A Torrent of Newfangled Words

Bell, Daniel 1968. Charles Fourier: Prophet of Eupsychia. The American Scholar 38(1): 41-58. [JSTOR]

The revolution that must come, they proclaim, must be not only political but sexual as well. For Marcuse, it will liberate Eros, ontologically defined; for Brown, it wil reinstate polymorphous-perverse pleasures; for the British psychoanalyst Laing, following the French moralist Michel Foucault, it will erase the distinction between sanity and madness. (Bell 1968: 41)

Never heard of Norman O. Brown and R. D. Laing. Just as well, one was a freudo-marxist and the other followed French thinkers like Sartre.

If Henri de Saint-Simon, the compatriot with whom he is mistakenly linked, was the prophet of technocracy, then in the new cultural Zeitgeist Fourier may be considered the guru of the New Left. In the strong cultural recation to technocratic modes of thought, with their emphasis on rationality and economizing techniques, there is today the resurgence of emphasis on feeling, sentiment, emotion, and the "natural man" who will live by sensation and impulse, unencumbered by restraint and denial. (Bell 1968: 42)

"Passion" not listed.

Although both Owen and Saint-Simon clearly were men of the nineteenth century in their concern with education and with industry, Fourier, just as clearly, was a throwback to the eighteenth century, and particularly to Rousseau. The ties between the two are extraordinarily strong, although Fourier makes little mention in his writing of Rousseau. For Fourier only Newton and Columbus (in the symbolic sense) were acknowledged as forebears. (Bell 1968: 42)

"The Civilized order [is] that labyrinth of duplicity and misery, the aspect of which caused Rousseau to exclaim: "These beings whom we see aroud us are not men; there must be some perversion, the cause of which we cannot penetrate.""" (Fourier 1876: 21) - this he quotes again verbatim on page 61.

As in Rousseau, and the romantic denouncers of civilization, the fraternal life for Fourier can take place only in small communities whose members would know each other personally. The village and the small town of the Middle Ages are compared favorably with the modern big city, in which the individual lives presumably in anonymous isolation. "No more capital cities, no more big cities," cries Buonarroti, Babeuf's comrade-in-arms and the historian of the "Conspiracy for Equality," the first pronunciamento of political communism in modern times. Large cities, echoes Fourier, are a symptom of public ill-health. (Bell 1968: 43)

Is 1600-1800 people in one enormous building a "small community"?

Yet it is not communal living alone that is the answer. After all, in the small town and village public opinion exercises full control over human behavior, and public opinion, operating through such regulatory techniques as shaming and gossip, can enforce as cruel a conformity as any regulated army. The true salvation of man, the only basis of happiness, is the complete release of the passions. Repression is responsible for the evils of civilization; the abolition of repression is the condition of the free expression of the personality. (Bell 1968: 43)

The note about the regulative or normative function of gossip is spot on. "The complete release of the passions" on the other hand indicates that Bell didn't really grasp the meaning of the word and took it more in the sense of "strong sexual feelings towards someone". Is "complete release" harmonious?

Family life, the key social institution of the civilized state, was Fourier's most compelling example of an unnatural institution, holding men in its iron grip, bringing misery to all its members. All utopias promise freedom, but most of them are utilitarian, concerned with household arrangements, the organization of labor, and the sharing of goods; even where there is a full equality for women, monogamy is the usual, permissible social practice. Only the Marquis de Sade and Fourier, as Manuel observes in a study of French utopias, "would open wide the floodgates of promiscuous sexual encounters to those who desired them." (Bell 1968: 44)

Book I or "Abstract Theory" in Brisbane's translation deals exactly with those utilitarian concerns. Where's the good stuff about promiscuous sexual encounters others, too, have hinted at?

In his time, the world was in the fifth of the first eight stages, having passed through what Fourier called Sectes Confuses, Sauvagerie, Patriarcat and Barbarie. Ahead lies Garantisme, the realization of human rights, Sociantisme, or Association and beyond that Harmonie; and since human history so far has gone through only five thousand years, Harmonie would reign for another thirty-five thousand. (Bell 1968: 45)

Here Bell omitted quotation marks and citation to Alexander Gray, but such omittances were acknowledged in a footnote on the first page. Gray's whole chapter on Fourier looks informative. Here, for example, I am surprised at the French labels. "Sectes Confuses" is probably Brisbane's "Disordered Series", but Patriarcat?

Apart from the occult Pythagoreanism, the effort to escape from the occult Pythagoreanism, the effort to escape from the "bondage of incoherence" often founders on Fourier's eccentric style, which is so difficult that at times it is impossible even to grasp the simplest meanings of his words. Frank Manuel writes:
The works in which Fourier phrased and repharsed the system he had invented are full of neologisms, repetitions ad nauseam, and plain nonsense. There is an eccentric pagination, numerous digressions, and interpolations break the argument. [...] The neologisms are particularly irritating because they require interpretation, a guess at his meaning and are virtually untranslatable. Silberling's Dictionnaire de sociologie phalanstérienne is useful only to those who have already been initiated into the secret world. Fourier was conscious of the fact that he was pouring forth a torrent of newfangled words, and in his manuscripts he occasionally indulged in light self-mockery on this account. "Hola, another neologism! Haro on the guilty one! but is this any worse than doctrinaire?"
If, for Fourier, words were imperfect, music represented the "harmony of the spheres." (Bell 1968: 46)

I wish I knew what he meant by this. I detected no "Pythagoreanism" in Brisbane's translation but that may be why (it's a translation). The quote originates from Frank Manuel's The Prophets of Paris (1962) about Turgot, Condorcet, Saint-Simon, Fourier, and Comte.

The stars that rule our lives also have their passions, and from the copulation of the planets will spring not only other stars and planets but also plants and animals. A new race of animals, or anti-animals, will appear whose traits will be the opposite of their present one. All harmful beasts will have disappeared and in their place will be animals that will assist man in his labors or even do his work for him. There will be anti-lions and anti-crocodiles, on whose backs we shall be able to travel huge distances in no time, and the anti-hen who in six months would lay enough eggs to pay off the English national debt. An anti-beaver will see to the fishing, an anti-whale will move sailing ships, an anti-hippopotamus will tow the riverboats. With no more than a few hours of daily work, men will be free to occupy themselves with play and with developming their intellectual, moral and artistic facilities to an extent hithero unprecedented in history. But more, in this garden of delights men and women shall live for one hundred and forty-four years, and of these one hundred and twenty will be spent in the active exercise of love. This, then, is the vision of the natural man, in the fulfillment, for the first time, of his new and unnatural powers. (Bell 1968: 47)

None of this made it into Brisbane's compendium. As to the question of age, some few lucky ladies born around the time Brisbane's translation was published lived up to 120 years of age. With the advance of medicine, whole populations living up to 140 is not impossible.

Next are the "group" passions, four in number, also called the affective passions because they derive from men's gregariousness. These consist of the desire for friendship (sometimes rendered as respect or honor), the drive of ambition, the need for love, and the repose of family. Men have always known these needs, although they have become cruelly distributed under civilization. (Bell 1968: 48)

Out of 12 passions the first 5 are the senses (taste and touch are active, sight and hearing are passive, and smell is mixed). Here are the next four, which are essentially social.

Finally come the three distributive or serial passions, the unique discovery of Fourier, that will flower only in the next, higher stages of society. These are men's passion for intrigue or discordance (which is labeled cabalist), the need for variety and change (which is called butterfly, or alternating), and the desire for concordance (which Fourier calls composite). (Bell 1968: 48)

These sound like (1) need for drama, (2) neophilia, and (3) talk with your partner.

The cabalist is the love of intrigue and competition. In Garantisme, or the first stafe of Association, groups will be set against groups in all types of contests to generate satisfactions. Intrigue will infuse added zest into routine jobs; it will turn work into mystery and play.
The cabalist is a favorite passion of women; they are excessively fond of intrigue, the rivalries and all the greater and lesser flights of cabal. It is a proof of their eminent fitness for the new social order, where cabals without number will be needed in every series, periodical schisms in order to maintain a movement of coming and going among the sectaries of the different groups.
There is something of the butterfly in all persons. But only the grubby caterpillar locks itself within the walls of the cocoon; the butterfly, from the first moment of its emergence, flits from flower to flower, using only "attraction" as its guide. Men do not want to be tied down to long hours, or to the drudgery of a single job. In the phalanstère, therefore, men will work at a single task only up to the period of maximum interest (about two hours) and then change to a different sort of job in order to revive their spirits and broaden their talents. And if consistency in vocation is undesirable, it is equally galling in sexual matters as well. If men should not be tied down to the drudgery of a single job, why should they be bound to a single woman? Men become stale and bored when chained by a bond of matrimony. Consequently, in the higher forms of Association men will find their pleasure in the fulfillment of their butterfly nature in all ways of living: to be hunters in the morning, fishermen in the afternoons, and lovers of different women at night. (Bell 1968: 49)

The "cabalist" part sounds like an anecdote about a woman who made her own girl-power company which soon went out of business because of the constant intrigue and in-fighting. Curious that we are told of men getting bored of the same woman and looking for variety but the same is not said of women. Even an author who makes everything about sex is unable to imagine sexual liberation for women?

From that first éclaircissement to his death thirty-eight years later, Fourier devoted himself to the exposition, elaboration, reiteration, and greater elaboration of the Newtonian "psycho-physics" which was the root of his system. (Bell 1968: 55)

So that's what it's called. McDougall formulated Fourier's passional attraction quite succinctly: "a striving towards or away from that object" (McDougall 1916: 26).

Roelofs, Joan 2015. Fourier and Agriculture. World Review of Political Economy 6(3): 403-424. [JSTOR / DOI: 10.13169/worlrevipoliecon.6.3.0403]

In the early 20th century, political and revolutionary Marxism had become "hegemonic" over other socialist theories. Perhaps now the others can re-emerge. The strange and brilliant Charles Fourier certainly deserves more exposure. We need not institute every detail of his schemes, and we can note some serious [|] omissions. His wilder fantasies need not be taken literally; they indicate the dysfunctions and miseries that a socialist society must remedy. "Socialism" originally referred to concern with the entire range of society's injustice, including capitalism. However, the early socialists did not assume that the economic base was the source of all other unhappiness. (Roelofs 2015: 403-404)

This guy framed Marxism and Fourierism as the primary socialisms of the 19th century. Perhaps it is time for a resurgence of Fourier and others. As to the question of "economic base" as the source of all other unhappiness, I'm not so sure this wouldn't apply to Fourier. In his chapter on money it comes across as if all social ills could be remedied by one simple fix, creating a "true currency" that would correspond to exchangeable products and thus couldn't be hoarded or artificially inflated.

His ideas are especially relevant to an era in which hard work is disdained and perpetual play desired, when the lust for luxurious consumption defies environmental sustainability at the same time that it leaves people "never content, constantly gnawed by desires despite being surrounded by opulence" (Fourier 1996: 279). (Roelofs 2015: 404)

Disdaining hard work and desiring perpetual play are probably universals. Our age is increasingly characterized by only hard work, for productivity is constantly increasing while wages stay level for decades upon decades, and perpetual play is not only possible but a whole generation of "gamers" is currently emerging - people whose whole life is engulfed in a series of virtual contests and amusements.

Fourier's plan would vanquish the miseries of "civilization," which includes but were not limited to those created by industrial capitalism. Early socialism, even that of Marx and Engels, charted far more social ills than surplus value extraction. Fourier designed a society which not only allowed for great abundance and luxury (with minimal resource use) but also permitted the full expression of all human passions. Complete harmony was possible without the need for repressing any human desires or reforming humankind. Indeed, Fourier called his ideal society Harmony. He believed that people were born with certain personality types, based on their dominant passions. He posited 12 basic passions; the 5 sensual appetites; 4 appetites of the soul: friendship, love, family, and ambition; and 3 distributive passions: the cabalist (love of intrigues), butterfly (love of change and contrast), and composite (desire to combine pleasures of sense and soul). (Roelofs 2015: 406)

"Full expression" much preferable to "complete release".

Obviously, Fourier's understanding of human nature fell far short of modern science. However, he was on the right track with his concern for the incentives needed to construct and maintain a socialist society. Thus, he proposed that private profit, property ownership, and unequal consumption could exist in his ideal society, without serious harm to anyone. He was also being practical, making a bid for investors to finance a phalanstery. Indeed, some of the later Fourierist communities, all short-lived, were funded by resident and non-resident investors. (Roelofs 2015: 407)

Fourierism wouldn't succumb, for example, to the Canadian psychologist's caricature of communism where everyone is materially equal.

A wide variety of occupations would exist in Harmony; Fourier imagined that they would be developed to the highest standards. Thus,
The doctors of the phalange will be specialists in preventative medicine: their interest is to see that no one falls ill. In Harmony, doctors (and dentists) will always work as a team in a group. They will be collectively remunerated in proportion to the general health of the phalange, and not according to the number of ailments or number of patients treated. (Zeldin 1969: 72)
Dirty work would be joyfully pursued by the "Little Hordes," teams of children who (according to Fourier) have a penchant for filth, noise, and disgusting tasks such as removing reptiles from the road. (Roelofs 2015: 408)

This bit about preventive medicine is just painful to read during this pandemic. Medicine workers are "front-line heroes" but their wages are cut because hospitals usually make most of their profits from unnecessary procedures like plastic surgery and the like. I bet we'd all live a life full of 140 years if medicine worked for the collective health of the population. David Zeldin's The Educational Ideas of Charles Fourier: 1772-1837 (1969) is 180 pages and costs $97.71.

Further peace-promoting activities would be world conclaves of those who shared each sexual or food fetish. To end the scourge of war yet allow expression of competitive passions, Fourier proposed a "world war of small pastries" (petits pâtés), in which massive armies (men and women) would compete to produce the best array of these pastries (Fourier 1967: 339-379). (Roelofs 2015: 408)

Can you imagine? Instead of "Force Postures" there'd be a competition for who can bake the best god damn cup cake.

Women's personalities were warped because for years they were trained in duplicity for snaring a husband. This energy was in any case wasted, for once snared, the merry-go-round began. Fourier did not devalue "traditional women's work." On the contrary, the marital arts, especially cooking, gardening, child-rearing, and lovemaking, were to become the most important activities in the future. (Roelofs 2015: 409)

Sounds about right. In many parts of the world this is still the case.

Was all the sacrifice worth it because the family was a wonderful nest for child-rearing? Fourier (1971: 99) thought not: "In the family system children spend all their time crying, quarreling, breaking things and refusing to work." Children were oppressed by child-rearing which concentrated on breaking their wills and fitting them to society. He believed that a better method encouraged children's instincts for imitation and play. Society must respect nature and provide [|] for the harmless release of all desires and passions; otherwise, the repressed would result in a "countermarch" of evil and violence. (Roelofs 2015: 409-410)

"Granted the truth of the theory now believed to be true, that the very essence of all civilisation is to train out of man, the beast of prey, a tame and civilised animal, a domesticated animal" (Nietzsche 1921: 24).

Fourier's indictment of capitalism was appreciated (some would say appropriated) by Marx and Engels, but there were significant differences between the two socialist doctrines. Fourier disapproved of all violence and revolution, did not see class truggle as the pivot of socialist transformation, and desired the happy collaboration of all classes, ages, talents, and personality types. Fourier's Harmony permitted private property, profit making and unequal consumption - as long as everyone enjoyed a high material and cultural standard. The proletariat was not the instrument of socialist transformation; that was the mission of the enlightened of any class. (Roelofs 2015: 410)

That is to say, the rich can be rich, as long as everyone else is guaranteed a minimum. Our current state of affairs does not live up to this. There are immensely, unimaginably rich people while homelessness and starvation are common. As to the insistence on proletariat being the key to salvation, this was Winston's mantra, yet he himself was an "enlightened" member of a higher class.

For several years, Arthur Brisbane had a thrice-weekly column on Fourierism in the New York Tribune, which omitted some of the wilder aspects, but explicated the basic ideas. The advocates of associationism, as it was often called, regarded it as a preferred model for the settlement of the West (Bestor 1970). Forty-five Fourierist "phalanxes" were created in the United States; the best known was Brook Farm in Roxbury, Massachusetts (Guarneri 1991). There were also many religious communities, of which teh Shaker settlements in New England, Kentucky, Ohio, and elsewhere were most numerous. Whatever their inspiration, they saw themselves as providing a practical alternative to isolated monoculture farming, slave plantations, and industrial capitalism. (Roelofs 2015: 417)

May explain why I'm meeting details of Fourier's theory of passions in these papers rather than the "Abstract Theory" portion in Brisbane's compendium where they should have been divulged.

Some may argue that cooperatives are not in accordance with "human nature" and that people will not be able to "get along." This ignores the eons of human tribal history, surely as genetically significant as the aggressive drives. Furthermore, people do not "get along" very well in individual families; pioneer farmers' domains were rife with domestic violence. Communal living skills can be learned - after all, there have been successful experiments. Those older sustainable communities that had a probationary period did not admit troublemakers and those unsuited to the lifestyle. (Roelofs 2015: 420)

"We do not know what our nature permits us to be" - Rousseau.

Bowles, Robert C. 1960. The Reaction of Charles Fourier to the French Revolution. French Historical Studies 1(3): 348-356. [JSTOR / DOI: 10.2307/285974]

The criterion of judgment by which Fourier evaluated the French Revolution was a vast scheme of universal perfection supported by an ingenious system of psychology designed to govern every phase of social and industrial life. He spoke of this scheme as God's social code,f or he felt that the Creator had placed it in juxtaposition with the natural laws of the physical universe as revealed by Sir Isaac Newton. (Bowles 1960: 349)

Universal analogy and psycho-physics.

The futile pursuit of liberty has been one of the most tragic blunders made by our century, asserted Fourier, for it cost Europe four million lives during the Revolution and wars of the Empire. Those who sang its praises could not define it, nor did they know what it was, for they were "simplists" who saw only the obvious facet of a many-sided concept. Liberty meant to them little more than a simple corporeal freedom. The workers and salaried people possess only this degree of liberty, for they are bound by social chains just as slaves are bound by physical ones. True liberty, ccording to Fourier's analysis, must guarantee to everyone a minimum of subsistence, the privileges of leagues to protect this minimum, a freedom from anxiety, and in case of necessity, the right of theft to appease hunger. It must also include the complete release of all the psychological forces underlying human behavoor, and for this reason, it is indivisible. He was most dogmatic in his insistence that God denied approval of that freedom which does not extend alike to all persons. The revolutionists, he complained, exclude a half of humanity from the outset, for they did not lighten the burden to women one iota. These levellers who upset all other social relationships failed to abolish prevalent prejudices concerning love and marriage, and that one mistake, alone, would have caused the Revolution to flounder and wreck. (Bowles 1960: 350)

Total liberty includes freedom from want. I suspect that nothing of the kind can be found among other political philosophers.

The work teams of Fourier's utopian association were to be composed of men and women possessing very unequal fortunes, for it is only in such a way that proper balances can be attained. Rich and poor easily become the best of friends when tehy are united by bonds of industrial interest. NOthing stimulates the poor, obscure worker like being teamed with a very wealthy one in an industrial intrigue whose purpose is to outproduce another team. Fourier cited the example of Louis XVI and his good-natured boasting about his skill at the humble trade of locksmithing. This was merely a friendly gesture toward those who plied the trade seriously, and in a more advanced society, the king might have belonged to a locksmithing team, much to the delight and benefit of everybody concerned. Such are the natural functions of inequalities. (Bowles 1960: 351)

A bold vision, but one that would require rich people to be human still, and not scaly dragons who imagine themselves superhuman because they've won the game of exploiting humankind.

Fourier's conclusion was that the only remedial measure which could have averted the bloodshed and chaos of the Revolution and the innumerable scourges which grew out of it was the adoption of universal agricultural and industrial associations based upon the social code of God. This code will be revealed to man only when man ceases to follow the dictates of the sophists and obeys without exception all of his own psychological impulses. It is through these natural impulses that the Creator makes his will known to man. (Bowles 1960: 256)

While Roelofs's "full expression of all human passions" is preferable to Bell's "complete release of the passions", this here is probably closest to the original. By "expression" Roelofs is taking passion as emotion (tinted by Darwinian expression of emotions), with "release" Bell is, on the other extreme, taking passion as hydraulic valve of sorts (tinted by Freudian psycho-hydraulics). Bowles hits the mark, I think, because "psychological impulses" embodies the motive force Fourier attributed to passions; "obeyance" is in line with Fourier's contemporaries' view of passions.

Silberner, Edmund 1946. Charles Fourier and the Jewish Question. Jewish Social Studies 8(4): 245-266. [JSTOR]

François-Charles-Marie Fourier (1772-1837) was a noted advocate of reform in his day, and his ideas have continued to command a considerable degree of interest. Fourier envisaged the transformation of the individualistic capitalist order into a harmonious society based on cooperative communities, which he termed "phalansteries." Each of these units, consisting of about 1,500 persons, was to constitute an independent economic group, and its income was to be divided thus: four-twelfths to capital, five-twelfths to labor and three-twelfths to "talent." To judge by the number of publicatons devoted to the man and his ideas, Fourier still continues to attract the attention of scholars and writers on social problems. (Silberner 1946: 245)

Still does. But "the number of publications devoted to the man and his ideas" seem meager; I managed to scrape together only some 30 papers.

It is no exaggeration to say that Fourier's knowledge of the Jews was quite rudimentary. Even if he had been interested in their culture, which does not seem to have been the case, he would certainly not have had the time for such studies. For it should not be forgotten that from the day he left secondary school, equipped with a rather mediocre education, he was preoccupied with the tasks which provided him with his modest livelihood. All he knew about the Jewish problem, or rather all he thought he knew, he learned from newspapers or from personal experience, which was inevitably very restricted in scope. (Silberner 1946: 246)

In 1946, evidently, "the Jewish problem" was not yet a problematic expression. Imagine some Soviets writing of "the Estonian problem".

And that is not all: they do not shrink even from high treason. "The Jews, by virtue of their dedication to trade, are the spies of all nations and, if need be, informers and hangmen, as one may see in Turkey today, where [|] they denounce, at so much per head, outcasts in hiding, and commit a thousand other infamous deeds." (Silberner 1946: 247-248)

I could see that. I'm still trying to shake off the stereotype-confirming impression I received from watching Eric Weinstein guesstimating Jeffrey Epstein's monetary worth.

