Lecture: Nature and the “Work against Nature” in the Individual and Collective Life
LARRY RAYBURN, M.A.
Throughout the world we see perpetually cataclysmic fires, hurricanes, earthquakes, and floods which exemplify nature in conflict with itself. Likewise, in the political and cultural psyche we are currently experiencing great upheaval, with powerful forces and counter-forces at work.
Although we feel ours to be an especially trying time, such extraordinary events have always been at work. Natural phenomena such as rivers, oceans and weather systems by their nature generate counter-forces of different kinds. Similarly, conflict within and between human beings is perpetual. Turning against ourselves and one another is all-too-familiar.
In the clinical situation, and in life, we often find ourselves engaged in a pull between what we imagine as the natural course of progress and growth and what is experienced as blockage, resistance, conflict, or sabotage. Certainly, in our current political and cultural life we see a parallel process, which seems to be moving us in directions that appear regressive.
While Jung strongly asserted that these dynamics are themselves “natural” to the human psyche, he used the Latin phrase opus contra naturam, or “work against nature,” to highlight the phenomena within the psyche that seem not to fit our conventional views of growth – but which also contain the individuating imperative itself. In other words, by broadening our perspective against, or “contra,” our natural tendency, we might find a new way to make use of our difficulties and pathologies, and, countering our naturally occurring attitudes and habits, move toward some larger and possibly renewing prospect.
On Saturday we will be looking more deeply at several writers that amplify the idea of a work against nature in different ways. I will outline some of C.G. Jung’s and James Hillman’s ideas, those of the Medieval alchemists, and a brief look at Freud’s ideas on perversion. We will then explore together how these ideas may inform the therapeutic situation, as well as our personal, interpersonal and political lives in the present cultural context.
Larry Rayburn, M.A., is a Jungian analyst practicing in Santa Fe and a member of the New Mexico Society of Jungian Analysts. He trained through the Texas seminar of the InterRegional Society of Jungian Analysts. Larry is interested in male psychology, particularly that of boys and the father, and in the theories of play and psychic energy. As with this program, his Jungian diploma thesis was an exploration of the alchemical opus contra naturam, as expressed in the flow and counter-flow of life and clinical practice. In his other life he is a husband and father who likes to play various folk instruments and spend time on the river and in the outdoors. Previous to becoming a therapist and analyst he worked in the construction industry for many years. He is a graduate of Prescott College as well as Pacifica Graduate Institute.
Friday, February 8, 2019
7:00 pm - 9:00 pm $10
2 CEUs or 2 Cultural CEUs
(+$10 surcharge for CEUs)
Saturday, February 09, 2019
9 am – 1:15 pm $55
4 CEUs or 4 Cultural CEUs
Center for Spiritual Living
505 Camino de los Marquez,
For information contact
Larry Rayburn 505-310-5698