Monthly Archives: May 2012

William Henry Channing, “Letters to Associationists”

Number One.
As Corresponding Secretary of the “American Union of Associationists,” allow me thus publicly to present a view of our duties in the Social Movement.
Judge, each reader, of the truth of what is said! Freely challenge and correct errors! Let us commune together!
Thus will the latent spirit be prepared for outward manifestation.
Your thoughts are invited to consider
I. Our Position.
1. In Actual Life, we take the ground of mediating between Revolutionary and Conservative tendencies. We propose a detailed scheme of practical reconciliation, whereby Capital and Labor may combine in a work of progressive reform; and thus take the initiative step to introduce that era of Organized Society, which we are sure will be the Righteousness of God’s Kingdom upon Earth, the Doing of His Will.
2. In Science, we take the ground of accepting with discriminations the experience and discoveries of the past and present,—balancing, contrasting, combining them, and thence unfolding the Law of Serial Order, whereby all existences are hierarchically bound together and to the Absolute Being. This we assert is the Method of Society,—the Natural, Human and Divine Logic—the Word and Wisdom of God.
3. In Religion we take the ground of admitting a graduated scale of spiritual illuminations: and give a symbolic interpretation of each of these, by declaring the Central Source of Love from which they radiate. Our aim is to show, that harmoniously distributed charities are the body of Humanity wherein Divine Holiness is forever newly incarnate. Thus responding to the aspirations of all ages, unfolding the laws of heavenly intercommunion, and presenting the image of earthly life transfigured by indwelling God, we seek to be made At-one with Man and God by Universal Mediation.
Briefly, hero is an outline of our Principles, Methods, Ends. Most comprehensive, exact, vital, is this movement. Can so sublime a purpose be fulfilled?
In order to answer wisely we should survey.
II. Surrounding Difficulties.
From present appearances throughout Christendom, does it not at first look as if the Associative Reform was premature, some quarter of a century or more before the times? Must there not intervene between existing Chaos and future Order a period of intensest struggle in all departments of Social Life? In what one sphere, is one grand problem so thoroughly solved, and the truth involved therein so clearly brought out and firmly established, as to serve as an Ararat amid the deluge of doubt?
1. In the Church. Catholicism, Roman, Greek. Anglican—Protestantism, Orthodox, Liberal. Rational—New Churchism, Humanityism, Universal Unity! Are the long standing controversies one hair’s breadth nearer to settlement? And looking beneath surfaces to living currents of thought and feeling,—who as yet has revealed the relations of Naturalism, Supernaturalism, Mediation—the respective functions of Priesthood, Congregation and Elders—the just significance of Asceticism, Optimism, and United interests? How many among the Seers even of this generation have earnestly consecrated themselves, by befitting purity, to become transparent media of the Light of Infinite Love?
2. In the University. Survey the highest philosophy of Germany, France, England,—from Leibnitz to Hegel, Descartes to Leroux, Bacon to Hamilton,—and answer, is there one system which abides the test of searching criticism? Or in natural science read the ablest expounders of universal method, from Swedenborg to Humboldt, do we anywhere find such an adequate interpretation of the Divine Symbol of Creation, that Man can thereby hold intelligent converse with God, and comprehend his Law of Life. How many among the thinkers even I involved our institutions and union, are now glaring out of his- exhibit that grand combination of accurate Analysis and unifying Synthesis, balanced by consummate Judgment, which is the indispensable requisites in finders and teachers of Truth. One and Universal?
3. In the State. What peaceful settlements of conflicting claims—or else what exterminating wars await Legitimacy, Liberalism, Socialism, throughout every township, department, nation of the civilized world, throughout Christendom as a whole! How countless, how complex the questions which press forward for adjustment, in every sphere of active interests—from Woman’s Freedom to Equitable Exchange—from Apprenticeship of minors to Industrial Congresses—from healthful Gymnastic training to Colleges of Art. Politics indeed at present is a skillful trick of expedient combinations rather than a Scientific System of Organization. Who can solve even the first simple problem of government,—finding fit leaders in every function, from shaping pins to superintending continents? Hereditary honors, popular elections alike fail. Where is the Scale of Trusts sanctioned by the Sovereign Ruler?
Is it not visionary in an age so confused to prophesy Harmony?
What then,—confess that we are dreamers, boasters, liars? Dare we thus eclipse our clear convictions,—mock at the Spirit of Humanity prompting us to faithful efforts,—grieve the Spirit of God working within us, by mighty promises?
No! Brethren! “We are not of those who draw back unto perdition.” “Faith is the substance of things hoped for. the evidence of things not seen.” “We are compassed about by a great cloud of witnesses.” “We are come unto the City of the Living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, to the innumerable company of angels, to the spirits of just men made perfect, and to Jesus, the Mediator of a New Covenant.” Thus “Receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby to serve God acceptably, with reverence and godly fear.”
Number Two.
III. What Are We Sure Of?
I. Beginning from the present, we are sure that our Criticisms on Civilized Society,—its isolation, intense competition, passion for selfish gains, mercenariness, its divergence and duplicity of interests, collective and individual, are justified by facts. We are right in asserting that Politics, Literature, and Religion, arc more and more controlled by Finance. Civilization is plainly passing from its third to its fourth phase,—from the reign of Commerce into Industrial Feudalism. In some places and vocations, this system is already introduced. And by laws and practices in Land Owning—Monopolized Manufactures—Joint-Stock Corporations—Banking—all branches of Mechanic Skill—Social Manners—The Press—&c.. is the reign of Civilized Capital fast becoming established.
II. We are sure that the Tendency of the Age is towards Socialism, Social Reforms, Social Guarantees, elevation of the Workers, union of Classes.—the widest diffusion of advantages —the harmonizing of all Conditions; that in Religion, Science. Politics, the tide of this age is fast setting in this direction; that failures of public and private charity to relieve or check pauperism—increase of social evils—dangers of revolution—developed intelligence—an influx of the Spirit of Humanity—all are determining the longings and efforts of men towards Universal Mutual Insurance.
We are sure, that the General Direction of the Associative movement is in entire accordance with these necessities of the Times, these aspirations of the People, these longings of the finest hearts and minds, these manifest leadings of Providence.
Our general aim is to organize, by Wisdom, Love and Beauty, all human relations; to do justice, in development, to the whole of man’s affections and powers; to find the true place of usefulness and honor for every member of society; to secure ample culture of their spiritual gifts, fair recompense for their services, access to all social advantages; to unify individual interests, opportunities and capacities, and bring them to converge in a Universal Good; in a word to form Many Men Into One Body—a Collective Man, a Heaven on Earth, an Image and Dwelling-Place of God.
Surely,—as regards our general aim and end, our general position and influence—there is and can be no error. We sum up post experience, accept present longings, prophesy the near future.
IV. Are we not sure that our Particular Method of Society is at least a sufficiently near approximation to True Order, to be a working-plan? Let us review its chief principles.
1. Joint-Stock Ownership of Capital, Laud, Tools, Dwellings, Roads, &c. Surely this is right. The experience of the Age proves it. Individual and Collective Property are thus preserved, fulfilled, perfectly harmonized.
2. Co-operative Labor by the Law of Groups and Series of Groups, carefully discriminated, combined, alternated;—securing freedom in occupation, intercourse with many associates, escape from drudgery. Surely we have here the clue of Work-Play and Play-Work, of Attractive Industry.
3. The economies, refinements, social advantages, moral influences of Combined Dwellings,—dispensing with hireling domestic service, removing the barriers of caste, &c. What other possible mode is there of equitably interchanging the advantages of Home-Life, from all to all members of a community?
4. Collective Distribution of Profits to all Partners, according to Labor, Skill and Capital, in place of the Wages-System, thus binding all by mutual interests, instead of arraying employer and employed in jealous hostility. Surely this is just.
5. Mutual Guarantee,—covering all the interests and relations of life, ensuring minimum support, care in sickness, accident and age, labor and position, guardianship and training of children, aid in all misadventures, the influence of combined judgment and conscience, pure society, safe investments, and charge of legacies for family. These and similar guarantee* are the necessary result of the best tendencies, industrial and philanthropic of our age, in the most advanced nations.
6. Honors,—Influence, Trust, Position, Responsible Office. Leadership,—according to usefulness, by a regular hierarchy of preferment, through the free choice of Groups and Chiefs of Groups. How otherwise, than by allowing each trade, profession, &c, to judge of its own leaders, according to their actual efficiency, con prevalent charlatanry, hypocritical ambition, be done away with? This is the true system of Order and Freedom made one by Election.
7. Integral Education,—from childhood to old age, and adapted to all powers in all relations. This is truly a fulfilling of the best tendencies of the time. Such a sanctifying of the whole of Life would fulfill the aspiration of the finest spirits. To secure physical, mental and moral growth, by surrounding all with healthful, honorable conditions, supplying means and motives of study, teachers, books, apparatus, conversation, gymnastics, discipline in the common and fine arts, is plainly right.
8. Unity of Interests is the only condition, whereby Universal Communion can become possible, and the whole of life be made sacred, progressive, refining. Unity of interests is the body of which Charity or heavenly love is the spirit, in true religion. AW, incessant petty anxieties, cares and selfish collisions, separate men from their fellows, from beautiful enjoyment, from God. Only by combining the lower duties and relations of life with the highest, in communities and individuals,—only by proving practically that men are members of one another, as mutual complements in character, mind, energies,—can the Divine Idea of Many Made One be realized, and thus the Divine Life be embodied in human societies.
So much for the particular method, which the American Union of Associationists has prescribed.
What less can a person aim at in the present era of Christendom’s development?
What more practicable method of social organization has been as yet made known?
W. H. C.
Number Three.
We have considered our Position and our accepted Platform. The American Union of Associationists is one regiment, or company of the grand army of Socialism.
But Socialism has many banners; where is its Oriflamme? Has it One acknowledged Chief, one Central Authority, one established Creed?
We must grant that the Socialists are a host of volunteers, each band of whom utters a special rally-cry. The popular movements—whose aim is the elevation of the Fourth Estate by such a practical co-operation of Capitalists and Workmen, as will ensure in all communities the Conditions of Fraternity —are as various as the character, culture and circumstances of the nations, towns, classes, wherein they have originated.
Yet this spontaneous uprising of the People of Christendom to gain peace by justice.—coming as the result of eighteen centuries of Progress, seeking as its end Brotherhood—is manifestly Providential. Does not our assured faith in the triumph of Socialism spring from the conviction, that these strivings, theorisings, aspirings after Social Reorganization are suggested by influences from God, through Humanity in the Spiritual world, and that the grand Reality, towards which our partial efforts are guided, is the establishment of Heaven upon Earth?
Social Reform, in the United States, arose normally from the political, philanthropic, speculative and religious tendencies of the times. The Working Men’s movement, and the many schemes) of Radical Democracy—the Reforms, devoted to Anti-Slavery, Prison-Discipline, Temperance, Purity, Education, Peace—the Philosophy of the age, Naturalistic, Phrenological, Physiological, Mesmeric, Humanitary, Spiritual—finally, the heart-sickness of thousands at the death-in-life of prevalent Protestantism, the impossibility of their finding freedom and harmony in old Catholicism, and longings for a practical religion which in some approximate degree might fulfil the Ideal of Universal Unity—these and countless conjoint tendencies have been and are irresistibly converging towards the organization among us of Christian Commonwealths. No one can foresee, it would be folly to attempt to foreshape the course, whereby Socialism in this land is to realize itself in a Confederacy of Religious Republics.
But the branch of Social Reform represented by the so called “Associationists,” undeniably took its special form and direction from the writings of Charles Fourier.
The question then rises, “What is and should be our Relation To Fourier.”
This question one of your body would try to answer, speaking of course individually, assuming no collective responsibility, and trusting that the frankness of his criticism, both negative and positive, will not be deemed presumptuous. A truly Great Man—such as Fourier unquestionably was—deserves at the hands of his fellow-men honest appreciation. He needs no panegyric; his peers alone could adequately judge him; it is for those who have been in any sense disciples, to state exactly what they feel and think of their teacher’s position and function. Socialism is too stern, near, and urgent a movement, too full at once of warning and of promise, too complex and vast in its connections with mankind’s dearest interests, for any to tamper with it frivolously. Personal claims are very trifling in view of such a world-wide reformation, as Fourier had the honor to herald. And he surely was the very man to say—” Waste no time in apologies; out with your undisguised thought of me and my system; above all, be true.”
I. Negative Criticism.
1. Fourier’s starting point of Absolute Doubt—the challenging, getting rid of, and sweeping clean tradition in order to set out afresh, is a position as unattainable as it would be untenable. By blood, temperament, intellectual tendencies, information, vocabulary, manners, modes of thought, prejudices, principles, &c. &c, every man is and must be a child of his age and nation. Fourier was a Frenchman, bred amidst the chaos of Revolution; and his whole tone of character arid mind show his stock and training.
The right position for the Scholar in all Science, but especially in Social Science, is Faith, a reverential acceptance of the aspirations, hopes, discoveries, axioms, institutions of past ages. Loyalty should baptise liberty. Just in degree, as we cordially love the Truth and Good, transmitted through ancestors, do we become competent judges of our own generation, and credible prophets of future ages. The very view of the Unity of Humanity to which Fourier attained, and which no man in the ancient or modern world recognized more clearly than he did at times—should have led him to discard skepticism, except as a mere subsidiary instrumentality of judgment. Integral Exploration was the true method for a genius so large, rich, penetrating—a method used by Fourier admirably in his best hours —but the “pou sto,” the standing place, for one who would wield such a lever, can be nothing else than Trust in Man.
Fourier perverted his mind by scorn of his predecessors. He was capricious in estimating men and nations. His books are disfigured by sneers at sages and legislators, to honor whom he should have felt as an honor; and there can be little doubt that his prevalent temper towards forerunners in all branches of discovery, and towards cotemporary students, was contempt. In a word, he assumed the part of a giant among pigmies. Such conduct was surely as absurd as it was arrogant. It sadly blinded him with conceit, shut him up in his own notions and cut him off from universal sympathies.
This want of Catholicity—using the word in its large and strict sense—explains Fourier’s disregard of History. With his astonishing powers of exact analysis, retentive memory and creative imagination, what might he not have done as an historical explorer! Greatly is it to be regretted that he so much neglected to trace the development of families, peoples, races. Inconsistently with many of his own principles he learned to think and speak of Man as a Natural Production, rather than as a Free Intelligence guided and inspired from a Superhuman Center. Consequently, either without consciousness or deliberately, he committed the enormous error of leaving unexplained the problem of Christendom, and treated of modern European Civilization as if Christ had never lived. All the more unsatisfactory does his course in this respect appear, because he professed to be a Christian, and has left on record some quit* mystical hints as to the action of the Holy Spirit, and the future triumph of the Cross. But the important point to be noticed is,—that he did not justify his position as a Social Reorganizer in this era of Christendom, by showing its accord with the leadings of Providence. He presented the “System of Harmony” as a boon from himself—the sole discoverer—to a perverse race, rather than as a lesson which he had learned, though but in part, from the promptings of Humanity, as enlightened from on high.
2. Fourier was a Pantheist,—as any man, who severs the traditional life-tie which binds him to his race, will almost necessarily become, unless he sinks into the tower depths of materialistic Atheism. Setting out from Nature, and striving to ascend from Natural Law to Universal Order, ho recognized three constituent principles of all existence—Active, Neutral, Passive,—which he asserted to be co-eternal. Consequently, he denied to all intents and purposes, creation; identified creatures with the creator, by making them the multiple of which he was the unity; and instinctively limited his efforts to the study of necessary processes of development.
Fourier indeed called the Active principle alone God; though consistently he should have appropriated that name to the three principles in combination; but evidently his thought was the very old and familiar one, that the Passive principle was the body of which God was the soul. And his notion of the Neuter principle was so obscure, that whether he considered it spiritual, or material, or mixed—intelligent or unintelligent, composite or simple, personal or impersonal, collective or individual, it would be difficult to say.
It is but just thus to acknowledge that Fourier’s Trinity of God, the Universe and Mathematics, was a most incomplete conception, that his analysis of fundamental realities was extremely superficial, and finally that this radical error vitiated his whole doctrine of cosmogony, of human destiny and duty on earth, of immortality and spiritual mediation, of heaven and providence.
It is not asserted, that Fourier attempted to draw no distinctions between the Divine Being, Spirits, and the Material World, for by his view of hierarchy he represented Deity as the One and All, of which every existence, according to its degree, was a part more or less honorable. But it is asserted, that Fourier doubtless regarded Substance intrinsically one, throughout the range of universal existence, and looked upon spirit and matter, in all forms, as merely its modified manifestations. Hence he fell into the same errors and extravagancies, which have bewildered Pantheists in all lands and times; and though retaining usages of language drawn from man’s experience of moral freedom, was actually a Fatalist, and practically a denier of “Right and Wrong,” except in a utilitarian sense.
3. Thus dissevered from hallowed traditions of Humanity, and Pantheistic in philosophy, it was but a matter of course, that Fourier should have misapprehended the quality of Reason and Conscience, slighted their function in man individual and collective, and left the whole sphere of intellect in confusion.
Fourier recognized in man three branches of affection, corresponding respectively to” the Primal Trinity of God, Matter and Mathematics, and impelling man to combine Social ties with Sensitive joys according to modes of universal Order. Yet rich in suggestion as is his statement,—that the three Distributive affections represent the Serial Law, which is the Divine Method of arrangement in all departments,—Fourier never appears to have duly estimated the worth of the Rational principle. He did not regard it as the deliberative and governing power, without whose constant regulation, persons and states would fall into inextricable anarchy. That is to say, he did not conceive of Reason as a consciously free energy, but rather as an unconscious impulse; and did not steadily present it as the specially human endowment whereby man takes rank among spirits, and voluntarily ascends to communion and co-operation with God. There are passages in his writings, to be sure, which show, that he had not overlooked—as indeed how could he—man’s power of judgment, choice and rule, and others wherein he describes the Human Race as entering by means of this disposing and ordering faculty, into concert of action with the Divine Being. But all his social arrangements and maxims for private conduct show, that he considered the Distributive passions simply as acting spontaneously like the other passions
Hence Fourier’s exaggerated estimate of Attraction, contempt of Repression, disregard of Legal provisions, and utter aversion to Morality and Self-Control. His ideal of Social Harmony by means of the freest play of all impulses acting in order was sublime;—but that in his admiration of spontaneity and genius he slighted reflection and experience, and by trust in God’s inspirations and nature’s symbolic correspondence to man’s desires, undervalued the importance of human aspiration and reaction, there can be no doubt. Keenly accurate as Fourier was, when criticizing past and present societies, he became a mystic poet when imaging future ages. His error was a beautiful dream, an heroic hope, a heavenly aspiration, but it was none the less an error; and most injuriously did it affect all his contemplated social provisions, from marriage, through education and legislation, up to worship.
Here are three negative criticisms upon Fourier and his System, each of which is grave, and which combine to prove that he had not adequately solved the Social Problem.
What then,—recognizing his limitations—shall we disown him, as a Master in Social Science?
By no means! The incredulous, sneering world owes Fourier an immense debt of gratitude, and posterity will surely atone for present suspicion and insult with its highest honors. His claims to our reverent regard shall be the topic of the next letter.
W. H. C.
Number Four.
The Associative movement, in the United States resulted normally, as we have seen, from the Religious, Social, Scientific and Political tendencies of the Nation: but it received impulse and special direction from the influence of the writings of Fourier. His system of Universal Unity—gratefully cherished and silently disseminated by a small band of earnest disciples, first among whom in an age and honor stood the talented and high-minded Manesca—was brought before the public by Albert Brisbane in a volume on “The Social Destiny of Man,” in columns of “The Future,” and a series of articles in the “N. Y. Tribune”. The indefatigable perseverance of this zealous Social Reformer was in order of time, a chief instrumentality in giving its character of “Fourierism” to the principles and plans of the earliest Associationists.
Since that period, however, the entrance of many unbiased minds into the Associative Movement,—thought, discussion and experience—acquaintance with the views of other Social Reformers, such as Leroux, Lamennais, Cabet, Buchez, Louis Blanc, Proudhon, &c.—the rise of various Garantee Movements originated by Working-men in Europe and America—above all an enlarged comprehension of the immensity, complexity, dangers and difficulties of the Social Problem and a reverent conviction that the world wide agitation of Socialism emanates from and is guided by Providential agency, have conspired to dissipate sectarianism; while at the same time patient study of Fourier’s works and manuscripts, with aid of the comments, restatements, modifications and illustrations of his most enlightened followers, has justified the enthusiastic admiration due to his majestic intellect, and the events of every year have confirmed the confidence felt in his prophetic sagacity. Fourier is not indeed our Pope, not our infallible Oracle; but it is difficult to find words sufficiently discriminating and unhackneyed to express just appreciation for this grand genius, born and bred so opportunely, amidst Christian Civilization, in its hour of sorest need. To-day then let us attempt briefly to set forth the claims to earnest regard of the only man, whom, the Associationists as at present instructed recognize as a Master in Social Science.
II.—Positive Criticism. .
By organization and training, Charles Fourier was most rarely fitted for the very work to which his life was consecrated. In him, exquisite sensibility to natural beauty, unerring accuracy of perception, a love of order almost morbidly intense, constructive faculty as various in reach as exact in working, and power of minutest discrimination in all spheres material or spiritual, were wonderfully combined with ideal imagination surpassingly poetic, and vividly comic in its conceptions as well as sublime, with broad, and profound humanity, justice even rigorous in strict exactions, boundless confidence in Divine benignity, self reliance that never faltered, all concentrated and kept consistently active by perseverance stern as fate. This description may seem, but it is not exaggerated. Many powerful tendencies were wonderfully harmonized in Fourier; and it is not surprising, that conscious of his grand energies he should quietly have alluded to himself, as the only illustration he happened to be acquainted with of an all-endowed man. By most felicitous fortune too, he was bred up from boyhood to the mercantile profession, had opportunities for travelling extensively as a commercial agent, was plunged into the horrors of pecuniary losses and financial perplexities, felt the hard gripe of poverty, was separated by humble position and privacy from ambitious excitements, and through his whole life was forced into painful contact with the tyrannous Oligarchy of Money. Above all, the hideous brutalities combined with the extravagant aspirations of the French Revolution, the political chaos of Europe during Napoleon’s wars, the manifest breaking down of all civilized dynasties under accumulating debts, and the fast swelling power of the People, communicated just the needed stimulus to a mind and heart so constituted. Fourier does appear to have been one of the series of Providential Persons, raised up and destined to become centers of influence for their own and succeeding times.
But it is to the System, rather than the Man that our attention is now to be directed; and into a few short paragraphs must suggestions be crowded, each of which would demand for elucidation as many chapters.
I. The Integrality of the system of “Combined Order,”— as the author of “Universal Unity” so finely called his scheme for social harmony, is in itself most instructive. At first sight the Phalanstery appears like a piece of wax-work, fashioned by cunning mechanism,—and one, whoso spiritual affections have been trained to predominant delusiveness, is tempted to dash Fourier’s books to the ground, and trample them under foot, as debasingly materialistic. But presently the seeming automaton wakes into glowing action, and through the beautiful body shines forth a radiant life of purity, force, genial impulse, honor, benignity, chivalric devotedness, consummate manhood. It is wonderful to see, how, starting from the observance of natural laws in humblest spheres, Fourier was led upward to the most vast and profound views of social relations, and of universal destiny. And the question continually arises, as we study his massive sentences,—within whose cold, clear, statement lie volumes of passionate emotion, as in the fabled casket was prisoned the Genius,—”Did this man actually comprehend the rich significance of his own plans and principles?” Doubtless, he purposely mystified his fellows, and so concocted his compositions, as to cram his readers with as much solid food as they could well digest, under show of tickling their appetites with confectionary. Yet, after all such allowances, it still looks as if Fourier had lit upon veins of treasures, whose worth he never fully estimated,—and which only happier generations can work out, by a faithful application of his method of Universal Analogy.
Certainly, no one can enter into the conception of Phalansterian Life, without gaining a wholly new impression of the refining power of Art, and rising into wondering gratitude, at the infinitely benevolent designs of the Divine Artist. Fourier had attained to clear vision of what all poets gain glimpses of, that Nature—as a whole, and in its minutest combinations and movements—is an ever fresh Symbol of God. The universe was to him a temple, from corner to capstone, from pavement to dome, carved and stamped all over with hieroglyphics of supreme wisdom. The word Art, gives the clue to what otherwise seems a cheerless labyrinth of tedious detail. He did believe, with his whole soul, that fields, workshops, and all spheres of productive industry, might be converted into means of harmony, which would react upon human feeling and energy like an orchestra. And yet more, he believed, with an earnestness which subdued every doubt, and kept his inventive faculties forever on the stretch, that all the passions and faculties of man, individual and collective, were originally adapted exactly to each other, and designed to be perfectly in accord, as are the performers on wind and string instruments, in a well-arranged concert. Hence his insatiable longing to study out in minutest particulars, the Conditions fitted to attune all active tendencies in each person, and to allot appropriate functions to every temperament and character. He was assured, that Social Organization is the Art of Arts; and in his conception of Attractive Industry, he laid the corner-stone and marked out the ground-plan of a temple of beauty, which admiring ages will co-work to rear, and wherein his statue will stand pre-eminent, as the great emancipator of Labor.
By this integrality of system, Fourier anticipated the result, to which Phrenology, Physiology, and the soundest practical Philosophy of our age are rapidly leading all thinkers. He showed how an end might be put to the everlasting war between Spiritualism and Materialism, and by merely exhibiting the true hierarchy in human tendencies and faculties, cleared the field of usurping sophisms and cant. In a word, he made honorable, what one-sided and simplistic observers had presumptuously considered common and unclean, while preserving the supremacy of the highest affections. It is not meant, that Fourier gave an exhaustive analysis of human nature in all its departments, or that he exhibited a complete practical synthesis, by enacting which, Society might insure the symmetric growth of all its members. But this was his high aim; and he did present, in glorious fullness, the Ideal of Society as a Collective Man, whose body was consummate order in all material relations refined to the utmost, whose soul was the exquisite harmony of spiritual affections. Thus also, as will hereafter appear, he demonstrated how Public and Private Life may be made One.
[The remainder of this letter is postponed, to make way for the article which follows.] W. H. C.
The integrality of Fourier’s system can be best comprehended by studying his table of the Three Unities. What he presented as essential, were the necessary arrangements for one Association, whereby to secure abundant and graduated wealth—a proportional minimum support for each and all of its members—attractive industry—convergence of interests—exact justice—harmony of feeling and unity of action. And nothing finer can be found in literary history, than the example which he set of conscientious study of the Laws of Universal Order, as the means of determining the true material and social dispositions for a single community,—-the limitations excepted, which have already been noticed in our Negative Criticism. From the problem of Equitable Commerce, Fourier was led up to that of Domestic, Agricultural Association, and thence to that of Universal Unity, which he claimed to have solved under the following branches:
1. Internal Unity of man with himself by Societary union, spontaneous in all functions.
2. External Unity of man with himself by integral, combined cultivation of the globe.
3. Internal Unity of man with God by fullest movement of all the passions impelled by attraction.
4. External Unity of man wit A God by bi-composite immortality.
5. Internal Unity of man with the Universe by analogy between the passions and material creations.
6. External Unity of man with the Universe by aromal communications among the heavenly bodies.
This Science of Divine Order, throughout the whole range of Nature, Fourier concentrated upon the construction of laws for a Phalanstery. Society he represents always as an Organic Whole, a Collective Man, a Type of the Universe, an Image of God. Never did there live a person, more penetrated with the conviction that we are members one of another, and animated by one life hierarchically distributed through every community of the Human Race.
Not in this comprehensiveness alone docs the integrality of Fourier’s views manifest itself; for equally remarkable is the minute accuracy of his system. When his books and manuscripts are translated and spread abroad,—and there is good reason to hope that this will be done soon, and done worthily,–it will be universally admitted that his analytic descriptions of the Sensitive Passions are alike wonderful, for original suggestions as to the latent capacities of the eye, ear, &c, and proper methods of developing them, and for the consummate common sense with which he has provided for their joyous activity throughout every department of labor, economy, hygiene and art. Inspire his form of attractive Industry-Kith the Christian Life of Regeneration, and it may well be said, that in the domain of the Phalanstery is presented the most masterly commentary ever yet given upon the beautiful texts of the earliest and latest scripture: ” The Lord God took man and put him into the garden of Eden, to dress it and to keep it, saying, ” of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely cat, except the tree of the knowledge of good and evil;”—”and he showed me that great city, the Holy Jerusalem * * * and in the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river of water of life, was there
the Tree of Life, which bare twelve manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month: and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.”
Fourier renders Industry Attractive by the mode in which he makes every sensitive faculty and physical relation minister to the free development of the Social Affections. And here again does his astonishing analytic accuracy appear. In regard, indeed, to the Minor Affective Passions, Love and Familism, especially the former, not a few of our master’s most patient disciples both in Europe and America are convinced, that he greatly erred by a misapplication of the Serial Law. But errors notwithstanding, his suggestions are always instructive, and many of them such as commend themselves instantly to the purest and most enlightened conscience. And in regard to the two Major Affective Passions, Friendship and Ambition, it may be confidently said, that nothing can surpass the keen sagacity and profound sentiment with which he has wrought the richest harmony out of tendencies which have been usually found most prolific in jealousy and strife. The Phalanstery is a full embodiment of the maxim of Each for All and All for Each, where Public and Private good are perfect mutual complements. From the cradle to the grave, every individual is alike ensphered by a genial air of love, within the green enclosures of its paradise. Not a taste however capricious, not an interest however trifling, but is made to minister to the Collective Good; and all refining opportunities of society combined, are opened with boundless liberality, as means of private culture and delight. Fourier’s scheme of education is by far the most complete over yet devised for fashioning a child’s whole character to Social Use, and what is equally important, for combining the sympathy and wisdom of a united society to call out in symmetric fulness the special genius of every child. And no poet, romancer, legislator or prophet, ever more successfully portrayed human life as an ideal whole, overflowing with kindness, courtesy, benignity and honor. The myths of the Golden Age ore far less beautiful than the future which shines forth with transient gleams from Fourier’s magic mirror, while with tantalising hints he lifts and drops the curtain. One feels an unquestioning assurance, as he reads paragraph after paragraph crowded full with novel thought, that here is truly reflected the Natural side of Heaven upon Earth.
[Sickness prevents me from finishing this letter, by describing the richly suggestive views of Fourier in relation to the “Distributive Passions and Unityism.” I can now add only, that with such exceptions as I have already signified in the Negative Criticism and the Replies to Mr. Godwin, I heartily accept the master’s doctrine as to the Law of Series and Attraction. Doubtless much remains to be done in developing, applying, limiting and completing his system; but never do I read a chapter of this always strong and often most eloquent writer, without fresh wonder and delight; and I am gratefully assured, that in the works of this Social Columbus may be found a guiding chart to that New World of Practical Righteousness, wherein ” God shall dwell with his people and be their God.”]
W. H. C.