Few social reformers have laid greater emphasis on the necessity of applying a rigorous method to the social sciences. It is therefore of some interest to inquire whether, in examining the Jewish problem, he follows his own methodological precepts. In embarking on the study of society, we must, according to Fourier, "forget all we have learned"; subject all our ideas to the test of "absolute doubt"; "explore the entire field of (social) science"; establish our judgments on the facts and "accept only the truth confirmed by experience"; avoid "taking errors that have become prejudices for principles." A cursory glance at Fourier's works suffices to show that neither in dealing with the Jews nor in examining other subjects, does he practice what he preaches. (Silberner 1946: 254)

This contradiction I've already noted with regard to Fourier's beliefs about life on other planets, upon which he has much to say without any observation or experiment.

He led the monotonous and restricted life of a man whose ideas and tastes were above his material position and who, according to his own testimony, was reduced to "trivial jobs incompatible with study," for which he yearned. (Silberner 1946: 256)

Don't I know it.

Bourgin, who has meticulously studied Fourier's sources, observes with reason that nowhere in his work can the derivation of his theories or the origin of a doctrine be determined wit hany certainty. The reason is that Fourier read incredible little. "This ignoramus," as Bourgin, the leading expert on Fourier, calls him, cared little about specific, formal theories, and he was acquainted with them only to the extent that tradition, popular teaching or the press made them in some way familiar and common. His own doctrine was developed by an internal process on which no particular writer seems to have exercised a perceptible influence. (Silberner 1946: 258)

Quite unlike my favorite authors who read widely and make it an intellectual pleasure to find where they derived some part of their own writings.

It is in this complex of "appeals of self-interest" (stimulants d'amour-propre) that the origin of Fourier's Zionism must be sought. (Silberner 1946: 265)

Noted for the French expression, which Dictionary.com gives as self-esteem or self-respect, but elsewhere I've found to be synonymous with "selfishness" pure and simple. It is literally "self-love", which is what it evokes in Estonian (enesearmastus).

Leopold, David 2011. Education and Utopia: Robert Owen and Charles Fourier. Oxford Review of Education 37(5): 619-635. [JSTOR]

Owen's central claim about human nature (repeated endlessly in his writings) has two (equally contestable) component parts. First, he insists that individuals do not form their own character, rather their character is wholly formed for them by circumstances. Second, he insists that individuals are consequently not accountable for their own sentiments and habits; to imagine that they merit rewards for some actions and punishments for others is a fundamental mistake. Owen maintains that with the application of the right means any 'general character' from the 'best' to the 'worst' can be created in a community. (Leopold 2011: 621)

Sounds like an anticipation of Watsonian behaviorism.

Class struggle is 'irrational' because it presupposes what is - on the Owenite account - false, namely that the 'higher classes' are responsible for the misery of the 'lower classes'. And it is 'useless' because it encourages (misplaced but nonetheless real) resistance to change on the part of the 'higher classes'. Rich and poor, Owen avers, have but one interest, and the latter ought to view the former not as class enemies but as potential friends and active collaborators. (Leopold 2011: 622)

Potential friends and active collaborators don't lobby to remove regulations that help preserve your life and limb, wouldn't protest to minimum wage catching up to inflation, etc.

Girls were taught to sew and make useful garments, to prepare appetising food economically, and to keep a neat and ordered house. Boys were instructed in the art of war - there were drill exercises in the playground, training in the use of firearms, and some introduction to military tactics. Owen enthuses about the individual and collective advantages of such training: it encourages 'attention, celerity, and order', and provides for teh self-defence that would be necessary as long as irrational beings still remained in the world (Owen 1993a: 72). (Leopold 2011: 625)

Gender stereotypes. Only about the fifth or sixth time I meet "celerity" (swiftness of movement) in the wild. While irrational beings still remain in the world - if the world is to accommodate any living organisms besides our vain species - then military training will be necessary for ever? Or is it only until all of humanity has been incorporated into Owenite communities?

The means of instruction were designed to make learning a pleasure and delight to children. Reflecting Owen's controversial views on responsibility, therew as to be no scolding or punishment (or rewards) of children; teachers were required rather to show affection and 'unceasing kindness' to all their charges (Owen 1993d: 287). Children were not to be irritated or bored by books, and [|] every effort was made to use 'sensible signs' in lessons and lectures (that is, models, diagrams and specimens of the things themselves). Conversation with teachers was to be the norm, and children were encouraged to ask questions and seek clarification. Lessons might be held indoors or outdoors, and there were occasional trips (to learn about agriculture and natural history). (Leopold 2011: 625-626)

Somewhat more agreeable, though I'd question the means of making children not irritated or bored by books.

As well as being formed with the best of characters, children would be taught to reason for themselves. For example, when learning to read, the content of books was to be discussed (not lerant by rote). If children could be taught to think and reason correctly, Owen insists, they would discover how to distinguish truth from falsehood for themselves. (Leopold 2011: 626)

Yeah, that's sensible. This blog, after all, is a discussion about books that I'm having with myself, or my past selves. Group seminars and reading discussions I haven't found half as productive as reflecting and replying to the text.

In adulthood, Fourier earned a modest living from a variety of commercial jobs (mainly in the silk and textile industry of Lyon), but increasingly devoted his energies to producing a torrent of idiosyncratic brochures, multi-volume treatises, letters and polemics. Educational themes took up a large part of his Traité de l'association domestique-agricole (1822), and early references to Fourier often describe him as a theorist of education. His lesser publications also include a strange pamphlet (the Mnémonique géographique), which sought to function as both a coded introduction to his own system and a critique of contemporary geography teaching (Beecher 1986: 378-380). Despite a deserved reputation for being a difficult and suspicious person, Fourier gradually accumulated a small school of followers, complete with its own journals (Le Phalanstère and La Phalange). He lived in Paris for the last 15 years of his life, obsessed with the threat of plagiarism and the need to find a patron (to fund a trial community). (Leopold 2011: 627)

Starting to look like fuller picture of a person.

Fourier shared Owen's concern with human nature, but with a crucial difference: he saw character as God-given and liable to discovery, rather than plastic and open to creation. Given His own nature, it was impossible that God had not provided for the terrestial happiness of humankind. The role of the social theorist was consequently to discover the key which would make that earthly paradise achievable. Fourier acknowledges that he appears an unlikely prophet, but maintains that God had once before chosen the most obscure man to deliver the most important message to thew orld. The key in question involves a divinely underwritten model of human nature, according to which individuals are born with different innate dispositions and propensities. The problem with all hithero existing societies was that they had (unintentionally) costrained and misdirected that nature. What was needed instead were social arrangements that would facilitate the free development and deployment of these basic human characteristics. (Leopold 2011: 627)

This God-givenness really stands out in his text. The universal analogy with physical laws is really weak. Interesting, but extremely dubious.

There are few details of communal life that Fourier can resist describing, but its architecture is a particular obsession. He was especially enthusiastic about the covered walkways (cooled in the summer and heated in winter) encircling the Phalanstery - the grand central building of the community, combining public and private spaces - and connecting it to surrounding buildings. (Leopold 2011: 628)

Why not. It'd be great if there was somewhere to walk around in any weather whatever.

The most striking social feature of the community is that it has class divisions but no class antagonisms. There would be classes in that disparities of income would coalesce to form three groups with slightly distinct lifestyles (the rich would include wealthy shareholders helping to finance the community, and drawing an income from their investment). There would be no class antagonisms, however, because their primary cause - poverty - would be absent. Fourier insists that it is not inequality per se that causes class antagonisms; disparities in wealth only [|] provoke conflict in the absence of provision for our essential needs. And Harmony would eradicate poverty by instituting what would now be called a universal basic income; that is, an income paid to individuals, irrespective of their income from other sources, and without requiring the performance of any work. In Harmony, this income would be set at a subsistence level (covering basic needs). (Leopold 2011: 628-629)

Called it. Anticipating UBI is probably one of the reasons why Fourier is currently having a resurgence. A solution like UBI is increasingly becoming unavoidable. Eradicating poverty would not simply do away class antagonisms tho, it would effectively do away with most criminality.

The most striking institutional feature of Harmonian education is that it takes place without schools and without teachers. First, education occurs not in schools, nor in the family, but in the wider community. It is the Phalanx that collectively raises and educates Harmonian children. Fourier is usually said to 'abolish' the family, but that description is surely misleading. The modern family certainly disappears, and there are communal arrangements for child rearing. However, mothers breastfeed their children, biological parents often have close relationships with their offspring, and the familial passion is identified as one requiring expression. Second, there is no longer a class of professional educators. Harmony would, of course, contain people who teach others, but they would do so as one of many different activities as they go about their daily lives. (Leopold 2011: 630)

Learn by doing from people who already do. "Family" would probably amount to the relationship fathers had with their children on Trobriand according to Malinowski: they'd simply be their favorite children, upon they'd lavish gifts and best pieces of food.

A new volunteer for the series - a candidatemember of the green pea shellers - would perform the latter role. Their task was the simplest, but they would, if successful, feel that they had contributed as much as anyone, and be rewarded with a decoration for their hat or collar. (A succession of such decorations would, in due course, mark their ascent through the work group.) In this way, social arrangements which encourage natural proclivities are used to initiate children into the world of work. Fourier identifies the five dominant tastes of children as: a desire to 'ape' or imitate; an eagerness to follow (slightly) older children; a fondness for small things; the enjoyment of rummaging about; and the love of making noise. The tableau of the little peas shows the first two of these instincts, in particular, being used to constructive ends within the Phalanx (Fourier 1972: 307-310). (Leopold 2011: 631)

As I suspected - gamification of work!

These moral motivations are accompanied, and reinforced, by a bewildering range of ceremonial ranks and titles, which are highly sought after by members who yield to no one in loyalty to their own intermediate association (Fourier 1972: 317-318). (Leopold 2011: 632)

Such gamification tactics are already in use on social media platforms (reddit and facebook). That children and many adults alike love "getting XP" and rising in "levels" requires no further comment.

Fourier sees education, first, as properly aimed at liberating character, developing and deploying (not repressing and misdirecting) our God-given essential passions. (Leopold 2011: 632)

Even more to the point than the previous verbs associated with the passion (see above).

Fifth, freedom is at the heart of Harmonian education; children seemingly profit from instruction only when, and insofar as, they have themselves solicited it. (Leopold 2011: 633)

I'd argue that this applies equally to adults. One can be "taught" by unpleasant means, sure, but one "learns" best out of curiosity.

Detailed descriptions of an ideal society, of the kind that Owen and Fourier provide, can have a number of additional functions. These utopian designs can, for instance, play a critical role, providing a vantage point from which to evaluate less than ideal societies. They can also reflect their historical context, telling us something about the world in which they were written. They can also help to clarify particular (conceptual and normative) issues, acting as though experiments which help us understand something better. They can also console, acting as a diversion from the harsh realities of the existing world. And they can also, of course, cheer, entertain and otherwise amuse their readers. I do not mean to suggest that all of these potential functions - the list is not intended to be exhaustive - will necessarily be of interest to educationalists (qua educationalists). However, the existence of these other functions does show that the constructive weakness (real or imagined) of these ideal commonwealths is not enough to make them worthless to that audience. The interest of utopian writings can sometimes lie elsewhere. (Leopold 2011: 634)

Damn educationalists and their broad understanding of what a text can do. Let's compare these points with Lotman's:

  • Critical: nearly Lotman's 3 (L3), that is, "Communication of the reader with himself", or rather, with one's own cultural tradition.
  • Historical: (L2), "Communication between the audience and the cultural tradition." More-or-less exact correspondence.
  • Clarificatory: either not included or metaphorically L4, i.e. "Communication of the reader with the text", in which case the figurative "conversation" with the text is primarily conceptual or semantic.
  • Escapist: not included in Lotman's scheme but essentially not communicative; more like the textual analogue of phatic communion - reading a text for the mere pleasure of reading it (cheer, entertain) or act as a diversion (Bart reading the solar system poster to shut out the amorous noises of Skinner and Krabappel).
Anyway, best paper in this series thus far.

Levi, Jane 2015. Charles Fourier Versus the Gastronomes: The Contested Ground of Early Nineteenth-Century Consumption and Tastes. Utopian Studies 26(1): 41-57. [JSTOR / DOI: 10.5325/utopianstudies.26.1.0041]

The extraordinary utopian thinker Charles Fourier (1772-1837), if known at all, is more often derided than celebrated, even though in the mid-nineteenth century there were up to two hundred thousand Fourierists in the United States and numerous publications and associations inspired by his ideas in France, the United States, and the United Kingdom. (Levi 2015: 42)

Huh. Wouldn't have imagined so large a following.

Fourier's vision is at once systematic and extraordinary, so that the boundaries between possible fact and fantastical fuction are blurred in a way that does not often apply to ostensibly political writing. Perhaps as a result of this, far more scholars have paid attention to Marx's dismissive comments about Fourier's lack of realism and dislike of industrialization than to Engels's approval. But not only did Engels approve of Fourier's fundamental ideas on social structure (including the emancipation of women), he also appreciated his skills as both a thinker and a writer, acknowledging his debt to Hegelian dialectics and appreciating his accomplished satirical style. (Levi 2015: 42)

So it is, a whole page in Engels' Socialism: Utopian and Scientific is dedicated to Fourier, his style, his view of the emancipation of women and the four phases of society, concluding rather starkly: "As Kant introduced into natural science the idea of the ultimate destruction of the Earth, Fourier introduced into historical science that of the ultimate destruction of the human race."

Fourier defined his vision of the future utopian world, called Harmony, in terms of some of the basic activities of everyday life - reforming the world by reforming social interaction and expressions of human urges. Food is prominent among the images and examples he uses to put forward his theories; indeed, good food lies at the heart of his new world, rising far beyond mealtimes (though even these are spectacularly transformed) to become a key component in work, education, diplomacy (including warfare), and religion. (Levi 2015: 44)

Here I think "passion" became "urge". On the whole it looks correct, keeping in mind that "taste" was one of the "luxurious" passions.

The fundamental conception is that gastrosophy encompasses a combination of production, preparation, distribution, and consumption of food, so that the truly developed sense of taste consists of five main elements. The four "wheels of the cart" are (agri)culture, preservation, cooking, and gastronomy, and these four "pivot" around hygiene in equilibrium, otherwise known as health, involving a proper balancing of the temperaments, tastes, and digestion. In other worlds, not only must the gastrosophic individual be equally expert and involved in agriculture, preservation, cookery, and gastronomy, but knowledge of all these should also operate in concert to achieve the proper balance and ideal health for each person. Fourier insists than any one branch of this knowledge is meaningless without the others. (Levi 2015: 45)

Fullness typical of Fourier. Reminds me of that time I went online to search for a recipe for omlette and somehow ended up reading about how chicken should be raised and fed to produce the best eggs.

Rousseau's rigorous and ascetic approach to food, such as Emile's simple and antisensuous vegetarian diet, his palate explicitly to remain uncorrupted by the fussing of French chefs and their sauces, would find few friends in Harmony. In Harmony, an individual's taste and character starts at birth regardless of gender and is specifically cultivated and expressed through food. Babies are cared for in communal nurseries, where they are breast-fed by wet nurses of the appropriate temperament when their own mothers are busy elsewhere. The description of this practice gives an opportunity to directly criticize J. J. Rousseau, whose "luxurious" and "punishing" ideas on breast-feeding (and by extension the place of women) are described as being as ridiculous as his social contract. (Levi 2015: 46)

Looks like Rousseau was an "influence" to Fourier much like Durkheim was for Malinowski.

This ability to eat what seems like an excessive amount is balanced by the development of accelerated digestion, and Fourier is at pains to point out that the perfect matching of food to temperament and the guarantee of scintillating conversation with ideas companions at every meal, coupled with the attraction of the pleasures to follow it, will guard against any Cockaigne-like scenes of gluttony and excess. (Levi 2015: 50)

The communion of food!

Beecher, Jonathan 1985. Parody and Liberation in The New Amorous World of Charles Fourier. History Workshop 20: 125-133. [JSTOR]

Charles Fourier was the boldest and most original thinker among the strange group of early nineteenth-century radical social theorists whom Frederick Engels first identified as 'utopian socialists.' He was in fact so bold and so original that even some of his most ardent admirers have found it difficult to write about him without questioning his sanity. Others have simply discounted his wilder speculations, preferring to consider his thought from the standpoint of its contribution to the development of a socialist ideology understood to have reached maturity in the writings of Marx and Engels. Thus for several generations scholarly debate over Fourier's ideas focussed largely on a single set of questions: Was he or wasn't he a socialist? And what was the relationship of his thought to the 'scientific socialism' of Marx and Engels? In recent years the boundaries of the discussion have widened. Fourier is now seen as an ancestor of surrealism, of psychoanalysis, and of feminism. What has not changed is the tendency to view him as a precursor - a thinker important mainly for his contribution to movements and ideologies which only became fully self-consious long after his death. (Beecher 1985: 125)

The true secret of his staying power might be that he's not boring.

One of the fundamental conditions for the realization of Fourier's amorous utopia was what he called the 'sexual minimum'. In the ideal world which he called Harmony every mature man and woman would be guaranteed a satisfying minimum of sexual pleasure. Whatever his or her age and no matter how bizarre his or her desires, no Harmonian could go unsatisfied. Fourier maintained that this sexual minimum would play a role in the amarous world similar to that played by what he called the 'social minimum' in the world of work. Labor could become an instrument of human freedom and human self-expression only when all men and women were freed by a guaranteed income from the obligation to work. Similarly love could become a force for both individual liberation and social solidarity only when its expression had been purged of every trace of coercion and constraint. For Fourier the important thing about this sexual minimum was that it removed the fear of sexual deprivation which falsefied amorous relations in contemporary society. (Beecher 1985: 126)

No more incels.

Fourier completed Le Neuveau monde amoureux in 1818, but he never dared to publish it. His disciples, who sought to transform Fourierism into a reformist movement for 'peaceful democracy', pretending it didn't exist. It was only in 1967, a century and a half after Fourier wrote it, that it finally appeared in an edition prepared by Simone Debout. At that time almost everyone interested in Fourier agreed that its publication was a major event. Apparently confirming the view of those who held that Fourier's [|] real importance was not as an economic thinker but as a prophet of instinctual liberation, Le Nouveau monde amoureux seemed to call for a major reassessment of Fourier. (Beecher 1985: 127-128)

Could it have influence Huxley's Brave New World? The titles are similar, and all the orgies in that novel appear to be catalogued in Fourier's work. Did Huxley somehow have access to the manuscripts?

His statement in his first major work that "the extension of the privileges of women is the fundamental cause of all social progress" became one of the battlecries of radical feminism in the 1840s and served Flora Tristan, who knew Fourier during his old age, as the epigraph for her L'Emancipation de la femme (1845). Fourier's contributions to early feminist ideology were significant enough that he has even (erroneously) been credited with inventing the [|] word 'féminisme.' But still, as a few writers have suggested, there are problems with Fourier's feminism. No more than Prosper Enfantin was he concerned to change the conventional ideas of woman's nature. In fact, one repeatedly finds Fourier falling back on clichés in his characterization of women - their inclinations, their aptitudes, and even their ability to respond to his own writings. In Le Nouveau monde amoureux he often describes women as 'sensualists' moved by 'gross physical desires' which men must satisfy if they don't want to be ridiculed by women. And while developing an argument, he can suddenly interrupt himself to observe that he has doubtless failed to make the issues intelligible to his female readers because he lacks the ability to satisfy what Diderot calls the taste of women for 'flowers of rhetoric' and 'the dust of butterfly's wings.' (Beecher 1985: 128-129)

The corresponding endnote reads: "This claim, which appears in much of the recent literature on the history of French feminism, appears to derive from Benoîte Groult, Le Féminisme au masculin Paris 1977." Even I detected a passage in The Theory of Social Organization that was less than generous to women, something to the effect that if they don't develop hobbies in their youth they'll become bored and boring people in their old age. This no doubt applies on both genders but the implication is that women are less willing to develop life-long and satisfying hobbies and prefer to be entertained by suitors in youth, to be abandoned and alone when their looks fade.

What Fourier may have been offering in Le Nouveau monde amoureux is not so much the blueprint of an amorous utopia as a remarkable parody of the customs and institutions of civilized society, a parody in which the familiar world is turned upside down and stood on its head. (Beecher 1985: 130)

This was the takeaway from this paper in the previous one I read, offering a pretty substantial case for Fourier's social construction of gastrosophy being likewise a parody of contemporary French food culture.

What I have tried to offer here by way of conclusion is little more than a sketch of one possible reading of Le Nouveau monde amoureaux - a reading which interprets the text not as the map of a future utopia and not as a fixed body of idas to be judged on the basis of its consistency with other, more modern ideas, but as something closer to a mental exercise designed to reveal the new world of possibilities that might be opened up by adapting Christian and courtly institutions to an ethic of self-indulgence. One might also argue that Fourier's parody of organized Christianity is the vehicle for a demonstration of what might really be entailed in a religion which took seriously the Christian injunction to 'love thy neighbor'. (Beecher 1985: 132)

Naturally, Fourier was as scathing towards (at least one form of) Christianity as he was towards commerce.

Butler, Brian E. 2003. Morality, Economy, and the Nature of the World: Fourier and Thoreau. Studies in Popular Culture 26(2): 89-108. [JSTOR]

Thoreau's writings upon economy were composed within an era of American utopian experimentalism. Hope for a more perfect society was in the air. This paper investigates Thoreau's thoughts on economy in conjuction with one powerful influence in social or utopian thought during his era - Charles Fourier's design for an ideal society or "Harmonic Association." This utopian vision was widely propagated in America through the works and efforts of Albert Brisbane and Horace Greeley among many others. Thoreau was well acquainted with both of these "propounders" of Fourier's ideas. Horace Greeley was especially important to Thoreau's own literary career. Fourier's ideas were specifically popularized in America within Brisbane's book, The Social Destiny of Man. (Butler 2003: 89)

Brisbane's Social Destiny of Man: Or, Association and Reorganization of Industry (1840) is available but the pages must have been really thin because the text from the other side of the page shows through and makes it difficult to read. I'd much rather take on a newer translation of Fourier.

