hygienic darkroom retreat

profound rest for the self‑healing psyche

a book by andrew durham



I believe joy is natural. I searched nature for its cause. She showed me.

From this, I developed a solution to suffering. It is called hygienic darkroom retreating. I am starting a business to bring it to the world.

Joy comes from being whole. From biological integrity. Lack of joy indicates damaged integrity. One thing damages it: major trauma. Chronically unhealed major trauma is the root cause of suffering.

Yet trauma is also natural. The collisions in a material universe cause it. So nature, in its perfection, provides the means to heal from it.

As organisms, we are self-healing, provided the proper conditions. The primary condition of healing is profound rest. The most profound rest occurs in darkness.

Given enough time in darkness, major trauma can heal completely and in all its effects. Nothing is wrong anymore. Suffering ends. Joy returns.

Gradually, I developed a model of the restful use of darkness. Its pattern of conditional self-preservation matches hygiene, the science of health. So it is called hygienic darkroom retreating. It reliably leads to miracles:

  • relief, rest, and recovery from distress, exhaustion, and illness
  • restoration of the personal power necessary for freedom
  • return of the lost self

My readers and I only glimpsed these benefits in trial retreats. Now, with a complete model, everyone can benefit fully. It just needs a self-supporting, team. Thus…


I am starting a business. We will do everything related to hygienic darkroom retreating: research, development, instruction, service, and manufacturing.

To begin funding it, I am:

  • preselling hosted retreats, our most needed product
  • selling
    • consultations and remote retreat support
    • credit: product-backed, appreciating toward these and dozens of future products
  • introducing the catalog to gauge interest and schedule production
    • services: (see above)
    • information: my book in paper, lectures, training
    • goods: darkroom, componentry, tech, microfactory, neighborhood, franchise
  • using the startup process to further form the business and attract capital

The vision of Human Conditions is rapid, worldwide restoration of the original human condition of joy, health, and freedom. The mission of Human Conditions is to make darkness approachable by ordinary people on normal terms.

Realizing a vision depends on its scalability. Among positive influences, that of powerful people scales fastest. An individual restored to wholeness has mythic-scale power. In his presence, even the materially powerful forget who they are and what they were doing and want only to know him. His radiant presence is irresistable. It is the ultimate disarmament.

The model applies to every field. Restored individuals will use it to transform not merely an industry, but redefine the world’s economy and our entire way of life.

Achieving our mission means making the business a turnkey, franchise operation. Click, and it just works. I mean perfectly, beautifully, in every way, for everyone involved.

Human Conditions will be the first darkroom operation to meet this world-class standard. People have no time for anything less. There is no reason they should.

This remains true even now. The world is in dire need of a sane, practical vision of life. Yet the soul maintains its composure at all costs. Awaiting the real solution, it endures all. Only nature can provide one. The first plausible candidate has emerged.


  • The presale’s unusual terms reward past supporters
  • The catalog lists offerings with prices and drop-down descriptions. It is also the order form, with fields for quantities and options
  • The goal of the presale is $13,400.
  • The plan tells how we will do it.
  • team outlines who we are.
  • risks and qualifications describes risks, compensating measures, and our qualifications


  • prices in $USD
    • $B : base
    • $G : with gift certificate
    • shipping added at checkout
  • gift certificate
    • surprise bonus!: you have a gift certificate if you ever gave me material support:
      • donations
      • contributions to my 2016 crowdfund
      • leanpub purchases @70%; send receipt, or order #, or date and amount paid
      • other contributions. Mention them with a record (eg, an email, SMS, etc). If you lost it, say so. I might have it or remember. Claims gladly honored from anyone who helped me in any way since my research and development began 33 years ago.
    • features: non-expiring, transferable, redeemable for credit
    • limitations: limited amount usable per product, non-applicable to shipping, non-product-backed, non-appreciating (credit has none of these limitations. See its description in catalog.)
  • I will hold funds until the campaign reaches its first stage. If the campaign fails to do so, I will refund all contributions.


