The LUX Manifesto

Something extraordinary and unprecedented is underway. Maybe you feel it like an animal before the storm. Maybe you know it, because you are well informed and gravely concerned. Humankind is due for a date with destiny. The challenges seem insurmountable, yet each holds the potential for an unimaginable breakthrough and an irreversible bifurcation.

There is already light breaking through, even where most only see dark and doom. You have been waiting for this breakthrough. In your own life. For yourself, for your children, and for all mankind. 

 

You have been asking yourself these gnawing questions and contemplated their troubling answers:

We fill our space with things, our time with tasks, yet do we feel fulfilled?

What we need is already within us.

 

We pursue happiness in the form of material goods. Chasing after a shadow is a consecrated right, but does it not escape us as soon as we approach it?

The more we focus on being, the less we focus on having.

 

Consumption is the cornerstone of the reality we have created for ourselves. Have we really been born into a world of irreducible scarcity?

There is abundant energy in the vast 99.99...% empty space in which our bodies and all matter are but solid-looking holograms.

You have been waiting for the great event--the turning point--but all the while everything else has been waiting on you. Until this moment, you have not fully grasped that everything you do matters. Yes, everything down to the way you bring your water to boil. That boiling point is near, and now as the steam rises and dissipates into the air, this intuition begins to penetrate your being: I am not alone in this universe and not separate from it. Everything is absolutely connected and interdependent.

Will you make the first step? It’s not a huge leap, it’s a step that is close in. So small and insignificant, yet able to unravel the entire knot that is you--that is our world.

Fear has been holding you back. Fear holds everything back. Fear of the apocalypse, or fear of a final exhausted whimper. Fear that you will stand out too much, or fear that you will not stand out enough. Fear of failing, or fear of never trying. Fear of pain, or fear of numbness. Fear of lacking, or fear of losing what you have gained. Fear of being apart and lonely, or fear of being one and losing your specialness. 

Fear has been holding you back, but maybe hopelessness as well. If we liken our bodies to a form of temporary imprisonment (because we can’t exactly leave them and return to them as we please), we might observe that some “prison cells” have windows and some don’t. In reality, all have been offered cells with windows, but for some prisoners these windows are pointless because they do not believe there is anything outside to see.  

Your entire being feels constricted in the face of the world’s daunting future. But a first step will lead to another, then a third. It will all start to unravel in ways you do not imagine.

Hold my hand and take the first step. Hold on until three, and let yourself be set free.

Here is the great, seemingly impossible challenge--the Gordian knot:

To save ourselves, we must save the very ecosystem that sustains us, and dissipate our destructive societal conflicts. This we must do together.

Alone, we must find our place and thrive. If our own life is not of infinite value, what value can we give to all the rest? Our role together is inextricably linked to our role alone. It is through our individual transformation that we have the greatest power to change the world.

 

The most significant inequality is not between the rich and the poor, nor between men and women, nor between whites and blacks, nor even between the educated and the uneducated. It is the gulf that exists between those whose lives are infused with meaning and those who live superfluously. 

 

In the end, what will be required is nothing less than a miracle. Not a miracle in the form of external intervention, but a miracle from within. Nor can it be a miracle of might. The sword and the phallus will need to be kept in their sheathes. Men will need all of the tremendous creative power of their seed, and women the astonishing strength of giving birth. The East must be spurred by the West, and the West must bow to the East. More than all else, it must be a miracle of the heart, when the desire for a more beautiful world suddenly takes precedent above all the rest. 

In order to voluntarily engage the sweeping changes that are required to save us, we as individuals must come to desire a new way of life that is fully aligned with those changes. Most discourse around sustainability and ecology places focus on a moral imperative to change our behaviors. Whether because of ignorance or egotism, the arguments do not appeal to enough people to make a difference. It is as if our society were composed primarily of frustrated adolescents. Either we constrain their behavior by force (and thereby deprive them of freedom), or we replace the icons, and introduce a new vision for a life that is rich and fulfilled.

