hygienic dark retreat

profound rest for the self‑healing psyche

a book by andrew durham

formerly darkroomretreat.com

1   hygiene


We have a real problem. To solve it, we must approach it realistically. We must deal in facts, logic and reason.

Our problem is big and complex. We need a science to organize our reasoning.

Our problem is with health. We need a science of health.

And, lo, we have one: hygiene.

Hygiene is a two century-old, globally embedded health care system. We hardly notice it. It’s just how most things are done. Everyone knows its basics. Its details strike newcomers as oddly familiar.

This science contextualizes the restful use of darkness in support of the self-healing psyche. It illuminates the role of darkness in life. It shows us how to relate to it for the purpose of health.

Health, of course, is the point. We are organisms, so our purpose is to live. To live fully, we need health.


What is health like, according to our science?

“Health does not consist merely of the absence of symptoms of illness. It is a state of positive well-being that is evidenced by a constant state of euphoria. It is rarely, if ever, experienced by humans today.”
–Herbert Shelton, father of modern hygiene1

Euphoria is the sign of function that my adolescent rapture hinted at. Once tasted, nothing else will do. What conditions would make it possible? Identifying and providing conditions is hygiene’s forte. It accomplishes this by making observations of life in nature along certain lines.


We will learn these lines—these principles—in this chapter. Which relates the basic theory of hygiene. The next chapter, dark retreat, relates the application of hygiene to darkness. In chapter 3, we head into the uncharted depths of hygienic psychology.

I aim to do much for hygiene in this book:

  • systematize its laws
  • reform its pathology
  • give it a psychology
  • add forms of retreating, including its greatest

and thus renew it by radicalizing and completing it. This will:

  • inspire a new movement for health and freedom
  • obsolete the parasite, medicine
  • end our strange suffering and restore joy, peace, and intelligence in the world.


Hygiene has three senses in its dictionary definition:

  1. the science of health; a branch of biology.
  2. conditions and practices conducive to the preservation of health
  3. cleanliness

I would like you to see this for yourself. Take a moment and look up the word, hygiene, in 2-3 dictionaries.

In common usage, the third sense strangely dominates. Hygiene is reduced to vigilant cleanliness against germs and the use of safety equipment to protect against a hostile environment. Why? We will get to that.

Meanwhile, the dictionary shows that hygiene includes all healthy conditions and practices. It is fearless and relaxed. It respects life’s resilience.

  • air, warmth, water, food, light & darkness, shelter
  • rest, work, poise, exercise, cleanliness
  • family & friends, camaraderie, affection, sex, love
  • freedom, peace, prosperity, habitat

The extent and organization of this list are somewhat arbitrary. It simply helps ground our discussion in biology. Which includes psychobiology and sociobiology.


This book mainly deals with the condition of rest. It is half of life. In our action-obsessed lifeway, we disdain and resist rest. We view it as laziness, indulgence, a waste of time. This is an obvious aspect of mass civilized psychosis.

Rest is an end in itself. It is another equal aspect of living. Moreover, nothing else is possible without it, neither action nor healing. As Shelton says, “Time spent at rest is never wasted.” If we wish to be healthy, we simply must correct ourselves in this matter.

We rest for two reasons: because we are tired and because we are ill. Thus rest is of two kinds: ordinary and profound.

Ordinary rest includes daily sleep, naps, and relaxation, alternated with daily activity in light. It is for recovering from the tiredness, the wear and tear of daily life. It is for maintenance of health.

Profound rest is:

  • deep: more restful and accompanied by greater healing
  • concentrated: more occurs per day
  • long: lasts days, weeks, even months
  • remedial: for the purpose of relief and healing from major trauma and illness
  • provisioned: provided for with perfected conditions of rest.

Profound rest occurs under four main conditions. They are (in order of increasing depth):

  1. solitude
  2. silence
  3. fasting
  4. darkness

These can be used in any combination. Hygienic dark retreating begins with #1, 2, & 4. It can include #3 later. There are over 10 other conditions of rest, to be discussed in chapter 2.

