by Trevor Smith
April 30, 2013
About the Author
Trevor Smith is a
cognitive scientist in NY who has been heavily
interested in how accidental and neurochemical
alterations of our neural system precipitate changes in
consciousness and development.
About Tony Wright
While a student at
Edinburgh Botanic Gardens and preparing a short
dissertation entitled ‘The Genetic Manipulation of
Plants’ the subconscious seeds of a revolutionary new
theory were sown in Tony Wright’s mind.
Over the next 20
years a mixture of scientific curiosity and radical
self-experimentation resulted in the development of a
simple idea that explains the emergence of increasingly
anomalous traits in human evolution.
From the rapid and
accelerating expansion of our large brain to the
mysteries of our mind and the origins of spiritual
practice he has developed a new context in which we may
understand who we are and has provided a framework for
the reunification of the academic and spiritual science
There are many mysterious anomalies
about human evolution yet to be adequately explained.
These include the human brains rapid
expansion in size and complexity, why this accelerating expansion
suddenly stalled roughly 200,000 years ago and our
brains have been shrinking ever since, and why our rare glimpses
of genius goes hand in hand with our species wide insanity.
believe that the lost secret of human emergence... the undefined
catalyst that took a very bright monkey and turned that species
into a self-reflecting dreamer... that catalyst has to be sought
in these alkaloids in the food chain that were
catalyzing higher states of intellectual activity."
and Graham Gynn are authors of Left
In The Dark
- the book
that presents Tony’s research outlining a
radical re-interpretation of the current
data regarding human evolution and, they
contend, our recent degenerated state we
a young and extreme proposal positive
reactions are growing and include such minds
as Dennis McKenna, Stanislav Grof, Colin
Groves, Michael Winkelman
and many others.
The following is a discussion with Tony
Wright on these anomalies and more, followed by some further
information on his theory.
After two decades of research and radical self-experimentation
you’ve come to a synthesis between the ancient data and
information coming out of modern science.
Paradoxically this all seems to indicate a humongous problem,
and simultaneously explains why we would be oblivious to it in
the first place: we are all suffering from species wide neural
retardation, and are now too deluded to even realize when faced
with the mountain of evidence.
Is this the general idea?
Tony Wright: Yes. It should
be virtually impossible to find any supporting evidence for such
a profound theory if there was no real problem with the
development and structural integrity of our neural system in the
If there were only ancient accounts
of the diagnosis, or any supporting biological data, or initial
support from some of society’s sharpest minds, then it should at
least ring alarm bells.
That all those elements exist and in
addition our collective behavior has long been thought by many
to be insane indicates something really serious just doesn’t add
If everything is fine then the theory would be a no-brainer
to refute, and we should at least have no fear in thoroughly
checking it out.
So during millions of years of evolution in the African tropical
forest we developed a symbiosis with fruit, and your proposing
that it is no coincidence the most complex tissue in the known
universe evolved during a symbiosis with perhaps dozens of
species of the most complex chemical factories on the planet.
How did this occur?
TW: I’m proposing that the
accelerating expansion of the neo-cortex was due to a runaway
feedback mechanism driven by our own hormone system in
combination with the complex plant bio-chemistry provided by our
What has been overlooked is the
profound effects of flooding our brains 24/7 for thousands of
generations with this highly advanced molecular engineering
formula. Fruit is essentially a womb-like developmental
environment for the seeds and has very unique, highly complex
hormonally active chemistry.
Our early development is dictated by
the transcription process whereby changes in
DNA is read dictate the type of structures that develop.
Steroids like testosterone are the
key players here, but by incorporating more and more of these
DNA-reading plant chemicals into our diet we basically shifted
from a typical mammalian developmental environment to more of a
plant developmental environment.
Along with regulating gene
transcription many of these molecules increase brain activity,
modulate the endocrine system including the pineal gland,
monoamine oxidase (MAO inhibitors), are antioxidants
and also inhibit the activity of our own hormones such as
testosterone and estrogens.