To do this I will first give an outline of Fourier's "moral-less" societal plan. More specifically I will highlight two central metaphors of his system, that of societal harmony as musical harmony, and that of humanity as nature's caretaker. I then push for an interpretation of Thoreau as propounding an alternative mythos that places humanity within Nature, not as caretaker, but as a sojourner. (Butler 2003: 90)

Not sure if Fourier's social construction is amoral or hypermoral. Personally I found Fourier's extreme caretakerism (let's eradicate deserts and marshes, in fact every ecological extreme not suitable to humans) off-putting. Thoreau on the other hand, going by quotes presented here, is flowery to the point of incomprehension.

Fourier starts with the conviction that there is a plan of God, which provides a social order that will, if implemented, bring about mankind's complete happiness. In opposition to the moralist, who is attempting to change human nature, Fourier believes we must adapt the environment to man's essential needs. For Fourier and Brisbane, the root of evil lies in following a wrong form of social organization - "we cannot change human nature, we can only change its developments, give it a harmonic, instead of an incoherent development." (Butler 2003: 91)

What I like about it is that it's conditional, if there's a God who created the universe then it would be absurd to assume that he/she/it didn't also install a social code into human beings in the form of passional attractions. If you disagree with the absurd premise of divine predestination then what it boilrs down is just an amusing thought experiment as to how to achieve for mankind, which is still developing, a greater happiness than it currently enjoys.

Three of Fourier's twelve essential passions are specially important to the understanding of the "passional" system. These three passions he labels the Cabalist, the Composite, and the Papillonne. The cabalist is the plotting or intrigue passion. When used properly (as opposed to being thwarted through social sanctions) it beneficially draws people together through group intrigue. The "cabalist" passion creates a binding atmosphere of co-conspiracy. The "composite" passion "requires in every action a composite allurement or pleasure of the senses and of the soul." This passion therefore looks to activities that are both diverse and multifaceted. The "papillonne" or butterfly passion links the other two. Because humans like and need alternating tasks in order to [|] avoid monotony, labor should be done in short intervals alternating between a great multitude of tasks. This ensures that the physical or mental aspect in any given task will not exhaust us. (Butler 2003: 93-94)

There might be some potential in conjoining Fourier's social passions with Malinowski's phatic communion. The latter views antipathies as something that can only draw people away from each other, whereas intrigue and rumour can also be used for creating social bonds. Also, in "butterfly passion links the other two" it looks like there might be a Kantian (categorical) logic behind these but it might be this author's unique interpretation.

In Thoreau's sense of the term, Fourier is a champion of the worst aspects of civilization. Thoreau is not as enamored of man's achievemnets or of his position in nature as Fourier. As he writes, "in Wildness is the preservation of the world." Instead of man as the cultivator perfectingthe world, for Thoreau, "almost all man's improvements, so called, as the building of houses, and the cutting down of the forest and of all trees, simply deform the landscape, and make it more and more tame and cheap." (Butler 2003: 101)

With this I cannot but agree. Fourier as if views humanity and nature with two distinct and contradictory lenses: diversity of human passions is good and godly, but biodiversity he couldn't care less about.

Zonderman, David A. 1982. George Ripley's Unpublished Lecture on Charles Fourier. Studies in the American Renaissance 1982: 185-208. [JSTOR]

Once settled at Brook Farm, Ripley turned to Fourier's original writings and was even more captivated with these writings of the master himself. He saw many parallels between Fourier's theories and his own efforts at the Farm. Both men believed in cooperative labor, universal education, and the abolition of class distinctions. (Zonderman 1982: 185)

Is "class distinction" something other than "class differences"? I.e. there are differences in wealth - inequality - but they are not discerned?

This overview is perhaps the strongest part of the lecture; it is a remarkably clear presentation of the essential principles underlying Fourierism. It demonstrates Ripley's earnest effort to make this doctrine approachable, understandable, and acceptable. All the bizarre speculations concerning the future, which Fourier's critics often raised to question his sanity, were distilled out by Ripley. He, and Brisbane, had always been uncomfortable with some of the master's more outlandish schemes. So Ripley made no mention of oceans turning to lemonade or anti-animals populating a new world; instead, he focused on the enormous potential for social reform inherent in the Fourierist system. (Zonderman 1982: 187)

Of course they would censor the best bits that don't serve their own purposes.

Nothing that was remarkable escaped his observation in the course of his travels, nor was his memory less retentive than his other intellectual facilities were powerful and methodical. The climate, the soil, the rivers, hills, forests, etc., the peculiarities of every province in every kingdom which he had visited, were regularly classed in his memory, and critically compared one with another. The number of inhabitants of each city and their respective pursuits of industry, the principal buildings, both public and private, their respective dimensions, beauties, and defects, the width and direction of streets, the height of houses, the nature of building materials, promenades, fountains, vistas, every thing notable in fact was seen by his observing eye, [|] wherever he passed; and when once he had properly observed, he never forgot even the most trifling details. It often happened that those who visited him were astonished to hear him explain the defects of public buildings, the insalubrious distribution of streets, and the particular improvements which might be made in their native cities, through which he had passed only once or twice in his life, and then remained perhaps not more than a few hours. They had passed a great part of their whole lives in their native cities without ever noticing those details which he had pointed to them. "We remember," says Mr. Doherty, "an instance of this nature concerning Metz. One of his friends, a military engineer, who had long been stationed in that city, and who from his profession was well acquainted with it, on hearing him comment learnedly and familiarly on its beauties and defects, the deformities of certain buildings, and the improvements which might be easily made, was led to believe that Fourier had not only resided there many years, but that he had been employed as an Edile of the city; on inquiring how long it was since Fourier had resided there, the answer was that he had never resided there at all; that he had only been there once in his life, about thirty years before that time; and that he then remained only one day in that city, he was either gone to, or returning from Germany; arriving in Metz early in the morning, he was obliged to wait for an evening ceach, and there, not knowing what to do with his time, he passed it in his usual recreation, that of observing the buildings and the neighboring country." (Ripley; in Zonderman 1982: 191-192)

Not the first instance in which Fourier is made to sound autistic. The story is reminiscent of the play, The Legend of 1900, in which a man left on board a trans-Atlantic ship as a baby grows up learning all the European languages and is conversant of every port city, at least from the pier.

The study of languages [|] was the only one for which he appeared to have little attraction. He regarded the variety of languages as one of the signs of the social incoherence of the globe, - as one evidence among many others of the antagonism of man with nature, and the distance of the human race from the attainment of their destiny. (Ripley; in Zonderman 1982: 192-193)

Much like biodiversity, Fourier couldn't care less for linguistic (and possibly cultural) diversity. Only diversity of passions.

He found that Attraction and Repulsion were the two great principles by which the Creator governs the world, and in order to obtain a complete knowledge of these laws, he resolved the study simultaneously the highest and lowest order of creation in the Universe. He [|] considered the stars as the highest order of creation, mankind as the middle term, and the inferior animals and insects as the lowest step in the scale. He supposed that there must be certain general laws of unity common to these three orders of existence or it would be impossible for them to compose our harmonious whole; and he hoped that by studying all that was known in the positive sciences concerning them, he might discover the natural laws of relation which combine them in an integral unity. (Ripley; in Zonderman 1982: 197-198)


Having observed perfect analogy in the different orders of creation in the Universe, he was led to infer that as the Creator was one and the same Being, Infinite and Eternal in his attributes, there must necessarily be a principle of unity and analogy in his creations; that the Creation must necessarily be a reflection of the attributes of the Creator; that the creator being all in all, it was impossible for him to paint or represent any thing but himself in the Creation. From these considerations, Fourier derived the second grand axiom which is at the foundation of his system, "The Creator being one Infinite Harmonious Being, every thing in nature must be an imitation of his own attributes." (Ripley; in Zonderman 1982: 198)

Observation and experiment, not deduction from imagination.

[...] the affinity which binds the atom, the attractive power which governs the planets, the affections which bind human beings to each other in society, are only so many different modes of the one universal law of attraction and repulsion; and from this induction Fourier derived his third general axiom, namely "The permanent attractions and repulsions of every order of beings in the creation, are exactly in proportion to their respective functions and real destinies in the Universe." (Ripley; in Zonderman 1982: 198)

The implication being that human affections are as mechanical and causal as the movements of the planets.

Accordingly, he never aims to construct an ideal form of society; he deals in no hypothesis; he never indulges a philosophical fancy, like Plato, in framing imaginary republics, or invokes the genius of poetry, like Sir Thomas More, to people utopias with visionary beings; but concentrates teh whole force of his intellect on the single question, What is the social order designed [|] for man by the Creator of the Universe? Nothing diverted his attention from this inquiry. He pursued it with the devotion of a prophet who felt that the interests of humanity were staked on the issue. He took no counsel of man. (Ripley; in Zonderman 1982: 199-200)

So he didn't imagine "anti-animals" and didn't take most of his cues from newspapers?

His mind seems to have been absolutely free from prejudices. He brought a virgin soul to commune with the eternal source of truth. He entered the career of discovery like one new born. No splendor of reputation, no force of authority, no magic of sympathy, no charm of traditional opinion could seduce him from his allegiance to God. (Ripley; in Zonderman 1982: 200)

An easy thing to imagine if you're not the one he was prejudiced against. (Cf. Silberner, above.)

Its leading principle that the Universe is constructed on the model of the human soul coincides with the axiom which the celebrated German philosopher Schiller unsuccessfully attempted to expand into a system, and seems to have been dimly foreshadowed in the doctrine of spiritual and material correspondences which holds a conspicuous rank in the teachings of Swedenborg. (Ripley; in Zonderman 1982: 202)

Anthropocentrism at its finest.

The soul, in its original unity, may be regarded as a living force tending to Universal Harmony. The moment we observe its manifestations, we find them divided into three great branches, Sensation, Affection, and Intellect, which exhaust the sphere of its spontaneous action. The Sensitive Passions, corresponding to the Five external senses, connect is with the material world, impel us to the pursuit of material order and harmony, and find their legitimate centre in the true action and gratification of the external senses. The normal development of these five sensitive passions, although not forming the highest aim of the soul, is an essential condition of the true well being of man. It lies at the foundation of all human prosperity. Their claims cannot be overlooked or slighted without defrauding nature. It is a false and perverted spiritualism which seek to develop the higher nature of man by sacrificing the ties which bind him to the material world. We might as well hope to quicken and invigorate his intellectual faculties by cutting off his limbs or putting out his eyes. Next in order, be the four Affective Passions, which comprise the sphere of the moral feelings, or the sentiments which connect the individuals of our race with each other. These are the ties which unite men in the relations of equals, of inferiors and superiors, the relation of the sexes, and of parent and child, or the passions of friendship, of ambition or reverence, of love and familism. These two orders of attractions, or original passion, composed the [|] primary springs of action in man. His fundamental wants grow out of them. They furnish the motives for industry and suggest the method of its true organization. As the light and regulator of these Cardinal Passions, we find three others, belonging to the intellectual sphere, which Fourier terms the Cabalist, the Composite, and the Alternating Passions, but which, considered in reference to their mode of operation, may be called the tendency to Analysis, to Synthesis, and to Observation. (Ripley; in Zonderman 1982: 202)

Ah, now I see the "the occult Pythagoreanism" (Bell 1968: 46). ▲ or △? "Affective" should be first but "moral" is where it should be, and rightly "alter-oriented". I've found other translations of Fourier's works that explain his system of passions more fully.

After centuries of hopeless degradation, of remediless wrongs and sufferings, they have at length received the assurance that their destiny is not forveer to a debasing, monotonous, repugnant, ill paid, painful, and disease-producing toil; in filthy and pestilent shops; under cruel taskmasters; from night to morning, without relief or change; at cutthroat competition, each man with his fellow; and all for a niggardly stipend, never enough to secure a man, much less his family, against sickness and old age, but always keeping him in anxiety on the brink of starvation and death. (Ripley; in Zonderman 1982: 205)

Yeah, thank god all of that is behind us and things are, uh, different? This is a quote from an unknown source, it's "eloquent expounder" remaining "[undeciphered]" in Ripley's manuscript.

Katsaros, Laure 2012. A New World of Love. The Massachusetts Review 53(3): 405-411. [JSTOR]

The world we live in today enjoins us not only to be happy, but also to display our happiness to others. We have less and less of a right to withhold our inner life from view. Instead, we have an apparent obligation to make our most private moments visible. The compulsory display of happiness seems an aftereffect of the later developments in technology; but the dream of it already existed in the imagination of a nineteenth-century utopian named Charles Fourier. (Katsaros 2012: 405)

Odd use of "right" and "compulsory". There's no law forcing you to use social media.

We are accustomed to thinking that our identity is grounded in a place, a home, a lineage. The family is universally considered as the most basic unit of social life. Widows and orphans inspire pity because they have no one but themselves to rely on. But Fourier envied their fate. He considered the family as unnatural, counterproductive, and perverse. In his eyes, men and women who married and had children, as "civilized" society enjoined them to do, inevitably became concerned with their own offspring only instead of keeping the common good in mind. (Katsaros 2012: 405)

Continuous hyperbole is tedious. Did Fourier envied the fate of widows and orphans? Citation needed. He died alone but was that his greatest desire?

Yet this tantalizing glimpse of a happier alternative to marriage and child rearing was shocking enough that The devoted disciples who later edited Fourer's works took pains to minimize the master's radical inversion of moral and sexual norms. When the treatise was republished in 1841, four years after Fourier's death, the editors warned in a preface that Fourier did not recommend that contemporary society should alter its matrimonial customs. They dismissed the ideas on love and family contained in the book as "reforms of a minor order." But nothing could have been further from the truth. For Fourier, only a revolution in gender norms and sexual mores could achieve the state of economic and existential bliss he promised the future citizens of his utopian phalansteries. (Katsaros 2012: 406)

This is beginning to look like a common theme in reflections upon Fourier's followers - hide and minimize the wacky stuff, or what was considered whacky at the time.

Fourier's "new world of love" revolves around a busy schedule of highly ritualized orgies and amorous competitions. Every day, a high priestess, chosen among the older women in the community, presides over the elaborate ceremony that will match the men and women of Harmony according to their "affinities." After a "salvo to Nature" and an initial period of tentative groping, called by Fourier "the semi-bacchanal," partners link up semipermanently. As the ceremony concludes, they engage in "transitional unions," to everyone's satisfaction. Whereas "civilized" society keeps women in a state of sexual subjugation, in Harmony they choose their partners as freely as men do. If the institution of marriage is outlawed, as it inevitably would be in a just world, then frustration, boredom, and infidelity no longer have any reason to exist. New partners are always available. "Civilized" society frowns on the public expression of sexual desire and confines sexuality to the privacy of the marriage bed. But in Fourier's revolutionary new world, sex is part of a public ritual, [|] from which both shame and secrecy are outlawed. Utopia becomes a daily Olympiad - a sexual competition without any losers. (Katsaros 2012: 407-408)

Too bad there doesn't appear to be an English translation. The French paperback is $5.46 but I can't even read a lick of froggish.

Sex in all its forms is innocent; it is the repression of our inborn sexual instincts that creates evil. Fourier views the progress from "civilized" society to Harmony as a return to an Edenic state of childhood. (Katsaros 2012: 408)


When children are allowed to enter Harmony, by being born, they are not raised by their biological parents. Instead, they live in a collective nursery, where nannies care for them. As they get older, they are schooled by educators of both sexes who teach them the arts of music, gastronomy, and horticulture. Fourier invents new words for these quasi-parents, calling them "mentorins" and "mentorines" instead of teachers (the verbal inventiveness that characterizes his writings testifies to his belief that a new language will create a new reality). (Katsaros 2012: 409)

The more I learn about this book the more it dawns on me how deeply Aldous Huxley fucked up. He shows us distant glimpses of the systematic orgies through the gaze of a pseudo-Shakespearean prude and even taints collective nurseries with inhumanity by introducing us to the work of the mentorin(e)s through a lesson about disposing of dead bodies. Most egregiously, even in The Theory of Social Organization Fourier says that children don't understand sex, while Huxley makes children do "love play"!?

Fourier imagines that technology will soon be advanced enough [|] that a "celestial mirror" will orbit the earth and spy out monogamous lovers, exposing their infraction to the whole community. (Katsaros 2012: 410-411)

Satellites. This paper felt needlessly contentious. I'll reserve my judgement as to compulsive happiness in Harmony until I've read more of Fourier.

Theory of Social Organization

We now behold his material wisdom bursting forth in the harmonies of the celestial spheres, and in the organizations of animated Nature, but we have no idea of His political and social wisdom. In these spheres we recognize only the demoniacal spirit, of which our Societies, with their falseness, fraud and oppression, are the manifestation. The spirit of God will only be revealed in the Harmony of the passional Series; in their unity, their virtues, and the charm of perpetual Attraction to useful Industry. (Fourier 1876)

Civilization is man-made and hence can be re-made.

Brisbane, Albert 1876. Introduction to Fourier's Theory of Social Organization. In: Fourier, Charles, Theory of Social Organization. New York: C. P. Somerby, 1-72. [Internet Archive]

He seemed never to weary of the maps and atlases over which he would pore day and night, often spending whole nights absorbed in some special work, purchased with money given him for personal pleasures. (Brisbane 1876: 1)

"His father, a merchant in easy circumstances, gave him all the educational advantages which the times afforded" (ibid, 1).

In order that the reader may fully appreciate the value attached to music by Fourier, and the assistance which it rendered him in his great work of elaborating the theory of social organization, we will state just here what we conceive to be the definition of that art, and its function as a guide in the study of organization. Music is the distribution, [|] classification, coordination and combination of sounds in a measured order, resulting in the production of melody and harmony. It may then be called the harmonious Organization of Sounds, for organization is in reality but the synthesis of classification and combination. Music is the only art that has been developed to a state of exactness. Architecture, painting and all the sister arts are still in a purely empirical stage of development. Forms, colors, perfumes, flavors, etc., await the discovery by science of the theory of their harmonious combination. (Brisbane 1876: 1-2)

A pretty clunky definition of music. Harmony appears to be a throughline in Fourier's thoughts (e.g. harmony of the spheres).

Fourier attached great importance to the study of positive sciences which were then making rapid progress and real conquests. Whereas, for the speculative sciences - metaphysics, political economy, ethics, etc. - which seemed to move without progress in a circle of error, he felt only aversion. (Brisbane 1876: 2)

Perhaps a good counter-balance to Kant's first philosophy.

On the other hand he was sympathetic and specially kind toward the poor. Instances are cited in which he gave away the luncheon prepared for him for school, and even went so far as to reserve a part of his own breakfast to carry to a poor favorite for whom his sympathies had become aroused. (Brisbane 1876: 2)

Noted for the language of sympathies.

He frequently accompanied his mother to the Confessional, and becoming thus initiated into the character of this rite, he began, then at the age of seven or eight, to ponder over the subject very seriously. The result was that he drew up a list of all the sins [|] known to the Church, so far as he could collect them, and thus provided repaired alone to the Confessional, where he began a recitation of the whole list. The priest listened attentively for a few moments, and then, with a jocose reprimand, asked him what he was thinking of. Fourier answered that he wished to make a confession in which no sin should be overlooked. His idea being, that if he took in the whole category, he would secure an integral absolution. This list of sins is now a relic of curiosity. It is written in a clear, firm hand, and the regularity and completeness of the analysis are very remarkable. In it we see a foreshadowing of the future analytic tables, distributed through the works of the great thinker. (Brisbane 1876: 2-3)

An anecdote about how Fourier started drawing up lists in his childhood. Making such a list of sins might have contributed to his views of civilization. "A jocose reprimand" is a juicy archaic phaticism. "Analytic tables" is what he calls them, then. Quite possibly this will get as obtuse as Wake's Vortex Philosophy (1907).

Early in his career, Fourier imbibed a strong antipathy for commerce, an abhorrence of it even. He saw the complication and waste, the falsehood and knavery, the monopoly, adulteration and other forms of fraud which are essential characteristics of our competitive and anarchical system of trade. To him it appeared the spoilator of productive industry - a parasite absorbing the wealth the latter created. He characterizes it in his strong language as "the blood sucker of productive industry - a vulture preying upon its vitals." (Brisbane 1876: 3)

I take part of this antipathy with adblocker and anti-marketing attitudes. Wastefulness is a common point of critique towards capitalism. By calling it "anarchical" he's probably referring to regulations, or rather lack thereof. It is a kind of anarchy when big companies get bigger and bigger by swallowing up smaller ones every day, demonstrating Hobbes's "tooth and claw" type of life for corporations, who are supposed to be people too, my friend. The "parasite" trope has become quite common in lefty discourse and propaganda. People who don't contribute but sit at the table and take part in the food probably wouldn't exist in the further phases of Fourier's social imagination. Is "spoilator" a word?

In this monopoly, Fourier saw an odious license, which, tolerated by society, permitted individuals to speculate on the starvation of the people. It appeared to him an indirect, collective assassination, perpetrated under legal forms; and under these impressions, Fourier was led to make a careful study of the whole system of commerce. (Brisbane 1876: 4)

Jeff the dragon swimming in his winnings Bezos. Were humanity a collective entity, letting a few profit immensely and perpetuate the circumstances that oppress so many would be criminal activity. I wouldn't want heads to roll but I would like "civil forfeiture" to have a meaning opposite to its current one; instead of police confiscating any cash or valuables they find on citizens they suspect of wrongdoing, the financial holdings of the impossibly rich should be surrendered to better the lives of all. Let's see if this statement wavers when I've read more of this book.

Indignant at the excesses of the Revolution, Lyons undertook to resist the powers of the Convention. In this struggle, Fourier lost all his merchandise, which was confiscated for the use of the hospitals and the besieged. In addition to this, he was obliged to bear arms and do the duty of a soldier. He was engaged in some severe conflicts, and on one occasion the column of which he formed a part was almost entirely destroyed by the besieger's cavalry. He escaped, and with a few companions reentered the city. (Brisbane 1876: 4)

That's life for ya. The complaintive tone here requires examination.