The benefits of profound rest accumulate day by day. If interrupted, some healing processes must start over. To heal from major trauma, a good night’s sleep is not enough, even several in a row. The rest must go on day and night for days for healing to occur. We must bring hygienic retreats into our lives to get the profound rest we need.



Hygiene originated at the peak of the Enlightenment in America. It is a gift of the children of the Revolutionaries, rivaling the great gift from their parents. The country was new. Everything was possible. Three men dared to see everything about health with fresh eyes.

In 1822, Dr Isaac Jennings abandoned drugging. He prescribed fasting under the guise of sugar and bread pills taken with copious amounts of water. His success drew patients from far and wide.

Hygiene became a mass movement in 1832 with the lectures of Sylvester Graham, physiologist, preacher, and the namesake of Graham (whole wheat) flour.

Dr Russell Trall built on the efforts of Jennings and Graham. He had independently abandoned drugging, also. He boldly advanced hygienic theory and practice. He spread hygiene widely with publications, lectures, and organization.

Florence Nightingale, mother of modern nursing, spread hygiene perhaps more than anyone else, before nursing was co-opted by medicine. With help from Trall and James Jackson, Ellen G White imbued the Seventh-Day Adventist Church with hygienic principles.2 Today, Adventists live an average of 10 years longer than those around them.

Many other bold men and women alike gave their lives to hygiene. They touched tens of thousands personally and affected hundreds of millions with their influence. To name some: William Alcott and his daughter, Louisa May Alcott, Emmet and Helen Densmore, Edward Dewey, Susanna Dodds, O S Fowler, Felix Oswald, Mary Gove, Edmond Moras, Thomas Nichols, Chas Page, Hermann Reinheimer, Harriet Shaw, Joel Shew, George Taylor, and Robert Walter.

If hygiene were software, these initial efforts would be version 1.0.

Hygiene 2.0 was marked by integration. After the untimely death of Dr Trall, John Tilden buoyed hygiene with his practice, books, and neat formulations. His concept of toxemia is now widespread.

By uncompromising insight and Olympian effort, Herbert Shelton revived and systematized hygiene for the 20th century. He published a score of books and 40 years of magazines. He supervised over 20,000 fasts. He counted Gandhi among his adherents and suffered similar persecutions. He rechristened hygiene as “Natural Hygiene” to distinguish it from medicine’s corruption of the word to just mean cleanliness.

Albert Mosseri of France further modernized hygiene with his piquant prose and prodigious innovation in fasting.

Mosseri’s reader and translator, Frederic Patenaude of Quebec, introduced Mosseri to a wider audience through his magazine “Just Eat an Apple” and hygienic book, Raw Secrets (which I helped edit and publish).

Shelton’s student, TC Fry, created a widely-used hygienic course of study. Fry’s studento, Harvey Diamond, with wife, Marilyn, introduced hygiene to millions (including me) with their book, Fit for Life.

Another student of Fry is Douglas Graham. He wrote The 80/10/10 Diet, a trenchant and radical presentation of hygienic diet. It uses the familiar idea of calories in the titular ratio to explain healthy eating clearly. It makes frugivorous diet accessible.

Loren Lockman’s teachings and practice of frugivorous diet are unusually elegant. I learned from him and fasted and worked with him in 2003 and 2004.

There are many hygienists to seek out. These have been important to me.


Health was a popular movement in the 1800s in the West. Many semi-natural approaches emerged. Hygiene was the most rational, pleasing, and effective. It became the vanguard. The 19th century’s famous improvements in public health resulted.

Hygiene remains the most effective and influential approach to health and healing in history. It now benefits virtually everyone on the planet several times a day, whether he knows it or not. It is now common knowledge that rest, fresh, air pure, water bathing, exercise, and nutritious food are essential to a healthy life.

These were new ideas 200 years ago. They benefit people more than medicine even pretends to. They provide endless ways to avoid doctors. They hint at compelling truths each new generation goes searching for.

Medicine opposed this progress at every turn. It took credit for what it could not stop. It made war on hygiene’s teachings, institutions, and practicers with propaganda, lobbying, and legal prosecution.