Just altering the activity of these
two hormones has a dramatic affect on many aspects of our
development, physiology and neural structure. For example,
decreasing they’re activity extends juvenility and the window
for brain development by delaying the onset of sexual maturity.
All this coming together would have
many interconnected affects and, being that this bio-chemistry
would be present in the developmental environment it would
dramatically impact what develops at this most sensitive and
rapid stage of brain/endocrine system growth in the uterus.
This carried on after birth through
breastfeeding, and then afterwards through directly ingesting
this highly advanced molecular engineering cocktail we call
fruit. Each generation would pass down a progressively modified
neuro-endocrine system as a result.
So after millions of years of ever
more entangled co-evolution nearly all of the transcription
chemicals present during our early development and on through
life that were essential to our optimal design/functioning were
lost and replaced by progressively worse substitutes irrelevant
to our evolution... all the way until we reach
Ironically much of this actually has the opposite effect
of fruit bio-chemistry on our hormones, causing the unique
process to reverse.
All of this sounds complex but at
its foundation it’s just really basic engineering principles:
If you change the design
(transcription) and construction materials that a system or
technology is built from and fueled by, then the structure
and functionality of that system will inevitably change as a
This logic is obvious when applied
to any of our technologies but paradoxically we haven’t applied
it to the thing involved in generating our perception, which
just happens to be the most complex piece of kit we know.
Our perception is directly
correlated with and ‘effectively’ a product of the extremely
sensitive structure and bio-chemistry of our brain and this has
changed out of all recognition in a very short time. (more
on this symbiosis)
Makes sense considering even the
slightest alterations in the structure or chemistry of the brain
can result in major changes in overall functioning, how we
perceive the world, and our sense of self.
The powerful effects of taking even
a minute dose of a psychedelic being a perfect example of this
sensitivity! What happened when we lost this
TW: Even mild climate change
can result in a shrinking of the forest.
This would isolate and separate some
symbiotic associations more easily than others but a big drying
will affect even the most protected non seasonal niches.
Eventually we left the forests and
were separated from the highly advanced molecular engineering
cocktail that we were immersed in for millions of years. The
physiological structures most influenced by the symbiosis were
the ones most vulnerable to exposure from the re-emerging basic
mammalian hormone regime since it was these hormones that
prevented their emergence in the first place.
The most hormonally sensitive parts
of our physiology would be the most affected; such as our
reproductive system, immune system and our highly sensitive
neural system, especially during its early development in the
When the symbiosis ended and the
archaic steroid regime re-asserts its influence the neocortex
stalls and accelerating expansion turns into contraction. The
complex neural architecture begins to erode and because the left
hemisphere of the brain is more sensitive to steroids this side
inevitably erodes at a quicker rate.
Some genetic asymmetry and
specialization was the primitive norm, and now one side is
inevitably reverting back to the primitive type more quickly
than the other.
The orthodox view suggests each hemisphere has its own
specialized capabilities and that the characteristics of the
dominant left hemisphere, such as conceptual and rational
thought/speech, are some of our most advanced traits. The data
indicates that the development of the brain and in particular
one side of the neocortex is now incomplete, and paradoxically
the most retarded side has assumed control.
With a loss of functioning we become
less able to experience, understand and know, and with this
Fear is a powerful emotion that can
mask all other mental functions and this played a part in
suppressing the more baffling perceptions of the right
hemisphere. When we lose any sense fear accompanies this and a
growing sense of anxiety and the need for control arose as the
left began actively resisting experiences it cannot categorize
or understand since they are threatening to its very sense of
This has severely limited our
perception and compromised many abilities. The evidence suggests
those abilities as well as a wholly different sense of self lie
dormant in the right side of our brain and is only occasionally
glimpsed by a tiny minority of people.
Unfortunately this also creates a
paradox. The dominant side of the brain is assessing itself and
so while the concept of specialist abilities appears initially
to make some sense on further investigation all is not as it
appears and this doesn’t hold up.
I have proposed that the abilities
and perception facilitated by the left side of our brain are a
more primitive and greatly reduced or distorted version of what
still remains locked away in the right. Instead of separate
senses a unified and highly advanced system that perceives
everything all at once without any problems was the norm.
