Tony Wright and G Gynn: Left in the Dark

The Mystery

"Evolutionary biologists have long been puzzled by what is perhaps the chief mystery of human origins: the explosive and rapid expansion of the human brain in size and complexity over a vanishingly small span of evolutionary time. (p. ix)

Why do we sometimes suddenly feel a sense of deep clarity, calm, euphoria and awakeness when we have been sleep deprived and parts of our brains start slowing and/or shutting down? Have you experienced this? I have. After staying up all night working on a project for a presentation next day, then getting the stress of the presentation over and done with, being extremely tired, and suddenly, for a period of 20 minutes or half an hour, feeling on top of the world, alert, awake and happy. I always thought it had to do with adrenalin and survival instincts kicking in but Gynn and Wright have another, titillating explanation... When the left brain is asleep, we can experience the right brain functioning better.

The key mystery introduced in the book could be described thus: Why are the cerebral asymmetries between the left and right hemisphere most pronounced in the modern human (the Homo Sapiens) although differentiation is also marked in other apes, monkeys and ancient hominids? In other words, since the modern human brain is shown to function less symmetrically than that of the ancient humans and other animals, does it mean that our brain is damaged and not functioning properly?

The Human Golden Age/ Atlantis/ Paradise

Graham Gynn and Tony Wright put forward a hypothesis which explains that the human-race did, indeed, fall from grace, after having established a high culture/ a human golden age in paradise, namely, the rainforest.

"The earliest of times, according to the classical writer Hesiod, was a 'Golden Age'. Men lived as gods, with their hearts free from sorrow, in a land abundant in fruit and rich in flocks. [...] The Hindu tradition identifies four epochs [...] The Kriti Yuga was the perfect age. Man had no worldly desires, disease, sorrow or fears. There was supreme happiness, continual delight and the ability to move about at will. [...] With each age, man's virtue lessened a quarter so in the Kali Yuga, our present age, only one quarter of man's virtue remains." (p. xii)

There are interesting anecdotes from other authors to support this point of view, for example, the earlier-mentioned Dr. Stephen Cherniske, in his book: 'DHEA Breakthrough', writes that the human race's minds and bodies are healthiest when we are in a forest environment and closest to the equator. He believes that many of the societies' problems today are due to 'a habitat dysfunction syndrome', i.e. living in an environment different from what our minds and bodies naturally require:

"When was the last time you walked through a dense tropical forest? I remember the experience vividly because of the way it made me feel: relaxed, incredibly alive and free. Whenever I'm in a forest, I feel great whether it's in the Everglades or the California Redwoods. Then I look at data showing that the incidence of cancer increases the farther you live from the equator. I look at the crime rate in our crowded cities or data showing that mental illness increases in direct proportion to population density, and none of that surprises me. It's habitat dysfunction syndrome. Our technology has outstripped our biology." (Stephen Cherniske, M.D.: The DHEA Breakthrough)

Gynn and Wright propose that the 'universal myth' of a pre-historic Golden Age is a memory that reflects our higher evolutionary state of the time when our ancestors lived in the rainforest. They propose that the diet we ate there had much to do with a better brain function and the fast evolutionary development of the human in 'paradise'.

Fall from Paradise/ 'Left in the Dark'

Most people today seem to agree that there is something wrong with the human societies and often the Western Countries are seen as leading this downfall of mankind and breaking down of societies.

For a long time the 'official' explanation for this state of events has been that nature is harsh and competitive, based on the survival of the fittest, and thus the human-kind's tendency to compete and war with each other is not only understandable, but perfectly natural and necessary. This point of view has recently been debunked by many scientists, who put forward the more sensible view that nature evolves through collaboration and often organisms of higher sophistication are based on symbiosis and balance: not only the earth itself with its forests and balanced ecosystem of flora and fauna but also, notably, the cells in the human body itself.