Hygiene invited such attack by over-emphasizing the secondary principle of toxemia. Medicine used this flaw to reduce hygiene to cleanliness. Medicine made hygiene seem like it never existed with one hand while nearly destroying it with the other.

Hygiene 3.0 begins with the recognition of trauma as the root of disease; the restful use of darkness to heal from it; and a hygienic psychology based on these two. This is the basis of hygiene’s revival. It will regain its former ascendancy and attain permanent dominance.

To mark this turnaround, I am dropping “Natural Hygiene” and reclaiming the ordinary name, hygiene, for our tradition. Medicine no longer defines it for us. We are unconquered.

laws of life

Shelton describes hygiene as “the employment of materials, agents, and influences that have a normal relationship to life, in the preservation and restoration of health according to well-defined laws and demonstrated principles of nature.”3 These Laws of Life are the heart of hygiene, the key to grasping it.

I have grouped laws by importance and subject. Four primary laws form the context for the rest. Two of them, Coordination and Capacity, I formulated.

This is an overhaul of the original list. I had some criticisms of it. Names in (parentheses) below derive from it.

Here are all the Laws of Life, the strongest dose of hygienism you can get.


  • Force: A force inherent in an organism, called lifeforce, sustains its structure and the instinct of self-preservation in its every cell, organ, and system. (Life’s Great Law)
  • Order: Life’s defining characteristics are its self-preserving nature and conditional existence. The constant practical aim of self-preservation is health, life’s natural state. Self-preserving means it is completely self-generating, self-maintaining (self-ordering, directing, and defending), and self-healing (self-repairing, cleaning, and energizing). From the outside, it needs only its original conditions: air, warmth, water, light and darkness, food, company, etc.
  • Coordination: The instinct of self-preservation coordinates living processes. Instinct is a basic form of knowing. The faculty of knowing is the psyche. Thus the psyche is the coordinating system of animals. It works mostly unconsciously (involuntarily). The voluntary conscious mostly serves to maintain conditions.
  • Capacity: Capacity determines function. Capacity is the degree of an organism’s structural integrity. Function is its physical, emotional, and mental ability to live. Capacity increases with rest and decreases with trauma. How one is determines what one can do—and benefit from.


  • Action: Whenever action occurs in an organism in response to external influences, the action must be ascribed to the living thing. It has the power of action, not the external thing, whose main characteristic is inertia. Much related to the laws of Power and Capacity.
  • Dual Effect: Every action and substance has a primary effect followed by an opposite and equal secondary effect.
  • Vital Accommodation: The organism accommodates itself to external influences it cannot use, control, or destroy. It distributes the force of acute harm, lowering overall health.
  • Proportion: The success of each organism is directly proportional to the amount of its life force and inversely proportional to the degree of its activity. (Life’s Great Law.)
  • Power: The power used in any vital or medicinal action is vital power, that is, power from within and not from without.
  • Distribution: Distribution of power is proportionate to the importance and needs of the various organs and tissues of the body.
  • Limitation: When the expenditure of vital power has advanced so far that a fatal exhaustion is imminent, a check is put upon the unnecessary expenditure of power; the organism rebels against the further use of an accustomed stimulant.
  • Utilization: The normal materials of life are all that an organism is ever capable of constructively utilizing, whether it is well or sick. No substance or process that is not a normal factor in physiology can be of any value in the structure of an organism. That which is unusable in a state of health, is equally unusable in a state of illness.
  • Selection: When the quality of nutriment being received by an organism is higher than that of the present living tissue, the organism will discard lower-grade cells to make room for appropriating the superior materials into new and healthy tissue. (Quality Selection)
  • Elimination: All injurious substances which, by any means, gain admittance into an organism are counteracted, neutralized, and eliminated as fully as bodily nerve energy supply allows and by such means and through such channels as will produce the least amount of harm to living structure. (Selective Elimination)
  • Conservation: Whenever nutritive abstinence occurs, an organism’s reserves are conserved and economized. Living structures are autolyzed in the inverse order of their usefulness, while toxic substances are eliminated. This law refers to fasting; it applies to starvation as well.
  • Economy: An organism under favorable conditions stores excess vital energy and materials above the current expenditures as a “reserve fund” to be employed in time of special need. (Special Economy)
  • Compensation: When activity has expended the substance and energy of the body, rest is induced in order to replenish them.
  • Development: The development of an organism is directly proportional to the amount of vital forces and nutritive materials which are available to it, and limited by the factor in shortest supply. (integrates the law of the Minimum)


