed in this world to learn from and support.

One of my favorite parts of this series are the “Wizard’s Rules” that are presented in each book.  The first book is, coincidentally enough entitled Wizard’s First Rule.  The first rule is “People are stupid; given proper motivation, almost anyone will believe almost anything. Because people are stupid, they will believe a lie because they want to believe it’s true, or because they are afraid it might be true. People’s heads are full of knowledge, facts, and beliefs, and most of it is false, yet they think it all true. People are stupid; they can only rarely tell the difference between a lie and the truth, and yet they are confident they can, and so are all the easier to fool.”  (—Chapter 36, p.397, U.S. hardcover edition) Goodkind follows this up with the second rule “The greatest harm can result from the best intentions”  otherwise known as the Law of Unintended Consequences.  Anyone who can present these two “Rules” to start his series is a genius in my book.  I’ve got a post planned in the near future discussing all 11 Wizards Rules and seeing how they apply in our world.  This series is for anyone who has become bored by fantasy or believes fantasy is childish only for younger people.  For all of the above reasons, it is easily my second highest recommendation.  For pure enjoyment and entertainment, it is my first pick.  In fact I’m currently rereading the entire series.

We’re almost there.  Next post is my number one book that everone should read!!

In the truly excellent science fiction TV show, Babylon 5, created by J. Micheal Straczynski (or Joe to those who know him) there is an episode dedicated to the question “Who are you?”.  This episode, entitled “Comes The Inquisitor” is available via Hulu.

There is a scene in the episode where one of the main characters, Delenn,  is asked over and over again in brutal fashion “Who are you?”  Delenn first answers with her name.  That, she is clearly shown, is not the right answer.   She is confused.  She doesn’t know what the “Inquisitor” is getting at.  In the end, she realizes the Inquisitor is asking “What is most important to you?”  “What do you stand for?”  “What values do you live your life by?”  It is only at this point that the testing ends.

So, who is the Blue Lion?  Clearly it’s not my name.  We can wear names like clothes.  Whether you call me Blue Lion, or Leo Blue, or Hey, you!!  Cranky guy.  It doesn’t matter.  It does not change who I am.  I guess the best answer I can give, is in what do I believe?  What are my values?  What would I be willing to die for?

Above all, I believe that life, everyone’s, life is unique and important.  If you’ve read my earlier posts you know that this is because I believe our lives are “God experiencing all there is to experience” or “the Universe figuring itself out (nod again to Joe Straczynski)” depending upon your view of a “Creator”.  Every person should have the right to seek out their own happiness as long as that does not impinge on the rights of others.  Since you need to be alive to pursue your happiness, I can state this as everyone has the “inalienable right to Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.”  The Founding Fathers of the Unites States got this exactly right.

I believe the most evil thing people can do, except under one circumstance, is to destroy another human life, as that is the ultimate abrogation of that person’s rights.  Strangely, maybe paradoxically, I also believe that you have not only the right, but the responsibility, to protect your life and the lives of those you love.  Those you love can, and often does, have a very broad definition in my book.  This leads to the one exception to the rule.  It is not evil to kill another if that other presents a credible threat to either your life or liberty, or the life and liberty of someone you love.  I wish I could say that you can wait to take action until after someone is being attacked, but by then it will often be too late and you’ll end of not saving the person who’s life you were trying to save.  I’m also not saying to kill everyone that threatens you.  It’s a judgment call that each person will have to make for themselves depending upon the situation at hand.

The Blue Lion puts a large amount of value on honesty.  Dealing with other people requires you to have credibility.  Always being honest accomplishes two things.  It cements your credibility and it keeps you from having to remember which lie you told to whom.  Trust me, as you get older the memory is one of the first things to go.  Don’t make it any harder on yourself than you need to.

I also believe that decisions need to be made on the basis of reason, not emotions, in almost all instances.  Emotional decisions, very often feel like the right thing to do, but more often than not end up making a mess of things, because they do not take the law of unintended consequences into account.  Welfare is a perfect example.  It feels right to help people who are struggling (the psychological basis for this is not as altruistic as most people think as it’s usually an ego boost to the helper), and in many cases it makes sense to do so to a limited point.  However, helping people for too long tends to make them dependent on that help.  This lessens that person’s liberty and even their dignity over the long haul.  Since the helpers (I’m talking about good people trying to help here, not those trying to take advantage) don’t intend this to happen, its an unintended consequence.  Help has to be temporary and people need to be made responsible for their own lives again as quickly as possible.

