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Order and Ppogress— Lire for oth*»w. 




Instituting the Religion of HUMANITY; 

By Auguste COMTE, 

Author of * Syêtem of Positive PkUoeophy ' 

The principle. Lore; 

The batdB, Onler, 
The end. Progress. 





July 1851. 

Sixty>thinl jear of tho great revolution. 


/"-, / ^ 

^ !>,// '/ 


This volume was published by the Author in July 

It has been translated by John Henry Bridges, 
M.B. Oxon., Inspector of the Local Govern- 
ment Board. 

The Marginal Notes and the Table of Contents have 
been added by the Translator. 

The * General View of Positivism/ originally pub- 
lished and afterwards translated as a substantive 
work, has been thoroughly revised for this 



Qu'est-ce qu'une grande rie ? 
Une pensée de la jeunesse, exécutée par Tàge mûr. 

Alfred db Viokt. 

The principal title of this treatise is identical with that given 
in 1824 to the second edition of the fundamental Essay, 
which, when published under another name two years before, 
had marked the definite opening of my philosophical career. 
That career is thus seen to be homogeneous throughout ; the 
end being cleai'ly aimed at from the first. And this will be 
shown still more clearly by the reprint of all my earlier publi- 
cations at the end of the fourth volume of this treatise ; these 
having been long withdrawn from circulation, or buried in 
serials deservedly forgotten. 

On the other hand, the length of time that elapsed between 
the conception of my political philosophy and its completion 
shows that my first conception of the intellectual conditions 
required for this great renovation was not sufficiently precise. 
It seems desirable therefore to develop the remarks contained 
in the preface to the sixth and last volume of my System of 
Positive Philosophy upon this point. 

I showed then that the crucial discovery of sociological 
laws made by me in 1822 gave me, at the age of twenty- 
four, true cerebral unity, by efiFecting complete convergence of 
the two sets of tendencies, scientific and political, which till 
then had divided my attention. Conscious that I had myself 
gone through the encyclopaedic training required for my social 


mission, I was forced on in the zeal of renovation to the 
immediate construction of tlie doctrine by which the vast 
revolution of the West was to be ended. In 1826 appeared 
my work on the spiritual power, which clearly marked out as 
the great object of my life the establishment of a speculative 
authority adequate to superintend the entire reconstruction of 
principle and practice, assuming in fact the function exercised 
by Monotheism before its decay. Thus closed my seven years' 
novitiate, begun in 1820 by my first attempt to co-ordinate 
modern history. 

The close of this period led me to a sounder view of the 
principal obstacle to the realisation of the projected syntliesis. 
I perceived that the new faith needed in all systematic minds 
a scientific foundation corresponding to that which I had myself 
painfully acquired, and which I had at first tliought the public 
might have been spared. It followed from . my own law of the 
hierarchy of sciences that Social Philosophy could not assume its 
true character, and make its fidl weight felt, except so far as it 
was seen to rest on the general results of Natural Philosophy as 
partially worked out diuring the last three centuries. This 
problem of direct reconstruction of the spiritual power started a 
train of continuous thought lasting for eighty hours ; the result 
being the conception of a complete systématisation of Positive 
Philosophy as a necessary preliminary to the task. This work was 
set on foot in a course of lectures begim in the same year, 1826. 

Such then was the result of this decisive crisis, which was 
speedily followed by serious cerebral disturbance. The great 
work which I had first supposed to be undivided, branched out 
into two successive ujidertakings, the one mental, the other 
social in purpose. In the first. Sociology would appear as 
the last term in the laborious series of enquiries which began 
with Thaïes and Pytliagoras, and which in Bicliat and Grail had 
reached the threshold of the ultimate domain of Positive 
thought. The next task would be to construct upon the firm 
basis thus raised the new faith of Western Europe, and to 
institute the priesthood of the future. In a word, the goal of 


positive Science would be a sound Philosophy capable of supply- 
ing the foundation of tnie Religion. 

Moreover, it was essential that both stages of this excep- 
tional career should be elaborated by the same organ of 
Humanity : otherwise their adaptation would have been imper- 
fect. The first phase, retarded by personal and material diffi- 
culties, occupied me till the age of full maturity. At its close 
in 1842, 1 gave a distinct intimation of the second work, the 
preliminary outline of which was published six years afterwards. 
The present treatise of Positive Polity, following upon that of 
Positive Philosophy, and necessarily based upon its results, is 
thus the most important of my works. 

This realisation of the bold project of my youth is the best 
reward of my persistent efforts. The same regenerating ten- 
dencies that kindled the zeal of my youth inspire now not a 
whit less vividly or deeply the later years of life. I regard the 
long speculative enquiry which has occupied the interval simply 
as a necessary episode in the exceptional part assigned to me 
by the evolution of Humanity. 

Closely connected though they be, these two treatises will 
therefore exhibit essential differences. Speculative considera- 
tions predominate in the first, the object being to show the 
intellectual superiority of Positivism over all forms of Theology. 
But in the present treatise, where the moral excellence of true 
fieligion is illustrated. Feeling takes the first place. The 
disastrous revolt of Beason against Feeling will never be termi- 
nated till the new Western priesthood can fully satisfy the 
claims of modem Intellect. But this being done, moral re- 
c^uirements at once reassume the place that belongs to them ; 
since in the construction of a really complete synthesis, Love 
is naturally the one universal principle. 

The difference in the character of the two works shows 
itself in the mode of exposition. The process of extracting 
from the dispersed materials of science the elementary principles 
of a sound philosophical system involved a procedure of inves- 
tigation and discussion. But the presentation of the universal 


religion in a systematic form upon principles already reached, 
allows of a nearer approach to a more satisfactory mode of 
exposition, in which conviction is the result not so much of 
controversy as of solitary reflection. The greatLT vivacity and 
originality of the first work is compensated by the more 
imposing regularity and constructive completeness of the second. 

