Plant/Human Symbiosis and the Fall of Humanity: Interview With Tony Wright
Tony Wright 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 call “civilization”. You can read the book for free here. Despite such 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.
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.
The following is a discussion with Tony Wright on these anomalies and more, followed by some further information on his theory.
TS: 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?
TW: 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 first place. 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 up. 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?
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 diet. 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 how the 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, inhibit mono amine oxidase (MAO inhibitors), are antioxidants and also inhibit the activity of our own hormones such as testosterone and oestrogens. 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 today’s ‘junk’ food. 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 result. 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 minut dose of a psychedelic being a perfect example of this sensitivity! What happened when we lost this symbiosis?
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 uterus.
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 comes fear. 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 self.
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 synesthesia for 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 hemisphere.
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 self”. 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?
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 progressed. 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 exists.
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 practices. 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 hemisphere. 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.
By Trevor Smith