Thus Fourier was a witness of, and personally involve in, the French Revolution, the most torrible political drama ever [|] enacted before the eyes of men. With its agitation of new ideas and their bold application, its destructions and reconstructions, it was an experience well calculated to awaken in the human mind the deepest emotions and trains of thought. It was a lesson in political and social questions on a gigantic scale, and produced on Fourier a profound impression. This was the second factor in impelling him to the study of the vast problem of social reconstruction. (Brisbane 1876: 4-5)

▲ - (1) deepest emotions; (2) experience; (3) trains of thought.

△ - (1) destruction and reconstruction; (2) application; (3) new ideas.

At the time we knew him, in 1832, he was sixty years old. His general appearance was that of a country gentleman, with manners wholly unaffected, simple and polite, but distant and reserved. The impression he produced was that of a cast-steel soul, firm and inflexible, and although not melancholy or misanthropic, he always wore an air of great mental preoccupation and absorption. During the two years of our acquaintance with him we do not remember ever to have seen his smile. Fourier was of medium height, compactly built and rather broad across the shoulders, stooping slightly. His head was remarkably spherical. It was nearly as thick through as it was long, and high above the ears. (Brisbane 1876: 5)

Nicer in person, not quite friendly.

At nineteen, observing a cabriolet roll rapidly upon a hard, smooth Park-road with scarcely any friction, he conceived the idea of a mode of locomotion since realized by our railroads. "The engineer to whom I spoke of the idea," says Fourier, "laughed at me." (Brisbane 1876: 6)

Who amongst us didn't invent the railroad at nineteen?

In 1805 or '6, amid the preoccupation of war and military politics, he foresaw and described with accuracy, the future formation of vast joint-stock Companies, destined to monopolize and control all branches of industry, commerce and finance, and establish what he termed "an industrial or commercial Feudalism," - a Feudalism that would control society by the power of Capital, as did the old Baronial or Military Feudalism by the power of the sword, and as despotically. (Brisbane 1876: 6)

Apt description.

Among the influences tending to restrict man's industrial rights, I will mention the formation of privileged Corporations which, monopolizing a given branch of Industry, arbitrarily close the doors of labor against whomsoever they please. These Corporations will become dangerous, and lead to new convulsions on being extended to the whole industrial and commercial system. This event is not far distant, and it will be brought about all the more easily as it is not apprehended. (Fourier 1876: 7)

This is pretty much what we have today - everything owned by a handful of corporations.

We are marching with rapid strides toward a Commercial [|] Feudalism, and to the fourth phase of our Civilization. The Economists, accustomed to reverence everything which comes in the name and under the sanction of Commerce, will see this new Order spring up without alarm, and will consecrate their servile pens to the celebration of its praises. Its debut will be one of brilliant promise, but the result will be an Industrial Inquisition, subordinating the whole People to the interests of the affiliated monopolists." (Fourier 1876: 7-8)

The fourth phase of Civilization being Decay? What is wage-slavery?

As he studied the question, he saw that Commerce as now prosecuted is an effect of the industrial system as a whole - of the individualism, incoherence and disorder that reign in it; or, in other words, of Industry prosecuted by isolated families without association, concert of action, and mutual understanding. In this state of what may be termed industrial anarchy, a class assumes and monopolizes the exchange of products, and manages this exchange in its own exclusive interest, taking advantage of and spoliating the producing classes in a thousand ways. Fourier saw that to effect a Commercial reform, Association and Coöperation must be established among the agricultural classes. (Brisbane 1876: 8)

The phrase "isolated families without association" hints at what Fourier means by "association", i.e. communal living, a community of families. "Spoilation" might have gone out of fashion but damn does it sound good. Bezos's winnings are really spoils, for which he spoliates (?) - yep, "rob of something; plunder" - his workers.

So long as the isolated families of a community continue to make [|] their purchases and sales separately, the basis of the present commercial system will be preserved. It is only by removing the primary cause, which is industrial inchorence and want of concerted action, that a radical chance can be effected. (Brisbane 1876: 8-9)

This sounds surprisingly simple. A world in which a community buys and sells their goods collectively? I also enjoy the fact that "concerted action" is a phrase that appears in Malinowski's writings.

When Fourier found himself face to face with this vast problem of Association - the Association of human beings in their industrial labors and social relations - he saw that to solve it he must discover the means of associating the Passions of men, their characters, tastes and inclinations. How effect this result? How combine and harmonize those forces, apparently so discordant, condemned by moral philosophy as incapable of harmony, and by theology as depraved and vicious? (Brisbane 1876: 9)

Definition of association. Includes both economic and (purely) social aspects. With the "Passions of Men" etc. it looks like Fourier thought that the solution to the vast problem of social progress should be approached with the equivalent of personality psychology.

The social Organism is the Instrument through which the Passions in their external and collective action operate. It is their collective Body, and stands to them in the same relation objectively that the individual body stands to them subjectively. If the Passions are susceptible of harmony in their action, then there must exist Laws which regulate and determine the modes of that action; and the knowledge of these laws is as important in social mechanics as is in celestial mechanics the knowledge of the law which governs the force that moves the planets. (Brisbane 1876: 9)

Not at all surprised that the Body Politick makes an appearance. The analogy given though comes off as specious. I operate my individual body subjectively and through collective action I operate the social Organism objectively? Kantian analysis of the subjective position here might turn out how convoluted this really is. Is this early methodological individualism?

By the Passions Fourier designates the forces or motors in man which impel him to action. These motors are of three classes:
  1. The Sensuous, attracting him to Nature; - the five Senses.
  2. The Moral or Social, attracting him to Humanity; - the Sentiments or Affections.
  3. The Intellectual motors, attracting him to Laws and Principles, to Organization and Order; - the Intellectual Faculties.
Pivot: the Cosmical motor, attracting him to the Universe; - the religious Aspiration, spiritual gravitation. (Brisbane 1876: 9; fn)

Others might call these "motive forces". In essence they are just another variation of the ▲ - with Sensuous covering perception and emotion (the First is often fuzzy between these), the Moral or Social covering conative and alter-oriented, and the third, Intellectual, tending towards lawfulness is a classic very familiar from Kant and Peirce. The Pivot, too, doesn't surprise: Fiordo sketched it well as a sort of compass (Emotional, Physical, Mental, and Spiritual orientations).

One of these laws - that of which he has made the most use in his deductions, and has described in greatest detail - is what he terms the Law of the Series, or the Series of groups, - more fully defined, the Series of contrasted, rivalized and interlaced groups. A more abstract formula would be the Series of groups in accord, [|] dissonance and modulation. It is the law of distribution and classification in creation. This law was spoken of by its discoverer as "la cheville ouvrière de l'harmonie universelle" - the mainspring of universal harmony. (Brisbane 1876: 9-10)

These sound like the logic behind Kant's categories, or whatever Hegel was on about with theses. In essence: different (contrasted and in accord), same (rivalry and dissonance), and mixed (interlaced and modulated).

He rejects as a vain assumption the idea that human reason can evolve by its own speculations and ratiocinations so complex a science as that of social Organization. As well might it attempt to solve abstruse problems in planetary movement without the aid of the law of gravitation. (Brisbane 1876: 10)

You ain't got the answers because you're human. Which one is it, then? Supernatural revelation or thinking machines?

Comte takes as his guide, in social construction, Deduction from the historical past. He transforms the last "organic stage" of human society - the Catholico-Feudal of the middle ages - into the "positive social state" of the future. The Military regime is transformed into an Industrial regime, the great Barons being replaced by "directing Capitalists." Serfdom is transformed into "proletarianism;" the serfs becoming employees, working for wages under the direction of the Capitalists. Religion becomes science; the Priesthood giving place to a body of scientists, called the "Scientific Priesthood." (Brisbane 1876: 11)

Baron Trump. The picture is more-or-less accurate. The problem being that this view perpetuates the status quo, a medieval status quo at that, into perpetuity?

Having elaborated this skeleton construction - this transformation of the medieval system - he then supplements it by his own conceptions, intuitions and fancies. Humanity - le grand Etre (the Great Being) as he terms it - takes the place of the "hypothetical" God of the theological past. To live in the Great Being and its memories takes the place of immortality. Other parts of his theory, as, for instance, the rights and position of women, seem to us, in like manner, dictated by his own personal feelings and conceptions. (Brisbane 1876: 11)

Comte's views summarized, continued. This could be what Durkheim was aiming at in his discussion of how Society takes the place of God. "To live in the Great Being and its memories takes the place of immortality" captures nearly my own digital eschatology - to leave a sizeable trace of your life online can amount to a form of immortality.

Herbert Spencer is now engaged in elaborating a Sociology. In his past works, he has used as his Method and Guide a singel Law in Nature: that of Evolution. This law was first perceived in the material world, and there explained in its operations by Goethe and Von Baer. Spencer has applied it to the intellectual and moral worlds, and will doubtless use it in his social construction. (Brisbane 1876: 11)

Brisbane uses "social construction" in the sense that I used "social imagination" above - in sum, the imagined construct of society.

The important work now incumbent upon the thinkers of our age is the discovery of the Laws of which we have spoken - the Laws which underlie the phenomena of creation, regulating their distribution, coördination and combination. They must be discovered and systematized, reduced to a body, and thus the Science of Laws - the Science of Sciences, created. (Brisbane 1876: 11)

You mean like a Unified Science?

"It was Pythagoras, who was the first of all historical men to utter the great word Cosmos, in the sense we attach to that word. He called the Universe "Order;' the ornamentally ordered; regarding it as now merely a physical, but also a moral and spiritual Whole, whose parts are harmoniously linked together, acting and reacting on each other, and which in its eternal cycle of revolution, forever reveals the same divine Idea." - Bunsen. (Brisbane 1876: 12)

There's no escaping the triangles. The first philosopher is not to be denied!

The Laws which govern the Passions in their social development are, it is evident, those on which Society with its institutions should be based, for Society - the social Organism - being, as already stated, the external Form or Bodyof the passional Forces, must be in unity with them, so that the laws which regulate the Action of the former are necessarily the laws of Organization of the latter. (Brisbane 1876: 13)

This could actually link up with what I've been thinking about recently, on the subject of "Social Atmosphere". The analogy still seems weak. Perhaps more concrete illustrations will reinforce it.

The next important event in his career was the spectacle of the French Revolution. He was a witness of that terrible political drama - of its destructions and massacres. He saw the blind frenzy of parties, the widespread devastation and disruption, and found himself drawn into the struggle at the cost of his fortune, almost of his life. And finally, he saw, as the result of all those horrors, but fragmentary political reforms, while the fundamental elements of the great Social structure remained untouched. He was deeply impressed, and the leading train of thought evolved in his mind appears to have been that, either some demoniacal spirit governs the universe, or the state of things on our globe is false, in contradiction to the order of the universe, and that man is not fulfilling his destiny. He could but conclude that there must exist a contradiction between the state of things on our earth and the general order of the universe - a conflict between the part and the whole, the microcosm and the macracosm. (Brisbane 1876: 14)

Traumatic experiences formative of ideology. Reminiscent of "a false rumor that Posadas was driven mad through torture" (David Broder).

He draws a clear line of demarcation between the order which reigns in the Cosmos and the disorder which reigns on the Earth; and separating the two realms, discriminates between their states. In the Cosmos, he assumes, mathematical order and harmony must reign, otherwise it could not maintain itself, for disorder can lead in the end only to destruction. The planetary harmonies and the general economy of the universal whole, so far as comprehended by man, attests this truth. On the earth, as we know, discord and incoherence prevail. Our Globe and Humanity must, then, be out of unity with the order of the Universe, and consequently in an abonormal [sic] condition. (Brisbane 1876: 14)

The critical philosopher must enquire, what special knowledge did Fourier possess of the "Divine Order" of the Cosmos? What's orderly and harmonious about space debree?

Philosophy, guessing and speculating with childlike simplicity, [|] observing man, in his undeveloped state, sensual and selfish, holds him to be incapable of any spiritual elevation. Interpreting the future by the past, it assumes that the disorders which now reign are normal and permanent; leaving it to be inferred that this state of Disunity is ordained. This is the superficial view of mankind in general - a deduction from imperfect data, raised to a theory. The apparently long historical past overwhelms the mind and induces the belief that it must be a true exponent of the normal life of Humanity in its career on the Globe. (Brisbane 1876: 14-15)

Pretty much the classical assumption, found even among the best of the old guard: "If we now try to sum up what has been inferred about primitive speech, we see that by our backward march we arrived at a language whose units had a very meagre substance of thought, and this as specialized and concrete as possible; but at the same time the phonetic body was ample; and the bigger and longer the words, the thinner the thoughts!" (Jespersen 1922: 432) - Or: "The Trobriander does not analyse the nature of things, to dissolve it into attributes or relationships; he does not direct his interest toward transcending the object in any way whatever." (Lee 1940: 362)

Fourier, guided by his Laws, shows that Humanity is in the early stage of its social career - in its social childhood, engaged in developing the elements of society, namely: industry, the arts, sciences, and institutions, and in the making experiments in their combination and organization. The different systems of society, which have been established up to the present time, are the successive stages through which humanity has passed. (Brisbane 1876: 15)

Progressive - we are still growing and developing.

The out-lying Societies, such as the Chinese, Japanese, Tartar, Mexican, and others, are outside of this chain or series, and have exercised no real influence on the course of progressive history. Not even the Hindoo civilization, founded by the Aryan race that migrated early into India, is included in the great historical current. (Brisbane 1876: 15)

Printing, gunpowder and mathematics have had no effect on the course of history. Classical eurocentrism?

The social constructions which have taken place in the past are the work of the instincts and speculations of the founders of society. More exactly stated, they are the product of the institutions, emotions, and interests of theocratic and military rulers, and of the speculations of philosophers and legislators. Thus they have been founded upon the arbitrary laws of men, instead of the Cosmical or Divine laws. (Brisbane 1876: 16)

Very keen to know the source of this special knowledge on the Divine Order. Or, how could any human mind adequately interpret Cosmic laws, limited and faulty as it is?

Some reforms are introduced, but there are no really new organizations. It is evident, therefore, that Humanity is still living under an order of society, the elements of which are but incompletely developed, and the organization of which is based on arbitrary and artificial Laws devised by human reason. If Humanity with its Globe is out of unity with the general plan of cosmical order and destinies, it is because it is living under this incomplete and imperfect social organism. Its psychical Forces are left undeveloped or are falsely developed by its Institutions, and it is without industrial combination and association. It is hence in a state of Social discord, and of Industrial weakness. (Brisbane 1876: 16)

I appreciate the alliteration between "arbitrary and artificial". We can't say that no new organizations are to be seen during this disruptive era. Still it is yet difficult to say if the changes are for better or worse.

The disorders which exist in the social world - war, oppression, servitude, poverty, [|] fraud, moral discord, epedemics [sic], vice, crime, and the conflicts of all interests; and those which exist in nature - the deserts, marshes and waste places on the earth's surface; the parasite and noxious creations in the animal and vegetable kingdoms, and the excesses in the atmospheric and climatic systems - are effects of the false social conditions under which Humanity has lived and is living, and are signs of its Disunity with the universal Order. These social and physical disorders, taken as a whole, constitute what is called the Reign of EVil. (Brisbane 1876: 16-17)

Climate chance activists would agree. Maybe not in exactly these terms (disunity with the divine-universal order) but in essence: we are actively making our environment unlivable for ourselves, not to mention all other innumerable species.

The full grown (fully organized and developed) Man is in the normal and predestined state - strong, intelligent and self-directing; while the Child (the undeveloped Man) is in the opposite state - preparatory and transitional - in which it is weak, ignorant and incapable of self-direction. One is a state of relative perfection for the human being; the other that of relative imperfection. (Brisbane 1876: 18)

△ - (1) self-directing, auto-affecting, interomotive, autonomous; (2) strong, physically; (3) intelligent. Will-power has shifted from Second to First.

The Institutions of slavery and hirelingism are false organizations of labor, incident to the incomplete organization of industry. (Brisbane 1876: 18)

"Hirelingism" not found in online dictionaries. From phrases like "the wretched hirelingism of Christendom so demoralizing", "relief from the dark background of hirelingism and heartless routine", "opposed to mere official piety and ecclesiastical hirelingism", and "conditions of base loathsome hirelingism", I take it to be something dull and detested. Nothing more specific.

The Compound-Organic stage of the Globe will be attained only when the human race, living under a true social Organism, shall be able to effect its Universal and Scientific cultivation, and the full development of the Creations upon it. (Brisbane 1876: 19)

Define:noosphere - "a postulated sphere or stage of evolutionary development dominated by consciousness, the mind, and interpersonal relationships".

Matter in addition to being static, is molecular or particled, and necessarily so, for were it absolutely solid and indivisible, no special creations could be evolved from it. (Brisbane 1876: 20)

Word. Granular.

The Organism is composed of the five following branches, or five fundamental Institutions:
  1. Education - the function of which is to develop the Child, the germ of man, and prepare it for its future Social Career.
  2. Industry - the instrument through which Humanity creates wealth, cultivates and embellishes the Globe, and subdues Nature to the reign of mind.
  3. Ethical Institutions - those which regulate the development and external action of the Social Sentiments, and the personal relations to which they give rise.
  4. Political Institutions - those which regulate the collective interests and operations of men as members of the body politic, and their relations to the State.
  5. Religion - which regulates the ideal relations of the finite Soul with the universal Soul; of Humanity with the Cosmos.
Accessory Institutions:
  • Science: Knowledge, Direction, Organization.
  • Art: Embellishment, Refinement, Beauty.
(Brisbane 1876: 21)

Ethical institutions? Huh? Art and Science should be placed above Religion.

With the Scientific Organization of Industry, labor will be dignified and rendered attractive, so that all manking will be induced to engage voluntarily in it. Under the Scientific Organization of Political Institutions, the political Unity of mankind, and universal Association will be established. With these two levers - attractive Industry and universal Association - Humanity will be able to execute its function of Overseer of the Globe, and elevate it to Unity with the Material order of the Universe. (Brisbane 1876: 22)

This is where it gets utopian, i.e. impossible. These points address the two primary hindrances to perfect world order: "Yeah, who's gonna do the work?" and racism/xenophobia. We might get (agricultural) work done with semi-autonomous machines at some point but universal Association is difficult to imagine during this resurgence of nationalism and international tensions.

The Senses thus misdeveloped, engender materialism, coarseness, brutality and sensual excesses; the intellectual Faculties: deceit, duplicity and hypocricy; the sentiments - such as friendship, love ambition, benevolence and philanthropy - their opposites, namely, antipathy, hatred, revenge, jealousy, malevolence and misanhropy. (Brisbane 1876: 23)

This list does not include patriotism, but it's a good list to take as a basis when continuing with Alexander Shand.

The Passions tend of their own natural impulse, or spontaneously to Good; they only tend to evil when thwarted, disappointed or otherwise [|] outraged in their natural attractions and requirements; they then take an abnormal and discordant development. External influences, violating their nature, must be brought to bear upon them to arouse their antagonist and subversive action. (Brisbane 1876: 23-24)

Is this that famous simplicity of the philosophers?

These indirect proofs may appear sufficient, but we will adduce two of a direct Character in support of the hypothesis of the identity of Man's spiritual nature with that of the Cosmos. First, the intellectual Faculties in man reason in conformity with the Order of creation and its Laws; that is, with the mathematics of the Universe. To do so, they must be a part of the Universal Reason, and identical in nature with it. (Brisbane 1876: 24)

Orderly concurrence of aptitudes.

As to the Sentiments - the moral element in man - we have indications of their goodness in the noble acts they evolve when normally developed, but only in the sphere of human action. We do not see their relation to, and identity with, the moral element or principle in the Universe, as we do in the case of the Intellect and the Senses; but from their unity with the Intellect and their sovereignty over both it and the Senses, as well as from all analogies, we may infer that these Sentiments in Humanity are part of, and in identity with the Divine or Cosmical Sentiment. (Brisbane 1876: 24)

I don't think we may. Divine or Cosmic Sentiment is as reasonable as Divine or Cosmic Amygdalae.

I. Disorders on the Surface of the Globe - on the cuticle of the planet. 1. The great deserts - vast areas of verdureless, burning sand, occupying the finest equatorial regions, causing great derangement in the atmospheric system and its currents, and seriously affecting the climates of the earth. (Brisbane 1876: 25)

The list goes on: (1) deserts, too dry; (2) marshes, too wet; (3) jungles, overgrown; (4) treeless regions, underdeveloped, etc. The general point being that humans should turn every patch of Earth into something suitable for us?

Disorders in Society. - I. Antagonism. 1. War of blood. 2. Strifes of sects and parties. 3. Hatreds and struggles of castes and classes. 4. Anarchical competition in commerce and labor. 5. Discords and conflicts in personal relations - in the family, in marriage and in all spheres of social life. 6. Conflict of the individual with the collective interest, and sacrifice of the latter to the former. (Brisbane 1876: 26)

These lists are cute. The order follows approximately the social matrix from the macro- to the micro-level. Were I to revise it according to Ruesch's scheme: (4) War, generally, occurs between nations of large groups; (3) castes, classes, sects and parties are all groups part of society; (2) economic competition and personal discords are interpersonal or transactional between two parties; (1) the intrapersonal level is at the end of Brisbane's list: "Individual and isolation action in society" (ibid, 27).

II. Oppression. 1. Despotic sway in church and state. 2. Arbitrary authority in class and sex relations. 3. Servitude in labor - slavery, serfdom and hirelingism. (Brisbane 1876: 26)

Finally figured it out. Define:hireling - a person employed to do menial work; a person employed to do menial work. So, pretty much what we understand as "wage-slavery".

III. Fraud. 1. Double-dealing and cheating in the practical affairs of life - in commerce and industry. 2. Deceit and duplicity in social relations. 3. Intrigue, class-legislation and monopolies in politics. (Brisbane 1876: 26)

Surely these are not the only manifestations of fraud?

IV. Poverty. 1. Real and indirect - that of the masses with its degrading influences. 2. Relative and indirect - that of the classes whose means are disproportionate to their social position and responsibilities, causing violations of pride and tormenting anxieties. (Brisbane 1876: 26)

This is really the most important "disorder of society" on which others partly hinge. Here's the point: poverty is a social condition and no more an individual failing than being born a trust-fund baby is a personal achievement.