These differences of form correspond to a profound logical 
diversity between the two treatises, springing from the special 
nature and purpose of each. In the first, where the process of 
scientific preparation is carried to its furthest limit, I have 
carefully kept the objective method in the ascendant ; as was 
necessary where the course of thought was always proceeding 
from the World in the direction of Man. But the fulfilment of 
this preliminary task, by the fact of placing me at the true 
universal point of view, involves henceforth the prevalence of 
the subjective method as the only source of complete systéma- 
tisation, the procedure now being from Man outwards towards 
the World. Thus the higher logic under which Man's primitive 
belief arose adapts itself, when regenerated by Positivism, to 
his final constructions. Its ultimate position is indicated in 
the principle of the ascendancy of the heart over the intellect. 

When, in the course of my long objective enquiry, I passed 
in 1836 from Cosmology to Biology, I at once saw that the 
exclusion on scientific grounds of the subjective method could 
only be provisional ; and my first chapter on Biology showed a 
glimpse of the final harmony between the two logics. The 
systematic predominance of the social point of view established 
in that work prepared the way for this result, which in the 
present volume is directly established. 

It is on this conclusion of my Positive Philosophy that my 
religious construction is founded ; its first work being to regene- 
rate the scientific conceptions from which it arose. This is the 
special object of that part of this first volimie which follows the 
General View. Encyclopaedic unity thus organised, the second 
volume, dealing with Social Statics, will contain the principal 
'synthesis: that is to say, the abstract theory of human Order, 

PREFACE. xiii 

representing implicitly the whole order of the world. The 
third volume proceeds to the subject of Dynamic Sociology, 
dealing with the general course of human Progress, which can 
always be shown to be the gradual development of Order. The 
fourth volume, containing the most essential applications of the 
doctrine, institutes more specially Positive Religion, presenting 
it as the result of the evolution of human nature in the past. 
It prepares the way for its establishment by organising the 
period of transition inmiediately preceding it. 

As for the three other works which were announced in the 
conclusion of my Positive Philosophy as coming next in order, 
the ten years of full mental vigour which remain before the 
time of retirement arrives, will suffice, I venture to think, for 
their completion, if circumstances prove sufficiently favoiurable. 
But as the unflagging persecution of French pedantocracy 
which has harassed me for seven years may make this result 
impossible, I have determined to deal at once with these three 
accessory subjects where they touch upon my principal work, 
though without interfering with their further development. 
If possible I shall write in the first instance the two volumes of 
mathematical philosophy ; then the volume on universal educa- 
tion ; and finally that on the systematic action of Man upon 
the world. 

After this general statement of the procedure adopted 
in this treatise, and of its connection with that which precedes 
and with those which are to follow it, I must explain the circum- 
stances personal to myself which have enabled me to lead two 
philosophic lives of such différent character. It is accounted 
for by two intellectual influences, one involuntary, the other 
voluntary ; and by the rare moral renovation wrought at the 
right moment by a purified passion. 

First among the conditions enabling me to accomplish a 
double task, either part of which seemed enough for a single 
life, is to be noted the precocity of my earlier work. Emanci- 
pated from theology before the end of childhood, and trained 
betimes in positive studies, I passed rapidly through the meta- 


physical period. At the age of twenty-two my philosophical 
career was opened by a work on the co-ordination of history, 
and two years afterwards my discovery of sociological laws 
irrevocably fixed its course. 

Yet this precocity would have been insufficient for my 
second life but for my energetic resolution to discard all con- 
siderations of literary excellence, with the view of finishing my 
formidable objective tasks in time. It occupied me twelve 
years, but it would have taken at least six more if I had 
forced myself, as I had done previously, to rewrite my manuscript 
instead of sending my first draft to the press without ever 
correcting it in any important respect. Had I done this, the 
Positive Philosophy would have been spared most of the strictures 
received from judges who have omitted to remark the explana- 
tions in the preface to the last volume. My earlier publications, 
reprinted in the last volume, will show whether I am wholly 
devoid of literary skill wlien I conform to the usages required 
for the completeness of style. But this would have involved 
the delay of my second career till an age too late for its proper 
development. It may be added that the moral influence of 
which I have to speak woidd have come less opportunely. Tlie 
dedication of a life so specially renewed to the direct object of 
Western reorganisation claimed from me, therefore, this abne- 
gation of literary honours. I am sufficiently aware, however, 
of the extent te which philosophic conceptions may gain by 
clearness of expression, te endeavour to give them this addi- 
tional value should the leisure of retirement permit me some day 
te revise the work in question, without, however, interfering 
with its originality. In the present work, wliere the need for 
rapidity was naturally less imperious, though I have not 
adopted the inconvenient practice of rewriting, more attention 
has been paid te the style. 

But though time for my second career was thus provided, I 
stood yet in need of some deep and sustained impulse enabling 
me to avail myself of this leisure to tlie full. My int^lleotnal 
powers, wearied with tlieir long ol)jective toil, were inadecpiate to 


the construction of a new system from the subjective point of 
view, directed, as in earlier life, by a social rather than an in- 
tellectual purpose» A new birth of the whole moral nature was 
needed. And this was given me six years ago by the incompar- 
able angel appointed in the course of hiunan destiny to transmit 
to me the results of the gradual evolution of our moral nature. 

To estimate this sacred influence rightly I must recall the 
exceptional circumstances which had hitherto denied me all 
adequate moral training, notwithstanding the sympathetic 
nature due to an admirable mother. Withdrawn in early child- 
hood from the ordinary current of home feelings by our disas- 
trous system of public schools, I was artificially urged on to a 
speculative life for which my nature was but too readily inclined. 
With manhood came a new and more fatal obstacle to my moral 
progress from the very course which I had chosen to repair these 
involuntary shortcomings, the gravity which I already knew. 
While this deplorable situation lasted (and it was not for me to 
end it), I was hopelessly cut ofif from any affection that could 
satisfy the heart. It ended finally at the very time when I was 
finishing my Philosophical Treatise. Two years of indispensable 
calm followed ; and it was then open to me to accept a less 
negative form of happiness, which indeed was necessary to the 
great work of my life. 