The sense of these laws exposes common myths of health. The laws affirm our deep sense of life’s correctness. They intrigue and inspire. They give grounds for hope. Consider yourself initiated into hygiene.

As we can see, hygiene is philosophical. Its primary laws, Force, Order, Coordination, and Capacity, mirror the axiomatic concepts found in realist metaphysics: being, identity, knowing, and causality. Applied to life, they mean: Life is. Life is what it is: alive, ie, self-preserving and conditional. Knowing is inherent in life. Life functions in accordance with its nature.

Life is assertive and active. This regards the Law of Force. Self-preserving means self-generating, self-maintaining, and self-healing. These obtain in every aspect of life and at every scale, from the cells to the organism as a whole. This is part of the Law of Order. It is intelligent, not a helpless, stupid reaction. This regards the Law of Coordination. It preserves itself as well as it can. This is the Law of Capacity (much more about this law later).

Other laws follow. The Law of Action states that only the organism performs vital action, including healing. So only the organism can heal the organism. Again, this is true at every scale. Even a cell must heal itself; another cannot. The Law of Power states that energy used to perform action resides only in the organism, not anything external to it. (This law might have treated the ability as well as the energy to act. The Law of Capacity now addresses ability along with other elements.)

Thus, no drug, herb, or food heals; neither any condition nor practice; nor treatment, person, or device. There is no cure, no indication to medicate. Attempting to correct the organism from the outside further traumatizes, poisons, and exhausts its power to heal itself. Whatever benefit appears in the short term undermines vitality in the long term. Such attempts mask the body’s illness and delay its healing. This is an example of the intriguing Law of Dual Effect.

Shelton discusses these laws further and quotes other hygienists at length in his book.


Whether well or ill, one’s conscious (volitional) role is to discover and provide the normal conditions of life in the proper proportion. The autonomic processes of the omniscient, omnipotent, infallible organism handle the rest. Hygiene systematically describes how this happens with these logically interrelated laws. All are derived from simple observations everyone can make. It is science for everyone, ripe for self-experimentation. Here are examples of applying these laws.

A drug is a poison by definition. It is why drugs are legally controlled. An organism does not relate with poison but neutralizes and expels it as fast as possible. The damage incurred in the process we call, “side effects”. By contrast, an organism assimilates food into its own structure without harm or compromise.

Fasting when ill is an instinctive extension of time between meals. It is observable in many other animals and has long been a part of hygiene. In this pause in eating, the body can rest from most metabolic processes. It repairs tissues. It eliminates untended waste and toxins stored deeply in excess fat. It replenishes itself with unabsorbed nutrients and energy.

For example, anemia, supposedly caused by iron deficiency, disappears. Blood iron levels normalize during a fast. A similar case is barrenness. Women who could not conceive become pregnant after fasting. The capacity either to absorb iron or conceive is restored. Just as fasting enables profound physical rest, dark retreating enables profound psychic rest.

One of hygiene’s striking insights regards disease. In disease, symptoms do not afflict the body. They are how the body heals itself and how it signals for care. Disease is not hostile. It does not invade, as in the germ hypothesis. It is bodily activity. Trying to get rid of symptoms only makes war on the body that causes them. Such effort must stop.

Pain signifies repair of damaged tissues. Infection and inflammation after first aid signify neutralization and elimination of internal toxins. Unpleasant discharges—vomiting, diarrhea, extra sweating, rashes, bad breath, dark urine—are the elimination of gross accumulated toxins and waste through various organs. Fatigue and weakness signify that energy has been diverted to all this critical work, and that one must support it by resting.