  • delivery dates: planned, not guaranteed.
  • product name, click for:
    • brief description and options
    • link to full description in my book with context and images
    • $B and $G prices explained above in terms
  • catalog is also the order form: enter quantities and options directly
  • click Check Out at bottom of catalog to place order
  • as an alternative to pre-ordering specific products
    • buy credit
    • mention in Options which products you have in mind to buy
      • no obligation
      • it just gives me an idea of what you find interesting, affecting priority of delivery
      • any further comments you make could help me improve the product
    • wait for announcements of imminent product releases while your credit appreciates
  Delivery  Product $B QtyB $G QtyG Total Options

| ——–:|:— | —:| —:| —:| —:| —:|:— |

2020 Nov
  • darkroom design, personal coaching
  • per hour by phone/IM using photos, video, audio, text
  • receive help in precisely adapting the hygienic use of darkness to your personality, needs, and circumstances. Take heart. We specialize in solving impossible problems.
</details> 20   10      

Credit has more features than a gift certificate and none of its limitations:

  • steep discount when purchased with gift certificate
  • non-expiring, transferable
  • product-backed: value is pegged to presale prices of products in catalog. Eg, 20 credits will always buy a paper book, regardless of future dollar price.
  • applicable to future products and total price of future orders, including shipping
  • appreciates 10% per year for 4 years, 6% thereafter, compounded monthly
  • redeemable for future investment options at further 10% bonus rate
</details> 1   0.40      
2021 May
<summary>retreat, short ΨΨΨ</summary>

A 2, 5, or 9-day hygienic darkroom retreat in the world’s first hygienic darkroom. Priced per day. Includes everything: hygienic (frugivorous) food, natural-fiber linens,

See: format

</details> 60   45      
<summary>book, paper ΨΨ</summary>

Return of the Lost Self
the hygienic use of darkness

This is the complete manual of hygienic darkroom retreating. It describes the way nature gives us to reverse the cause of our suffering and problems: unhealed major trauma. Radical insights from both hygienic traditon and experience in darkness comprehensively illuminate both theory and practice. Includes extensive instructions and drawings for making a darkroom at home or professionally. See blurb for full description and to begin reading current version. 250p.

</details> 20   12      
  — additional copy 12   8      

Available in PDF, EPUB, and MOBI formats for desktop, mobile, and Kindle

</details> 15   8      
Sep - Mar
<summary>Goods and Services,</summary>
  • deliveries begin in 2021 September and continue through 2022 March
  • most demanded products delivered first
  • receive notification of new deliverables
<summary>— remote retreat support</summary>

(per hour)

  • guidance in:
    • forming local mutual support team
    • understanding theory, practice, including technical aspects
    • preparation, pre-retreat orientation
  • coordination with local support
  • on-call conversation and emergencies
  • aftermath counsel
  • post-aftermath review
</details> 20   10      
<summary>complete support package</summary>

All the remote support you and your team need for an 9-day retreat, start to finish

</details> 250   150      
  • presentation of outline and essence of hygienic darkroom retreating
  • 20-90 minutes, up to two hours total, including Q & A. In person or by teleconference
  • expenses not included
</details> 200   120      
  • 6 hours
  • covering all major and many minor points of hygienic darkroom retreating, theoretical and practical
  • expenses not included
</details> 400   250      
<summary>sleeping mask ΨΨ</summary>
  • comfortable, lightproof, stays in place
  • thin memory foam distributes pressure without bulk, maintains space for eyes
  • soft, durable, lightproof lining: 100% cotton, black French Terry cloth (sweatshirt fabric)
  • reliable light seal around nose
  • H-strap system holds it in place through the night
  • for travel, nightly sleep and mini-retreats until dark-enabling your bedroom.

This provides an instant, cheap, universal intro to darkness, so I have prioritized its production, which may be a little tricky to replicate locally. For the crafty, impatient, and poor, the 95% effective instant version is easy to make, too. See link.

See: darkness > sleeping mask

</details> 30   20      
<summary>helix vent ΨΨ</summary>

Standard lightproof vent for darkrooms. Multiple orientations, highly adaptable. This is the most needful and difficult component to come up with yourself, so I have prioritized its production.

See: air > helix vent

</details> 35   20      
<summary>helix vent-z</summary>

Shortened helix vent for inside enclosures like silencer.

See: air > helix vent-z

</details> 25   15      
<summary>door seal</summary>

Fleece strips with tape are a simple way to lightproof the edges of virtually any door or casement window. Includes enough for large door including bottom hoops and threshold.

See: darkness > door seal

</details> 25   20      
<summary>fan mount</summary>

Eliminates vibration from fan. (Usually combined with silencer, which eliminates sound of fan.) Includes 120mm 12VDC case fan & AC-DC adapter.

</details> 35   25      
<summary>threshold vent</summary>
  • allows ventilation between darkroom and rest of house without cutting holes in door or wall
  • fits under doors with minimum 13mm gap to floor
  • to order, record these measurements in Options: gap in millimeters, door thickness, door width

See: air > threshold vent

</details> 35   25      
<summary>winter hat</summary>

White polar fleece fez allows maximum solar exposure in cold weather. Inner black patch covers eyes when pulled down.