Yet these inward feelings, the energy of which was propor- 
tionate to their long restraint, would not have sufficed for my 
regeneration had they been devoted to a less worthy object. 
Victim of a similar fatality, but more imhappy, and far more 
spotless, than I, placed therefore in a position of even more 
unquestionable freedom, Madame Clotilde de Vaux was the 
source from which I was at last initiated in the highest hmnan 
emotions. Untainted purity gave stability to our affection, and 
this, during one incomparable year of objective imion, was the 
principal instrument in my moral resurrection. My subjective 
adoration differs then from the former mode only by being more 
continuous and tender, though less vivid. In this final stage of 
our identification I am constantly led to feel tlie reality and 


the depth of a casual expression in one of her sacred letters : 
' The one irrévocable thing in life, is Death.^ 

The time is not yet come for explaining the grounds on 
which I place her above all women that I have read of in the 
past, have seen in the present, or can conceive in the future. 
Five years of objective separation are not enough as a guarantee 
to the public of impartiality in a judgment the materials for 
which are not yet accessible. 

Yet her first publication, here reprinted, may give some in- 
dication of tile moral service which her talents might have 
rendered to humanity. I regret not to be able to produce a 
longer manuscript, the one legacy left me on her death-bed, 
which in spite of the expressed wish of a conscientious father, 
was withheld from me by her family. Tlius the moral and 
mental value of this admirable nature can only be judged by its 
permanent consequences upon my own work. All those who 
have formed a sound judgment of tlie recent progress of 
•Positivism may now judge, by comparing tlie past with the 
present, of the impulse that has been given to the full develop- 
ment of my philosophical task ; consisting in the entire systéma- 
tisation of human life on the basis of the preponderance of the 
heart over the intellect. It is as the result of these new 
services that this cherished name will become inseparable frona 
mine in the most distant memories of grateful humanity. The 
loving duty which Dante so well fulfilled for Beatrice is more 
deeply incumbent on myself for obligations far more stringent. 

When it has been accomplished by bringing my arduous 
tasks to a close, it may perhaps be permitted me in the leisure 
of declining years to enable others personally to appreciate the 
angelic being who inspired me in the vigour of manhood. 
The faithful reproduction of our correspondence will give, I 
think, after what has been said, all the weight which sucli a 
narrative may require. Throughout this long series of un- 
reserved communications one feeling predominates ; on the one 
side, constant renewal of thankfulness for my gradual regenera- 
tion ; artless anxiety on the other, lest this affection should 

PBEFACE. xvii 

involve disturbance of my work. Notwithstanding all my expla- 
nations, this touching scruple recurs even in her last letter : ^ I 
ask myself if some day you will not call me to account for 
bringing these violent agitations into your public life.' There- 
fore it is that my principal regret will always be that she could 
not witness in its full development the immense progress made 
by Positivism under her immortal influence. Yet the first 
advance coincided with the beginning of my joy ; as may be 
seen in my philosophic letter * of June 2, 1845, the publication 
of which will indicate the earliest private source of the new 
positivist inspirations. 

From this point onwards all the ideas and the maxims for 
which I have found most acceptance have been inspired by 
this inward worship. The sacred harmony between public and 
private life, which will become the practical privilege of Posi- 
tivists, was first to be developed in myself. Before the end of 
my year of mourning it aSected strongly the course of lectures 
f^' delivered in 1847, in which the new philosophy appeared in the 
full dignity of a complete and final religion. The systematic 
treatise which appeared in the following year points to all the 
subsequent developments of religious positivism. Its principal 
theory was elaborated in the important lecture at which I had 
ventured to solemnise the first anniversary of my eternal widow- 
hood by enunciating the true position of women. 

These few indications may suffice to show how well merited 
is the Dedication which follows this Preface. To minds unpre- 
pared for it my gratitude may seem exaggemted. My own fear, 
on the contrary, is that it falls too far below the immensity of 
the benefit. For this public avowal, the only channel in which 
my grief then rendered it possible for my new meditations to 
flow, was written before the chief philosophical results of my 
moral regeneration had appeared. And since these results have 
happily surpassed the hopes which were thus inspired by their 
first germs, it may well be that the expressioùs of my^ gratitude 
would be stronger now than they were five years ago. Never- 

> See Appendix. 

VOL. I. a 

xviîî PREFACE. 

theless I thought it right scnipulously to respect the spontaneoiis- 
ness of this record, in which readers prepared for it will find the 
hest positivist inspirations in their earliest stage. What may be 
still wanting to explain the full religious influence exercised by 
my Saint Clotilda, will be easily supplied by a careful com- 
parison of my second career as a whole with my first. The con- 
trast in the respective Dedications is significant in this respect. 
My philosophical work was dedicated to the two most prominent 
names in cosmological and biological Science. My religious con- 
stniction comes out now under the sole auspices of a young lady 
who died five years ago, unknown and oppressed by poverty. 

To explain the character of my moral renovation I must 
guard against a supposition which in the present day might 
easily be formed, that my affections were stirred in one direction 
exclusively. Those who know how all the generous instincts 
are knit together will learn without surprise that this pre- 
eminent affection, far from weakening my other feelings of love, 
rekindled and strengthened them by rallying them strongly to 
one centre. I may here specify the two principal instances ; 
one referring to circumstances preceding my regeneration, the 
other being subsequent to it. 