[Originally published in The Spirit of the Age]

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William Henry Channing, “Charles Fourier” (1843)


The zeal and ability with which Albert Brisbane has for several years devoted himself to the propagation of Fourier’s doctrines of association, begin to be appreciated as they deserve. And whatever conclusive judgment his countrymen may pass upon this peculiar system, all must admit, that this earnest advocate of social reorganization has hastened and widened the great reform movement of our day. Few who have paid Fourier the respect he merits, of deep study, will deny that he has cast light, much needed and timely, upon the darkest problems, whether they adopt his social science without modification or not. And the Present will endeavor candidly to describe this system of “passional harmonies” and “attractive industry,” with the hope that every such discussion may add new impulse to the flood-tide which is now sweeping Christendom and civilization to a more active recognition of the law of love. Space and time permit, in this number, only a few preparatory remarks.

The biographical sketches which we have of Fourier, are fitted to engage our interests for the man. Such brave and lonely consecration to a great aim, for such a series of years, claiming no sympathy, buoyed up alone by a sublime hope, communing in stillness with truth, is deeply gratifying. One feels as if such a patient miner must have treasured rich ingots. He claims, and has fairly won, a right to the patient heed of his When we add to this fact of his resolute pursuit of a settled object, the quality of his impelling motive, his indignation at the mean artifices of trade, his confidence that heaven has made possible a state of consummate well-being and beauty for the human race, and his bold self-trust that, though seeking to the death, he would find the clue out of this labyrinth of inhumanity; when, finally, we are told by his friends of the grand style of character to which he was moulded, the justice, clear penetration, inflexibleness, and tender pity, the profound enthusiasm for men, as they certainly one day should be, the utter scorn for men as they were, we place a confidence in the sincerity of the teacher, that goes far to forestall our approval of his doctrine. And yet there is this abatement to our sympathy. The study for some forty years of ” harmony,” should have made his eye of love so clear as to see through wrong and meanness to the vital good; and the consciousness of a generous purpose should have disarmed petty opposition and criticism of their sting. One is pained at the sardonic sneer with which this keenest of observers cuts through disguises, and plucks away from shivering, naked folly the last rag that covers its shame. His denunciation is the condensed essence of bitter contempt. He should have been patient, too, with the dullards who misapprehended, and distorted in their show-boxes the truth he tried to teach. But let his papal arrogance pass. There is this comfort in listening to him—that you have before you a man who, with unblenching eyes and clear, steady voice, tells you truly and exactly what he thinks. One knows the ground on which both parties stand. There is no blowing first hot, then cold. He gives no quarter. He asserts without compromises, without ifs or buts, what he believes he knows. In the same spirit should he be met. Concessions, apologies, etiquettes, may be dropped. Here is earnest work. There is the asserted fact, there the announced law, there the argument and evidence. Test it. Is the coin sterling? For this number these few words must suffice. 
But before closing, let the fact be noted, that the interest now awakening in this subject of association is all but universal in this country. Every’ day brings tidings of some new movement of those who are roused by a great hope to leave accustomed spheres of business, wonted social circles, the old mill rounds where for years they have been grinding saw dust for bread, and to enlist in these raw militia of social reformers. Such drilling and countermarching and sounding of drums and trumpet#betokens that Providence is gathering the hosts of the faithful for some hew battle with wrong. Doubtless, as in all recruiting, the idle and shiftless and weak, whose sandy foothold has slipped away and left them stationless in life, are occasionally drafted for these armies of industry. Doubtless brigands in heart, selfish and eager for gain, will also join. But the soul of this soldiery of peaceful conquest over injustice, are men and women sick at heart of the inevitable insincerities, unkindnesses, and numberless degradations of our present social state. In the various communities which within two years have been founded or are now in the process of formation, may be found some of the choicest spirits of our land. I wish here to give to all such a hearty invitation to communicate their hopes, ‘ prospects, and the results of their experience through the pages of the Present. As every grain of gold dust, and leaf of new trees and plants, and root and berry of the New World were precious and curious to Europe after the first voyages of Columbus, so every specimen of actual life from these Eldorados and Utopias is valuable to those who stand gathering their tools and clothing to follow. Send us news, brethren, from your little oases in the deserts, your coral islands in the sea. 
W. H. C.

  • William Henry Channing, “Charles Fourier,” The Present 1, no. 1 (September 1843): 28-29.

