Margaret Fuller, the 19th-century feminist and Transcendentalist, has been compared with Louisa May Alcott, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Nathaniel Hawthorne, and Henry David Thoreau. The life and theories of Carl Jung, the 20th-century psychiatrist, have been compared with the works of Sigmund Freud, Alfred Adler, Jean Piaget, and Sabina Spielrein among others. However, no comparisons have been published concerning the beliefs and works of Fuller and Jung. The purpose of this research was to compare and contrast the beliefs and written works of Margaret Fuller and Carl Jung. Similarities and differences were reported among their ideologies. Similarities in their childhood and adult dreams, literary references, spiritual beliefs, and explorations of gender were described. Differences were reported, which included the focus of their writings and their ideas about who is to blame when things go wrong, and how to deal with the individual daemon in each person was also explored. Special consideration was given to how closely their writings intersect. Specifically, the authors questioned whether Jung was inspired by the ideas and writings of Fuller. To answer this question, five possibilities were identified.
- moral and religious
- sex and gender
- social movements and activism
- women’s studies
Margaret Fuller (1810-1850) influenced numerous feminists, writers, scholars, and social activists from the mid-19th century through today (Anthony, 1920; Barrett & Cullinan, 1992; Capper, 2007; Christensen, 2010; Kester-Shelton, 1996; Knight, 2010; Kunitz & Haycraft, 1938; Sinclair, 1965; Taylor, 1971). In both similar and different ways, Carl Jung (1875-1961) challenged many scholars, psychologists, psychiatrists, religious leaders, and literary critics beginning in the late 19th and early 20th centuries (Campbell, 1949; Dourley, 1984, 1992; Edinger, 1985; Hall & Sharp, 2008; Hannah, 1976; McLynn, 1996; Sharp, 2009; von Franz, 1980). Fuller has been compared with other American authors as well as Transcendentalists from New England (Barrett & Cullinan, 1992; Cheever, 2007; Kunitz & Haycraft, 1938). Similarities and differences between the beliefs and written works of Jung and Freud have also been published. Others in the psychoanalytic tradition, such as Alfred Adler, have also been compared with Jung (Frey-Rohn, 1974; Kerr, 1993; McGuire, 1974). In the past, we have highlighted Jung’s beliefs about play, unity, and symbols related to Freidrich Froebel’s writings (Russell & Aldridge, 2009), and Jung’s analytical psychology as compared with Jean Piaget’s constructivism (Aldridge, Eddowes, Ewing, & Kuby, 1994). We have also addressed Jung’s contributions and applications of analytical psychology to child development and education (Aldridge & Horns-Marsh, 1991). We have even considered what Jung borrowed from Sabina Spielrein’s work (Aldridge, 2009). However, no comparisons between Margaret Fuller’s and Carl Jung’s contributions have been published.
The purpose of this article is to compare and contrast the beliefs and written works of Fuller and Jung. We focus on similarities and differences between their ideologies, especially their references to dreams, literature, spirituality, and the feminine and masculine aspects of human development. Special consideration is also given to how closely their writings actually intersect. Specifically, we explore whether Jung was inspired by Fuller’s writings or ideas? We begin by asking the question, “Who were Margaret Fuller and Carl Jung?”
Who Was Margaret Fuller?
Margaret Fuller (1810-1850) was a feminist, writer, editor, and Transcendentalist (Taylor, 1971). Margaret Fuller believed that every human deserved to reach full potential. To this end, she created “conversations” for women, which she called “feminine adventures” (Taylor, 1971, p. 13). This developed into her most known writing titled Woman in the Nineteenth Century (Fuller, 1845). The book inspired many events, including the Seneca Falls Convention and feminist conferences throughout the 1850s (Anthony, 1920). Furthermore, Fuller’s book was taught in women’s colleges in the 1800s and is still used as a seminal reference today in the history of feminism (Capper, 2007). In fact, Woman in the Nineteenth Century had a major impact on the life and works of Jane Addams, the most well-known woman in American history during the early 1900s (Knight, 2010). Fuller was also the editor of The Dial, a Transcendentalist periodical. From 1846 to 1850, most of Fuller’s time was spent in Italy as a participant in the Garibaldi revolution (Anthony, 1920; Taylor, 1971). While in Italy, Fuller became pregnant by a man who was 10 years younger. After their marriage, Fuller, her husband, baby, and her latest manuscript, written about the revolution, were on their way back to the United States when their ship hit a sandbar and they all drowned (Capper, 2007). During her short life, Margaret Fuller accomplished many “firsts” for women. According to the Margaret Fuller website, http://margaretfuller.org/, among her many accomplishments included
First woman to write a book about equality for women; first editor of The Dial, foremost Transcendentalist journal, appointed by Ralph Waldo Emerson; first woman to enter Harvard Library to pursue research; first journalist on Horace Greeley’s New York Daily Tribune; first woman literary critic who also set literary standards; and first woman foreign correspondent and war correspondent to serve under combat conditions. (p. 2)
For more comprehensive biographical information on Margaret Fuller, we recommend Anthony (1920), Capper (2007), Chevigny (1994), Mitchell (1995), Hymowitz and Weissman (1978), Stern (1968), von Mehren (1994), and Wade (1940).
Who Was Carl Jung?