A noble and tender mother, whom I lost fourteen years ago, 
was the first real source of all my essential qualities, not merely 
of emotions, but also of practical and even of intellectual 
capacities. Nevertheless I have now himibly to confess that I 
never felt for her that love which her worth and her sorrows 
claimed ; and that even what love I felt was never sufficiently 
shown, owing to the false shame of seeming too fond which is 
stimulated by modern training. But the worship of my Clotilda 
has at last aroused in me veneration for my honoiured mother. 
Her image and that of Rosalie de Boyer are more and more inti- 
mately mingled, both in my weekly visit to the cherished tomb, 
and in my daily prayers. These two angels thus harmoniously 
directing the beginning and the close of my moral initiation, 
will be, I hope, for ever united in the commemoration of my 
service to humanity. Their common adoration shows the happy 


tendency in my religion of the central feeling to spread to other 
objects worthy of union with it. Here alone can I find expia- 
tion for my faults as a son, and strength to avow those faults in 
public. In addition to these two subjective sources of strength, 
I must speak of the objective influence daily received from a re- 
markable woman belonging to the working class, who has deigned 
to devote herself to my material service without imagining that 
she was showing me an admirable type of moral perfection. 
Her fortunate inability to read only brings out more strikingly 
not merely the excellence of her feelings, but also the clearness 
and penetration of her mind, which has made good use of all the 
teaching afforded by a wise womanly experience. In her care 
for me she revives unconsciously the moi*al influence of the 
two other angels, by offering a beautiful ?uid permanent example 
of the normal state of man, the free play of activity and thought 
in subordination to feeling. Were there fewer obstacles to legal 
adoption, I should now have no hesitation, after an experience of 
ten years, in publicly accepting Sophie Bliot as the daughter of 
my choice. Although this satisfaction is denied me, all rights 
judging people will recognise my intention as morally equivalent 
to it, and my gratitude will receive the sanction of posterity. 
She whom my sainted friend cherished as an admirable sister 
would also have gained my pious mother's heart. 

The combination of these three beautiful womanly types ^ 
a special incentive to the culture of the three sympathetic 
instincts, attachment between equals, veneration for superiors, 
kindness to inferiors. Thus the affections of my daily life are 
a strong confirmation of my conception of the true constitution 
of society, in which the maintenance of order depends on the 
twofold relations of philosophers with women and with prole- 

Were I writing the history of my life I should refer to other 
influences of a less direct or more abstract kind, which, com- 
bined with the threefold moral impulses above mentioned, 
favoured the progress of my thoughts towards the synthetic 
state required for my new work. I should explain the effect of 

a 2 


artistic instincts, the paralysis of which had followed that of my 
moral nature, but which were revived before it, so soon as my 
philosophical system had advanced as far as Sociology, and had 
taught me to comprehend first the fine arts in themselves, and 
subsequently the emotions of which they are the expression. 
But in these remarks I must confine myself to an indication of 
the source from which the new character of my public life is 
derived ; giving thus a guarantee of its permanence, and also a 
justification of the gratitude due for so important a change. In 
a time when the value of intellectual power is so much exagge- 
rated, it was but honest to prevent others from attributing to 
my mental qualities what is principally due to the heart. I have 
now only to speak of those influences which have concurred in 
the general result by stimulating character ; that is to say, 
energy, perseverance, and even prudence. I refer first, to the 
noble support given me by the advanced part of the Western 
public ; and secondly, to the confidence inspired by the phase 
through which the great revolution is now passing. 

Ten years ago, in the fifth volume of my Philosophy, I 
made the frank confession that the Positive school still essen- 
tially consisted of myself alone. Since that time the position 
of Positivism has radically changed. Throughout Western 
Europe men's thoughts and feelings are more and more occu- 
pied with it, in spite of the formidable obstacles to its popular 
dissemination interposed by our unworthy press. Writers who, 
having no thoughts of their own^ could only become useful by 
&cilitating communication between philosophers and the mass 
of the people, do all they can to intercept such communications, 
and thus prolong the anarchical preponderance maintained by 
talkers over thinkers. But these attempts, whether instinctive 
or deliberate, to ignore Positivism, were brought completely to 
an end six years ago by the adhesion of an eminent writer (M. 
Littré), whose nobility ' of character is even more fully recog- 
nised than his great intellectual powers.^ He has now become 

> Written in 1851. [Tr.] 

* A yery competent judge of moral excellence, the illustrious Carrol, whose 
premature loss is being more And more felt^ toLd me thul what he specialij admired 


my principal colleague ; and his life is devoted as entirely as 
my own to the advancement of Positivism both as a philoso- 
phical and political system ; he as well as myself regarding it 
as the sole means of terminating modern anarchy. His close 
connection with me prevents me from enlarging further on the 
value of his approbation ; I mention it, however, as the essential 
means through which I have at last obtained justice after perse- 
vering through twenty-four years of isolation ; the end of this 
period thus coinciding with the time of my moral revival. 

Though this was my principal support, I can never forget 
the sympathy previously received from the best English 
thinkers ; three of whom generously rendered that memorable 
assistance which deferred for a year the material pressure 
caused by the confiscation of my Polytechnic post. But though 
the new philosophy is more widely known and better appre- 
ciated in England than anywhere else, English positivists are as 
yet very rare ; their adhesion stopping short at the intellectual 
stage, and not embracing the moral and social consequences of 
the doctrine. 

Far otherwise is it with the modest and honourable nation 
which, since the Middle Ages, has always held the van amongst 
the populations of Germany. The positivist nucleus which arose 
five years ago in Holland never separated the social aspect of 
Positivism firom the intellectual. It has always felt that the 
principal purpose of Positivism was to supply the basis of a 
universal synthesis as the sole method by which the Western 
Revolution could be brought to an organic conclusion. Un- 
fortunately, this body has lost one of its best members, one 
distinguished for moral as for intellectual worth, taken from us 
at the age of Vauvenargues and of Bichat. 

But important as these adhesions are. Positivism will not 
as yet meet with general acceptance in the north of Europe. 
Its principal support will come from those nations which escaped 

JD Uttré, whom at that time I did not know, was the beauty of his moral nature. 
Intimate personal contact has since then enabled me fully to endorse this judgment 
oo the stzongett public and priyate gxoonds. 


xxil PBEFACE. 

the Protestant movement, and are therefore the more anxious 
for true reorganisation. As yet the religion of Humanity is but 
little known in Italy or in Spain ; but a few instances have 
already shown the welcome which will be given to the doctrine 
of women and of proletaries, in the countries where the true 
character of these two principal constituents of social union is 
most clearly seen. 