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Cosmogony — I

Translated for the Harbinger.
Having reached this twenty-first section, I feel the same temptation which Montesquieu did at his twenty-first book. He wanted to address an invocation to the Muses; I read it in a journal which seemed astonished, and with reason, at this weakness. Montesquieu, amongst other complaints, said to the virgins of Pindus: “I have run a long career, and I am overburdened with cares.” Nevertheless he had, to support his labors and distract him from his cares, an income of 25,000 francs, worth 50,000 francs of the present currency: he had besides, the partisans who always attach themselves to fortune, to rank, to fame, to popular oratory. Could he, with so many supports, lack heart for work, especially when he was assured in all respects of the favor of his age, and when he beheld himself on the way to immortality?
Ah! Montesquieu, was it not an insult to the learned sisters, loaded as you were with the favors of fortune and the resources of genius, to ask for more? The Muses might have answered: “See what we have done for so many great men from the days of Homer to J. J. Rousseau; we have exposed them to the assaults of indigence, of snarling criticism (zoilism), of persecution; but we have given them the sacred fire, which helps man to surmount all obstacles, to suffer while alive a thousand deaths, that he may live only after death; and you, Montesquieu, favorite of fortune and the Muses, you are not satisfied, you ask for more.”
Instead of so many succors which were lavished upon Montesquieu, I have had to sustain all the opposite misfortunes. It is for me to express impatience, to call to my aid, the nine sisters, and tell them: “I have run a long career, and I am overburdened with cares.” It is not by the number of volumes that I have to fill, that my career is made fatiguing; it is by the researches it has cost me, by the fatigues it has caused me and will cause me yet. The fatality has pursued me, that always when I would put hand to the work, I have suddenly discovered that something was mislaid, or some strange accident has interfered, as the loss of manuscripts and precious notes, some of which contained solutions sought for several years. The problems of passional movement seem mere child’s play when they are resolved. Every body says of them, as of the verses of Racine: “I could have done that myself;” but the difficulty is to do it. I was eleven years seeking the distribution of the general scale of characters, and I did not believe it could be found without the experience of a generation in Harmony. I run aground upon the calculation of passional diffraction, in spite of fourteen years of researches, not continuous to be sure, but still frequent, and finally stopped by the loss of a note which had been mislaid.
Often a chapter, which was only sketched, (as that on diffraction,) cost me years: the solutions of problems are not measured off by the yard-stick, like articles of light literature and systems of politics; in the calculation of attraction you cannot cut short a difficulty by an arbitrary decision: the problem of passional gravitation, in the direct ratio of the masses and inverse of the distances, cost me two months loss of sleep.
There was not one work, one single source from which I could draw a shadow of information. Montesquieu found enough of it in a thousand authors, who had been over the road before him; he had no embarrassment but that of choice; but I am in the position of Robinson Crusoe, who, alone in a desert island, is obliged to make every thing for himself; every step has compelled me to change some arrangements, to recast chapters and parts of the work. In such a case a Montesquieu has scribes at his command, and the work goes on while the author is composing. For me, when I want to hasten the transcription, I suffer from a sprain of my thumb, which more than once has delayed me an entire fortnight. So I have no support but myself. I have crosses without number. I have the prospect of laboring for the small critics who, after vexing me all my life, will try to rob me after my death, or will assign to me the comfortless reward of Homer, altars in the other world, and want of bread in this. Let us persevere, however, in spite of every loathing, and let it astonish no one, if my apostrophes to the favorite Coryphœuses of the age smack somewhat of the reception which the age has given me.
We have now to do with Cosmogony, a science which seems to be much in vogue in France, where sciences, like dresses, are a matter of fashion. Cosmogony is now high in public favor there; often they bring upon the stage the diseases of the planets and the chapter of comets, so feebly treated in 1811. Every system-maker thinks himself obliged in conscience to give a Cosmogony, as every one did in 1788 to give a Constitution. Our century is accused of having produced by itself alone more Cosmogonies than all the others put together; we may say as much, unfortunately, of the treatises on political economy of one kind and another. The more fruitful science is in systems, the more sterile it is in benefits; so we see the people reduced to living upon nettles, and compelled to emigrate by thousands, even in Baden, which is the best cultivated country in Europe.
Cosmogony is of the number of those sciences which may discover the remedy for these increasing miseries. They think it limited to vague conjectures about the stars, about the formation of comets and other useless matters, with which the late De La Grange was occupied so much. It has functions of quite other importance, principally that of determining the destiny of the planets and consequently that of their inhabitants; but its grand office is to remedy the sidereal maladies which vitiate the temperature, destroy the harvests, and are rapidly impoverishing our globe. Cosmogony, then, is the medical science of the planet; it is for it to deliver the globe from a crowd of material scourges, from which it has suffered for five thousand years; among others, the paralysis of the extremities, or the congelation of the Poles. Here are functions which the smart minds, who meddle with this sort of study, have not dreamed of. A Cosmogonist, if he is versed in the science, ought to undertake to effect by a given day, the disengaging of the North Pole, and, at a later time, of the South Pole; to make the orange, within five years, grow as well in Spitzbergen as in Lisbon. Whoever cannot subscribe to this engagement, is ignorant in Cosmogony.
I only know the numerous systems of this sort through some articles in Journals. I have read but one, a very ancient one for our times: it is the pleasant fable of Buffon, who supposes an impertinent comet to have struck our sun, and knocked our thirty-two splinters, out of which were formed our planets. Verily this modern age is most indulgent to the fine minds, if it suffers such absurdities of theirs to pass. A comet to strike against a sun! It could not even strike the smallest satellite. One has been seen to pass into the very nave and sanctuary of Jupiter. Even if it were directed against a point through which a satellite must pass, Jupiter and the Sun, by an aromal fillip, would have thrown the comet off its orbit. Of what use, then, the sidereal harmony, if thirty-two pivoted and unitary planets are unable to sustain themselves against an incoherent body?
They make Cosmogonies and Geologies in our day, which are as improbable as the shock of a comet imagined by Buffon. I have read in the Journals of 1816, (Biblioth. Britann.) a refutation of a system of Cuvier upon the formation valleys, whose excavation he ascribes to the diluvial currents; an opinion as strange as that of the sophists, who suppose that these same currents have washed towards the northern Pole the bones of elephants, which were heaped together under the torrid zone. I shall pass in review some of these absurd hypotheses; they spring commonly from the mania which our savans have for refusing to God a talent equal to that of our mechanics. I shall often claim for Him this small concession; and if they will only allow to God as much ability as they do to our carpenters, smiths, and masons, they will see how easy it has been for Him, without the aid of a Deluge, to form valleys all over the earth, to acclimate elephants at the Pole, &c.
We are about to treat of a Cosmogony more interesting, more extended, than those which have been broached thus far, and more flattering for the human race. It will teach us, that mortals, who have been styled worms of the earth, and excluded from initiation into the laws of nature by philosophy and superstition, are on the contrary high and potent personages, co-associates with God in the direction of the planets, anti invested by Him with a colossal over these enormous creatures. Philosophy, to bring us down, takes its stand upon our corporeal littleness; but by virtue of the law of the contact of extremes, this littleness is the pledge or our high power. Man is the inferior link in the chain of universal harmony, the lowest of the keys or stops which derive their titles from the Twelve Passions; Man, by this title, is in contact, in unison with the highest key, which is God. According to this law, we necessarily participate in the power of God, and cooperate directly with him in the control of the universe.
The destiny of Man has been estimated in proportion to his stature: but is the dimension of beings the measure of their intelligence and their ability? If it were so, a whale should have a thousand times more mind than any of our savans. Let us reason better about the laws of movement; it is our position as the link infinitely little, which assures us our identity of action with God, and the most ample share in the series of powers which He has divided amongst the creatures of harmony. Their series or gradation is composed as follows: Man, Planet, Universe, Binuniverse, Trinuniverse, Decuniverse, Centuniverse, Milliuniverse, &c. &c. The keys 1, 8, 15, 22, 29, 36, form unisons or pivots of octaves, and have different properties from the others; but among these keys of octave intervals, Man, as the extreme pivot, is much more brilliantly endowed than the keys 8, 15, 22, and indeed you would be astounded by a table of the truly immense power which God has given to Man.
Behold a thesis on this subject quite surprising, but which shall be demonstrated in great detail. Every man who has the means (and there are more than four thousand much in civilization) of founding a passional system (tourbillon), may operate upon the temperament of the planet, correct its aromas and charge its temperature and atmosphere, purge its seas, furnish them with a magnificent creation, modify the aromas of the sun and of the different planets, displace five of them to arrange them in conjunction around our globe, and clothe it, like Saturn, with two rings. As to operations beyond our system, we may effect the entrance of the one hundred and two comets into the common plane of our other planets, accelerate by about three hundred years the concentration of the system as well as of our universe, and the operation which is to elevate them from the second to the third power; whence will result a general displacement in the mass of the fixed stars, which have seemed immovable for five thousand years. But what does this displacement, this new arrangement, concern us, if it is not to be fraught with numerous advantages for us? Those who are astonished by this announcement, may familiarize themselves with it, by meditating upon the most universally known law of nature, that of the contact of extremes; it would be violated, and the whole system of movement would be false, if the extreme key at the bottom, which is Man, were not in full participation of the government with the extreme key at the top, which is God; every violation of this law would untie the fundamental knot of movement, and introduce a radical absurdity in the work of creation.
Our Cosmogonists in their systems, universal and special, make no account of this primordial law; they depict for us a universe after their fashion, in which nothing is united, a pretended unity composed only of general incoherence, a God who establishes no bonds in the system of nature, a God who has no fixed relations, no mode of permanent revelation with his creatures, a father of the universe who does not communicate with his children, who has not even thought of their first want, that of a social code, a monster of a father who seeks to degrade us, to exclude us from the knowledge of destinies which he has inspired us with the curiosity of knowing. He is the sole distributor of attraction: would he not be the most odious of tyrants, if he had condemned us to a slate of ignorance, of indigence and of nullity, so opposed to the attraction which he has given us? According to these fine thinkers, the keys of harmony would have no influence upon one another; Man would have none upon his planet, upon his system, his universe, which on their side would have none upon Man. Thus our savans consider the universe as an orchestra in which every instrument, every musician plays according to his own fancy, without any agreement with the others; we see the contrary; a single instrument, which is false or out of tune, troubles the play of the whole orchestra; it is the same in the universe, where the derangement of one of the keys hinders the play of all the others.
The following Treatise will reveal a God and a universe very different from the pictures of our savans, a system of movement in which all is united, the supreme Chief of which wishes to exceed in generosity the expectation of his creatures. For Him it is little to unveil to us his laws upon the mechanism of nature and upon all the mysteries supposed impenetrable; He wishes also that Man should sit with him upon the throne of the universe, and enter into participation of the divine power, of the government of the worlds.
“Think you so!” some pleasant wit will say; “Do you wish to imitate the regenerators of ’89, who offered the people a part in the sovereignty, when all they asked was bread! A demand still urgently reiterated; and you reply by promising them a seat upon the throne of God, and a share in the direction of the universe. Ah! be less liberal, take more thought of what is most pressing, and give the people bread.”
This is a pleasantry a la Francaise, which conceals a good many absurdities under the mask of a bon-mot. We will remark here three of them:
1. The theory which I publish does not proceed like our sciences, which promise the superfluous before providing for the necessary. I have already demonstrated that, before seating Man upon the throne of God, it will seat him at a good table, which is the first want and the first desire of every individual.
2. It does not do God the wrong to demand of him only what is strictly necessary, bread; an insulting demand for a liberal father, who has the power and the will to give us superfluity. His social system not being contrived to procure us mediocrity, we shall seek in vain to discover that system, so long as we seek such mediocrity, which is its very antipopes.
3. Those who argue from actual miseries against the blessings which I have shown, deceive themselves, since the excess of miseries in Civilization is the measure of the goods of Harmony, according to the rules of inverse proportion and of the contact of extremes. The more deeply we are plunged in the abyss, the more facilities we have for coming out of it, through the progress of the incoherent industry which has plunged us there.
These three observations suffice to show the weakness of certain fine talkers, who think by a play of words, or a captious thought, to invalidate all reasonings. France swarms with these presumptuous people; but the evils which the French sophists have just caused the world are enough to prove, that it is neither to the argumentative wranglers, nor the wits of this nation, that we must refer the judgment of a discovery upon which the fate of Humanity depends.
It is with the universe as with the uncertain sciences, until now; the more men reason about it, the less they comprehend it; and we are going to point out some amusing blunders on this subject. Indeed they have been carried to such a point, that it will be necessary to suppress the word Universe, to which they attach so many contradictory senses, that it becomes impossible to use it in a regular science; I have accordingly substituted for it the Polyverse and Polyversal, to designate the aggregate of what exists in the infinity of things finite.
Every one uses the word Universe in his own way. Our romancers in Cosmogony designate by this name the stellar spheroid or mass of visible stars: which has for its focus our sun and his system, for its vault the visible fixed stars, and for its outer envelope other invisible suns, which form the crust or shell of this stellar gourd, furnished on the inside with a single seed-vessel, which is the milky way. This is what they call the Universe; the aforesaid mass must have some name. But how shall we name those other balls of stars, similar to this, but placed beyond the reach of our glasses and more numerous than the atoms of our globe? If we call them all universes, what shall we call infinite matter and the infinite space in which it gravitates? There would then be a universe and universes; then the word universe in the singular would designate only an infinitely small portion of what exists.
I am not fond of quibbling about words: but it is necessary to show the ludicrousness of this must ludicrous of theories, in as much as it confounds the two extremes, infinite matter with a portion of matter which is but a point in space. What should we say of a man, who, picking up a grain of sand upon his grounds, should say: this grain composes all my domain? We should reply, you are jesting; this grain of sand is only an infinitely small portion of your domain. Equally great is our mistake when we think general matter limited to this ball of stars which we call the universe, and which is only a subdivision of matter smaller than is the smallest worm in comparison with our globe; for this globe having a determinate extent, an exact and definite proportion may be found between the worm and the globe; whereas matter and space being infinite, our universe is much smaller compared to them than a worm compared to our globe.
Nevertheless our universe is very vast, they say, since our telescopes cannot measure the distance from the earth to the nearest suns of the heavenly vault, still less to the ulterior suns which terminate this starry cluster. This appears great to our eyes; but a drop of water appears great to the eyes of a million of animalcules which live and move in that little space; a thimble-full of water would be for them a universe.
To appreciate the relative dimensions of this starry cluster, of which our sun and his system occupy the centre, let us imagine ourselves transported far beyond it, say to the distance of a million times the diameter of the said cluster. It would gradually become so small to our eyes, that we would cease to see it before we had reached half that distance; for every luminous mass becomes a point to the eye, which is removed 100,000 or even 10,000 diameters. Venus, a star of the same magnitude with our globe, seems already like a cherry, though it is only at a distance of 4,000 of its own diameters.
Thus our universe, seen at the distance of ten thousand of its own diameters, would appear to us a point, a little star; we should see it confounded with anthills of other points or similar universes; presently we should see these universes agglomerated by millions forming only one ball, which would be a Binuverse, or spherical mass of universes distributed like the stars and systems in our own.
As we receded from this Binuverse to the distance of 10,000, 100,000, 1,000,000, of its diameters, we should see a crowd of Binuverses, distributed like our stars, and forming a spherical Trinuverse, or note two degrees higher in the scale than our Universe. Then continuing to recede, we should see Quatruverses, Deciuniverses, Vingtiuniverses, Centiuniverses, Milliuniverses, or note of the thousandth power in the scale of harmonic creatures.
Let us reason only on the third power. Supposing that it requires a million universes like ours to form a Binuverse; then it will take about a million Binuniverses to from a Trinuverse, which would contain already a trillion universes like ours; and the whole would be no bigger than a point to the eye placed at a distance of 10,000 of its diameter.
Without pushing the progression any further, I have said enough to show the ludicrous position of those who think they see the limits of the world when they see the ulterior stars, and who do not comprehend that this cluster of stars, named universe, is but a proportional atom. I compare them to the silk-worm, who, shut up in his cocoon, should believe that there existed nothing outside of that little cell. We have committed a similar mistake about our little starry cell, which we call Universe. According to the prejudices and false ideas attached to this word, it will be impossible to make use of it to designate the aggregate of matter and its distributions; we shall have to proceed to a methodical nomenclature of the creatures or notes (touches) of Harmony which compose the world, the general system of matter.
But let as not engage at first in these immense details. I refer them to the chapters in which I shall class those great creatures which are formed of centillions of universes like ours; and I shall give the name of Polyverseto the general series of those creatures or notes of Harmony, and limit myself to indicating one octave, commencing with the lowest note, which is Man.
Polyversal Gamut.—First Octave.
Ut, Monoverse, a Human Couple.
Re, Biverse, a Planet.
Mi, Triverse, a Universe.
Fa, Quatriverse, 1,000,000 Universes.
Sol, Quintiverse, 1,000,000,000,000 Universes
La, Sextiverse, 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 Universes
Si, Septiverse, 1 followed by 48 zeros (Quinzillion) Universes
Ut, Octivers, 1 followed by 96 zeros (23illion) Universes
This table denotes that the mass which we name universe is a creature of the third degree, and that if we ascend only to the sixth note, it will require a septillonof universes to form it. Judge, then, how small a thing is a universe, and what a contradiction is implied in the ordinary use of the term. Nevertheless, to capitulate as far as possible with usage, I can easily preserve the name of universe as applied to this starry cluster of which our sun occupies the centre, and which ought in the exact gamut to be called a Triverse, since it is a note of the third degree. It will be borne in mind that by the name Polyverse I designate all the notes of the scale, of which I have named only the first octave.
Keeping within the limits of our universe in this first sketch, I will not startle the reader by proposing a voyage among those stars of the vault which they pretend are so remote, but which are in fact much less so than is commonly believed. We will begin with the examination of the objects which are nearest, like our planets and comets.
Here it is embarrassing to adopt a regular method, since it would be necessary to proceed either by analysis or synthesis, and either would be irksome to the reader. To follow analysis, descending from the whole to the details, I should reason first about our universe, its destiny, its age, its relations with the neighboring universes which we do not see. So, in teaching a child Geography, they begin with the map of the world, the aggregate of the thing to be studied, But this method would repulse the reader; it is enough to have given one chapter upon it, that of the Polyverse.
Equally injudicious would it be to proceed by synthesis. Passing from one extreme to the other, we should have to begin with the mechanism of atoms, which, in spite of their littleness, would appear overwhelming, like the enormous Quintiverses and Sextiverses. What rule then must we follow? If we cannot proceed either by analysis or by synthesis, we must adopt an irregular initiation, put ourselves upon a level with the reader without being subjected to any tedious order, let the pedants who dream of nothing but method and style say what they will, commit a hundred sins against method and rhetoric, as occasion may require; provided we can only initiate minds gently and insensibly, every method is good which attains the end. D’Alembert has been criticized for proposing to study history backwards, commencing with the present and finishing with the past. This method would be good for certain minds; the only false method is that which wishes to subject all to one uniform rule; unity or harmony is composed of varieties and not of monotony.
I shall endeavor to distribute the subjects in the order which I believe to be the most engaging; I shall begin with those about which there has been much vague talk, but little knowledge, as the comets, the suns, the diseases of planets, and especially those of our globe; from them I shall pass to subjects less familiar.
Some moderns have suspected, with reason, that there existed among the planets other bonds of harmony, besides those of weight gravitation. I have read in a poem (The Martyrs, of Chateaubriand,) “that various of the elect occupy themselves in the other life with studying the mysteries of the harmony of the celestial spheres.” Now, as the number of the elect will be very small, according to the prediction in the Gospel: For many are called, but few are chosen, nine tenths of us may fear that we shall not participate after death in the information of the elect about the sidereal harmony, but that we shall be plunged rather into Gehenna, where there is only weeping and gnashing of teeth. Consequently, it will be prudent in the lovers of science to seek to initiate themselves during the present life into these mysteries of the harmony of the celestial spheres, the knowledge of which must be very interesting, since it forms the recreation of the most learned among the elect.
Those who have taken the planets for inanimate bodies, without functions, and limited to certain geometrical promenades, resemble somewhat the idiots who should think the brain inanimate, because it has no visible function, or the belly idle, because it performs no visible labor, like the members. We have always reproached the civilizées with believing nature limited to known effects. If the planets were not creatures animated and provided with functions, then would God be the friend of idleness; he would have created universes filled with great inert bodies passing eternity in promenading up and down, like our idle gentry. They found this opinion on the fact that the planets have no other employment known to us: it is like supposing that the leaves of a plant have nothing to do with fructification, because we see no outward sign of their elaboration of the juices.
The creatures of the different degrees of the Polyversal scale all have the use of the twelve radical passions, but they differ as to the mode of exercising them. It is gross with man, who is a creature of transition, since he is the last in the scale. Thus man seeks nourishment in coarse substances, but the planet in substances more subtle, which we call Aromas. The vulgar notion that the sun drinks up comets is doubtless a great error, but it is less ridiculous than that of the learned world who believe that the stars feed on nothing, that they have not, like us, the use of the five senses, sight, hearing, smell, taste and touch: they have them in a much more perfect degree than we have.
There has been much speculation upon the nature and properties of comets; almost nothing has been ventured upon that of planets. Silence is commendable when one has nothing to teach. Might it please God that men would be silent about so many subjects which they have made more and more perplexed, such as the uncertain sciences, so called!
It is only within a short time that they have begun to attribute some functions to the planets, such as the shedding of aromas upon the sun. It has required ages to obtain this slight concession: so then the moderns have come to believe that the planets are not altogether inert, and that God has not created universes of idlers. It seems to me that Messieurs Mankind might, without any great stretch of liberality, have accorded to the great planetary body which bears them on its surface, those faculties at least which man enjoys. They have not even granted the planets a soul; a refusal by no means surprizing on the part of our century, which has tried to retrench that from man and from the universe itself, since they have wished to suppress God, who is the pivotal soul.
Every planet has, not only, like us, the twelve radical passions, but it has, what we have not, twelve radical aromas analogous to those passions, and susceptible, like them, of combinations without number. By aromal communications are effected all the relations of these great bodies, which execute labors as active as they are varied, although invisible to us; but we may acquire about these mysteries very interesting knowledge, which has been absurdly supposed reserved to the elect.
The theory of the aromal movement will dissipate numerous prejudices, and in the first place those against comets, which so alarm people. They are an aromal troop, whose mission it is to nourish the sun and the planets, and their approach is a subject of joy for all the heavenly bodies. They never can cause the slightest evil. Every star imbibes from them various juices, and sheds upon them others necessary to their temperament.
The planets and comets shoot forth jets or fusees of aromas as rapidly as light, which travels more than 4,000,000, of leagues per minute. Light is the only visible aroma; it holds among the radical aromas the same place with the passion Unityism, which is the compound of all the others. This aroma contains other colors besides the seven visible rays. It can furnish thirty-two, without including white; but our globe is not in a condition to obtain them. It is at the minimum of communication. Hence it comes that it extracts only seven colors; it will not obtain a larger number until its atmosphere is regenerated.
Every planet has, according to its degree, one or more dominant aromas, besides tonics. The distribution in this regard, is the same with that of character.
A planet of the first or lowest degree, like the moons of Jupiter, Saturn, or Herschel has but one dominant aroma. The planets of the second degree, like those three cardinals and our globe, have two dominant aromas of which one is pivotal. These classes of stars correspond to the characters indicated by the name monogynes and dygynes. Our sun is of the degree pentagyne, and has four dominant aromas. Mars, Venus, Bellona, and Sappho, are of the degree mono-mixt, which has a mixture of aromas. Let us remark that the predominance of one aroma does not prevent the star from having the eleven others, and from making certain uses of them.
The sidereal aromas have a perfume with which man is acquainted: in the jonquille we have the pivotal aroma of Jupiter; the violet contains the pivotal aroma of our globe; the rose gives the dominant aroma of Mercury. Each of these plants was created by the star whose aroma it transmits to us. We shall see in the sequel how the stars execute these creations; it is the most interesting part of their mechanism.
I have promised that I would limit myself to satisfying curiosity, without subjecting myself to methodic formulas: in the mean time, without violating at pleasure the rules of method, I have commenced with a subject, the aromal movement, which was not the first one to be treated: I shall be obliged to follow it and devote to it at least the entire section.
I anticipate many questions which people will make haste to put to me; and first, about the generation of the stars: “How do the planets reproduce their species? We do not see them engender little planets (planetons.) Why do they not grow in size, as we do? and are they fixed in dimension? If they are indeed animated bodies, they ought to be subject to the phenomena of growth, reproduction, death, &c.; but we do not see a shadow of these modifications.”
I reply. These are not the most important notions to be acquired; there are others that more nearly touch our interests; among them, those concerning the labor of the planets, of which I shall speak in the following chapter. Meanwhile, I give the present article, which is out of course, and which will help to keep the reader in patience.
The germs of stars are deposited and nursed in the Milky Way, whence they come forth in swarms of comets, which travel for a long time, and usually gravitate about various suns, before they become fixed in a plane in one system.
The aforesaid germs are engendered by the aromal communication of the planets with one another and with their sun. It is not yet time to enter into these details.
We see generation effected in various manners under our own eyes: a dog, a hen, a carp, a bee differ widely in the details of generation and education. A planet follows still other methods. Nature is infinitely various in means, but the functions are essentially the same; it is always generation under different forms, and we cannot too often repeat, upon this subject, that we must not believe nature limited to effects known to us, nor think that the planets do not raise up offspring, because we are ignorant of their processes in this.
It is the same with respect to education and growth, the forms of which vary: we do not see a planet grow, and yet it waxes and wanes, but in its aromal capacity. Let us use a comparison. A strong liquor is not worth on the first day what it will be after being kept ten years bottled. Yet it will not have increased in volume: it will have become more refined in quality. A violin, fresh from the maker’s hands, is worth little; in twenty years it acquires much power, without augmenting its volume. It is the same with a planet: it is a body immoveable in dimension, though variable in qualities (titres) which have their increasing and decreasing periods. The quality of ours was one of the most gross at the epoch of the primitive creations; thus its offspring were excessively vicious, witness the one hundred and thirty species of serpents. You cannot, with bad aromas, produce good creations. The planet has since become refined, and in the next creations it will give a very precious inventory. Our planet, in spite of this original vice, is of a vigorous species. It may be compared to those children covered with eruptions in the cradle, which disappear with time, and are succeeded by a good humoral system.
The planets, without changing their dimensions, undergo modifications of atmosphere, adjacent or transjacent. I call adjacent atmosphere that which is contiguous to the planet, as the air which we breathe. The transjacent atmosphere is composed of fluids annexed to the planet and placed at a distance from it in a circular, spherical, or other form. The rings of Saturn, and the crystalline sphere of the sun are transjacent atmospheres, detached from the body, and at a great distance from it. Our little globe will have two rings like that of Saturn, of which it is the conjugal planet in the major octave. * * *

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Victor Considerant, The Ideal of a Perfect Society