These glimpses of
example (which some are actually born with) could be a relic of
this unified and coherent perceptual capability now well beyond
and frightening to the primitive neural architecture of the left
It’s interesting then that the myths
of a 'previous golden age' and humanities fall into dark times are
found all over the world.
Even the bible talks about our
naked, forest dwelling, fruit eating past. This sort of theme is
witnessed among Eskimos, Aborigines, Native Americans, Mayans
and dozens of other cultures. Many also talked of a "higher
Do you think our ancient ancestors
knew what happened? How did they go about addressing the
problem? Do we still get glimpses of these right brained states
of consciousness today?
TW: When you look at the
ancient myths and traditions with all this in mind it becomes
blatantly obvious that they all are attempting to describe and
address through various techniques essentially the same thing-
although both the myths and practices have become inevitably
distorted over time from their original purpose as the condition
Of course our tendency today is to
dismiss them all as "myths" but in reality they may be more
historic account than myth, and this would be expected if the
condition was progressive.
I’ve proposed that the origin of
these ancient practices, such as
shamanism, meditation, sleep
deprivation, etc, were borne out of techniques to reduce the
influence of the degrading left hemisphere and/or engage the
abilities of the increasingly suppressed right hemisphere.
If fruit was all that was needed to
turn around the negative hormonal feedback loop that developed,
our ancestors would have figured this out a long time ago. These
practices would make a lot of sense if the general condition
Most of us today don’t escape the
confines of the dominant left hemisphere except in dreams and
perhaps subconscious glimpses during meditation or similar
More direct experiences are possible
through supplementing with neuro-chemical analogues found in
various psychedelic plants for example but a combination of
approaches works best.
Many such as prodigies, savants, etc, all
display abilities characteristic of more access to the right
Although if you were to take all of
these abilities and put them together with once in a lifetime
athletic feats, and shamanic states of consciousness it may
still be only a glimpse of a state of being that our distant
ancestors considered "normal".
While there has been a catastrophic
loss the idea that we all have a fundamental problem with our
neural functioning that is entirely treatable is immensely
hopeful given our current situation.
Food for Thought
There appears to be a mountain of
evidence supporting Tony’s theory.
For starters, we are learning more and
more about the beneficial properties of fruit bio-chemistry all the
time. One tomato for example contains 10,000 different
phytochemicals that we currently know about.
Many of these chemicals are
transcription factors influencing the way the DNA is read and
thereby influencing the structures that develop.
For millions of years this unimaginably
complex formula was directly influencing what structures develop at
the most sensitive stages of growth.
As the symbiotic
relationship evolved the mammalian developmental
environment was slowly infused with ever greater
concentrations and complexity of plant hormones.
had a progressive impact on the way the DNA was read in
turn resulted in novel structure and function.
Even if the
neo-cortex could be built to the same structural
specifications, the major part of its essential neuro-active
operating environment was also provided by the chemical
cocktail in fruit.
There currently is no other coherent
and contextual explanation for the accelerating
expansion of the brain which suddenly halted and began
contracting around the time we left the African forests.
In more recent
times, the catastrophic loss of essential design
specifications (transcription chemicals) and chronic
neuro-chemical deficiency has been exacerbated by the
use of increasingly poor quality construction materials.
findings suggest that we have lost around 95% of the
complex plant bio-chemistry and nutrients that were
present during our evolution for tens of millions of
When considered within the context of the design,
development and function of most complex and chemically
sensitive thing we know, these factors in combination
can only result in a massive failure.
The Chemistry of
It sounds unlikely that our left
hemisphere is a dominant yet damaged version of the right, however
there is evidence from various fields to support such a seemingly
Simon Baren-Cohen has discovered
evidence that the left hemisphere is more susceptible to
testosterone damage and that higher levels of testosterone in the
womb are linked to a lower level of empathy and less social skills.
His theory is that autism is an extreme
form of the male brain; the male brain being ordinarily less
empathic than female brains in the first place.
