Charles Fourier

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Charles Fourier

François Marie Charles Fourier (April 7, 1772October 10, 1837) was a French philosopher who wrote on a variety of topics such as social philosophy, natural science and normative ethics. Fourier is best remembered for his strong support for women's rights, his conception of socialist economics (referred to as "Fourierian economics), and his passional theory of metaphysics. Fourier, along with other early socialist theorists such as, Proudhon, Owen, Saint-Simon and Blanqui, were famously derided as "Utopian socialists" by the philosopher Karl Marx in The Manifesto of the Communist Party.

Quotes[edit]

The seeds of heavenly bodies are deposited and cared for in the Milky Way, from which they emanate in swarms of comets that travel a; long time and ordinarily gravitate towards various suns before becoming fixed in orbit.
Etoiles, Bricot Valentin.jpg
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 is does not extend to the social world or the social relations of mankind, and that God has 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.
  • Wisdom, virtue, morality, all these have fallen out of fashion: everybody worships at the shrine of commerce.
    • The Theory of the Four Movements (1808), G. Jones, ed. (1966), p. 269
  • Nowhere is there more constancy and more unanimity than among the French to subordinate that sex which they pretend to honor so highly.
    • The Theory of Social Organization
  • Ignorant as regards the unity of man with himself, the world is still more ignorant in respect to the two other unities - unity of man with God and the universe.
  • All repressed passion produces its counter-passion which is as malevolent as the natural passion would be beneficial.
    • Le nouveau monde amoureux
  • The familial union presents as well a mixture of inconvenient ages and characters that inhibit conversation. Morality engenders a frigid atmosphere, as in all places where it reigns.
    • Oeuvres completetes de Charles Fourier
  • IF the passions and characters of man were not subject, like the material kingdoms, 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 uniy, he should seek for the means in the serial order, to which God has subject all nature.
    • Le nouveau monde amoureux
  • Nothing is more opposed to concord than the present condition of the domestic and salaried classes. By reducing this poor multitude to a condition very like slavery, civilization, on the rebound, imposes chains upon those who seem to dominate. Thus notables do not dare to amuse themselves openly at times when the people suffer from poverty. The rich are subject to individual as well as collective servitude. A wealthy man is often the slave of his valets. However in harmony the valet himself enjoys complete independence, while the rich are served with an assiduity and a devotion of which one sees not a trace in civilization.
    • Oeuvres completetes de Charles Fourier
  • When we see civilization elated with this declining and decrepit phase of its career, we are reminded of a faded belle who, boasting of her attractions in her fiftieth year, excites at once the remark that she was fairer at twenty-five. So it is with civilization, which, dreaming of perfection and progress, is constantly deteriorating, and which will find but too soon in its industrial achievements new sources of political oppression, crimes and commotions.
  • To speak frankly, the family bond in the civilizee regime' causes fathers to desire the death of their children and children to desire the death of their fathers.
  • If children are a joy for the well-to-do, they are a torment for seven-eights of all civlizees, who cannot afford to maintain and educate them.
  • Marriage and dependent children are a trap for the people! Morality carefully hides this distressing truth from us because it knows no remedy for the evil. But I , who bring a remedy must not dissimulate the woes from fathers, and I must not dissimulate from society its radical vice of pushing seven-eighths of all families into evil practices through poverty.
  • Those who have taken the planets to be inanimate bodies without function, limited to traveling geometric paths, resemble idiots who would believe that the brain is inanimate because it has no visible function, or that the stomach is idle because it does no visible work as do our limbs. Civilizees have always been reproached for believing nature to be limited to known effects. If the planets were not animate creatures endowed with functions, God would then appear to be an advocate of laziness. He would have created universes furnished with large inert bodies spending eternity in purposeless meandering as do the idlers in our society.
    • L'attraction passioneé
  • Hitherto men have speculated vaguely on the unity of universes; it is now about to be demonstrated by reasoning from the passional world to material, guided by the analogy which exists between the two.
    • L'attraction passioneé, Harmonian Man: Selected Writings of Charles Fourier, p. 54
  • The seeds of heavenly bodies are deposited and cared for in the Milky Way, from which they emanate in swarms of comets that travel a ;long time and ordinarily gravitate towards various suns before becoming fixed in orbit.
    • L'attraction passioneé

The Theory of Social Organization (1876)[edit]