Let us in thought construct upon some globe a society, in which social causes of evil shall not exist, and where humanity shall employ its activity and power in the development of the elements needed for the happiness of its members.
There would be, on such a globe, an order like that which reigns in the system of the stars. In this system, the worlds of different orders are arranged in hierarchies—the satellites burn around their planets, and the planets around the central sun, which concentrates all the attractions of the group, and in exchange returns to each of these worlds which he balances in space, heat and light. There are no perturbations, no shocks, no irregular and disordered movements. All these stars, each with its proper life, its proportioned atmosphere, its seas and continents peopled with appropriate creatures, are guided in movements so calculated, that days and nights and seasons follow each other harmoniously in their meridians and zones. They execute their diverse revolutions, and traverse, in prescribed times, their orbits—immense rings, which they trace around the sun, and which interlace and cross each other as the figures of a well-arranged dance.
Humanity, on one of these worlds, would be arranged in imitation of these grand sidereal laws. It would be understood that man, being the intelligent and powerful creature, pre-eminently, amidst other creatures by whom he is surrounded, is, by that fact, the pivotal and ruling being on the globe—that it is for him to preside over the development of the surface face of the earth, to cultivate and embellish the planet which has been entrusted to his care—that he has received force and intelligence in order that he may adorn his noble domain, and draw from the fruitful bosom of nature the riches it conceals, and which human genius is summoned to lay bare. Finally, and in a word, it would be recognised, that the Terrestrial Destiny of man is the administration of his globe. Then, to use the beautiful thought and expressions of poets, peace descending would sow the earth with gold, and flowers, and spices; and the people, hand in hand, would work together for the culture and beauty of their world. On such a globe, a unitary government would be the centre of all the great industrial operations exercised by the nations of the different continents. It would be the culminating point of the administrative hierarchy, spread like a net-work over the whole globe. It would direct the industrial armies, which, in immense hosts, would labor to introduce great changes on the surface of the earth, to clothe with woods the bare chains of mountains; to conquer, by cultivation, the vast deserts; to establish ample and convenient roads, radiating from the central capital of the globe, to the various continental capitals, and binding them all together. This central government, by its unitary administration, would equalize the production and consumption of the continents, and preside over the commercial exchanges of their commodities and products. In a word, it would direct the general affairs and operations of the globe, and be the high industrial regulator of the whole.
Around this central government should we see grouped governments of the second degree, presiding in a similar way over the administration of the different continents; regulating, according to exact statistical information, which could be readily obtained, the industrial relations of their large territorial divisions, and effecting the interchange of their productions.
Then would come governments of the third degree, presiding over these large territorial divisions; then within them the governments of empires; and lower still, provincial, departmental, and commercial administrations, the functions of which would be analogous throughout.
It must be remarked, that these progressive centres of administration, which together form upon the globe a grand spherical Hierarchy, are congresses of different orders, appointed by the people whose affairs they are commissioned to arrange; and as these affairs would be purely industrial and commercial, the direction of them would be entrusted to men specially appointed and capable of fulfilling their designs. The deliberations of these congresses would not be obligatory; but, as their judgments would proceed from the concurrence of men recognised as the most enlightened upon the particular subjects considered, it would rarely happen that their decrees would not be sanctioned by the acceptance of those interested in them. The governments, in their different hierarchical degrees which regulate the different commercial and financial movements, and preside over the external industrial relations of the different centres of population, would be simply boards of managers appointed by one or more Associations, and invested with the confidence of those who commission them. There would no longer be power, having at its control armies and police; despotism and usurpation would cease to be possible. Such, then, would be in our Utopia of a world organized in unity, a very general idea of its administrative or governmental system. Such would be the exterior arrangements of nations, provinces and communes.
What other functions now would humanity have to execute and how should they be fulfilled?
As there would be no longer wars and intestine discord in this model- world, there would remain in addition to these administrative relations only labors productive of wealth, domestic, agricultural, manufacturing, scientific, artistic. How shall they be performed? How shall wealth be created and expended? Where is the habitation of the agriculturist, the manufacturer, the student, the artist? In the Commune. The Commune, then, is the social workshop of the province, the nation, the general society. If, then, to an organization of unitary government, regulating and directing the commercial and industrial relations of the Communes, which are grouped in provinces and nations, is added a good internal organization of the Commune itself, it is plain that the Utopia of a world Harmoniously ordered will be completely sketched.
And, now, though we have set out from an hypothesis purely ideal as yet, that is, of a unitary government enveloping the whole globe, we can still deduce from this speculation an observation of the greatest importance, the application of which would be most valuable, even now; it is this:
The organization of the commune is the corner-stone of the social edifice, however vast and perfect it may be.”
Is it not evident, however carelessly the preceding remarks may have been read, that the administrative congresses of different degrees, departmental, provincial, national, &c., the members of which are supplied from the communes and appointed by them, cannot be good and well selected, unless the communes themselves are in a position to know well and to select well their representatives. For, if there are opposed interests, discords, parties, in the commune, the different centres of the administrative hierarchy will reproduce inevitably these contentions, which distract the communes from which they came; and consequently, in the different congresses will be opposition, discord, and strife.
Again, if we will reflect how completely incapable communes, pressed down by misery and ignorance, would be wisely to choose their representatives, we shall see a second reason for concluding, that the hypothesis of a good governmental organization, invested with the confidence of those who commission its members, is possible only on the condition that the commune itself is well organized.
And finally, if we will reflect that the administrative functions, even of the best possible governments, can only be functions of arrangement, of order, of general supervision, and never of agricultural, manufacturing, scientific operations, which are the only functions directly productive of riches, we shall admit, that the installation of the best possible government would be, by itself, a very small thing for humanity; and we shall feel that social welfare depends especially upon the arrangement of the labor performed in the commune, of the domestic, agricultural, manufacturing functions, and of those of science, education, and arts. For, these are the functions which actually create the riches of individuals and of nations, and all the means of man’s material and intellectual well-being.
The communes are the stones of the edifice; the administration is the cement which unites them. If your stones, then, are friable, rough, unhewn, you need a great quantity of cement to make your edifice erect and strong; while, if the stones are good and smooth, you can build with ease a beautiful and solid structure. First of all, then, must you choose, shape, and hew the stones. It is inconceivable, that politicians are not capable of this most simple reasoning. It is incredible, almost, that for so long a time they should have been straining every nerve to form a good government, when it is so perfectly easy to prove, that the best govern’ mental system, taken alone, would do almost nothing for the melioration of human conditions; and when, finally, it is mathematically demonstrable that it is impossible to have a good government, a government administered for the interests of all, when those interests are divided and opposed in the commune, and, by consequence, in the nation. Thus it is, because the question in relation to social well-being, melioration, and happiness, has been wrongly put at first; because men have obstinately attempted what is impossible; because they have tried to solve the social problem by the governmental one, without perceiving that this latter cannot be solved, until that in relation to the commune has been solved first; because, in a word, an error was accepted in the outset and taken as the point of departure, that humanity has been agitated with vain revolutions, and the grandest geniuses have wasted their energies in utterly barren speculations. How has it been possible, that for so long a time men should have failed to comprehend that society, being composed of communes, as the beehive is of cells, and the army of companies, and the house of stones, the first problem to be solved, in order to have a good social organization, is to determine what is the good organization of the very primitive element of all society, the commune.
We have proved that the Congresses or administration councils, departmental, provincial, national, central, cannot be compact, harmonious and well-selected, unless they emanate from nations, provinces, communes, whose internal interests are compact, harmonious and co-operative; so that in our model world, the arrangement of the administration of a department is possible, only subsequently to a right organization of the communes constituting such a department; and the administration of provinces, nations, and of the globe is possible only subsequently to a right organization of all the communes of the globe. Now what appearance would the communes of a perfect world present?
It is in the commune, we have said, that riches are produced and consumed. The administrations which emanate from it establish only the modes of external relations, and regulate commercial transactions and the exchange of products. Therefore, as I consider clearly established, there would be nothing to be done within the communes itself except domestic, agricultural and manufacturing labors, works of art, scientific investigations, education, and the internal settlement of accounts; or in a word, the production and preparation of goods of all kinds for the nse of the commune and for exchange, and the division of this wealth among the members of the association. It is evident, that these labors should be arranged in such a manner as to yield the largest possible returns, or in other words, that they should be executed not blindly and without order, but under subjection to a system of organization. Now, what is the meaning of this word organization?Let us define it by some examples.
In our civilized societies, we generally see but few instances of industrial organizations, for it is evident enough that the agricultural and manufacturing labors of our existing towns are performed by families who have no close connection with each other; we see among them no classification, no arrangement in ranks and orders, no government and union; they work separate, divided, isolated; they follow without agreement or concert the caprices, personal wishes, necessities or accidental intelligence, be it great or small, of individuals. Our civilized societies have no other instances of organization for the most part than the departments of war, of the magistracy, of the post office, &c. The defence of our country is not entrusted to the caprice, to the good or bad will, to the intelligence and zeal of separate families. We have armies composed of different bodies of men arranged in divisions, brigades, regiments; which regiments are divided into battalions and companies; while the whole is linked together and bound in one by a system of government. And thanks to this mode of distribution, the great movements of attack and defence are made with a precision and concert which extend to the maneouvres of the regiments, battalions, platoons. For the security of a country, every one feels that such arrangements are necessary. Every one appreciates too the need of a judicial organization for the repression of crimes, and the settlement of difficulties between individuals. And finally, it is easy to conceive, that if the transport and distribution of dispatches and letters was not made by an organized system, if we had no general administration of the mails, and this function was left to two or three thousand private persons with no connection or concert among themselves, there would result an utter confusion from which every citizen would suffer. A function is organized then, whatever it be, military, judicial, commercial or industrial, when it is executed in concert and order as as a whole, when its various offices are classified, governed, and combined.
Now, although instances may readily be found of organizations badly made and administered, yet no one will deny, that the organization of social functions is a good in itself, and that in every sphere of life it would be proper and convenient to substitute national organization for the blind, uncertain, partial, divided action of individuals and families. If it is well to organize war, the magistracy and the mails, ought we not also to organize industry, and productive labor, whose function is to nourish humanity and to create the means of living and well-being for individuals and nations? Is it not the height of folly to leave to disorder and and anarchy operations which are of the very first importance? What should we say of a manufacturer or farmer, who should leave in confusion his workshop or farm? What ought we to say then of any society which permits in the communes which are its grand workshops of production, confused and isolated modes of industry? The communes of an ideal society would present the appearance of a perfect organization of all its functions. The entire territory, with its cultivated fields, workshops and manufactories, would be considered as the domain of one single person; and all its labors would be regulated and guided by an internal central administration, composed of the most capable individuals nominated by those whose right it is to appoint them, to oversee the operations. This regency, possessed of the confidence, of the people, would have a personal interest, both honorable and pecuniary to govern wisely, because the products of the association would be divided to each individual proportionally to his contributed aid in producing them. For in this model system, the mode will be found of dividing all goods among the associates, not equally, which would be absurd, but prorata according to the capital, labor, skill, which each has contributed, estimated in a regular, fixed and mathematical way.
There would be then for each one in these communal associations employment, at once lucrative to him and useful to the masses, for his capital, labor and skill; there would open for him many occupations in agriculture, manufactures, science and art; and in every branch of occupation there would be honorable recompenses and emoluments proportioned to his recognised usefulness and true merit, awarded by the vote of his peers and fellow laborers. As the emoluments of each would increase proportionally to the general prosperity of all branches of industry, each member as proprietor in the stock of the whole commune, or as a productive laborer, would be interested in its well being as a whole, since the chances of individual gains multiply with the increasing revenues of the commune. The interests of all classes would thus be convergent; and an education given by the commune, open to all, would perfect throughout nations and the world the union of the now separated classes. Finally and as a condition of the highest importance it must be added, that this mode of organizing labor would have the power to render it attractive, so that all, rich and poor alike, would be drawn to it. No more, then, would despotism and oppression, the destruction of man by weary toils and wretchedness appear; but floating on a stream of abundance of all kinds of good, men would love one another, for their interests would be harmonious and united, and their reciprocal relations would engender no. causes of hate. By this organization of labor and by the proportional distribution of benefits, each individual would be socially emancipated, independent and free. And the picture which this normal society, so different from ours would present, would be as follows:
Universal peace, with kind relations among all nations.
The organization of all useful labors.
Harmony of individual and collective interests.
Developement of all the faculties.
Union of all classes.
Perfect liberty of individuals amidst the general order and by reason of this general order;
Attractive industry and unity of action.
Without entering into more particular and regularly classified details, we can readily conceive that this is in general the ideal of a world harmoniously ordered; that if such a society should exist on any planet, it might be said, that there man, collectively regarded, was really the administrator and the ruler of his globe; that lie would there enjoy, amidst ennobling labors all the riches of his own creation and of the creation of God; that his physical, emotive and intellectual faculties, would attain amidst such conditions their fullest developement; that he would there be happy in his senses, his intelligence, his heart; that he would put in practice naturally and with delight all the real virtues; and in one word, that he would there fulfil the most beautiful destiny which it is possible to conceive for him in this earthly sphere.
If what has now been said is true, then with equally strict truth may it be said, that the efforts of man upon this earth should be concentrated upon elevating our social condition to the nearest possible resemblance to this typical organization, even if it can never be perfectly attained. And with the same truth may it also be further said, that we can judge of the relative value of different social organisations, past, present, or to come, by a comparison with this type as a common standard, even if the type itself cannot be completely realized.
Before closing, let one fact which is already established be applied, and let another fact be established. They are both of capital importance, and should be constantly borne in mind.
The first is this, that if the state of society which has now been described as the ideal one, should actually exist upon any truly blessed and happy globe, the first step in its realization must necessarily be the right organization of communes, and that general harmony can be established only in just the degree in which this communal regulation is applied to the different regions of the globe. Whence it appears, that if we desire to-day that any society of any country the world over, should undergo a happy transformation, we must confine ourselves in the first place to a discovery of the laws and mechanical arrangement of a right industrial organization of the commune.
The second fact will be found in the reply to this question: would the members of an ideal society have passions like ours? Apparently they would have the affections of love and of paternitywhich control the perpetuation of the race; and friendship which unites individuals of the same sex, as love does those of different sexes. Apparently they would have ambition, without which there could be no hierarchy nor popular organization. Apparently also they would be susceptible of pleasures of sense, and therefore desirous of the riches by which they are procured; for what end would be answered by the immense developements of the arts, sciences, and of industry, what end by productive labor, and by accumulated means of pleasure, if the men themselves were either brutes or philosophers, who neither could nor would enjoy them. A noble emulation also would quicken them in the accomplishment of their labors; and enthusiasm would stimulate them and fill them with power; and finally they would be impelled by the desire of change, for without this, each man being occupied by one function for His whole life would be little fitted for combination with his fellows, as his nature would be developed only on one side; he who was incessantly occupied by intellectual labor without making use of his body, would lose strength and health, while he who was wholly absorbed in some bodily toil would remain brutal and coarse, would never fill the sphere of a man, and might have his place supplied by an animal or a machine.
Friendship, love, ambition, the family affections, the desires and joys of sense, the love of pleasure and riches, the capacity of rivalry, of enthusiasm and of love of change, would remain active then among the inhabitants of this best possible world. Now if we can prove that these passions now enumerated are primitive and the parents of all other passions, as any one with a little reflection can indeed at once perceive, it will be our necessary conclusion that the inhabitants of this best possible world, the men of our ideal and typical society would be organized absolutely as we ourselves are upon this earth, which is as it has well been called one of the small mansions of the universe.
Victor Considerant.
Source: The Present. I, I (September, 1843) 19-22; I, II (October 15, 1843) 52-56.

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Not just for pear-growers anymore

The anarcho-Fourierist renaissance continues. In “The Lesson of the Pear Growers’ Series,” I had suggested that there might still be some lessons to be learned from Charles Fourier’s approach to questions of individual passion, competition, etc. Unfortunately, “Note A,” which contains the most concise explanation of Fourier’s associative model, is not available (yet) in a public-domain translation online—and it is a bit of a stretch, at times, to make the analogies between growing pears (and apples, and quinces) and other sorts of labor we might actually be planning on engaging in. Fortunately, one of Fourier’s disciples wrote a work illustrating how the dynamic of “Note A” might be applied to the problem of rebuilding a town. Mathieu Briancourt’s The Organization of Labor and Association was published in French in 1846, and translated into English by Francis George Shaw (William Batchelder Greene’s brother-in-law, and a proponent of a competing form of “mutual banking”) in 1847. It’s a fascinating work, applying Fourier’s theory to a practical problem, without relying on Fourier’s esoteric terminology. Part of the point of the book is that what Fourier is suggesting is not alien to widely-held values. There are a few funny moments, too:

The Merchant. “So, sir, it is Fourier who discovered this beautiful science which you call phalansterian, which is so logical, so religious, that you have had the goodness to explain to us, and which has singularly modified my ideas respecting man and society?”

The Professor. “Yes, sir; at the commencement of this century, Fourier discovered the phalansterian or social science, which was propagated very slowly at first, like all new truth—but which is now known and discussed among all civilized nations.”

The Magistrate. “I had formed, I confess, an entirely different opinion of Fourier’s system. I thought it absurd, impracticable, subversive of property and the family.”

Ah, yes. Good old wholesome Fourier. We’re reminded that his disciples frequently neglected any mention of copulating planets, lemonade seas, or the particular virtues of lesbians. Still, while one could wish the fourierists had been bolder about the positivity of the passions, there is a good deal to like in works like The Organization of Labor and Association.

* * *

A note on “association.” Proudhon was pretty clear in his criticism of “the principle of association” that what he opposed was placing “association” as a principle ahead of the specific human drives and desires that led to association in practice. In this, I think, he would have been in accord with Fourier, if not always with the fourierists.

[Reposted from Two-Gun Mutualism and the Golden Rule, February 18, 2008]

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Charles Fourier on Free Will — I

The Treatise on Free Will does not appear in the first edition of the Treatise on Universal Unity. It is the first of Fourier’s manuscripts delivered for publication since the death of the author.
The notebooks left by Fourier are in general only preliminary sketches that he condensed and published when he published then. Quite a number of these manuscripts date from the period prior to the appearance of the first edition of the Treatise on Universal Unity (1822).
The Treatise on Free Will is of this number.
Despite the imperfect state in which Fourier left the work, faithful to a law which we have imposed on ourselves, we have not wished to make any corrections: we reproduce the text literally, warning only that the manuscript is only a sketch, a draft, in which the words were often written in abbreviations. Gaps in words, when we have encountered them, have been filled, but in this case the intercalation is indicated by brackets.
The Treatise on Free Will is by no means the least interesting of Fourier’s works. The reader will find in it the fundamental character of the genius of the great man, a character which is nothing but good sense in the fullness of its strength and power, good sense raised so high, endowed with such a broad view, and armed with such authority, that it becomes clarity, light even, and becomes identified with universal reason, the genius of Humanity.
Surveying the annals of intellectual struggles, we encounter no question on which the philosophers of all schools, the theologians of all the sects and religions, have heaped us so many controversies, accumulated so many subtleties, as on the question of Free Will. Fourier approaches this problem in his customary manner; he goes right to the exit of the labyrinth, without even lowering his gaze to the tortuous routes which have been painfully traced there. It is good sense striding across the domain that the metaphysical subtleties of the philosophers and theologians had covered with tangles of barren, thorny branches.
Minds convoluted with metaphysical and psychological niceties, which are in philosophy what the seekers of the squaring of the circle are in mathematics, will doubtless find that Fourier has not even understood the premises of the problem to be solved. The solution appears to natural to them, too simple: the profound people who “seek noon at fourteen hours” always find quite simple those who simply accept noon at noon. As for those good sorts who believe that clarity and good sense are not incompatible with truth and profundity, they will easily recognize that the concrete solution of the problem of Liberty by Attraction, in the social world, is identical to the abstract solution of the problem in its metaphysical form. All the thorns of the problem of Free Willfall before the theory of Attraction and Universal Unity.

Of all the blunders of our century, there is no more grievous than the spirit of liberty, good and praiseworthy in the abstract, but so badly directed in its application, that it has rallied to the banners of despotism even those who had inclined to liberty—an unfortunate proof that there is only illusion and pejoratism in these lovely theories.
Why then aren’t the civilized nations able to enjoy a good which is the object of collective and individual desires? That is a question quite worthy of our attention! It is the first question which should concern us in an analysis of Civilization: it is first necessary to demonstrate in the civilized mechanism a speculative aberration, ignorance of the conditions of collective and individual liberty. That will be the object of the 1st section, from which we will pass to the analysis of practical errors and some springs whose ill-directed play condemns Civilized society to the role of permanent servitude, no matter what form it gives its codes and institutions, in populous countries, the exception bearing only on new countries.
The enslavement of the Civilized, even in the republics, where they are often much more enslaved than under a king, witness the oligarchies of Venice, Bern and Fribourg; that enslavement, I say, is so well established that every proof in that regard would be superfluous; but there remains to pride some entrenchment from which it engages in resistance, and lacking political and material liberties, it boasts of spiritual liberties, and particularly of Free Will, which everyone agrees to accept, to guard against the belief in predestination andfatalism, making man a automaton, raises crime to the level of virtue. I do not pretend to treat these abstruse questions, but only the part which relates to Attraction.
When the King Louis XVI, blocked at the Tuileries by the Convention, was obliged to sign all the decrees proposed to him, an engraving shows him locked in a prison, passing his hand through the bars to write: I am free.
Such is the independence which we enjoy in Civilization in the exercise of our passions: we are free to suffer, but not free to complain. An animal not only has a right to pleasure, without anyone bringing a suit against it for larceny or adultery, but it also has the right to complain if its pleasure is prevented. A dog retains the right to howl in its cage, but a conscript does not have that same privilege, and, snatched by henchmen from his family and his customary haunts, he must still cry, like Louis XVI: I am free. I swoon with love for the sacred person of Bonaparte. I enjoy my freedom of will, etc., etc.
Such are the judgments of philosophy and theology. We will not lead them to confess that the Civilized human being is a vile slave, scoffed at for its unfortunate virtues, and exalted in its fortunate crimes. It is, they say, a being which has to the free will to choose between good and evil. In the meantime, prudent steps are taken to see that they do not hesitate over the choice.
If there is a question to which we must apply the precept of Bacon, “to remake the human understanding and forget all that we have learned,” it is certainly that of the Free Will. It takes all the effrontery of our sophists to pretend that the human beings are free to choose between good and evil, when they have been convinced that if they opt for what is called evil, they will be tortured in this world by the executioners and assassins of philosophy; in the other world by the demons and assassins of theology. The animal even, though deprived of reason, would not dare, given such a chance, to choose the alleged evil.
Place a starving dog near a meat pie, and its first concern will be to commit the evil, to steal and eat the desired object; but make it see the whip suspended over its head, and the poor animal will move away and will seem to say to you: If I was free, I would eat the pie, but you will beat me, so I would rather go hungry.
This is the Free Will enjoyed in Civilization and Barbarism. Human beings are free to choose greater or lesser privations and tortures, and not the well-being of which they see the elements around them. If they are averse to being hanged, they can choose the little inconvenience of being left to die of hunger, according to the principles of social perfectibility which condemn the poor to the gallows, when the dare to ask for work, bread, and a social minimum.[1]
The two sciences, philosophy and theology, which assure so much happiness to the poor, disguise themselves with masks of balance, counterweights, equilibrium, guarantee, and perfectibility. We can compare this verbiage to that of the Jacobins of 1793, who, with each word, made principles, acts, justice, the good of the homeland, and the like resound. It is an admirable thing, this abuse of words in Civilization! When Condillac said to us: “Words of the true signs of our ideas,” would have done better saying: Words are the true masksof our ideas.
Let’s come to the subject. It is a question of establishing that if human beings do not enjoy Free Will, neither does God enjoy it on our Globe. In fact, Attraction comes from God, and if it is stifled by a privileged eighth of the population, suppressing the other seven eighths, the wage-workers, slaves and other classes, the impulsion of God is really and completely hobbled, since the seven eighths, in the calculation of movement, signifies the whole, and the exception of the one eighth confirms the rule. Thus it is not humans alone, but God and humans, who are deprived of Free Will on the whole globe where Attraction is impeded. That deprivation is composite, and not simple, since it applies to the two fundamental agents of the social movement, to God and human beings.
Thus, with Free Will we have a double problem to resolve. It must guarantee the liberties of God and those of man, and assure the cooperation of the two liberties, their unitary action, through the development of Attraction. Such is the true sense of the question of which our philosophers and theologians have only envisioned half: for they have only dreamed of the Free Will of man, without accepting that of God, who is oppressed in a world where Attraction does not enjoy its full exercise.
To oppress God! Don’t be surprised by this expression. Theologians arguethat man can tempt God, that is to say, make him commit evil: for temptation supposes the chance of the tempted individual succumbing. My assertion is not as unseemly as that of the theologians; I only claim that human beings can hinder God in his beneficial measures, hindering his works and falling into misfortune by wanting to be guided without his intervention. Such is the result in our world of the lack of Free Will. It does not exist in any sense: two circumstances combine to deprive us of it. They are the ignorance of the laws of nature and the perversity of the sciences which claim to interpret them. They attribute the lack of Free Will to the despotism of governments. Nothing is more untrue, and the proof is that the philosophers are still more despotic than the princes when they are entrusted with the administration. Thus it is very false that philosophy has had the sincere intention of bringing liberties to the nations.
From the moment when humans recover the use of Free Will or just of rough good sense, they will not fail to recognize that they are dupes of the two sciences that they have chosen for guides, and if they still do not perceive it, it must be that some incidents hinder the full exercise of their judgment. We will begin by examining these obstructions.
[to be continued…]
[Working translation by Shawn P. Wilbur]

[1] Sentence written in margin: The legislature will respond that we see hardly any people die of hunger. To only see one per century, like those in Seignelay and Brussels, would be enough to condemn the legislation which does not assure a minimum to the poor, and claims that they enjoy Free Will. In fact, isn’t the sufferer of hunger and privations a victim like the one who dies of hunger? The only difference is between a long torment and a sudden death.