Estradiol is made from testosterone by
aromatase and plays an important part in the
"masculinization" of the brain, or in this case, the damage to the
So the degree of masculinization is
determined by the amount of testosterone available and the degree of
The book elaborates:
"As we have already seen (see
Chapter Three for the link with estrogen dependent cancer), the
activity of aromatase is inhibited by plant flavonoids and, more
importantly, by melatonin.
Less melatonin leads to more
aromatase activity, which in turn leads to increased
masculization of the brain and, at the extreme end of the
spectrum, autism (which appears to be becoming much more
Our ancestral fruit-based diet would
have been rich in aromatase inhibiting factors - and in the past
our pineals would have pumped more melatonin too.
The degree of masculization of the
male brain we see today, therefore, may well be an aberration
that has had huge consequences for us."
Males therefore appear to be the most
Where this manifests in a greater degree
of left-brain dominance it can be a disaster, as is evidenced by the
abundance of fear and control in our male dominated society.
Perhaps it is no surprise then that we
live in such a patriarchal society where it’s the old men,
chronically deficient in plant chemistry and suffering from years of
testosterone driven over-masculinization, who send the young to war
and are currently running our society into the ground through
they’re greed and lack of empathic understanding.
Could it just be a coincidence that we
see competitive and aggressive behavior all over the place and the
biological data seems to predict this sort of behavior in the first
To make matters worse much of the food
we now consume contains the very same hormones that would have been
inhibited, along with others that have many detrimental effects.
If humanity were a single patient
displaying the range of behavior we are collectively capable of and
turned up at the neurology/psychology department of a prestigious
hospital, what would they think of our mild to severe tendency for
self harm and suicide?
Or our oblivious destruction of the very
environment that sustains us?
Treating the hundreds of apparently
‘distinct’ behavioral, psychological and perceptual symptoms without
at least checking for a general/structural cause would be grounds
for serious negligence and a raft of law suits even if there were no
smoking gun regarding evidence/mechanisms for a
In our case the evolutionary data and
biological mechanisms are equivalent to fairly complete
of a serious accident, and the myths and spiritual traditions of
many disparate cultures are eye witness accounts which include, once
the dogma is stripped away, methods to treat the condition.
...are just some examples of
these techniques aimed at regaining some of this lost perception.
Psychedelics and Other
ayahuasca seem to be a powerful means of re-accessing these lost
perceptual abilities (any wonder our left brained society has made
these things illegal?).
It’s been said that shamans for example
who work with it enough can eventually bring in an altered state of
consciousness willingly, without even drinking the brew.
in ayahuasca alone are powerful MAO inhibitors with psychoactive
properties by themselves (along with many other beneficial effects).
We’re chronically deficient in not only
a complex cocktail of plant MAO inhibitors but also the ones that
our pineal glands would have produced in much higher amounts as
well, given that flavonoids stimulate this gland. Pinoline is just
Many other psychedelics can undoubtedly
help as a partial treatment.
Tony’s mention of synesthesia being a
relic of this advanced perception makes sense in light of E.A.
Serafetinides research. Serafetinides administered LSD to those
who had undergone either left or right temporal lobe removal.
He found the perceptual affects were
virtually non-existent after right but not left temporal lobe
removal - further supporting the idea that the left hemisphere is no
longer capable of making use of such profound activity and that this
is another psychedelic catalyzing access to the latent functions of
the more sensitive right hemisphere.
Other research by Dr. Allan Snyder
has found that by decreasing the dominance of the left hemisphere
with magnetic fields the enhanced perceptual abilities of the
right can be partially accessed. These include increased visual
memory, drawing skills, and other abilities.
He cites cases were autistic savants
have damage to parts of the left hemisphere and how this results in
a decreased ability to suppress the less filtered perceptions of the
Just one example of this is Steven
Wiltshire, who has astonishing artistic abilities coupled with a
photographic memory. Oddly, he cannot add or subtract! His left
hemisphere lost its linear processing but this decreased its
dominance, opening the door to the rights more advanced abilities.
