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Blue Lion's Lair

Hunting for Answers and Devouring the Issues

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Tag: existence

OK.  So when I conceived doing a top ten books everyone should read article, I thought I could stop it at 10 books.  As I kept looking back at the books that have influenced my thinking, the list kept growing.  I kept finding books I wanted to recommend to everyone.  As it stands, the list is now up to 18 books.  So, I’m going to make this a Top 18 Books Everyone Should Read Article.  Well…..actually, it’s a lot more books than that.  Some of the entries are series of books.  I’ll have a final book count at the end.

So without further ado, here is the list starting from spot number 18.


In 18th place we have the Story of Philosophy by Will Durant.  This is a great introduction to the field of philosophy.  It starts out with the ancient Greek philosophers and winds its way through history and describes the lives and philosophic works of the major philosophers.  I very much enjoyed the first part of this book starting with Plato, Aristotle and the other Greeks.  I have to admit though, that once I got to Schopenhauer, Kant and some of the more “modern” philosophers, I started to lose interest and find the whole subject depressing.  The lack of morality and any meaningful existence that is discussed did not answer the questions I was looking for.

However, since the creation of Wikipedia, you can probably find much of the philosophic  information from the book there.  The book does a better job describing these men’s stories than Wiki.  For these reasons, I have this book at the end of my list, but I still recommend it to fill in your knowledge of this subject.


In 17th place we have Chaos, by James Gleick. I read an earlier edition of this book some years ago, when Chaos Theory was brand new and no one had heard of it, much less understood it.  The search of patterns in what previously had been thought to be completely random is extremely interesting and although we see it all around us, it takes a fairly large amount of computing power to crunch the numbers and repetitions involved.  This book was brought back into my memory by a recent Nova special on PBS called Hunting the Hidden Dimension.  This fascinating look into fractal mathamatics, Mandelbrot, and applications in nature brought me right back to reading this book.  Cool stuff for people interesting in how the world works “behind the curtains”.


In 16th place we have Hyperspace, by Michio Kaku.  This book is full of mind bending stuff.  However, this book provided me with the first description of higher dimensions that made sense to me.  If you ever see Kaku on TV, he has a great way of explaining things.  This book has been somewhat superseded for me by two books by my other favorite cosmologist, one of which is in my top ten.  However, Kaku’s description moving from a two dimensional world to a three dimensional world as an analogy for 4th dimensional space/time first got me interested in the subject and started the juices flowing in my brain on the dimensions of time and space.


Next up in 15th place is an odd sort of self-help book called Psycho-Cybernetics by Maxwell Maltz.  Many successful individuals have used the concepts in this book to reach their goals.  The main thrust of this book is that your brain is a fantastic goal reaching and problem solving machine.  You need to provide your mind with an accurate self image and set positive goals for your future.  Your brain will figure it out if you let it.  Basically, if you want to change who you are, change your mind.  Those who know me will recognize one small way I use what I’ve learned in this book.  I often find myself having an aphasia event, where I can’t remember the word I want to use or the name of someone I want to talk about.  I usually work around this by finding a synonym or trying to describe who the person is.  I know, however, that if I stop thinking about the word or name and let my mind work on it in the background, the answer will pop into my head in fairly short order.

Next time we’ll do number 14-11.  The books get better as we go deeper into the list.  What won’t change is the eclectic selection.  I’m nothing if not eclectic.

Well, now that we’ve answered “Who am I?”…….well at least started to answer it.  It’s a question we spend our whole lives answering.  We can start to put the whole thing together.  Keep in mind this is an iterative process that we need to continue throughout our lives.  The important thing is to make sure that all your answers are in harmony.  You can’t let something you want change who you are, as we’ve already discussed.  However, sometimes your understanding of why you are here, or where you going may make you change who you are, at least somewhat.

What do I mean by this?  Let’s say you are a member of a religion that teaches that they are the only way to salvation.  OK, most religions do this, some more vehemently than others.  Let’s also say that you are reading a blog or a book, written by someone who thinks about God differently than you do.  No, it doesn’t need to be this one.  What if by reading this publication, you see some information that leads you to now believe that God is more encompassing than you previously did and that there may be some truth in other religions that you hadn’t considered before?  Now, you may want to re-evaluate who you are in this new light.  You may decide you now believe that all who search for truth are on the same path and should be given respect and that you might even want to learn something from them.

Another example involves asking yourself the question “Where am I going?”.  In examining your life, this is one question you need to be continually asking yourself.  Basically, you want to know if the path your life is on is in congruence with who you are and maybe even what you want.  Are you doing things that get you closer to your goals and agree with who you are?  If not, you need to make a change.   You need to make part of who you are someone who does those things that you believe are important.  For instance, if you find that in your job you feel the need to mislead people in order to accomplish your goals, but you believe that honesty is a key character trait.   You need to make a change.  You need to do the difficult thing and be honest to those you’ve been misleading.  This takes courage.  However, there is a payoff.  You will gain credibility.  You may have some short term difficulties, but you will be improving your long term image.  Unfortunately, for those who work in the US Capitol Building, they only look to the next election.  We, as their constituents, should not let them get away with it.

Now, assuming you have a good idea of who you are, what you then want, where you are going, and possibly, why you are here, we only have one more question to ask.  Assuming you’re not where you want or need to be, you need to have a plan.  This is the “How do I get there?” question.  It’s more than a plan though.  Often there is a choice between more than one path.  Some seem easy, but make you compromise yourself in some way.  Some are at least initially hard, but are in harmony with what you believe to be right.  Every once in a while there’ll be an easy path that is also right.  When you see this, be happy.  Obviously, I’m telling you that you have to take one of the paths that will allow you to be true to yourself.  You’ll know which path is right once you know the answers to your other questions.

Many people do things they think are right because it will “get them into heaven” or at least “keep them out of hell”.  That’s a childish outlook.  That’s like saying you’ll eat your vegetables or Mommy and Daddy will get mad.  Adults do the right thing because they know it is right.  They have a code of honor or ethics that makes them do what they do.  Not because someone tells them to, but because they choose to.  This is the essence of free will.  We get to decide, who we are and let everything else follow from there.  There can be no greater gift.  It allows us to maximize the quality of our experiences, which is as I’ve said before, the whole reason we are here.

How do we choose the type of life we will live?  I’ll start looking at some traditional and non-traditional codes of ethics starting in the next few posts.  Next, however, there are some great books I’d like to recommend for everyone to read.  So we’ll have the start of Blue Lions’ Library with 10 books everyone should read.  Until then…..good hunting.

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.

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.

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.