If the evolutionary biologists, primatologists and anthropologists are correct then for the greater part of our evolution (tens of millions of years) we lived in the tropical forests and ate a diet of unimaginable chemical complexity.
Fruit in particular is extremely rich in class of chemicals called flavonoids as they are part of the plants colourful co-evolutionary strategy for seed dissemination, healthy, happy ‘drug’ dependent primates are also part of the seed dissemination strategy.
These hormone altering and neuro-active chemicals were in effect part of our own biochemistry 24/7 from conception to death for evolutionary time scales. Inevitably they affected the development of the foetal brain during its most hormonally sensitive window. Intriguingly flavonoids are known to modify and generally inhibit the activity of oestrogen’s and wait for it… testosterone (See Prof Baron-Cohen’s research).
So we were swimming up to our necks (well actually over our heads) in flavonoids during the evolution and development of one of the most complex neural systems we know. These complex chemicals also known as endocrine disrupters were modifying the development and structure of our brain in part by changing the way the DNA was being read.
As the relationship evolved and became ever more chemically entangled the boundaries between trees and primates blurred. Humans may represent the last of an extreme form where the development and function of the simian brain and physiology generally was increasingly chemically dependent on and honed by the angiosperm pharmaceutical factories extraordinaire (tropical trees) resulting in a species that was less simian and more symbiont.
There are parallels with the transformation of a worker bee into a queen by the increased ingestion of royal jelly.
The epigenetic effect of royal jelly on a worker bee during the development of a single generation is quite astounding. If a chemical cocktail with the ability to effectively re-interpret the way the DNA code is read were present 24/7 during the evolution of an organism the results would be equally spectacular. A complete re-design and re-engineering at a molecular and cellular level through to a major re-organisation of development, form and function.
The mystery surrounding the emergence of increasingly anomalous traits during the evolution of primates from monkeys to great apes, hominids and humans refuses to go away. Applying the standard model of Darwinian evolution (genetic mutation and selective adaptation) has failed to produce a coherent explanation yet apply the most basic developmental principles to accepted data and a startling conclusion emerges.
These traits are simply the expression of a heavily and progressively modified transcription environment due to an increasingly symbiotic relationship with the hormonally rich reproductive organs of flowering plants (fruit).
Humans merely represent the last and most extreme form of this effect, remove the magic formula and the unique traits (profound empathy, ‘higher consciousness’ and advanced cognition etc) that emerged in response will begin to regress, as the highly modified relatively undifferentiated neural architecture required for such experience is not fixed in the genetic code.
Studies on primate nutrition by Dr Katherine Milton- Micronutrient intakes of wild primates Nutritional Characteristics of Wild Primate Foods suggest we have lost more than 95% of the complex plant chemicals and nutrients that fuelled the development and accelerating expansion of the most advanced neural system evolution has produced. Little wonder that brain expansion turned to brain contraction, brain development into retardation while perceptually and behaviourally pretty much everything else has slowly gone to hell.
So we no longer have anything like the amount or complexity of these chemicals messing with our heads. Now our own extremely powerful hormones such as oestrogen and testosterone freed from the modifying effects of flavonoids can mould and sculpt our developing brain in a way they could not!
Of course if we really were suffering from a chronic deficiency in hormone inhibiting flavonoids we would inevitably exhibit many related conditions at all stages of our growth and development.
These draft articles are intentionally very similar as are the proposed mechanisms.
Clues from other traditions
Ancient mythology, mystical and philosophical traditions tell us our perception is seriously limited and we are psychologically deluded, in effect our lens of perception has become distorted creating a sense of separation from our true essence.
Modern science tells us we are at the peak of evolution, our rational mind has highly advanced traits and abilities yet some bizarre anomalies exist in the scientific literature. For example the dominant side of our brain does not perceive reality directly and is limited to inventing concepts or approximations; it also continuously confabulates (lies) without realising. Intriguingly there is increasing evidence that our own hormones are responsible for retarding the structural development of our brain, or at least the side of our brain that is in charge.
So here is a bit of a conundrum (though only if you are perceptually challenged). The objective data from physics tells us that the cosmos we inhabit and are part of is singular and interconnected, no such thing as empty space. An infinity of exquisite fractal like patterns, constantly re arranging itself into never ending complexity, we are (made of) the very same stuff.
The ecological data tells the same story, the phenomenal complexity that we call biology is in essence simply an extension of the same process.
Our ancestors ‘experienced’ this as part of their normal reality though by definition they did not experience themselves as separate from the interconnected whole.
They did warn us of a catastrophic and progressive failure in their ability to perceive reality that resulted in all encompassing delusion including a sense/perception of separateness.
Approaches were developed to slow the progression, deploying these treatments even today can result in partial glimpses of reality and our capacity to experience who/what we really are.
Oddly enough the objective data from neurology, psychology and evolutionary biology etc completely support the archaic diagnosis. Despite this we attempt to impose our extremely limited/primitive perception on the ‘eternal’ flux of reality with disastrous consequences for our paradisiacal home and ourselves. This is nothing more than a symptom of serious mental ill health predicted by our ancestors, fortunately the cause and treatment/prevention is simple once you recognise it, quite a challenge for a seriously compromised mind.