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Blue Lion's Lair

Hunting for Answers and Devouring the Issues

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Tag: Goodkind

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.

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.