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.
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.
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.
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.
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.