After two years of work, the new edition of my book, darkroom retreat: deep rest for the self-healing psyche, is finally done, fancy computer drawings, theoretical breakthroughs, and all. Get it now at leanpub for free or pay what you like. Or just read it here as webpages. Leanpub keeps your name and contact info private, even from me, while enabling me to automatically send you free updates to the book.
I haven’t made a peep here in almost two years. But not for lack of activity on my part. I released a new version of my book in early 2014. I discovered a flaw in my vent and started working on it, never dreaming it would take this long to fix, going through two versions and 20 iterations. I built several private darkrooms in the process and just released a new edition of my book that reflects some of my new designs and thinking about retreating. The main change, small but important, is reflected in the format chapter, summarized in the first paragraphs there.
I am working with professional writers to edit the darkness conjecture in preparation for publishing a proper book based on it. Several of the articles have changed significantly. Rapture and hygiene are extended. The retreat manual is now divided into design and protocol, and make was divided into format and design. All of these are better organized. More changes to come. These will include a re-organization of the articles into sections and a migration away from WordPress.
Retreating for less than 56 hours seems to be a really bad idea. [EDIT: glad to be wrong about this! See UPDATE below]
All my retreat reports are now blog posts, arranged chronologically in their own category, report.
Soon I will migrate this site to a new content management system based on a static site generator. Generators are clients (like jekyll), hosted, or self-hosted (like blosxom and stacey). I’m most interested in hosted generators that use dropbox and github and usually markdown. Here are the ones I have found so far:
For four years, I have been trying to do a 14-day retreat. I thought short retreats were of little value, that a long retreat was the only action that mattered. But a room good for 14-day retreats is harder to set up than one for 4- or 8-day retreats. In my dysfunction, it was too big a leap for me, like trying to jump across a wide river. In my last retreat, I discovered my first stepping stone.
Check out Herbert Shelton’s cogent discussion of the Laws of Life as formulated in Natural Hygiene.
Our first client had a good retreat last week and our second client will exit the darkroom tomorrow. Sign up for your retreat now on the register page.
I am working on a book now. It will contain all the articles about darkness here, all my retreat reports, and several blog posts that elaborate on theory and history of the conjecture. Once the book is published, I will start giving more talks.
Using Darkness to Heal from Civilized Psychosis, talk I gave in 2011 in Helsingborg. I liked how it went.
This meme is the essence of the Dilemma. It is the idea to be exposed, invalidated, replaced, buried.
The darkroom we have been building in Skattungbyn, Sweden is nearly ready. We are putting the finishing touches on the nifty fiwihex ventilation system today and will test it before the weekend is out. We will test and refine it with local supporters in January and open it to the public in February. You can see a calendar for it on the register page.
I’ve learned something really important this year about retreats, which is that for every 2-3 days spent inside, one day of identical conditions (except for being in light during the daytime) is necessary afterward to readjust to light and regular consciousness and to absorb the value of the retreat.
Arjuna Thilo has taken over the darkroom I built in Guatemala. Ajna, the woman I sold it to, passed it on to him a few months ago. I never met Arjuna in person, but our communication has been good and he has built a serious website in support of the darkroom. Check it out!
My new business partner and I are building a new darkroom in Central Sweden. Will be open to the public when it is ready. Lots of cool things in the works. More news when we have it!
John Zerzan was my neighbor in Eugene, Oregon. I got to know him through a long-lost friend who happened to help edit _Green Anarchy Magazine _with John. It was a great honor to meet him. John even critiqued one of my earlier writings, Sociality Undenied. But until now, I had not absorbed his basic ideas from books, only gotten a shallow grasp of his thesis from his articles and conversation.
One of my purposes with a solution to inordinate suffering is to solve “The Stupidity Problem”. Stupidity results from psychic malfunction due to major psychic trauma. Healing from this will automatically restore natural human genius. Everyone has genius. It is yet another casualty of the stupidity-inducing process of becoming civilized through routine brutality and casual violence. But I have occasionally glimpsed genius in myself and others. It is yet another of the gems to be recovered upon recovering full health, full sanity, full consciousness.
tao te ching, chapter 38
The koloni is my great discovery about Sweden this year. There is nothing like it in the States, really. That you can legally live somewhere that costs as little as one month’s salary to OWN is beyond belief. It can be had for as little as 9000:KR (See blocket.se. Here is a recent one. The whole rent thing is such a ridiculous drag.
Psychology is the study of the psyche, not just the mind. Thus mainstream psychology will continue failing to seriously help people as long as it considers health and illness “mental” rather than “psychic” in nature. The psyche—consciousness—is not just mental, but emotional and physical as well. Feeling and movement are not mere products of the intellect, but their own forms of intelligence.
A handful of new and changed things have appeared in the last months without announcement:
Here’s a letter I just wrote an associate about the gift economy. ~~~
Here is a poem I read at age 17. It prefaces one of my favorite books, Magical Child Matures by Joseph Chilton Pearce. It took all this time to start seeing the meaning. If ever there were a poem of rapture, this is it.
