The LightLiving Laboratory is a holistic, systems-thinking based project. Put differently, whatever is built into it; whatever activity it or its members engage in or with; whatever it adopts and promulgates; everything is based on a careful reflection and an evaluation of how this might impact on something, somebody, somewhere.
Some philosopher once said “challenge everything”, and another “the unasked questions are the important ones”, and a third encouraged us “to examine all assumptions”. These and many other elements form an integral part of the development process behind the first in a network of LightLiving communities, the LightLiving Laboratory, in South West England. This laboratory is the testing ground for all the elements that are intended eventually to be represented by a global network of LightLiving communities, each reflecting its local cultural traditions while sharing the fundamental LightLiving principles which, it is confidently expected, will one day form the norm for the way people and societies will be, will behave and will structure themselves.
In whatever area or direction the questioning or examinations go, they will always seek to remain aligned with the core assumptions on which the concept of ‘LightLiving’ is based.
These are encapsulated in the following 7 tenets –
(a) the resource needs for our physical existence are based on the irrefutable fact that we have only one planet to share with all life on it;
(b) the planet is capable of sustaining all life, no matter how numerous, providing the fair sharing and equitable distribution of its resources is encouraged and suitably facilitated;
(c) embodied humans are as much part of nature as a rock, plant or animal;
(d) all life is dynamic, in constant flow, in the process of steady evolution;
(e) being in human form is only one of many short phases in the timeless cycle of spirit returning to Source, this requires the long view in everything we do while incarnate in the spacesuit we call the human body, version homo sapiens;
(f) a human is spirit undertaking a highly individualised adventure in matter, circumscribed by time and space; while we are all created equally, each arrives with a different set of skills and challenges best suited for the lessons of their life;
(g) all life is interdependent and interconnected, irrespective of its evolutionary stage : this knowledge, and quantum reality, require people to act in community, to share collective experience and wisdom. Humans embody the highest evolution of consciousness in the hierarchy of life on planet Earth and are therefore fully capable of either nurturing or destroying all life. Now that we understand this, we can no longer shirk the collective responsibility we carry for the choices we make as a species.
Once we understand that we are essentially beings of light (for what else is a soul?), we will find it only natural to live with, and in, light, and lightly on this earth.
The Physical Structure (the hardware of the LightLiving Laboratory)
Beauty; shape; integration with nature, thus doing as nature would, i.e. mimicking her; community; privacy; joy; and fun; are all sensations that come to mind when seeing and feeling the Laboratory and all future LightLiving communities in the mind’s eye.
To demonstrate all these attributes on the ground the Laboratory sees itself located in a beautiful undulating landscape in which planners would normally not permit the building of a village. The design and construction methods and materials used will all take into account our accumulated current and historical knowledge on how to build homes and an environment which will fully create an environment of light, while adhering, for instance, to one-planet principles; sustainability; energy consumption, including in the production of materials; the refined geometrical ideas and principles that have shaped great spaces in all cultures; etc.
From a distance, the village will be barely discernible, as it will blend into the landscape, both natural and adapted. There will be not a car in sight. It will give little clue to the fact that it is potentially 100% self-sufficient (the final degree of self-sufficiency will be determined by its ultimate location and the availabilities around it; the original design brief reflects the requirement for LightLiving communities to adjust their degrees of self-sufficiency to their immediate environments).
Apart from the homes and community facilities for the permanent residents in the laboratory-village (conceptually ‘the inner zone’), two additional zones exist : the interaction zone and the external zone. The interaction zone will accommodate facilities on offer to the surrounding communities, including healthcare facilities; schools; performing and static arts; potentially, restaurant and other catering facilities; retail outlets; multi-function meeting places, including hubs; horticultural and agricultural facilities; workshops; actual fully equipped laboratories; experimentation areas.
The external zone includes a multi-function conference and media centre, with all the requirements of a modern facility of this kind; guest accommodation; commercial activities helping create revenue streams required to provide spending power for the members of the community. They will effectively be living in a cashless environment.
The economic structure underpinning the laboratory-village addresses the nature of ownership and the whole assumption of how we call humans ‘responsible’ or ‘useful’ or ‘mature’ by how well they ‘earn their living’. Life is an absolute right, to be enjoyed, rather than spent engaged in ‘keeping it together’. Consequently ownership of the entire physical infrastructure and asset base of the laboratory-village will be vested in a community trust (its legal form will be derived from common law). Members have unfettered use of their spaces. The community functions on the basis of the individual contributing in an agreed manner to the community’s requirements, while in turn the community will provide everything from a home to food, lighting, warmth, etc. Actual money only comes into play when items from outside the community need to be acquired (individually and collectively), or the member opts to leave the community, or, in very rare instances, might be requested to leave.
Appropriate technology will play an important part in ensuring that the community’s ‘hardware’ is suitable for the challenges imposed on it by the community’s software requirements, some of which will be unique to the LightLiving Laboratory because of the pioneering role it is required to play in the development of the concept of LightLiving.
