Thursday, February 18, 2010

Tony Wright - The molecular origins of our species wide insanity: The fundamental causality of our self inflicted suffering

Left in the Dark

Left in the Dark ~ Tony Wright & Graham Gynn

Interesting stuff - I am attracted to the concept of consciousness as an emergent property, so this essay offers some food for thought.

Here is the basic argument in a nutshell:

The accepted evidence for the structural basis of our
insanity is staring us in the face, as might be expected
we fail to recognise its profound significance.

Our own sex hormones retard the development
of the dominant side of our brain!


Our flavonoid rich ancestral diet inhibited the action
of our sex hormones during the evolution of our brain!


I'm not sure about all of this without reading the book, but it's an interesting idea that deserves some attention. I have no doubt that our current lifestyle is not good for our health - the nutritional correlates with mental illness are too varied and common.

Left in the Dark

Science of the Mind — POSTED BY Tony Wright on November 17, 2009 at 10:25 am

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 of consciousness.

Working independently and alone, the fruits of his labour are only now beginning to reach a wider audience through the recent publication of ‘Left in the Dark’, despite the major practical and philosophical implications initial reaction has been exceptionally favourable. Tony is now focused on bringing this modern translation of very ancient wisdom into mainstream culture in the hope that it may help provide a way out of the self-imposed madness we currently mistake as normality.

The following article was written exclusively for Brainwaving:

Consciousness and the Direction of Structure

The molecular origins of our species wide insanity
The fundamental causality of our self inflicted suffering

By Tony Wright (pdf version)

Solving the mystery of human evolution using Darwin’s basic theory required no more than a simple reinterpretation of existing data and the application of basic biological principles. The same approach simultaneously resolves several other major enigmas in disciplines rarely considered within the same context. By following in the footsteps of William of Ockham, the path of least resistance leads to a simple, coherent and elegant explanation for our unique physiological traits and sheds light on the state of our mind.

Your ability to read and understand this article, your perception, state of mind and sense of self is directly related to the co-ordinated real time variations in structure and cascading flood of chemical and electrical chain reactions in your brain. That is not to say your consciousness is the structure, rather one facilitates the other. Forget for now the so-called hard problem, how does consciousness arise or emerge from a large glob of fatty stuff, or the esoteric realms of physics where the nature of matter and energy is indeterminate. Let us begin with a model based on the concept of structure, in this case the microstructure and molecular arrangement of our brain as an understanding at this level may shed light on some of the more esoteric mysteries.

A single brain cell is more complex by many orders than anything most of us have ever imagined, a comparison with the best of our technology would be laughable. Sub atomic, atomic and molecular engineering of extraordinary elegance, a whole dynamic ecosystem in constant yet precisely orchestrated flux.

These diagrams (borrowed from Wikipedia) provide some concept of the scale, complexity and the engineering marvel that we are when compared to the best of our technological innovation. However they fail to do justice to the dynamic reality and wonders of bio-molecular engineering, more on that later.

Take around 100 billion or so of these supremely advanced organic machines and organise them into a coherent interconnected and self-regulating whole and we have the human brain. It manages its biological support systems, processes and translates sensory input into something comprehensible and appears to give rise to or at least facilitate a sense of ‘I’. The correlation between structure and function is very good, the tiniest change in its structure can and usually does result in major changes in our sense of who or what we are. From congenital defects in the developmental process to minor accidents as small as a pinprick through to the use of appropriately termed mind altering molecules the result is always the same, micro change in structure, macro change in consciousness. So for this model to develop we will assume the brain acts like a lens for our sense of self or consciousness. The arrangement of the molecular architecture directly relates to its resolution or the quality of consciousness in the same way the design and structural integrity of a telescope lens and mirror relates to its ability to resolve light and the sharpness of the image it produces.

If we take the lens analogy as read it would be useful to look at its design and how it evolved and developed. Not quite the current paradigm re human evolution rather a modern translation of an earlier paradigm when somewhat circuitously the theory outlined below predicts the archaic traditions on which it is based would be more accurate than much of what is currently in vogue. So sit back and enjoy the ride and lets see if it correlates with the world you inhabit or whether it offers any practical insights as to where we go next….