Very off-topic note about how I have come to think of long periods of silence and repeated non-responses in text communication with computer technicians. When it happens I assume one of the following:
I came up with a twist on Dominant Assurance Contracts. Which is economist Alex Tabarrok‘s game theoretical extension of the all-or-nothing Assurance Contract popularized by Kickstarter. In an assurance contract, if pledges toward a financial goal are insufficient by the contract’s deadline, then pledges remain uncollected. With dominant assurance, everyone who offered to contribute gets a bonus. “Thus contribution becomes the dominant strategy,” says Dr Tabarrok.
Hey, I just came across this excellent web-based credit clearing system: Community Exchange System [EDIT: I no longer dig this system. It’s popular but messy.] CES* is international, free, simple, compatible with paper systems, thorough, and cool. It’s just about what the godfather of new money, Thomas Greco, calls for in The End of Money and the Future of Civilization, chapter 17.
At my request, xda developer, verygreen, with support from ros87, has done in 24 hours for $10 and a $109 donated device what tens of companies could/would not do in four years with all their resources (like the $500,000 one company told me it would cost).
Something important started to change for me last week. I have been hiding my own need for darkness by trying to make it happen for others. I wrote these posts about it on my facebook page this week:
I made a facebook page called Darkness Conjecture. There you can read about the latest goings on, including current public talks in southern Sweden.
Here is something I wrote a friend about conspiracy theory following a conversation we had recently on the subject.
Location secured for world’s second hygienic darkness retreat: newly remodeled small cabin in quiet neighborhood of Swedish resort town. Modifications commence tomorrow; first retreat within two weeks.
Let us say Bodhisattvas are both sincere and realistic in their vow that, after their own personal enlightenment (which will free them from the necessity of reincarnating on this planet) they will keep reincarnating here anyway in order to help liberate all sentient creatures.
I moved to Greece, partly as a result of my darkness retreat in March (more on that soon). My new friend and final client in Guatemala, Ajna of Yoga of Beauty in San Marcos La Laguna, Solola, Guatemala, is taking over the darkroom. Contact her through her website. I will be building a business here in Greece to open more darkrooms around the world.
Just saw this movie. Awesome. It gives a good idea of the surge in creativity, clarity, synchronization, and motivation that sometimes occurs in darkness (without the side effects, of course). But just for the record, darkness will ultimately make NZT-48 look like potty training.
Now you can register for your retreat online.
[EDIT: I learned this is not a syllogism, just a regular old argument. Syllogisms have only three propositions. Sigh.]
If the Problem results from error, then the solution is virtue. If the Problem results from injury, then the solution is convalescence. Either I am sound but mistaken, or unsound and malfunctioning. Let us stop equivocating.
EDIT: these articles were renamed “make” and “protocol”
I was talking with someone about my undying quest for typable e-paper. He concluded his comments with this suggestion:
Visit the Official Atlas Shrugged Movie Web Site!
Just came across these three entries in Wikipedia about the strange light that people often experience in darkness retreats:
EDIT: Success! Type on e-ink now using hacked B&N Nook Simple Touch, the open-source project I started at xda-developers.com.
I have been playing with new names for this project. One that really strikes me is Wicked Rest. And here is a potential intro to the site with this name:
Long time, no news. Let me catch you up.
Mayan youth, a quietly defiant demographic, have been playing “Love the Way You Lie” by Eminem and Rihanna over and over. So I read the lyrics.
“My daughter will teach you our ways. Learn well, Jake Sully. Then we will see if your insanity can be cured.”
For the record: when I finally succeed in spending two weeks in darkness, here is one thing I predict will happen.
In mid-December, I made another serious attempt at a long darkness retreat. I thought I would try something different and keep it under wraps till it was over.
Shortly after returning to San Marcos La Laguna from my seventh attempt at a long retreat in San Pedro La Laguna, several doors opened for me.
I’m sitting in San Pedro La Laguna, Guatemala, on the shore of Lake Atitlan in an internet “store”. It is just a painted cinder block room with a bare light bulb and four desks with computers. For 60 cents I can use the computer for an hour.
On the metaphysics of self-preservation: “Consciousness, for those organisms which possess it, is the basic means of survival.” –Ayn Rand
secret design, the site I made in late 2001 to present my design for Tribal Housing and a bunch of writings that followed, closed Monday with the rest of GeoCities.
For a long time, I have wanted to move to the tropics. It is warm, the people are not insane in the same way that they are insane here, and the food I would rather eat grows there. In short, the grass in Guatemala is not greener than it is here, but it is green year-round. I leave Nov 9.
The strangest thing happened last night. I woke up with a strong sense of vertigo. I was having dreams of being way, way up high, of trying to cling to the flat surface I was spread-eagled on. When I woke up, the feeling persisted for a long time, with various high-up imagery to accompany it.
8.17 – Ok, I got most of the content back up. It is still pretty rough around the edges. The look is temporary. Some links do not work. Pictures are missing. Some pages have funny bits of code visible. But at least the content is up. Will fix the rest soon.
Tonight, I report my sixth and last failure to arrange for a long darkness retreat. I made two business propositions to people, the dome and health proposals. But my heart was not really in them. The effort was putting too much pressure on me and the project. It needs no pushing. And so unconsciously, I made these proposals randomly so they would not get enough response.
