SOCIALISM, SEX AND THE SO­LAR SYS­TEM

In an ex­tract from his new book, SD TUCKER ex­plores the bizarre coital cos­mol­ogy of Charles Fourier, the French thinker who claimed that Venus had a pe­nis and that bad in­ter­plan­e­tary sex was re­spon­si­ble for ev­ery­thing from cap­i­tal­ism to sea mon­sters.

Fortean Times - - Contents -

SD TUCKER ex­plores the bizarre coital cos­mol­ogy of Charles Fourier, the French thinker who claimed that Venus had a pe­nis and that bad in­ter­plan­e­tary sex was re­spon­si­ble for cap­i­tal­ism.

The French proto-so­cial­ist Charles Fourier (1772– 1837) was one of the first true prophets of the Left, and also one of the odd­est. So strange was his vi­sion of the work­ers’ New Jerusalem that dur­ing the 20th cen­tury he was adopted by the Sur­re­al­ist An­dré Bre­ton as a kind of mas­cot of what might be termed ‘the pol­i­tics of the im­pos­si­ble’. But what, pre­cisely, was so strange about his ideas?

Well, Fourier was one of those overly op­ti­mistic thinkers who aim to cre­ate a uni­ver­sal ‘The­ory of Ev­ery­thing’, and it some­times seems as if he wrote about ev­ery topic un­der the Sun, from mel­ons to ele­phants’ ears. How­ever, Fourier made his great­est im­pact in two seem­ingly sep­a­rate-sound­ing ar­eas: cos­mol­ogy and so­cial re­form.

WORK­ERS’ PLAYTIME

Fourier’s great over­ar­ch­ing the­ory was that of ‘pas­sional at­trac­tion’, which posited that hu­man be­ings were nat­u­rally mo­ti­vated not by de­sire for profit, as the cur­rent struc­ture of so­ci­ety sug­gested, but by nat­u­ral pas­sions like love.

Declar­ing him­self ‘The Mes­siah of Rea­son’, Fourier pro­posed cre­at­ing a brand new so­ci­ety in which the true pas­sions of mankind, rather than be­ing sup­pressed, would be in­dulged within a novel unit of so­cial or­gan­i­sa­tion termed the ‘pha­lanstery’. Each pha­lanstery would be a self-con­tained com­mune hous­ing ex­actly 1,620 mem­bers, de­rived from all three gen­ders (Fourier con­sid­ered chil­dren to be a sep­a­rate sex). Of th­ese, 810 would be women or girls, and 810 men or boys. Fourier ar­rived at this pre­cise num­ber by some­how man­ag­ing to work out that there were ex­actly 810 dif­fer­ent hu­man per­son­al­ity-types in ex­is­tence; which meant that a com­mu­nity of 1,620 would be an en­tire world in minia­ture. Within the pha­lanstery, the cur­rently bor­ing and de­grad­ing world of work would be trans­formed into a plea­sur­able one of play. For ex­am­ple, each per­son would be ‘sci­en­tif­i­cally’ as­signed the job to­wards which they were most suited; most fa­mously, the “lit­tle hordes” of small chil­dren would be given the job of toi­let-clean­ing, see­ing as kids ev­ery­where en­joy get­ting dirty, as well as find­ing bums and turds in­her­ently funny.

In fact, so pleas­ing and play-like would ev­ery­one’s work be­come that labour would be trans­formed into a form of sur­ro­gate sex. The ap­par­ent coiner of the word ‘fem­i­nism’, Fourier – a self-pro­claimed “pro­tec­tor of les­bians” – thought that, sex­u­ally-speak­ing, any­thing should go in the pha­lanster­ies; S&M, in­cest, bes­tial­ity, sap­phism, ho­mo­sex­u­al­ity, group-sex, pæ­dophilia, sodomy, hold­ing hands, what­ever. See­ing that the laws of pas­sional at­trac­tion drew peo­ple to do such things, to pre­vent them would be as un­nat­u­ral as stop­ping a ripe ap­ple fall­ing from its branch, he said, and thus a se­ri­ous breach of the laws of grav­ity. Fourier even pro­posed the creation of a sort of amorous wel­farestate safety net, in which each cit­i­zen would be guar­an­teed a cer­tain amount of intercourse. Those left jilted would soon be sat­is­fied by bands of wan­der­ing ‘fairies’, gangs of pub­lic-sec­tor whores who would se­duce the lovelorn on sight.