 

This is the ambition for LvX: to suggest new ways of living that will make change desirable. It is an art de vivre for a lighter today and a brighter tomorrow: a day to day life bathed in the light of our own incandescence. It is the nec plus ultra of luxury, inspired by lightness, grace, and simplicity. It is the magic of fullness where there appears to be little. It is an imperishable treasure available both to those who hold great fortune and to those of zero net worth. It is a lifestyle that is sustainable on this planet earth, for all and forever. It is the end of growth, and the beginning of wellbeing.

For this miracle to happen together, we must first become greater masters of ourselves. 

When you have it all, what is it you are still lacking?

 

Lux and you

The Kama Sutra is not for the child.

The Kabbalah speaks not to the fool.

Neither will Kala-Lux feed the poor.  

If you are needy,

If your sight is set on riches,

you will find ample guidance at greater cost.

LUX is beyond what money can buy;

Its gem cannot be acquired.

But if you seek LUX beyond luxury,

Herein lies a path for you,

Now is the time for your first step.

Then a second, then a third.

The world is waiting

For the three to set us free.

It is written that a rich man will have more difficulty entering into the kingdom of heaven than for a camel through the eye of a needle, while it is also written that all will be taken from he who has nothing. If you already live a life of luxury, then nothing will be lacking other than LUX.  Imagine how priceless would be this one thing you are lacking?  Imagine how you would focus your attention upon it as the ultimate gem. In doing so, you would also have a significant impact on the world around you, because your wealth confers great leverage. No matter how great your wealth, there are three boundless resources without which all you have is worthless.

The first resource is the earth. How would it feel to live on an island with an ocean of trash and misery constantly washing up on your shores? Of what good would be your private beach, belching refuse?  This is the state of the earth at present. No matter how great your wealth, are you able to acquire or even create a river of pure water, flowing free of any contamination from mountains to the sea?

The second resource is humanity of which you are a part. Your life has required that a mother give birth to you and that others support your growth. All that you have acquired in wealth has required the efforts of others. The very meaning of your wealth is only derived from how it positions you in relation to others. Without others, your wealthy self is truly a “nobody”.

 

The third resource is yourself.

However massive the wealth you have accumulated, it in no way compares to the treasure within yourself. Strip it all away and you may feel as if you are suddenly worth nothing. Indeed, the poverty of your being may be abhorrent to you, but the treasure is still there waiting to be unveiled and polished. There can be nothing of greater value in your life than the simple realization of who you are, stripped of all you possess. 

If yours is a life of poverty, then it is devoid of both luxury and LUX. Once you understand LUX, luxury will lose its luster. You will have what the wealthiest are still seeking. As the light of the sun shines upon all men and women the same, a life of LUX is freely available to all, though as yet known to few.

The most significant inequality is not between the rich and the poor, nor between men and woman, nor between whites and blacks, nor even between the educated and the uneducated. It is the gulf that exists between those whose lives are infused with meaning and those who live superfluously.  

Be you wealthy or not, this work has been written for only one person, and that person is you.

Who are YOU?

What an elegant question, composed of only three-letter words!

Who are you, specifically, to be reading this book NOW?

Who are you, as opposed to who everyone else thinks you are and expects you to be?

Who are you, the true you, as opposed to the role you have chosen to play in your life?

Who are you becoming, as opposed to who you have been?

The true you, in your state of becoming, is the you to whom we are writing.

Any other you will not do.

Any other you will be baffled by this book.

Your religion will get you stuck on any ideas that are contrary to its tenants.

Your science will not be able to entertain any ideas that have not yet been proven by scientific method, or that undermine science as the only legitimate way of knowing.

Your philosophy will shun any ideas that are not a product of pure reason.

Your culture will cause you to defend the values and customs of your country, your ethnicity, your religion, or any other group to in which you have invested your identity.

Your politics will cause you to blame the government and those who elected it.

Your economics is a closed-system that ignores the most precious of resources.

Your medicine will either seek a tested treatment or wait for one to become available.

