Shamanism, the Dao, new spirituality, new technology and cultural revolution
Sex, Sin and
Dr Charlotte Bach and Emergent Evolution
audio downloads Sex, Sin and Evolution Holistic Darwinism Dawkins' concept of God is rubbish! interview with Charlotte Bach

  What you will find
  in this section

Our ground-breaking bio-social approach, rooted in Maturana and Varela's powerful theory of the biology of cognition - gives rise to a unique synthesis of the biological, social, cultural and personal levels of human reality. This is the foundation for our integrated account of emotional intelligence and lived reality, with new insights into the generation of language, and the evolution of language and culture. The key concept here is "structural coupling" which is the ground for all bio-social interaction, and the continuous evolution of consensual domain.

Who am I?
I am Michael Roth, the author of all the material on this site. While training as a medical doctor, I was also an alumnus at the famed AntiUniversity of London (1968-1969), and became involved with the alternative psychiatry movement in that era and later.

I worked and studied with the existential psycho-analyst R.D.Laing, and was a founder-member of the Arbours Association (London), which provides alternative care for persons diagnosed with severe mental illness.

My research path has taken me into spheres of philosophy, social politics, linguistics and anthropology - whilst I have continued to seek out a genuine way of relating to other human beings in the troubled milieux of psychiatry, communal living, and twentieth and twenty-first century social and cultural instability.

I have been consistently inter-disciplinary in all of my reading and exploration, and the personal and philosophical insights to which this has given rise are almost always outside the prevailing classifications - or accepted lists of subjects.

The following authors are they whose work I have been most deeply occupied with, at different times in my life. This has often entailed exploring what the actual world feels like, within the patterns and definitions of life offered by these people. I have also written extensively, and often critically, about many of them.

  • Jean-Paul Sartre
  • Martin Buber
  • Lao Ze
  • St Matthew
  • St Mark
  • St Luke
  • St John
  • Rudolf Bultmann
  • Paul Ricoeur
  • Richard Rorty
  • Robert Pirsig
  • Donald Davidson
  • Jacques Derrida
  • Benedetto Croce
  • Charles Peirce
  • John Dewey
  • A.N.Whitehead
  • J.H.Randall
  • Justus Buchler
  • Martha Nussbaum
Biology, Physiology, Ethology and Cybernetics

  • Mary Douglas
  • Gregory Bateson
  • Milton Ericson
  • R.D.Laing
  • David Cooper
  • Clifford Geertz
  • Victor Turner
Virtual Reality
  • Jane Austen
  • George Eliot
  • Dorothy Richardson
  • Virginia Woolf
  • Iris Murdoch
  • Joanne Greenberg
  • Eugene Gendlin
  • Arnold Mindell
  • M. Scott Peck

I am the foremost exponent of Charlotte M. Bach's ground-breaking theories of emergent evolution, described in my A Bolt From the Bleeding Sky (Dielectric Publications, London, 1984). I continue to work as a psychiatrist and as a researcher into holistic methods of facilitating social change. This used to include facilitation and training sponsored by the organization, Community Building in Britain which developed and disseminated the work of the holistic psychiatrist M. Scott Peck through the 90s and noughties.

I am also involved in an exploratory research group seeking to fuse poetic, practical and fantastical modes of action to create significant cultural/political interventions in the here and now.

the Dao
biology of cognition
cultural theory
cybernetic solutions
audio downloads

   Sex, Sin and Evolution.
In the late 1960s and early 1970s Dr Charlotte Bach, a transexual Hungarian emigre living in Highgate, London, developed an extraordinary new theory of the evolutionary process. This theory posited a kind of primordial unrest at the heart of the instinctual life of the male and the female. The generation and selection of behavioural variants was a process that seemed to combine sexual, criminal and spiritual elements in a fizzy and unprecedented mix.

Bach also had interesting and important views on the figure of the shaman, sorceror, witch or witch-doctor. She saw these characters not only as being central to traditional tribal life, but in every exisiting form of cultural life, down to the twentieth century. This was an integral part of her theory of evolution.

All of this is well summarised in the Charlotte Bach interview, on another page of this site.