This won­der­ful new ‘Age of Har­mony’, as the pha­lanste­rian era was dubbed, would last for 80,000 years and have hugely ben­e­fi­cial ef­fects upon hu­man health. In

In his Har­monic Par­adise, hu­mans would evolve into sex­ual su­per­men

Fourier’s Har­monic Par­adise, hu­mans would evolve into sex­ual su­per­men, grow­ing seven feet tall and liv­ing to the age of 144, in a world wholly free of ill­ness, mis­ery and pain.

HOW DO YOU LIKE THEM AP­PLES?

Fourier felt his idea of ‘pas­sional at­trac­tion’ was a con­tin­u­a­tion of New­ton’s work on grav­i­ta­tional at­trac­tion. “I … have surely com­pleted the task that the New­to­ni­ans be­gan and left un­fin­ished,” he wrote proudly, while never miss­ing an op­por­tu­nity to be­lit­tle his long-dead ri­val. Whilst “as a math­e­ma­ti­cian New­ton did all that we had a right to ex­pect from him,” Fourier loftily de­clared, he had none­the­less com­menced his stud­ies “at the wrong end of the sub­ject” by fo­cus­ing his cal­cu­la­tions upon “a few sec­ondary branches of Na­ture’s laws” like grav­ity and mo­tion. Be­cause of New­ton’s wrong-head­ed­ness, the cur­rent pseu­do­science of as­tron­omy could “only ex­plain the ef­fects and not the causes” of plan­e­tary move­ments and or­bits in space.

In his haunt­ing para­ble The Four Ap­ples Fourier ex­plained how, through­out the long march of his­tory, there had been four sep­a­rate fruits of im­mense im­por­tance to mankind. First of all, there were the two bad ap­ples: the one with which the bib­li­cal Serpent had tempted Eve, and the golden ap­ple that had led to the Tro­jan War. Af­ter this, how­ever, came two coun­ter­bal­anc­ing good ap­ples: the one which is al­leged to have fallen upon New­ton’s head, giv­ing him the idea for his the­ory of grav­ity, and an­other such fruit which Fourier him­self en­coun­tered some­time dur­ing the 1790s. Whilst walk­ing through Paris one day, Fourier stopped to buy an ap­ple from a ven­dor. Ask­ing its price, he was shocked to find each fruit cost the equiv­a­lent of fourpence, whereas back in the sticks, he could get a dozen ap­ples for a half­penny. Ob­serv­ing such bla­tant “ex­tor­tions” of ap­ple-based com­merce was, said Fourier, the fi­nal straw that made him re­alise the cor­rupt na­ture of the en­tire cap­i­tal­ist sys­tem and led him to de­velop the idea of pas­sional at­trac­tion.

STAR-CROSSED LOVERS

Fourier thought that the ma­jor at­trac­tive force keep­ing plan­ets in or­bit around their suns was not re­ally New­to­nian grav­ity, but pas­sion. Just as mankind was gov­erned and moved by its own mo­tive pas­sions, so were the heav­ens. What this meant was that the plan­ets, moons and stars were in some sense liv­ing crea­tures, ob­sessed with hav­ing sex with one an­other; no­to­ri­ously, Fourier de­clared that eclipses were caused by the Sun en­gag­ing in a “con­ju­gal em­brace” with the Moon, an idea fa­mously satirised by the French car­toon­ist JJ Grandville.