Your shrink will need to muddle through your past to find meaning.

And what would your mother say about all this?

All of these are the various garments with which you clothe your naked self. You are afraid of your nakedness just as you are afraid of the void.  

If you can drop these garments in the privacy of your own space, if only during the few moments while you read this work, then you will know that LUX is for you.

The most significant inequality is not between the rich and the poor, nor between men and woman, nor between whites and blacks, nor even between the educated and the uneducated. It is the gulf that exists between those whose lives are infused with meaning and those who live superfluously.

 

Lux on earth

Let there be LUX on earth, and let it begin with me.

 

You may still be wondering: “what on earth (or what the hell) is LUX really about?”

Is it about your personal development or about the world? About your body or about the earth?

Is it science or spirituality? Rational or whimsical?

Without such distinctions, you’ll hesitate to proceed. You need to know in advance what you’re getting into. Your mind demands a category. You’ll seek some reassurance by fact checking the author, but will find no comfort in learning that the author is LEO, not even a person per se.

 

LUX is multi-faceted, but there is a point that is perfectly equidistant between the infinitely vast and the infinitely tiny. You are that point. Each of us is that point, and we are therefore the same.

Whatever you do to transform your life works also to transform the world. Whatever you do to transform the world works to transform your life.

There is no separation between the two, only a decision about where to begin.

It’s all about the first step, the impulse that sets you into motion. It is the moment of waking and rising.

This first step and those to follow, are not necessarily the same for each of us. We do not pretend to know what that first step should be for you.

There are 64 facets to what we call the GEM. Any single one of them will set in motion change at some level in your life and the world at large.

 

We are faced with an unprecedented challenge to preserve the conditions for life on our planet. It really does seem that we will not pull through. Based on what we can reasonably forecast, taking into account what we have experienced in human history, there is no compelling reason for hope.

Still, the worst is never certain, and the closer we come to the precipice of grave danger, the greater power there is to avert it. Hollywood movies are a telling cultural artefact. They show how we are obsessed with suspense and last-minute salvation.

Is there something in us that craves this suspense? As long as it ends well.

 

There are weak signals, almost imperceptible signs, that counter our impending doom.

Individuals, scattered across the earth, are initiating positive change in their personal lives, in their communities, and on a greater scales. There is daily evidence available from alternative media such as TED and GoodNewsNetwork.org.

Any single one of these carries greater transformative power than a terrorist attack. Yet, mass media will focus on the terrorists because that’s what people want to hear.

Playing in the background of the gloomy media, the outcomes of these positive individual initiatives cannot be predicted. That is good news. We never know which spark will set us ablaze and spread like wildfire.  

 

Out of the 6 billion humans on earth, the vast majority want to be happier by becoming more like those who have the greatest wealth. The so-called underdeveloped nations want to emulate the developed nations. Yet, if all those who wanted to live like an American were actually able to do so, it would destroy the conditions necessary for life on our planet.

Either there is a fundamental injustice at work in the world whereby only the chosen people get the best pickings, or the American-style pursuit of happiness is a mirage.

Happiness is not a consequence of material wealth. This has been demonstrated by many studies. most notably the Harvard Study of Adult Development spanning 75 years.

Desire is embedded in our human nature, but we can learn to alter the object(s) of our desire, as we can also learn that we do not need to pursue all of them.  

The aim of LUX is to trigger a shift in what we collectively desire. If we tell you to stop eating this or that because of its negative impact on your health and the environment, we won’t get far as long you continue to desire eating it. That is the more or less where things stand on the whole. The degradation of our planet continues as does our health, but by in large people don’t want to give up what they have, because they experience it as deprivation.

It is possible to change such collective beliefs, but not through a political campaign. Campaigning against something usually creates greater resistance among those who are for it.    

Like a seed, LUX is a new world within the world, not a revolution.

It is joy in a life that we choose, rather than disgust for the world as it is.

It is a transformation of the world starting with ourselves, rather than a political revolt.

It is a focus on accessible beauty rather than a critique of inescapable ugliness.