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Charles Fourier on the Antienne, or first repast

Translated [by Charles A. Dana] from La Democratie Pacifique.
Each repast of the day has a special character, a tone which prevails generally at the three classes of tables. I will confine myself to the description of the Antienne, or first repast, which takes place in the morning before leaving the palace.
The Antienne cannot be made perfectly regular; — a beautiful disorder will distinguish it. As the hour of rising will differ with different persons, the Antienne will be divided into three acts; — there will be the first Antienne for those groups which commence their labors very early in the morning ; the grand Antienne for the mass of the groups, who will appear an hour later, and the post-Antienne for those who rise last. The tables will be renewed at each of the three acts; in general, every repast will have more or less this division into three acts.
The grand, central Antienne which takes place at about five in the morning, is very gay and very attractive in every respect. The travellers of distinction who have passed the night at the out-post will usually be presented at the central Antienne. The bulletins of news which have arrived during the night will be published; there will be announced also the spectacles prepared by neighboring Phalanxes, the movements of caravans approaching the region and the movements of industrial armies. Finally there will be there the reports which have arrived during the night, whether of the Congress of Unity sitting on the Bosphorus, or the inferior Congresses of the Amazon, the Chesapeake, &c.
The Antienne is also a second Exchange: it affords the opportunity of rectifying previous negotiations, as for instance, when any of the arrangements of the previous evening are affected by the news of the night or by other incidents subsequent to the holding of the Exchange. At the Antienne in such cases, sudden measures are agreed upon.
The combination of these agreeable incidents renders the Antienne a very irregular repast, a merry confusion, which alone would serve to call up at five in the morning those most inclined to late rising, even if they were not moved by the desire of assisting at the sessions of the groups which commence at the close of the Antienne and even before. Thus after the central Antienne hardly an eighth of the Phalanx are remaining in bed.
In fine weather, the central Antienne closes with the minor parade of the morning. Here is a description of it. I suppose it takes place at five o’clock.
At a quarter before five a chime of bells sounds the call for the parade and the hymn of the dawn. In the course of five minutes every preparation for going down is made in the halls of the Antienne; on descending, the instruments of the musicians, the decorations of the priests and the officers of the parade are found under the porches. When five is struck, the Athlete, Conrad, aged fourteen, the major on duty, gives the command to form the groups. I have before said that the officers of the minor parade are chosen from the choir of Athletes; thus the aids of Conrad are like him thirteen or fourteen years old ; the Athletes, Antenor and Amphion for the groups of men, and Clorinda and Galatea for the groups of women.
Amphion and Galatea go on one side to form the bands of music; Antenor and Clorinda to arrange the procession. This is formed in the following manner.
I suppose there are in all four hundred persons, men, women, and children, who make up twenty groups ready to go to different parts of the domain. The twenty standard bearers take their places in line at regular distances facing the peristyle with their banners before them. The musicians are formed in vocal and instrumental divisions, with a priest j or priestess at the head of each group. Before the priest or priestess there is a burning censer, with a child of the same sex, carrying perfumes, and there is a hierophant or high-priest between the columns of the two sexes. The drums and trumpets are stationed on the two sides of the peristyle; the animals and carriages are drawn up on the sides of the court.
In the centre is the major Conrad, having beside him his aide, and before him four children of the choir of Neophytes, who carry signal flags to transmit the orders to the telegraph, which repeats them to the domes of the chateaux, to the groups already abroad on the domain, and to the palaces of the neighboring Phalanxes.
When all is ready, a roll of the drum orders silence and the major announces the salute to God. Then the drums, trumpets, and all the instruments are heard ; the chimes from every dome sound also, perfumes fill the air, the waving of the banners is repeated from the spires of the palace and of the chateaux; the groups which have already gone forth unite in the ceremony, travellers alight, and caravans before quitting their stations join in the salute.
The salute lasts but a few moments, and then the high-priest gives the signal for the hymn. The priests and priestesses at the head of the vocal and instrumental parties chant the prelude and then the hymn is sung in chorus by all the groups.
After the hymn is finished the little Khan orders the roll to be beaten to the banners, the musicians break their ranks, lay aside their instruments, and go each to take his place under the ensign of his industrial group. The procession defiles in free order and not in regular masses, for being formed of persons of different ages from young to old age, it would not be easy for them to march in line with a regular step as is done at the grand parade. They arrange themselves in an artificial disorder, each group takes its carriages and leading them forward, they defile before the grand peristyle where are placed certain dignitaries, a paladin of the sovereign bearing his escutcheon if it is the minor parade, and if it is the grand parade a paladin of the emperor of unity bearing the cycloidal crescent.
Each group on its passage receives a salute proportioned to its rank. The groups of agriculture and masonry which are first, are saluted with the grand flourish, equivalent to the drum-beat in the fields. Thence each goes to its place of labor.
The hymn to God traverses the globe in different ways; on the day of the equinox there is a grand parade at day-dawn, and the spherical hierarchy presents to the rising sun a chain of phalanxes of two or three thousand leagues, whose hymns, for twenty-four hours follow each other around the globe in every longitude that receives the light. At the two solstices, the hymns are chanted at the same time over the whole globe by the entire human race, at the instant corresponding to noon at Constantinople.

  • Charles Fourier and Charles A. Dana (translator), “An Unpublished Fragment of Fourier,” The Harbinger 3, no. 10 (August 15, 1846): 150-151.


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The Lesson of the Pear Growers’ Series

The Lesson of the Pear Growers’ Series
Given the reputation of “classical” anarchists these days, it might be too much to ask anarchists to consider the lessons of those “utopian” socialists who came before. But I want to do just that. It is generally acknowledged that Pierre-Joseph Proudhon was influenced by Charles Fourier, whose Le Nouveau Monde Industriel et Sociétaire Proudhon helped to print in 1829. Fourier’s Theory of Four Movements found an echo in the theory of “four movements” which ends Proudhon’s De la création de l’ordre dans l’humanité, and less specialized versions of Fourier’s analysis of series remained an important aspect of Proudhon’s work throughout his career. I think it is likely, as well, that Proudhon absorbed some of Fourier’s relentlessly positive understanding of social forces. Reformers, Fourier complained, always try to locate the source of social problems in human passions, and move to restrain or suppress those passions they determine are antisocial or destructive. This is impractical, irreligious, illogical, simplistic, etc., Fourier said. We find ourselves in the position of attempting to adapt human beings to some ideal model, derived from something other than demonstrable human passions. We should instead look at who people actually seem to want, and to enjoy, and try to imagine the society in which not produce the “subversive” manifestations that they do in our own, clearly imperfect societies. This is pretty much the same move Proudhon makes when he distinguishes between the existing relations of “property” and state-based “govermentalism,” and the “aims” which seem to drive them. Individual do not value property primarily, he reasons, because it allows them to be unjust. They value it as a tool of justice, though it is, he argues, a very flawed one. Proudhon’s antinomies are essentially the conflicts between the progressive and subversive manifestations of given social situations. Fourier takes it for granted that there will be such conflicts until the dawning of the Era of Harmony. Proudhon, jettisoning the specific timeline, still sees such conflicts as a natural part of the progress towards justice, reciprocity and equality.
As a result, there is very little that is black and white in Proudhon. The “manichaean” approach so often attributed to “classical anarchism” is largely absent there. Instead, there is a much more nuanced understanding of the interaction of social forces, of the play of individual intentions within complex social fields. This leads Proudhon to his theory of “approximations,” experimental steps and temporary summings-up, each an attempt to advance from the last, and each setting the terms for the next stage. This is the process that William B. Greene described in his essay on “The Blazing Star,” a road that always beckons, once we start down it. Proudhon’s Philosophie du progrès, which lays out some of the key principles here, is a really fascinating work, which deserves a full translation. I’ll try to post some sections of it soon. Let it suffice to say, for now, that Proudhon, who was always summing up “the whole of his thought” in one way or another, there summed it up in a very proto-postmodern opposition to The Absolute.
Anyway, it’s Fourier that I want to talk about right now, but it’s worth mentioning again (and again and again) that Proudhon was not exactly what modern commentators tend to reduce him to. If he was not the sort to predict lemonade seas, or wax eloquent about the virtues of the quagga, he still holds some surprises for us. And Fourier is not simply reducible to his wilder rapsodies.
“Note A,” in The Theory of Four Movements (available online in French, and in English in the Cambridge University Press edition) discusses the “series” of workers growing pears in Fourier’s phalanstery. The serial method of analysis really involves little more than a separation or spreading out of like elements, according to their differences. Thus, pear-growers are united by a passion for pears, but separate into sub-groups according to their pear-preferences, and those subgroups can be arranged (in “ascending and descending wings,” around a “pivot,” in Fourier’s scheme) according to their relation to closely related elements (apple-growing, in this example, which places the quince-growers at a transitional “wing-tip” between series.)
There are plenty of discussions of the structure of the series, but what is interesting about “Note A” is that it focuses on the practical question of how the series will influence the production of pears (and apples, etc.) What Fourier suggests is that encouraging individuals to focus on pursuing their passions—their desire for pears of their favorite sort, in this example—instead of focusing on either individual profit or common goods in some abstract sense, will produce a lot of pears, probably more than a more calculating approach, in proportions pretty well suited to demand. Reading this stuff in the context of internal anarchist debate, I’m both charmed by the simple elegance of the approach and depressed at how far anarchists of any stripe seem to be from this “follow your bliss” model of business—a model that seems to me in some ways quite compelling. Fourier, of course, thinks the model will work because people are naturally competitive, that, given a little organizational incentive, they’ll plow labor into pear-growing for the sake of the honor of their favorite fruit, with an ardor we generally save for college football or sectarian debate. That faith in competition is going to be a problem for some of the comrades who are, at least in theory, opposed to any such thing. Of course, those opponents of competition are often among the quickest to pile on to “squash the opposition,” when, say, market anarchist heresy rears its ugly head. Maybe the de facto competition of the anti-competitive might be sufficient, if we turned our task from growing pears to growing anarchism. In any event, what Fourier really believed would make the series work was a combination of factors, of “distributive passions,” including the competitive, analytic “cabalist,” the synthetic “composite,” and the restless “papillon” or “butterfly passion.” Compete when we feel competitive, make up when we feel the urge, conspire or create schism, change our strategies when we grow bored.
So. What if we thought in Fourierist terms about the question of expanding the anarchist movement? If anything at all seems clear, it is that those who are committed to particular schools, are not likely to be moved by the sort of sectarian squabbling that currently goes on. Mutualists aren’t likely to decide communism is their favorite fruit, no matter how many times you call them petit bourgeois. Communists are unlikely to change their minds about markets. Or, perhaps, we’ll all change our minds a bit as the questions become more practical, the possibilities more real to us—down the road a piece. It’s like we’re all standing around arguing about what pear tastes best, when what is wanted is pears, preferably some variety, as long as they fill the bill.
What is wanted, it seems to me, is anarchism, of some variety, please, as long as it fills that bill. Is it possible to focus on that, rather than on details that may be, in the end, just details?
— Shawn P. Wilbur

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Charles Fourier on the Papillon, or Butterfly Passion

[A bit from Charles Fourier’s Passions of the Human Soul, dealing with dinner parties and the passion for variation, the papillon. Some of Fourier’s influence no doubt comes through in Stephen Pearl Andrews analogy of the dinner party.]

According to the property common to the three distributives, the papillon is of two species, distinguished into contrasted and identical.

1st. The contrasted papillon arises from transitions from one extreme to another. For example: a company of sybarites, accustomed to sumptuous banquets, will eat with great pleasure in a cottage, rustic fare,—milk and fruit served up in earthern vessels; they will find in this frugal repast a piquant contrast with their habits; the wooden spoon and the black bread will have the charm of novelty for them, and their collation in the cottage will be more gay than drawingroom festivals. If it were necessary to prolong this rural pleasure eight days, it would become a punishment; but limited to a sitting, it is a diversion for this fine company, and very fit to put it in spirits. Whence you perceive that the papillon has the precious faculty of making something out of nothing; for you cannot imagine anything less, for people habituated to china and plate, than a repast of milk and black bread, served up in earthern vessels and eaten with wooden spoons.
2ndly. The identical papillon is a variety in pleasures of the same species, as dinner. We take pleasure in a dinnerparty of friends; but an adage says: “Ennui was born one day of uniformity.” This friendly dinner party must be varied every day as well by the assortment of the guests as by that of the dishes. A dinner party of friends may please three days consecutively, and provided there are some varieties of dishes or of guests; but it will be necessary to vary it the following days by a dinner of corporation, a dinner of strangers, a family dinner, a dinner of gallantry (diner galant), &c., &c. Without this variation, the most friendly dinners will become flat by uniformity, or at all events they will lose a part of their charm, and it is a great fault in harmony to wear out or blunt pleasure. The passional series have no other end than that of keeping alive, of sharpening every pleasure by judicious and varied use, either by contrasts, or by the identical varieties that I have just denned in treating of the two meals, one of which, taken beneath the thatch in earthern vessels, is a varying in contrast, and the other, diversified each day as regards the companies of friends and the cheer, a varying in identity.
Let a pleasure be varied by contrast or by identity, the variation is always subject to two modes, which are:—The gradative and the improvised.
The repasts that I have just described in the preceding paragraph would be an enjoyment of gradative papillon, since they would be formed successively of friends, of corporations, of illustrious strangers, of people of gallantry (monde galant), Sec.
The pleasures of improvised papillon are emotions unexpected which occasion an extreme surprise, as the repayment of a debt that you had given up for lost, the arrival of a friend whom the public represented as dead; in these different cases the unforeseenness doubles the pleasure, and procures two enjoyments instead of a single one. Such is the effect of a meal that soldiers find ready served in a post they have stormed, or that sportsmen unexpectedly meet with in the forest by the forethought of one of the party, who takes good care not to apprize them of it; for, by announcing it, he would destroy the charm of surprise, and would diminish the pleasure by one-half—instead of a contrasted improvised papillon, he would only give them a contrasted papillon
On recapitulating, it will be seen that the papillon is of two species, whereof each is subdivided into two modes:—
  • The gradative contrasted.
  • The improvised contrasted.
  • The gradative identical.
  • The improvised identical.
It is only in the passional series that you can every day procure papillons thus varied. For want of these varyings, pleasure is subject to become stale; witness that of a seraglio, which is hardly able to excite the enthusiasm of a sultan, though the seraglio was only invented to procure the pleasure of papillonism for the sultan. It is not found in the harem, because this assembly does not fulfil the conditions indicated further back in connection with the species and modes. Our sybarites more or less fall into similar staleness. You hear them complain of languor and want of illusion, when you would have thought them drunk with delights and rapt in the forty-fifth heaven.
It is not only in pleasures, but likewise in labors, that this want of variety must be examined. The labors in harmony are but one and the same thing with pleasures, since all labor ought to be attractive. Accordingly, the harmonians make no distinction between labor and pleasure. A dinner session and a labor session are nothing but two amusements in their eyes.
But recreations themselves are tiresome and injurious if you prolong them beyond two hours without interruption. Whatever enthusiasm may prevail in them, will not sustain itself beyond two hours, according to the laws of the composite. It is necessary, therefore, in order to keep up variety, and prevent excess and disgust, that the labors should be sufficiently numerous to relieve each other, at the latest, every two hours, and frequently every hour, with agreeable surprises; for there would not be regular enjoyment of the eleventh passion called papillon, if the varieties of pleasure were not at one time gradative, at another improvised.
Such is the kind of life that every one leads in harmony. The employment of the day is distributed there in little sessions, all well varied according to the rules of the papillon. This kind of life that prevents all excess, all ennui, is one of the means which in harmony will raise the human species to a prodigious vigour.
In civilization, the people, exhausted by the want of variety, by the monotony and the excess of a same kind of work, employs two days—Sunday and Monday—to refresh itself, and drown itself in wine, to console itself for five days of industrial punishment. In certain countries, like Sweden, the people only work three days per week, so greatly is it wearied of the civilizee regime, that has the vice of neither varying labors with the people, nor pleasures with the opulent class.
Accordingly, you see the latter class incessantly give in to excesses, such as festivals of four or five hours’ duration, balls lasting through the whole night, and labors still worse, from their interminable sessions devoid of attraction. But the civilizee state is not made for this pleasure; consequently the civilizees use it as the camel uses water, whereof it drinks for thirst past and future. These excesses hinge upon the penury of enjoyments. The repast or ball would not be thus prolonged if other pleasures, equally lively, offered after two hours time.
One of the principal remedies for excess would be, to secure a full development of the papillon. Harmony will have to procure for every man, woman and child a mass of pleasures sufficiently numerous to relieve each other constantly. That is to say, that after having partaken in the course of the day of a dozen enjoyments, you may be able to enjoy the next day others in like number, but with variety of contrast and identity, successive or improvised, according to the table given further back—a table to which would have to be added, moreover, conditions of progressive development, whereof mention will be made in the chapters on the focal passion. But to speculate here upon variety alone, which is the object of the eleventh passion, it is clear that, in supposing the sessions of pleasure confined to a dozen per day for the poorest of men, they will have to be relieved by thirds, and to have in reserve at least four new pleasures for the next day, as many for the day after, and a similar varying distributed over the days, the weeks, the months, the years, the lustres, the phases, and the whole course of life.
The exercise of the papillon would be hindered, and there would exist no harmony of passion, if the eleventh that requires these varieties, had not its full development.
Amongst the most boasted enjoyments, there are some that soon become blunt, can only excite enthusiasm once or twice, and must be lost sight of for a long time to re-appear with advantage. Their supply must therefore be countless, if you want to vary them according to the rules of the papillon. Habit renders the most delicate viands insipid to us, and the human species being exposed to be “used up,” more or less, in connection with every habitual pleasure, it is not overrating it to estimate at a third the renewal that the enjoyments must receive every day, in order to secure to the papillon a full development, for which purpose everything has been well prepared by God in the mechanism of harmony.
It is not only to human beings, it is to the whole of nature that the use of this passion extends. I have observed that the purely material beings are subject to it as well as animate bodies; thus a field requires to vary its productions, and dislikes to receive, many years in succession, the same kind of seed. The grain, on its side, does not like to be sown in the field that has brought it forth; it degenerates in it, and requires the alternation of soil. Plants require that you should reproduce them alternately from bulbs, from grains, from sets, from grafts, & they become degenerate if you neglect this precaution of varying. The races of men* and of animals are subject to the same want; they are beautified by crossing, and debilitated by keeping to one line.
Thus all nature is animated by this passion for varying and papillonism, which is the sovereign vice in the eyes of the philosophers, the friends of black broth and of uniformity. You must observe carefully that the passion for variety is a want, and not a whim. Every one knows by experience that after having lived some time at a table uniformly served, the stomach remits and slackens its functions, notwithstanding the salubrity of the viands; and the day that you pass to a table with different cheer, you are sure to digest more rapidly, though you may eat more. The stomach, as well as the heart and the mind of man, experience, like the whole of nature, the want of varying, especially in love matters, so inclined to follow the laws of the papillon, and to desert the conjugal standard. Our ballad writers have sufficiently preached on this head the power of the eleventh passion, and it is meet to cite in this place one of their couplets:—
“Je le tien de tous lea epoux,
Tel est l’effet du mariage,
L’ennui se glisse parmi nous,
Au sein du plus heureux menage.
“Votre femme a beaucoup d’appas,
Celle du voisin n’en a guere;
Mais on veut ce que l’on n’a pas,
Et ce qu’on a cesse de plaire.”
If the philosophers had analysed the passions, and especially the papillon, the cabalist, and the composite, which are three passions antipathetic to the incoherent household, they would have come to suspect that this tie, which places families in respective isolation, is opposed to the nature of man; and that civilization, which clashes on all hands with the three distributive passions, is in its whole character the antipode of destiny, since it cannot admit the exercise of three passions, whereof the attraction is so powerful, especially that of the composite.
* It is said that the Scotch and Spanish nobility, which have been in the habit of intermarrying in the same family, have become greatly degenerate; whereas the Persian magnates have become an improved race, through the introduction of Circassian and Georgian slaves in their harems.—Translator.