Carl Jung (1875-1961), educated as a psychiatrist, was the developer of analytical psychology. Analytical psychology emphasizes the psychological need for spirituality as opposed to a metaphysical conception of spirituality. This differs from Sigmund Freud’s psychoanalytic focus on sexual development and Alfred Adler’s individual psychology related to power issues. Jung’s beliefs about the unconscious were different from other theorists. Besides the personal unconscious, proposed by Freud, Jung posited and described the collective unconscious, which is common to all (Jung, 1973). Jung (1989) believed that dreams, active imagination, and symbolic activity were the road to the unconscious. Mythology and alchemy were also salient to his ideas about human development and the unconscious (von Franz, 2000). Another major contribution of Jung’s was his explanation of the anima, the feminine side of man, and the animus, the masculine counterpart of a woman (Jung, 1973, 1989). For a thorough discussion of Jung’s life and works, we suggest the following sources: Edinger (1984, 1985, 2002), Jung (1989), McLynn (1996), Sharp (1987), and von Franz (1980, 1998, 2002).
Similarities Between Fuller and Jung
There are at least five similarities between Margaret Fuller and Carl Jung’s beliefs and writings. These include their (a) nativist orientation, (b) beliefs in dreams and the unconscious, (c) references to literature, (d) emphasis on spirituality, and (e) ideas about gender. Each of these is presented here.
Both Fuller and Jung were nativists. It is important to note that nativists are different from empiricists and constructivists. According to empiricists, knowledge comes from outside the individual. The empiricist view is similar to the blank slate model of development in which individuals are born without knowledge. Knowledge is taught from the outside and moves inward (Skinner, 1974). Constructivists are neither empiricists nor nativists (Kamii, 2000). They believe humans have the potential for constructing their own knowledge but knowledge is not inherently present in the individual (Kamii, 2000; Piaget, 1952). However, nativists believe that knowledge and individual purpose are inborn (Hollis, 2005).
Both Fuller and Jung’s writings emphasized a nativist view of development. Fuller’s works were rich with references to nativism, although many of them were subtle. For example, Fuller (1845) said, “The tree cannot come to flower till its root be free from the cankering worm, and its whole growth open to air and light” (p. 10). Less subtle was her statement, “You would not learn through facts of thought or action, but express through them the certainties of wisdom” (p. 10). Finally she suggested, “As soon as the soul can affirm clearly that a certain demonstration is wanted, it is at hand” (p. 10).
Jung’s (1973) manuscripts were also filled with references to nativism, although he did not use the term nativism. Jung (1966) said, “The meaning and purpose of the process is the realization, in all its aspects, of the personality originally hidden away in the embryonic germ-plasm; the production and unfolding of the original, potential wholeness” (p. 110). Late in his life Jung reported, “Perhaps my unconscious is forming a personality that is not me, but which is insisting on coming through to expression” (Jung, 1989, p. 185). Often he suggested that his work was driven from inside him. “I was compelled from within, as it were, to formulate and express what might have been said by Philemon” (Jung, 1989, p. 190). Edward Edinger, a Jungian analyst, believed that the term essentialist described Jung’s life and works as readily as the term nativist. He said Jung was an essentialist and not an existentialist. Existentialists think they construct themselves. Essentialists believe they find themselves. They discover what is inherently present within themselves (Edinger, 1984).
Both Fuller and Jung were profoundly influenced by the vivid dreams they experienced from childhood through adulthood (Anthony, 1920; Jung, 1989). Anthony (1920) described in detail the effect of early dreams on Margaret Fuller. “As a woman of thirty, she still recalls the child’s dreams with great vividness” (p. 16). Certain themes were repeated in Margaret Fuller’s dreams. For example, “When at last she went to sleep, it was to dream of horses trampling over her” (Anthony, 1920, p. 18). Another dream was about trees dripping with blood. The blood developed into a lake or pond and continued to rise until it reached her head (Anthony, 1920). “Often she dreamed of following to the grave the body of her mother, as she had done that of her sister, and wake to find the pillow drenched in tears” (Anthony, 1920, p. 17). By adulthood, Margaret Fuller developed a personality from her dreams she identified as “Leila” (Anthony, 1920). Fuller would turn to Leila in the night:
At night I look into the lake for Leila. If I gaze steadily and in the singleness of prayer, she rises and walks on its depths. Then know I each night a part of her life; I know where she passes the midnight hours. (Anthony, 1920, p. 53)
Fuller’s dreams became more real to her than what happened to her in the external world (Wade, 1940).
Early in life, Jung also had a dream or vision that changed his life from that point forward. Jung recalled,
I saw before me the cathedral, the blue sky. God sits on His golden throne, high above the world—and from under the throne an enormous turd falls upon the sparkling new roof, shatters it, and breaks the wall of the cathedral asunder. (Jung, 1989, p. 39)
Analogous in some ways to Fuller’s Leila, Jung developed what he called a No. 2 personality. Jung described the interplay between his two personalities:
The play and counterplay between personalities No. 1 and No. 2, which has run through my whole life, has nothing to do with a “split” or dissociation in the ordinary medical sense. On the contrary, it is played out in every individual. (Jung, 1989, p. 45)
Numerous parallels can be found in Margaret Fuller’s and Carl Jung’s literary references. They developed their ideologies using a wide body of literature including mythology, The Bible, and more specifically, Goethe’s writings and Kant’s works.