</details> 25   20      
<summary>air filter</summary>
  • high-grade activated charcoal filter
  • absorbs odors, smoke, chemicals
  • compatible with silencer

See: air > filter

</details> 70   60      
  • silences fan and muffles exterior noise
  • heavy wooden shell and baffles, natural hypo-allergenic insulation
  • multiple orientations
  • can contain optional vent, fan mount, and air filter

See: air > silencer

</details> 80   60      
  — add helix vent-z 30   20      
  — add fan mount 40   30      
  — add air filter, with mounting plate 80   70      
<summary>blinds, custom</summary>
  • priced per m²
  • measure
    • in cm, to nearest tenth of cm, eg, 86.4 x 52.3 (1” = 2.54cm)
    • width and height of window
      • for wall attachment: measure window recess or, if trimmed, from outside of trim
      • for frame attachment: measure from outside of frame (for panel, inside of sash)
  • to order
    • enter measurements in Options. Multiple windows = multiple measurements, with a name for each set
    • quantity = 0.0001 x width x height. For multiple blinds, enter total.
    • photos
      • take 5-10 photos of each window style from inside, from 3-4 angles. Get closeups of hinge, latch, frame, trim. Take one photo of each window of the same style to capture any differences.
      • label photos clearly to correspond with measurements
      • click attach button to upload photos with order form

See: darkness > blinds

<summary>— plastic</summary>
  • extra-thick black plastic sheeting, 0.3mm, used in commercial construction
  • white lining, non-woven, for heat control and normal exterior appearance.
  • edge
    • folded to seal out light
    • pre-taped for instant installation. Extra tape included.

See: darkness > plastic

</details> 30   25      
<summary>— velcro</summary>
  • blackout fabric: polyester with odorless acrylic coating
  • self-adhesive velcro at edges with tabs for reusable seal. Hook side adheres to wall.
  • velcro comes mated for instant installation

See: darkness > velcro

</details> 80   70      
<summary>— panel</summary>
  • wooden panel that blocks light and some noise
  • fleece seal for snug fit
  • measure from inside of sash
  • can integrate with silencer, existing hinges
  • compatible with vent, fan mount, air filter
  • price includes cutting of one hole. Specify shape, size, and placement in Options (perhaps a link to a photo of a sketch with meausurements).

See: darkness > panel

</details> 70   60      
<summary>— roller</summary>
  • lightproof paper cassette and rails.
  • low-cost: made with IKEA economy blackout blind.

See: darkness > roller

</details> 120   100      
  — — add helix vent to any blind 40   30      
40   25      
400   250      
<summary>*inner knee pads</summary>
25   15      
<summary>*hip or shoulder pad</summary>
15   10      
  • portable, composting, separating
  • for sitting or squatting
  • wood frame and top with sheet-plastic container
  • bucket for poop
  • funnel with 3m drain hose for pee
  • 1L soda bottle bidet with modified cap and large needle for making more
  • compatible with shower and ventilation

See: water > toilet

</details> 100   70      
  • portable, collapsible
  • sheet metal pan, 12cm walls, and rounded edge
  • translucent curtain with tubular rod
  • drainage: siphon pump and 3m hose
  • hanging hand-washing sink
  • compatible with composting toilet

See: water > shower

</details> 180   120      
<summary>Hygienic Computing</summary>
<summary> — computer</summary>

e-paper tablet, 10.3” ReMarkable 2, Linux OS, upgraded for USB external keyboard, loaded with recommended books and apps for idea capture, processing, and use

See: ReMarkable website

</details> 600   550      
<summary> — monitor</summary>

e-paper, 13.3” Dasung Paperlike, highest possible speed, professional-grade, common connections (HDMI, power supply)

See: Dasung website

</details> 1400   1350      
<summary> — keyboard</summary>
  • design
    • hyper-ergonomic keyboard for writers (my design)
    • angled halves, tented (collapsible), one-piece
    • high-quality mechanical switches
    • USB-C cable, reprogrammable
  • in options, specify:
    • linear, click, or tactile switches
    • layout: Qwerty, Dvorak, Colemak, etc
    • color: black or white

Inspired by Sofia and keyboards

</details> 250   220      
<summary> — *mini-computer</summary>

custom Linux, pocket-size, for e-paper monitor, loaded with books and apps for idea capture, processing, and use.