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Gabriel-Desire Laverdant, “Of Property”

Translated for the Harbinger.
Attractions are proportional to Deatinies.
The Series distribute the Harmonies.
I. Unity, the Fundamental Principle.
The theory of Association is true simply because it is true that Attractions are proportional to Destinies. It is upon Attractions that the great Social Architect has framed the edifice of our terrestrial destiny. In other words, the Phalanstery is made in the image of Man.
What constitutes the supreme science of Fourier, is the thorough knowledge of man and of his attractions. What constitutes the discovery of Fourier, is the Series, which is the mode of distribution of functions, adapted to the human soul.
Fourier responded to the precept of the Greek philosopher: know thyself; and, man once known, the true social organization was developed to the sublime thinker.
Serial institutions are nothing, under a certain point of. view, but images of man raised to different powers.[1]For so the law of universal analogy requires it.
This proposition of the necessary unity between the motive spring and its mode of action, between the passion and the series, can cause no question in the School. Besides we have not here to demonstrate the truth of Fourier’s psychology. No one is a Phalansterian in earnest, if he has not penetrated this science of the soul, and if he does not take it for the basis of his doctrines and of his ideas. We say further: whoever admits the Phalanstery, whoever approves simply the industrial organization of the Phalanx, the same admits, by implication, our psychology, since the Phalanstery is but the mechanism essentially adapted to the soul as it is described by Fourier.
There are those, perhaps, who say they take the Phalanstery, but reject the psychology. We will wait until it shall be given, by some special grace, to these indolent intelligences to ascend back from effects to causes.
Others, we are aware, accept the Phalanstery only as an excellent transition. These (we take a pleasure in informing them,) do accept the psychology of Fourier, whether they care about it or not, whether they are conscious of it or not. It is simply another Monsieur Jourdain, who spoke prose without knowing it. Would these provisional Phalansterians, then, admit provisionally our psychology? Then it would remain to know whether a psychology can be transitory; whether the human soul is radically made over by successive substitutions, or whether it is simply transformed through a gradual process of amelioration, according to a uniform plan.
For ourselves, we should not know how to get along with a provisionalpsychology any better than we should with a Frenchphilosophy. We believe that the soul is One in its essence and in time. When once this soul is recognized in its essential elements, when once the passions have been analyzed in their double [direct and inverse] action; we shall have the bases of the true philosophy, we shall have the bases of social science, of definitive and settled polity.
It is understood then that we assume as the first principle of all social truth, of all order, the passional analysis produced by Fourier. Let us see in general terms what this analysis gives us.
II. Love is Man Himself.
Man places himself in relation with nature, by his senses; with the laws of universal order, by his intelligence; with his fellows, by his heart. The measured ensemble [or blending in true proportions] of these different forces, places man in communion with God. But what is the principal and inmost thing in man, which constitutes the man himself, is the affective force. Man may be defined as “a love served by the senses and by an intellect.”
In the familiar language of all nations, in the inspired word of poets, even in the imperfect books of the savans, it is said that the region of the heart, that the heart is the focus of desires, of affections.
The organs of the senses are all on the circumference. The limbs part from the trunk and tend to the lower sphere; and, by the feet, which are the passive organs of touch (as the hands are the active organ,) we hold in a permanent manner to the ground. On the contrary, the focus of intelligence, the brain, placed in the upper part, is as it were in contact with the heavens. The heart is in the centre of the human being. The organ of light, the eye, lies close to the intellectual centre; but the vital warmth has for its focus the heart.
The human countenance, at once directed towards the heavens and commanding the earth, sums up the entire man. There the senses come together, there the forehead rears its symbol of intelligence, there the sentiments shine forth in all their power and their mobility. The seat of the soul is still a subject of investigation; assuredly, whatever may be the post at which it concentrates its interior action, its exterior manifestation is summed up in the race. There again it must be remarked, the predominating feature is the expression of the sentiments; the affections of the heart, hatred and love, sufferings and happiness, radiate especially from the central portions of the face.
Such is man. And it is the object of this hasty picture to establish to the reader’s satisfaction, that without going into any consideration of functions, simply looking at external signs, at the way in which his physical organization is distributed, what is central, what is principal in man is the Affective part; it is sentiment, it is Love.
III. Principles of the Cardinal Passions, and their
Correspondence with the necessary Functions
Fourier, as every one knows, distinguishes, in the first degree of analysis, four sorts of love, which he names the four Cardinal Passions.[2]Let us assure ourselves, by a succinct analysis, of the reasonableness of these distinctions. If we cast a general glance upon humanity, what do we behold? In the first place a great mass. Do we wish to penetrate farther into this whole? Let us analyze, distinguish, divide; let us seek Variety in Unity.
All the elements of the human family have their reciprocal attachments. These necessary ties we are about to deduce from necessary functions; the nature of these attachments will be revealed to us by the very conveniences and fitnesses of our terrestrial destiny. Terrestrial destiny has three objects, corresponding to the three spheres of human activity. First, to develop and refine the body, to cultivate and embellish the globe, the domain of man, the body of the planet. Next, to open and strengthen the understanding, to acquire the integral science which shall reveal to the human mind the laws of universal life and the wonders of the worlds. And in the third place, to enlarge the heart, to per feet it by love, to render the soul of Humanity worthy to elevate itself in the scale of existences and to be united with the Divinity. These three objects of Destiny in their religious unity, are admirably expressed by these simple and sublime words of the Catholic catechism: To serve, to know, and to love God. Happiness is added as a sanction to the accomplishment of this triple destiny, this triple duty.[3]
Thus: To live,— cultivating and refining the individual and collective body, illuminating the mind, and perfecting the heart,—in order thus to unite ourselves with God.
The first term is undoubtedly the least noble; but the culture of the soil, whence he derives his nourishment, is for man the most powerful of wants, of duties. Moreover, all is so harmoniously connected in the universe, that in interrogating this material act of Destiny, we shall necessarily see the spiritual life spring forth from it.
What are the fundamental material functions of the human race upon the globe? There are two general ones:
1. Production, consisting in the culture and government of the domain.
2. Reproduction of the species, in order that this work of administration may be perpetuated.
Fourier qualifies these two functions as major creation, and minor creation.
As soon as men want to act, they combine; and this first very general tie which forms between them, takes no account of sex or age. This tie is expressed in language by the words companionship, fellowship, friendship. Among companions, among fellows, among friends, all is on a fooling of equality; the union is free and confused.
If man wants to exercise his government with force for greater production, the confused equality of the group of friendship no longer suffices, and he distributes himself in sects and corporations; he organizes power. The human group then takes another essential character. Confused independence is replaced by a hierarchy.
With these two forms, friendly union and hierarchical organization, man can act and govern; but, that his administration may continue, the reproduction of the species is necessary. Then a new tie intervenes; then, in the human mass, free or organized, you distinguish two contrasted terms, the man and the woman. Love conies with its acts of tenderness and blind fanaticism, to unite these two elements; and from their contact springs soon another sentiment, a new attachment, that of the family, which welcomes and adores the infant and prepares him by education for the function of major creation.
Thus then, in correspondence with the general functions of the species, we see produced four different modes of ties, or of affections. These are in fact the four passions which attach man to his fellows: Friendship, Ambition, Love, and Familism.
That the government of the domain may reach its maximum of development, that collective Humanity may be (tied for its functions in the world of Humanities, in the universe, just as the individual man performs his functions in his terrestrial sphere; societies must be organized, political Unity must be constituted; men must be all fraternally united with one another till they become as one;till they feel the need of union with superior beings and with God, and of perpetuating themselves in an eternal life. This supreme tie, this universal and religious attachment, is Unity-ism, the potential accord of the four cardinal passions.
I. The Series proportional to Love.
If Attractions are proportioned to Destinies, it is evident that each of the cardinal passions bears in itself a certain type of order. Since these passions embrace all the mutual relations of men, it follows with rigorous exactness that they themselves determine the law of these relations; and, if among the forces of the soul they hold the rank of cardinals, if they are the focus of the social life, if they are the man himself, then it is incontestable that in their natural requirements we ought first to seek the principal laws, the necessary conditions of essential order. In a word, if Attractions are proportional to Destinies, and if the Series distribute the Harmonies, then these four passions, all and each, contain and imply the forms of the Series, and it is from their profound study that we must demand the revelation of Harmony and of Destiny.
II. Principles of the Four Kingdoms[4]Laws of
the Distribution of Elements in Nature.
Fourier did not content himself with the laws revealed by the human functions, with the indications furnished in the analysis of the soul; he also sought for confirmation in the outward phenomena and laws of Nature.
 Let us follow the master in his rigorous method, and, having analyzed the four passional groups, let us interrogate the four groups of the terrestrial creation. Let us seek in the kingdoms of nature what are the apparent characters, the forms which life affects; in short, what are the laws of variety in these different unities.
The substantial or rudimental state of every kingdom, is a confused aggregation of elements, such as is offered us in the mineral. The elements, similar to each other and similar to the mass, are confounded without any relative superiority resulting from their composition and their arrangement. In the crystals of the same variety, the facets form among themselves constantly the same angles. The mineral masses have not organs; but, on analyzing them, we find them composed of integrant molecules, that is to say of parts distinguished from each other or individualized in an equal manner.
When science shall have penetrated further into the aromal kingdom, when the imponderable fluids shall be better known, we shall see every where displayed, in this domain, the principle of duality. Already the observations which have been collected upon light, heat, electricity, authorise us to lay down the law of polarity as characteristic of the aromal movement. Here the parts individualize themselves, and the mass divides into two organs or foci of attraction, which are married or set opposite to each other in symmetry or in contrast.
See now the vegetable rising from the soil. On a principal stalk there opens laterally a bud, then another on the opposite side; these are the brandies balancing each other on a common trunk. Here we have a centre and two wings. Frequently, in the tree, at a distance, the mass of the branches and the foliage seems to efface the trunk; but, on closer observation, you can easily recognize the predominant character, the pivotal property of this hidden trunk. It is tins which equilibrates the branches. In the vegetable kingdom, the different parts of the being, individualized, married, contrasted, are balanced upon a pivot.
In the animal unity, not only are the parts individualized, married, opposed in contrast and equilibrated; but they are measured; that is to say, they are assembled and put together in a determinate number, conjugated hierarchically about a centre which stands out in strong relief. The quantities, constant in each species, are easily counted by analysis, even by the eye.
Man sums up in himself all these laws of combination, all these conditions of variety. In him, the elements assembled, individualized, every where married and contrasted, measured, are stir-compounded, raised by their arrangement to superior powers, and constitute, in their perfect unity, the type of the created order.[5]
Each one may complete this comparative analysis of the kingdoms for himself. We have been obliged to limit ourselves to some general distinctions useful to our subject.
III. The Serial Types.
Now, we are going to beg the reader to make of all these analyses a synthesis. Let him sum up in his thought the characters of the four kingdoms, the properties and functions of the four cardinals as they are expounded in the books of Fourier, and especially under the form of analysis which we have chosen; let him demand, moreover, of the mathematical sciences, the properties of the conic sections; and instantly analogy will exhibit to his eyes the successive forms which Variety affects in the great fundamental Unities. He will have before him, taught at once by mathematics, by nature and by the human soul, the general principle of the distribution of forces; in other words, the principle, the bases and the different types of the Series.
Fourier has named several modes of Series:
Simple, Composite, Mixt;
Free, Measured, Potential.
But it is difficult to find in his books a methodical analysis and classification of all the forms of the Series. It seem* that be was pleased to leave our minds in uncertainty upon this point. Was this a calculation of bad “humor on his part, as some have suspected; or was there not some providential reason for this premeditated lacune? However this may be, Fourier, who brings all back to psychology, who demonstrates every truth by adapting it analogically to the passional type,—Fourier has not applied ostensibly this process to the demonstration of his nomenclature of series. For the rest, in the thought of the Master, this nomenclature, although left incomplete, has not the less its scientific value. We may detect in it the reasons of functions; for it is even easy to refer his free, measured, and potential series, to the two major elements together with the pivot of the passional gamut. The modes which correspond with the minor elements only, are omitted.
This, then, is the way, according to us, in which the table of the serial mechanism must be filled out, and brought into passional correspondence.
Friendship bears in itself the free series, of which the dominant principle is equality; where each unity is equivalent to every other, where every individuality is equal to the others in the free and confused mass. It is the circular group of friends; it is the identity and non-arrangement of the integrant molecules in the lump of earth; it is the constant angle in crystals; it is the musical notes without regular connection, the promiscuous sounds of the human voice.
Love bears in itself the series which we shall call dual or contrasted, of which the dominant principle is duality; where all the parts attach themselves to two foci of attraction, which form a contrast and produce symmetry. It is the ellipse; it is the group of lovers; it is the two poles of the aromal movement; it is the modes in music, the major and the minor, with their accent and their contrasted shades.
Familism bears in itself the series which we term balanced. The analogy of the balance, which renders this term clear and picturesque, indicates at the same time that its principle is equilibrium, and its type, two wings upon a pivot. There is no better affective image of this series to be found, than in some Holy Family of Raphael where the infant Jesus forms the equilibrium between the tenderly inclined figures of Mary and of Joseph. We shall find its principle also in the form of the plant, the tree; in music, in the perfect chord, where two notes pivot or repose upon a third. The balanced series is a type of mechanism, already very fruitful; so too the perfect chord is a stable accord and the basis of all musical harmony.
Ambition bears in itself the measured series, where all the elements, determinate and clawed. borrowing their value from their rank, concur to render prominent the pivot; where all obeys freely the principle of a hierarchy. — It is the sect, the corporation, the political group, strongly constituted; it is the precise and powerful organization of the animal, where life, in its two great movements, is concentrated and summed up in those important foci, the heart and the brain; it is moreover the diatonic gamut, with its two tetrachords, the one of three, the other of four tones, and of which the complete scale, in developing itself, brings out vividly a superior pivot, or the octave.[6]
Finally, the four cardinals, multiplied in their forces by the three mechanizing passions, give Unity-ism; and Unity-ism bears in itself the potentialseries, of which the principle is Unity, harmonized integrality. — It is the integral chromatic gamut; it is man, the compendium of the world, the image of God; it is the organized phalanx; it is humanity constituted into one vast political family, humanity at peace with itself, governing its globe by love, and communing with Deity.[7]
The reader will remark how naturally spring from our analysis the sacred numbers: 1, 2, 3, 4, 7, 12, which serve as the bases to the different serial types. If we were anything of a mathematician, we might develop here the analogy of these numbers with the geometric types.
Let us sum up these analyses in a table.