Fuller and Jung lectured and wrote extensively on the symbolic in mythology. Fuller developed a set of seminars called Conversations, “which she gave annually” (Brown, 1964, p. 52). In her first seminar,
Margaret chose Greek mythology for her subject, using the forms of Grecian myth and fable to express symbolically the relations between the human constitution and nature. Thus Jupiter stood for Will; Mercury for Understanding; Bacchus “the abandonment” of Genius; Venus, instinctive womanhood; and Diana, chastity. (Brown, 1964, p. 53)
Fuller also compared Greek and Egyptian mythology and often referred to mythological symbolism in her conversations and writings (Chevigny, 1994). For Fuller,
What was a seed, or a root, merely, in the Egyptian mind, became a flower in Greece,—Isis, and Osiris, for instance, are reproduced in Ceres and Proserpine, with some loss of generality, but with great gain of beauty; Hermes, in Mercury, with only more grace of form, though with great loss of grandeur; but the loss of grandeur was also an advance in philosophy, in the instance, the brain in the hand being the natural consequence of the application of Idea to practice,—the Hermes of the Egyptians. (Peabody, 1841, p. 348, cited in Chevigny, 1994)
Jung also placed a strong emphasis on the symbolic in mythology. Jung and Kerenyi (1963) believed “that mythology is held to explain itself and everything else in the universe not because it was invented for the purpose of explanation but because it possesses among other things the property of being explanatory” (pp. 4-5). Mythology is often the primary source of explanation when science cannot provide an answer to our most salient questions. “Mythology is not simply a mode of expression in whose stead another simpler and more readily understandable form might have been chosen, only not just then, when it happened to be the only possible and appropriate one” (Jung & Kerenyi, 1963, p. 3). From mythology, Jung explored the archetypes of the collective unconscious and described the universal nature of mythology. The divinities of mythology “can best be understood as eternal forms, the great world-realities” (Jung & Kerenyi, 1963, p. 103).
References to Biblical personalities, particularly as they related to gender or archetypes, were used extensively in the writings of Fuller (1845) and Jung (1969a). Fuller spoke with disdain for Adam but with highest regard and reverence for the Madonna. She wrote,
Adam accuses woman to his God, and records her disgrace to their posterity. He is not ashamed to write that he could be drawn from heaven by one beneath him, one made, he says, from but a small part of himself. (Fuller, 1845, p. 44)
But she said of the Virgin Mary, “No figure that has ever arisen to greet our eyes has been received with more fervent reverence than that of the Madonna” (p. 44).
Jung (1969b) also wrote a plethora of passages referring to Biblical stories and images, explaining them in psychological terms. He explored the paradox of the Garden of Eden where God pointed out the tree of life, precipitating the fall of Adam and Eve (Jung, 1969b). Jung further explored Job’s relationship with God in the “Answer to Job” (Jung, 1969b). He also discussed the Virgin Mary and her independence from man. Jung said,
Thus Mary, the virgin, is chosen as the pure vessel for the coming birth of God. Her independence of the male is emphasized by her virginity as the sine qua non of the process. She is a “daughter of God” who, as a later dogma will establish, is distinguished at the onset by the privilege of an immaculate conception and is thus free from the taint of original sin. (p. 398)
Goethe and Kant were Fuller’s primary literary guides (Brown, 1964). Fuller was so inspired by Goethe that she translated many of his German writings into English (Fuller, 1839). “As she proceeded with her researches on Goethe, she discovered more and more areas of which she knew very little” (Brown, 1964, p. 27). Over time, “Goethe still remained her chief literary guide” (p. 35). Fuller took several ideas from Goethe and made them part of her philosophy. Specifically, “Goethe and some of her early experiences encouraged her to believe in fate and to attempt to probe into its mysteries” (Brown, 1964, p. 67). She also believed, like Goethe, that everyone has a daemon that must be acknowledged. The daemon works through one’s character but cannot be contacted or analyzed. Furthermore, Goethe’s belief in self-culture “completely satisfied her” (p. 131). “With Goethe, she held that character must be built from within” (p. 131).
Jung also made numerous references to Goethe, particularly to Faust (Jung, 1989). However, Jung’s fascination with Goethe and his writings extends further than just ideology. According to a legend, Jung was a descendant of Goethe. Jung explained, “The story goes that Sophie Ziegler had an illegitimate child by Goethe, and that this child was my grandfather, Carl Gustav Jung. This was considered virtually an established fact” (Jung, 1989, p. 35). In his writings, Jung continually referred to Faust and how it affected his soul. Jung said of Faust,
It poured into my soul like a miraculous balm. Here at last, I thought, is someone who takes the devil seriously and even concludes a blood pact with him—with the adversary who has the power to frustrate God’s plan to make a perfect world. (Jung, 1989, p. 60)
Perhaps the most profound statement Jung made about Goethe also related to Faust. Speaking of his No. 2 personality, Jung wrote,
For Goethe too, therefore—and this was my great consolation—No. 2 was a reality. Faust as I now realized with something of a shock, meant more to me than my beloved Gospel according to St. John. There was something in Faust that worked directly on my feelings . . . The insight was not only comforting to me, it also gave me an increased feeling of inner security and a sense of belonging to the human community. I was no longer isolated and a mere curiosity, a sport of cruel nature. My godfather and authority was the great Goethe himself. (Jung, 1989, p. 87)
Immanuel Kant was also referenced extensively by both Fuller and Jung. Fuller’s ideal of Transcendentalism was inspired by Kant’s (1781) Critique of Pure Reason. “Transcendentalists were individualists to the core, fanatics for freedom, brought together at intervals by the intellectual and reflective temper of their minds and by a fondness for discussion and analysis” (Wade, 1940, p. 57). Transcendentalists also “believed in the power of intuition. They thought every man and even some women harbored a divine spark . . . They called this divine spark ‘reason.’ Sometimes this was an inner light; sometimes it was the voice of God” (Cheever, 2007, p. 11).
