Shamanism, the Dao, new spirituality, new technology and cultural revolution
Biology, Culture
and Evolution

an integrated cluster of theories
Apes, Angels and Outlaws Mary Douglas' Cultural Theory Charlotte Bach: Sex, Sin and Evolution

  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 written 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
  • 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
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Many strands... a new direction

yukon landscape from air
This section brings together a range of topics that are often taken to be only loosely connected, within the cultural mainstream. These topics find a tighter integration than is commonly found, because of the particular treatment that I am offering here - which stems from my studies of the ground-breaking evolutionary theories of Charlotte Bach. The extension of this web-site into the such domains as ancient Chinese philosophy and traditional shamanic religion is also a consequence of Bach's work.

Bach's theory originally came out of her scientific and biological interests - and the implications for understanding and interpreting human cultures were not very much on her horizon. She was not aware that she was developing an over-arching theory of cultural and biological evolution; her interest was more narrowly focused on the question of how to understand her own sexual deviation - and this is something we will be looking at in another section of this site.

There are just two central points that I want to bring out, from the vast tangle of Bach's work, to illuminate this particular cross-roads you have reached in exploring my web-site.

1. Her conception of instinct-driven deviation from an instinctively driven biological pattern.

2. The idea that this biologically driven deviation could be the mainspring of cultural evolution.

This is the essential theoretical link, that draws together the three domains of biology, culture, and evolution
poetic anastomosis

The arguments and conceptions that are presented here, however, do not all derive from the work of Charlotte Bach. They are a multiplicity of currents that I have been gathering together over the years, and seeking to integrate through my own researches and efforts. What we have here, is the common ground: from which you can explore:
  • The cognitive biology of Humberto Maturana - which is the hub of my systems theory linking cell biology, bio-sociality, cultural theory and the personal realm of I-and-Thou.
  • The concept of evolution from inside the pattern of life (explored in the section entitled "Apes, Angels and Outlaws").
  • Mary Douglas' cultural theory, which is a particular expansion and formalisation of the pattern variation that emerges, from the anthropological study of different cultures.
  • Charlotte Bach's own "Human Ethology" which is her way of characterising her study of the human species within the context of our natural habitat which is - of course - the environment of culture and language which we continuously weave for ourselves, out of the material elements of our life in common.
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© all content: copyright reserved, Michael Roth, March 2009