Talk:Charles Fourier

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Did it work? I dont' know how to make comments. I'm the one who got rid of the portrait, cause it can't be both Fourier and Proudhon. I really hope this comment works. I don't want to get banned from Wikipedia or somethign like that. It's just that everytime I hit save it doesn't save the changes but after I close the browser cause I'm sick of waiting it has changed.

Indeed. Good catch. For the record, identical photos (uploaded by two different Wikipedians) were on this article and Pierre-Joseph Proudhon. Presumably the photo is of one man or the other, but without more work I don't know which. Isomorphic 12:32, 25 Jun 2004 (UTC)

I think it's Proudhon. Here's a portrait of Fourier. Billbrock 00:45, 13 August 2005 (UTC)

Could someone please replace Proudhon's portrait w/ Fourier's? The link in last comment, and it's old enough to be OK! I'm a bit inept w/ the images. Thanx! Billbrock 03:08, 3 October 2005 (UTC)

needs work[edit]

The whole 'ideas' section needs a lot of work to make it more encyclopedic. ike9898 21:54, Oct 6, 2004 (UTC)

The introduction states that he coined the term "feminism" in 1837. Yet, the biography section states that he died in 1834. Any suggestion as to how this anachronism can be eliminated? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:47, 28 May 2011 (UTC)

Attempted clean-up[edit]

I was brought to this biography due to the article I was writing on La Reunion (Dallas) which was inspired by Fourier. What I discovered was a total chaotic mess. I have tried to clean it up by using a basic format, clipping a lot of jumbled and meaningless text and then removing the rest to this page. The original text looks as if it might have been written in French and then translated to English where it lost all sense of flow and meaning. Perhaps it made perfect sense in the original, I do not know. There were explanations that began and ended in mid-sentence. I have pruned it to keep it alive because it does link to other articles - including one I created. However, what had been written was as clear as mud. If you have the time to undertake a proper biography of this man, please go ahead. Here is the rest of the original text that I removed - but I advise against trying to rewrite this. It would be simpler and a lot quicker to begin again with a fresh article. MPLX/MH 18:35, 12 Mar 2005 (UTC)

Original text[edit]

According to Fourier, every person has either a unique dominant passion, which can be anyone among the 12, or several dominant animic passions (between 2 and 7). People of the first category are called solitone (and in some sense they are monotonous), and those of the second category are polytone. Highest in the hierarchy of characters are the omnitone, who have all the 7 animic passions dominant. Fourier claimed to be one of them. A few persons have a mixed character, with several rallying passions instead of dominant ones.

As Civilization is not organized in the serial model, the 3 distributive passions do not find their proper place in it, and so they lead to immorality and anti-social behaviour. Persons living in Civilization, whose dominant passions number as many or more distributive ones than cardinal ones, tend to become dangerous. Examples include Nero, Sade, etc.

The 4 cardinal passions (ambition, friendship, love, familism) are the basis of affective relations. Each one involves both a material aspect (M) and a spiritual one (S):

  • Ambition: (M) interest; (S) glory, honour.
  • Friendship: (M) community of industrial pursuits; (S) community of spirits.
  • Love: (M) physical lust; (S) sentimental love.
  • Familism: (M) blood affiliaton; (S) industrial adoption.

These 4 passions subdivide also into two modes, major and minor; these two terms have no connotation of size or relative importance; they rather relate to the two modes in music. Here the term "major" refers to public life and extraverted pursuits, while "minor" applies to private life and introverted pursuits. The major mode takes a small precedence of the minor one.

The two major passions are ambition and friendship. The leading one is ambition, and so it is called hyper-major, while friendship is called hypo-major.

The two minor passions are love and familism. The leading one is love, and so it is called hyper-minor, while familism is called hypo-minor.

The two hyper-passions (ambition and love) are essentially compound, involving both a material and a spiritual element; on the other hand, the two hypo-passions (friendship and familism) are essentially simple, because they are bound to one side: friendship is essentially spiritual, while familism depends on blood kinship.

In each mode, the correct development of the hyper-passion is necessary to that of the hypo-passion. In Civilization, things are done in the wrong way: love is subordinated to familism, while the demands of ambition are neglected under the pretext of friendship.

Each cardinal passion gives a characteristic direction to the group which it animates:

  • for ambition, it is ascent: respect is given to the superiors, and everyone strives to climb upwards;
  • for friendship, it is unison: all are together for the same activity, with all differences discarded;
  • for love, it is inversion: the strong bows to the weak;
  • for familism, it is descent: all care and concern goes to the young.