  • Agricultural association, which in all ages has been deemed impossible, would produce results of unbounded magnificence the rigorous demonstrations, the mathematical calculations by which these results will be verified, will not, however, prevent the picture of the future harmony and happiness which they present from repelling minds habituated to the miseries and wretchedness of our present civilization.
    • The Theory of Social Organization. Harmonian Man: Selected Writings of Charles Fourier, p. 5.
  • 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.
    • The Theory of Social Organization. Harmonian Man: Selected Writings of Charles Fourier, p. 5.
  • There is no idea more novel, more surprising, than that of associating three hundred families of different degrees of fortune, knowledge and capacity.
    • The Theory of Social Organization. Harmonian Man: Selected Writings of Charles Fourier, p. 5.
  • The possibility of associating two or three hundred families in agricultural and manufacturing industry depends upon a system so entirely different from what now exists, that it will open to the reader a new social world. He must consequently, in the study which opens before him, follow the guide with confidence, bearing constantly in min the gigantic results which will flow from association. Such results are well worth the sacrifice of a few prejudices. Every sensible reader will be of this opinion, and will concur to follow the advice which I shall constantly give, namely, to neglect the form and style of presentation, and occupy himself solely with the substance of the theory, seeking to determine whether the process of association is really discovered or not.
    • The Theory of Social Organization. Harmonian Man: Selected Writings of Charles Fourier, p. 5.
  • There is a class of writers who are ever boasting of the progress of civilization and of the human mind in modern times. If we were to credit their pretensions, we should be led to believe that the science of society had reached its highest degree of perfection, because old metaphysical and economic theories have been somewhat refined upon.
    In answer to their boasts of social progress, it is not sufficient to refer to the deeply-rooted social evils which exist, and which prey upon our boasted civilized social order. We will mention but a single one, the frightful increase of national debts and of taxation.
    • The Theory of Social Organization. Harmonian Man: Selected Writings of Charles Fourier
  • 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 is does not extend to the social world or the social relations of mankind, and that God has 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.
    • The Theory of Social Organization. Harmonian Man: Selected Writings of Charles Fourier, p. 5.
  • The Turks teach women that they have no souls, and are unworthy to enter paradise. The French would persuade them that they have no intellects, and are not made to engage in mental labors, and to tread the paths of art and science.
    • The Theory of Social Organization
  • Woman is degraded and made to believe that nature destined her exclusively to menial domestic labors, which in the combined order will be so abridged as to be performed without oppression to either sex.
    • The Theory of Social Organization
  • You complain that the nature withholds from you a knowledge of her laws; but if you have been unable, to to present time, to discover them, why do you hesitate to admit the insufficiency of your methods and to invoke a new science, a new guide? Either nature does not desire the happiness of man, or your methods are condemned by her, since they have been unable to west from her the secret of which you are in pursuit. Do we find her frustrating the efforts of the natural philosophers as she does yours? no, because they study her laws instead of dictating laws to her; while you only study the art of stifling the voice of nature stifling attraction which is her interpreter, and the synthesis of which leads in every sense to association. What a contrast between your blunders and the achievements of the positive sciences! 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 vision have cast opprobrium upon the eighteenth.
    • Vol. I, pp.5-11
  • IT is but too true, that for five and twenty centuries since the political and moral sciences have been cultivated, they have done nothing for the happiness of mankind. They have tended only to increase human perversity, to perpetuate indigence, and to reproduce the same evils under different forms. After all their fruitless attempts to ameliorate the social order, there remains to the authors of these sciences only the conviction their utter incompetency. The problem of human happiness is one which they have been wholly unable to solve.
    Meanwhile a universal restlessness attests that mankind has not attained to the destiny to which nature would lead it, and this restlessness would seem to presage some great event m which shall radically change its social condition. The nations of the earth harassed by misfortune, and so deceived by political empirics, still hope for a better future, and resemble the invalid who looks for a miraculous cure. Nature whispers in the ear of the human race, that for it is reserved a happiness, the means of attaining which are now unknown, and that some marvelous discovery will be made, which will suddenly dispel the darkness that now enshrouds the social world.
  • 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 philosophy to study association and passional attraction.

New Amorous World[edit]

  • There was very little that prevented the vandalism of 1793 from suddenly producing a second revolution as marvelous as the first was horrible. The whole human race was approaching its release; the civilized, barbarian, and savage order would have disappeared forever if the Convention, which trampled down all prejudices, had not bowed down before the only one that had to be destroyed, the institution of marriage.
    • Charles Fourier: The Visionary and His World, J. Beecher (1986), p. 304-5
  • It is certain that nature inclines us toward the amorous orgy, just as much as toward the gastronomic orgy, and that while both are blameworthy in the excess, they would become praiseworthy in an order in which they could be equilibrated.
    • Charles Fourier: The Visionary and His World, J. Beecher (1986), p. 310
  • An empire derives no advantage from the caresses of two turtledoves who spend a year cooing to each other in public meetings.
    • Charles Fourier: The Visionary and His World, J. Beecher (1986), p. 315

External links[edit]

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