Carl Jung relied on Kant’s (1788) Dreams of a Spirit Seer to answer some of his questions on spiritualistic phenomena. And, when Jung was deep in his medical studies, he still found time to read Kant. Jung says, “I was able to study Kant only on Sundays” (Jung, 1989, p, 101). Kant’s writing put Jung “to some hard thinking” (p. 70). Jung’s fascination with Kant had a lot to do with his interest in metaphysical experience. The reading of Kant was able to challenge Jung’s thinking, particularly as Kant’s thinking related to Schopenhauer’s work. After reading Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason (1781), Jung believed he had found a major flaw in the Schopenhauer’s thinking. Jung reported,
Schopenhauer had committed the deadly sin of hypostatizing a metaphysical assertion, and of endowing a mere noumenon . . . with special qualities. I got this from Kant’s theory of knowledge, and it afforded me an even greater illumination, if that were possible. (Jung, 1989, p. 70)
Fuller and Jung’s Emphasis on Spirituality
Spiritual development and the quest for wholeness were integral parts of the lives and works of both Fuller and Jung (Fuller, 1845; Jung, 1989). Their quests for spirituality led both of them through difficult times and doubt before each developed their own specific notions about God and religion. For Margaret Fuller, “the ideal truths of Christian experience were what was important, not the religious institutions. The religious instinct was where she centered her religious life” (von Mehren, 1994, p. 150). von Mehren further commented about Fuller’s spiritual search that,
It was a tumultuous search, but she felt closest to religious fulfillment when she experienced a clear note of security in her very soul. No prop will do. The soul must do its own immortal work, and books, friends, meditations fly from us only to return, when we can do without them. (p. 151)
Margaret Fuller found her own way separate from a fixed, organized religion. Brown (1964) explained Fuller’s position on organized religion. Margaret Fuller said,
I will not loathe sects, persuasions, systems, though I cannot abide in them one moment, for I see that by most men they are still needed . . . I would learn from them all . . . But let me set no limits from the past, to my own soul, or any soul. (Brown, 1964, p. 55, quoted from “Credo” in Memoirs, II, 91)
Finally, for Margaret Fuller, “God was a constantly evolving ‘spirit uncontainable and uncontained’ that kept all matter evolving in a search for perfect forms. She believed that the religious experience was a constant search for a closer personal relationship with God” (von Mehren, 1994, p. 150).
Fuller’s lectures and writings on spirituality were also influenced by her feminism. “Fuller herself refused to defer to male theologians . . . Moreover, Fuller influenced the message of many antebellum male religious leaders” (Lott, 2001, p. 3). She did not “start a marginal religious movement. Instead, as her contributions to the New York Tribune between 1844 and 1846 will demonstrate, Fuller worked to present her theology or personal religion within the dominant culture without being co-opted by it” (Lott, 2001, p. 3).
Carl Jung discussed spirituality from a psychological perspective. He described the psychological need for the God image. Jung (1969b) explained, “To gain an understanding of religious matters, probably all that is left us today is the psychological approach” (p. 89). The history of the religion of a culture is as telling of that culture as their government. “Any religion which is rooted in the history of a people is as much an expression of their psychology as the form of political government, for instance, that the people have developed” (Jung, 1969b, p. 80).
Fuller and Jung’s Ideas About Gender
Both Fuller and Jung had much to say about feminine and masculine qualities. Fuller wrote extensively about social feminist issues, gender differences, and her theory of gender multiplicity (Fuller, 1845). Beyond her social feminist writings, Fuller believed that a woman had two distinct qualities (von Mehren, 1994). She called these the muse and Minerva qualities of women. Muse is the Great Goddess and is also defined as the receptacle of the Holy Spirit (de Vries, 1984). Minerva is the virgin goddess of wisdom and a favored child of Zeus (Graves, 1996). The soul, to Fuller, was without gender. However, when gender was added, the muse quality emerged. “When a soul is ‘modified’ as woman, it flows, it breathes, it sings, rather than deposits soil or finishes work” (von Mehren, 1994, p. 168). “As a counter to the weakening and painful effects of the overdevelopment of the muse side of women, Fuller called for a greater emphasis on the intellectual Minerva side to free women from becoming victims of their overstimulated sensibilities” (von Mehren, 1994, p. 168).
Fuller also posited that there is no man that is totally masculine and no female that is totally feminine. Speaking of what women required, she suggested,
What a woman needs is not as a woman to act or rule but as a nature to grow as an intellect to discern, as a soul to live freely, and unimpeded to unfold such powers as were given her when we left our common home. (von Mehren, 1994, p. 168)
Thus, Fuller believed that a woman should have a balance between the muse and Minerva sides of her nature (Fuller, 1845).
