Charles Fourier (1772-1837)

“Universal Harmony”

Source: The Utopian Vision of Charles Fourier. Selected Texts on Work, Love, and Passionate Attraction. Translated, Edited and with an Introduction by Jonathan Beecher and Richard Bienvenu. Published by Jonathan Cape, 1972;
First Published: Manuscrits de Charles Fourier. Année 1851.
Transcribed: by Andy Blunden.

The calculus of Harmony, for which Madame A. F. seeks publicity, is a discovery that the human race was far from expecting. It is a mathematical theory concerning the destinies of all the globes and their inhabitants, a theory of the sixteen social orders which can be established on the diverse globes throughout eternity.

Of the sixteen possible societies, only three are to be seen on our globe: Savagery, Barbarism and Civilisation. Soon they will come to an end, and all the nations of the earth will enter the fifteenth stage which is Simple Harmony.

Great men of all the centuries! Newton and Leibnitz, Voltaire and Rousseau, do you know in what you are great? In blindness. You will soon seem like no more than great madmen for having thought that civilisation was the social destiny of the human race. How could you have failed to understand that these three societies, the savage, the barbarian and the civilised, are but rungs to be climbed, that they are reason’s age of childhood and imbecility, and that God would be improvident if he had conceived of nothing better adapted to human happiness? These three societies are the most disastrous among the sixteen. Of the sixteen there are seven which will see the establishment of perpetual peace, universal unity, the liberty of women.

I owe this astonishing discovery to the analytic and synthetic calculus of passionate attraction which our savants have deemed unworthy of attention during their two thousand five hundred years of study. They have discovered the laws of material movement; that’s all very well, but it doesn’t get rid of poverty. It was necessary to discover the laws of social movement. Their invention is going to lead the human race to opulence, to sensual pleasures, to the unity of the globe. I repeat, this theory will be geometrical and applied to the physical sciences. It is not an arbitrary doctrine like the political and moral sciences, which are going to meet a sad fate. There is going to be a great disaster at the libraries.

If ever war was deplorable, it is at this moment. Soon the victors will be on the same level as the vanquished. What point is there in conquests when the entire globe will comprise but a single nation, will be run by a single administration? In spite of this unity, there will be no equality in harmony.

To the chief of France can be reserved the honour of extracting the human race from social chaos, of being the founder of Harmony and the liberator of the globe. The rewards which this honour entails will not be modest, and they will be transmitted in perpetuity to the descendants of the founder.

Some readers will cry out: “dream,” “visionary.” Patience! In a short time we will wake them from their own frightful dream, the dream of civilisation. Blind savants, just look at your cities paved with beggars, your citizens struggling against hunger, your battlefields and all your social infamies. Do you still believe that civilisation is the destiny of the human race? Or was J.-J. Rousseau right in saying of the civilised: “These are not men; there is a disorder in things, the cause of which we have not yet fathomed.”