Saturday, September 15, 2012

Charles Fourier, Cardinal and the Principal Movements in the Harmony of the Universe


FOURIER.

I am aware that it is very humiliating for an age in possession of so much physical and mathematical science, to be branded with ignorance concerning other branches of knowledge; to be openly accused of entertaining false notions on many subjects, and of not being initiated even in the most elementary details of several very important sciences; such, for instance, as the four following:—
Industrial Association.
Passional Attraction.
Aromal Mechanism.
Universal Analogy.
If the pride of modern learning feel offended at this sweeping declaration, let it reflect upon the following table of distinctions in the branches of universal unity; from which it will become apparent that the genius of modern science has hardly penetrated into one-tenth part of the system of Nature.

A Table of the Cardinal and the Principal Movements in the Harmony of the Universe.

4. The Material branch of Universal Movement.—The theory of astronomy only explains the effects and not the causes of material movement or attraction.
3. The Aromal branch of Universal Movement.—This branch relates to the distribution of the different sorts of aroma or imponderable fluid, known and unknown, operating actively and passively on the different orders of creation in the animal, vegetable, and mineral kingdoms. These different sorts of imponderable fluid are not known systematically, nor are the causes of their influence respectively attached to them at all understood, particularly as regards the conjugations of planets which are regulated according to the laws of aromal affinity.
2. The Organic branch of Universal Movement.—The laws according to which the creator regulates and distributes forms, properties, colours, flavours, &c., to all the substances which have been, or are to be created on the different globes of the universe. Up to the present time nothing has been known concerning the distribution of different properties to those creatures in actual existence, nor of the causes and effects of such productions as may be expected in future creations.
1. The Instinctual branch of Universal Movement: or the Laws of Necessity, according to which the passions and instincts are distributed to different orders of beings in the creation. Neither the mode of distribution nor the causes which regulate the distribution of instinctive faculties are known to our Divines and Philosophers.
And, finally, the passional or social branch of universal movement: or the laws which govern the organization and succession of different forms of society on different globes. Neither the causes nor the effects of this pivotal or leading branch of universal movement and harmony are known to our men of learning and influence. They have no idea of the laws of unity which harmonize the passions of mankind without thwarting them by repressive discipline.

From this general view of universal movement it is quite clear that one of the five primordial branches only is known to our men of science, and even that has been but partially discovered, for, the science of Astronomy only explains the effects of material attraction and not the causes. One half, therefore, of one of the five primordial branches of universal attraction, or one-tenth part only of the laws of universal movement, is all that our leading men of science can explain.
The aromal branch of universal movement is hardly dreamed of by Philosophers, and scientific corporations: it has never been a subject of systematic investigation; and yet its influence is of a very superior order in the material harmony of the universe, which our learned Astronomers have only partially explained, for want of a knowledge of aromal affinities or the natural functions of the imponderable fluids in planetary attraction.
By putting the following questions to our Astronomers, we should certainly reduce them to a confession of ignorance:—
1. What are the law, which regulate the distribution of satellites and their respective conjugations with the primary planets? Why is it that the planet Uranus, which is hardly one-fourth the size of Jupiter, has a greater number of satellites?
2. What are the laws of planetary conjugation? How is it that Vesta the smallest of all planets does not revolve as a moon round one of the others; not even, round the enormous Jupiter to which it is so nearly located.
3. What is the law which regulates the position of the planets with respect to the sun? Why should Uranus, being considerably less than Jupiter, be immensely more distant from the sun? and why should our earth, being even smaller than Uranus, be nearer to the sun than Jupiter?