V. Ignorance. 1. Religious superstition. 2. Scientific dogmatism and atheism. 3. Misleading theories of the speculative [|] sciences - metaphysics, economism, ethics, etc. 4. Blindness on social questions, giving rise to stagnant conservatism on the part of the upper classes, and to revolutionary outbreaks on the part of the masses. (Brisbane 1876: 26-27)

I can't argue; atheism is indeed a form of ignorance but an ignorance of follies is nothing to be ashamed of. It's the very ignorance a religious person holds towards every religion except one's own, taken one step further. As to the "Blindness on social questions", there can be "modulated" versions of this, such as blue-checked Democratic party voters who are sensitive to linguistic transgressions, cultural appropriation, and any possible sign of racism and sexism but could care less for the economic struggle and medical insurance of the people they're white knighting for. In other words, there is also a kind of pseudo- or "stagnant progressivism", the kind that demands representation in media while it closes voting stations in communities they demand representation for.

VI. Vices and Crimes - effects of the misdirection and perversion of the three classes of passional Forces - the senses, sentiments, and intellectual faculties. (Brisbane 1876: 27)

△ - "passional Forces". The overall point being that vices and crimes exist only because of the imbalance between human society with the cosmic harmony.

VII. Debility and Disease. 1. Physical, caused by uncongenial and unhealthy pursuits; by idleness on the one hand, and excessive toil on the other; by poor living or luxurious indulgence. 2. Moral, caused by violated feelings, harassing cares, griefs, and other forms of spiritual depression. VIII. Individual and isolated action in society, leading to the conflict of all interests, and the reign of general incoherence. (Brisbane 1876: 27)

Here's a broken triangle - is there not "intellectual debility" or "mental disease"? The list of moral debility & disease itself is janky. What, for example, are "harassing cares"?

  • "The cares referred to are distracting cares - anxieties pulling a man like so many cords in different directions. When such harassing cares come into conflict with thoughts about the things of God, the man in whose breast such a struggle is going on must needs be a double-minded man, in the sense of his heart being divided between God and the world." (The Pulpit Commentary)
  • "The duty of the Christian under the pressure of affliction, viewed in this aspect, is to "cast all his care on God." The language is figurative, strongly figurative. These harassing cares and anxieties are represented as a burden, which is felt to be oppressively heavy; and the sinking sufferer is represented as so transferring them to God, as to obtain relief from tehir panful pressure." (Expository Discourses on the First Epistle of the Apostle Peter)
  • "Nor is there any thing more calculated to inspire us with a love for virtue, when we have our attention fixed at the end of life. The pleasures of the world then bear their proper valuation, all trifling and unimportant considerations sink into their original obscurity, and give place to more sublime and beautiful sensations; our ideas become enlarged, and we behold all manking with smiling benevolence; our efforts are directed tot he fulfilment of our duty, and the happiness of our fellow-creatures; we become insensible to the harassing cares of perplexity and misfortune; and so strangers to the disadvantages that others labour under. So efficacious, and so instrumental to our happiness, is a proper consideration of the instability of mortality." (The European Magazine and London Review)
I struck upon an interesting side-track of Christian psychology here, answering to Marx's famous quote, "Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, and the soul of soulless conditions. It is the opium of the people".

What, let us ask, is the remedy? It is, as has been stated, the discovery and establishment of the normal Order of society - an Order adapted to the forces of the Soul, and capable of directing Humanity in the accomplishment of its industrial and social Destinies. This Order rests on no uncertain or arbitrary basis. It has for its foundation the Laws of Organization in creation - the Laws which underlie and determine the plan and harmony of the Cosmos. (Brisbane 1876: 29)

This blind positivism comes off as borrowed authority. The repetitive claim that Fourier's analytic tables and social construction are based on "the plan and harmony of the Cosmos" comes off as little different from the non-specific "Scientists say..." We don't really see astro-physicists taking their models of the universe and applying them on human society. This could be done only before much was known about "the harmony of the spheres" beyond their apodeictic harmony.

A vague opinion prevails among men that society is moving onward to its appointed state by what is variously termed the "force of circumstances," "the instinct of the race," "the general law of progress," "Divine guidance." These loose opinions are speculative fancies, adopted in the absence of real knowledge; whereas the fact is, that society can only reach its true state by the conscious and calculated efforts of human reason under the direction of an exact social Science. (Brisbane 1876: 29)

Yeap, I've met phrases like "race-instinct" before. "It may well, therefore, be removed to the lumber-room of speculation and stored among the other pseudo-scientific dogmas of political "biologists" - the facile doctrines of degeneracy, the pragmatic lecturings on national characteristics, on Teutons and Celts, and Latins and Slavs, on pure races and mixed races, and all the other ethnological conceits with which the ignorant have gulled the innocent so long." (Trotter 1921: 132)

Instinct cannot organize; Divine Providence does not interfere to do the work of Reason; no science is revealed to man; no constructions or other material aids are furnished him by nature. (Brisbane 1876: 30)

Contra: "All knowledge must, therefore, ultimately rest on revelation; the general knowledge of the race on a general revelation, and the special knowledge that may be adapted to newly arising needs of human liberty, on a special revelation." (Chase 1863: 464)

Furthermore, in proof of the limitation of his views on the subject, teh law of the three Stages is really not that of Evolution, but of three states of the human mind, i.e., three modes of its activity; namely, that of sentiment, of reflection, and of observation. Then, again, the terms Theological, Metaphysical and Positive designate them incorrectly. The first state, answering to the Theological, would be more correctly designated as the Emotional and Religious. It is the state in which the Emotions or Sentiments act preponderantly, and subordinate Reason, using it as their instrument and agent. This state, when predominant in races, evolves religions, and, controlling the mind by awe, gives rise to simple or blind Faith. The second state may be designated the Speculative and Philosophical. It is the state in which Reason, emancipated from the dominion of the Emotions, and hence of simple Faith, speculates and theorizes with freedom on the nature of the universe, on first causes, and evolves systems of speculative Philosophy and metaphysical Theories. The third state is the Observational and Experimental. It is that in which the mind uses the Senses to observe material facts and their relations, and with their aid experiments and reasons upon them. Guided by the reliable data thus furnished, it creates one branch of the sciences - the Physical. (Brisbane 1876: 31)

This is a critique of Comte's three Stages, that "each branch of our knowledge [...] passes successively through three different theoretical conditions: the Theological or fictitious; the Metaphysical or abstract; and the Scientific or positive" (ibid, 30). The remarkable thing about it is the subtle "hierarchical functionalism" in this review, particularly in the first state, in which "the Emotions or Sentiments act preponderately, and subordinate Reason", that is, the emotive factor is dominant. Note that this play with Religion, Philosophy and Science - so common at the time of publication of this translation - is a knowledge-typological variation of the triangle.

Each of these states has predominated at certain epochs in the intellectual development of mankind, producing, so to speak, an Intellectual atmosphere, which the individual mind has inhaled, and by which it is governed in its beliefs and opinions. (Brisbane 1876: 31)

Well, that's one type of atmosphere.

In the Second Stage of Evolution, the new Thing which has been formed, elaborated, or organized in the first Stage, is prepared for the third by what is called, in different departments, training, drilling, educating, dressing, adjusting, putting in working or running order, etc. The animal is trained; man is educated; the fruit tree is dressed (pruned, grafted); the machine is put in running order. (Brisbane 1876: 39)

And it is Divinely Ordained, that is, part of the Divine Order, that animals should be trained and trees grafted? What sinful and disorderly lives animals and plants must have lead before the ancestors of Homo Sapiens climbed down from trees and started domesticating animals.

As these two states are opposite in principle, the effects they produce must likewise be opposite. In the first we find, under modified forms and in different degrees of intensity: - incompleteness, imperfection, disproportion, want of balance, ugliness, deformity, monstrosity, reign of materialism, reign of darkness, passivity, dependence, antagonism, conflict, disruption, partial destructions, inversion, incohreence, disorder and discord. In the second, we find completeness, relative perfection, proportion, balance, equilibrium, beauty, symmetry, preponderance of the dynamic principle, reign of light, creative action, indepnedent and self-sustaining existence, concert, coöperation, unity, order, harmony, and the fulfillment of destinies. These phenomena, classed in two great groups, constitute [|] the one the Reign of Evil; the other the Reign of Good. A clear conception of the simple fact, that opposite phenomena accompany opposite states of Organization, would solve the long-controverted problem of Good and Evil, which has perplexed the human mind from the very dawn of reflection. (Brisbane 1876: 40-41)

This reads like a philologist's take on good and evil. Disorder and discord are evil, okay, yeah, no-one likes messy disagreements, for example. But fulfillment of destinies is good? Where do I look up my destiny? Who forges it?

The Law governing the Place and Functions of finite creations in the cosmic whole. - Theory of the Hierarchy of functions. (Brisbane 1876: 42)

Hierarchical functionalism. As to these "laws", they simply exemplify the "legislative" tendency current at the time. Hey, science is a thing of laws and general principles so let's pull some out of our asses!

It will also settle the question of spontaneous generation, and, we think, furnish the key to the solution of abstruse problems, like the Nebular theory. We venture the hypothesis that the Law will demonstrate that the planetary bodies (organisms of a highly complex character) have their origin in organic germs, like the creations in nature around us; and that these germs, which may be called planetary ovums, are deposited in the nebulous matter, which they absorb or aggregate, as does the germ in the egg of the bird. The idea that complex organisms, like the planetary, can be the product of the interaction of forces and matter, blind and unconscious, is in contradiction to a Law of nature which now appears universal in its application. (Brisbane 1876: 43)

"The Law governing Organic Germs" should probably apply only on Organic Germs. Planets, as far as we know, are inorganic and not germs. Evidently the author is himself stuck on the level of Speculation, unless he has Observed some significant analogy between planets and living organisms other than both exist.

The opposite Law in the Compound-Organic stage is not discovered. It is the Law governing the place and functions of finite creations in the universe; - Theory of the Hierarchy of functions. When discovered, it will reveal the existence of a cosmic Classification and Hierarchy in which every finite thing, from the animaleule to Humanity, and from Humanity to the higher organisms, fills a place and accomplishes a purpose in the economy of the great whole. It will be one of the guides in determining the place of Man in nature, and his destiny on the earth. (Brisbane 1876: 43)

Somewhere between Faith and Speculation - the belief that everything in existence has a purpose to fulfill. Teleology?

In our unorganized, embryonic Societies, the same subordination of the dynamic or spiritual principle pervades every department. In Industry, The masses are forced to toil from want or the fear of it, i.e., from material motives - sign of the Preponderance of the Material principle. In Government, the Laws are obeyed, and public Order upheld from fear of the prison and scaffold - Preponderance of the Material principle. In Religion, the dread of hell, the uncertainty of the future, is, with the majority, the secret impulse that carries them into the church - Preponderance again of the Material principle. (Brisbane 1876: 45)

Illustrations of "The Law governing the Preponderance of the Static Principle over the Dynamic, of Matter over Mind in the Embryonic Stage" (ibid, 45).

Finally, in the most general sphere of [|] human relations, that of Man with Nature, the former, representing the Dynamic or Spiritual principle, is subordinated to the latter, representing the Static or Material principle. Man, in our embryonic societies, without the power of subduing Nature to the reign of Mind, is subjected in his health and industry to the crude conditions that reign in her domain. He is her slave instead of her master. This universal preponderance of the Material principle over the Spiritual is an unmistakable sign that the social Organism is in the Formative Stage of its evolution. (Brisbane 1876: 45-46)

Not many today would agree that Nature is Static. The foregoing discussion frequently mentioned evolution, but nature is static? Is a relationship of domination the only one we can have with nature?

In all branches of the Compound-Organic societies of the future, the Spiritual principle will predominate. Industry, scientifically organized, dignified and rendered attractive, will be prosecuted voluntarily and from spiritual motives. In Government, when the sentiments of justice and honorable ambition shall preponderate in the human soul, the laws will be obeyed and public order upheld spontaneously, i.e., from spiritual motives; for the moral sentiments, when fully developed, will as naturally attract man to social harmony, as the cultivated ear now attracts him to musical harmony. In Religion, when men shall comprehend the laws which rule the cosmos, and reveal its plan and order - Laws which aret he manifestation of the Divine Wisdom in action in Creation - their souls will be filled with a supreme enthusiasm for the stupendous whole to which they belong. (Brisbane 1876: 46)

Utopic, as above (cf. Brisbane 1876: 21). Adding justice and honorable ambition to list of sentiments.

The Law governing the incomplete and non-functional Action of Forces in the embryonic stage, which we designate as Simple Action. It is their condition while moulding and fashioning matter, and the precursor of their complete and functional (compound) Actionint he fully-developed stage. In the physical activity of man, the automatic movements of the embryo and infant perform no positive function or use, and produce no results of a practical character. They illustrate Simple Action in bodily movements, and are merely a preparation for the future physical activity of the grown man. In language, the incoherent babble of the infant and young child, which is thoughtless and expresses no ideas, is Simple Action in this sphere; but, while useless in itself, it is a preparation for the exercise of methodical language in adult age. The primitive languages, which were probably for the most part monosyllabic and agglutinative, and certainly without terms to express any general and abstract ideas, were in this state of Simple Action. Our modern languages, which have gradually grown out of them, have been greatly developed, but they have not yet passed beyond the second stage of evolution. A unitary and universal language - the Compound-Organic of the future - to be spoken by Humanity over the entire globe, remains to be created. In the maternal sentiment, the little girl playing with her doll exemplifies Simple Action. While itself functionless, it is the precursor of the future function of motherhood, and of Compound Action in that sentiment. (Brisbane 1876: 47)

This paragraph makes the case for the commonality of my research objects, nonverbal communication and phatic communion. It is noteworthy that Malinowski says pretty much the same: "The primitive languages, which were [...] certainly without terms to express any general and abstract ideas" vs. "primitive speech [...] does not serve any purpose of communicating ideas" (Malinowski 1923).

In industry, the present system of isolated, individual operations, having for object the attainment of purely personal ends - a support or fortune - is Simple Action; it is non-functional as regards the great end which the industrial labors of man should have in view. (Brisbane 1876: 48)

It kinda makes sense. The worker is working to support him- or herself, the owners are "creating jobs" to increase their fortune, but neither party is coordinating with others and working for the greater good.

Does Isolation explain the fact that Humanity is in ignorance of the existence of Humanities on other globes, doubting even such existence; and hence without any relation or association with them, ideal or practical? (Brisbane 1876: 48)

"That there may be inhabitants in the moon, although no one has ever observed them, must certainly be admitted; but this assertion means only, that we may in the possible progress of experience discover them at some future time." (Kant 1855: 308)

[...] and, from what of development of the sentiments - the means of spiritual vision - from the light of the spiritual life of the universe? (Brisbane 1876: 49)

Sentiments become more mystical with every new piece of information.

Does the converse Law of Association and Light indicate that, in the Compound-Organic societies of the future, Humanity will live and operate in unity with all the powers of the great solar Organism to which it belongs - the planets and the Humanities upon them - and that it will be guided by the Laws and animated by the spiritual life of the Cosmos? (Brisbane 1876: 49)

Solar system animism. Only a tad farther fetched than the Gaia hypothesis.

Among the phenomena governed by the eight Law are those of Antagonism and Conflict. They pervade all organisms in the embryonic stage. (Brisbane 1876: 50)

This reads like fully-formed organisms don't have antagonisms and conflicts.

The social Organism is now in the formative or embryonic stage of its evolution - one degree behind that of the globe. This, we think, has been sufficiently demonstrated by preceding explanations. Or, if not, such demonstration is to be found in the fact of the existence of the Evils which reign in the social world. These can only be explained by the unorganized or incompletely organized, i.e., embryonic state of society; for, if the actual condition of thing is normal and permanent, then Humanity and its globe are either some accidental and morbid outgrowth in the universe, or no Cosmic Wisdom rules our realm. (Brisbane 1876: 53)

Yes. We are an accident and no Cosmic Wisdom rules our realm.

The fundamental character will be Organization, but organization in its primary degree, beginning with Industry - the material foundation on which the higher institutions of society rest. As as association, co-operation, concert of action and unity of interests are elements of organization, these will distinguish the next higher stage. (Brisbane 1876: 54)

Are we slowly inching towards some sort of theory of social organization?

The Monopoly, well under way in the manufacturing and railroad interests, will be gradually extended to all branches: to commerce, and to agriculture (when the proper machinery for prosecuting it on a large scale - the steam-plow, etc., are invented). (Brisbane 1876: 55)

A tractor?

In the progressive elaboration of a social organism by a race, the same mental processes and operations take place as in the ordinary creations of men, the only difference being that of scale, and the mode of exercise of the mind. In the former, the work is effected by a collective mind - that of a race - extended through ages, and continued by successive generations; in the latter, by individual minds, and in short periods of time. (Brisbane 1876: 56)

Somewhat more permissible take no the "collective mind". More clearly metaphorical than some alternatives that tend towards "the mind of the mob", for example.

  1. The Law of Dissonance, governing the repulsion, antipathy, rivalry of allied varieties of shades.
  2. The Law of Accord, governing the attraction, sympathy, concert, league of varieties or shades which are distinct and contrasted in character.
(Brisbane 1876: 59)


We come now to ask: What are these Faculties in reality? The word Faculty is an abstract term, conveying no idea of a positive quality or essence. Primarily we may define them to be Forces, and, to this extent, arrive at some practical idea of their nature. That they are Forces is proved by the fact that, as previously stated, they impel man to action, consume phosphorous in the brain, and operate on teh nerves of voluntary motion. (Brisbane 1876: 62)

Mental faculties consume what?

How can it be logically assumed that the organic world with its boundless complexity can be the product of unconscious forces and unconscious growth, when, in man's creations, where the conditions involved are so much simpler, nothing is produced without conscious calculation and thought. Even so trifling a construction as a hoe or a spade involves a score of relations to be adjusted, with as many conditions to be fulfilled. (Brisbane 1876: 66)

Because we don't see the organic world constructing hoes or spades?

Biographically, we may mention that from the commencement of his studies, about 1798, to the time of his death, October 11, 1837, he continued his labors uninterruptedly. He was engaged some twenty years in the elaboration of his theory. His principal MSS. were written between 1814 and 1820. (Brisbane 1876: 71)

The window of time.

Fourier passes over the transitional states of society which may intervene between the embryonic present and the Compound-Organic future, affirming that with the actual development of industry and the physical sciences (both well advanced) such an organization would be easier of realization than any lower, transitional form, since it is more natural, and would be more attractive [|] to man. Guided by Instinct alone, and groping its way with uncertain steps, Humanity may drag on for a long period through revolutions, blood, and misery; while by an effort of genius it might discover the Laws of social organization, and upon them establish the normal order of society. (Brisbane 1876: 71-72)

God damn socialists. Let's dream of the perfect world but damn if we figure out how to get there.

Fourier, Charles 1876. Theory of Social Organization. New York: C. P. Somerby. [Internet Archive]

This miracle of social concord would result, not from direct conciliation, which would be impossible, but from the development of new interests, and especially from the amazement with which the minds of men would be filled on being convinced of the radical falseness of the civilized social Order by comparison with the associative or combined, and of the errors in which the social world has been so long plunged, - misled by speculative Philosophy, which upholds and extols this order with all its defects, to the entire neglect of the study of Association. (Fourier 1876: 6)

The ideal society vs the falseness of the current one.

Its practical realization depends upon the application of the Law of universal distribution and arrangement in nature, which I will call the "Series of groups, contrasted, rivalized and interlinked." (Fourier 1876: 6)

Somewhat different words than above. For refreshening: different (contrasted and in accord), same (rivalry/rivalized and dissonance), and mixed (interlaced/interlaced and modulated) (cf. Brisbane 1876: 9-10).

I do not propose, then, an unknown method, - one of my own invention. I employ that which God applies throughout the universe, and this, I think, is a guarantee which should entitle the theory to a provisional confidence - that is, until tested by experience. (Fourier 1876: 6)

How did Fourier know what method God applied throughout the universe?

There is no idea more novel, more surprising, than that of associating three hundred families of different degrees of fortune, knowledge and capacity. (Fourier 1876: 6)

Of course there's a number.

How grossly have the moderns been deceived in giving credit to these sophistical sciences, which, to sustain the present system, and the pride and position of their authors, would persuade the world that needed discoveries are impossible, and, under this pretense, foreclose all inquiry in this direction. (Fourier 1876: 8)

This drama was recently re-enacted. Bernie Sanders' plan to give everyone medicare is impractical and impossible, except in all the rest of the developed world, where it works.

Religious minds, which are distrustful of philosophic dogmas, fall into the error - inculcated by philosophy - of supposing that Providence is limited in its action; that it does not extend to the social world or the social relations of mankind, and that God had not determined upon any plan of social Organization for the regulation of those relations. If they had a profound faith in the universality of Providence, they would be convinced that all human needs must have been foreseen and provided for, and especially that the most urgent of them all could not have been overlooked - namely, the need of a social Order for the regulation of our industrial and social relations. (Fourier 1876: 8)

"Philosophy" appears to be Fourier's main scapegoat, much like "psychiatry" for L. R. Hubbard. Who the hell knows what philosophy he meant in 1822. The point is clear enough: man was made in God's image, but the society in which he should live in, God had no opinion on? There is also the case that what Jesus actually preached was very close to socialism, no?

The theory of Association will fully justify this hope, by assuring to every one that amplitude of means which is the object of universal desire. The sciences will have done nothing for social happiness, until they have satisfied the primary want of man, that of wealth, and secured to the poorest individual a decent minimum - that is, a comfortable subsistence. (Fourier 1876: 10)

Sounds like another one of Marx's famous slogans, "From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs", and, in essence, Universal Basic Income. The Wikipedia page traces the saying to the New Testament.

As for Civilization, from which at last we are about to escape, so far from being the social destiny of man, it is only a transient stage - a state of temporary evil with which globes are afflicted during the first ages of their career; it is for the human race a disease of infancy, like teething; but it is a disease which has been prolonged in our globe at least twenty centuries beyond its natural term, owing to the neglect on the part of the ancient philosophers to study Association and Passional Attraction. In a word, the savage, patriarchal, barbaric and civilized societies are but so many stages, leading to a higher Social Order, to Social Harmony, which is the industrial destiny of man. Out of this order, the efforts of the wisest rulers cannot alleviate in the least the miseries of nations. (Fourier 1876: 10)

In other words, Civilization is not the pinnacle of human destiny. Social Harmony is.