The Functioning Community (the software running the LightLiving Laboratory)
The 7-tenets of LightLiving will form the software which will guide the members of the Laboratory towards developing the models of living suitable for a humanity evolving beyond its current stage of evolution.
The soul arriving to experience life in this dimension expects adventure; fun; beauty; joy; real personal growth; cooperation; community; and so much more. Instead, it finds a world which appears so alien to these expectations; restrictive and prescriptive; were all good things become the exception and the individual is considered lucky to experience any of these, occasionally. This decidedly need not be so.
The bullet point presentation below provides in most manageable form the main elements that will shape all expression of LightLiving in the Laboratory and in any of its derivative communities –
• individuality forms the cornerstone of any healthy community; the individual has the free will to decide on whether to support, or participate in, community or not; the individual cannot support community fully if s/he does not know self; the evolved individual accepts that the needs of community override those of the individual
• every action, virtual or in the mind, brings about a reaction : with luck immediately, but mostly in due course, even in a future life time
• education is not about filling the mind with information that will programme the individual to carry out a number of functions in society well, but is about offering an understanding of what the journey through physical existence is about : tasks that are required by a community to thrive are supported through skills training; such training includes teaching of methodologies aimed at improving the what and how of all doing
• leadership is inherent in all; not all feel confident to show, or on how to show, their leadership qualities – the LightLiving Laboratory will emphasize the release of these qualities in each member
• governance – in a community of awake and alert individuals, some will have particular strengths that could be offered to the community based on solid practical experience and knowledge : those with skills relevant to a task are expected to make them available to the community for the duration of time required to complete the task, when to stand down again; the idea of individuals driven solely by ambition to lead, based solely on ideas and ideology, has no room in a conscious community of evolving souls in transit through a physical world; counsellors with relevant experience and wisdom will act as guides and protectors of the vision embedded in the 7 tents of LightLiving
• agriculture and husbandry – the direction this is currently going is wholly unnatural and disrespecting of almost everything LightLiving stands for : changes to current approaches requires the careful dissection of current practices and their replacement with knowledge and insights revived by movements such as permaculture; biodynamics; no-tilling; etc.
• health – this is not simply the absence of disease, but rather reflects a human being in which soul and mind are in harmony with the body : each part needs its own specific nurture, and each individual’s needs will vary; fun, joy and happiness are now understood to be major ingredients to real health
• energy production and usage – there are a wide range of options available on how to produce and best use energy : as energy is unlimited, it is simply a matter of selecting the right options for each location and environment; the Laboratory will be using, testing, demonstrating and developing a number of these
• water – while abundant in South West England, water shortages globally are daily becoming more pronounced: awareness of interconnectedness will ensure that even in the first location of a LightLiving community careful and full attention will be given to water storage and usage
• family and relationships – within a community these take on completely different shapes and significance to where individuals and families seek to survive as free-standing units in today’s society : these will be developed, defined and refined in the light of experience, and for the good of all
• technology – technological progress in isolation is sense- and pointless, appropriate technology aimed at making the human experience of time and space more meaningful and enjoyable is an absolute indicator of evolutionary progress
• economics – we allocate zero intrinsic value to nature, yet freely take of her abundance and put a value on everything we make with and from its gifts : present human nature is such that something which has not been given a monetary value is considered valueless; LightLiving re-defines this and emphasizes the need for putting value on everything our 1-planet has to offer; this includes ensuring the longevity and durability of everything made and manufactured, as well as the careful recycling of everything
• rights and responsibilities – each human has these in equal measure, one cannot survive without the other: some rights are inalienable and will be provided in the community (e.g. access to fresh air, water, warmth and food; a share of common wealth; freedom of expression and action; experiencing self; the full expression of joy and passion; the exploration and release of talent), others will need to be earned, for which opportunities will naturally arise (e.g. respect)
• politics – from its Greek origins this word denotes participating in the affairs and shaping of any given community, the polis or city state of ancient Greece : LightLiving assumes that we all recognise our individual responsibility for that which happens around us
The above listing represents the highlighting of some of the key software components the Light Living Laboratory addresses and works with. The diagram below shows how the successful interweaving of all these aspects forms the fabric of a society based on LightLiving principles.
Because most people will have different views on many of these aspects (which is historically the main cause for the 92% failure rate, or non-start-up, of communities) those making application to being among the first members of the LightLiving Laboratory, will be required to sign-up to an existing operating manual and procedures. These will largely remain unalterable for an initial 2 years from full start-up (only patently unworkable aspects will be open to immediate review) until a review convocation is called at the end of the 2-year run-in period.
This operational and procedures manual, the document key to the success of the Laboratory, is being worked on. It draws heavily, and extensively, on the practical experiences of intentional and eco-communities the world over, while adding its own unique ingredients reflecting its birth in the age of instant communications, and its brief to model mainstream society of the future, fully incorporating LightLiving principles. The production and grounding of this major document entails arranging a series of workshops, seminars and international visits.