The whole subject of Positivist propagand has increased 
beyond expectation in importance and magnitude since the 
movement of 1848. The delusions of constitutionalism being 
finally set aside, the impossibility of terminating the revolution 
otherwise than by an efiective alliance of Order with Progress 
is brought into full prominence. Such a programme brings 
with it a special appeal to the one doctrine capable of forming 
fixed general convictions. The feebleness of former schools of 
opinions becomes thus more plainly discernible; and indeed 
the more distinctive features of each of them are already lost. 
The retrograde school, wishing to perpetuate its transitory 
function of maintaining material order amidst spiritual anarchy, 
is now eflfecting its own degradation by official acceptance of 
the doctrine of popular sovereignty. Similarly, the negative 
metaphysical school, desirous of heading the progressive move- 
ment at a time when Progress consists almost entirely in con- 
struction, is casting the programme of the eighteenth century 
aside, and attempting to reorganise society on the theological 
principle, while protesting against the institutions without 
which theology has no coherence. 

A situation which thus discredits and disintegrates all other 
schools, exhibiting them as at once subversive and retrograde, 
cannot fail to increase the energy and influence of the one 
school which oflFers systematic guarantees for Order as well as 
for Progress. At the time when the French Republic was 
finally proclaimed, I founded, under the name of ^ Positivist 
Society,' a fraternal association of thinkers and workers, whose 
quiet weekly meetings have never been interrupted. This 
association, formed with the avowed aim of giving organic 

PREFACE. xxiii 

direction to the last phase of the Eevolution, has taken as its 
starting-point my General View of Positivism, published in 
July 1848. This work, based upon my course of lectures of 
1847, forms a systematic prelude to this treatise. 

In addition to this general outline, I put forth in the same 

important year three smaller publications, with the view of 

organising in certain directions both the spiritual and the 

temporal transition towards the final state. In these were 

indicated successively, the new form of government adapted to 

the crisis, the school calculated to form true philosophers by 

the remodelling of medical studies, and the historical calendar 

commemorating the great names in Western history. Having 

thus regulated the present, prepared the future, and glorified 

the past, we now possess the outlines of a policy of transition, 

such as could never have been developed under the fictions of 

monarchy. This was the one remaining condition that Posi- 

tivism had required for organising a Western party capable of 

setting aside all the existing parties, whilst rallying the various 

classes connected with them in the name of Order and of 

Progress. I am therefore glad to have forestalled the conclu- 

gions of this treatise by the recommendation of this series of 

transitional measures in the Positivist Society. When I come 

to speak of them in their proper place in the fourth volume, 

their acceptance as part of the Positive system will be facilitated 

by the favour shown to these partial statements, the mutual 

connection of which is as yet hardly understood. The pressure 

which led me to these anticipations has so far justified them 

that under their influence new positivist centres have arisen at 

iladrid, Aberdeen, Genoa, and Brussels. 

In the following year the new spiritual power took up a still 
more important position, a result of the unconscious influence 
on the French Government of the same general situation 
which is now leading up from every quarter towards Positi- 
vism. Under the previous Government my exposition of the 
Dew philosophy had been limited to the indirect and inadequate 
channel, however useful provisionally, of introductory remarks 

xxiv PREFACE. 

prefacisg the course of gratuitous lectures on Astronomy that I 
have been delivering for seventeen years. But since 1849 I 
have been able to expound Positivism in its entirety in a public 
room allotted to me in the Palais-Cardinal, imder the title of 
a Series of Philosophic Lectures on the General History of 
Humanity. I am indebted for this new advance mainly to the 
noble support of M. Vieillard, who has followed for twenty- 
five years, with true civic zeal, the continuous growth of a 
philosophy which he has regarded from its first appearance as 
the sole means of surmoimting the anarchy of our times. ^ 
Workmen are still too much taken up with Utopian schemes to 
avail themselves sufficiently of this opportunity of placing 
themselves at the historical point of view ; for want of which 
their socialism must remain not only inadequate but dangerous, 
because insufficiently imbued with the sense of continuity. 
A satisfactory audience, however, of both sexes, sustained 
by the importance and urgency of the subject, followed with 
close attention this long series of lectures, each lasting four or 
five hours, embracing every subject discussed in the present 
work. The encouragement thus given induced me in 1849 to 
dwell specially upon the Eeligion of Humanity, of which my 
General View, published in the previous year, had laid down 
the foimdations ; and to develop some of its essential features 
I put forward the scheme of private worship, based upon my 
conception of guardian angels, which had originated in my own 
daily acts of devotion ; and I established in a definite shape the 
connection between private and public worship, consisting of 
the series of the nine social sacraments. 

That these two institutions were not premature was seen by 
their practical adoption in several instances during the following 
year. All emancipated minds will soon feel the need of revert- 
ing to the culture of the heart, when purified by Positivism 
from the self-absorbing chimeras which interfered with it in 

' I am bound here to express onr gratitude for the zeal and firmness of M. 
Binean, -who, as Minister of Public Works, gave the requisite authority for my 
course, allotting to it a room in a building imder the jurisdiction of his department. 


the noblest catholic types. The direct and normal development 
of subjective life was necessarily reserved for Positivism, where 
it already appears as an habitual source of moral and intellectual 
growth, and even of physical amelioration, guarantee as it is of 
cerebral health, in which the whole vital harmony is so deeply 
involved. By this series of institutions Proved Eeligion shows 
itself capable of superseding Bevealed Eeligion at all points ; 
depriving the latter of its claims to moral no less than to poli- 
tical superiority. Besides the daily religious practices adopted 
by several positivists in private, I solemnly conferred in 1850, 
as Priest of Humanity, the three chief social sacraments, those 
connected with birth, marriage, and death. This last, performed 
in the case of the illustrious Blain ville, is the only one on which 
I have published remarks of importance, which will be foimd 
reprinted at the end of this volume.* Thus the new Eeligion 
is already practised, though its principles have never been ex- 
plained otherwise than orally, pending their complete exposition 
in the fourth volume of this treatise. To complete this view 
of its progress I should speak of the successful attempt of a 
young Positivist of intellectual promise equal to his moral 
excellence. M. Longchampt has composed for all the days of 
the Positirist week, as conceived by M. Leblais, a series of beau- 
tiful prayers well calculated to direct the worship of the family, 
as the connecting link between private and public worship. 

