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Blue Lion's Lair

Hunting for Answers and Devouring the Issues


Category: Life the Universe and Everything

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!!

I know there are many rational human beings that either don’t believe in God (atheists) or who are not sure there is a God since they have not seen adequate proof (agnostics).  These are my working definitions for these words, feel free to quibble.  I know that any atheists or agnostics reading this will have major problems with my last post.  That’s fine.  My belief does not require others to do so.  However, let me see if we can find some common ground to more forward.

The question Why Are We Here? has a very simple answer for the “belief challenged” (OK.  I think I need a better word to group agnostics and atheists, but I can’t think of one right now.  If anyone has any suggestions, let me know).  We are here, because we are. There are only two states possible.  Either the Universe exists or it doesn’t.  Thanks to Réne Descartes we have the brilliant cogito, ergo sum.  Since we exist and we need some place to exist, the Universe exists.  The rest of the story is just process.  The Big Bang happens, stars form, they blow up and create more complex elements, more stars form with planets around some of them with enough of the elements for life to evolve and here we are. That’s the streamlined Cliff Notes version.

Now we get to Who Am I?  This question has different answers for each person, obviously.  However, for this discussion we’ll limit ourselves to the part of the answer that pertains to the type of person we are.  What traits do you value?  What traits do you want others to value in you?  The interesting thing is that those to whom this post is addressed and those who see God the way I do have something in common here.  The point of living your life is to live your life. Terry Goodkind says it better in his excellent fantasy series “The Sword of Truth” series (The Sword of Truth, Boxed Set I, Books 1-3: Wizard’s First Rule, Blood of the Fold ,Stone of Tears).  At the end of the series Richard, the main protagonist tells everyone “Your life is your own.  Rise up and live it.”

Of course, the rational concept of enlightened self interest tells us that if we want to have the freedom to live our lives, we have to let others have that freedom as well.  That’s pretty much the same as the first part of the “Golden Rule” I talked about last post.  So, it seems as if we all have something in common after all, even if it’s for completely different reasons.  I being the Pisces I am (No, I don’t believe in astrology.:-)  While there might be some slight chance that your personality has something to do with what part of the year you were conceived, I only link those personality traits to astrological signs in a humorous manner.), I actually believe we should be following enlightened self interest, or the Golden Rule for both reasons.

I’ll get more into how that applies to our lives in a bit.  Next we start looking at the other 3 of the Five Questions.

I recently stated my belief, based upon logical thought and current scientific thinking, that God, assuming he exists, is outside of time.  I also commented that such a being would have only one over arching need that would not be fulfilled since outside of time everything than can exist does so all at once.  There is no experience of everything.  I’m not sure that a being can even exist in such a state.  However, I believe God exists, therefore I will pursue some answers based upon that assumption.  For my agnostic/atheist friends, I understand that nothing I state here can be proven, but these answers work for me and I expect that they may make sense for others as well.

So, where are we (sorry, wrong question)?  We have a God that exists all at once, with no way to experience the everything that can exist.  This all powerful, all knowing, all everything God has only one need.  A way to experience it all.  Now bear with me, we will be thinking of this in a logical progression which will take a few steps, which can only happen over time.  This isn’t really how it works, but it’s the only way we can conceive of it while we are living in time.  This need of God/The Creator/What ever you like to call it demands this need be filled.  As should be clear by now, at least one way to fill this need is to create a universe, or universes, where time and space both exist as a framework for the everything to be placed in.  Ironically, this creation takes place in a very simple way, the “Big Bang”.  Time, space, and enough matter to lead to the experiencing of everything are created and time starts to flow.  OK, maybe time doesn’t flow and all the matter and space move through the dimesions of time.

To use my amusement park analogy from before.  We now have the entire ride and all the possible tracks through the ride.  Of course, for the universe, the number of possible tracks is so large as to be what I call “functionally infinite”. Now we need some cars and riders.  Well, quarks, fundamental particles, atoms and inanimate objects have little to no possible “experience factor”.  While they do change over time, the changes are simple in nature and happen “automatically”  We need something quite a bit more interactive.  That’s where living beings come in.  Due to the size of the universe and the seeming ease in which life can be started, it is likely there is life throughout the universe.

Living beings make great amusement ride cars.  The more capable they are of  thinking and experiencing, the better ride they give.   They are interactive, they can make decisions, they can make changes to the way the universe is headed.  They are great conveyances through the everything that can exist.  What missing?  Well……how does God experience this everything?  God needs a way of riding along through the Universal Ride.  This, ladies and gentlemen, is what we call the soul.