Perhaps this one: pine64.com

</details> TBD          
2022 May
<summary>retreat, medium Ψ</summary>

priced per day (20-60 days)

See: format

</details> 55   40      
<summary>darkroom Ψ</summary>

hygienic house: off-grid prefab, for living and retreating (5% deposit)

See: design

</details> 30000   25000      
2023 Mar
<summary>*fiwihex heat recovery ventilator (HRV) </summary>

Recovers heat. Fan-driven design. Requires two silencers. Fine-wire heat exchange is the most advanced technology. 15x more efficient than plate exchangers, reducing space, weight, complexity, installation cost.

See air > warmth

</details> TBD          
<summary>*fiwihex energy recovery ventilator (ERV)</summary>

Recovers heat and heat-laden water vapor. Convection-driven design. Silent. No moving parts. Parchment membrane for vapor transfer. Fine-wire heat exchange, 15x more efficient than plate exchangers, is the most advanced technology available.

See air > warmth for brief mention

</details> TBD          

Buy a copy of our business to operate where you live. Documents, manuals, systems, training: everything you need to establish, open, and run. Add whatever hardware you need from the catalog. A modular, prefab business.

See: format > future

</details> TBD        

tooling kits to produce components at home

See: last paragraph of make > intro, and license

</details> TBD        
<summary>retreat, long</summary>

priced per day (90-365 days)

See: format

</details> 50   35      
2024 Sep

shelters, infrastructure, common buildings (12-50 people; adults ~40k, kids 2k/year of age, 5% deposit)

See: format > future and blog > koloni

</details> 420000+   360000+      
  • notes
    • Ψ prioritized products; others are scheduled around these.
    • *designs are conceived but neither described fully nor illustrated in my book nor prototyped. Some have links to short descriptions or mentions
    • all products subject to improvement by superior design or process, early delivery, lowered price, etc
    • more goods and services for a hygienic lifeway to come


The goal is $13,400 in sales. One-third will cover the items below. Two-thirds will cover costs: production, labor, and debts.

The schedule for paying for these is staged. Once sales reach $5000, we will set up the darkroom. I will make up any shortfall through the startup process (see plan).

Amounts exclude shipping.

Stage Item Amount Total
1 legal counsel for forming business 3000 8000
2 darkroom setup and two critical debts 5000 5000
3 assembly drawings for book 3000 11000
4 copy editing, proofreading, book design 2400 13400


Steps are roughly in order. Some are concurrent.

  1. pre-launch
    • design presale
    • set up website for presale
    • find members of my network to share presale with their networks
    • create incentive for everyone who does
  2. presale
    • reach first stage of goal
    • rent house for darkroom, buy tools and materials, prepare darkroom (long-time collaborators come from Sweden to help)
    • update and expand promotion of presale
  3. operate darkroom
    • test and refine
    • train apprentices
    • retreat and support their retreats
    • open darkroom to first clients (you!)
  4. edit book
    • integrate final pieces of model
    • refine organization of book content
    • simplify sentence structure for clarity, easier reading, and more accurate machine translation
    • hire draftsman to make assembly drawings
    • get book copyedited, proofread, and designed
    • print and ship on schedule
  5. develop business
    • study startup process
    • create pitch deck, investment plan, and other standard documents
    • use documents to present the business to attract further funding and team members
    • begin organizing work together
  6. prototype prefab darkroom
  7. develop and produce:
    • info services
      • lecture: - refine existing talk according to model - begin speaking in public - seminar: plan and organize
    • components - develop production processes and tooling - refine prototypes - produce and ship components on schedule
  8. final
    • offer medium retreats, produce darkroom
    • develop computer and ventilation tech
    • offer long retreats, produce microfactory kits, design neighborhood
    • expand catalog with related products from others

Note: Fact is, things rarely go to plan. But things can get done somehow, either on time or with communication about and compensation for delay. This is our approach.


If you would like to participate in this with us, inquire. We would like to talk to you. Every sort of unconventional and remote arrangement is possible. All kinds can help make this work. We have already collaborated extesively and supported darkroom construction and retreats worldwide through Telegram.

Essential qualifications are:

  • reasonableness
  • having read my book
  • some experience whatsoever in darkness that enabled you to sense the value of hygienic darkroom retreating for yourself. People have retreated in bathrooms and garden sheds, camped in a closet, and tacked blankets over windows and stapled together a sleeping mask.