Although Fuller discussed the nature of gender in the 19th century (Fuller, 1845), Jung explained the dilemma of gender in the 20th century. Jung (1970) reported that woman “gives expression to one of the cultural tendencies of our time: the urge to live a completer life, a longing for meaning and fulfillment, a growing disgust with senseless one-sidedness, with unconscious instinctuality and blind contingency” (p. 130). Jung equally discussed gender as it was affected by war. “While man turns his hand to repairing the outer damage, woman . . . sets about healing the inner wounds, and for this she needs, as her most important instrument, a psychic relationship” (Jung, 1970, p. 132). Jung also found that “women are far more ‘psychological’ than men. A man is usually satisfied with ‘logic’ alone” (p. 125). According to Jung, “woman’s psychology is founded on the principle of Eros, the great binder and loosener, whereas from ancient times the ruling principle ascribed to man is Logos” (Jung, 1970, p. 123).
Logos and Eros are posed as opposites and, since, according to the law of Enantiodromia, over-dependence on one principle constellates its opposite, the man rigidly defensive of a Logos position is besieged by the corresponding psychic principle activated in his unconscious by images of anima. (Samuels, Shorter, & Plaut, 1986, p. 87)
Both Fuller and Jung spoke of Eros and Logos, although they often used different terms to describe these qualities in both male and female.
Although there are similarities in Fuller and Jung’s discussions of gender, Fuller appeared to have been more progressive in her beliefs and writings about gender. For example, Jung said,
If one lives out the opposite sex in oneself, one is living in one’s own background, and one’s real individuality suffers. A man should live as a man and a woman as a woman. The contrasexual element in either sex, is always dangerously close to the unconscious. (Jung, 1970, p. 118)
However, Jung’s views on gender were enigmatic. Most of Jung’s followers were women and Jung collaborated with women and encouraged many to become analysts (McLynn, 1996).
Differences Between Fuller and Jung
Both Fuller and Jung were prolific writers. Fuller’s publications were fewer, probably because she died at age 40 and because she was a scholarly woman in a predominantly male world. Jung lived to be 86 years old and his writings were published in numerous volumes of his Collected Works (1973). There were obviously many differences in the content and purpose in the publications of an American feminist Transcendentalist of the 19th century and a Swiss psychiatrist and theorist of the 20th century. This section deals with just the major differences in the beliefs or ideologies between Fuller and Jung. We believe the three most salient include differences in focus (social justice vs. psychological development), where responsibility for problems originates, and how to deal with the daemon that resides in each human.
Social Justice Versus Psychological Development
Fuller and Jung included both sociological and psychological issues in their writings. However, Fuller wrote more about social justice pieces related to the context of women’s lives in the 19th century. The plight of women’s opportunities and social status were major themes in Fuller’s Woman in the Nineteenth Century (1845). Fuller (1845) described,
Those who think the physical circumstances of woman would make a part in the affairs of national government unsuitable, are by no means those who think it impossible for the negressess to endure field work, even during pregnancy, or the sempstresses to go through their killing labors. (p. 24)
She worked and wrote for equality and justice for every woman. “We would have every arbitrary barrier thrown down. We would have every path laid open to woman as freely as to man” (Fuller, 1845, p. 26). Much of Fuller’s writings were aimed at social justice—not only for women but also for the people enslaved of her time and those without rights (Wade, 1940).
Jung also wrote of social justice but believed that we make the social world better through the psychological development of each individual—that is, through the process of individuation (Jung, 1964). von Franz, one of Jung’s closest collaborators said, “an unconditional devotion to one’s own process of individuation . . . brings about the best possible social adaption” (von Franz, 1964, p. 241). The fate of humankind is dependent on each person’s individual work with his or her own psychology and movement toward individuation. Jung compared the human race with an individual’s development. He said,
If . . . we regard mankind as one individual, we see that the human race is like a person carried away by unconscious powers; and the human race also likes to keep certain problems tucked away in separate drawers. But this is why we should give a great deal of consideration to what we are doing, for mankind is now threatened by self-created and deadly dangers that are growing beyond our control. (Jung, 1964, p. 80)
Where Responsibility for Problems Originate
Arguably, Fuller (1845) was more likely to make men responsible for problems in women’s development and Jung (1954) appeared quicker to place blame on the mother for her children’s problems. Fuller argued,
It may be said that man does not have his fair play either; his energies are repressed and distorted by the interposition of artificial obstacles. Ay, but he himself has put them there; they have grown out of his own imperfections. If there is a misfortune in woman’s lot, it is in obstacles being interposed by men, which do not mark her state; and if they express her past ignorance do not her present needs. (p. 37)
However, Jung (1954) said,
Whenever a young child exhibits the symptoms of a neurosis one should not waste too much time examining his unconscious. One should begin one’s investigations elsewhere, starting with the mother; for almost invariably the parents are either the direct cause of the child’s neurosis or at least the most important element in it. (p. 69)
Analysis of the Daemon
Both Fuller and Jung believed, like Goethe, that everyone has a daemon (Brown, 1964; Jung, 1989). The nature of that daemon and what to do with it was discrepant in the writings of Fuller and Jung. As previously mentioned, Fuller believed that the daemon works through one’s character but cannot be contacted or analyzed (Fuller, 1845). A daemon is more contemporarily compared with a soul’s companion, or angel, or fate (Hillman, 1996). However, Jung discovered ways to approach the daemon through dream analysis and active imagination (Jung, 1973). Jung also made references to approaching the daemon. Jung referred to Eros as a daemon (Jung, 1966). Still, Jung talked about how he would approach the daemon. For example, Jung (1989) explained, referring to Eros as a daemon that “I might, as many before me have attempted to do, venture an approach to this daemon, whose range or activity extends from the endless spaces of the heavens to the dark abysses of hell” (p. 353). Plato too spoke about each human soul choosing a particular destiny, a mythical, complete, guarded essence of life formed within that is to be found as if in an acorn, a personal daemon that dredges up one’s calling (Hillman, 1996).