To complete this study, we should show how the series borrow their character also of the intellectual passions. In each of the modes, in fact, the Mechanizing passions appear, to play their capital part. The Cabalist gives to the free series the principle of distinction, of opposition; the Composite, that of accord, of alliance to the dual series; the Papillon represents, in the balanced series, the principle of alternation, of balance, of equilibrium. All three of them intervene concurrently with the four affective springs in the measured series.
The qualities of simple, mixt and composite, often designated by Fourier, apply, as we think, to the whole serial scale. A free series may be composite: thus, a double circle, such as is made in the rounds of children, or in the figure of the Mazurka. The chromatic gamut, doubled by distinguishing the major and minor semi-tones, is a composite contrasted potential series.
IV. Characters of the Potential Series.
Some persons, who have not penetrated far enough into science by study or by sentiment, have sometimes a tendency to think that the Potential Series, the type of order sui generis, has nothing to do with the principles of the other series, and that it excludes the inferior forms. From this idea, from this confusion results a double inconvenience. To some, for example, who sympathize to enthusiasm with the principle of equality, the superior type of order, as thus comprehended, seems oppressive. Some unitary fanatics, only moderately enlightened, encourage themselves thus willfully to go the whole length of individualism and equality. Half-science is always full of injustice and danger. Let us endeavor then to establish more precisely the characteristics of the Potential Series.
The Potential Series is not an order composed of elements entirely new; on the contrary, it only combines in itself the principles of all the others, which it resumes in a superior unity.
In the scale of series, each degree assimilates to itself the inferior degrees. As soon as the molecular principle, in the creation, is produced, — the principle of individualism, of equality,—it becomes a necessary part of all new movement. The principle of duality, which characterizes the aromal movement, manifests itself in the vegetable kingdom under different modes: as trunk and root, absorption and resorption, sexual organs, the waking and sleeping of plants. This progressive assimilation extends to the whole scale.
The essential principles of the series, if they are isolated in the creations of human genius, remain unfruitful, and sometimes become hurtful. Apply them in parallels, contrast them, interlock them, alternate them, know how to combine them all in a strong unity; in short, employ them serially, and all and each of them will appear to you endowed with a sovereign fecundity. But try to establish a mechanism, a living organism with the sole principle of equality, and you will produce nothing but disorder; and yet what an important part the free series plays in nature!
Never imagine, therefore, that the free serial type disappears in the Potential Series. What are the notes, in the musical gamut of the third degree? What are the hairs, the skin, the tissues, the fleshy parts, the capillary vessels, in the human body? They are nothing but simple unities with relation to pivotal functions, to organs. In the modern theatre, which is quite a Potential Series, do we not find the free series represented and playing a very active part in the gallery and the parterre?
The potential order, then, does not exclude any of the inferior elements; it makes use of them all. It takes, in the first degree, the units and the equalitary mass; in the second, symmetry and contrast; in the third, equilibrium; in the fourth, precise measure and hierarchy; and it is from the combination of all these powers that it creates in itself the most perfect Unity in the bosom of the most extended Variety. Take away one of these elements, and the Variety is diminished, Liberty is restricted, the Series is less supple, and from that time the Unity, more severe and more oppressive, is more and more threatened with dissolution.
Before closing this chapter, let us make one more remark.
If we observe the human organization, this little world, man, this image of God, we find that the free and confused elements, that the parts which represent the free series are placed particularly on the surface of the body, scattered as it were, at a distance from the ruling organs; and, to all appearance, having but a secondary interest in the great movements of life. From this law of distribution we might infer a veritable inferiority of the free series compared with the others. Nevertheless, a more attentive study reveals the important office of even the most superficial parts in the human economy; let it suffice to mention the functions and the sensibility of the skin. This phenomenon, in the general theory of Fourier, is explained by the law of the contact of extremes.
We shall have to take account, then, of this law in all our researches, and in all our works; we must not fear, in any organization whatsoever, to give all its special importance to the free series; and we must nut be astonished if this term of the serial scale offers points of con tact with the pivot.
I. General Principles.
We shall now apply the principles just explained to the question of Property. Man is the monarch of creation. To him the earth has been entrusted; the soil and its riches are his. property. In this great Unity, we have to seek Variety. When we consider this general term of property, the earth, it is evident that we shall find nothing like individual appropriation. The entire globe is divided into empires, kingdoms, provinces, communes, which are distributed among races, nations, phalanxes or townships. This first degree of distribution is in some sort the skeleton of property in humanity.
Let us go down into the commune or township; there, we still admit that the immovable soil belongs to the Species represented by the Phalanx, which is a perpetual being.
Upon this domain, cultivated in a unitary manner, it is man’s mission to develop life and riches; man incessantly appropriates to himself physical nature. And God has given him an immense Attraction for this function of appropriation, which is at once the recompense of labor, the incitement to a new activity and the source of creation: the moans of enjoying and the means -of producing. Appropriation,—that is the whole industrial man.
Treasures evermore increasing, then, are brought forth by the power and genius of man. It is in this movable mass that we have to seek Variety; it is in this clement of things produced, of fruits, values and immaterial riches, that we have to seek by what laws the individual acquires, what part returns to him in the general creation.
Property has been defined: “That which is proper to each one, that which belongs to one to the exclusion of others.” This definition is narrow; we do not accept it. We shall say in terms more general: “Property is what belongs to man.” It will instantly appear bow important the shade that separates these two definitions.
Every man ought to be, every man is a proprietor. Assuredly this great necessary fact should have its fitting lawn, should translate itself into institutions. We limit ourselves here to a discussion on the primitive manners of acquiring, on the principal modes of participation in the social riches.
Since the right belongs to all, these modes must be such that they shall never constitute a privilege for some to the detriment of others; and, on the other hand, they must guarantee an exercise of the right as extensive as the legitimate desire. What principles shall guide us in determining these modes of participation? Shall we have recourse to the analysis of actual facts in order to conclude that these facts are wrong? Shall we press to shipwreck certain true principles with their vicious application? Shall we set out with an a priori of civilized wisdom? Shall we invoke vague principles, as justice, fraternity, and so forth, principles so poorly understood even by those who have the best intention? Shall we arrange things according to reason? But we have the reason of M. Portalis, the reason of M. Guizot, of M. Passy, of M. Troplong, of M. Laferriere, of M. Dupin, of M. Agni&s, of M. Proudhon, of M. Vidal, of M. Pecqueur, of M. Cabet, without counting those of other countries, without counting the dead. Which reason is right? (Quelle raison aura raison?)
In truth, in this world of simplists, we should be almost sure of wandering from confusions into confusions. Let us address ourselves to a higher quarter. Let us recur to fixed principles, to universal laws. To all the reasons of the reasonable and of the reasoning, in my opinion it is better to prefer the science of man. I leave to those who are more fortunate the sphere of abstract and mathematical proofs, and confine myself to the domain of the active faculties.
Where shall we find a better principle of analysis than in the bottom of the human soul? What surer guide to regulate human relations than the nature of man himself? We have established, as an incontestable axiom, that social institutions can only be the image of man himself, one as to the unity of his being, various as to his different springs. Just institutions, we have said, are the mechanisms adequate to the soul’s forms of activity, and they are necessarily analogous in their principles to the principle of the forces whence they emanate.
We have seen that in the first degree of analysis, Love (the source of all social relations) has four special modes of action; and we have shown how to each of these modes of action there corresponds a species of series, from the free mode to the potential, which combines and synthetizes.
Since property is the industrial man, if there be economy of means and unity in the laws of the living world, the modes of participation in the collective social wealth must correspond to the forces of the soul; in other words, if Attractions are proportional to Destinies, and if the Series distributes the Harmonies, the institutions of property must agree with the cardinal passions, and the modes of appropriation must be based upon the series.
II. Manners of Acquiring, corresponding with the Necessary
Functions, with the Wants and Rights of Man.
We say that there exists a manner of acquiring, a mode of participation, which corresponds to Friendship and which is based on the free series. The reasons of necessary functions, and the supreme law of fitness, go to confirm this a priori.
That man may live and fulfill his destiny, it is necessary that he be placed, from the day of his birth, in the conditions of a full development of his organization and of all his faculties. That is incontestably the will of God.
Let us carry ourselves back to the day of Creation. Tradition, reason, science, all indicate that the first men appeared upon the globe in the fullness of their powers. A true representation of man implies a series of contrasted ages, since in no other manner could each find his own functions. Thus, at the moment when the children of God were left to themselves, they found themselves, for the most part, provided and brought up. This education exceptionally completed, although elementary, was the divine legacy of Adam.
And let it not be said that this great anthropogonic fact contains simply a lesson for fathers, that it offers the type of Family duty and nothing more. Assuredly, the just God, in his universal providence, had, with one unitary breath, developed all the forces, all the faculties, all the vocations, of which the germ was deposited in each creature. To this all-powerful inspiration, each note of the human scale, equally impregnated, returned a different sound; but each resounded in all its intensity and in its perfect purity. Each character found itself harmoniously developed at one burst.[8]How, then, can we suppose that the Creator wished man to expect hereafter his integral development from the divided, contradictory, feeble impulsions of the individual family? No, God does not wish that the aid given to man, in order to be efficacious, should be thus strewn about at random. In committing to man the direction of social movement, God designed his own place to be worthily supplied, and it is not from him that this miserable shiftlessness and monstrous inequality proceed, which now preside over the rearing and education of children. Nevertheless, after so many centuries of errors and of sufferings, society seems at last to be deciphering the sense of the divine mystery; the children of the poor are adopted, (witness the public nurseries (crèches) and halls of asylum,) the principle of gratuitous unitary education is proclaimed. But how far still from comprehending its mission is the university, which every year has itself solemnly addressed as alma parens! How very moderately Catholic and Christian it is! How little do its cold and narrow lap, its literal lessons, take the place of the paternal and maternal care at once, in which the first human beings were all nourished, of that vivifying breath by which the earth saw Adam spring forth in his power and in his beauty!
Every one then should be able to take freely around him whatever is necessary to this essential want of development which makes him man. Material and spiritual nourishment; an education such that the body may attain its full growth, such that all the sentiments may be expanded, all the faculties developed, all the vocations called out; and finally, the means of interchanging these sentiments, of applying these faculties, of rendering useful these vocations, the instruments of labor: — here is the minimum which society owes to all its members, here is the first right of every one. This is the principle of Communism.
It will be seen that we go further than certain communists who, in their embarrassment, not daring to proscribe property, define it: “The right of the individual to the thing exclusively produced by himself.” Man, in a harmonic society, appropriates to himself, by right, as we have just shown, every thing that is indispensable to his normal development, without there being any account taken of his part in production, and even before he is able to produce anything. And more than this: even after a man has completed his education, after he has acquired the rank of citizen,[9]he still finds opportunity to glean at liberty, to appropriate to himself a certain quantity of common things, which society leaves strown about, as it were, upon its surface. It is the extension of the right to the minimum; it is the principle of tolerance written in this verse of the gospel: “And it came to pass that the Lord went through the corn-fields, and his disciples plucked the ears of corn and did eat.”
Such is the first degree of participation, the first manner of acquiring, which rests absolutely on the principle of equality, and corresponds to Friendship. Among friends, every thing is common. This is appropriation in the confused mode. Let us see whether this principle of equality, so just and so necessary in its origin, can continue to control exclusively the act of appropriation.
Suppose man, under a unitary integral education, developed according to the designs of God;—what next? The unfolding of the soul is perfect, its exercise is free; it is then the Creator who proceeds to speak. Every where, to our attentive reason, inequality displays itself. Equality was in the first place necessary in order that man might produce himself entire; and from the bosom of this equality immediately springs hierarchy. Physical beauty, intellectual power, moral grandeur, every thing is different, and every thing distributed on a progressive scale. All these forces, when you come to put them in action, to apply them to the creation of riches and the government of the terrestrial life, produce unequal results; their works have different values. Thus, in human labor, the co-operation of some is more productive than that of others.
There is in this superiority, no doubt, the sign of a celestial gift, and consequently more responsibility and loftier duties; but, with the responsibility and duty, should there not also be a greater recompense? Will any one pretend to quote the authority of seminaries and academies of moral and political sciences, and oppose to us the exclusive doctrines of humility and abnegation, referring men to heaven to seek there a remuneration refused to them on earth? Certainly, we will not permit these simplistic advocates of equality to refer us to these pitiable errors, under the pretext of a social ideal. Responsibility, then, to the moat productive, to the most able; but so too a proportional recompense: and recompense in the two spheres, material and spiritual, riches and glory; for so the law of Unity requires.
To what do labors lead, directly and indirectly? To production, to appropriation. Out of this mass of wealth produced, each will have therefore (besides the minimum) a part proportional to what he has contributed, to what he has done;[10]and this part will be awarded to him by the judgment of his peers; his right will be measured and determined practically by election.
Here then is the second right of man in regard to property; here is the second manner of acquiring, which corresponds to Ambition, to the measured series. This mode is the hyper-major; this right is the fruit of the capital act of the material administration of the globe, of creation, and it is consecrated by the free election of the series, by justice itself. In the ratio of the superiority of this source, and of this sanction, more extended prerogatives are due to it. So, when the question shall arise for Social Science to determine the limits in this order of facts, to produce the special treatise upon property, it will perhaps be necessary to remember the principle uti et abuti, and to award its recompense to the right of appropriation hyper-major.
We know then now, the natural and just basis of a double right of individual appropriation. It is understood that each individual takes in the first place, freely and equally, what is necessary to his normal development; and that each, besides this, having a right to a share in the production to which he has contributed, receives from his peers a remuneration proportional to his general share in the productive forces. The minimum and the proportional retribution, analogous to Friendship and Ambition, are of the major order. Are there not other sources of appropriation? Let us look, Continuing to analyze the wants of man and the rights which correspond to these wants.
If man appropriates anything to himself, evidently it is in order to use it; if he gains anything, it is to dispose of it. Will he make what he possesses only serve the satisfaction of his physical and intellectual wants, his individual fantasies and pleasures? Will he not know how to make some use of it outside of himself. Will his right of disposing of it be simple, or will it be composite? In this world of Harmony, where all is leagued together to realize unity, will there be division, schism between the industrial and the affective man? In a society whose creed is Love, will the capital act of the appropriation of physical nature be of no profit for the heart? No, property should be an instrument of collective and of individual accords, material pleasures themselves concurring in the union of souls. Man has a need of giving, of expanding over his fellows the treasure of his riches as well as the treasure of his affections. Man therefore can transmit what belongs to him, can alienate the acquisitions of his right of property. Let us see what will be the natural modes of alienation, of transmission. By this digression we shall come more easily to know what are the two manners of acquiring of the minor order.
In Harmony, the child, exercising in the superior or religious function of Friendship (Little Hordes) abandons all[11]that he produces to the community. la this manner of disposing of property, we find the universal character which we have remarked in the appropriation of the minimum. These two modes spring from the cardinal passion of Friendship, of which they reflect the properties. We see, it is like an exchange, an advance between childhood and the state. The state makes advances, for which it is remunerated afterwards. Childhood takes and lets who will take; it satisfies its own wants and consecrates its right of alienating to the support of Unity.
In the group of Ambition, in the series of repartition, where all receive what is proportionally due to them, each one freely gives up one part of his own, which goes to make up the budget of the Regency.
There are two other manners of disposing, and consequently of acquiring, which we shall qualify by the term minor. These belong especially to sentiment, they connect more directly with individualism than with unity-ism. One is donation. “To give is to love,” said an amiable and sincere philosopher;” to receive, is to learn to love. In delicate souls, it is loving already, and that deeply.” The gift has the spontaneousness of Love; it is a want more of the hyperminor group than of any other.[12]A lover would like to have the disposal of the whole world, that he might give it away. It is in like manner the property of the ellipse, that every thing which sets out from one of its foci is referred to the other; that between the two every thing reflects and divides itself with a vivid impulse. —The other manner of acquiring, which springs from the right of using in a composite mode, is inheritance. Just as man transmits his blood, his intelligence, his soul, so it is a want and a happiness to him to bequeath this other part of himself, his property.
But it will be objected, to accept a legacy, a donation in the combined order, is to leave free field to fantasies, and to unjust caprices; it is to encourage avarice with some, narrow and blind affections with others. There is a larger way than this of deriving from the spirit of property a profit for the heart. Let every man return all that he possesses to the State:[13]is not this an exercise of the affective passions? This is giving oneself away, surely, this is expanding oneself over the bosom of the great fraternal family, without the inconvenience of little preferences and unmerited favors.—We reply, if property, once recognized, accrues entirely to the state, we see not where there exists for the individual the free exercise of the right of disposing, of it. The individual will have the right to do his duty, the right to be obliged to give to the universal, to transmit himself perforce to all his brothers.—No, no. You cannot mask by empty words the privation of the individual right. It is necessary to me, to myself, that my spontaneity, my whole liberty should be preserved. I wish to be able to dispose of what is mine in favor of all, if it suits me; in favor of some, if it is the desire of my heart; and if it is my pleasure, even enthusiastic impulse and blind fantasy shall be the reason and the measure of my gifts. Since “human nature is good,” since “reason was not made to contradict in us the propensities which lead us to form the very legitimate desire of happiness,”[14]by what right can yon deny, contradict, repress the pious attractions of familism and of love, the charming attractions of favoritism?
You wish inheritance done away with,[15]because, in our false state of society, the miser guards to the last day his useless treasure, and would bury it with him in his tomb. True science is that which knows how to turn to good, forces which are perverted or injurious. Avarice transformed, becomes a precious social faculty. There are amongst human characters, in their relation with created riches, two types, both essential. One spends, throws away, destroys; the other saves, collects, preserves. In other words, it is the spirit of progress and the spirit of social conservation; it is radiation and absorption. With the first character, impatient to use a thing, incessantly in quest of new things, every thing would be squandered, every object would disappear before exhausting its useful service; there would be no handing down. The other type forms happily the equilibrium to this. The pure conservative does not believe that any one can save things and take care of things as well as himself. In Harmony, these individual characters will extend also to collective unities. There will be Phalanxes celebrated for their spirit of order; there will be others skilful to consume brilliantly, and famous for prodigality; and such a collector or amasser of treasures in the Isle of France, not finding around him an heir worthy of his genius, and mistrusting the spendthrift ardor of the Creoles, his compatriots, will choose for his legatee the illustrious Phalanx of Fourmis, or of Judea.
But shall we stop at the uncertain objections of civilized reason, when the commandments of God are echoed in our hearts? It is a law, a law of universal life, which condemns these tendencies to exclusive equality, to confused unity; it is Attraction. God does not wish that every heart, with equal passions, shall contain an equal love for all; for he has placed in our souls the fabulist and the Papillon with Favoritism; God wishes the free and flexible fraternity of friendship, the elective ardors of love, the determined affections of the family, the hierarchal ties of ambition, the potential exercises of the successive degrees of Unity-ism; and not the compound communism of souls, the stifling of life in mere identity. Social institutions, therefore, should permit man’s natural preferences to manifest themselves in all things, if these institutions profess to realize social destinies proportional to attractions. The Series, which distributes the harmonies,[16]commands that we should expand our possessions as well as our soul in varied and hierarchal modes, or in the serial mode.
Attraction is so far from attaching us to the ideal of Communism or of Saint-Simonianism, in which all things are confounded in the mass, or in power, that when we interrogate the general fact and the sentiment which inspires it, we remark this: that the spirit of disposal or of alienation follows, since it is in the minor order, an inverse progression to that of the principle of Unity, which draws all towards the pivot; that each individual has a particular attraction to rob himself in favor of the beings who are nearest to his feelings. In a general formula, we may distribute the want of disposing by legacy and by testament, according to the following decreasing scale:
Donation: lovers, children, friends, sect; the State.
Testament: children, lovers, sect, friends; the State.
Admirable foresight of the Supreme Organizer, who does not permit Unity to absorb the individual, and who derives perfect order from the equilibrium of the two forces, the centripetal and the centrifugal. And so ought Science to encourage the attraction of the heart, instead of oppressing individual liberty.[17]In the state of social subversion in which humanity has lived thus far, it has required the compelle intrare, the law of constraint in all degrees to protect the principle of, Unity; in Harmony, on the contrary, the savans will be continually occupied with seeking delicate combinations to balance the universal and enthusiastic action of Unityism by the action of favoritism, to sow the surface of social life with the charms of surprise and of capricious fancy.
We have counted four manners of acquiring and of disposing: two major, more especially determined by reason, by the principle of order; and two minor, particularly inspired by sentiment and by liberty; all together realize justice. — These modes of participation in the social riches: the minimum, donation, proportional retribution, and inheritance, correspond to the cardinal passions, Friendship, Love, Ambition, Familism; and to the serial types: the free, the dual, the measured, and the balanced.
It remains to find a manner of acquiring, a mode of participation, having the pivotal character and corresponding to Unity-ism, and to the potential series.
This central source, from which each may draw and appropriate to himself in a unitary mode, is the Associative Treasury. From this focus of public riches descends over all the members of the Phalanx the right of property under its pivotal form. The unitary mode of appropriation consists in each one’s taking part according to his degree, in the means of enjoyment concentrated in the Phalanx.
This unitary participation, by virtue of the law of contact of extremes, offers relations with the minimum. The Communists, faithful to their principle of promiscuous equality, so much so that they do not seek to distinguish things from one another, have not failed to confound all things under the name of common goods: houses, streets, theatres, museums, cities, libraries, ball-rooms, horses, equipages, furniture, jewelry, canals, routes, rivers, laboratories, fetes and solemn galas, &c. To them, all this is identical, and all the members of association share in all these goods equally and identically. This is an error, and with a little attention, if we are guided by principles of order and harmony, we shall easily distinguish the things which society abandons promiscuously to common use, the museums, libraries, laboratories, rail-roads, public squares, &c. &c., from things equally accessible to all, but of which the whole society finds it just and useful to hierarchalize the enjoyment, so to speak. Thus, in Association, lodgings in the Phalanstery, places at the theatre, and at festivities, horses, equipages, the robes and paraphernalia of honor, the banners, every thing which we now call the furniture and jewels of the Crown,—all these things will be occupied and assigned according to an order of legitimate precedencies, in proportion to each one’s recognized rights to functions, grades, social honors and favors.
Thus, then, the public revenue is, for each one, the source of a unitary property. There is established, at the centre, a composite movement, a double harmonic vibration: the Regency receiving from the diverse ad always free contributions of the whole a considerable portion of the wealth produced, which in its turn it transforms into means of enjoyment, and places at the disposal of the whole. The Treasury of the Phalanx, how is it constituted, of what elements is it formed? From what sources can this appropriation, governed by the Regency, proceed, if it be not from the very same which nourish individual appropriation. The Regency, that is to say the phalanx considered in its collective permanent unity, takes, receives, like an individual, a proportional part, and enriches itself by when the donations and by legacies. The minor modes, as we have said, are not the most productive for the State; the Treasury accrues principally from the products of labor freely abandoned by childhood, and from the impost freely voted by all the citizens in the series and general assemblies. These four modes of appropriation which form the public revenue, have, no doubt, at this pivotal degree, their particular character; but they are analogous with the individual manners of acquiring; like them, they correspond with the four, cardinal passions; or to state it better, the public revenue in its unity, the Treasury, corresponds to Unity-ism, and, like it, it sums up in itself the four fundamental terms of the Potential Series.
Laws are the necessary relations springing from the nature of things.— Montesquieu.
We believe that human nature is good, and that there is unity in the laws of universal order. To find out social institutions of divine origin, therefore, we have examined the nature of man, his destiny, his functions, his wants, his attractions; we have analyzed the springs of his activity, that is to say his passions, their characters and their properties.
From this study of man we have deduced the essential types of order, we have methodically determined the principles and forms of the Series.
To confirm these deductions, we have looked to the kingdoms of nature for the laws of the distribution of forces, and we have found these laws conformed to the characters of human groups and to the properties of the mathematical types.
Then applying this mode of investigation to the question of property, we have Bought what modes of appropriation have naturally sprung from necessary functions. These functions, as well as the attractions of the heart, have taught us that in the matter of participation in the social riches, order results from the Series.
And thus does Unity shine out in all things.
In the question of appropriation, Science, supported upon solid bases, upon divine reasons, gives the following conclusions:
The globe belongs to the entire human species. The landed property of the township belongs to the entire Phalanx. The wealth produced is all that can be appropriated. Appropriation seeks four modes, two major and two minor. Of the two major modes, one is confused, based on the principle of equality, which is the minimum; the other is regulated, based on the principle of hierarchy, which is retribution proportional to capital, to labor, and to talent. After man has acquired riches, he uses and disposes of them freely, according to the attractions of his heart. From this right of alienating result the two minor modes of acquiring property, donation and inheritance. Finally, man participates in the public riches by drawing, each according to his degree, from the associative treasury, which accumulates in the hands of the Regency, and in conformity with the general will, after the same modes which nourish individual appropriation. In other words, we will say, man acquires:
In the major mode,
that he may have power to act — in proportion to his wants.
for having acted—in proportion I to what he does.
In the minor mode,
in proportion as he is loved.
in proportion as he loves.
Man acquires: from the commonwealth, which abandons and awards; from the individual, who gives and bequeaths.
Man acquires as a brother, as a member of a group, as an object of love, as a son and heir; and finally as a citizen.
Friendship abandons freely to every one what he wants; Love gives with tender entrainement and blind fanaticism;
Familism bequeathes affectionately, but with deliberation;
Ambition awards with reflection and according to the law of strict justice. Unity-ism distributes according to the divine laws: economy of means, distributive justice, universality of providence, unity of system. The administration of the public Treasury has for its function to balance the two terms of acquiring and disposing, and also to balance the individual and the unitary modes of action (the me and the neighbor), terms and modes of action which it sums up in itself; for the Regency is nothing but a being which receives and transmits eternally.
Let us here recall the analogical table already presented, only adding the modes of appropriation.