These and many other questions on the laws of universal harmony, are beyond the learning of our great men, for all their science is confined to the analysis of general effects, but of first causes, they know nothing. As I have already said, they have not yet discovered one-tenth part of the laws of universal nature. Newton certainly commenced the study of attraction as a universal law, but he commenced at the wrong end of the subject. It has been very well said, but ill attended to, that "the proper study of mankind is man,” and that is certainly true; for the study of human nature, or the scientific analysis and synthesis of passional attraction is the real key to the study of universal attraction and repulsion, or the law of universal movement and harmony.
As a mathematician, Newton did all that we had a right to expect from him, but, on seeing the brilliant success which attended his labours in the study of material attraction, our men of science might have been led to augur well of a similar investigation of the laws of moral or passional attraction. This would have led them on to the discovery of Nature's laws with regard to the causes and effect. of movement and harmony in the aromal the organic and the instinctual spheres of attraction.
It would have been very natural to suppose in accordance with the unity of system which governs the universe, that, as a regular analysis of material attraction or gravitation had explained the material branch of harmony and unity in Nature, a systematic calculation embracing analytical and synthetical views of passional attraction, might reveal to us the natural method of realizing unity and harmony in the moral branch of universal activity.
This method of investigation has been entirely neglected, and thence it is that the world is in total darkness with respect to moral and social harmony.
*        *        *        *        *        *
The real science of association is inseparable from that of universal unity, or unity of man with man, with God, and with the universe. It is for this reason that I deem it necessary to treat of universal analogy, or unity of man with the universe, and the immortality of the soul, or unity of man with God, as well as of social science, or unity of man with man.
This method may perhaps displease Atheists and Materialists who are now become so numerous and intolerant, particularly in France; but, as I believe unity of doctrine to be the only true basis of progress, I must be allowed to think for myself on these subjects, and those who do not think proper to examine or concur in my views of analogy and immortality, may deem them merely conjectural, and confine their attention to that branch of unity which they deem most important; namely, the unity of man with man, which is the special object of social science.

Source: The Morning Star,  No. 8 (December 30, 1840) 59-60; translated from The Theory of Universal Unity.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Charles Fourier, Framework for the Integral Study of Nature


FOURIER
ON THE UNITY OF SYSTEM IN UNIVERSAL NATURE.