These distinctions are paramount. They determine the type of actions we take and the state of mind from which we act. They are best understood in contrast to conventional mindsets and actions.

 

There is a different nature of psychic energy involved when we act from our heart for what we love, than when we fight against something. We have all at some point been outraged by the appalling destruction of our planet's natural resources, or by glaring social injustice, or by the violation of human rights. On top of it all, we feel outrage that nobody seems to care enough to act, and maybe even guilt for our own inaction.

If you allow this outrage to become your dominant mindset, you will either become miserable and disenchanted, or become an "activist". As an activist, you will find meaning in your life by fighting against things that should not be. You will be tempted to think that if enough persons become activists, then the world's problems will be solved. Except that when that day comes, the activists will have created new problems requiring a new generation of activists. This is human history in a nutshell. The road to hell is paved with laudable intentions.

LUX is not a philosophy of passivity. If you feel it is your role to act, then act. But it cannot be every single person's role to act against everything. Yet, it can be every single human's choice to live in such a way as to progressively neutralize the need for "activism".

For example, when over half the population simply decides to drastically reduce the consumption of industrially produced meat, the system that produces it will change, and the positive impact on the planet will be massive. "Drastically reduce" is not a very exciting perspective, so the way of LUX is to find greater joy in the alternative.

There is no objective measure as to whether our world contains more good or evil, more beauty or ugliness. Only our focus makes it so.

Let there be LUX on earth, and let it begin with me.

 

LUX BEYOND LUXURY

Luxury and poverty appear as opposites, just as they are also extremes.

On one extreme there is abject poverty, beyond which lie starvation and death.

We tend to associate wretchedness and misery with poverty, even though these states also afflict the rich.

Luxury, on the opposite extreme, is more difficult to nuance. In our consumer society convinced that luxury is a commodity, we tinker with superlatives such as uber and ultra, but they really add nothing more to the word luxury than they do to the word unique.

 

Now, if the nadir of poverty is deprivation and death, what might be the apex of luxury?

With unlimited resources, what could be created at the limit of or even beyond luxury? What could be imagined to give ultimate expression to our ideas of exquisiteness, refinement, art, abundance, sumptuousness, magnificence, perfection? Whatever you are able to imagine, from whence has such imagination come?

 

One orb spins silently in the blackness.

From the void she shines, a gem of blue.

 

Unlimited resources are beyond the bounds of what even the wealthiest person could ever acquire, so it is not material wealth that will reveal what lies beyond luxury. In the same way that that wretchedness and misery are states of being freely available to those with material wealth, are there states of being in the realm of luxury that are accessible to those without it? Can you feel abundance when there appears to be little? Can you experience the exquisite without acquisition?

 

The earth is beyond luxury. There is no palace that compares.

Your essence is beyond luxury. What you are is your ultimate treasure.

In your art, all that you create is of the earth and of your essence.

We would like to name LUX that which is beyond luxury.

 

We have come to the end of both the roads of poverty and of luxury. The poor have been bullied into believing they need what the wealthy want to sell.

The wealthy have deluded themselves into believing they can acquire “luxury goods” that have degraded the earth and the essence of other humans.

The rich and the poor alike are bent on acquiring ever more to satisfy their material desires.

The economic arbitrators call this growth, but the equation has conveniently excluded the cost of destruction, degradation, and depletion. Externalities, as economist call them.

 

What is beyond luxury, we will simply call lux.

What it has lost in letters, it has gained in nobility.

With less, it becomes more.

It only takes three to set us free.

Lux is a Latin declension for light, as you already know because you are enlightened. Lightness is an attribute of light, all the more apparent when when you consider the weight of darkness. An elusive physical phenomenon, the metaphor of light is omnipresent in our thoughts and dreams about the visible and invisible world. People interviewed about their near-death experience consistently refer to bright light that is not seen with their eyes.

 

The word luxury is derived from the the latin luxus. referring to that which is excessively sumptuous.

