Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Shadowplay: The Elusive Origins of a 'Jungian' Quip, Part II

"What you resist, persists." ~ Attributed to Carl Jung. As noted in the previous post, I've been seeking the origin of this phrase, thought and idea, and have found it in many places, but without further documentation.

Synchronicity -- an idea Jung definitely espoused -- has converged, thanks to: recent conversations; an article I'm writing about Edward William Johnston (1799-1867); and Barry Miles' epic tome, Call Me Burroughs: A Life (New York: Twelve, 2014), which I finished reading a couple of weeks ago.

Johnston, because of his pertinent essay "Genealogy of Ideas Southern Literary Messenger: Devoted to Every Department of Literature and the Fine Arts. Volume VIII, No.  9 (September 1842): pages 548-555. Richmond, Virginia: T.W. White. Link here. Ideas have a traceable "genealogy," Johnston posits. They rarely appear out of the blue, except for in their first incarnation.

Burroughs, because of his idea of the "word virus:" that words and ideas spread through time and space as a virus.

Which reminds me that Ebola has been around since 1976 -- and was widely covered in the news at the time.

In turn, AIDS is now traced back to the Belgian Congo in the 1920s. (See James Gallaher's "Aids: Origin of pandemic 'was 1920s Kinshasa,'" BBC News (2 October 2014). Link here.

So how about the "resist, persists" quip (and its variations) attributed to Carl Jung? Where can it be traced back to?

In the previous post, I left off with this, from Robert J. and Alex W. Fraser's As Others See Us: Scots of the Seaway Valley (Ontario: Beamsville Express, 1959):

What you resist, Persists

All though [thought] is energy
All things are in Motion
. . . . .

And I earlier noted the widespread use -- either with no attribution or with uncited attribution pointing to Jung -- of this "word virus," especially in the last ten to twenty years. 

Here's a latter-day repetition of both elements that occurs after the 1959 book, As Others See Us:

"What you resist, persists." ~ Neale Donald Walsch, Conversations with God: An Uncommon Dialogue, Book 1 (Charlottesville, Va.: Hampton Roads Publishing Company, 1996), page 100.  

"1. All thought is energy.

2. All things are in motion.
3. All time is now."

Neale Donald Walsch, Conversations with God: An Uncommon Dialogue, Book 3 (Charlottesville, Va.: Hampton Roads Publishing Company, 1998), page 114.

Walsch gives no citations.

Which leads me to believe, for now, that all three of these texts are drawing from older sources, perhaps via back channels, such as ideas from earlier "New Thought" and "Power of Positive Thinking" texts. In other words, these same words are used in the same order, but neither As Others See Us (1959) nor Conversations with God (1996, 1998) are their originators, rather they are transmitters, "infected" by earlier "carriers" of statements they spell out verbatim.

The true origins of these statements will either eventually come to light, or they will remain hidden in mystery.  Digitization of older texts will continue to be useful in figuring out these kinds of genealogies of ideas and word viruses -- helping us "get to the bottom of things." 

Today's Rune: Flow. 
 Illustration at top from Thought-forms by Annie Besant and Charles Webster Leadbeater (London: Theosophical Publishing Society, 1905).  

1 comment:

t said...

I know what you mean. Same thing my online course Prof is saying now, that maybe there is no such thing as plagiarism, because your mind seeds mine and so on.