by Tony Wright and Graham Gynn is a fascinating read that
should interest anyone considering a fruit-based diet.
How can we be the most brilliant species on the planet yet plagued by
ever-worsening wars, societal strife, and interpersonal
problems? Rates of depression and other mental disorders continue their
rapid ascent, and more and more we complain of alienation from society.
Even the best of us often sense we're not all we could be. We get brief
glimpses of inspiration coming through the haze, and wonder if we're
not quite whole, or if there is something more.
Left in the Dark reminds us that life may not always have been this
way. Whether it's the myths of the Greeks and Hindus or the stories
in the Bible, humanity has a tradition that we were once better. We
lived off fruit in the forest, and consequently we were stronger,
resistant to disease, and free from sorrow.
From this benign state of perpetual wonder and joy we somehow
So what got us from there to here?
Left in the Dark proposes a theory
that humanity's problems stem from the loss of our natural-fruit
Our closest genetic relatives, the bonobos and the chimps, eat a diet
predominating in fruit, and are closest to us in intelligence. Fruit
bats have a greater brain to body ratio than their insect-eating
as do parrots, who also eat lots of fruit.
Research has sown that the greater the percentage of
fruit in the diet of a primate, the greater the brain/body ratio skews
toward the brain.
So too, the authors argue, it was fruit that created our large brain
and opened the way to higher intelligence.
The chemicals in fruit, the book proposes, modify the way a genetic
blueprint is read, eventually
creating a feedback loop that made our brain ever larger over
the course hundreds of thousands of years.
For a period of about a million years, our brain expanded at an
increasingly rapid rate and then, some 200,000 years ago, this
expansion suddenly stopped and started to slowly reverse itself. So
far, no one has come up with a good explanation about what happened.
Left in the Dark suggests that, whether due to a meteor
impact, shrinking forests, or simple
population explosion, humanity was displaced from its forest home
into lands that could not supply the species with the fruit that made
most brilliant on the planet.
Since that loss, not only have our brains ceased to grow, but humanity
is suffering from a progressive neurodegenerative condition distorting
our perception of the world and altering our sense of well being and
Deprived of the chemical
loop that kept us going for so long, the book proposes the left side of
the brain has
become dominate over the right, with the result of such oddities as
having a dominant side of the body, less-than-stellar memory, and
various mental disturbances such as multiple personality disorder.
Some of the oddities of the world, such as brilliant idiot savants, may
be dysfunction, but their dysfunction allows them to access the right
side of the brain. The results are astonishing - brilliant paintings,
incredible memory, and mental feats that defy our understanding.
For the rest of us, we sometimes experience moments of intense joy,
insight, and feeling like we're connected to something
divine. This leaves us grasping for more, but we can't find it. Left in
the Dark suggests we
can only reach our right brain through a left-brain filter, limiting
potential to reach these states.
This rather nasty situation, the book argues, does have an up side: we
still have a huge amount of potential if we can tap our latent right
The authors suggest a fruit-based diet, meditation, and various other
ideas for reconnecting with our right brain.