Bach understood herself to be starkly in opposition to the prevailing neo-Darwinist interpretation of evolution. And since her death in 1981 the neo-Darwinist faction (made more vocal by the popular science pundit Richard Dawkins) has made a concerted effort to hi-jack evolutionary theory to serve their mechanistic materialist agenda. Such developments, however, have very little to do with the essential discoveries and conjectures of Charles Darwin, nor with the broad direction of biology and philosophy that his work has inspired over the past century and a half.

There is very little doubt that the future of evolutionary theory is holistic, rather than mechanistic. And for many decades, on a horizon far from the Neo-Darwinist enclave, there has been a major, multi-pronged research initiative that pushes in this direction. Holistic Darwinism explores the inter-dependence of individuals, social groups and social milieux, and looks at the evolutionary patterns of inter-dependent species groups and of eco-systems. An excellent survy of this work can be found in Peter M. Corning's book Holistic Darwinism.(Here is an Amazon link to this book.) Here we are provided with a context within which its becomes evident that there is no essential conflict between Bach's position and the broad front of Darwinist evolutionary theory. DOWNLOAD AUDIO DISCUSSION ABOUT THIS

As the owner of the largest archive of Charlotte Bach material, and as one of the best-informed readers of her work, I can offer a unique perspective on emergent evolution and human ethology. There is a section on a different web-page which explores her views on the figure of the shaman - and his/her place in the life of the community.

Later extensions of this web-site will make more of this material directly available. This includes a lucid confrontation of Bach's theories with the speculative framework developed by Sigmund Freud. There will also be the following audio files WHICH ARE UNFORTUNATELY NOT YET RELIABLE DOWNLOADS - they may work on "Firefox" or "Safari" but not on "Internet Explorer", and it depends on how well linked your browser is to i-Tunes or RealPlayer.

The Michael Roth Interview - this is very largely centred around the work of Charlotte Bach, put placed in the context of my own life and explorations. It provides a unique perspective on Human Ethology, Emergent Evolution and its relationship with other scientific and philosophical currents of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. Here I explore in detail Bach's impact upon my own life and research, and try to evaluate her place within the broad sweep of evolutionary and psychological theory.

These sound recordings are owned by Malachite Film & TV Ltd. and they are strictly copyright. You can visit their own web-site dedicated to Charlotte Bach at:



You can also download my short spoken account of the relative positions of Corning and Dawkins - which gives a clear summary of the main issues arising at the confluence.

Richard Dawkins has a reputation as a serious researcher in the field of biological evolution, and I have no reason to doubt the integrity of his work in this respect. He has also emerged, over the past two decades, as a missionary for a debased version of socio-biology which he has convinced himself derives from the actual scientific work.

I claim, on the contrary, that the image of evolution and of the Darwinian theory that emerges from Dawkins' popular writing, is important in showing how easy it is to slip from the practice of science to a masquerade that merely pretends to be scientific. Dawkins continues to present himself as a scientist, and as a rational thinker, and yet his popular writing on the evolutionary process is governed by entrenched prejudices which he himself appears to have no reflective understanding of.

In this way, he undermines science and reason as effectively as any opponent could hope to do. It is the shabbiness of his reasoning which helps to make the equally non-rational and anti-scientific theories of "Intelligent Design" appear to have some plausibility - when he, and they, are depending in reality upon sleight of mouth and intellectual dishonesty.

(In fairness I should point out that Peter Corning is far more charitable towards Richard Dawkins than I can find it in my heart to be - Corning completely downplays Dawkins' hysteria and irrationality, and credits him with some original and powerful contributions towards our thinking about the evolutionary process.)



You can also order my book A Bolt From the Bleeding Sky , which summarises Bach's thinking in a uniquely pungent and lucid fashion, either following this Amazon Link or by e-mailing to the link below. (Price: £5.99) You can also buy the following booklets, originally published by Charlotte Bach under her own imprint Another Orbit Press:-

Make Love not Peace (My 15 page introduction to some of Charlotte's main principles) £1.29

Alchemy Returns (a slightly creaky account, also by myself, in which I now recognize the influence of Charlotte's own somewhat pompous and overbearing style) £1.29

Why Are There Gays? Why Hasn't Natural Selection Eliminated Us Over the Millions of Years of Evolution? (Pamphlet co-written by Charlotte Bach and Don Smith) £1.99

E-mail me here, stating your order and giving name and address.

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© all content: copyright reserved, Michael Roth, January 2004