Modern sophists, particularly in France, have generally aimed at explaining the unity of system which is remarkable in universal nature, and yet the philosophical world never was farther removed from the right line of study on this subject than at present. There is hardly a correct idea abroad
concerning the fundamental basis of universalism or general unity, which may be thus resumed:—
Unity of man with man,
Unity of man with God,
Unity of man with the universe.
In this book it will be demonstrated that philosophers have either purposely or unwittingly neglected to study the first of these three primordial branches of unity: that of man with man, or man in society, and particularly of man with himself or his own passions, which, in the present incoherent slate of social organization, are in a slate of general deviation and discord, hurrying headlong to ruin those individuals who suffer them to rule.
This duplicity of action, or discord of man with his own nature, has given birth to a science called morale, which mistakes the duplicity of action in human nature for a sign of innate depravity, and the irretrievable destiny of mankind. This science teaches us to resist the impulse of our passions, and be constantly at war with our natural inclinations; and, as a necessary consequence, it places man in a state or opposition to his Maker, who created those inclinations; for those passions and instincts which animate all living beings were given to them by God as the laws of their being, and guides to their respective destinies.
To this it is objected by metaphysical casuists, that reason was given to man to control his passions; whence it would follow, 1st—That God had subjected us to the rule of two guides, which are eminently dissimilar and irreconcileable, i. e., reason and passion. (This constitutes a thorough discrepancy in theory.)
2nd—That God would be absolutely unjust towards 99 men in every 100 to whom he has not given enough reason tp govern their passions. In all countries it has been observed that the mass of the people are almost devoid of reason; and, therefore, according to this doctrine, there is a great lack of distributive justice on the part of Deity. (This constitutes a thorough discrepancy in distributive unity.)
3rd—God, in giving us reason as a means of counter-balancing the passions, would have acted very injudiciously; for it is notoriously evident that reason is totally inadequate to the government of the passions, even amongst the fell' who have been most richly endowed with it, for those very men who talk most about reason, such as Voltaire and other philosophers, have been more subject to the impulse of their passions than any other men. (This fact constitutes a thorough discrepancy in the practical part of moralism.)
So that the boasted science of moralism sets out by a complete negation of the first branch of unity, and places man in a triple state of duplicity with himself and his fellow-beings; a principle winch is as monstrous as it is arbitrary, and which aims at nothing less than accusing Deity of a triple and wilful duplicity in creating the passions.
There is nothing admissible in these three hypotheses of moralism: they will be duly analysed and fully refuted in the three first sections of this book, wherein it will be demonstrated that all the aberrations of metaphysical sophistry have originated in one grand error; that of omitting the study of passional attraction, the analytical and synthetical calculation of which would have led to the discovery of their natural functions in the equilibrium of passion and reason, which are as perfectly accordant with each other in an associative medium as they are necessarily discordant in competitive society.
Being ignorant of the first primordial branch of unity, that of man with himself and his fellow-beings, it is not extraordinary that philosophers should be ignorant of the second and third branches of universal unity; unity of man with his Maker and with the universe. The study of the first branch being incomplete, the two others were necessarily undiscovered.
Thus, therefore, has the whole system of nature been unknown to philosophy, and the genius of man has been limited to an imperfect knowledge of a few secondary branches of nature's laws, such as the theory of gravitation or material attraction, which is only a fragment at the third primordial branch of general unity. Newton's discovery ought to have led the way from the study of material to that of passional attraction, in order to discover what were the natural laws of passional affinity; what was the domestic and social organization which God had pre-ordained, as being best adapted to the natural and harmonic development of human instincts and passions; what was the true Slate of industrial activity, for it has ever been abundantly evident that the present state of things is out of harmony with nature.
It has been vaguely laid down as a general principle, that man is made for society; but it has not been clearly stated that society may be organized on two fundamentally different principles: that of association and that of individualism, or competition and co-operation. The difference between the two is exactly analogous to, and correlative with, the difference between truth and falsehood, riches and poverty, justice and injustice, light and darkness, brutality and refinement; and, to go from the medium to the two extremes in the creation, the difference is analogous to that which distinguishes the planet from the comet, in the solar system, and the creeping caterpillar from the beauteous butterfly, in the world of insects.
The natural method of speculation on this subject is exceedingly simple.
There can be but two fundamentally different modes of organizing industry, namely, the divisional system of culture by isolated families and individuals as we see it now, and the associative system of culture and industry, by means of numerous bodies acting in co·operative unity, and possessing an exact science of equitable repartition to each individual, according to the respective faculties of industrial production, i. e, capital, science, and labour.
We have only to ask ourselves which of these two modes of social activity is the one especially designed by God? The competitive or the co-operative organization? There can be no room for hesitation in deciding this question. As the Supreme Economist, God must necessarily prefer the associative state of society, which is the most perfectly economical, and, in order to facilitate the establishment of this perfect state of society, the Creator must have pre-ordained a scientific basis of co·operative organization, the discovery of which was the task of human genius.
If association be the law of justice and the will of God, it follows as a matter of course that the competitive state should be the very contrary, and generate every thing which is in contradiction with justice and truth; in a word, it naturally engenders effects which are diabolical and contrary to the spirit of truth, and such are its natural results as they are manifested in poverty, fraud, violence, oppression, carnage, &c. &c.
And, moreover, since it is evident that every variety of competitive society, patriarchal, barbarian, and civilized, only tend to perpetuate these diabolical results in defiance of scientific discoveries, it is quite clear that our only resource is in the adoption of co-operative principles and organization.
The present generation ought to have turned its attention to the problem of association, but neither statesmen nor economists have thought seriously of doing so, and philosophers are too deeply enamoured of their own theories to think of abandoning the long cherished sophisms.
At length, however, the discovery is made, and what is more, it is made completely, in all its degrees; but it has one great blemish in the eyes of philosophy: it is in direct contradiction with all previous systems of social mechanism, and it dispenses at once with those uncertain sciences called politics, metaphysics, moralism, and economism.