Shamanism, the Dao, new spirituality, new technology and cultural revolution

Our real intelligence
dwells within 
 the pattern
of feeling and relationship
Lived reality - felt reality The weave of fact and feeling Re-defining intelligence Systems layers - bedrock of lived reality The personal perspective

What you will find in this section

These pages bring together the key arguments about emotional intelligence, systems sensibility, and lived reality - the narrative structure of personal experience. These govern the new directions we are exploring - in theory and practice - on the site as a whole. Learn how the nineteenth-century novelists anticipated our new twenty-first century scientific understanding of the intricate web of personal life. We explore the concepts of felt sense, and felt reality - which is the subtle cognitive intelligence of the body. George Eliot, Jane Austen and Virginia Woolf are three of our guides in this quest for a truly cybernetic intelligence.

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


  • 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.

emotional intelligence
lived reality
biology, culture, evolution
philosophy, science
systems sensibility
dao and shamanism
applications/ study group
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The Pattern of Life:
personal, emotional, relational

intricate foundations for the rustic inn
In this section we shall do some gentle unraveling of the complex structure of everyday living. We aim to uncover some of the hidden pattern through which our appreciation of the world is organised. We want to retain a sense of the whole pattern, at the same time as we start to explore how the different elements work together to create the whole. This is also to encourage us in the direction of a different engagement, with the simplicity and with the complexity of life.

A key principle is that our felt engagement - everything that we feel and sense in our bodies, in respect of the immediate situation - is of central importance to our actual orientation and engagement in the world. There is an important contrast between this, and the approaches that have been named: "emotional intelligence" and "emotional literacy". We are making an approach to the landscape of lived reality that takes continuous account of what our feelings are revealing about the world, and about ourselves in the very moment of their upsurge as a feeling in us. This is to highlight the intricate relationship in real time, between fact, feeling and action. (I speak of a web of fact, feeling and action, in order to bring out the central pivotal importance of this relationship.)

Lived reality will always be the central hub of our theory and practice. This means that any reference to other levels - levels more conjectural or abstract - is to be understood, illustrated and made sense of, by checking back with lived reality. We will not find reason to distort our experience, put it in brackets, or explain it away - for the sake of the theoretical frame. All of the theoretical aspects are intended to serve and to illuminate our actual life - and we shall beware of any tendency to exploit our life in order to feed our theory.

There is a great deal of scientific and spiritual exploration which is undertaken for the sheer playfulness, curiosity, or the drive to discover new realms of endeavour. Much of this takes us away from the immediacy of the here and now, and from our living relationships with other beings - but I think it, too, is an expression of the restlessness and vigour of the human spirit. So I do not want to downgrade it or deny its importance or validity.

The enterprise that is pre-figured in these pages here - though certainly fueled by my own restless and exploratory spirit - is in a sense far narrower than the above. It has been subjected to a particular discipline: that which I have evolved for my own life, in the quest to restore the sense of immediacy, life and human connection - where I have often felt it to be fragile, weakened or under serious threat. It might be true to say that I have constantly been seeking out ways to render my own existence livable.

intricate foundations for the rustic inn

In other words, the insistence on connecting everything back to lived reality has been something of a necessity for me. I learned to do it, because other pathways always seemed to lead towards blight and suffocation of my life energy. What started, then, as a kind of compulsion, I have steadily re-fashioned over the years: into a theoretical and practical policy. I have slowly gathered together the philosophy, the theory and the practice which help me to understand how this policy works and what makes it valid. I am also predicting that it will turn out to be the needful strategy for the future - for some others at least - equally as much as for myself.

Lived reality - felt reality The weave of fact and feeling Re-defining intelligence Systems layers - bedrock of lived reality The personal perspective

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© all content: copyright reserved, Michael Roth, March 2009