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#1626 - Monday, November 24, 2003 - Editor: Jerry  

Nonduality, at its heart, is about non-separateness. Nonduality, practically speaking, is about the seeing, understanding, negotiation, and challenging of boundaries.  

The following are links to people and books which challenge the boundaries that many accept as non-negotiable or nearly so. The subject of this issue of the the Highlights might be called Peripheral Nonduality.  


Heather Martin
I'm a rare Sagittarius, the kind that has virtually no ego. I'm kind, generous, like to bake people their favorite kind of cookie, and bill myself as the Supreme Goddess Of The Universe.

Heather is 20 years old. The following is from her autobiography:  

I have been to 45 of the 50 states at the age of 19, and hope to visit the rest real soon.  

When I'm not traveling, I reside in an underground house back in the
woods of Calais, Vermont. I'm currently building my own 14x24ft house
on our property, and work as slave labor on my family's organic
vegetable farm. When I escape, I get paid to do carpentry elsewhere. My
latest project is fixing up my 1975 chevy van.  

Ever since I was little, I have wanted to know how to do everything! I
want to know how to successfully throw a lavish and entertaining dinner
party for 40, build and fix everything that could possibly break, talk
intelligently about physics, or even how to cook using a car. I am
studying up on how to do the last one... with a book called "Manifold

Growing up, I was surrounded by books. Practically every wall in our
house is covered in bookshelves. In my room alone, I had more books
than there are miles in the Appalachian Trail (2,169) I say had,
because I'm in the process of moving all of my junk from the regular
house, into the house I built myself. Before the house, I built a nifty
17 foot long kayak. It hasn't sunk yet, so I figure I did a good job.

You may be wondering how I managed to build a house, a kayak, travel
widely, and read several thousand books, considering I'm only 19. Well,
my secret to success is dropping out of school in 2nd grade. Seriously!
:-) I started Unschooling instead. Unschooling is like homeschooling,
but is child-led. For more information, go to my Unschooling website  

I graduated highschool when I was 16, and have gone on to college. I'm
studying Outdoor Recreation, Environmental Education, Photography, and
Alternative Medicine. For more information on the college I created,
visit ORION.  

I'm still not sure what I want to do with my life, hence the 4
different fields of college study. I figure that at the end of 5
thousand miles, I'll have a better idea of what I want to do. Lots of
time to introspect.  

I'm a rare Sagittarius, the kind that has virtually no ego. I'm kind,
generous, like to bake people their favorite kind of cookie, and bill
myself as the Supreme Goddess Of The Universe. I am suprisingly an only

I would love to hear from you! Tell me what you think of the website,
give me suggestions, or regale me with your life saga. I can be reached
at [email protected]

The following is from her unschooling page:  

Unschooler: one who learns from life and love and great books and late
morning conversations and big projects and eccentric uncles and
mountains and mistakes and volunteering and starry nights - not from
dull textbooks and sedative lectures and interfering homework. Syn:
Homeschooler, self-schooler, autodidact, rise-out. From: The Teenage
Liberation Handbook, Grace Llewellyn  

What to study:
The average interesting college costs around 100 thousand for four
years. Imagine what you could do with all that money!  

Is somebody gave you 100 thousand dollars to study, no strings
attached, what would you want to do? Study Astonomy? Spend it on a trip
to New Zealand to live with and study natives?  

Write down everything you want to do, things you want to learn, places
you want to go, people you want to meet.  

If you want to graduate with a degree in a specialized field instead of
liberal arts, go to some college websites and look up what they make
their kids study for that particular degree. You'll probably be shocked
at how easy it is when you read the course descriptions! Take a look at
their syllabus, too. The bulk of reading material is comprised of
textbooks, but you can usually find good normal book selections.  

Portfolios: Portfolios are impressive. They're a collection of things you've
written, sculpted, invented, improved, created. They're tangible,
physical proof that you've done something.  

They're a heck of a lot more interesting, imformative and impressive
than a pile of test papers and some lackluster admission essays!  

As you learn and do interesting things, keep a record. Take pictures of
that 100 mile bike ride you organized. Save the newspaper clippings of
the play you were in, or write your own report. You could include that
book of poetry you produced, and the illustrated chart you made to
identify wild edibles.  

But what do you do with your portfolio?  

You can take it to job interviews. You future employer will be
impressed at all the knowledge and experience you've gained, and
remember it more than a chronological list on a sheet of paper.  

You can use it to remember all the great things you've done. It will
help when the time comes to create a resume.  

If you're an artist, a portfolio is a necessity. If you devote your
college time to projects you love, you'll have a lot to show art
galleries and future employers when you graduate!  

How do you know when you're ready to graduate?  