  • Core
    • Marion Abbott, 65, Australia, is an uncompromising, eccentric truth-seeker like me. Our conversations for 4.5 years have been critical to the final stage of development as well as my survival. She has acted heroically to understand and apply my work and integrate its effects. She has done 4 retreats
    • Simen Kirkerod, 43, Norway, quit psychedelics for darkness after a long search. He is a carpenter and budding entrepreneur. He has spurred development since 2014. He has done 7 hygienic darkroom retreats for longer periods than I have.
    • Both core members of the team are long-term dedicated collaborators. Both found the solution to their personal dilemmas in my work and have invested significant time and money in bringing it to fruition.
  • Assistants
    • Sweden: Eliot, Sandro?
    • Czech Republic: Karel, Martin, Frantisek?
    • USA: Crea, Sandro, Marie-Pierre, John KCMO, John Paine
  • Advisors
    • Sterling Broby, USA
    • Nancy Martin, Mexico
    • Ketil Berg, Norway
    • Petr Vesely, Czech Republic
  • Supporters
    • John and Christie Roberts, best friend since age 5
    • Oscar Nelson, entrepreneur, Oregon
    • Pavel P., Czech Republic
    • Nancy, Ketil
    • S.N., USA
  • Acknowledgements:
    • Johan Jarlind, Sweden
    • Bård Anders Lien, Norway
    • Are Austad, Norway


As this is what I do all the time, the one major risk is delay. The world’s apocalyptic weirdness is intensifying. As with most people, it has delayed me in some things.

To cope with this influence, my plan includes backups for resiliency. We will not depend on any one strategy, vendor, investor, or even country of location. We design products for portability and distributed manufacture to minimize costs of relocation as well as shipping.

For stability with flexibility, we prioritize critical products (Ψ) for delivery when and in the order given. Delivery of other products will follow demand and be more subject to circumstances.

Politically, economically, and health-wise, I am currently vulnerable. The design of this presale will amend these. The counsel I will retain will help with these issues and the strange changes occurring globally.

Distributed states are arising to replace centralized states and to temper their death-bed measures. We will develop functions of governance—defense, judiciary, intelligence, diplomacy—as a node in this growing network.

I have learned from my last crowdfunding campaign. I raised the money but did not achieve my objective: a 21-day retreat. It did expose deeper obstacles, primarily my lack of personal power. I have started to overcome them. Here is a table of the major differences between the campaigns:

Comparison of Campaigns

issue aspects 2020 2016
  scope life’s work one-time event
  purpose trade charity
  team yes no
  country world capital unsympathetic
  timing uncertain fair
model   developed incomplete
  theory mapped out blind spots
  support plenty, committed scant, unsympathetic
  design mature experimenting
  suicidal no yes
  personal power studied, growing ignorant, deficient
  soul reconnected empty
viability   medium-high low

As long as one is powerless, he and others are liabilities to each other. Power opens the door to relationship, collaboration, and success. I rely on my team to continue seeing what I do not.


My family and elders prepared me for my mission from before conception till age 16. Independent investigation followed for 21 years until discovering of darkness and integrating it with hygiene. Eleven years of its development followed. I was born for this. I have done only it my entire life.

My father was a serial entrepreneur. I was constantly whisked behind the scenes of businesses of associates, friends, and family to see how they worked. His factories and offices were my playgrounds and later, workplaces. I worked around consultants and did a little consulting myself. I have worked closely with entrepreneurs in both publishing and manufacturing.

Except where noted, I have produced or prototyped most things in the catalog. I have experience in shipping things internationally from both America and Europe.

I have read business books since my teens. I know double-entry accounting, simple programming, basic law, history, philosophy. Above all, I have recovered enough personal power to begin succeeding in a rough and tumble world. The ultimate means of recovering the rest lies in my possession.

Delay accompanies our extreme circumstances. So does demand for my specialty: extreme measures. Darkness is an idea whose time has come. I am a survivor with a unique set of skills. I will find a way to execute my plan and fill your order.


Archimedes said, “Give me a lever long enough, and I will move the world.” Of course, he was thinking of the world from the outside as a planetary mass. Ayn Rand thought of the world from the inside as a social system. She suggested that the individual human soul is the small lever at its center, activating all its processes.

Nature has revealed darkness to me as the means of liberating the soul. It opens the bottleneck we are stuck in. In darkness, the soul rapidly restores itself and becomes able to restore the world.

We stand at a crucial moment in history. From one direction comes a grim and sick society. It presses us noisily toward slavery. From the other direction, comes ever-perfect nature. Quietly, she presses into our hands the biological key to joy, health, and freedom.

Life alerted me to its existence at 16. My purpose became finding it, then working out its operation. This stretched me to the breaking point numberless times. Somehow, it kept easing me back. Where many others sold out or gave up, or got sidetracked or cut down, the way through kept opening up for me. Relentlessness has its benefits.

Thank you for your ongoing interest, consideration, and support. Today, we begin yet again.

<   ^   >