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Martin Hawes was born in the UK in 1956 and migrated to Tasmania at the age of 12. He has devoted much of his life to wilderness photography, supporting himself financially by working for park management agencies. Since the late 1980s he has focussed on philosophical writing, completing his second book, Twelve Principles: Living with integrity in the twenty-first century, in 2003. In 1997/98 he spent a year as a staff member at Brockwood Park, an international school founded by J. Krishnamurti. He lives in rural Tasmania, and spends several weeks of each year in the Tasmanian wilderness. Martin’s photographic work can be seen at

Steve Ruben was born in Australia in 1967, and grew up in country Victoria. At the age of 14 he discovered that the father he’d never known had been a notorious gangster. The discovery, and the realisation that his family had concealed his father’s identity, was one of several events in his life that shattered his confidence in ‘reality’. Ten years later, while experimenting with meditation, Steve experienced a state that he has described as ‘pure acceptance’ and the ‘absolute joy of being’. The experience continued for over six months and left a profound impression on his outlook and thinking. He lives in southern Tasmania with his partner and two children.

the collaboration
Martin and Steve met while Steve was hitchhiking in southern Tasmania in 2003. They discovered a shared passion for philosophical inquiry, and they have been meeting regularly since that time. The Declaration of Freedom is the first published outcome of their partnership, and in 2008 they launched the website The FAQs of Life.

Martin and Steve wish to express their gratitude to Sean Doyle, whose professional editing proved invaluable, and to Lynda Warner, who created the design for this website. Website constructed and maintained by Tweezy New Media.