To each age corresponds a dominating cardinal passion:

  • in childhood: friendship;
  • in youth: love;
  • in maturity: ambition;
  • in old age: familism.

Fourier's favourite cardinal passion is love.

Fourier invented the neologism céladonie; this name means sentimental love, by opposition with physical lust. He recognized the necessity and complementarity of both aspects of love. In Civilization, traditional morals extol sentimental love and condemns unbridled physical lust; the latter, like a wild animal, is acceptable only within the bounds of marriage, with the purpose of procreation. Fourier remarked that such an unbalanced view produces the opposite excess in public opinion and private lives: sentimental love is scoffed at, and serves only as a thin cover for sexual lust, which is the true purpose of courtship. The more morals condemn adultery and debauchery as vice, the more public opinion, novels, and theatre defend them.

Love being a compound made of two complementary elements (physical and sentimental), it is impossible to simplify it to only one of them. Trying to do so only leads to a "subversive" development, where the repressed side revolts against the other, a situation which leads to vices and perversions. Fourier criticizes all the restrictions to love in Civilization, and announces its balanced development in future Harmony. He envisages even the possibility of a purely sentimental love relation: such a celadony can be sustained only if each of the two lovers is engaged in a compound relation with one or several exterior partners. Harmony will reward angelic couples, that is beautiful lovers who will—for a limited time period—lead a purely sentimental celadony while at the same time satisfying the demands of a great number of exterior suitors.

The sublime passion that makes humans feel like gods, seemingly useless and irrational, mysterious and uncontrollable, always surging despite repression, the longing of both the rich and the poor... What are its degrees? How can it be achieved? Here are its possible developments, ranked by increasing efficiency:

  • simple celadony: one purely spiritual relation;
  • composite celadony: one compound relation (both physical and spiritual);
  • bimodal celadony: one spiritual relation and one compound relation;
  • multimodal celadony: one spiritual relation and several compound relations.

Angelic couples (who do not give themselves to each other until they have satisfied dozens of other suitors) lead multimodal celadony to its most glorious heights, providing love's public service.

Celadony is incompatible with Savage, Patriarcal, Barbarian, and Civilized orders, it will be achieved under Harmony.

The 3 distributive passions are satisfied thanks to the following features:

Cabalist: minute differences of interest between neighbouring groups within a series lead to emulation between these groups. Flitting: work sessions do not last more than 2 hours, so that different activities alternate during each day. Composite: a group's work is divided into sections, and each member chooses to practice those that (s)he likes. Individual egoism is counterbalanced by the individual's membership in the group. Group egoism is counterbalanced by the participation of each of its members to other groups.

Harmonian education starts from practice, leading then to theory. Children learn first to refine their senses, next start practising various crafts to which they are attracted. Only after mastering various practical skills are they taught to read and write.

The 3 distributive passions drive the arousal, combination, and alternation of the sensitive and affective passions. They are proper to human beings.

The cabalist and composite tend to arouse and sustain exaltation, but by opposite ways. Cabalist excitation is often a calculated intrigue, it is goal-driven, and it tends to make agreements based on identity. On the other hand composite enthusiasm is rather blind, it is stimulus-driven, and it tends to produce unions based on contrast.

Opposed to both is flitting, which can break this exaltation in order to produce a change.

The 3 distributive passions correspond to ways of thought. Cabalist is associated with arithmetic progression and sequential logic, composite with isomorphism and intuitive shortcuts, and flitting with alternations and breaks.

Fourier's favourite distributive passion is composite.

Relations between people are based on the 4 cardinal passions (ambition, friendship, love, familism), each of which can have a material and a spiritual aspect. There is not a unique classification of modes and combinations in Fourier's writings.

A unimode relation involves the smallest combination, typically two people, but the bond between them can take three degrees, according to the single or compound passion felt by each. The simple unreciprocated passion:

A has a simple (material or spiritual) passion for B, but B does not have such a passion for A, is not counted as a real bond. Reciprocated bonds are:

  • A and B have a simple passion for each other.
  • A has a compound (both material and spiritual) passion for B, while B has a simple passion for A.
  • A and B have a compound passion for each other.

A bimode relation involves more people; it can be graded both quantitatively and qualitatively. Quantitative degrees are:

  • A has a relation with both B and C.
  • A has a relation with both B and C, while B has a relation with both A and D.