It is vain, then, Philosophers, that you fill volumes with disenssions as to the means of attaining social happiness so long as you have not extirpated The root of all social evils, namely, incoherent industry, or non-associated labor, which is the very opposite of the economic designs of God. (Fourier 1876: 10)

Hence why all philosophy up to now and until a higher Social Order is established, is "Cuck Philosophy". All of this hinges, of course, on faith in God, with the extra step that it must have had "economic designs" for humans. And this is supposed to be the same benevolent God who destroyed Job's family for lulz, ordered Israelites to put a sword into pregnant women, approved the massacre of Canaanites, and on several occasions commanded the killing of babies. The same God who deemed human life to be worthless is supposed to have the best interest of human societies in his plans.

Either Nature does not desire the happiness of man, or your method are condemned by her, since they have been unable to wrest from her the secret of which you are in pursuit. (Fourier 1876: 10)

Yes. Nature does not desire. Full stop.

Every day, Philosophers, you add new errors to the errors of the past, whereas we see the physical sciences daily advancing in the path of truth, and shedding as much luster upon the present century as your baseless visions have cast opprobrium upon the eighteenth. (Fourier 1876: 11)

"I refer accordingly both in season and out of season in the previous works, at which I was then working, to the arguments in that book, not to refute them - for what have I got to do with mere refutations - but substituting, as is natural to a positive mind, for an improbable theory one which is more probable, and ocassinally no doubt for one philosophic error another." (Nietzsche 1887: v)

We often see fortune baffle the efforts of genius, and accord to chance the most important discoveries; should we be surprised, then, that she has acted thus in respect to the great question of the mathematical calculation of Destinies? (Fourier 1876: 12)

The what of what now?

Right or wrong, I hold the prize, which has escaped the favorites of science. (Fourier 1876: 12)

Short-sighted. In the end, those who were right, will hold the prize. This is why you'll find endless mathematical sources mentioning Fourier but only a scattering in various non-English languages dedicated to his social theories.

Modern philosophers, especially those of France, pretend generally to explain the principle of the Unity of System in Nature; never, however, was the world farther from any regular study of the subject; hence it has not acquired the least idea of the theory of Universal Unity, which consists of three branches, to wit: [|]
    Unity of Man with himself;
  • Unity of Man with God;
  • Unity of Man with the universe.
It will be demonstrated in the course of the present work, that the philosophers have for three thousand years neglected to study the first of these three Unities, - that of Man with himself, and especially with his Passions, which, out of the Combined Order, are in a state of general discord, and lead to perdition the individual whom they direct. (Fourier 1876: 12-13)

Reminiscent of a meme cartoon strip exemplifying stages of literature (see "Conflict in Literature"):

  • Classical: Man vs. Nature; Man vs. Man; Man vs. God.
  • Modern: Man vs. Society; Man vs. Self; Man vs. No God.
  • Postmodern: Man vs. Technology; Man vs. Reality; Man vs. Author.
It is indicative that Fourier has the central panel (Man vs. Self = Unity of Man with himself), the final classical panel (Man vs. God = Unity of Man with God), and an amalgamation of what could be "universe" (Man vs. Nature; Man vs. Reality; Man vs. No God). It is particularly indicative in what is left out: the unity of Man with other Men (Society), the unity of Man and Technology (robot dick when?), and so on. On the whole Fourier's there branches of unity belong to the classical and modern periods (nature/universe; self; god); unity with other men, society, technology, reality, no god, and author are left out. Of course these are quite distinct interests (one philosophical, the other literary), but there are alleviating expansions - "Man vs. Author", for example, could very well be interpreted in the sense of Man. vs. Cultural tradition, etc. (It's been done before.)

It teaches that he should resist his passions; that he should be at war with them and with himself - a principle which places man in a state of war with God, for the passions and instincts come from God, who has given them as a guide to man and to all creatures. (Fourier 1876: 13)

[Citation needed] - our passions and instincts come from our evolutionary history, and God gave us, via Moses, commandments to resist our passions and instincts, no? Goes right at the heart of Christian self-denial, this.

In opposition to this view, certain learned sophisms are urged in regard to the intervention of reason, which God, as it is said, has given us as a guide and a moderator of the passions, whence it would follow:
  1. That God has subjected us to two irreconcilable and conflicting guides - Passion and Reason. (Theoretic duplicity.)
  2. That God is unjust toward the ninety-nine hundredths of the race, to whom he has not imparted that degree of reason necessary to cope with the passions; for the masses in all countries, civilized and barbaric, do not reason; as for the savages, they are guided only by their passions. (Distributive duplicity.)
  3. That God, in giving us reason as a counterpoise and a regulating agent, has miscalculated its effects; for it is evident that reason is powerless even with the hundredth of men who are endowed with it, and that the oracles of reason, the greatest intellects, are often the greatest slaves to their passions. (Practical duplicity.)
Thus our theories as to the Unity of Man with himself commence by supposing him subject to a threefold duplicity of action - a monstrous absurdity, and a threefold insult to the Creator of the passions. (Fourier 1876: 13)

Oof. It was one thing to find a parallel in the introduction, another thing to see Fourier put down in such clear language that savages are guided only by their passions. This assumption is at the core of Malinowski's phatic communion, as it probably was in some parts of Kant's Anthropology, and innumerable others. On the other hand, at least he's being as polemical and heavy-handed towards the "civilized" as he is towards the un-civilized.

It has been vaguely laid down as a principle, that man was made for society; but it has not been observed that society may be of two orders - the isolated or the associated, the incoherent or the combined. The difference between the two is as great as that between truth and falsehood, light and darkness, the comet and the planet, the butterfly and the caterpillar. (Fourier 1876: 14)

Those are all the types of society that can be? Surely they are merely the extremes, and every actual society is an interlacing of isolation and association?

Which of these two methods is the order intended by God - the incoherent or the associated? To this question there can be but one reply. [|] God, as the Supreme Economist, must have preferred Association, which is the guarantee of all economy, and must have devised for its organization some method or process, the discovery of which was the task of genius. (Fourier 1876: 14-15)

Fourier continues to brag and boast of his direct line of communication to the Almighty, and flouting his special knowledge received from above. What burden it must be to know the preferences of the creator of the Universe.

If Association is the Divine method, it follows as a necessary consequence that the opposite one - namely, fragmentary and incoherent labor - is the Diabolic Method, and must engender all the evils and scourges which are opposed to the spirit of God, such as indigence, fraud, oppression, carnage, etc. (Fourier 1876: 15)

What grey space? No, the world is either black or white, no inbetween. The excluded middle in operation: since this is not heaven, it must be hell.

The Aromal; or system of distribution of Aromas, known and unknown, operating actively and passively on the animal, vegetable, and mineral creations. We have no regular theory of these Aromas, nor do we know the causes of the influences which they exercise, especially on the revolutions of the heavenly bodies, which are regulated by aromal affinities. (Fourier 1876: 16)

*Sniff* Mars is bright pungent tonight. Footnote: "By the term Aroma, Fourier designates the imponderable fluids, - light, heat, electricity, magnetism, galvanism, and others which remain to be discovered. They constitute a kingdom by themselves, which he calls the Aromal."

The Social or Passional; that is, the laws according to which God has regulated the order and succession of the various social Systems on all globes. Of this pivotal Movement, our sciences have explained neither the effects nor the causes: nor have they conceived of any means of establishing on our earth the reign of social Unity, which implies the harmony of the passions without resort to repressive methods. (Fourier 1876: 16)

The really difficult thing about this is the word passion. The only available equivalent in Estonian is kirg (ardour, fervency, heat), which misses the mark by a lot. Google gives it as "strong and barely controllable emotion", which sounds about right, considering the ancient pathos. Merriam-Webster expands: intense, driving, or overmastering feeling or conviction, e.g. an outbreak of anger. From the near-equivalence with "emotion", the crux of passion is its motive power, or its ability to motivate action (e.g. can't hold back an outbreak of anger). But then there's this obscure layer: "the state or capacity of being acted on by external agents or forces" (attributed to Francis Bacon), which might be a conflation with "passive".

Newton, who led the way, began with the inferior branch, which the age would have readily perceived, had there been prepared a regular programme, an integral plan of studies, such as I have just given, the primordeal [sic] branch or pivot of which should be the study of man, or the analysis and synthesis of Passional Attraction. (Fourier 1876: 17)

Weirdest thing I've yet read that stands for "the study of man".

He could have taken the ground that the theory of material attraction having led to the discovery of the laws of one branch of the system of Nature, they should have consulted the same interpreter - Attraction - in respect to the four other branches, remaining to be discovered, [...] (Fourier 1876: 18)

Just as odd as Grice's use of "interpretant" (cf. 1975: 53). The point being that passions should be viewed in an analogy with gravitation?

The term Passional, as the reader will perceive, is derived from Passion, as material is from matter. By Passional Attraction is to be understood the tendency of the Passions, their gravitation to the ends or foci to which they are destined. The Passions - variously called sentiments, affections, instincts, etc., - are the motor forces, the springs of action in man; they are the parts of a unity or a whole, which is the soul or the spirit. God, in implanting in man these impelling forces, must have calculated mathematically their mode of action, their tendencies, and their functions. Passional Attraction implies all these; it is equivalent to the mode of action and tendencies of the Passions. As the Passions come from God, this attraction expresses or reveals to us the will of God; it is his voice speaking through the soul: it is the power which he employs to impel us to fulfill the Destiny he has assigned us. (Brisbane 1876: 18; fn)

Enlightening. Like I guessed (above), it's a catch-all of feelings or emotions and focuses on motive force. How the editor knows that passions come from God, I cannot guess. Damn these prophets!

Our imperfect methods of study and exploration have cost the moderns very dear. The world should have possessed the theory of Association a hundred years ago, for it is a natural deduction from the Newtonian theory of material attraction, and applies to the passional or social world his theory of the equilibrium of the material universe. (Fourier 1876: 19)

Maybe his predecessors, contemporaries, and successors did not think that Newton's theories are so universal as to apply on the movements of the human soul?

We find among the mountaineers of the Jura a combination of this kind, formed for the manufacture of the cheese called Gruyère; twenty or thirty families take their milk every morning to a central depot, and at the end of the season each of them receives its part in cheese, obtaining a quantity proportional to the contributions of milk as credited on the daily accounts. Thus, on a large scale and on a small, we have under our eyes the germs of Association, the rough diamond which it was the duty of science to cut and polish. (Fourier 1876: 20)

Picking these anecdotes up to paint a more-or-less complete picture of Fourier's "social construction". Evidently, as the next paragraph points out, "The problem was to develop and combine in a general system of unity these fragments of Association, which are scattered among all branche of Industry, where they have sprung up by accident and from instinct" (ibid, 20). That is, similar examples of associated industry should be gathered and systematized.

As to the duplicity of the social world, we see each class interested in the misfortunes of other classes, and placing everywhere individual interests in conflict with the collective. The lawyer, for example, desires dissensions, particularly among the rich, to give rise to expensive litigations. The doctor wishes the prevalence of disease; he would be ruined if people died without sickness, as would be the lawyer, if all disputes were settled by arbitration. The soldier desires a good war that will kill off half his comrades, so as to procure him promotion. (Fourier 1876: 20)

Jesus Christ. This sounds awful, but then again today during the pandemic Wall Street is buying up housing for low low prices because out of work people in the service industry can't pay their rent, and their landlords (what an archaic word) can't pay mortgage. So, do the Wall Street vampires desire these economic depressions?

In fine, the Civilized Social Order is an absurd mechanism, the parts of which are in conflict with the whole and with each other. The folly of such a system cannot be appreciated till after a study of the Combined Order, in which interests are associated, and in which every one desires the good of the whole, as the only guarantee of the good of the individual. (Fourier 1876: 21)

As Russian meme bot accounts put it: Where is the lie?

As for the Unity of Man with himself, that is with his Passions, it is the special object of this work; I shall here treat it in its application to internal or domestic relations. Its complete theory, embracing commercial and other external relations, will be treated hereafter. (Fourier 1876: 21)

Get in touch with your emotions to become whole.

The prospect of such a vast social transformation should rouse the minds of men from their present lethargy, from tehir apathetic resignation to misfortune, and especially from the discouragement diffused by our moral and political sciences which proclaim the impossibility of the reign of social unity and happiness on earth, and assert the [|] incompetency of human reason to determine our future social destiny. If the calculation of future events is beyond the reach of the human mind, whence comes that longing common to all mankind to fathom the secret of human destiny, at the very mention of which the most passive natures experience a thrill of impatience, so impossible is it to extirpate from the human heart the desire to penetrate the future. Why should God, who does nothing without a purpose, having given to us this intense longing, if he had not reserved the means of some day satisfying it? (Fourier 1876: 22-23)

Even the opponents of socialism admit that "The temptress of socialism is constantly luring us" but USSR and Venezuela crashed so humankind should just repress their desire for something better.

Meanwhile, they delude us with the idea that civilized society is progressing rapidly, when it is evident that it moves only in a vicious circle, and that there can be no great improvement but in the discovery and establishment of a new Social Order, higher in the scale than the present; and that human reason, under the influence of existing prejudices, is incapable of conceiving and executing any radical good. Twenty scientific centuries elapsed before any amelioration was proposed in the condition of the slaves; whence it would seem that thousands of years are necessary to suggest to the civilized mind an act of justice and social progress. (Fourier 1876: 23)

Not only is there rapid progress, everything is absolutely wonderful: "Capitalism [...] nurtures the human spirit, inspires human creativity, and promotes the spirit of enterprise" (from the link above). At least Fourier has a reasonable timeline.

[...] the mercantile spirit has extended the sphere of crime, and at every war carries devastation into both hemispheres; our ships circumnavigate the globe only to initiate Barbarians and Savages into our vices and excesses; the earth exhibits the spectacle of a frightful chaos of immortality, and Civilization is becoming more and more odious as it approaches its end. (Fourier 1876: 24)

In Fourier's time, these were primarily guns and alcohol. Thank god no such odious global influence is around today *takes a bite of pizza and washes it down with high-fructose corn syrup drink*.

Instead of comprehending this truth - instead of seeking what were [|] the designs of God in respect to the organization of human society, and by what means he must have revealed them to us, the age has rejected every principle which admitted the Universality of Providence, and a plan of social organization devised by God for man. Passional Attraction, the eternal interpreter of his decrees, has been defamed; the social world has confided itself to the guidance of human legislators and philosophers, who have arrogated to themselvesl the highest function of Deity - the direction of the Social Movemnet. (Fourier 1876: 24-25)

Fourier assumes that God had a plan for the organization of human society and that this plan can be discovered by studying human nature, i.e. instincts and sentiments.

Let it be borne in mind, that by the term "Civilization" Fourier designates the present Social Order as it now is constituted and exists - with its system of separate and isolated families; its incoherent Industry; its tricky and fraudulent system of commerce; its prisons and scaffolds; its pvoerty; its wars and monopolies, its class privileges and usurpations, etc. He does not speak of Civilization in the sense of a progress from the barbaric to a polished state, or as a state of general refinement and culture, but as a Social Organization, which at the bottom is full of falseness, wrong and brutality, covered over with a varnish of art and refinement. (Brisbane 1876: 25; fn)

Ah! Now we see the violence inherent in the system! Help, help! I'm being repressed!

Disheartened by long-continued misfortunes, bowed down under the chains of habit, men have believed that God destined them to a lift of privations, or at most to a moderate degree of happiness. (Fourier 1876: 26)

In our secular era this reasoning is replaced with obscure evolutionism, i.e. the survival of the fittest. It is only natural that Asian children should toil to make your iPhone 11.

It is now that we are to reap the fruits of the progress made by the physical sciences; hithero, while multiplying the means of wealth and luxury for the few, they have increased the relative privations of the masses, who are destitute even of the necessaries of life. They seem only to have labored for the happiness of the idle-rich and great, while they have aggravated the moral sufferings of the toiling multitude; and this odious result leads to one of two conclusions: either the malevolence of Providence towards man, or the falseness of Civilization. Rationally we must adopt the second. (Fourier 1876: 27)

Must we be rational? Maybe God is simply cruel and vengeful, and takes some cosmic pleasure in the suffering of mankind?

Philosophers, instead of taking this view of the subject, have wholly evaded the problem presented by human misery, the extent of which should have led them either to suspect Civilization, or to suspect Providence. Confounded by the spectacle of so much evil, they adopted during the last century of side issues - that of Atheism - which, assuming the non-existence of a Deity and the absence of a social Providence, turned the attention of that age of innovation and revolution from all study of the Divine plan of Social Organization, and authorized the philosophers to propose their own capricious and contradictory theories for the government of the social world. They hold up as perfect the Civilized Order, the aspect of the results of which bewilders them nevertheless to the extent of making them doubt the existence of God. (Fourier 1876: 27)

Define:assumption - a thing that is accepted as true or as certain to happen, without proof. Which one needs proof - the existence of a thing or the non-existence of a thing?

Would not God be inconsistent with himself, if, having initiated us into so many sublime branches of knowledge, they were only to produce societies, disgusting by their vices and their crimes - societies, [|] such as Barbarism and Civilization, from which Humanity is at last about to be delivered, and the approaching end of which should be a signal of universal joy. (Fourier 1876: 27-28)

Impossible. Everyone knows there is naught a single contradiction or inconsistency in the word of God.

There is a fourth method of investigation and study, which is only very partially known, and is not yet reduced to any regular system. It consists in taking Laws which are universal in their application, as the guide of the human mind in its explorations and studies, and in going from the known to the unknown on the hypothesis that there must be a correspondence, and equation between the two. Astronomy, in which some general Laws have been discovered, especially that of gravitation, offers brilliant examples of the discovery of truth by taking Laws for our guide. Newton was led to determine the motion of the moon around the earth by the fall of an apple from the tree. The same Law that governs the fall of the apple, that is, its motion to the earth, which is its center of gravity, determines the orbital motion of the moon, which tends in like manner to fall to the earth, which is also its center of gravity. (Brisbane 1876: 28)

Surely what applies on both large and small physical bodies must also apply on living organisms and their internal milieu.

To express the same idea in a more brief and popular manner, we may say that, The Laws of universal Harmony are the manifestation of the Reason of God in action in creation. The plan of the universe is thus the expression of his thoughts. Human reason, in discovering these Laws, elevates itself to, and identifies itself with, the Divine Reason, and has it for its guide. Fourier saw this truth; he sought to discover the Laws of universal Harmony, and did discover them in part. (Fourier 1876: 29)

What if all the gaseous nebulae in the universe are God's flatulence? There is just as much Experiment and Observation backing this up as there is for the plan of the universe being the expression of God's thoughts.

Certain classes of society with limited means - soldiers for example - are compelled to adopt the economies of Association. If they prepared their food separately, if as many meals were cooked as there are individuals, instead of a general meal being prepared for the whole mess, the cost in money and labor would be greatly increased, and at three times the expense they would not be so well fed. (Fourier 1876: 31)

Also among Trobiander's natives during Malinowski's stay, a century after this was written, the whole village cooked together. Every family of course ate separately but the preparation was communal.

Let us now consider its principal property, that of rendering Industry attractive, - a praperty by means of which the obstacles which have in all time defeated the aims of science, will be surmounted. Up to the present day all attempts on the part of the political and moral sciences to make men love labor have failed. We see the hireling classes, and, in fact, the whole laboring population inclining more and more to indolence; in the cities, we find them making Monday, like Sunday, a holiday, and everywhere working without ardor, sluggishly and with disgust. To force them to labor, no other means are known, after slavery, than the fear of want and starvation; if, however, [|] labor is the destiny assigned to us by the Creator, how can we bxelieve that he would force us to it by violence, and that he has not known how to put in play some more noble motive, some incentive capable of transforming labor into pleasure. (Fourier 1876: 33-34)

Yeap: "The failure of socialism in countries around the world can be traced to one critical defect: it is a system that ignores incentives."

God alone is possessed of the power of distributing Attraction; by Attraction alone he moves the universe and all created things; and to draw us to productive Industry, he has devised a system of industrial attraction, which once organized will connect innumerable pleasures with all the functions of agriculture and manufactures. It will invest them with charms more seductive than are connected at present with our balls, festivals and theatres; that is, in the Combined Order, the people will find so much pleasure and excitement in their labors, that they will refuse to leave them for these amusements, if proposed during the hours allotted to Industry. (Fourier 1876: 34)

So, Charlie, how do you propose making work attractive and pleasurable? - God will do it.

To make it attractive, the seven following conditions must be fulfilled:
  1. Each laborer must be an associate, receiving a share of the profits instead of working for wages.
  2. Every member - man, woman and child - must be paid according to his or her labor, capital and talent.
  3. Industrial occupations must be varied about eight times a day, it being impossible to sustain enthusiasm more than an hour and a half or two hours in the exercise of any one branch of agriculture or manufactures.
  4. All occupations must be prosecuted by Groups of friends, voluntarily united, and actively stimulated by emulation and rivalry.
  5. The workshops, fields and gardens must present to the laborer the charm of neatness, order and elegance.
  6. The division of labor must be carried to the utmost extent, in order that individuals of both sexes and of all ages may find occupations perfectly suited to them.
  7. Every member - man, woman and child - must possess fully the Right to Labor; in other words, the right to take part at all times in such branches of industry as it pleases him or her to select, provided proof is given of capacity and zeal.
(Fourier 1876: 34)

Actually not bad. The first point calls to mind the use of "associate" in some companies today who pay their workers starving wages. On the third point I'd guess that this falls in line with some obscure physiological factors, as a hour and a half is also about the time when a cigarette smoker feels the itch to go poison himself. The fourth makes most sense of all - of course any work can become attractive and pleasurable when done in good company.

