Recognition of the Work
The following comments and endorsements date as far back as ten years, since the publication of 'Left in the Dark' endorsements, comments and general reaction are posted on the book page.
You provide some interesting observations, and theories. Your ideas are complex, and appreciated. I need to re-visit them to be sure I clearly understand. But I am open to any ideas or thoughts about cerebral dominance since it seems critical to savant syndrome. I've come more and more to the conclusion that rather than there being right hemisphere compensation, there is rather release from the 'tyranny' of the left hemisphere. Your ideas about the right hemisphere actually being the more dominant one (at least potentially) set me to thinking that through more completely. You hint at something that I also have written about, or at least articulated: is there an inherent inability of the brain to understand itself. It can understand the kidney, the heart and other organs as we unravel some of their mysteries, but I wonder whether the brain can transcend itself to explain itself. I'm not at all sure about that. But we are a long ways from reaching that barrier; our exploration has barely just begun and we are at a level that the brain can easily understand. Your thoughts that rather than evolving, we may actually be regressing are interesting ones also .Anyway, I have your thoughts now in e mail form. They are complex (at least to me) so I need to let the percolate among my own synapses now. I appreciate your thoughts. Thanks for sharing them. I'll be back in touch.
Darold A. Treffert, M.D. Clinical Professor, Department of Psychiatry
University of Wisconsin Medical School, Madison
Professor Dave Collins has commented on the unique 5 day sleep deprivation experiment he supervised at MMU in 1998 on behalf of E.C.R.
Both Tony and his colleague improved performance on the various tasks which they were set. This contrasts with conventional wisdom in literature, which would suggest increasing decrement to performance as sleep deprivation effects kicked in. Of particular note were their improved performances on vigilance and reaction time tasks.
EEG data taken from both subjects was statistically inconclusive. There was, however, a notable trend towards decreasing left hemisphere activity, even in the situation of verbal reasoning tasks which would typically engage BROCCA's area, the language centre of the brain in the left temporal lobe. This trend is in keeping with Tony's proposed explanations for the impact of sleep deprivation and performance.
So far as we can see, neither Tony or his colleague yawned during the entire period! Although short micro sleeps to a maximum of 20 seconds were apparent in the early stages of the study, sleep depravation appeared to liven up our two subjects - in stark contrast to my research team.
I would be enthusiastic to be involved in any replication and extension of this work, using the psycho-physiological equipment we have at Edinburgh and perhaps involving my colleagues in para-psychology.
Professor Dave Collins - Performance Director at UK Athletics. Visiting Professor Edinburgh University
Did you write this piece? I found it very stimulating, and have been working on issues relating to human chemical ecology/cultural psychopharmacology myself. Will you be a the conference?
Robin Rodd, PhD - School of Anthropology, Archaeology and Sociology James Cook University Townsville, Australia
thanks for your fascinating email. I confess that I am not knowledgeable about flavonoids or the environmental inhibitors of steroid activity but if I understand you correctly, they could inhibit the conversion of androgens to estrogens and so be one way that androgen levels could rise. i will think more about this but at the same time i am copying this to my colleague and collaborator Rebecca Knickmeyer in case she has any comments.
Dr Simon Baron - Cohen Authority on the role of steroids in autism and male brain development
thanks for sending along the prcis of your work. It adds another interesting piece to the puzzle of hominid brain expansion.
I'm going to keep your email in a file I am building for a near-future expansion/change of the SAC web site. We hope to be able to post such mini-articles as yours so that others can access them and we can begin to exchange ideas. Don't worry, I will not post anything without contacting you again and explicitly asking your permission. And that way, you'll know when we have gotten that far.
For now, thanks, and all the best!
John Baker - Professor of Anthropology (President, Society for the Anthropology of Consciousness)
I am delighted to hear that your experiment is coming up. Thank you for the invite to observe the experiment and run tests: that's a very interesting proposition. I would be interested to consider my participation very seriously, provided that there were enough resources to run a real study. In other words, I think that it is also in your interest to monitor the attempt as seriously and soundly as possible. One drawback is that there is not much time left to prepare a sound and complete study. Is the May 15th start date firm, or is there any chance this might be postponed to allow more time for preparing a sound study?
Please send as much info as you can,
Claudio Stampi - Neurologist and world authority on sleep
Dear Tony Wright,
Thank you for this information! The email had been delayed within the university's electronic filtering system. I concur with your consternation about the abject absence of this critical biochemical information. However, you may wish to read Kurup and Kurup's article in the International Journal of Neuroscience (noted below). I have also listed references from a recent paper I wrote regarding asymmetry in temperature within the brain and the sensed presence. Not surprisingly, an increase of only 1 deg C in the right temporal lobe compared to the left resulted in reports of a sensed presence within optimal settings. You may find some of the references of interest.
Dr. Michael Persinger - Researcher into latent neural function
Thank you for your email. We have just hired an expert on TMS but are yet to conduct controlled tests.
Your ideas are fascinating. Please keep in touch ...
Professor Allan Snyder, FRS. Director, Centre for the Mind, Australia.