Thus the fourth year of the Eepublic finds the Positivist 
party sufficiently provided with the elements of the institutions 
necessary for its great and arduous task, the guidance of the 
spontaneous tendencies of the West towards final regeneration, 
so as to avoid henceforward all interruptions, whether reactionary 
or subversive. The two great forces which alone can give effect 
to such a plan are already approaching us, though our points 
of contact are as yet insufficient. Among workmen, though 
the routine of revolutionary traditions still ranges most of them 
under incapable leaders, a few noble types have identified them- 
selves with the party of construction. The author of the first 

' See Appendix to this Tolume. 

xxvi PREFACE. 

publication of our Positivist Society, in June 1848, was a 
cabinet-maker, M. Magnin, whom I confidently point out to 
workmen as exhibiting, whether in sympathies, intellectual 
vigour, or strength of character, the best type of a true states- 
man. The conviction is growing that the practical purpose of 
the Revolution is the satisfactory incorporation of the people 
in Modem Society, carrying out to its consequences the pro- 
gramme bequeathed to us by the Middle Ages. But the em- 
pirical and subversive methods in which this great question is 
being handled will soon show that its real solution belongs to 
Positivism, where it is seen to depend on a systematic reorgani- 
sation of opinions and habits of life. And here we pass at once 
to the changes in the position of women which will ultimately 
form the principal feature of Positivism as a social system. 
Workmen cannot know suflBciently what ought to be their 
highest source of pleasure, domestic life, until women are able 
to devote themselves to their proper functions, and can be 
spared all outside work. The immense improvements in the 
position of women which Positivism brings with it, the high 
value set upon their sex as the most complete representative of 
Humanity, are already arousing unmistakable sympathy. A 
month after the publication of my General View of Positivism, 
an English lady, whose domestic virtues are as well known in 
London as her literary talents, gave her full adhesion to my 
theory of Woman. ' I have not had the time yet,' she wrote to 
me, * to read your book as I intend to read it, but I have been 
delighted by certain pages on my own sex. On this subject 
you stand alone. Other writers either give woman an inferior 
position, subservient to the material wants of men, or urge her 
to work unsuited to her nature and her instincts ; you are alone 
in reconciling her moral and intellectual dignity as a companion, 
with the fact of physical and moral dependence. And then you 
understand the marriage tie, which means submission and 
ascendancy, purity and tenderness.' 

Reviewing these results as a whole, it is pleasant to contrast 
them with the narrow scale of my first expectations. When 

PREFACE. xxnî 

the first volume of my Philosophy was published twenty years 
ago, I told my friends that I should be satisfied if one day I had 
in France or elsewhere fifty adherents. At that time I had not 
one. Subsequently, and during the greater part of this time of 
isolation, my constancy was fortified by the warm support of 
Charles Bonnin, a noble revolutionary type, a worthy friend of 
the great Camot ; old enough to be my father, he felt pride 
during his old age in becoming my first disciple, placing too 
low a value on his own writings. Camot himself, a few months 
before he died in exile, had transmitted to me most touching 
and deeply valued proofs of his approval of my discovery, then 
quite recent, of sociological laws. Thus the piurest representa- 
tive of the negative revolution bequeaths with genuine civic 
feeling to the founder of the Positive revolution the continuation 
of the inmiense work of regeneration begun by the wise instincts 
of the great Convention. It is for true republicans now to 
judge whether my career as a whole justifies the hopes which 
the virtuous instinct of that great citizen led him to build on 
an obscure pamphlet. 

The moral coherence of the positivist party was soon sub- 
jected to crucial trial in consequence of the ignoble persecution 
which in 1848 had succeeded in cutting off all my material 
resources. Of the two kinds of sympathy which I invoked, 
those on which I most counted have made no response to the 
appeal made to them in my General View. My illustrious 
colleague, M. Littré, with the aid of other adherents, has 
instituted an annual subscription with the avowed object of 
compensating my spoliation without subjecting me to subordi- 
nate employment interfering with my essential work. But not 
one of my many pupils and associates of the Polytechnic School, 
though all were specially informed of the nature of the attack 
made upon me, has taken any part in this attempt at reparation. 
It is supported only by true positivists, whose poverty and small 
number account for its present inadequacy. Wliile adding an 
additional feature to a picture of selfishness only too charac- 
teristic of our time, this test is at the same time a satisfactory 

xzviii PREFACE. 

proof of the genuineness of new moral convictions, thus already 
modifying the ordinary practice. I felt bound to express due 
gratitude for the safeguard thus honourably secured to me, 
which, though it still remains insufiBcient, gives me full confi- 
dence that I shall be able to devote my energies, during the few 
years of life that remain, to iminterrupted work in the service 
of Humanity.* 

As illustrating the growing strength of true positivist con- 
viction, I may point to a further contrast connected with the 
special diflBculties experienced for more than a year in the 
publication of this volume. Having finished it on February 24, 
1850, 1 resolved, contrary to my first resolution, to publisli it 
separately. I had recently formed the resolution, on PositiWst 
principles, of abandoning all profits connected with the sale of 
my books, and with the. view of facilitating arrangements, I 
made this decision generally known. But thi^ resolve, which I 
consider indispensable for the maintenance of the moral standard 
of the new Western priesthood, failed to induce any publisher 
to undertake the printing of these four volumes. I then deter- 
mined to sell the volumes separately, without, of course, inter- 
fering with the continuity of the treatise ; but even this 
concession would not have sufficed, had not a young positivist 
(M. Longchampt) come forward and offered the publisher his 
personal guarantee for the expense of printing. The smallness 
of his means increases tlie value of this generous conduct, which, 
however, I hope may not involve him in loss. I am here re- 
minded of the spontaneous generosity which in 1848 enabled 
me to publish the General View as a first instalment to this 
Treatise. Both cases being praiseworthy, I need not allude fur- 
ther to a contrast between rich and poor which here too presents 

' The preface to the sixth volume of my Positive Philosophy wiU naturally lead 
my readers to expect further details of the persecution spoken of then as imminent. 
I promised in 1848 to speak of it in the last volume of the present treatise. A 
formal reconciliation with my principal opponent will however debar me from 
dwelling at any length on this painful story. I must restrict public reprobation 
to the vile traitor who in 1848 abused his official position to procure the failure 
of compensation which had been universally expected ; satisfying thus his invete- 
xate envy while promoting the interests of his worthy nephew. 

