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Blue Lion's Lair

Hunting for Answers and Devouring the Issues

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Tag: free will

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.

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.