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The sea turned into lemonade-M. C. Fourrier's system of the Four Movements-The Fourrieristes' system of Education-Those who have not found, and yet seek a religion.
HOWEVER extraordinary the sect of St. Simonians, there are other philosophies, in Paris, not a whit less singular.
It may rather startle the grave and prudent people of the metropolis to hear of a sage who asserts that the sea is, in its natural process, turning into lemonade; and who logically proves that the fate of humanity, in distant generations, will be to sustain an ornament behind which it would be rather difficult to arrange with a pair of breeches.
Such, however, are among the doctrines of M. C. Fourrier, a man of great powers of mind, and who has for his disciples many of the most grave and disciplined youth of France.
It would be impossible, in the space that yet remains to me for this subject, to go at any length into the various ramifications of that system which was first announced in 1808 by "la théorie des quatre mouvemens.”
The basis of "Fourrierisme" is the doctrine of attraction, not merely applied to the material but to the moral world; and necessarily leading to a system of association as the natural condition of society.
This, M. Fourrier believes to be alone prevented by an improper development of the passions.
His object, then, is to form mankind into associations in which their passions will be properly, or as he would say, harmoniously developed.
With this view he proposes a kind of college, called a phalangstère, where a certain number of individuals live and labour together; and in such college, he furthermore proposes to turn the natural propensities of men, which at present so frequently lead them to injure each other, to the greatest common advantage. His plan consists chiefly in making employment a pleasure, and in gratifying our favorite inclinations in our most useful pursuits.
Considering toil to be tedious in proportion as it is monotonous, and that one of the great characteristics of human-kind is-versatilityall labour is to be of short duration, and every member of a phalangstère, is to be educated for a variety of alternate occupations.
Here too the character of the individual is to be preserved, and the economy of the community obtained; for instance, in that most important part of existence which depends on the kitchen, instead of 2,000 women being occupied in cooking the dinners of 2000 husbands, as would be the case if these couples were living in separate cabins-fifty are to suffice for this duty, and 1950 remain at liberty to do any thing else. But with this community of cooks there is not to be any common broth : every one is to come for his own particular plate, and a phalangstère's kitchen is a restaurateur's shop;-separate to consult the palates of each; united to provide for the wants of all.
It may be worth while to follow M. Fourrier more closely into that part of his system where his ideas appear to most advantage, viz. the education of his disciples.
The great fault of our educationary discipline system is that it represses all those
passions and propensities which it ought to profit by and bring out.
Who is the poor creature that Dr. such a one calls a good boy?
A poor sallow-faced thing with chilblained fingers stuck into both pockets; without that animal energy that would withdraw him from his lesson, and wanting the spirit for adventure and enterprize, which, if it lead the boy into mischief, carries the man to distinction.
The aim of the master is to macadamize the child's character down to the flattest possible level the least little bit of originality and inequality is to be scolded or whipped out of him; and if you wish to discover who will be the greatest person in the world, you may be pretty sure, that your guess is not a bad one -if you lay your fingers on the worst lad in the school.
M. Fourrier's system is in direct contradiction to this absurd and manifest error.
He recognises, as a necessity, the natural disposition of a child in the different ages of infancy; and instead of crushing it with severity, supplies it with materials on which to work with advantage.
The child incapable of thought is for ever in
this thing, he dirties that, and is perpetually encountered with the command, "Be quiet, Sir!"
The Fourrieristes on the contrary say: "Be active-be restless-be what nature makes you!"
And they employ him in doing with utility that which an invisible agency teaches him to do with pleasure.
He breaks, he tears to pieces, he soils, but he does all this in such branches of industry, as make his amusements profitable instead of destructive to the society in which he lives.
Nor is this all in the second stage of childhood, which is fixed by this sect at two years and a half or three years old, every pains is taken-not merely to satisfy the natural disposition of children-but to discover the natural bias of the child.
He is led with care through the different workshops or school-rooms, and attention is paid to all the sympathies in which a peculiar instinct might seem to manifest itself ; and thus it is, that at four years and a half, the boy generally gains his livelihood by his
After that age, a new duty arises: the happy and profitable development of the senses,