On the wish to recover:
So far, Natural Hygienists have said that toxemia is the cause of illness [NOTE: actually only some say this. See CORRECTION below], and that toxemia itself results from misinformed behavior. But how did this cycle get started? I do not think it just started out of the blue, as if otherwise healthy people started eating incorrectly and then lost their way. Something else had to have happened inbetween.
I have made two new pages of some older writings: my poems from 1992 to the present and a short memoir, The Ashers, a River, and I of a canoe trip I took as a boy with the Boy Scouts, my Scoutmaster, Jack Asher, and his wife, LaVerne, which I wrote for their 50th Wedding Anniversary.
I’m now promoting my health proposal, starting on facebook. Though published, I was still editing it and working out some logistics. There is a lot more to do, but the basics are in place now.
I just added a new page, health proposal, to the site. It is my latest attempt to apply the darkness conjecture with others in a self-supporting, mutually beneficial way.
People commonly act knowledgeable about things they have never read, let alone studied. I think this habit arises from the amazing idea that all the data necessary to life is in and now it is just a matter of sorting it out and making a decision. This, of course, is opposite the darkness conjecture, which is based on the idea that we are always short of most of the data we need to live because consciousness, the faculty which collects this data, is damaged.
I have a friend that I want to tell about my work. But she speaks only some English, and I became concerned my multisyllabism in the conjecture would make it too difficult for her to understand. So I just wrote a simplified version of the original conjecture.
Well, I got my first incoming link today* from entitled to an opinion, a droll, well-written blog on contemporary social and political issues. The author just wanted an ad-free copy of Origins of Agriculture by Greg Wadley and Angus Martin and found one here. Random, but strangely exciting.
I just added a sixth point to the darkness conjecture (see original version in basics).
I wonder if it is earlier in the process of realizing this idea than I thought. Maybe it needs more development. Usually, when I have an idea, I rush it into production. And it has not really mattered before because everything was part of a massive survey of information. I only needed a rough test of something to catalog it and move on.
Having just written a big hairy proposal to build a straw bale dome, it occurred to me that there may be a suitable building out there I could use. The main thing, after all, is the darkness retreat itself. So, if you have or happen to know of a small, round, building in a quiet place that I could use for about a month, then I would pay rent or work in exchange for its use rather than build a whole building from scratch. Please let me know.
I would like to share a bit of the background of the darkness conjecture by discussing the work of an early psychobiologist, William Arthur Evans. Evans wrote about the emotional origin of all illness. He had a practice in Dallas, Texas, and eventually, a school.
My 5th attempt to arrange for a darkness retreat has failed. So tonight I start my 6th attempt.
The dome must be soundproof, not just sound-dampened. Enough bad experiences with noise and enough reflections by other people have finally gotten it across to me. Sound, to a lesser but still significant degree than light, will sufficiently stimulate consciousness’s fixation on the gross dimension. How much? Maybe enough to ruin a test of the conjecture. I’m not going to take that chance.
If you’ve seen nothing, if the crimes of this culture remain unknown to you, then I would suggest you allow this post to pass unmarked. But if you see what I see, if you feel as I feel, and if you would seek as I seek, then I ask you to avail yourself of the vivifying veracity of these volumes:
I came up with a new word for the process of inducing psychosis: psychosagenesis. This concept, I realized shortly afterward, is identical to the process of civilization. To civilize someone is to induce psychosis in her.
This post now is a page, make.
Here is my quick bid for the direct costs of building the sphere.
Where should one do a darkness retreat?
Still here in Kansas City, MO. It is design bonanza day due to my friend’s computer’s webcam, which is an absurd but effective way of taking pictures. (edit: I retook 3 photos with a real camera. More photos soon.)
Now a report. See dark vader in the 3-day sith bathchamber of sleep, rejuvenation, and lust.
I’m in Kansas City, Missouri now, pursuing an unexpected opportunity to build a spherical geodesic plydome and retreat into darkness. Should take a month or two to prepare. We’ll see!
I have decided that the darkness retreat must be embedded in a life that already works well in other ways. So I am going to the midwest next week to stay at the Possibility Alliance, which I have mentioned before. After languishing in Eugene for six weeks following my first failed attempt at a long darkness retreat, and exploring options here in Seattle for a month, it is clear my own happiness must become a priority. I cannot wait until the completion of a darkness retreat. And I cannot hope that anyone will really understand this before I complete one.
I made a new page about my four darkness experiences.
I just wrote a new page, psychosis. It describes the insight I had on Christmas, 2008 which led to the darkness conjecture.
I’m collecting myself after my first failed attempt at a long darkness retreat. It only lasted two days, not two weeks as planned. I underestimated the need for quiet and chose a room that proved too noisy.
I have long felt like I could not impose the demands of my quest on others, could not trouble them with it. But today, it occurred to me that my quest is not really just mine. There are plenty of people who are in the same boat as I, having declined/rejected/imploded the roles we were offered in this cancerous culture.
I think I’ve theoretically solved all the problems in the world with this idea. Sorry it took so long, and thanks for coming.