Qualitative degrees are:

  • Cryptomode: The relation between A and B is open, while that between A and C or between B and D is hidden.
  • Delphimode: All relations between A, B, C, and D are open.

The above unimode and bimode relationship remain at the individual level. Socialized forms of relationship involving groups are multimode. A transition to a higher degree is provided by ultramode, where an individual has a passion for all people; for example ultraphilia, ultramode friendship, manifests itself by a life devoted to continuous welfare for all people.

An omnimode relation involves huge masses of people sharing the same passion. In Civilization it happens for short moments on very rare occasions.

Bio stub[edit]

After making a couple of other edits to the basic text it seems that the easiest thing to do is turn this into a bio-stub so that another editor who fully understands this subject can write a decent article that makes sense. To that end I further removed the original text that I had refined but which upon reflection was better removed than left in place. MPLX/MH 18:47, 12 Mar 2005 (UTC)

In Lyon he was influenced by Francois-Joseph l'Ange who planned a nationalised company to buy and distribute corn.

Charles Fourier formulated his beliefs in minimum standards of life and proposed a comprehensive alternative to the Christian religion. Fourier argued that the poor state of the planet is the result of the evil practices of civilisation.

He believed that the first level of humanity is the complete human body, made of a man and a woman. His second level consisted of the complete human soul which he further defined as being 810 different characters harmonized in a whirl which he called a (phalanx). Fourier's third level consisted of a socially unified globe with all of its inhabitants. He defined his fourth level as the solar system followed by galaxies, a universe. Above universes, biniverses and triniverses.

Charles Fourier concluded that the actions of human activity are driven by passion stimulated by attraction and therefore he wanted to organize society to regulate attractions. He further defined passion into complicated sub-theories of luxurism, groupism, and seriism.

If you're going to remove the entire article, please write a new one. 01:24, May 5, 2005 (UTC)

Wow, this needs work: "From 1791 to 1816 Fourier was employed in Paris, Rouen, Lyon, Marseille, and Bordeaux." <= The freaking French Revolution is skipped by in a single sentence! "From 1933 to 1944 Adolf Hitler lived in Germany..." — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 03:36, 15 August 2013 (UTC)

Still needs work[edit]

No mention of Fourier as a proto-feminist, arguably his most important contribution to utopian thought, as originated in The Philosophy of Utopia. Significant lack of pertinent information. Article has belittling tone which seems to violate Pillar # 2. Will attempt to rework from scratch after renewed research. Troublesleeping 15:04, 3 August 2005 (UTC)

Hard not to belittle Fourier a little (I wrote a diss. on his US followers), but I agree that the article needs a full rewrite. Standard academic biography is of course Beecher. Billbrock 03:10, 3 October 2005 (UTC)
The entire article is unintentionally hilarious! — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:58, 11 January 2012 (UTC)

Fourier vs. Fourierism[edit]

As I tried to indicate in my additions to the reading list, it's a bit silly to try to cram Fourier's followers into the Fourier article, especially given the unusual history--see Beecher, Desroche, and Guarneri for starters. I think a separate article on Fourierism (which has a vast literature) is warranted.

Removed polemics[edit]

I've removed an entry to the effect that no one would want to work in garbage collection in a Fourier Society. I've also removed the entry:

One must understand, to have followed Charles Fourier while he lived required a great patience and an outstanding faith in the unrealized.

as both entries are clearly polemic.

--Philopedia 01:04, 19 December 2005 (UTC)

Personality types[edit]

What were the basic personality types listed by Charles Fourier? I read that in designing his utopian communes, Fourier listed several types necessary on each phalanx/ What were they? --Gary123 (talk) 06:16, 7 November 2009 (UTC)

Who influenced Fourier?[edit]

There's mention of Fourier's influences on other people, but who influenced Fourier? Did he come up with these ideas on his own, or did he learn from others? If the latter, who and what were their ideas he adopted? (talk) 15:09, 5 May 2013 (UTC)

Metropolitan quote[edit]

In the film, Sally actually says either "Good luck with your Foyer-ism" (because Sally is an upper-class twit) or what sounds like faux-yerism (a possible allusion the the fact that Tom is not actually a serious Fourierist). I don't think I can make either change without committing WP:OR though. Dingsuntil (talk) 01:39, 13 March 2015 (UTC)