When you feel like it :-) Seriously! You are your own worst critic. If
it's been 2 or 4 years and you don't feel like you're ready to
graduate, don't.  

One of the great things about Uncollege is that it's easy to integrate
with the rest of your life. You can be in Uncollege, have 3 jobs, and
volunteer on your off hours for Habitat For Humanity.  

Don't feel like you have to complete your degree in a specified time
period. If you get really involved with a subject and decide you want
to give yourself a masters or a P.H.D, go for it!  

Awarding yourself a degree:
In Vermont, it's prefectly legal to print yourself a diploma, if you
can show that you've done the work required. A Portfolio is helpful for
this, too. Check your state laws.  

Remember, there are lots of credible unaccredited colleges operating in
every state. Yale, Harvard, and Princeton were all unaccredited at one
time. It doesn't make your studying and your degree worth less if your
school isn't acredited.  

If you want to get accredited (WHY?) you can shell out a lot of money -
along the lines of several hundred or thousand dollars - to your local
state agency for the privledge. It requires proving that you have your
student's best interests at heart, you're not misrepresenting anything,
and your professors are decent people.  

Degree Specifics:
Check out the Putney school degrees, as done by students. They are so
pretty! If you're more computer inclined, you can design one on the
computer and print it out on fancy diploma paper or cardstock. Then
both you and your parents can sign it.  

To make it look really official, you could pay a little money to your
town clerk and have her notorize it. This just means that she
recognizes the fact that people have signed it. You'll get a cool foil
stamp or an embossed seal of the town stamped on your diploma.  

If you want to spend around 50 bucks, you can design your own school
seal and get an embosser made. It makes documents look oh so official.  

These are fun things to do, but don't stress out over them. Likely
nobody but your family is going to see your diploma. Has anybody ever
asked to see your parents' highschool or college dimplomas? I bet not.
But they're still fun to have.  

Putney School diplomas:  

Create your own transcripts:    

  In the same spirit of independence, here are some interesting books:    

by Mike and Tony Harris
   If you think you have to be a genius to understand the inner workings of a computer, think again. Computer experts Mike and Tony Harris insist that if you can operate a Phillips-head screwdriver and follow instructions, you can build the most complicated PC – a simple assertion that could revolutionize the way people look at computers.

   Building instead of buying will save you hundreds – perhaps thousands – of dollars. Plus, the experience will enable you to repair your PC and successfully upgrade it to keep it current, which will save you even more money. This book uses photos and easy-to-understand instructions to demonstrate that regardless of which processor or system speed you choose, the actual assembly is exactly the same. The only variables are the number and configuration of optional add-on components. The Harrises guide you through the process of determining what kind of computer you want, purchasing and successfully assembling the hardware, and installing the software. When you finish you will have the right system and hundreds of extra dollars in your pocket.

   This book also covers upgrades for improved performance on older machines in easy-to-read language, plus tips and basic troubleshooting techniques used by experts to repair and tune up computers and peripherals. This is truly the how-to book for the computer age.

2002, 8 x 11, 166 pp., illustrated, soft cover.
Price: $ 30.00


by Eunice Minette Schuster
   Anarchism has exploded back into the forefront of today's political movements. While modern radicals have shied away from broad social systems to narrow, issue-oriented groups, the doctrine of anarchism has surfaced in all of them. One increasingly hears about "anarcho-feminists," non-government alternative communities, and direct-action environmentalists. Here is a book to help them find their roots, in the strong tradition of American anarchism.

   It is not surprising that anarchism is being reborn in today's progressive movements; many of those movements were started by anarchists over a century ago. Anarcho-pacifists protested the War of 1812 and the Civil War, while demanding freedom for slaves. Women's rights, birth control, sexual and moral freedom were championed by Frances Wright, Voltairine de Cleyre, Emma Goldman and other anarchists. Alternative communities such as New Harmony, Utopia and Modern Times were formed around anarchist principles. Environmental activists and labor organizers can still learn much from the anarchists who preferred "direct action" to idle words.

   Native American Anarchism is not only an important historical book for contemporary radicals -- it's also enjoyable and exciting reading. Native American Anarchism is by far the best book ever published on the history of anarchism in the United States. Don't miss this timely classic, finally back in print, explaining the roots of American radicalism!

1932, 5 x 8, 202 pp., indexed, bibliography, soft cover.
Price: $ 12.00    


by Erving Goffman
   "All the world's a stage, and everybody plays a part... "

   Erving Goffman is widely regarded as the most original new force in modern sociology. The Presentation of Self In Everyday Life, considered his central work, is a valuable companion to The Social Construction of Reality and some of our other "reality" books.

   Using the metaphor of the stage as a frame of reference, Dr. Goffman deals with the important theme of human interaction in social situations. Role-playing is now recognized as not merely the province of the stage performer and the maladjusted neurotic, but an integral and necessary function of daily living for all of us.