In Fourier’s words: “A planet is a be­ing which has two souls and two sexes, and which pro­cre­ates like an­i­mal or veg­etable be­ings by the meet­ing of the two gen­er­a­tive sub­stances,” which are emit­ted from their two poles. By this, Fourier meant that the North Pole of ev­ery planet was male, and the South Pole of ev­ery planet fe­male. Each pole was ac­tu­ally a gi­ant gen­i­tal, emit­ting a sub­tle, airy, sperm-like sub­stance, termed ‘aroma’. Through­out his work, Fourier is con­stantly talk­ing about plan­ets emit­ting aro­mas onto one an­other in or­der to mate and gen­er­ate life. This sounds ini­tially like they are broad­cast­ing arous­ing smells out into space, but ac­tu­ally th­ese aro­mas are bet­ter thought of as be­ing a semi-in­cor­po­real ‘fluid’ which con­nects the plan­ets to­gether in their own lit­tle so­lar sys­tems through­out the Uni­verse. Ba­si­cally, such ‘aro­mal fields’ were an erotic form of grav­ity, mak­ing plan­ets or­bit around their larger suns, or moons around their par­ent-plan­ets, in much the same way that love-struck teenagers might fol­low the ob­ject of their af­fec­tions around ev­ery­where they go.

Some­times, un­used stores of this sub­tle se­men could be seen be­ing spurted mess­ily out from a planet’s poles in the form of the

au­rora bo­re­alis and au­rora aus­tralis, the North­ern and South­ern Lights. How­ever, should a planet’s North and South Pole fancy try­ing some­thing dif­fer­ent, rather than sim­ply mat­ing with one an­other, they could also choose to emit their aro­mas out into space, seek­ing out the po­lar gen­i­tals of other plan­ets; so Jupiter’s male North Pole could have aro­mal sex with­Venus’s fe­male South Pole, and vice-versa. Th­ese unions would then pro­duce ‘chil­dren’, in terms of the an­i­mals, plants and min­er­als found on each world. See­ing that many of th­ese cos­mic kids were pro­duced via in­ter­plan­e­tary gang­bangs in­volv­ing more than two part­ners, though, work­ing out the pre­cise parent­age of each crea­ture or sub­stance on any given world could be a prob­lem com­plex enough to de­feat even Jeremy Kyle.

SEX­UAL HEAL­ING

How­ever, many of the present-day chil­dren pro­duced through the Earth’s past ad­ven­tures in ga­lac­tic sex had gone hor­ri­bly wrong, with un­pleas­ant an­i­mals such as rat­tlesnakes, sea-mon­sters and bed­bugs in­fest­ing the planet.

Fourier ex­plained that th­ese de­formed chil­dren of the Earth re­flected the fact that both it and its high­est in­hab­i­tants, hu­man be­ings, were stuck in an early and beastly stage of de­vel­op­ment; the ugly race of hu­man­ity was mir­rored in the un­pleas­ant fauna of our planet. By stupidly con­tin­u­ing to live within an ex­ploita­tive cap­i­tal­ist so­ci­ety in which ap­ples were rou­tinely over­priced, men had thrown planet Earth out of its in­tended or­bit, mean­ing its aro­mal flu­ids were not mix­ing cor­rectly with those of its other plan­e­tary suit­ors. Be­cause Earth hap­pened to oc­cupy an ab­so­lutely cen­tral po­si­tion in the Uni­verse, our sex­ual sick­ness had also be­gun to spread out to other worlds, too, like an in­ter­plan­e­tary AIDS virus. Earth’s spermal aro­mas were be­com­ing nox­ious, which had led to the death of the Moon, and given the Sun a “slow fever or con­sump­tion”, as could be di­ag­nosed by the in­creas­ing ap­pear­ance of sun spots.

While a “res­cue col­umn” of some 102 slutty plan­ets was on its way to our So­lar

Sys­tem hop­ing to save us from sex­ual de­struc­tion, it had set out on its “forced march” back in the days of Julius Cæsar and had still not ar­rived. The only so­lu­tion was for ev­ery­one to start liv­ing within pha­lanster­ies, as aliens did on other plan­ets, and en­gag­ing in co­pi­ous and var­ied sex acts with one an­other. With mankind’s cor­rect pas­sional at­trac­tions re-es­tab­lished in this erotic work­ers’ par­adise, the Earth would shift back to­wards aro­mal equi­lib­rium, and our globe’s sex­ual grav­ity re­turn to nor­mal. Our pale and white-skinned “corpse Moon” would then fly away to the Milky Way and dis­solve into bliss­ful noth­ing­ness, be­ing re­placed by five much fresher, nu­bile and up-for-it young ones, af­ter which the plan­ets would re­turn to their proper Har­mony. Wel­comed back to the ce­les­tial orgy, all the other plan­ets would quickly gather around Earth again, and start shoot­ing off their aro­mal flu­ids all over our grate­ful sphere like fren­zied dog­gers in a pub car-park.