Notice how lux and luxus are close to each other, as if luxus usurped the purity of lux for the purposes of its ego.

Who better illustrates this than the “Sun King”?

Coated in gold, was there any light in him?

Those who have never experienced the pinnacle of luxury and the most refined of all pleasures will tend either to judge such things as excessive or to envy them. Luxury leaves nobody indifferent.

There are a hoard of shadows that lurk within our human nature, yet each of them conceals a beautiful gift. The desire for the sumptuous is a search for the sublime. Much will be seem tainted by narcissism or a thirst for power, but there is also a pure and natural longing for  exquisiteness.

Imagine that you are invited to a banquet in the company of gods and goddesses. With great delight, they offer you an ambrosia to drink. It is the most crystalline elixir you have ever beheld, sparkling like a liquid jewel. As you bring it close to your lips, a subtle floral bouquet explodes up into your sinuses, potent like horseradish but delicate like a balm. As you sip, a tantalizing tartness and strange sweetness engulf your palette. Your entire body tingles with delight. In your delirium, you do not know whether this is the supreme aphrodisiac, or whether it is the very essence of sex transmuted into a breuvage. When you awake from this lucid dream, you think to yourself that maybe the very finest champagne could be remotely similar to this experience. Even if that bottle of the finest Krug costs more than your monthly rent, it’s still worth it for you.

Why? Because in that moment, you feel like a god or a goddess. In that moment, there is absolutely nothing else apart from your jubilation. This is the true nature of your longing for luxury.

 

Now, would you rather have a life of luxury (luxus) or one of light (lux)?

 

You might prefer a life of luxus to lux, because at least you’d have some idea of what’s for dinner (some mystics have claimed that the human body can sustain itself with light alone). Better yet, how about a life of luxury first, then one of light? Have your cake and eat it too.

 

After 70 years of pure pleasure in your luxurious palace, you might say: “well, that was great, but now I’d like to try something more daring or daunting. Maybe something more tough and rough, or sour and dour.”

 

When you have it all, what is it you are still lacking? If that one thing could be had, would you still need or want to have it all? This question has never lost its poignancy over the thousands of years that man has pondered upon it. No matter how many answers have been suggested by philosophy, psychology, or religion, there is no single answer to the age-old question, nor a single solution for our collective woes.

 

There is a quest. There is a direction. There is a convergence.  

 

There is a quest: it is to find ourselves and become what we are. Having things is an illusion.

There is a direction, leading us to to “higher ground” where we can better see what was previously shrouded.   

There is a convergence, when we collectively recognize how our hearts and minds are intertwined, and how we as individuals are but waves in one ocean of human experience.

 

All that is past wisdom must be actualized, expressed anew for our generation and for you.

You must no longer be a follower. You must become your own guide.  

 

You are your own guide, and LUX is now your companion. It will light your chosen path toward a state of being and a way of living that are in harmony with what is good for us and for our world.

All that you thought you could find in luxury, you will indeed find in LUX.

 

This is a radical departure from how we normally go about trying to change our lives and our world. For example, in a quest to save the planet, environmentalists tend to vilify the polluters and policy makers. The “bad people” may change something, but it will be out of fear or guilt, and therefore nothing will change fundamentally. When you come to love the earth, it becomes natural for you to preserve it. Our dominant civilisation only sees the earth as an available resource for exploitation. Men who objectify woman violate them. Men who love women are incapable of such acts. The first and most important change that must occur is a shift in perspective.

 

In the same way, if you try to change a personal habit because you have been told how bad it is for you, there will always remain some resistance, and the change will be both hard to maintain and less effectual. If you learn to take great pleasure in a new habit that replaces the bad one (let’s say conscious deep breathing instead of smoking), then you can be sure it will stick.

 

There are the woes of forests being destroyed, but also the joys of gardens being planted.

There are hardships caused by the perspective of zero growth, but also new sources of bounty.

There are ravages of global warming, but also revelations of global interrelation.

 

We can live lighter today, and from this will come a brighter future for us and for all.