The first section of Blue – Living – deals with an assessment of the way we perceive and interact with our environment, a consideration of the challenges we face and the emotional harm it does us, and the formulating of concepts that may resolve our difficulties and transform our lives. These ideas are presented as a set of simple principles. They propose that our lives are fundamentally compromised by our constant striving to control events in an unmanageable world according to our will and preference, to bring it into accord with the design we have of it, and that we suffer because we are unable to do so. It suggests, therefore, that we ourselves are the cause of our problems, but that changing our perception of the world is a heroic act that might transform the nature of our challenges and our lives. This requires honesty and endeavour, and the questioning of everything we think we know about ourselves. There are a number of clear and simple exercises set out for the reader in these initial chapters to illustrate these general principles, and an assessment of their importance.
The second central section – Learning – is a comprehensive guide to the written inventory that the reader is invited to undertake. As an inventory, it is a structured layout of rows and columns that demand clarity of thought and directness. Column one is a carefully considered list of the conflicts that remain unresolved and the people we resent, and the various roles they play in our lives. The second column seeks to clarify the fundamental cause of the resentment by discounting the superficial, convenient, and sometimes misdirected logic we sometimes use to justify the feelings we have. Column three considers and analyses those aspects of our life or character that were threatened, and the reasons why we have reacted the way we did. Column four begins the process of subjecting the rationales and justifications underpinning our resentment to rigorous examination, and highlights the often fearful and selfish motives behind our actions. Column five focuses exclusively on the truth of our part in the resentment. It identifies the active manner in which we have contributed to the situation, and our sole responsibility for the often deceitful nature of the resentment.