The philosophers, to excuse their neglect of this great problem, object that [|] the idea is too beautiful, too grand; that so much perfection was never destined for man. "The passions," they say, "present an insurmountable obstacle; it is impossible to unite even there or four families in a system of domestic Association, without disparities of character, unreasonable pretentions and petty jealousies at once engendering discord, especially among the women, woh would not agree together for a week." (Fourier 1876: 35-36)

Exactly. Human beings are incapable of cooperation.

The Series of Groups is the method adopted by god in the distribution of the kindgoms of Nature and of all created things. Naturalists, in their theories and classifications, have followed this system of distribution unanimously; they could not have departed from it without conflicting with Nature and falling into confusion. If the Passions and characters of man were not subject, like the material kingdom, to distribution in Series of Groups, man would be out of unity with the universe; there would be duplicity of system in creation, and incoherence between the material and the passional worlds. If man would attain to Social Unity, he should seek for the means in the serial order, to which God has subjected all Nature. (Fourier 1876: 37)

Another dubious analogy with some science. I'm starting to realize that Fourier's understanding of God seems to be that it created the universe according to a strict plan. Specifically, that it wouldn't have redundancies (duplicity of system). Why, then, have "eyes" or light-sensitive organs developed independently in various unrelated species? Or if there's a strict plan which the naturalists are merely discovering, how did God fuck up with those flowers that basically clone themselves, being either 1 or 1,200 species at once?

The Series has as much need of discord as of accordsw it should be stimulated by numerous rival pretensions which will give rise to party alliances and become a spur to emulation. Without contrasts, it would be impossible to form leagues between the Groups and excite enthusiasm; teh Series would be without ardor in its labors, and its products would be inferior in quality and in quantity. (Fourier 1876: 40)

There's an incentive in competition, to be sure, but the whole scheme itself is dubious. Specifically, when talking about these ambiguous "Passions", his examples are taste for types of flowers and pears. I don't know any people who are passionate about either.

It is not necessary that this interchange should be general; that twenty men engagedin tending flocks from five to seven should, the whole twenty, join the ploughmen from seven to half-past eight; all that is necessary is, that each Series furnish the others with several members taken from its different Groups, in order that the Groups may be interlinked, and ties be established between them by the members alternating from one to the other. (Fourier 1876: 40)

A Malinowskian phaticism! Fourier evidently assumes that random people working together will hit it off nicely, whereas above he wrote that work shall be done in groups of friends. Are they already friends or are they supposed to become friends through working together?

The greater the advantages which a discovery promises, the more exacting we should be in respect to proofs. If my theory were not in accord with the positive sciences, men would be justified in accusing me of constructing arbitrary systems, and might claim to modify my plan of Association according to their fancy. It will be worthy of confidence only so far as it bases the theory of the harmony of the passions on other known harmonies of the universe. (Fourier 1876: 44)

The discussion of "passions" is probably so vague because this was written some half a century before Darwin's Expression of Emotions, i.e. before there was a proper theory of emotions.

The mixed or transitional order is found throughout the whole system of Nature. It exists in the social as well as in the material Movement. The transitional periods are to the others what the polypus is to the animal and vegetable kingdoms, what the bat is to the order of quadrupeds and birds, between which it forms the link. (Fourier 1876: 48)

The analogy between the animal kingdom and stages of human development is truly perfect.

In this case it is frankly confessed that the science is behind handin discoveries, and that the antidote remains to be found. (Fourier 1876: 50)

First time seeing the archaic expression, "behindhand", in the wild.

Our desires in this respect may be reduced to four, which have already been enumerated, and which include all the others; they are:
  • Proportional Wealth,
  • Individual Happiness,
  • The Reign of Justice,
  • P. Unity of Action.
I employ the expression, individual happiness, which is the source of general happiness, as the latter can only be based on the contentment of each individual; until this condition is fulfilled, general happiness cannot exist. (Fourier 1876: 50)

Reminiscent of how Kant ended his Critique of Pure Reason (cf. 1855: 488).

To understand wherein happiness consists, we must consult the desires of the majority. Now we see the rich leading a life of idle ease, or if they engage in Industry, exercising those functions which are agreeable, honorable and lucrative. We see, on the other hand, the middle class and the common people, who constitute the immense majority, seeking also to lead this easy life of the rich, and to otake part with them in the affairs of government. Thus, it is evident that every one places happiness in the possession of fortune and leisure, or in the exercise of attractive and honorable functions. (Fourier 1876: 51)

Everyone's a temporarily embarrassed millionaire.

The adoption by the African race of productive Industry will render abundant those tropical products which our habits have rendered indispensable; sugar will then be exchanged, pound for pound, for flour; a few years will be sufficient to effect this brilliant operation, which by elevating Africa in the social scale will abolish forever the infamous practice of the slave trade, now such a reproach to Civilization. (Fourier 1876: 53)

Not exactly.

The idea of a preëstablished Destiny for Man, existing in the Divine Mind before his creation, of a predetermined mathematical theory of social Organization adapted to the play and action of the Passions, will be ridiculed by the world as visionary and absurd. Nevertheless, how can we conceive that a Being infinitely wise could have created the Passions without having determined upon a plan for their employment? (Fourier 1876: 62)

Well, how are human emotions different from any other animals? What gives human feelings this qualitative difference of having been meticulously planned?

Must not God have foreseen this shameful result of human legislation? He must have observed its effects in the myriads of globes created anterior to our own; he must have known, before creating man and giving him Passions, that his reason would be incapable of harmonizing them, and that Humanity would require a legislator more enlightened than itself. (Fourier 1876: 62)

Assuming that God peopled other planets before ours. Experiment and Observation, this.

Of all impieties the worst is the impertinent prejudice which suspects God of having created Man, the Passions and the elements of Society without having determined upon any plan for their organization. To believe this is to attribute to the Creator a want of reason at which even men would blush; it is falling into an irreligion worse than atheism; for the atheist, though he denies God, does not dishonor him; he dishonors himself alone by an opinion bordering on madness. (Fourier 1876: 63)

Exactly how the atheist feels about the religious: "Over and over again in a multidude of ways, the religion of the individual brings to focus the mingled motives and desires of an unfulfilled life" (Allport 1970).

It is the hight of folly to wish to improve a system which is radically defective in its nature: it is only reproducing the same evils under other forms. The real task of political Genius was to seek an outlet from Civilization, not to perfect it. (Fourier 1876: 66)

Burn it all down.

There is, indeed, in Civilization a certain class, the rich and the privileged, who are satisfied with the existing state of things, but their number is limited to about an eight of the population, while the remaining seven-eights are discontented. These consist of the hireling classes and the common people, who are almost everywhere disposed to resistance and revolution. (Fourier 1876:73)

The establishment or status quo.

As to social liberty, the poorer classes are wholly deprived of it; for under the wages system they are reduced to a drudgery which enslaves both body and soul. A hired laborer whose opinions are opposed to those of his employer, is often dismissed and deprived of work; he does not then possess active social liberty, nor even freedom of opinion and the exercise of his reason. (Fourier 1876: 74)

200 years later, still the case.

The Civilized Order is based on the smallest possible domestic and industrial combination, that of one man and one woman, - a single couple in a separate household. The Combine Order would, on the contrary, be based on the largest combination possible, say about fifteen hundred persons, who would substitute in the place of domestic monotony, conjugal apathy and industrial indifference, active emulation, general enthusiasm and ardor in labor. (Fourier 1876: 76)

The Dunbar number times ten. Note the opposition: "conjugal apathy" vs. "general enthusiasm".

Gamut of the natural rights of man with their analogies.
1. Gathering of natural products,Friendship,Violet,Circle,Do.
2. Pasturage,Love,Azure,Ellipsis,Mi.
3. Fishing,Familism,Yellow,Parabola,Sol.
4. Hunting,Ambition,Red,Hyperbola,Si.
5. Interior Federation,Emulative,Indigo,Spiral,Re.
6. Freedom from Care,Alternative,Green,Conchoid,Fa.
7. External Marauding,Composite,Orange,Logarithm,La.
(Fourier 1876: 78)

A very obscure theory of passions, this.

First, instead of the Minimum which supposes a guarantee on the part of the social body to every individual of the necessaries and the enjoyments of life, we have a universal Selfishness which is increasing, and renders every one utterly indifferent to the welfare of others. This selfishness is becoming more intense with the growth of the commercial spirit. (Fourier 1876: 79)

Not false.

If I did not mention this right in the Table of the seven natural Rights, it is because the Right to Labor is a resultant from the four cardinal rights - hunting, fishing, gathering and pasturage. The Right to Labor is then a hyper-cardinal right, embracing the four branches of labor to which we have a natural right. (Fourier 1876: 86)

"Hyper-cardinal" could serve in the discussion of hierarchical functionalism, "communication" being hype-cardinal in Jakobson's scheme of the functions of speech.

In this examination, I accuse not so much the philosophers as the whole system of Civilization which encourages corruption. If an Age upholds a vice, writers who seek popularity will not fail to extol it. (Fourier 1876: 93)


It is nevertheless certain that all nations, with some rare exceptions which confirm the general rule, having exhibited an innate contempt for commerce. The Gospel makes no distinction between traffickers and thieves. Christ scourged the former and drove them from the temple, of which, says the evangelist, they had made a den of thieves. (Fourier 1876: 94)

Harsh. A blow to all Christian businesspeople and entrepreneurs.

We have seen the civil power contend against the colossal influence of the clergy in the Middle Ages, but now when a new tyranny, that of the strong box and the monied interest, the worst of all tyrannies, would seize in its grasp kings and peoples, we see the whole scientific corps prostrating itself before the mercantile colossus, that parasite which, without producing anything, appropriates to himself the wealth of nations, and forms in the industrial system a new influence, more potent than that of potentates themselves, a vampire which, without legal sanction, enters into competition with the legal authorities, and arrogates to itself the lion's share. (Fourier 1876: 95)

This we see all too well in the present moment when all the most important positions in the U.S. government are occupied by corporate lawyers and lobbyists, and the first thing they do during a pandemic is bail out large corporations.

Commerce is the natural enemy of manufacturers; while feigning a solicitude to supply them with raw materials, it in fact labors only to spoliate and render them dependent. So in most of the manufacturing towns, it is well known that the manufacturer of small means works only for the dealer in raw materials, just as the small farmer often works only for the usurer, and as the humble attic student toils for the distinguished academician, who stoops to publish under his own name the fruit of the vigils of some poor and hired assistant. (Fourier 1876: 104)

At the close of this analogy stands the conclusion that either the university or the publishing industry is the natural enemy of the student.

They are misdirected. A single illustration, drawn from Ambition, will explain this. The passion ambition - whose focus of attraction is fame, distinction, glory, power - acting in the soul of a Napoleon and directed to war and conquest, covers a continent with havoc and devastation, whereas the same Passion, directed, for example to industrial creation, would cover it with mighty works of internal improvement. The Passion is the same in both cases: the effects only are different; and this teaches us that we must not take the effects of the Passions for the Passions themselves. Ambition is a noble motor; without it man, like the animal, would be devoid of aspiration - without high and noble aims; its Attraction is a Divine impulse, a true guide; but when misdirected, it may produce the greatest disorders and evils. (Brisbane 1876: 112; fn)

Not so according to etymology: "eager or inordinate desire for honor or preferment", "a striving for favor, courting, flattery; a desire for honor, thirst for popularity".

Abolition of all coercive means for the maintenance of public order, such as prisons, scaffolds, police organizations, courts of justice and [|] other parasitic agencies which the Civilized Order is obliged to employ to support the laws and enforce the prosecution of repugnant labor. (Fourier 1876: 114)

Abolition of prisons! That these "enforce the prosecution of repugnant labor" is illustrated by the continuation of slave labor in prisons all around the world (U.S., Russia, Brazil).

The social affections, which are the source of the love of our fellow-creatures, engender, when developed in their lower degreen, exclusiveness, selfishness and often injustice. To what injustice do not exclusive friendships, exclusive family affections, for example, give rise? The same Passions, developed in their higher degrees, and embracing in their sympathies a wide range, become benevolence, philanthropy, devotion, magnanimity and other generous sentiments. (Brisbane 1876: 114; fn)

Sentiments to consider upon second reading of Alexander Shand's work on the subject.

Attraction is, in the hands of God, an enchanted wand which enables him to obtain by the allurements of love and pleasure what man knows how to obtain only by coercion and violence. (Fourier 1876: 119)

This looked like redundancy because I thought all wands were enchanted. Evidently a wand is just "a long, thin stick or rod". Wandlore, this.

What can be more repulsive, for example, than the uncleanly offices incident to the care of a new-born infant? What does God do to transform these repulsive functions into pleasures? He gives to the mother Passional Attraction for them; he simply uses his magic prerogative of imparting Attraction. From that moment, labors, in themselves the most repugnant, are transformed into pleasures. (Fourier 1876: 120)

Oof. The same goes for sexual intercourse, no? Whence comes post-coital disgust? (Post-coital tristesse is what it's called.)

Or he had not the desire to give us such a Code; in which case he is the persecutor of Humanity, creating us designedly with wants which it is impossible for us to satisfy, since none of our social systems can extirpate the seven scourges. (Fourier 1876: 124)

Well, yes, isn't that the point of Adam's fall from grace? That our cruel and unjust creator put us on this Earth to suffer for a woman eating a fruit? Wait, atheism was absurd? I swear to god damn near every page of this book mentions god.

He would seem at times to be void of his attribute of wisdom; for, knowing how to regulate harmoniously the planetary worlds and their systems, if he were incapable of estimating harmony in the relations of the beings who inhabit them, he would resemble an architect who, after having constructed a vast palace, should be at a loss how to build a cottage, and from that fact might be suspected of a temporary loss of his faculties. (Fourier 1876: 131)

Inadequate analogy. Does the architect determine to what use his building is put or who will do what in his building decades after it is built?

And in addition, social warfare, by the antipathies of races which maintain upon the earth four incompatible societies - the Savage, Patriarchal, Barbaric and Civilized - which are hostile to each other; and by the refusal of nations composing the same society, like the Civilized, to form any fusion or union. (Fourier 1876: 133)

Wasn't linguistic divergence God's doing? I.e. the tower of Babel?

The more we examine the perfect accordance of Attraction with the attributes of God and the wants and aspirations of man, the more we shall be convinced that our learned bodies in neglecting all study of Attraction are chargeable, if not with bad faith, at least with shameful incapacity. (Fourier 1876: 142)

Malice vs stupidity.

The philosophers and moralists think that they explain the problem by saying that God has given us reason that we may resist our Attractions. This is precisely what he has not done; Reason, which they would oppose to Attraction, is powerless even with those who are reputed to be its especial ministers; it is always impotent when the passions and inclinations are to be repressed. Children are restrained only by fea; young men by want of money; the masses by poverty and coercion; the aged by parsimonious calculations which take the place of the impetuous passions of youth; but no one is restrained by reason, which, unsupported by coercion, would thwart the natural inclinations. Reason, then, is without influence, and the more we observe man the more we shall see that he is in reality controlled by Attraction; that he listens to reason only so far as it teaches him to satisfy its dictates, and to refine his enjoyments. (Fourier 1876: 143)

Contra, for example, Schiller, who makes Reason the measure of all: "The good, we may say, pleases by a pure form that is according to reason, the beautiful by a form that is similar to reason, the agreement by no form at all" (1845: 280).

Unless the incentive of Attraction be applied to Industry, the contrary effect takes place; the poor refuse to labor, or at least do so sluggishly and with disgust, while the rich and great are obliged to league together and enrol in armies the famished rabble to force the masses to engage in their repulsive labors; hence come those legions of non-producers, who constitute, incredible as it may appear, two-thirds of the civilized population. Our theories which assign to God the title of supreme Economist are absurd and irreverent, when they assume that he could have based his calculations on a system of coercion, which gives rise to such enormous waste. (Fourier 1876: 144)

Capitalism *throws away 2/3 of all food* is the most *keeps a steady percentage of the population unemployed* effective *CEO pay rises 940% while worker's stagnates for decades* system.

There can be no freedom of will where there is a certainty of punishment in case a choice is made. God, to leave us free-will, had no other alternative than to forego the power of inflicting direct punishment, and to permit an indirect or passive punishment, - that of unsatisfied desire; this punishment is equitable, because it is proportioned in all cases to the resistance of the rebellious subject, and involves no special punishment, no exercise of divine wrath. (Fourier 1876: 150)

Perhaps the unsatisfied desire is Adam's punishment?

Examine twenty heads of families taken at hazard, and you will see nineteen with whom the want of fortune is a perpetual torment. This state of suffering and disappointment is also the lot of owmen who have passed the period of youth, and who have no interest capable of occupying their attention. (Fourier 1876: 151)

Evidently this has been the lot of many women for a long time.

I will take it from the love of riches, which of all passions is the most general. (Fourier 1876: 152)

Suddenly Malinowski's "passion for power and wealth" starts to make sense. These are some of the cardinal passions.

Who is in the wrong in this case, the wise man or the man of the world? Both, we answer, in Civilization. (Fourier 1876: 153)

Hence all philosophy up to an unknown future date is cuck philosophy. The Iamverysmart reply: but wasn't this written in a civilization?

A fault of most readers is that they make no abstract of what they read, and preserve no general idea which serves them as a guide. After having read this dissertation on Attraction, many will simply say: "Here are opinions set forth quite new and extraordinary; and they will then fall again under the sway of their habitual prejudices without deriving any advantage from the perusal. (Fourier 1876: 155)

Almost tempting to add this to the sidebar, if there weren't already quotes that say much the same. (Note that quotation marks begin but they do not end. The rest of this book is this one quote.)

Rude nature assembles human beings by pairs in savage huts; this is an association for the purpose of reproducing the species, and not [|] for the prosecution of Industry. There remained then to be discovered a system of industrial association. (Fourier 1876: 158-159)

Quite a rude way to formulate cohabitation.

What is the Destiny of Man? What the function assigned him to perform, the work to execute, by that Power which has called him into existence, and placed him on the planet he inhabits? We do not speak of Man's destiny hereafter, or of the special destiny of the individual, but of the collective Destiny of Humanity on this earth. (Brisbane 1876: 165)

The function of humankind is to produce plastic. God said, "Hey, you!" and Adam popped into existence. Then he planted fake skulls and bones of evolutionary predecessors of humankind all over the place to confuse Adam's successors because God is funny like that.

Religion, looking upon the present state of existence as a fallen one, considers it as a probation through which Man must pass; if he combats and overcomes the temptations that beset him; if he conquers evil and regenerates himself, he is rewarded hereafter with eternal happiness; if he fails, he is lost and an eternity of evil awaits him. Our present existence is then merely a probationary one, a preparation for another life, in which the solution of this will be found. (Brisbane 1876: 165)

The view with which Fourier's understanding of God comes into conflict, i.e. that Earth is "an abode of misery, a valley of tears" (ibid, 165) by design.

Philosophy - the creation of the speculative and reasoning faculty in man - like Religion, conceives of no collective Destiny for Humanity. If we examine the various theories of Philosophy which have existed, and take the opinions most generally entertained, we shall find that they arrive practically at about the same conclusions as Religion. They hold, for example, that Man is an imperfect being, in whom the lower and material instincts govern; that he is sensual and selfish, and incapable consequently of any high moral elevation and of wise and balanced thought. Philosophy does not speculate on the fall, on original sin with its consequences, but it holds that the instincts and passions are bad, that they possess an inherent selfishness, a tendency to strife and conflict, which unfit them for the practice of justice and concord; this view amounts practically to the same thing as the doctrine of Depravity. (Brisbane 1876: 166)

Sadly, Fourier's arguments against this view are not based on observation or experiment - i.e. does not rise above religion and philosophy to the level of science - but only on logical conundrums acconding to which God, the perfect loving being, wouldn't do a half-assed job of creation.

A few eminent thinkers, who form an exception to the schools, have conceived the idea that Humanity is one - a collective being having a collective destiny to fulfill on earth, and subject to a unitary [|] and progressive development. Fourier takes this view; he holds that the Human Race, composed of the totality of human beings that live through the ages, is one; that it lives, grows, and acquires experience like the individual man; that, like him, it goes through a career; that it has its social infancy, youth, manhood, and old age, and that it has a great work to accomplish on earth by its collective labors. (Brisbane 1876: 166-167)

Collective mind writ large. Is this organicism? Lotman's isomorphism between personality and culture comes to mind.

In the vegetable kingdom, by poisonous plants and useless weeds - the latter being, so to say, the vermin of the earth. (Brisbane 1876: 170)

Everything not directly useful for humans is harmful. This planet was made for us! It says so on the check, which we wrote.

Let us remark that Man is the standardy by which Nature is to be judged: he is the pivot of her creations, the thinking, regulative and divine Principle on earth; all things must serve him, and aid him in fulfilling his destiny. Whatever is in antagonism with, or injurious to him in the creations or in the elements, is evil, and must be corrected or destroyed, for Man can only attain to social harmony - to a Divine State - on a globe on which material order and unity reign. (Brisbane 1876: 170)


First: that there exists in the universe a series of intelligent creative beings, commencing with the intelligent races on the surfaces of planets, and ascending through a vast hierarchy of creative minds, culminating in the supreme pivot of creation or God. These [|] Powers create each in its sphere; man, for example, creates in industry and art, operating on organic matter; he creates machinery, edifices [?], etc.; the animal and vegetable creations on the on the earth are the work of some higher Power, which operates, we surmise, on the imponderable fluids; the planets are the work of some higher creative Power still, and lastly, the supreme Pivot creates the primary suns, or the germs of the great stellar systems. These creative intelligences are liable like man - although in a degree which diminishes in proportion to their rank in the Series - to produce imperfect creations; Man, for example, may produce an imperfect steam-engine or an imperfect watch, and the higher creative being may, in like manner, produce imperfectly in their spheres. As we do not belive that the creations on the surfaces of planets, or even the planets themselves are produced directly by the supreme Pivot, we see the possibility of imperfection in those departments of creation where men suppose perfection must necessarily exist, as they attribute all creation directly to God. (Brisbane 1876: 176-177)

What strange polytheistic religion is this? Whatever it is, it contradicts most of what Fourier has been arguing here. If the universe was created in parts by various unknown lesser gods who cannot pretend to perfection then there's no reason to suppose that there's some underlying perfection to be found in their creation. It's just random.