   Stating his case clearly, Goffman explores the concept of self in the relation of actor to audience. Social techniques of self-presentation are illuminated by examples taken from detailed research and observation of social customs in many regions and a variety of occupational levels. One of the most interesting aspects of this book is its revelation of the many roles that must be assumed by everyone engaged in even the simplest life situations. In the course of any day one may easily play a half-dozen parts: with the boss, fellow workers, with friends, with one's spouse, and so on.

   Goffman's perceptive analogy details exactly how "acting" techniques are used in the most common everyday circumstances; it bares the mainsprings of manipulation that keeps society moving. Fascinating!

1959, 5 x 8, 260 pp., indexed, soft cover.
Price: $ 11.95    


by Peter L. Berger and Thomas Luckmann
   If you're a stranger and afraid in a world you never made, then you should read The Social Construction of Reality. No one lives in a world he never made -- we all create our own realities. We all live in worlds we made ourselves, and can change and modify them to suit our purposes.

   A profound, complex and challenging book, The Social Construction of Reality covers the following topics: The problem of the sociology of knowledge; The foundations of knowledge in everyday life; The reality of everyday life; Social Interaction in everyday life; Language and knowledge in everyday life; Society as objective reality; Institutionalization. Highly recommended for those interested in our "inner space" books.

1966, 5 x 8, 229 pp., indexed, soft cover.
Price: $ 11.95  



Secret Methods Magicians & Others Use to Deceive Their Audience
by Nathaniel Schiffman
Foreword by Henry Gordon
   Magicians use more than just mirrors, string, and sleight-of-hand to deceive their audiences. Those practitioners of prestidigitation who are masters of this craft have developed an arsenal of techniques that they use to manipulate the attention of those who are observing them. Every action and utterance on stage and off is precisely planned to achieve a specific effect.

   Abracadabra! Secret Methods Magicians & Others Use to Deceive Their Audience is an insider's look at what goes on at a magic show, behind the scenes, and in the mind of the magician. Author Nathaniel Schiffman, a long-time devotee of legerdemain, explains the principles of deception, exposing the innocent-seeming motions that are designed to conceal vital actions from onlookers. He demonstrates how the conjurer employs misdirection of space and time and simple optical illusions to fool an entire audience. If you've ever asked, "How does he do it?" after seeing an effective magic trick, you'll want to learn what to look for during a performance... and this book tells all!

   Lighthearted and informal, Abracadabra! Secret Methods Magicians & Others Use to Deceive Their Audience will fascinate not only aspiring magicians but anyone interested in knowing how one person can control the observations of many. Included are hands-on experiments, magic tricks, and reader-participation segments. You'll soon see that magicians don't just manipulate playing cards and animals; they manipulate you! "

1997, 6 x 9, 441 pp., illustrated, indexed, hard cover.
Price: $ 28.00  



For a Truly Secure and Adventurous Old Age
by Michael Phillips
   This short book explicitly discusses "simple living," a concept that frightens many people who believe making a lot of money is the only way to live and that low income is synonymous with poverty, sadness, filth and depression. Do not read this if you are mentally ill, lazy, considered stupid by your friends or could in any way be tempted to quit a good paying, stable job by reading this booklet.

   Summary: A realistic analysis of old age leads to an uncommon investment strategy for people with simple living values. The priority of investment choices are health, friends, skills, an austerity test, and for salaried people a rental house to be sold at age 55.

   An old person is the same as a young person, but the body is different. Young bores become old bores, neat young people are neat when they grow old, and old lechers were once young lechers. Old age may mean less earning power and less money to live on. The best way to prepare for that situation, Michael Phillips says, is to learn, while young, how to live fully but simply, using the least possible resources to maintain a satisfying life. A person who knows the meaning of elegant frugality is better prepared for aging than one who has spent decades hustling money to stuff into bank accounts and property.

   Very thought provoking, and well worth reading. The best investment book we know of!

1984, 5 x 8, 58 pp., soft cover.
Price: $ 10.00    


Than You Ever Thought Possible on Less Land Than You Can Imagine
by John Jeavons
   If you have been looking for the way to grow the most food with the least land, water and fertilizer -- this is it. Mother Earth News calls this book "the best plain-language explanation of Biodynamic/French Intensive gardening techniques we've yet seen."

   And another reviewer says, "perhaps the best kept secret of the 20th century, in working with the land, people are more productive than machinery... we may see food gardens appearing... in window boxes, on rooftops, in vacant lots, in parks, in now blighted urban wastelands... a greening of the cities."