My studies of economics have shown me that capitalism is fairest way to distribute resources.  Read Basic Economics 3rd Ed: A Common Sense Guide to the Economy by Thomas Sowell to get an idea of why this is true. Capitalism, makes those who need a resource most pay the most for it.  It also takes into account human nature.  Now, while I understand that every regulation or tax put upon Capitalism in some way constrains the free will of people to do as they want and slows the growth of an economy (the rising tide does lift all boats, even if it doesn’t lift them evenly), I recognize that rules need to be agreed to and followed so that less evolved people do not take advantage of the more evolved ones.  I also recognize that governments, that need to exist to enforce the rules and protect the populace from outside harm, need funds to accomplish these tasks.

Last of my core beliefs is that representative democracy, in other words, the US system, is the best, most practical form of Government yet invented by humans, at least for humans.  It gives each person a say in running the country, which directly impacts their lives.  However, it is also workable from a practical standpoint.  Pure democracy would mean everyone voted on everything.  In the end, noting but the voting would get done.  The sad fact that our current leaders are out of control and driving this country into a hole, doesn’t mean the basic system is bad.  In fact, in the not too distant future, the system will probably work very well to change the current leadership.  If the leaders we had, actually followed the Consititution and didn’t make things up as they went, we’d be better off than we are now.

As you can see, the answers I have found to the question of “Why are we here?” has had a major impact on “Who am I?”.  I have hopefully explained how my answers to my questions about God, the Universe, and why we are here, rationally (again, hopefully) lead to who I am.  As we go forward, we’ll start to look at “Where am I going?” and “How do I get there?” from both a personal level and at the group levels.  These questions are more practical in nature, and not so esoteric as what I’ve discussed up until now  Until then, good hunting.

Last time, I started to talk about the relationship between the questions “Who am I?” and “What do I want?”.  I stated that it’s important for us to know the answers to “Who am I” before we start answering “What do I want”.  When we are children, we get away with only caring about what we want.  That’s OK, because part of our parent’s job in raising us is for them to teach us the types of answers that make sense when you are thinking about who we are.  However, once we become responsible for ourselves (as good a working title for an adult as I can think of), we no longer have that luxury.  Yes, we may get away with it for a while before things go bad in our lives, but not thinking about the type of person we are puts us on a dangerous path.

Let me give you some examples we see on TV and in the movies all the time.   First is the person who becomes addicted to some drug (think Requiem for a Dream).  Now most people don’t think of themselves as evil or willing to hurt themselves or other people.  But they either forget about the type of person they think they are and let their want for the drug rule their lives, or worse, they let the want for the drug change who they are.  They go and steal from others, or attack others, or sell their own bodies to get money for the drug.  These people don’t go down this path all at once, but slowly and painfully.   Now I know the drugs we are talking about are physically and psychologically addictive, but someone who stayed true to who they were would likely not let themselves fall into the trap of addiction to begin with (assuming they believe that hurting themselves or others are bad things).  Also, even an addicted person has to at some point “remember” who they are (or at that point, who they want to be) for them to even seek out help or have that help be effective.  They have to replace the want of the drug with the want to be who they are/were.  This is because, in order to live a good life, we need to make sure that who we are always drives the what we want train.

The other clichè example is the man or woman who is tempted to cheat on their spouse (let’s use Poison Ivy – The New Seduction as the example since it fits and Jaime Pressly is not only hot, but cool :-)).  The man or woman most likely thinks of themselves as trustworthy and faithful, but when they are presented with an extremely attractive (BTW, attractiveness can be physical, mental or emotional in the REAL world) member of the opposite sex that for some reason wants to have sex with them, they find they are tempted.  I would put forward that the person who puts what they want at the moment ahead of who they are is more likely to have an undesirable outcome from the affair, with Fatal Attraction being the worst case scenario.  The person who makes sure the honest, trustworthy person they are inform what they want will realize that the temporary infatuation has the distinct potential to ruin what they really want; their life with their spouse and family.  They will resist the temptation.   A good example of this is the movie Playing By Heart with Sean Connery.  He plays Paul and his wife, Hanna is played by Gena Rowlands.  Near the end of the movie, which is the only part of the movie the Blue Lion has seen the following dialog takes place:

Hannah: And you really didn’t sleep with her?
Paul: No, of course not.
Hannah: And – you didn’t want to sleep with her.
Paul: Oh, God, yes.

For some reason, this scene always stuck with me and Connery hits the comedic note perfectly, but it shows a person “evolved” enough to let who he was make sure what he wanted didn’t make him do something against who he was.

If you’re starting to think of this blog as an Everything I Ever Learned, I Learned at the Movies sort of thing, that might have at least a grain of truth.  While the examples I give will not be exclusively, or even primarily, from the the movies, it will be a common occurrence.  The Blue Lion looks for truth in many different places.  Ironically, there is much truth to be found in works of fiction.  Truth about human nature, the nature of good and evil, even truths of philosophy and God can be found in fictional works.  That is why many of them are created.  If you don’t like my examples, let me know your own.  Comments are certainly encouraged.