PREFACE. xxix 

Such proœdure exhibits the Positivist party as already 
possessed on a modest scale of sufficient resources for its moral, 
intellectual, and even material requirements. During the whole 
of my career, I have never received any real support, however 
small, from anyone indiflFerent to my opinions. This un- 
paralleled fact seems to me characteristic of the more perfect 
coherence of Positivism as compared with any previous synthesis. 
With more pliancy it might have attracted support from various 
quarters by its inherent aptitude of combining opposite points 
of view without inconsistency. But such temporary success 
would have seriously impaired the full effect of its ultimate 
influence, from which nothing can escape, because the interde- 
pendence of the whole is so complete. The religion which in- 
vites our race to supply its own providence ought itself to rise 
without alien protection. 

AuGUSTB Comte. 

10 Kuo Monsieur le Prince. 

Paria, 23 Aristotle 63 : 

Thursday, March 20, ISôl. 






nostra vita, cK è si bella in vista. 

Com perde agevolmente in un mattino 

Qud che *n molti anni a gran pena iacquista ! * 

Gbatitudb. Keobet. Hbsigkation. 

Paris, Sunday, October 4, 1846. 
Noble, tender-hearted Victim, 

The untainted purity of our love leaves me free now to offer 
this fanerai homage, without any concealment of the solemn union in 
which our last weeks were spent together. Our sad lot has at least 
allowed us to feel that loyal examination of our conduct would increase 
the claim of either to the cordial respect of all honourable minds. 
A\lien Humanity shall institute that rigorous enquiry into my private 
life for the goarantees of morality that should always be demanded from 
true philosophers, our correspondence would suffice, if needed, to prove 
the unbroken sacredness of a bond not common in its nature, and 
honourable to both our hearts alike. And I find an adequate recom- 
pense for this blameless conduct in being able now to utter my deepest 

> Petrarch. 


feeliDgs with that complete firankness by which the expression of mj 
thoughts on every subject has been ever guided. 

With beautiful modesty, yielding at last to my affectionate entreaty, 
you had accepted the dedication of my second philosophical work, 
b^un last year under the growing influence of the ennobling affection, 
which in spite of death will shed its glow over the rest of my sad life. 
Be it then to your sacred memory that this solemn testimony of grati- 
tude is given, now that no tender scruples any longer restrain its 
utterance ! 

I. Unwonted circumstances, not of my choosing, and but too easily 
explained, had checked the free flow of a deeply affectionate nature 
implanted in me by a most loving mother, so fit, alas, to have become 
your own. Fatally hampered thus, my heart seemed condemned for 
ever to privation of all fit sustenance except in the insufficient though 
cherished exercise of universal love called out by my philosophic 
career. But for my contact, late in life, with you, I should never have 
known the full strength and clearness given to our highest affections 
by concentration on a worthy object. 

This close intercourse of two hearts, both ripe for the purest 
harmony, had been preceded in either case by the spontaneous ac- 
complishment of the conditions necessary to its full efficiency. Some 
years before our first interview, I had regained, morally, entire freedom 
of action, in a crisis the more decisive that it had not been sought by 
me; and I had already begim to feel the deep inadequacy of the 
isolation which at first had seemed so precious. The awakening of 
esthetic sensibilities, especially for the most sympathetic of the arts, 
could only indicate, it could not satisfy the strong cravings of my heart. 
Yet all this in me would not have been enough had I not found in you 
the same freedom and the same tendencies. Long before our inter- 
course, the incomplete protection of the law had itself freed you fi*om 
the unworthy bond to which you had yielded dutiful submission. 
Your position had again become one of painful dependence, imalle- 
viated by fitting recognition of your noble nature, or even by the 
respect due to exceptional calamity. 

Urged thus, and authorised, both of us, to seek at last for 
completeness of affection, our natural sympathies were strengthened 
beforehand by the sad resemblance of our personal history, though my 
calamity indeed was far the less. Friendship thus prepared, though 
recent, soon grew to the strength of an old and familiar tie, from the 

• DEDICATION. xxxiii 

time when you knew me well enough to write the words, / trust you 
with the rest of my life. Little did we then foresee how soon this 
precious mission would be ended ! 

To you alone, Clotilda, I owe it that for one incomparable year 
I shared, though late yet fully, the sweetest human feelings. The 
sacred intimacy at once of a either and a brother, such as our position 
made possible, revealed to me in you, amidst all other personal graces, 
that marvellous combination of lofty and of tender aspirations that 
perhaps was never before so perfectly realised. And this moral 
excellence, set off by the finest attributes of a woman*s mind, was so 
happily combined with simplicity and strength of character ! Familiar 
contemplation of so perfect a type could not but increase, even when 
I knew it not, my systematic ardour for the universal progress towards 
perfection, to both of us the one great aim of public or of private life. 

Those who know that in the constant exercise of generous instincts 
lies the principal source of true happiness, personal or social, will 
appreciate this solemn thanksgiving for the unutterable bliss thus 
revealed to me, and destined to effect such permanent results upon my 
moral growth. As will ever be the case where affection has been well 
bestowed, your strengthening influence has spontaneously made me 
more affectionate to my friends, more indulgent to my enemies, more 
gentle to my inferiors, more submissive to those above me. Far from 
paralysing my former energy, it has greatly added to its efficiency ; the 
strenuous perseverance that I had shown previously is now combined 
with patient moderation, to which till then I had been little inclined. 
To you, in great measure, I owe it that I endured without useless 
mormnring a shameful persecution, which at other times would have 
goaded me to ardent expressions of feeling, unseasonable ■ however 

Fears were felt, founded on imperfect knowledge, that the unex- 
pected revival of my inner life might be injurious to my public work. 
You especially, in your extreme delicacy, were harassed by constant 
thought of this antagonism, which, despite aU my protests, shows itself 
so touchingly in the very last of yom: priceless letters. Tet it is here 
in reality that my debt to you is greatest ; for it is you who liave 
enabled me in a time of moral anarchy to realise that perfect harmony 
between private and public life, so essential both to the happiness and 
the nobleness of higher minds. Until then, indeed, nothing but my 
social nûssion had enabled me to bear the bitterness of my private life. 