According to Samuels et al. (1986), “Jung was well aware of the reality of evil in human life” (p. 138). Jung also described the shadow, which is the “negative side of the personality” (p. 183) or that which a person does not wish to be. Fuller, who died 25 years before Jung was born, did not refer to the shadow. However, her reference to the daemon as a precursor to the term shadow will be discussed in the next section.
Fuller’s Ideas as a Precursor to Many of Jung’s Basic Concepts
Margaret Fuller accomplished much in the 40 years of her life, inspiring numerous scholars from the mid-19th century into the 21st century (Knight, 2010). In this section, we explore six of Fuller’s ideas that we believe were precursors to many of Jung’s basic tenets, including active imagination, typology, the anima and animus, archetypes, the shadow, and the process of individuation. So far in this article we have begun with Margaret Fuller’s beliefs and writings and compared them with Carl Jung’s. We now begin with Carl Jung’s concepts and definitions and attempt to demonstrate how Fuller’s similar ideas predated Jung’s. We chose to present the information in this order because many of the concepts, terms, and definitions that Jung used were not available or defined during Fuller’s lifetime.
Jung first described active imagination in relation to dreams (Jung, 1935). Active imagination was defined as “a process of dreaming with open eyes” (Samuels et al., 1986, p. 9). Active imagination is not the same thing as daydreaming. During daydreaming the fantasies are part of an individual’s conscious intent. However, in active imagination, unconscious contents are active in a waking state. “Such fantasies ask for the co-operation of conscious life” (Samuels et al., 1986, p. 9). Barbara Hannah, who worked closely with Jung and von Franz, circumambulated Jung’s active imagination and described how it can be used to confront the unconscious (Hannah, 1981). “In every case, the goal is to get into touch with the unconscious, and that entails giving it an opportunity to express itself in some way or other” (Hannah, 1981, p. 17). Sometimes a dream image will occur and active imagination can be used in waking life to continue the dream work.
In our discussion of dreams, we described Fuller’s encounter with a dream image she referred to as “Leila.” Fuller reported her dreams of Leila and (what Jung called) her active imagination with Leila that followed. Fuller said of Leila,
In the day she lives among men; she observes their deeds, and gives them what they want of her, justice or love . . . In the night she wanders forth from her huan investment, and travels amid these tribes, freer movers in the game of spirit and matter, to whom this man is a supplement. I know not then whether she is what men call dreaming, but her life is true, full, and more single than by day. (Anthony, 1920, pp. 53-54)
Fuller returned again and again to Leila because she explained,
I find her always to have retreated into the secret veins of earth. Then glows through her whole being the fire that so baffles men, as she walks on the surface of the earth; the blood-red, heart’s-blood-red of the universal heart, with no care except to circulate as the vital fluid; and it would seem waste then for her to rise to the surface. (Anthony, 1920, p. 54)
Fuller’s interactions with Leila indicated that Leila’s voice came from the unconscious. Her communication with Leila was in the form of active imagination and not from the conscious effort of daydreaming.
Jung was inspired to consider typology from his interactions and observations of Freud and Adler. Jung (1989) reported, “What with the sexual interpretation on the one hand and the power drive of dogma on the other I was led, over the years, to a consideration of the problem of typology” (p. 155). He later explained,
I was busy with preparatory work for Psychological Types . . . This work sprang originally from my need to define the ways in which my outlook differed from Freud’s and Adler’s. In attempting to answer this question, I came across the problem of types. (Jung, 1989, p. 207)
Jung continued by describing the basic attitudes of introversion and extraversion, which are the functions of consciousness. There are feeling and thinking which influence how people make decisions. Simply put, some people make decisions primarily from the head whereas others are more likely to make decisions from the heart. There are also sensing and intuition, which involve how people take in information. Some people process the world through their senses whereas others take in information from “inside their heads” (Aldridge & Horns-Marsh, 1991).
Although Jung’s exploration of typology was inspired by the differences he noticed among himself, Freud, and Adler, Fuller’s discovery of typology began with her investigation of her own feminine nature and that of other women. In the previous section titled “Fuller and Jung’s Ideas about Gender,” we presented Fuller’s description of the muse and Minerva qualities of women. However, we did not explain that these qualities also refer to typology. The muse quality is analogous to Jung’s conception of the feeling function, whereas Minerva is a metaphor for the thinking function. In other words, Fuller discovered the feeling and thinking functions before Jung (von Mehren, 1994).
