What you will find
in this section
Here is new material on this site, for the first time in 12 years! It is a concise rendering of the entire theoretical structure of the human ethology of Charlotte Bach, in a series of cartoons. There has never been anything like this, before or since. Click on these links, if you click on nothing else on this site.
Here is an outline of the theory of emergent evolution, which was originated by Charlotte Bach. This theory is based upon two key facets of the human biological frame: androgyny (the presence of both male and female characteristics in every individual) and neoteny (the fact that our species begins reproductory behaviour before full maturity has been reached). Though well-known, these facets have been inadequately highlighted in academic biology - though they have profound implications for the evolutionary process. Bach claimed that these factors denote an immature species - or a species that is actively in the throes of evolution - and together give rise to a kind of primordial unrest at the heart of the instinctual life of the male and female. This, she believed, amounted to an effective motor for evolutionary variation.
These arguments are in harmony with the broad position of Holistic Darwinism (see the book of this name, by Peter A. Corning) and with the Darwinian-inspired philosophy of Charles Peirce and John Dewey. They also point to the severe poverty of Neo-Darwinism which treats the interaction of individuals and of species as being statistically random and mechanistic - thereby reducing the evolutionary process to the interplay of essentially non-biological factors..
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
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
- Justus Buchler
- Martha Nussbaum
Biology, Physiology, Ethology and
- Mary Douglas
- Gregory Bateson
- Milton Ericson
- David Cooper
- Clifford Geertz
- Victor Turner
- 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.
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
Bach also had interesting and important views on the figure of the shaman, sorceror, witch or
. She saw these characters not only as being central to
traditional tribal life, but in every existing form of cultural life,
down to the twentieth century. This was an integral part of her theory
All of this is well summarised in the Charlotte
, on another page of this site.
Here is new material on this site, for the first time in 12 years! It is a concise but comprehensive rendering of the entire theoretical structure of the human ethology of Charlotte Bach, in a series of cartoons. There has never been anything like this, before or since. Click on these links, if you click on nothing else on this site.
Charlotte 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 survey of this work can be found in Peter A.
Corning's book Holistic Darwinism
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
Find out more about Charlotte Bach's Theories.
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
DOWNLOAD INTERVIEW PART 1
DOWNLOAD INTERVIEW PART 2
Dawkins' "Dog Concept" Trashed.
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
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.)
DOWNLOAD DAWKINS DISCUSSION
DOWNLOAD DAWKINS DISCUSSION
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, March 2009