During the latter stages of its evolution the human brain was on a rapid and accelerating curve of expansion. This exceptionally rare phenomenon was the by-product of an increasingly symbiotic and co-evolutionary relationship with flowering plants that resulted in the emergence of a number of unusual traits. These traits were the direct consequence of a heavily and progressively modified transcription environment at all stages of growth and development. Rather than selective adaptation working on DNA mutation the primary mechanism was a form of genetic engineering or more accurately epigenetic engineering. The increasing dependence on a bio-chemically complex diet, very rich in transcription altering, endocrine disrupting and neuro-active flavonoids drove the expansion of the brain. As the brain enlarged and its fuel requirement disproportionally increased the expansion cocktail was liberally laced with simple sugars. In order meet its appetite for fuel it was compelled to ingest an ever-greater amounts of the chemicals that were responsible for its growth in the first place.

New structure

The tumour like proliferation of the new brain, the neo-cortex, increasingly freed from the constraints of specialised differentiation and survival related function took a quantum leap in its development. It had acquired highly advanced cognitive abilities and begun acting as an executive layer with built in automatic enhancing capabilities for earlier more primitive neural structures. It had also reached sufficient complexity to experience self recognition, not the self we ‘think’ we are today, rather a self we would now describe as something wholly other. In addition and related to its self recognition capacity its experience of itself could be described in terms of rapture, a perpetual sense of profound wonder and intense sensual joy.


Then around two hundred thousand years ago the rapid expansion of our brain abruptly stalled and turned to contraction. The huge reduction and near loss of the wet tropical forests during the driest period of the last ice age pulled the plug on the fomenting cauldron of chemicals that had been responsible for re-designing, re-organising and re-engineering the evolutionary development of our brain. When the last of our lineage were ejected from the forests womb like protection that had hot housed our evolution, the neural system it had nurtured was exposed to the kinds of hostile ecological and biochemical environments it had not encountered for millions of years. The physiological traits that had emerged and were dependent on a heavily modified transcription environment inevitably began to regress.

Catastrophic failure

Since that time our brain has suffered a progressive and catastrophic failure in its development, massive loss of its structural integrity at a molecular and cellular level and near total loss of the most complex biochemical cocktail in evolutionary history essential for its optimum function. Archaic genetic specialisation asymmetrically encoded between the cerebral hemispheres resulted in the predisposition of one side of the brain to fail more quickly than the other. Paradoxically as the developmental retardation progressed the more retarded side assumed control, its greater loss of function and the associated psychology of fear provided the drive to dominate. Finally as sex steroids such as testosterone are fundamental in brain development and the evolutionary effect of flavonoids significantly modified their activity the severity of the symptoms is gender related with males exhibiting a more extreme spectrum of symptoms than females.

Ancient treatment

Our ancestors being significantly more functional than we are, were acutely aware of their predicament. They developed a number of ingenious practices and techniques in an attempt to treat the emerging symptoms of their neurodegenerative disease and slow its rate of progression. Through the insight of their minds alone they achieved a high science of consciousness now largely forgotten and dismissed as the mythological ramblings of our ‘primitive’ forebears. They were faced with a condition so insidious it is difficult for us to imagine, symptoms include the inability to accurately perceive reality and a progressive blindness to the nature and severity of the condition itself. Ultimately their best efforts failed, though the relics of their treatments can offer a powerful insight into the specific nature of the condition when considered within a neurological framework.

The lights went out, there is no one home

From the most advanced consciousness system this side of the Milky Way the human brain has been reduced to a zombie like state, unable to recognise itself, paralysed by a profound sense of paranoia, plagued by deeply rooted psychosis and driven to control anything beyond its rapidly diminishing experiential capacity. In the most recent and severe period of degeneration, what we now refer to as recorded history (a necessary response to the failure of our eidetic memory) it has created a world in its own demented image. The stratification of society along neurodegenerative lines resulted in the emergence of hierarchical and patriarchal structures that reward delusion and dysfunction with power and control. This has further accelerated our plunge into a culture dominated by fear where the least functional members of society inevitably end up creating a world that reflects their underlying dysfunction. Ironically labelled civilisation, built on foundations of deep psychosis, devoid of reality, empathy or any sense of beingness, a living hell where only the deluded sense of being in control at any cost provides temporary respite from the self inflicted nightmare.
Read the whole article.

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