"Why do we try to distance ourselves from nature, rather than coexist? Couldn’t we think of a simple solution to our everyday needs?"

The author of this philosophical exploration wishes to convey that there is more to life than just living. Haugen reminds us that the closer we are to nature, the happier we have a chance to be. We expend a lot of time driving, for example, and a lot of expense buying cars, whereas if we homeschooled our children and worked close to home and the land, we could save money and have more time to devote to what’s important. This is one of many ideas proposed in Haugen’s wide-ranging treatise. Others include the author’s conviction that his childhood epilepsy might have been relieved by cannabis, outrage at the destruction caused by government/business initiatives like the North Dakota pipeline, and the belief that isolating children with antisocial Internet toys may inhibit new generations from developing “true connections of the heart.”

Texan Haugen writes with evident sincerity, providing many small vignettes of his upbringing in a relatively rural, peaceful setting as the background for his eco-conscious viewpoint. He has quietly pursued a career as an electrician in hopes of ameliorating environmental damage to the planet. His references range from the Buddha to the Beatles. His theories touch on such broad issues as sustainable lifestyles and distinctions among the world’s major religions to such particulars as the possible linkage between fluoride and Alzheimer’s or ADD and autism. An array of black and white photos includes the many mottoes he has posted on his personal, home-based outdoor marquee. He has devised numerous formulae, graphs, and binary charts to prove his theses, though some are too detailed for easy comprehension. The heart of his self-created philosophy, which may find an empathetic audience among freethinkers like himself, is perhaps best encapsulated in one of his marquee statements: “Tho I’m poor, my mind is a palace.”

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