These healthy processes must not be stopped but supported with rest and waited out. If one takes drugs or treatment, the body must neutralize or recover from them before continuing to heal. Creating “another disease” does not aid healing but delays it. It adds to one’s damage, toxic load, and exhaustion. It leads to worse symptoms later when one has less time and energy to deal with them.

With medicine, one goes from a cough to a cold to bronchitis to pneumonia to death. We find a similar patterns in the pathologies of those with cancer, diabetes, stroke, digestive disorders, depression, AIDS, etc. We’ll discuss pathology in greater depth in chapter 3.

Loss of appetite conserves energy from the immense effort of digestion. Pain, nausea, weakness, and exhaustion immobilize the organism, enabling all vital force to be used for healing. Every one of these is a biological virtue. None should be feared or suppressed. All should be viewed as vital victories to be trusted, observed, and supported, not fought. All occur in the most efficient possible way for the purpose of restoring health. Disease is not an enemy to battle, but our friend to tend to.

In the relationship between food and nerve energy lies another example of vital relations. Food does not actually give energy to the body directly. Eating and digesting food initially takes energy, both nerve, chemical, and muscular. Otherwise, we could eat to restore our vigor, even when sleepy.

Food provides sugar, which refuels everything from large muscle movement to thinking to cell operation. Some of this refueling can occur within seconds of eating fruit, the most easily digested food. But even this takes material and energetic reserves to accomplish. The body only transforms sugar into reserve electrical potential of the nerves during sleep. It only repairs and eliminates toxins from tissue completely while it is unused. Eventually we run out of the power necessary to function and utilize food and must rest.

Again we see that no external force has the power to act for life, only life itself. Life is the doer. Hygiene helps us redirect to the autonomic self the vast attention paid in our lifeway to the volitional self. Volition plays a critical yet small part in the whole process of life. Hygiene puts these elements in their proper places. Hygiene can now offer darkness as a means of caring for the autonomic self in its primary system, the psyche.

The deep self will not solve all one’s problems in darkness. Some remain for the will. The deep self will restore the will’s capacity. One can then make the bold changes in lifeway necessary to handle one’s remaining problems. See post-retreat.


I have mentioned capacity a few times. It is the idea that integrates this whole book. It is so important, I have formulated a new hygienic law about it. I’ll restate it then explain.

Law of Capacity: Capacity, the degree of an organism’s structural integrity, determines function, its physical, emotional, and mental ability to live. Capacity increases with rest and decreases with trauma. How one is determines what one can do—and benefit from.

This is the philosophical law of causality applied to health: a thing acts in accordance with its nature.

Everything has a structure, whether it is an idea, a building, a body, a galaxy. In organisms, structure is the psychophysical framework of life, holding it up, keeping it together. Like life, structure is a union of being and knowing. It is the vital pattern of an organism. It exists at every scale like a fractal or hologram. It is lifeforce in a particular form. It cannot be reduced to knowing, the nervous system, the skeleton, myofascia, or DNA. Yet any of these can indicate its status.

Capacity is synonymous with constitution, endowment, type, inheritance, stock, and potential. Like these, capacity is conventionally assumed to be static. In fact, it is dynamic, changing constantly. Capacity is experienced as a sense of ease in doing something.

It shows up in colloquialisms: “Do you have it in you? Do you have what it takes? The wherewithal? The right stuff? The touch? The X factor?” Or, “He’s a natural. He was born to do it. It’s in the blood.”

Two influences affect capacity significantly: profound rest (positively) and major trauma (negatively). Profound rest is both physical and psychical. Fasting provides primarily physical rest; dark retreating, primarily psychic rest. These can be used together or separately depending on capacity.

Contrary to common opinion, effort, will, and discipline affect capacity insignificantly. Lifestyle, the daily conditions one arranges for himself, merely help one realize one’s capacity. Whatever gains one makes by them beyond one’s capacity are minor, however impressive they may seem, and they are easily lost.

Likewise, heroic discipline or super-effort (doing something twice as much or twice as fast) have the notable but still insignificant effect of turning people into weird assholes. Common examples include religiosity4, whether about god, politics, work, or food. Fortunately, this condition abates with enough rest.