Now, I can finally answer, at least from one perspective, the question of Who Am I?  I am God (either in whole or in part) experiencing my portion of all there is to experience. The cool thing is that if you are reading this article, you are God too.  We are all part of the same.  I’ll get to the “in whole or in part” thing at a later date.  The implications for our lives in this simple statement are many and profound.  This statement also answers the eternal question of “Why are we here?”  This question is the one that many people would ask as “What is the meaning of life, the universe and everything?”

It turns out the meaning of life, is life itself.

The answer so many people are looking for is too simple for most to see.  Our whole reason for being here is to experience the life we have.  That’s it.  We don’t have to worship the Creator.  Why would an all powerful being require worship anyway?  I know, if I was God…..oh wait, I am :-) …..I would not require worship.  Appreciation…..understanding maybe would be desirable….but worship?  Nope.  Not a chance.

The one more subject I’d like to address in this post is the Golden Rule.  No….not the one that goes “He who has the gold makes the rules!”  The one given to us by Jesus Christ (yep, he was God too).  “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you and love God as you love yourself (paraphrased)”  Us all being God gives a whole new meaning to this.  It is no longer a dictate passed down from God, but just a statement of rationality given the fact that we are all part of one whole and that God, at least in part but maybe in whole, is Who We Are.

Next post will present some of the meaning of life and how we treat each other in a less metaphysical way to put the “believers” and the agnostic and atheist readers on the same page when it comes to how we all live our lives.  Until then, live well.

This is one of the most personal questions for anyone to answer.  From what I’ve seen, answers generally fall into one of 4 or 5 categories.   The first are those who feel they have a “personal relationship” with God and that the Bible is the ONLY document that needs to be referred to to live your life.  Next are those that definitely believe in God and follow some religion.  There are also those that believe, but follow no recognized religion.  There are also those who are not sure there is a God.  Lastly, are the confirmed atheists, who are sure there is not a God.

Personally, I find the first and last groups the least intersting to talk to about God.  The first group has their minds made up that things are one way and there’s no need to look further.  The last group I can at least understand.  They have a logical point.  They state that since it is impossible to prove that God exists, there’s no point in trying to do so.   Of course, this makes discussing God or “Why we are all here” a very short conversation.

Personally, I was raised a Roman Catholic and for the beginning part of my life, I fit firmly into the “follow a religion” crowd.  As time went on though, I wanted to understand more about the nature of God than the church teaches.  Since my early teenage years, I’ve been on a journey to understand God on a level not yet common among humans.  Do I believe in God?  Yes, I do.  I recognize that this is a belief on my part and not purely rational thought.  It is called faith after all.  I cannot prove the existence of God, but my belief provides me with many of the answers to life’s questions.  However, what I think of as God is definitely not the same as any religion that I know of.  I hope as I go through the questions of life and the answers I have found that the reasons for my belief in God will be made clear. I will also discuss why I don’t believe any religion really explains everything my belief does.

I’ve already stated that if God created the universe, then God is outside of time since time is part of the universe.  Thinking of God in this way will lead to the first of the 5 questions of life.  What are those five questions?

  • Who am I?
  • What do I want?
  • Where am I going?
  • How do I get there?
  • Why am I here?

As we’ll see, the order we address the first two questions, who and what, are critical to the types of decisions and choices we make.  First up will be “Who am I?” which is totally appropriate.

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.

Yesterday I wrote about how time is necessary to spread out all the possible things that can exist and make them “experience-able”.  Today we take that one step further.  While time separates one moment from another, space is the thing that separates one object from another.   In this, space performs a similar role as does time.  That of spreading the “everything” out so that it can be experienced.  Therefore, it can be said the the result of the existence of the space-time continuum, is that all the things that can possibly exist, in all the ways they can exist, are spread out so that each is discrete and distinct from all others.  If this weren’t true, then there would be no ability to experience anything.  Lucky for us that we happen to be properly designed/evolved to be able to experience the dimensions of time and space.  OK…..maybe luck doesn’t have a whole lot to do with it and that’s a subject I’ll get to.

For now, lets consider all the things that exist in our universe.  Not just the physical things, but the other aspects of reality as well.  I’m talking about things like temperature, lighting, color (related to lighting), abundance or lack thereof, and even emotions and our judgments of good and evil.  If you look at each one of these aspects, it turns out that they are all defined relatively.  In other words, in order for the definition or measurement of one of these aspects to have meaning, they must be compared or related to other values of that aspect.  Not only that, but each definition of measurement is on a continuum of some sort.  For instance.