The intelligent Races on all globes must, like Humanity on earth, pass through the transitional phase of social development before they can attain to their destiny. (Brisbane 1876: 178)

Wouldn't know, they haven't called.

External Unity of Humanity with itself; first, by the unity of the soul with the body, which implies health, longevity, physical beauty and dexterity; and, second, through the medium of the body and its senses with the external world or Nature. (Brisbane 1876: 179)

I recall this quip about the emergence of the concept of soul: the ancients saw man sleeping, without consciousness, and concluded that if the body can be without consciousness, then surely the opposite must also be true, and consciousness can be without the body.

Nature, with her creations, her atmosphere, climate and electric system, is, so to say, the great external body of Humanity; and unless material unity reigns in the one, spiritual or social unity cannot reign in the other. (Brisbane 1876: 179)

A pair of words oddly ahead of their time. I had to check and yes, "operating system" was a common pair of words in 19th century legalese.

As the passions came from God; as he has given them to man as motor and guide, it follows that man, to be [|] in unity with God, must follow and obey them, for they are the Divine impulse, the interpreter to him of the Divine will and the Divine designs. (Brisbane 1876: 179-180)

Can this be used as a defense in court? Why did you commit this heinous crime? - I felt like it, and my feelings are the interpreter of the Divine will and design of God.

External Unity of Humanity with God, by the Immortality of the Soul: Man, as a link in the great chain of intelligent beings, having a function to perform on earth - that of overseer - which requires independent action and the exercise of independent reason, is a coöperator with God, to the extent of his action and the sphere of his labors, in maintaining the order and harmony of the universe; it is this character of independent co-worker - requiring a complete scale of the faculties, an integral soul - which secures him the prerogative of Immortality. (Brisbane 1876: 180)

Considering the scale of the Universe, this reads like "the colony of ants in my backyard is responsible for maintaining the order and harmony of our Solar system". Who are the other great intelligent beings? Elephants, dolphins or pigs? Brisbane's theory of immortality here makes no damn sense. It reads like "driving an automobile vehicle safely requires your full attention, which is why you should have a PhD degree in mechanical engineering to do it".

By discovering the true theory of immortality or of universal life, and in fulfilling his Destiny on earth, man acquires a positive knowledge and sentiment of his continued existence, of which he has in our incoherent societies but a confused instinct, a vague presentiment. (Brisbane 1876: 180)

Phraseologically proximate to "a vague uncharted nebula".

Attractions are proportional to Destinies; God, in distributing attractions to all his creatures establishes an equation between them and the mode of life, the function, the destiny of the creature. The reindeer, for example is destined to live amid the snows and the ices of the arctic regions; God does not give it Attraction for the verdant fields and the products of the temperate zone; this quadruped prefers the snows of the North and the mosses which they cover; its Attraction then is proportional to its Destiny. The camel, on the other hand, is destined to live amid the sandy wastes of the torrid zone; its attraction - as its entire physical organization - is adapted to the mode of life ordained for it; equation again exists between Attraction and Destiny. (Brisbane 1876: 180)

Now who's taking the current state of affairs as a pre-ordained or -destined? And why shouldn't this backwards logic also apply on humans? Oh, there's poverty and strife because God designed it so. See how the homeless are perfectly adapted to sleep in cardboard boxes? They are naturally adapted to their life on the streets.

Man, for example, in creating any object, must necessarily do so from a motive, that is, from a desire or an idea; the idea precedes the act; it gives rise to the creation, and is as a consequence impressed upon the things created; the latter must be a symbol of the former, and in analogy with it, for it expresses the idea which formed and fashioned it. In creating a sword, for example, man is impelled by the idea of destruction; he stamps this idea upon the thing he creates, and the sword in its form and its other attributes must express and correspond to the purpose, that is, the idea for which it was created. The sword then is an emblem of the idea of destruction, and is in analogy with it. In like manner, all the works of man are analogies of the mental causes - ideas or sentiments - which prompt him to create them; a chair is the emblem of repose; a house of shelter. Ideas necessarily precede acts, and the created things are analogies of the ideas that gave them birth. (Brisbane 1876: 181)

Odd use of these semiotic terms (symbol, emblem). Do humans only create things which have a practical use? Clearly not. What of toy swords or decorative swords? What of surplus symbolism, as in the Excalibur?

If the human mind is made up the model of the Divine or universal mind; if there is unity of organization between it and the higher creative minds, it follows that the material creations throughout the universe, which are emblems of ideas in some creative mind, must also be emblems of ideas in the human mind. (Brisbane 1876: 182)


If we find, for example, developde very widely in the mind of the Race ideas of ferocity, calumny, treachery and cunning, we find as a parallel in Nature the tiger, the viper, the hyena and the fox. The good and generous sentiments of thesoul find, in like manner, their analogies in the good and useful creations; the orange and the rose, the dove and the antelope are emblems of corresponding ideas of delicacy and beauty. Thus analogy runs between the two worlds - the world of causes and the world of effects - between ideas and material creations. (Brisbane 1876: 182)

Foucault discussed this kind of thinking in The Order of Things. I.e. if some plant seeds are shaped like kidneys then surely they must be good for that organ in humans! God leaves clues to natural remedies in their shapes, you see. Were there actually some mystical correspondence between human ideas and species of animals, then our current state of mental life is lagging dangerously behind the 8.7 million species living on this planet. There are more species than the proverb or saying would have "stories to tell".

According to Fourier's conception, the planets communicate with each other by means of electric or magnetic currents, and their great physical operations, such as their revolutions, and the creations of the flora and fauna on their surfaces, are effected by the agency of the imponderable fluids; these are in fact the life, and the source of movement of the material universe. (Brisbane 1876: 182)

Some of Fourier's conceptions appear to originate from the terminus of his digestive system.

Humanity, the Overseer of the globe, is the agent that effects this cultivation and the development of the kingdoms upon it; in fulfilling this function, it takes a part in the sidereal operations of the universe; it operates on the globe, and its aromal forces, and through these, on the planetary system in general. In this way is Humanity associated with the operations of the material universe, and performs a part in the regulation of its stupendous movements and harmonies; this constitutes its external or material Unity with the Universe; and in fulfilling properly its function of overseer, it elevates itself to unity with it. (Brisbane 1876: 183)

Were I to extinguish that ant colony in my backyard with copious amount of bug spray, the Earth would fly of its axis and skitter away into the cold dead of space.

If this hypothesis of Fourier in relation to the influence of Man on this planet be correct, what a noble destiny has God assigned to Humanity in delegating to it the execution of a work, which enables it to coöperate in establishing and maintaining the reign of universal harmony in creation. (Brisbane 1876: 183)

Iffidy iff if Iff.

Humanity, being still in the early phase of its social career, and not having perfected its social organiz-ation, does not as yet fulfill its function of overseer of its globe; this is abundantly proved by the existence upon its surface of vast deserts, of immense swamps, marshes and morasses, of jungles, of wild and extensive forests, of beasts of prey and noxious reptiles, of excesses in climate, and derangements of the atmospheric system, and by the prevalence of other material disorders, which are the effects of the rude and uncultivated condition of the earth. (Brisbane 1876: 183)

Imagine the ungodly destruction and extinction of animal and plant life if humanity were to tailor all environments on this ball of dirt to its own liking. Sorry, Psammophis, your venom may not be dangerous to humans but your desert is free real estate, our books say so.

Besides the Deserts, vast marshes, morasses, jungles and collections of stagnant waters exist everywhere over the earth; they generate by their miasmic exhalations various epidemic diseases - the most prominent of which are the plague, the cholera and the yellow-fever. The cholera, for example - a telluric disease - was generated on the neglected or viciated soil of India; it has swept over every continent, carrying death to the furthest extremities of the earth, even to distant Patagonia, and punishing the entire human race for the neglect of its function of Overseer. (Brisbane 1876: 185)

I thought this link between wetlands and infectious diseases was merely a "historical association" but evidently Vibrio cholerae did originate from salty and warm coastal areas in India. The thinking here is still analogous to those who would hold China and their wet market policy accountable for COVID-19, or idiots on social media asking if it should be legal in the future to murder people of Chinese origin in their area because of it.

In the animal and vegetable kingdoms, we find to some extent an analogous state of things; beasts of prey, noxious reptiles, pestilent insects, loathsome vermin, and useless and poisonous weeds abound, warring on Man, and opposing serious obstacles to his Industry. (Brisbane 1876: 185)

Warring on Man or trying to live? A thistle in my cabbage patch? Stoy your military aggression, plant!

Our globe, like all the globes of the Universe, requires upon its surface an Overseer, that is, an intelligent and thinking race, a creative and organizing race, whose function it is to cultivate and embellish it, to develop and perfect the animal and vegetable kingdoms, and to establish order and harmony in the domain of Nature. (Brisbane 1876: 185)

We visited the Moon. The moon-people weren't home. Knocked on Mars' door. No-one answered. We must live in an abandoned neighbourhood.

He finds it in a rude and saveg state; it is covered with wild forests and prairies; its streams and tortuous and unregulated in their courses; over it are scattered waste and desert places; and its animal and vegetable creations are in an undeveloped condition. He must elevate it from this primitive and imperfect state; he must cultivate it, develop and perfect its various departments, and establish upon it the reign of material harmony. (Brisbane 1876: 186)

The ants in my backyard may equall well believe that their ant-hill is establishing material harmony in the universe. We most definitely wouldn't think so if an especially industrious species of ants came along and made the whole of the Earth's surface their supercolony. This use of the word "harmony" is dubious because it has absolutely no regard for other species inhabiting this planet.

Third, it has an Intellectual Destiny to fulfill; it is the Organizer on the planet, the Regulator and Harmonist of the kingdoms of Nature, and of all terrestial elements and phenomena of a mutable character; it must bring Nature with these elements into Unity with the general Order of creation; to do this, it must discover the Laws of Universal Harmony - the Laws according to which the Universe is governed, and employ them in its regulative and organizing work. (Brisbane 1876: 187)

This we're definitely not living up to. Now that we have invented convenient pregnancy testing, what should we do with all our African clawed frogs? Oh, let's just set them free wherever, surely they won't decimate all native frog species.

Under a true organization of Commerce, the right of Intermediate Property would be abolished; the commercial or exchanging classes would become commission merchants, acting as the agents of productive Industry, and under its direction, paid a fixed salary or commission, and responsible for their acts. Commerce would then become what it should be, the servant of productive Industry, instead of its master, as it now is. (Brisbane 1876: 191)

Recent events have shown that if someone is to threaten the inhuman profits of the few, they'll pour immense amounts of money, which to them is a meagre percentage of their wealth, into fighting such a movement.

The direct Pivot, which is The Sacrifice of the Collective to the Individual Interest, will be easily understood; we give a single [|] illustration of it: A league of monopolists in bread-stuffs may be their operations create an artificial scarcity, and so raise prices as to place bread almost beyond the reach of the poorer classes - producing, so to say, a fictitious famine; in seasons of scarcity such leagues are very common. It is evident that the Collective Interest is here sacrifice to the Individual, that is, the people are made to pay high prices for bread to enrich a few monopolists. (Brisbane 1876: 191-192)

What an outdated illustration. Thank god we today don't have, for example, democratic presidential candidates who worked for a company that was fixing bread prices in Canada.

According to the law of Contact of Extremes, Civilization is destined to end with a Feudalism - with a commercial or industrial Feudalism; it will be established by the power of Capital, wielded by the great capitalists, bankers and merchants; the entire wealth of society will be monopolized through the profits of commerce and banking, of speculation and usury; all branches of Industry will be systematized and organized, but on an arbitrary and despotic basis; the laboring classes will be reduced to entire dependence on capital, and become the industrial serfs of the new industrial dispensation. (Brisbane 1876: 194)

What is horsheshoe theory?

Industry will be organized, controlled and directed by large joint-stock companies or Corporations; and the chiefs of the new Feudalism will be those who manage these Corporations, that is, the great capitalists. The laboring classes will work in the Corporations, dependent upon them for employment, subject to their laws and regulations, and obliged to accept such terms and conditions as they choose to lay down. Possessing themselves no capital, no implements of production, they must become wholly dependent on capital; a new system of discipline and servitude will thus be instituted, a new order established in the life and labors of the people. (Brisbane 1876: 194)

Completely amiss! Shows how wrong these socialist thinkers are. Today we have these small mom-and-pop shops called "Walmarts", and if they do employ someone they're very well compensated for their labor. It's not like this blog, the service I use to search the web, the e-mail service I use, and the software running on my phone all belong to the same corporation. Fourier was crazy to think that large businesses would consolidate everything under the sun.

(Brisbane 1876: 196)

A typographical quirk: whoever did the layout accidentally flipped u and n. Made me realize that these letters are materially the same, just pointing in opposite directions.

As the principle of interest would be abolished under the new currency, it would, as a necessary result and without the necessity of any legislative action, be abolished also on the notes of individuals; thus interest and usury would cease, and with them the power of money to reproduce itself without labor - a power which enables a privileged few to live in luxury and idle ease on the toil of their fellow-men. (Brisbane 1876: 197)

A blunt pronouncement upon financial parasitism.

Take, for instance, the adulteration of products; its successful practice by a few dealers in any one branch, such as wines, leads the trade generally to adopt it; it becomes epidemic, and at length forms a part of the business; no one can succeed and make money rapidly who does not result to it. (Brisbane 1876: 198)

And then people die. Cf. The Austrian Wine Poisoning.

When Fourier come to study the problem of Association, he saw that, in order to associate men, it was necessary to associate and harmonize their characters, passions, tastes and inclinations, as these are the springs of action, the elements of social life. But to harmonize the Passions, now in a state of general conflict and discord, was truly a gigantic problem. Man cannot solve it; human reason and human legislation have tried the experiment and failed. Fourier came to the conclusion that if God had not created the Passions for harmony; if he had not precalculated their action and employment in the social mechanism, their uses and their functions, and adapted to them a social Order, in which they would operate harmoniously, it was in vain for man to attempt it. (Brisbane 1876: 201)

Then we're truly doomed because there's no supernatural involvement in the characters, passions, tastes and inclinations of humankind. There's no way human personality is governed "by the same Laws which regulate and govern all elements and forces in the universe" (ibid, 201).

The commercial controversy dates back hardly half a century, and its writers have already published hundreds of volumes, without discovering that the mechanism of commerce is organized in opposition to common sense. It subordinates the whole social body to a class of parasitic and unproductive agents, called Merchants. All the essential classes - the land-owner, the cultivator, the manufacturer, and even the government itself - are under the control of a secondary and accessory class, namely the Merchants, who should be their subordinates, their commissioned agents, removable and responsible, whereas at present they direct and obstruct at will the whole system of exchange and circulation. (Fourier 1876: 203)

This was summarizad above (cf. Brisbane 1876: 191).

Such is the thesis on which I shall dissert; I shall show that in sound politics the commercial body should be collectively responsible for all its acts, and that The social body should be guaranteed against bankruptcy, stock-jobbing, monopoly, speculation, usury, deterioration and waste, and all other evils resulting from the present system - a system which would have long since aroused the indignation of political writers, if they had had the shadow of the respect for good morals which they pretend. (Fourier 1876: 204)

Define:dissert - To discourse or dispute; to discuss; to speak or write at length; to make a dissertation on a subject, to dissertate. The substance of this passage is commonsensical enough: no-one should have to go bancrupt or go into dept for the rest of their life because they took up higher education or had a medical emergency.

In the course of the discussion I shall have occasion to express opinions but little flattering to the commercial system in general; but I have already observed that in criticising a profession. I do not criticise the individuals who exercise it. Those who declaim against the manœvres of monopolists, speculators, etc., would, perhaps, if in their place, surpass them in rapacity. We should blame, not the passions of individuals, but Civilization only, which, opening to the passions no career but that of fraud, compels men to practice fraud in order to attain to fortune, without which the passions cannot be satisfied. (Fourier 1876: 204)

Don't hate the player, hate the game.

The philosophers, who always support a social movement after it is accomplished, chimed in with the spirit of the age, and as soon as they saw the commercial policy dominant, commenced to extol it; thus originated the sect of Political Economists, and with it the mercantile controversy. (Fourier 1876: 205)

Ha. What?

An analysis of Commerce will show that the mercantile body (care must be taken not to confound it with the manufacturing class), is in Civilization but a horde of confederated pirates - a flock of vultures, preying upon agriculture and manufactures, and plundering the social body in every possible way. This, be it understood, without criticising them individually. (Fourier 1876: 207)

The exactness of this diagnosis was recently yet again proved by a proposal to legalize cannabis in New Jersey. That is, to legalize it and give some 10 select people all the licences to grow and sell it.

When a crime becomes common in society, it is looked upon with indifference. In Italy and Spain a hired assassin poignards his victim with impunity and retires for protection to the nearest church. In Germany and France, where the national character is opposed to treachery, such an assassin would be looked upon with so much abhorrence that he would perhaps be torn in pieces by the populace before the authorities had time to arrest him. (Fourier 1876: 208)

Can't have any discussion of different societies or cultures in the 19th century without "national character".

Bankruptcy is the most ingenious and the most impudent form of roguery which has ever existed. It insures to every tradesman the privilege of plundering the public of a sum proportioned to his fortune or credit, so that a rich man may say to himself: "I shall establish myself as a merchant this year; two years hence, on such a day, I shall plunder the community of so many thousands." (Fourier 1876: 208)

No wonder he wrote a whole piece about bankruptcy and cuckoldry.

His scheme is not divulged, because the Jews employ nobody but Jews - a people secretly hostile to all others, and who never betray any knavery concocted among themselves. (Fourier 1876: 211)

Such an outstanding feature in Fourier's ideology that even his Wikipedia page details that "John K. Roth and Richard L. Rubenstein have seen Fourier as motivated by economic and religious antisemitism, rather than the racial antisemitism that would emerge later in the century."

It is this fact which has led the philosophers to conclude that the merchants should not be interfered with, should be left free. A curious remedy, this, for an evil - to maintain it, because we have failed to discover its antidote! One should have been sought, and till it had been discovered, the schemes of the monopolists and forestallers, instead of being extolled, should have been denounced; we should have encouraged researches for some method competent for their suppression, and this would have been found in Collective Competition. (Fourier 1876: 214)

Free market competition! Deregulate!

We find all governments anxious to send their Merchants to establish themselves in the East; but no government would like to see its Manufacturers establish themselves there. (Fourier 1876: 222)


A new Currency remains to be discovered and established, - a currency which rests on a scientific basis, and performs in a direct, economical and legitimate manner its most important function, namely, that of effecting the Exchange of Products. Gold and silver were resorted to as a currency at an early period in history, when man was not capable of discovering and establishing a true representative sign of the products, labor and services, which he wished to exchange. They have been continued in use since, in part from habit and the want of inventive genius; in part from the impossibility of establishing a true currency in societies convulsed by wars and revolutions. (Fourier 1876: 228)

Semiotics of money.

Money is a sign, used by general consent, to represent the products, labor and services which men wish to exchange with each other. Briefly defined, it is the representative sign of products, and the medium for effecting their exchange. As products can not be exchanged without great inconvenience for each other, - a load of hay for example for a coat, a bale of cotton for a watch, - some sign, which represents them all, and which the entire community recognizes and accepts, is absolutely necessary. (Fourier 1876: 230)

More semiotics of money.

It inverts the true order of things in human society, for it cerates those influences which render idleness honorable and Labor dishonorable, by enabling a privileged few who accumulate the wealth which Industry produces, to live in idle ease, avoiding and despising labor, while the laboring classes live and toil in poverty and ignorance. (Fourier 1876: 236)

The root of all evil.

A house that has required, for example, a thousand days' labor to build, or has cost fifteen hundred dollars, - allowing the day's labor to be worth one dollar and fifty cents, - is rented, we will suppose, at one hundred and fifty dollars a year; the rentee thus gives one hundred days' labor each year for the use of the house, and continues this for years, until he has paid in labor the original amount of labor which was required to build the house; he owns, however, at the end of the time no part of it, while the owner of the house owns his thousand days' labor, with which he can build another and rent it in the same manner. The rental system is evidently false in principle. If interest were abolished, the rental system would follow it, and be replaced by a system of Payments in installments. (Fourier 1876: 236; fn)

Hence the slogan, "rent is theft". In Fourier's system, "every family would in time become the owner of a house, for each pays in the course of years rrent enough to buy a homestead" (ibid, 238).

It will be said: All these accumulations by interest go to some persons in society; and as they who receive them spend them again, they are not lost. This is true, but how are they spent? The three-quarters, we answer, in useless luxuries, in extravagance, in frivolities, which reproduce nothing and are wasted. A small number of rich are the recipients of the wealth accumulated by interest. How do they live, and how much of their wealth is expended in a really useful and reproductive manner? A hundred thousand dollars invested in a house, built from a desire of display, a portion only of which is occuped, is in part a useless expenditure; a thousand dollars spent for a shawl, a hundred for a handkerchief, which are but little used, are like so much capital buried in the earth; a thousand spent on a dinner, at which the guests drink to excess and are rendered unfit for business, is also lost; a thousand a month spent on a kept-mistress in again lost. (Fourier 1876: 245)

But how will the rich get to their yachts during a crisis without coming into contact with the germ-ridden common people?

These two examples are sufficient to enable the reader to make further comparisons for himself. If he will examine the subject carefully, he will see that the two Currencies, based on exactly opposite principles, must, when they work out their ultimate effects, produce exactly opposite results. The one concentrates the property of Nations in the hands of a few. The other will disseminate it among the entire people. The one builds up everywhere an aristocracy of wealth. The other will create a wealthy, and, as a consequence, an educated and intelligent Democracy. (Fourier 1876: 247)

"Governments don't want a population capable of critical thinking, they want obedient workers, people just smart enough to run the machines and just dumb enough to passively accept their situation." - George Carlin.

The one is a source of servitude, monotony and dead routine in Industry, and of ignorance and stolidness on the part of the laboring classes. The other will impart the greatest energy and progress to Industry, and call out a new life and a new mental activity among the masses. The one creates populations of poor hired laborers, working for a few idle rich. The other will create Nations of wealthy producers, and develop intelligence to a high degree by the scientific prosecution of Industry. (Fourier 1876: 248)

It's clear which one it currently is. I shall pass on the concrete theory portion for now.