How Many Ideas Are There?

Is it even an idea?

Is it even an idea?

Everybody probably knows the expression, “There are no original ideas.”  Right?

If you can think of something, chances are… somebody else already thought of it.  Probably including this one.  (Now we’re in Twilight Zone territory.)  Come to that, somebody told me “There are no original ideas.”

The other night, we watched part of “V” for Vendetta in one of my classes (bet you wish you were there), and it reminded me a lot of several Vincent Price revenge-centered movies from the ’60s and ’70s such as The Abominable Dr. Phibes, Theatre of Blood, and some of the Poe movies.  Nearly every time I see a movie I think “Oh, this was in Rear Window.  That’s from Chinatown.  Now you’re just messing with me.”

Though they aren’t always.  We don’t know if Stanley Kubrick was aware of The Phantom Carriage, a Swedish silent film that features an alcoholic husband chopping down the door to the room his wife had barricaded herself in when he made The Shining.  (I didn’t mention Stephen King because the compositions of the two movies is quite similar and more or less takes the book out of the equation.  Or does it?  You can argue.)

In my more immediate experience… I’m working on a fantasy novel where the villains commit horrible acts of magical/biological warfare.  Imagine my horror to find out that China endured some of what I thought I was making up during World War II!  Minus the magic, of course.  Look up Unit 731 on Wikipedia if you want nightmares.  I had a few.

Anyway, if there are only so many ideas floating out there in the Jungian Unconscious, how many?  And how many ways can they be recycled?  Hopefully that part is infinite, otherwise the future will be incredibly boring.


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