So, now that I’ve fully explained the order in which we need to answer these two questions, next time I’ll address Who the Blue Lion is.  Until then, good hunting.

The other day I posited that there were at least 2 dimensions to time.  I’d like to explain myself a little more.  Most people, including physicists, believe there is only one time dimension.  In fact, current string theory, which physicists believe has the best chance of being a unifying Theory of Everything (TOE), can only work mathematically if there are 10 space dimensions and 1 time dimension.  What I don’t know is if string theory will work with multiple time dimensions.  I’m not well enough versed in the math to even think about figuring it out.  However, I believe someone needs to see if it works or not because I’m convinced there are more than one time dimension.

There are several ways to think about a time stream.  I’ve heard people talk about thinking of it as a river running past the banks of reality.  I don’t know how helpful that will be here.  I’ll use two analogies.  The first is this.  Try to imagine yourself on a really long ride at Disney World billions of years long.  Thinking of being on It’s a Small World five times in a row should get you in the ballpark.  In this analogy, you must go where the ride takes you.   You have very limited ways to alter the ride any any way.  Even if you appear to have a freedom of choice, you only have a choice in what you do sitting on the ride.  In the end, you will end up where the ride takes you.  You have no real freedom of choice.  Your experience is fixed and controlled by the fine folks at Disney.

Another way people think of moving through time is by imagining they are in a universe sized movie.  Each moment in time is another frame of the movie.  In this case, you have absolutely no freedom of choice.  You must do as the director and editor make you do.  Frame after frame of predetermined destiny.

Both of these scenarios describe a single dimension of time……only one possible future.  I think there’s a problem with that line of thinking.  If the universe only had one time line, then everything is predestined and we have no choices to make.  We might as well resign ourselves to enjoying the ride the Creator ( if there is no Creator than this conversation is even more meaningless) has laid out for us and not worry about anything.  Our lives are going to go the way they go and that’s all there is.  As previously discussed, the universe, either through design or anthropic principle, or just dumb luck, seems perfectly designed allow for the experience of things.  In fact, you could say that it maximizes the ways in which things can be experienced.  Why then, would this universe be limited by allowing only one history from it’s beginning to end to be experienced?  Why would it not allow for multiple possibilities and interactivity with whatever life forms are in it by allowing them to make choices?

I look around me and I don’t feel like I’m living a predetermined script in a cosmic movie.  I seem to have choices to make; those I must make to live and those I have an option of making.  Wow, I even seem to have a choice on whether or not to even make choices!  Remarkable.  Life seems to me much more like a 3D shooter video game.  No…..I’m not saying that I feel like I’m walking around shooting bad guys and zombies all the time.  I do however, seem to have the freedom to choose to go where I want, talk to other people, OK…yeah…even shoot some other creatures or objects, all within the confines of the game.  However, if we only have the illusion of free will, but not the reality, then there is no point in living.  Since our lives are the only thing that we truly have as our own, I therefore have to reject utterly that there is only one possible time line.

Time’s not so much like a river on a map as the entire map.  I can choose to go along the river using no physical or mental engery, or I can get out of the river and climb out of the valley the river is in.  It may take more work to do so, but I may be happy I did it in the end, especially if there’s a waterfall up ahead.  At each moment in time, we each have the choice to go directly in front of us to the next moment in time through a minimal expenditure of energy, or we can go in one of many different directions.  Some of those directions require the expediture of more energy than others.

Now, while it’s clear there must be more than one time dimension, what’s not so clear is how many more there are.  Is it possible there are only two time dimensions?  I think so.  Two time dimensions allows for infinite different possible directions for each point in time.  So instead of picturing us moving through time along a line on a piece of paper with only one choice of path, it’s more like being on the sheet of paper being able to go in any direction (apparently except backwards in any way) you want.

How does this work exactly?  Does reality split at each point in time annd create an infinite number of new time lines?  How the heck would convervation of mass/energy work in that framework? Are there an infinite number of universes many of which look alike up to a point where a different path can be taken?  Does it even matter if you take yourself out of time to look at it?  I just don’t know the answers to those questions.

However, the point is that we do have choices.  Those choices, in part, determine the life we lead.  That is the crux of where this coversation is going.  Notice that as of yet, I have not mentioned, except peripherally, the existence of a Creator or God.  Ironically, that will be the topic of my next post.

I know “Hello world!” is the default title for these blogs, but in this case I might just leave it.  In the next few days, as I get things up and running, I’ll start at the beginning of all things.  I hope to explain at least in initial terms my views on the meaning of life, the universe and everything (with thanks to Douglas Adams).  And no, the answer most assuredly is NOT 42.