Such then is the ensemble of our system of appropriation of the social riches. What is wanting in this system? Can you mention a legitimate desire which it does not satisfy? And yet upon this question of property, the Associative School is continually misunderstood and calumniated. By some it is accused of wishing to annihilate all rights; others affirm that it tends to perpetuate all privileges. Which shall we credit? On both sides rash judgment is formed, and the School is condemned without a hearing.
That we should be calumniated, in the name of order, by people who are frightened by every thing new, and who have never opened a book of Fourier, is easily conceived; but that the doctrines should he misunderstood by the enlightened friends of progress and of liberty, is strange and deplorable. The author of De la Répartition des Richesses is certainly, of all writers not Phalansterian who have judged the theory, the most kindly disposed, we might say the most sympathizing. M. Vidal has read through from beginning to end the Treatise on Universal Unity; M. Vidal lives in old relations of intimacy with several Phalansterians; and yet M. Vidal does not understand the associative theory which he allows himself to judge and to condemn in the most friendly manner in the world. We shall proceed to prove in two words how far this writer is still from having penetrated the theory.
M. Vidal has comprehended so well the formula of capital, labor and talent, that he seems to have seen in it the entire basis of participation in the social wealth in Harmony. One must have read very slightly to be ignorant that this is only one of the modes of appropriation, the hyper-major, analogous to Ambition, and that this formula applies only to the repartition freely voted in the series, and proportional to the direct productive agency of each citizen. Does not Fourier speak at every page of legacy, of donation, of gratuitous education, of the proportional minimum, of unitary enjoyments furnished by the Phalanx? Certainly. Why then keep fighting windmills? Why oppose to us the gratuitous education of children, and free access to theatres, to museums, to libraries, to laboratories, and all these marvellous things of Communism—which many Communists have perceived for the first time—in Fourier? Why write these phrases, which we cannot take seriously?
The Laborer (in the Associative system) will have to live upon the generosity of the rich, and submit to the humiliation of receiving alms. And thus we shall see misery, servitude, prostitution; yes, hatreds, crimes, vices and scourges without number. . . . Capital continually detaches from the mass of the collective riches a portion which it will never restore to the community; it creates an hereditary class of idlers who live upon their income; it diminishes by just so much the number of laborers, it charges the support of this unproductive class to the laboring class. . . . I maintain that the most intelligent, the most able, the most capable has not a right to deprive the feeble or the incapable and to take the lion’s part himself; I maintain that the strongest owes his succor to the weakest, the most intelligent to the most inert. Intelligence and capacity, intellectual force, should not give a man the right to exploit his fellow man, any more than corporeal force or the power of gold We shall have wars springing up (says M. Vidal) between men who lived in peace, as soon as we undertake to divide men into separate categories, to make some first and some last, to judge, to class, to number individuals. Always there will be crosses of self-love, humiliations, and wounds incurable! . . . . If you attempt to create shares, and if the shares are to be in the ratio of capacity, then will each, from self-love, from vanity, lay claim to the largest: one will claim it in the name of his talent; another in the name of force; another perhaps will demand equality, and discord will soon arise. The moment the question of sharing is raised, Association is broken up; there is no longer one simple interest, the interest of all; face to face you have particular interests; there is the meum on the one side and the tuum on the other, and between them war! . . . . So true is it that there are[18]other relations possible besides those of equality!”
To complete this picture of the profound critic, we should have to cite still twenty passages about the hostility of classes in Harmony; passages in which the laboring classes are opposed to the capitalists; in which it is said that ” the Phalanxes have never any excess of production above their own general wants,” and that “they have nothing to sell to strangers and no profits to realize,” and that “the objects produced or created have no value,” and that ” it would be absolutely necessary that each should spend his whole dividend in the course of the year,” and a thousand other absurdities. Especially should we have to notice the ingenious calculation from which it results that an individual, who should advance ten millions in the year 1850 for the foundation of a Phalanstery, would find himself in the year 2020, merely by the accumulation of compound interest, the proprietor of the sun.
We might ask our distinguished critic if it is rational, if it is sane to apply to Association, calculations which, even in. our society of privileges, can be only child’s play. What! It is in a family of a thousand ties that you suppose these fantastic accumulations of capital possible! Verily, these are but the faux pas of the equilibrist, this is not serious analysis.
But our quotations will amply suffice to edify the reader. We ask if they can be legitimate judges of the theory, who ran not see in the minimum, in proportional repartition, in the Treasury of the Regency, in donation and legacy, any guaranties against the divisions of society into castes, against the exploitation of the laborers by the rich; who have no suspicion of the effects of the organization of labor, of the serial mechanism; who know nothing of the properties of variety and of engrenage or interlocking in the functions and in series,— and yet they demand of us what would become of the feeble and the infirm? Have we not the proportional minimum, that increasing social dowry, which is extended to the feeble and to the sick who are placed on the same footing with children?[19]Have we not, in the budget of the Phalanx, a chapter especially consecrated to religious wants? Finally, do you not feel, if you have the instinct of love in your heart, that in Harmony it will be the feeble and the infirm especially who will be the objects of pious tenderness, and who will find themselves adopted and loaded with gifts and legacies? Thus, individuals will share with the State the cares and watchful providence of devotion.
But it is objected: if there is room for any preference in retribution, it is to good will that it is due. Do you suppose then that good will is counted for nothing in the Phalanx? Do you think that the most painful labors, other things being equal, will not be paid the highest? Assuredly it is not the product which we talk of recompensing here, but it is in reality devotion. It is true that Fourier, distrusting the power of the material motive, confides to the disinterested ardor of the Little Hordes the most repugnant necessary duties. Fourier often omits the pivot in his analyses. When he says: Retribution to capital, to labor and to talent; that is to say, to the three spheres, passive, active and neuter, the pivotal sphere is necessarily understood. This, doubled, gives two new agents of production, namely, devotion and the charm of favoritism, of which account is always taken in voting the distribution of profits. It may seem strange to the communists that, in the retribution proportional to production, we still leave room for favoritism. He answers with common examples. Have you ever taken a voyage at sea? Have you observed the group of sailors at the ropes? One of them uses his voice, and his cadenced song, which diminishes somewhat his own effort, helps essentially the effort of the whole. Have you seen, in a group of laborers, some gay companion, some Pique-Vinaigre, losing his own time and strength in his recitations and his songs, but animating the group whose industrial enthusiasm grows with their gayety? This is the element of favoritism, which they will never fail to turn to good account in Harmony.
These questions of repartition will be a charming study, and they will afford occasion, in the series, in the courts, in the council of the Regency, for very deliberate and very beautiful operations, which will require the especial co-operation of woman in politics. We should like to know what political part the women in Community will find to play in the question of repartition , but doubtless this is an indiscreet question; the communist authors never occupy themselves with women except to offer them the prospect of a year’s imprisonment for some infidelity. (M. Vidal, p. 384.) Civilization is less severe; it remembers better the tolerance of Christ.
We should like, in our turn, to discuss the theories which they oppose to ours. But where can we take hold of these intangible bodies? There are as many Communisms as there are Communists. Shall we take that expounded by M. Vidal, and in which he communes with M M. Villegardelle and Louis Blanc, invoking as their patron saint, Morelly? What confusions and contradictions!
The Morellian church speculates about native kindness. It thinks that “self-love is the motive which urges us to good,” and that ” reason ought not to contradict in us the propensities which lead us to happiness.” By this it means “to base order upon destiny, which they say is happiness; to give complete satisfaction to all the natural wants, moral and physical, in the individual and in the species.” Moreover, the Morellian church proclaims the principles of Unity. “Psychology” it says “and physiology, instead of repelling and excluding each other, are the complement of one another. Between philosophy (the science of moral wants) and social economy, there should be relations and intimate connection. Economy has for its object to render the satisfaction of the moral wants and moral faculties possible. There should be an a prioriidentity between beauty, truth, and justice, and where this identity does not exist the scheme is: bad.” Certainly, these are excellent principles; but wait till you have seen the end. The first care of these Communists is completely to forget their principles. Thus, we see that the laws for the union of persons are not the same as for the association of productive forces. (p. 383, 384) Thus the principle of the hierarchy, judged excellent in the repartition of spiritual goods, is rejected as detestable in regard to material goods. Ambition, in the major mode, (love of glory) is good; ambition, in the minor mode, (love of riches) is bad. (p. 369, 373, 374, 379) In organizing their social ideal, they do not for a single instant consult destiny and the moral and physical necessities of man. So far from that, they only think of contradicting nature, or the will of God revealed by attraction and by liberty. They recognize and proclaim the truth that men are naturally unequal in forces, in faculties, in wants, in works; and yet say they should be equal in acquired rights.
Finally, we seek in vain in their system for unity, for respect to the passions of the soul, for agreement of institutions with our physical and moral wants. In place thereof, we find a plenty of maxims borrowed of Fenelon, of Seneca, of Spinoza, about contempt of riches, et ad coercendas libidines:and this truly refreshing little passage about costume: ” In these days, all men, from the prime minister to his lowest clerk, are made equal in a saloon by the monotonous uniformity of a black dress; the robe no longer makes the monk. It will be quite another matter in Association, when all men brought up together, living side by side with one another, shall know each other perfectly! People will no longer be appreciated according to their dress; rich robes will add nothing to the worth of individuals, and create no illusion for any one. The associates will adopt an elegant and convenient costume; they will make luxury consist in the extreme of neatness, in conforming to the current taste; ridicule mill do justice to the exquisites and incroyables.” Here is something to edify the artists! What a part must art play in the system of communism!
One must read the third, fourth and sixth chapters of the third part of M. Vidal’s book, if he would see to what the ideal which they oppose to us reduces itself. It is nothing less than complete insufficiency. Of any system whatsoever of organization, there is not a word said. Yet it would seem as if the mechanism would need to be perfected by those who retrench one very important motive of activity. They do not even know positively whether labor can or can not be rendered attractive, (p. 367 et passim.) To resolve their doubt on this point, they wish to wait for an experiment of the system of Fourier. Fourier organizes labor and industry; they have not thought of such a thing. Fourier, in this organization, at once learned, delicate and imposing, utilizes all our physical and moral wants; they, in the absence of all mechanism, retrench the motive of personality, of property and the love of riches at one’s own disposal. We say: interest, honor, pleasure, duty; they say: duty, honor, fear. We are, as Fourier says in some of his sublime bursts of enthusiasm, the advocates of the twelve passions;they reduce the five sensitive passions to a competent allowance, to the modest habit in black, and to the black broth of perfectibility; they diminish the force of Ambition by half, disdain Love and Familism, shut the door upon the Cabalist and the Papillon, and treat Favoritism as the inspiration of the devil. The model par excellence which they would offer us, is the civilized family and the manners of the actual household, (p. 351 and 379: opinions of M M. Vidal and Louis Blanc.) But as they are very properly aware that family tenderness does not suffice in the social mechanism, they decide to introduce in the gentlest manner possible the compelle intrare. And they must necessarily come to this, since they admit the hypothesis that labor may not become attractive. On every page we find this means in reserve, this principle of constraint. ” In an emergency, it is said, the associates will be subjected to the recruiting law. They will decree, that every citizen, from eighteen to twenty years, without exception, shall be bound to serve in the corps of public utility.” O inflexible logicians! here then we have the bottom of the bag; here the “Committee of Public Safety” shows the tip of its ear, and under your mantle of socialism, we ran fancy that we see the sincere but stern figures of Robespierre and Saint-Just.
Meanwhile we cannot refuse our sympathies to the Communists, for they have a true devotion to the poorer classes.[20]They are men who live almost exclusively in Friendship, and who never feel at home except with the idea of fraternity and the principle of equality. Pure republicans, starting from the same principle, tend, no doubt, to the same result in Communism. Their mistake is, having adopted the sacred motto: liberty, equality, fraternity, to subordinate every thing to the second term, and to neglect the first, which, philosophically speaking, is the most important. From their point of view, they doubtless are inspired. It is undeniable that the first end to be attained, the minimum, corresponds to equality, and Fourier has not forgotten, in his highest order of supreme combinations, that our planet corresponds to friendship. But in the mechanism of the distribution of wealth, to restrict oneself to this, is to dream of an order incomplete, oppressive, and unstable, since it is overlooking the demands of the two minor and the hyper-major passions. You seem to see a universal fellowship, an immense circle where all hands are joined, where the electric spark runs in a living chain, but where the hierarchal relations of ambition, where the preferences and most intimate tendernesses of love, and the embraces of the family are not counted. Since some power is necessary, they have decided to place it in the centre of the fraternal circle, isolated, severe and full of rudeness. Do you not feel how destitute of charm this puritanical world would be, and how irksomeness, ennui, coldness, would penetrate very quickly into this monotonous round, where art and love and fantasy find nothing to do?
If you push the principle of equality a little rigorously, it leads to absurdity; it is what occurs with every simplistic principle, and for this reason it is just to say: Excess is injurious in every thing. But you may push the Series to the end, to the utmost limit, and into the infinite; still it engenders only order; you will never derive from it anything but Unity and Harmony. In a word, the Communists are simply this: people who are weary of the present evils, and who seek to escape from them by the way which seems to them the shortest and the easiest. M. Prudhon, without insisting otherwise upon the absolute value of his principles, frankly avows that he wants to make an end of them; others have not the same frankness, or, making to themselves scientific illusions, they qualify their notion of a social ideal, after taking care to pocket the difficulties of the problem. At bottom, they have meditated so little upon the reasons of things, that they will tell you, for example: “The Communists would willingly accept the Phalanstery, but on the condition of modifying the respective rights of the associates and of distributing the products in some other way;” that is to say, the Phalanstery without the series, without unity. They will tell you moreover: “Ah! if instead of proposing the association of men and of things, the disciples of Fourier had proposed directly the association of individuals, then capital, the supreme element of discord, would not have existed, the series would have distributed the harmonies!” (Same work, pages 453 and 455.) We are truly grateful for this kind advice, but we cannot change the principle of the Series at the will of our own gratitude; we cannot make the Series to be other than it is. Unhappily we are not permitted to return courtesy for courtesy to the Communists, for a peremptory reason: it is because the only thing which positively constitutes their school, the simplistic love of equality, excludes the Series. Let us sum up in a few words the Communist idea of appropriation. This idea almost entirely absorbs three terms out of the five which constitute the soul in its cardinal character; it only speculates upon friendship and unity-ism, and (what is more) it overlooks the inverse pivot. Does one of the four necessary passions singly produce Unity? Can you make musical harmony with do, Do (octave,) as well as with do mi sol si Do, without counting all the other notes of the gamut, the passional correspondences of which we have not discussed? Thus the Communist idea, in its organization, leaves room only for the free series and for a bastard sort of potential series. The Communists affect us very much like children well-disposed and intelligent, who, playing with the cone, turning it round and round, have remarked indeed that it forms a unity and that it rests upon a circular base, (which is more than their papas, the political economists, had seen,) but, inexpert at analysis, they have not thought to cut the cone and to investigate its interior properties. Their science, altogether juvenile, stops at the surface.
The Associative School does not fear to front the difficulties of problems. It does not evoke the fallacious image of an equality impossible, and oppressive even if it could be for a moment realized. It consults sentiment as well as reason; it satisfies complete liberty as well as perfect order, Individualism as well as Unityism. In short it founds its whole theory upon nature and upon the soul.
One final objection remains to be considered. If you accept donation, inheritance, individual appropriation, the privileges of favor, and so forth, what is there that is new in your doctrine? — We shall reply (and let our word be beard by those who cry out that there is nothing new under the sun,) we shall reply: There is nothing new in this world, except it be Integrality, or (he free, large, intelligent acceptation of the supreme dogma of Variety in Unity.
Humanity, creating to itself institutions in proportion to its development, could only find their principle in these essential forces of the soul. The different modes of appropriation, successively engendered in the great historical periods, had then their necessary correspondence with the cardinal passions.
Edenism had its first sketches of Harmony, where no doubt the social institutions gave combined satisfaction to all the passions. In Savageism, society sinks, through want of industry, into an unlimited Communism with regard to territory; but with exclusive appropriation of the fruits harvested and the animals slain. Soon, as society tries to settle down and subdivide its elements, man wishes, before he dies, to perpetuate his force and substance; hence inheritance and legitimacy and the right of age: this is the conservative, traditional principle, which constitutes Patriarchalism. From inheritance and from the right of the firm occupant, which appears when human activity takes the land by main force, results the abusive concentration of riches in the sole hands of the Barbarian chieftain, who, alone rich and alone master, gives exclusively to his favorites, according to the attraction of his heart and his own good pleasure. Finally, Civilization attempts to apply the principle of proportional retribution; it organizes a false hierarchy. Each of these periods borrows the institutions before established, modifying them according to its own character; but the harmonic repartition is as yet far from being realized: divisions of men into castes, servitude, slavery, hired labor, such are the consequences of these false, incomplete and oppressive systems. Civilization, in spite of the influences of Christianity, has often only legalized all the anterior abuses, in consecrating them by the pretended reasons of sacred rights. Have we not seen this very year an assemblage of important men, very civilized and very Christian, call in question and take away in part from the poor the right of gleaning, raking, picking up and appropriating, — those vestiges of the right to the minimum, which Barbarism and Patriarchalism had respected?
Seeing this, these brave little hordes, as it were, of social science, plunge forward with audacity, protest against abuses and against the principles which cause them, blaspheme against the passions as the first sources of evil. In short, they see no other way of triumphing over the present false system of property, but by overturning property itself, riding roughshod over principles, and mortifying the human soul.
But the genius of Fourier has illuminated the world. The sovereign science tells us: The forces, the springs of the soul, are essential, and always the same; only the manifestation, only the modes of this activity vary. To misunderstand or repress the passions, the principles of all activity, of every idea and of every form, is madness; the only wise way is to make them useful. The institutions of property which the world has thus far produced, are faulty; they must be transformed so that they shall become harmonic instead of continuing oppressive; but do not reject the principles from which they emanate. They are the natural sources of truth. If you would realize harmony, the kingdom of God, do not forget any one of the fundamental passions, do not suffer any right to sleep. You will have order and happiness, it you know how to apply to your terrestrial government, universality of providence and unity of system, those, essential attributes of the divine power. Would you know the modes of appropriation, seek them in the essential principles of the passions and conform them to the series. The manners of acquiring practised in the forms of society which have existed thus far, are false merely by their exclusiveness and by excess, the necessary consequence of simplism. Bring these different modes together and combine them in an equilibrium and in a hierarchy; and you will have the natural system. Integrality is unity, is harmony itself.
Such is the mission of science: to destroy not principles, but their abuses; to transform, to perfect, to render unitary. This mission is religiously accomplished by Fourier and by his School. The question of participation in the social riches, we resolve, then, by the unitary combination of all these modes: the minimum; retribution proportional to capital, to labor and to talent; donation; inheritance; and the Associative Treasury. In other words, as faithful interpreters of Attraction, seeing man revealed to us in his cardinal passions, Friendship, Love, Familism, Ambition, Unityism, we cannot solve the social problem of appropriation otherwise than by the series, which arrives at Unityonly by the harmonic distribution of Variety.
D. Laverdant.

[1] By different powers, the writer means the successive ramifications of the same series into a greater and greater number of elements. Thus we begin with Unity. This unfolds first into Three primary elements, which are a series of the first power. These unfold again into Seven and Twelve, the numbers of the musical octave, which Fourier calls indifferently the series of the second power; these unfold farther into Thirty-two, the series of the third power, and so on. Now man is a series of elements, whether we regard his passional nature, the series of motive springs, or impulses, or attractions, in him; or whether we regard him as a combination of physical members, bones, muscles, nerves, &c.; or whether we regard the internal constitution of each of these. Every thing in nature out of man, and every thing in the contemplated serial order of society called Association, takes therefore a form which is one of the powers of that original series. the type of all others, which exists in the passional or spiritual elements of man.—translator.]
[2] “The sacred four, source of nature and model of the Gods.”—Pythagoras.
[3] The principle and rule of Duty reside entirely in the accomplishment of general Destiny. The two terms, Collective Destiny and Duty, arc the two poles, objective and subjective, of the same idea.
[4] It is known, that shortly after the publication of his work of 1808, Fourier, taking a step beyond established science, gave the Aromal a place among the great movements of Life, and disengaged the Passionalas pivot. Henceforth we can no longer count threekingdoms in nature; there are four, besides the pivotal or Hominal kingdom, which correspond to the four movements: the material, the aromal, the organic, the instinctual;  X the passional.
[5] One trait, among external forms, characterizes the supreme unity of human races among themselves. On the plant, on the tree, the branches and the roots are very dissimilar and of indeterminate number; in the feet, the claws, the fins of different animal species, the fingers, the articulations vary in number and very sensibly also in their form. Among the species of the nominal kingdom, the fingers, which, in the unitary plan of the creation, figure the roots and branches, are every where, alike in their number, their articular distribution, and their general form.
[6] M. Vidal, in his book on the Repartition of Richets, wishing to demonstrate that all social functions are equal in value and ought to be equally rewarded, says: “It would be as absurd to discuss the utility, the social value of different functions, as to discuss the utility of La or Mi.” The socialist writer, surely, is not a musician, if he thinks to attribute an equal value and importance; to all the notes of an indeterminate gamut.
[7] We might, by doubling the pivot, name here also the series of favoritism, where all fixed principle is contradicted, and all rule broken by caprice.
[8] Hugh Doherty says that Adam is nothing but a swarm of colonizers from the upper worlds. This hypothesis, which the laws of analogy render very rational, is equally favorable to our proposition.
[9] We need not state that we wish to be understood as speaking here of woman, as well as of man, and that in Harmony, the rights of citizenship, election, government, &.c., pertain to both sexes.
[10] This is the principle of Fourier: Proportional Repartition to Capital, to Labor and to Talent. This principle is found mutilated and perverted in the Saint-Simonian formula: “To each according to hit capacity, and to each capacity according to its work.”
[11] Let as remember that all, in the phraseology of movement, always understands an exception. Here are Fourier’s words about the retribution of the Little Hordes: “Although their labor is the most difficult from the want of direct attraction, yet the Little Hordes receive the lowest remuneration of all the Series. They would not accept anything, if such a refusal were admitted in Association. As it is, they take only the smallest part, which does not prevent each of their members from gaining the first lots in other occupations; but, true to their character of congregation, of unitary philanthropy, they have for a statute the indirectcontempt of riches, and devotion to the repugnant functions which they exercise as a point of honor.”
[12] It is a rare thing that one ruins himself for his friends, his corporation, or even for his children: but nothing is more common than a man committing such follies for his mistress, especially than a woman sacrificing every thing to her lover or her husband. It is a rare thing that one ruins himself for his friends, his corporation, or even for his children: but nothing is more common than a man committing such follies for his mistress, especially than a woman sacrificing every thing to her lover or her husband.
[13] Morelly, whom the communists seem to accept as their master (so far as a communist can recognize any superiority,) Morelly says in a concise way; “There belongs to man of the products of his industry only the part which he uses; the rest belongs to humanity.” A singular mixture this of materialism, egoism and of universal fraternity!
[14] Morelly, M. M. Vidal, Villegardelle, and all the communists. The Saint-Simonians also acknowledge these just bases.
[15] We need not say that we do not defend the right of age, the spirit of caste, the privileges of education and other monstrous forms of inheritance, which patriarchalism has handed down to civilization. In view of the actual abuses, M. Eugene Sue has reason to exclaim: “Inheritance, that great iniquity!” But the illustrious socialist writer has too much justice to condemn a principle on account of the abuses which have been derived from it. As well condemn possession itself; as well proscribe the spirit of family from which the whole evil proceeds.
[16] Here let us make an important observation. We must not believe that every Series distributes every harmony. When Fourier makes use of the general terms Series and Attraction, in these two sacred propositions: the Series distribute the harmonies; Attractions are proportional to destinies; he means to say integral attraction, the series par excellence, the series of series. This is evident from the following phrase in his last manuscript published in La Phalange: “We come to nothing by studying the free series; the whole secret of nature is concealed in the measuredseries; they are the only echoes of the laws of Unity.”
[17] Victor Considerant said one day: “If individual appropriation, if inheritance and donation did not exist, it would be necessary to invent them in order to perfect social harmony.” This property of a harmonic bond, which capital possesses in Association, has been expressed a thousand times in the most formal manner by Fourier. It was altogether gratuitous therefore in M. Vidal to write: “Fourier has not, like the Saint-Simonians and other socialists, broken openly with capital and inheritance. He has circumvented them, he has turned them, rendering them in some sort useless in the future.”
[18] The misprint which we reproduce from the text is charming. We can imagine it done treacherously and on purpose by some intelligent corrector of the press.
[19] In rain will civilization attempt to realize justice in the repartition of wealth, to long u it does not recognize the minimum. The minimum is the necessary basis; without it, donation and inheritance are, as we have said, social iniquities.
[20] M. Vidal. whose ill-founded criticisms and narrow doctrines we have animadverted upon, is otherwise a distinguished, erudite, impassioned writer, the most energetic adversary whom the political economists, have encountered since Fourier. He knows very well bow to combat error when he addresses himself to that. For the rest, be will have rendered a true service to the Associative School, in forcing it to develop ideas which it is not every one that knows how to seize precisely in the books of Fourier.

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