Archetypes of Chaos

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Archetypes of Chaos

A presentation by Dr Jonathan Marshall

Thursday, July 4, 2013 7.30pm - 9.30pm
Venue: The Quaker House, 10 Hampson St, Kelvin Grove
Admission: Members & Concession: $10 • Non-members: $15

We tend to flee from disorder and chaos, identifying chaos with evil and destruction. However what if spiritual, social and psychological growth necessarily involves living with, or passing through, chaos?

Jung differed from our usual Western approach, embracing the fragmentary propositions of the Greek philosopher Heraclitus, about world as flux, and the productive and disordered struggle between opposites. This view was reinforced after Jung’s studies in alchemy when he suggested that the experience of chaos, the materia confusa, is also the experience which both leads to transformation and is essential to transformation. At this time, the order that the ego wishes to impose on the world or the unconscious no longer works, and this failure is the moment of the possibility of new life. The whole spirit is hidden in chaos, and disorder is not just to be feared. Indeed, we might say that life is that which resists order and predictability, and the more we are alive, the more fraught is the relationship between what we call order and disorder.

This talk investigates what it might mean to take chaos and disorder seriously, by exploring symbols and images of chaos in mythology, and by a return to hidden messages of the ‘collective dream’ of alchemy.

Jonathan Marshall is an anthropologist and a Research Fellow at the University of Technology in Sydney. He is the author of Living on Cybermind: Categories, Communication and Control and Jung, Alchemy and History, and the editor of Depth Psychology, Disorder and Climate Change.