  • Hot is relative to cold.  Yes, there is absolute zero, but all other temperatures are relative to it.
  • Light is relative to dark.  Again, very similar to the temperature relationship.
  • Up is relative to down, right is relative to left, forward is relative to backward
  • Speed is relative, at least up to the speed of light.
  • The future is relative to the past.
  • Blue is relative to Green, microwave is relative to infra-red
  • Even good is relative to evil.

In many of the above cases, one side of the aspect defines the other.  The best example of this is good and evil.  If evil didn’t exist, no one would know what good is.  Everything would just be.  Unfortunately, evil is necessary.  That doesn’t mean that there have to be evil people.  However, the experience or history of evil must remain in order for people to appreciate and fully experience what good is.

What does all this mean?  Well…this is truly the universe of the relative.  Everything is relative.  This relativity is what makes experience of more than time possible.  In fact, without the other relative aspects of the universe, time while it would exist, would be pretty meaningless.  I can’t think of a worse hell than having to exist through time with absolutely nothing else to experience.

I know that many people use the “Everything is relative” line to justify not believing that absolute good and evil exist and that the definitions are in the “eye of the beholder” so to speak.  This is just plain wrong.  There are rational definitions of good and evil.  I plan to lay them out in this forum.  But first we need to address a few more concepts before I can do that.

In any case, the definition of Blue Lion’s Theory of Relativity is this.  Everything is relative to something else.  Without this relativity, there would be nothing to experience and therefore no reason for life, or even the universe to exist.

Let’s start at the very beginning,

A very good place to start.

Do-Re-Mi – Rodgers and Hammerstein

Time.  What exactly is time?  We experience it every day, every second of our lives.  Yet how many times have you actually taken time to try to figure out just what time is?  What does it do?  Why does it exist?

What do we know.  As current quantum physics and cosmological theories tell us, time is actually part of the fabric of our universe, or as Brian Green more elegantly calls it in his book, The Fabric of the Cosmos: Space, Time, and the Texture of Reality.  In fact, there is no way to separate time from our current universe.  They are one and the same thing.  Hence, the space-time continuum.  But what does that mean exactly?  How many dimensions of time are there?

I think I may have some answers.  I’m going to approach this from a somewhat spiritual outlook.  I am fully aware that there are other possibilities and I’ll discuss them at a later time, but for many people it is easier to think of things this way.   All my life I’ve heard people talk about God being eternal and endless.  That doesn’t really capture the totality of things to my mind though.  If God created the universe and time is part of the universe…..then it only makes sense that “the Creator” was actually outside of time.

But if “the Creator” is outside of time, what does that mean?  What does time accomplish?  It is the thing that separates one moment from the next.  It provides a framework for causes and effects, a direction for experience if you will.  If the Creator is outside of this construct, that means the Creator is all things and all possibilities at one instant of zero time.  Everything that could possibly be, all at once.  There would be no experience of this “everything”.  To such a being there would be only one over riding and all encompassing need.  The need to experience “everything”.  This being would have to create a universe, or more likely more than one universe, maybe even an infinite number of universes, and utilize the concept of time to spread the everything out so that it could all be experienced.  Yes, I know I’m explaining this in a cause and effect relationship when it all happens at once, but being stuck in time, I have no other way to describe it.

So, we live in a universe where time spreads out all the possible things that can be in at least two directions.  Yes, I’m positing at least two time dimensions.  They must exist.  One dimension gives us the past->future relationship we all know and lo–ahh…..let’s just leave it at know.  The other dimension must exist for the multiple possible “next” moments that each moment represents.  At every moment in time, the next moment can be one of either a very large number of next moments, or even an infinite number of them.  Every decision made by a sentient (even low sentience) mind, every random bounce of a quantum particle, sends the current experience of the universe in another direction.  The question then becomes do all possible moments of our universe exist and our consciousness moves from one to the next?  Do our physical beings move through the time space continuum and our so called consciousness is just a fancy electro-chemical reaction?  Or does each possible moment exist independently and what we think of as our consciousness is just the current state of where our mind would have to be at that point in space-time as posited by Julian Barbour in The End of Time: The Next Revolution in Physics?

To me, I have to discount the last possibility since there are so many process that are dynamic in nature.  Our thoughts, for instance, are dependent on the movement of electrical signals, not where they are at any given moment.  The choice between the other two possibilities is a subject for another time.  Other variables come into play for me there which I will address in the future.

Next up…….The Blue Lion’s Theory of Relativity.

Good day,