This law has a strange implication. The benefit one derives from anything cannot exceed one’s capacity for it. When structure is damaged, a normal flow of vital energy will cause more damage. So the unconscious constricts it! To some degree, right action and its results—success, fulfillment, pleasure, and joy—become dangerous.

We often call this life-saving mechanism “self-sabotage” or “bad habits”. But we can best understand it as a symptom of disease. As hygienists, we must seek to understand and support it, not fight it as moralists.

This will be a big change in hygiene. Hygienists have understood vital contraction on a physical level, but not a psychical one. They have resorted to moralizing about habits. This has been useless to most of the afflicted. It has alienated many. It distorted the personalities of many who tried.

The same is true of more obvious means of self-protection like resistance and stubbornness.

Imagine a damaged electrical device. Running it won’t repair it. It may well cause further damage. It is best to immediately stop it, turn it off, unplug it, and bring it to a technician for a complete repair.

Insomnia is a good example. One’s capacity for ordinary rest determines how much of it one will enjoy. A good night’s sleep begins a deep healing process that may take days to complete. A good night’s sleep entails stillness and leads to re-energization and clarity.

These lead to irritation. It’s like the pain of re-breaking a badly set bone. The organism submits to it if the new energy will fuel a complete repair. But if light and activity will interrupt the process in the morning, then, from the comprehensive perspective of capacity, it’s best to not start at all.

If, due to a lack of time, safety, or understanding one has not met all the conditions of healing, then unconsciously, he will be prevented from sleeping until he can really sleep. Insomnia results. As with the rest of functioning, only in profound rest does the organism restore its capacity for ordinary rest.

This analysis applies to everything we repeatedly fail at.

Like staying on a good diet. One starts eating well. Congestion clears. Sleep becomes easy and delicious. Clarity, motivation, and joy return. Eventually, the energy level reaches a fever pitch and something inside snaps. Before one knows it, one has inhaled three pieces of cake that, an hour before, was obviously horrifying.

The unbearable level of energy in great, especially positive, emotion has the same effect on many. Or in meeting a magnificent personality—and getting star-struck. Or in getting a once-in-a-lifetime financial opportunity. Choke artistry springs from nowhere. “Things are getting a little too perfect. It’s time for an all-night movie marathon! Where’s the ice cream?” To prevent further damage to capacity, the autonomic self does whatever it takes to curb one’s enthusiasm.

Thus, we can see how moralization about choices, habits, commitment, etc, is ineffective because it is irrelevant. We are not creatures of habit. We are beings of capacity. In any given moment, we do absolutely the best we possibly can. Whether willed or automatic, every thought, every feeling, every action is an utmost expression of one’s capacity. The instant that capacity rises or falls, so does function. Life cannot do otherwise.

Genuine benefits gained by normal efforts simply realize one’s capacity. That’s why they feel fun. When emergencies or unusual opportunities call for extra effort, the body supplies adrenaline for it.

But we err in continuing to exert extra effort over a prolonged time span for any purpose, let alone the impossible task of restoring original capacity. The will cannot do it. It must fail. Only the involuntary power that animates us can do it. This power cannot be manipulated, only provided for.

Understanding is the key. This requires pausing, reflecting, researching. This redirection of attention is the correct use of will. It is the correct morality. Then effort can succeed.

The Law of Capacity integrates elements of several hygienic Laws of Life: Compensation, Distribution, Development, and others. It has many implications. If, like me, it takes over your perspective, you may realize some of your usual efforts are futile. You may feel your attention freed to discover and work upon what you can actually accomplish.

This idea originated in personal observations since childhood. Why would I succeed sometimes and fail at others? How could I succeed where another failed, or vice-versa? It mystified me.

Character studies in the novels of Ayn Rand gave me clues. Books on psychology did, too. My former guru, Purna Steinitz, talked about capacity constantly. That is when it entered my vocabulary in this bigger way. Gurdjieff’s thinking was integral to this expansion.