There are many others like Wiltshire with similar stories.
Research into Alzheimer’s also supports
the idea that we are chronically deficient in the chemicals abundant
in a fruit, and that this is just a further symptom.
Recently it’s made headlines that
hundreds of dementia patients could be helped by a "drug
breakthrough". Dementia seems to be partially halted and
reversed by drugs with the same sort of activity we see among these
fruit chemicals (Flavonoids
as acetylcholinesterase inhibitors).
A quick search on google reveals many
fruit chemicals with the same exact properties.
If this is the case
then when we were flooded by an incredibly rich cocktail
of flavonoids way beyond current research parameters then, relatively
speaking, our reference points for dementia are invalid.
Insanity and Hope
If there was any indication
at all that
we had profound abilities locked within us then we
should immediately look into this. Especially since it is precisely
these sorts of enhancements in perception that are necessary if we
are going to get ourselves out of the mess we’ve stumbled into.
As Einstein said,
" The problems that exist in
the world today cannot be solved by the level of thinking that
If there were any evidence at all for
widespread neural retardation, would it not be a near certain
candidate for the root problem behind our collective insanity and
inability to live harmoniously with each other and our environment?
If there is a structural problem with
our neural architecture then this provides an absolutely amazing
opportunity for a species scale ‘fix’ to our current state of
literal insanity, and offers immense hope for our dire situation
here on earth.
Even if there was only the slightest
indication that this was the case then we should at least check to
be sure. Not rigorously checking into such a profound possibility
would actually be a symptom, and it should be very easy to dismiss
based on scientific methodology.
The current reaction to this research is
split, but the initial support leans heavily towards the more
creative, innovative and intelligent spectrum of society who have
been willing to scrutinize with an open mind.
Even still, such broad initial support
is a conundrum for such a radical new idea.
Although the book (Left
In The Dark) is not
well known as of yet, the Transpersonal Association of Estonia has
selected it for translation. Meanwhile it’s being dismissed - often
before even evaluating the evidence - by those who cite current or
familiar paradigms… exactly as predicted if the condition is
The consensus among many striving to
better our world is that we are collectively engaged in a tightrope
act between disaster and a massive shift in collective awareness.
Our ignorance is jeopardizing the
continuation of not only our own species but countless others and
the planet as a whole. We have the physical means to turn things
around but it is a crisis of consciousness; and thus our own minds
that stand in our way. We are glued into our conditioned behaviors
and ways of viewing the world.
Without a fundamental change in the way
we relate to ourselves, the earth, and our place in the cosmos, we
will only see more of the same.
History repeats itself and, as we have
seen time and time again, attempts to fix any of the individual
problems (symptoms) that arise from a deranged collective mind are
doomed to fail in the long run unless the damaged equipment
generating all these problems is addressed.
Major shifts in perception can be
accomplished relatively quickly by combining various techniques.
It’s straight forward: replace this plant bio- chemistry for the
long term and diminish the influence of the left hemisphere while
simultaneously engaging the right hemisphere. The trend is very
consistent from those who’ve dabbled.
The more one explores the more mind
blowing and self-evident it becomes. Ultimately it comes down to a
Look at the evidence, experiment and
decide for yourself.
only a glimpse at some of the supporting data. For more information
"You must cut through the aura of
programming and cultural assumptions that surround us from the
moment we are able to speak. The only way this can be done is by
dissolving the boundaries of ego.
Ego is a structure that is erected
by a neurotic individual who is a member of a neurotic culture
against the facts of the matter. And culture, which we put on
like an overcoat, is the collectivized consensus about what sort
of neurotic behaviors are acceptable…
…The goal can now be stated. What
this is all about is a return to archaism with the lessons
learned in history. That's where we were happy. The fall was a
fall... Into a veil of tears... Into a world of limitation,
pain, suffering, infectious disease and so forth and so on.
It’s a prodigal journey into a lower
dimension that can now be ended by a collective cultural
decision to commit to this Taoist shamanistic feminized
cybernetic caring aware present kind of being."