Samuels et al. (1986) described the anima as “the inner figure of woman held by a man” and the animus as “the figure of man at work in a woman’s psyche” (p. 23). Men may easily recognize the anima in literature or in film but not in themselves. Also, women may want to be equal with men but remain true to their femininity precipitating conflict with the animus within. “Possession by either anima or animus transforms the personality in such a way as to give prominence to those traits which are seen as psychologically characteristic of the opposite sex” (Samuels et al., 1986, p. 24).
von Franz (1964) explained as follows:
A particularly good example of how the anima is experienced as an inner figure in a man’s psyche is found in the medicine men and prophets (shamans) among the Eskimo and other arctic tribes. Some of these even wear women’s clothes or have breasts depicted on their garments, in order to manifest their inner feminine side—the side that enables them to connect with the “ghost land” (i.e., what we call the unconscious. (p. 186)
von Franz continued to explain that
Just as the character of a man’s anima is shaped by his mother, so the animus is basically influenced by a woman’s father. The father endows his daughter’s animus with the special coloring or unarguable, incontestably “true” convictions—convictions that never include the personality of the woman herself as she actually is. (p. 199)
Fuller’s theory of gender multiplicity can be seen as a forerunner of Jung’s discovery of the anima and animus. Fuller, less specifically than Jung, described the feminine and masculine as being present in every woman and man (von Mehren, 1994). Fuller explained the conflict within herself regarding the feminine and masculine. She lamented,
My history presents much superficial, temporary tragedy. The woman in me kneels and weeps in tender rapture; the man rushes forth, but only to be baffled. Yet the time will come, when, from the union of this tragic king and queen, shall be born a radiant sovereign self. (von Mehren, 1994, p. 185)
Although Fuller did not use the terms anima or animus, her writings were full of metaphors that referred to one or the other. She referred to the anima when she said of the poet, “we may yet conceive that it was the image of a queen before the poet’s mind that called up this splendid court of women” (Fuller, 1845, p. 54). She even analogously described the negative anima in men and the negative animus in women when she exclaimed, “to men, the woman seems an unlovely siren; to women, the man an effeminate boy” (Fuller, 1845, p. 60).
According to Jung (1969a), “The term ‘archetype’ occurs as early as Philo Judaeus, with reference to the Imago Dei (God image) in man” (p. 4). An archetype “is the inherited part of the psyche; structuring patterns of psychological performance linked to instinct; a hypothetical entity irrepresentable in itself and evident only through its manifestations” (Samuels et al., 1986, p. 26). There are virtually hundreds of archetypes which include the witch, queen, king, jester, orphan, and sage. Primitive tribal lore, mythology, and fairy tales are all expressions of the archetypes (Jung, 1969a). The structures are the same but the contents are individual.
Fuller did not use the term archetypes but her ideas and writings were full of archetypal images. In fact, in Woman in the Nineteenth Century, Fuller (1845) included multiple appendices, which are rich with archetypal material, especially literary references. Fuller also referred to the queen, king, and sage as represented in human behavior and relationships (Fuller, 1845). And, in her writings on art and literature, she discussed archetypal images, but did not use the term archetypes in her descriptions (Fuller, 1846).
Jung described the shadow as that which a person does not want to be (Jung, 1969a). The shadow is “the sum of all the unpleasant qualities one wants to hide, the inferior, the worthless and primitive side of man’s nature” (Samuels et al., 1986, p. 138). Our projections are how we come to find out about the shadow. Jung gave the example of the woman who thought all of her friends were inferior and caused her problems, not realizing it was her attitude that caused the problems.
Fuller’s beliefs and writings about the daemon predated Jung’s description of the shadow (Brown, 1964; Fuller, 1845). Although Fuller’s description of the daemon was not identical to Jung’s explanation of the shadow, they can be taken as analogous. As we have already conveyed, Fuller thought everyone had a daemon but the daemon could not be contacted directly or analyzed (1845). According to Jung, the personal shadow can be brought to consciousness but is exceptionally resistant. The shadow is one of the most challenging entities for an analyst or analysand.
According to Samuels et al. (1986), individuation “is the key concept in Jung’s contribution to the theories of personality development” (p. 76). Simply put, individuation is the process of a person becoming who she was created to be. It is a person’s quest for wholeness that is unique to each individual but must always be experienced in relation to the world and to other people (Jung, 1969b). According to Jung, “individuation does not shut out from the world, but gathers the world to oneself” (Samuels et al., 1986, p. 77). However, individuation is not egocentric or selfish. It is true that a person may have to leave the tribe to become individuated but through the process the individual must bring something useful back to society.
Again, Fuller’s beliefs and writings were about individuation. True again, she did not use the term individuation but Fuller believed every person should become all she could be. Fuller’s writings emphasized individuation in women and people enslaved during the antebellum times in which she lived (Fuller, 1845). She also explicitly described the impediments to individuation a woman faced based on culture, religion, and society. She explained,
The severe nation which taught that the happiness of the race was forfeited through the fault of a woman, and showed its thought of what sort of regard man owed her, by making him accuse her on the first question to his God; who gave her the patriarch as a handmaid, and by the Mosaical law, bound her to allegiance like a serf; even they greeted, with solemn rapture, all great and holy women as heroines, prophetesses, judges in Israel; and if they made Eve listen to the serpent, gave Mary as a bride to the Holy Spirit. (Fuller, 1845, p. 35)
More salient than Fuller’s beliefs and writings about what Jung later referred to as individuation, was Fuller’s personal example of the individuation process (Anthony, 1920). Fuller remains one of the greatest exemplars of individuation in the 19th century. She left the “tribe” but through her own struggles brought something back to society. In this article, we have reviewed some of the contributions Margaret Fuller made to the world. Probably more important, though, was who she became. Her beliefs and writings have inspired feminists, social activists, intellectuals, educators, psychologists, and critical theorists of today (Capper, 2007; Christensen, 2010; Knight, 2010).
Was Jung Inspired by Fuller?