Bruce H. Lipton has spoken of this at length, completely devastating the 'survival of the fittest' point of view in his books 'Spontaneous Evolution: Our Positive Future' (with Steve Bhaerman) and 'The Biology of Belief'. He explains how the human body was only able to develop after the cells learned to build 'peaceful' societies, divide labour and work in collaboration. He also explains why the evolutionary theory based on competition became the canon, against many scientists' contrary beliefs and findings.

As towards a fundamental reason why our societies are dysfunctional, there are many opinions but no united view. There are secondary explanations, from capitalism to imperialism, from ruling elites to bad nutrition, from government control to technology and the media; but the larger question remains: shouldn't the human race be inherently good? And if so, why is it not acting that way? What gave rise to our destructive tendencies?

Again there are many explanations. Some say we are an alien race, and do not belong to this earth. Others say we are mind-controlled by an alien race. Others believe in different types of evil forces at play.

Somehow it never fitted my view of life that evil forces could exist. It always seemed to me that everyone I speak to is good-willing, although people, including myself, can be weak and end up causing harm to themselves and others. Furthermore, if one believes in the scalar/ chi energy and the power of high vibrations, it would seem impossible for something to be powerful and bad-willing at the same time. So in my view, the question is why are we weak and is it something that can be overcome?

It seems that in the 21st Century there is a sort of a super-human mentality brewing in many different disciplines and internet communities, which proposes that our capabilities are much greater than we think and that we have to learn to make full use of our mental and physical powers to overcome our weaknesses and to finally build functional societies and a peaceful earth. This book belongs to that category, and Gynn's and Wright's ideas are worth a good long look. This is how they outline the current problem:

"If we look at our global society, it is apparent that all is not well. Despite good intentions and attempts at cooperation, we live in a very fragmented and violent world. There is war and genocide, we are inflicting havoc on the only planet that sustains us, and we are having increasing problems with interpersonal relationships. It seems we are incapable of behaving anywhere near the ideal we would like to maintain. These problems are becoming more intense in our present era as increasing population and dwindling resources exert more and more pressure." (p. xi-xii)

"The mythic traditions of paradise allude to our naked, forest-dwelling, fruit-eating past. Various cataclysmic disasters portrayed in tales of floods, vulcanism and meteor impact brought the days of perfection to an end. These disruptive, earth-shattering events initiated a change in man too - a single divine self was split into two and the more fallen, delusional self assumed overall control. The impetus to treat this condition and the ingenious techniques devised to access the suppressed 'god-side' of man gave rise to religions.

"These ancient traditions are mirrored by our scientific view of the past and present. Anthropologists tell us that our direct ancestors lived in the tropical rain forest - and our closest relatives, the fruit-eating apes, still do. Various disciplines, including climatology and palaeontology, have found that the evolution of many forms of life have been profoundly affected by repeated ecological catastrophes. And from the sciences of neurology and psychology we know that we have two distinct selves. The latest research in this field is now revealing that the dominant side [of the brain] is perceptually limited and continually makes up confabulated tales to cover its fractures of reality. The dormant side [the right hemisphere], in contrast, has exceptional latent abilities - even its capacity for pleasure is more encompassing." (p. xiii)

Tony Wright and Graham Gynn also propose an interesting theory on how reading and writing have evolved out of our inability to use our higher senses (verbal skills being connected to the left brain dominance). They explain how pictorial languages (ancient scriptures, character-based languages) enable highly creative interpretations, indicating right-brain activation. Hebrew and Aramaic, on the other hand, are slightly less right-brain activating written languages but due to the lack of vowels, and the reading order from right to left, are still very intuitive. The highly ordered and specific-in-meaning modern Western languages, in contrast, are very limited in meaning - narrow - activate the left brain and indicative of reduced brain capacities...

"The need for reading and writing can also be interpreted as a response to a mental failing that included declining memory and reduced access to direct intuitive knowledge." (p. 91)

One of the many historical references in 'Left in the Dark' for gradual diminishing powers of the human mind/ brain:

"The decline of the right hemisphere control is illustrated in historical Greek culture by the declining role of their oracles." (p. 88, Left in the Dark)

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