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: www.charlottebach.org
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
(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.
A CHARGE OF £2.00 WILL BE ADDED TO ALL ORDERS, TO COVER POSTAGE AND PACKING
© all content: copyright reserved, Michael Roth, January 2004