   With this method a backyard gardener could grow a year's supply of soft fruits and vegetables in under two hundred square feet of soil per person, with about ten minutes a day required for upkeep. Here in one place is a complete guide to planning your garden, instructions on the unique Biodynamic/French Intensive techniques, information on sources for seeds, and compost recipes. By working "in harmony with the sun, air, rain, soil, moon, insects, plants and animals rather than attempting to dominate them" you can enjoy the most bountiful harvest of the year.

1982, 8 x 11, 201 pp., illustrated, soft cover.
Price: $ 17.95      

  from the Walmart online:

  Sauder Computer Armoire, Sugar Creek Collection
Sauder Computer Armoire, Sugar Creek Collection
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The nice thing about a computer armoire is that when you are finished with work, you can close the doors and transform your workspace into a gorgeous piece of living room-quality furniture. This armoire, from the Sugar Creek Collection, has storage for every computer component. By Sauder.

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  • Made of engineered wood laminated with a spiced pine finish for beauty and protection
  • Space-saving cabinet conceals monitor, printer, CPU, speakers and CDs
  • Slide-out keyboard/mouse shelf and printer shelf with metal runners and safety stops
  • Dedicated storage area for vertical CPU tower
  • Horizontal rack holds 14 CDs
  • 2 adjustable shelves provide versatile storage options
  • Adjustable shelf dimensions: 19-9/64"W x 9-1/16"D and 9-49/64"W x 9-1/16"D
  • Printer shelf: 17-31/64"W x 14-31/64"D
  • Keyboard shelf: 28-1/2"W x 11-1/2"D
  • Unit dimensions: 32-3/8"W x 21-1/4"D x 54-1/4"H
  • Shipped with Sauder's TransGuard package protection, which features hard cardboard edging and shrink-wrap film on the carton to ensure your delivery arrives damage-free
  • Assembly required
  • Model No. 3330
  • Available in some Wal-Mart stores
  • Questions about furniture? See Frequently Asked Questions.


  Let's close with a word from Wendy, Heather's Mom, from the VanDwellers list. Wendy  has diabetes, myasthenia gravis, congestive heart failure and mixed connective tissue disease (lupus). She gets disability.  

I grew up solidly middle class. I went to college for 16 years. I invented food for a living at Borden's and was a chef. Part of me was on the way to being a yuppy. Then, I got very ill. My health has been a roller coaster all of my adult life. My dad worked way too hard and saved living for retirement. He just plain dropped dead one day at 55 years old. All those experiences have shaped who I am.

Through trial and error, thought, reading, yakking, etc., I developed my philosophies of life. I'm not saying they are right or wrong...just MINE. I came to see that the world is a big place full of limitless possibilities and opportunities. Because of my health, I realized how important seizing the day is. I try to live each day as if it were the most important day in my life. If I'm doing OK....I like to explore the world. If my body is not so OK, I explore my inner world.

I've been rich and I've been poor. For myself, I have come to learn what matters most to me is freedom to be me. The more junk I carry around while travelling, the tougher everything becomes. I was a bit of an isolationist hermit, but have learned other people are very precious. The closer to the edge I live, the more I learn about myself and others.

At home I have stockpiles of food, fabrics, books, etc. On the road, each posession must have a reason for going with me. If I were to live full-time in my van, I'd want a couple weeks of staple foods on hand, but I hope I would not overdo the barricading of myself behind stuff.

Going from working more than full time to being disabled was a very difficult process for me. I loved working hard and much of my self esteem was dependent on my good work. For a while, I was pretty darn depressed. Then I discovered other ways to feel good about myself and other ways besides money to give of myself. I did my farm for 12 years after becoming disabled and I unschooled my daughter. I wrote a book, I wrote articles. I did volunteer work.

Sometimes I'd really love more than $600/month to live on....but through it all, I discovered money was useful, but isn't the end-all be-all of being happy and secure. Who couldn't use more money?

The best lesson for me is that the more I unclutter all aspects of my life, the better I feel. Happiness has nothing to do with how much money you spend. I LOVE going to Disney World ;-) I could spend weeks there (and have!). I've had some really great times there. I also LOVE sitting at a free campground out in the boonies, watching the sunset, talking with fellow campers and getting into deep philosophical discussions with other folks and my daughter.

You are reading things into what I say that are not there. I never said anything about how pure your motives are ;-) I don't care. I DO want people to think about what really makes them happy, though. Every one of us has different motivations, goals, means and life experiences. Someone is not more or less superior because of the money in their pocket. I think it's up to God to decide who did good in this world.

Did you ever read How Not To Become a Homesteader? That just plain ol' sums up my belief in how to live life. No one needs to agree with me, but it is MY opinion.

This might be addressed to homesteading, but the same applies to any endeavor.

Wendy ([email protected])
Peace and Carrots Farm
Maple Corner, Vermont


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Jerry Katz
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