Was Carl Jung influenced by the beliefs and writings of Margaret Fuller and, if so, how did this occur? There are five possible answers to this question. First, Jung could have directly copied or plagiarized Fuller’s works. We found no evidence of this in our research. However, Jung’s ideas were so closely aligned to many of Fuller’s beliefs that we had to consider this as a possibility. Jung and Fuller were both fluent in German and English and it is possible that Jung read Fuller’s writings in either language. Both must have read Plato’s work.
A second possibility is unintentional plagiarism. We consider this possibility because Jung suggested this as a possibility that can occur when a person is writing (Jung, 1964). Jung reported that a writer can actually plagiarize without an awareness of it. He said, “it can sometimes be shown convincingly that what he has written bears a striking similarity to the work of another author—a work that he believes he has never seen” (p. 23). Jung explained in detail an example that involved Nietzsche. He said,
I myself found a fascinating example of this in Nietzsche’s book Thus Spake Zarathustra, where the author reproduces almost word for word an incident reported in a ship’s log for the year 1686. By sheer chance I had read this seaman’s yarn in a book published about 1835 (half a century before Nietzsche wrote); and when I found the similar passage in Thus Spake Zarathustra, I was struck by its peculiar style, which was different from Nietzsche’s usual language. I was convinced that Nietzsche must also have seen the old book, though he made no reference to it. (Jung, 1964, p. 24)
We do not know whether Jung actually read Fuller’s texts but do propose the possibility that he at one time came across her works and may have remembered some of her ideas.
A third possibility is that Fuller and Jung were both influenced by archetypal ideas. Archetypes appear in all literature and both of them were inspired by forces greater than their own personal experiences. Ideas that were similar between Fuller and Jung could be attributed to universals that have appeared in literature throughout history. After all, Fuller and Jung made connections between their ideas about dreams, spirituality and gender with mythology, The Bible, and contemporary thinkers and writers of their day.
A fourth idea, related to the third, has to do with the 100th monkey phenomenon (Blair, 1975; Myers, 1985). According to Blair (1975), Japanese monkeys, Macaca Fuscata, were being studied. The monkeys enjoyed the taste of sweet potatoes that scientists left for them. A young female called Imo found that washing them made them taste better. She taught this behavior to her mom and other monkeys. Then, one day monkeys everywhere began to wash sweet potatoes before eating them. The theory of the 100th monkey is that when a certain number of a species, let’s say 100, are able to do something then it becomes a part of that species’ behavior, a critical consciousness. Related to Fuller and Jung, their ideas and beliefs could have been influenced by the numbers of individuals who were contemplating and thinking many of the same things. In fact, Myers (1985) described the 100th monkey story in relation to one of Jung’s major conceptions—the collective unconscious.
Finally, some may believe that there are few connections between Margaret Fuller’s and Carl Jung’s beliefs and writings. After all, many of their ideas are similar to other scholars’ beliefs and their writings have been compared with a plethora of other works. Still, we find the beliefs and works of Fuller and Jung to be remarkably similar even if their lives and times were considerably different.
Many of Jung’s analytical psychology tenets were similar to Fuller’s beliefs and writings. Although both have been compared with others, we found no published works that compared Carl Jung with Margaret Fuller. We have compared and contrasted the beliefs and written works of Fuller and Jung. Similarities included dreams, literature, spirituality, and their interests in gender. Differences were found in their writings as well. Fuller’s texts appeared to be focused on social justice, whereas Jung’s sources addressed social issues but from a psychological perspective. When it comes to who should take responsibility for problems that arise, it is not surprising to note that Fuller believed the man was to blame whereas Jung tended to consider the woman to be a source of the troubles. It is interesting to wonder about the anima and animus in practice in both of their writings. Although they both agreed that all humans have a daemon, Fuller and Jung had different ideas on how to deal with it.
Many of Fuller’s beliefs predated Jung’s ideas. Specifically, Fuller described active imagination, typology, aspects of the anima and animus, the shadow, archetypes, and the individuation process, although she did not use these terms. Finally, we have questioned whether Jung was familiar with Fuller’s writings and how much of his theories can be attributed to her influence. Clearly, more investigation between the beliefs and writings of Margaret Fuller and Carl Jung needs to occur. We anticipate further amplification and debate on the beliefs and published works of Fuller and Jung.
Jerry Aldridge, EdD, is Professor Emeritus of Early Childhood Education at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. He has published over 200 articles and 12 books. He is the former President of the United States National Committee of the World Organization for Early Childhood Education and is currently on the publications committee of the Association for Childhood Education International.
Jennifer L. Kilgo, EdD, is Professor of Early Intervention/Early Childhood Special Education at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. She is the former President of the Division for Early Childhood of the Council for Exceptional Children. She has served on the editorial review board of the The Journal of Early Intervention, Topics in Early Childhood Special Education, and Teacher Education and Special Education.
Melissa Werner, PhD, is Assistant Professor of Early Childhood Education at Athens State University. She is a student at the C. G. Jung Institute in Kusnacht, Switzerland in training to be a child and adult analyst.
Lois M. Christensen, PhD, is Professor of Curriculum and Instruction at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. She has published numerous articles on social studies, gender equity, and qualitative research methods in education. She has presented at national and international conferences, including the American Educational Research Association, the National Council for Social Studies, the Association for Childhood Education International, and the National Association for the Education of Young Children.
The author(s) declared no potential conflicts of interest with respect to the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article.
The author(s) received no financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article.
- © The Author(s) 2011
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