SE­CRET LEMONADE THINKER

Show­ered in space-sperm, the scene would be set for the Earth to be­come an Edenic par­adise, with our orb un­der­go­ing an all-en­com­pass­ing plan­e­tary or­gasm last­ing some 80,000 years. The ef­fects of this gi­ant or­gasm, Fourier ex­plained, would be ex­treme in­deed. First of all, the

au­rora bo­re­alis will be­gin to change into some­thing called the ‘North­ern Crown’. Cur­rently, says Fourier, our North Pole is in “vi­o­lent up­heaval with the need to cre­ate”, but can­not, see­ing that the Earth’s sex­ual grav­ity is all wrong. The present er­ratic ap­pear­ance of the au­rora bo­re­alis is a bit like the North Pole pre­ma­turely ejac­u­lat­ing drib­bles of sperm in sex-starved frus­tra­tion, he says, this “use­less ef­fu­sion of cre­ative fluid” be­ing un­able to join up with the aro­mas of ei­ther the South Pole or other plan­ets. Ul­ti­mately, though, as peo­ple be­gin to live in pha­lanster­ies and de­velop Fourier’s pas­sional utopia ever fur­ther, the

au­rora bo­re­alis will be­come more and more ac­tive, re­cover its po­tency, and “broaden out into a [per­ma­nent] ring or crown” which will emit not only light, as now, but also heat. If you want to vi­su­alise this phe­nom­e­non, said Fourier, then you should sim­ply think of the rings around Saturn, which are also made of warm, lu­mi­nous ‘aroma’.

This new halo of so­lid­i­fied sperm cir­cling the male North Pole will even­tu­ally be­come so hot that it leads to a kind of be­nign global warm­ing. Or­ange groves will flour­ish in War­saw, and St Peters­burg be trans­formed into a Mediter­ranean-style re­sort along the lines of Nice. Sun-seek­ers needn’t worry about be­ing burned to a crisp, ei­ther, as in the fu­ture sun tans will make a per­son as white as se­men rather than brown, and thus “the in­hab­i­tant of Sene­gal will be whiter than the Swede”. Even bet­ter, should you go for a dip whilst hol­i­day­ing in one of th­ese new Rus­sian Riviera re­sorts, you will end up swim­ming not in or­di­nary sea-wa­ter, but in a spe­cial kind of fizzy, jizzy, sper­min­fused lemonade! And bathers don’t need to worry about be­ing eaten by sharks, ei­ther, be­cause all the mon­sters of the deep, once ex­posed to th­ese new lemonade sex-seas, will ei­ther die or un­dergo a pleas­ant re­form of char­ac­ter. Ac­cord­ing to Fourier, the warm sperm emit­ted from the new North Pole will: “change the taste of the sea... In com­bi­na­tion with [sea-]salt, this liq­uid will give the sea a flavour of… lemonade… This break­ing down of sea-wa­ter… is a nec­es­sary pre­lim­i­nary to the de­vel­op­ment of new sea-crea­tures, which will pro­vide a host of am­phibi­ous ser­vants to pull ships and help in fish­eries, re­plac­ing the ghastly le­gions of sea-mon­sters… Death will strike them all at the same mo­ment!”

LEFT: Charles Fourier. FAC­ING PAGE: An eclipse pic­tured as a ‘con­ju­gal em­brace’ be­tween the Sun and the Moon in a cartoon by French artist JJ Grandville.

ABOVE: A plan for a Fourier-in­spired pha­lanstery. Each would house 1,620 in­di­vid­u­als in a self-gov­ern­ing com­mu­nity and be­come the build­ing blocks of the utopian so­ci­ety he en­vis­aged.

A 19th cen­tury pho­to­graph of the North­ern Lights, which would, Fourier sug­gested, even­tu­ally heat up and lead to a be­nign form of global warm­ing.

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