They focused on capacity as something to build. In darkness, I found the fundamental, living kind that restores itself. It has proved to be another life-saving distinction. Let us see about it now.

false capacity

Life equips us with everything we need to live fully. It seems to be about 50 times more than we need to survive. That is, we only have 2% left. We are on the edge. Many fall off every day for odd reasons. In our permanent state of emergency and distress, most of us are but a major crisis or two away from death.

We compensate for lowered normal capacity by building false capacity. By constant effort, we attain substance and momentum as personalities, even some personal power. We gain knowledge, strength, skills, character. We achieve independence, beat competitors, win respect. We gain a modicum of stability, reserves, resilience. It’s hard work, but if you are a good person, you do it. If you are lazy and don’t struggle, you lose and you deserve to.

Sound familiar?

False capacity is hard to build and hard to maintain. It is inefficient and gives partial results. As the organism restores normal capacity in darkness, it removes false capacity as soon as possible, in accord with the Law of Selectivity.

False capacity exists near the surface of the personality, where one uses it. Normal capacity gets restored from the bottom up. This occurs rapidly in darkness, slowly in regular life. So we retreat long enough for it to reach the surface. Then it can replace false capacity in practical ways.

With false capacity go the survival tricks it sustained. Only survival concerns the ego. It constricts its attention and procedures to a specific disaster (recreating it if it has nothing else to do). False capacity is specialized.

The organism is concerned with overall function and efficiency. Normal capacity is generalized and adapts to a variety of situations. It is natural, but takes some getting used to after a lifetime of over-specialization and fakery.

This idea contradicts our perversely moralized perspective. It is shocking to discover that years of hard work on oneself accomplish little compared to doing nearly nothing for a few days in darkness; that our efforts make us fake; that our pride in them keeps us stuck.

This is the hardest lesson I have learned about darkness. With every new breakthrough I had in darkness, I would experience a corresponding loss of function. It confused me for years and began to scare me. Abilities I counted upon, that I always had, suddenly disappeared. Retreating seemed like it was backfiring.

But, no. Doing far too many 5-day retreats causes the problem of over-loss of false capacity. False capacity breaks down before the organism can replace it with normal capacity. The solution is simple: do zero or one 5-day retreat. Advance quickly to 9-day and medium-length retreats. Later, I describe how Czech retreats are the key to this advancement.


Hygiene has a radical implication: All tissue, psychical and physical, can totally heal, back to its peak state in youth.

How could it not be? Integrity is an involuntary biological imperative. The organism has no choice. It has all necessary knowledge and power. It cannot err. Therefore, it must succeed. If it does not, conditions failed somehow.

Thus the organism constantly works for perfect health. As long as health is imperfect and the conditions of healing remain present, the organism must continue healing till the goal is reached.

It rarely does among us. This shows how incorrectly we live, not that life is unequal to the task. Hygienists rarely do more than pull themselves back from the brink of death and live into old age. This exposes a lacuna in hygiene 2.0.

Genetic flaws do not prevent total healing. They exist as lesions, ie, damage. Thus the unflawed genetic pattern is still present. Genes are self-healing like the rest of the organism. The organism made itself from a single cell. It can remake itself with 80 trillion. Apparently, it takes about as long.

This implication itself has astonishing implications, both personal and social. I touch on them in protocol and in my blog.


This is the general theory of hygiene 3.0. Now we can better apprehend our main subject, dark retreating.


  1. Herbert Shelton, Natural Hygiene: Man’s Pristine Way of Life*, elegantly paraphrased by TC Fry, Life Science Health System

  2. White helped focus the spirit of Reformation in America with books and visions. Sadly, she did it partly by plagiarizing much of her often brilliant books. And she started the cultish tradition of abusing people from the pulpits of the Adventist church. I recommend against visiting. Nonetheless, “Total Onslaught”, the lecture series by Walter Veith, is partly based on her work and is electrifying. He correlates the Bible and its prophecies with major historical figures, events, and ideas—and the dark forces often at work in them. 

  3. Herbert Shelton, Science and Fine Art of Natural Hygiene*, back cover 

  4. religion, Latin, re (again) + leg (law), an internal binding to law 

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