As an expert in the theory and practice of sustainability issues, I feel that the LEFT IN THE DARK hypothesis holds enormous significance. The current state of the world, the state of western health and the state of our societies can only be a reflection of the state of human consciousness. Other respected writers and researchers such as Capra and Koestler indicate a crisis in human perception and consciousness, but this is the only book to give the mechanisms through which we have arrived at this point, and a practical pathway to improve our situation. The questions posed by Left in the Dark, and the integrated framework of answers offered, have profound ramifications for both the scientific community and the public at large, as well as for the sustainability and cliamte change agendas. I firmly believe that if this book and the hypotheses it contains are able to develop the momentum they deserves, then this could not only be 'the biggest thing since sliced bread', but has the potential to parallel the Darwinian, Einsteinian and Copernican revolutions, fundamentally changing our perception and understanding of ourselves, and the past, present and future evolution of the human species in the process.
Steve Charter - Director of SC2 Sustainability Consultancy, Founding Planning and Research Director of Somerset Trust for Sustainable Development (2000-2003) and author of Sustainability, Consciousness and Climate Change, and Eat More Raw.
Sorry it has taken me so long to get back to you. I have had to finish another film and it has taken all my time. It is done now and I am catching up on the large correspondence that Soul Searching generated. Thank you for your very interesting letter. The hypothesis you suggest is certainly what we were suggesting in Programme two of Soul Searching. But as you noted we really only pointed towards it. Like you, I am convinced there is a whole alternative function within the mind that, as you say, is visible in religious practices and possibly much more a part of us in the past than today.
I to believe that there is at least one further film that should explore this whole area. I have done quite a lot of research for this. So you may regard me as a rival. On the other hand I am also an interested collaborator.
I would love to hear from you, if you would like to correspond. I suspect we think broadly along similar lines and may have read some of the same works. I have not heard of Alan Snyder. Thank you for alerting me to him.. I shall seek his work. Please keep in touch in one way or another
David Malone - Documentary producer
This is an interesting hypothesis. If this were the case how might one account for the "extraordinariness" of these skills? This argument, however, applies equally to the "dominance" theory. I am not entirely sure the ideas are mutually exclusive - either way these persons don't have the dominance of language. Could you clarify for me what you mean by "long-term" do you mean permanent?
Dr Robyn Young (Autism researcher, Flinders University, Australia)
Dear Mr Wright,
Thank you for your letter and the enclosed CD. I'm sorry I have not got back to you earlier: partly I have been away, and then very busy on my return, and partly I wanted to finish reading your work before writing.
My reactions are that this is an interesting piece of work, in many ways original. As you may also predict, I feel that there are many aspects that require further substantiation.
I know very little about the nutritional aspects. But I repeat that I think it is an interesting piece of work, and I hope you will carry on with your researches. There's no doubt that your ideas are intriguing, and surely the world has enough drearily predictable papers and books in it already. So more power to your elbow!
Dr Iain McGilchrist - Neurology researcher All Souls College, Oxford
If the primordial diet was rich in monoamine oxidase inhibitors, that would profoundly affect the evolution of the gut. The lining of the bowel is rich in monoamine oxidase and the cells can take up serotonin so that monoamine oxidase and other enzymes can inactivate it.
Dr Michael Gershon Neuro-gut researcher author of The Second Brain
It was a hot contender for some years, and if you came up with it of your own accord you must be very bright. . Stephen Jay Gould argued that neoteny could explain traits like the flatter face and the naked skin, and rapid brain growth, because they were characteristic of young or unborn chimpanzees. It failed to command a consensus though and has not been heard of for a long time. That may be partly, as with AAT, because they were all so convinced that the savannah was the answer that wouldn't look at anything else. Presumably that could now change.
Yes, the other guy you might quote is Robert Martin. He was the one who first introduced nutrition as a possible factor in brain growth.
He also pointed out as you do that in the apes the brain is already larger than in other mammals of similar size. Most of us tend to leave that fact out once we start dealing with the unique scale of its expansion in humans. But if you are thinking of forest fruits it would fit back in again.
Elaine Morgan (Author and researcher, Written books on human evolution including Scars of Evolution, The Aquatic Ape Hypothesis)
Left in the Dark provides answers to many of the questions that science has so far failed to satisfactorily address. It does so by challenging one previously unchallenged assumption - that we are now at the peak of human cognitive ability. By showing how our brain function may have actually deteriorated over the last 200,000 years, ECR research also provides us with clues as to how we may return to the peak of our human potential. His model draws together the work of many other renowned scientists in consciousness research into a complex, but perfectly formed whole. Since first hearing Tony's ideas ten years ago, I have taken part in ongoing experiments to help ground his theories into actual experience. During this time I have discovered & enhanced sensory abilities that I didn't previously realise I had & my latest amazing experience on a recent ECR retreat took me to even greater levels. Now I understand just why Tony thinks this work is so important; because I feel that I have now had the briefest of glimpses of what our human potential ought to be.
David Austin (Physics BSc) - Consciousness Researcher, Permaculture Diploma Tutor, Designer & Teacher also served on the Permaculture association council 2000-2005
I just happened to stumble across your web site and am absolutely intrigued with the ideas presented. However, while I realize you need major funding, I am only an individual. It boggles my mind that SOMEONE with the means has not jumped at the chance to help you in your research. When I read the material, I thought to myself THIS is the theory I've been looking for! Anything that has the potential to bring together science and religion and calm the insanity the rift has caused SHOULD be what we all are focusing our attentions on! It amazes me what DOES get published out there while work as crucial as yours goes unnoticed. It's painfully obvious sometimes that we've stopped evolving! I wish you all the luck in the world in finding the capital to continue your work. I agree that it's some of the most intriguing, important work I've ever encountered.
Michael LaPoint (Professional musician U.S.A)