TOL. L b 



But under the impulse whicb you unconsciously gave, I felt and 
enjoyed the long-delayed recoil of energy by which private life en- 
larges the scope and vigour of public action. 

Towards this result my philosophic reflections had already inclined 
me. I recognised fully the preponderating importance of home affec- 
tons in the moral development of man. No one had a keener sense of 
the dangerous fallacy of modem Utopias in this respect Reverting to 
antiquity in their blind fanaticism for progress, they one and all insist 
that the moral nature shall rise without any intermediate step from 
primitive self-love to universal benevolence ; degenerating speedily into 
vague and barren philanthropy, too frequently subversive. From these 
metaphysical errors the new philosophy is free. It holds the principal 
excellence of modem morality to be the value set upon private life as 
the essential means for training the sympathies. Had this aspect of 
Positivism been more familiar to you, it would have dissipated your 
tender and conscientious fears that my personal affections might inter- 
rupt my social work. 

The spontaneous convergence of personal with social ardour had 
peculiar fitness in the second period of my philosophic career, where 
from the very nature of the final effort towards which my whole mission 
had been directed, it was the heart rather than the intellect that must 
be addressed. Therefore I state confidently that, apart fh)m all per- 
sonal feeling, no dedication was ever more deserved than this, because 
it records a real fellowship in work between us, indirect and involun- 
tary, but none the less effective. 

In a time when the pride of understanding is in reality the 
principal obstacle to true regeneration, both of us were thus so 
fortunately organised as to place intellect in its proper place ; adjusting 
it in that wise subordination to the heart which forms the necessary 
condition of all harmonious growth, whether individual or collective. 
Personal unity implies the supremacy of that class of inclinations round 
which alone all the others can be rallied ; and social union demands 
the systematic precedence of the sole impulse through which indi- 
vidualities can become convergent. Nor has the supremacy of the 
heart any inherent tendency to hamper intellect; it simply gives 
direction to its action. On the other hand the exceptional authority 
of intellect since the close of the Middle Ages has been too frequently 
injurious to moral progress, stimulating anti-social vanity in the grati- 
fication of barren curiosity. Therefore it is that the first of these two 


supremacies is the only one which is normal, whether for individuals 
or for societies ; the other is required only in revolutionary crises, of 
which it forms the characteristic feature. Such is the conclusion of 
sound philosophy when raised in its natural course to the true social 
point of view, which for all my predecessors had been unattainable. 

The establishment of this great principle was the main purpose of 
my primary work; and thus the way was prepared for keeping it 
constantly applied by maintaining the invariable preponderance, logical 
and scientific, of social conceptions over all other branches of positive 
^wculatioai On this basis the present work stands ; its object being, in 
accordance with the essential purpose of true philosophy, to systematise 
human life as a whole on the principle of the subordination of the 
intellect to the heart. The chief difBculty of my task is doubtless to 
induce the intellect to accept this position voluntarily; since no 
permanent result can be attained otherwise. But could I hope to 
efiect this profound renovation in others, had it not become thoroughly 
familiar to myself ? Here, dearest one, it was that the reaction of pure 
personal love upon philosophic thought was so specially valuable 
to me. 

By a happy coincidence these strong emotions arose at the very 
moment when my new work urgently demanded personal experience 
of tender feelings. In their first utterance, I told you openly of the 
harmony which I already felt growing between my highest thoughts 
and my dearest afifections. After frankly devoting the first half of my 
life to the development of the heart by the intellect, I saw its second 
half consecrated to the illumination of the intellect by the heart, so 
necessaiy to give the true character to great social truths. But how 
could I hope for these new inspirations unless I had myself experienced 
the full strength of that feeling which is most powerful to raise man from 
his primal self-absorption, by deriving his highest happiness from 
another? How thankfully I accepted then the unwonted and in- 
ToluBtary lot which had delayed my solitary experience of this highest 
feeling till riper age ; for the moral power of it is increased by the 
delay, when disciplined reason has given systematic sanction to the 
choice. If at first I lamented the inequality of our ages, your high 
qualities soon reconciled me to a fact which rendered our affection still 
more fitted for its lofly purpose. 

Through you alone it is that I have been able to stir that reaction 



of the heart upon the intellect, without which my mission would 
have £ûled. But for your gentle influence, my long philosophic 
training, even though seconded by esthetic pursuits, could not have 
enabled me to realise the true systematic preponderance of universal 
love, the principal and final characteristic of Positivism, and which 
• more than any other will ensure its general acceptance. At each stage 
of my new work, till interrupted by the &tal illness, I delighted to 
testify my gratitude for the involuntary aid which kindled my highest 
inspirations. Never had I felt so clearly the intense reality of the 
fundamental truth proclaimed by the noble Yauvenargues,^ the one 
thinker of the eighteenth century who spoke worthily of the heart ; and 
whose intellectual and moral value offered so striking a parallel to 
yours : a parallel completed, alas, by the same untimeliness of death Î 

II. Our puse friendship then was, in every sense, as precious to my 
public as to my private life. Yet deep and just though my gratitude 
for our short past may be, it must ever fail to equal the eternal regret 
for the incomparable future that was opening before us at the time of 
our separation. The personal independence that you were on the point 
of reaching, and the perfect mutual confidence resulting from our recent 
experience, had opened a free course thenceforth for our rare occasions 
of union. Besides that we were happily united in opinion and even in 
tastes, what specially drew us together was, what is less common now, 
the tendency in both to make the heart supreme in human life. We 
had so often said to one another. We weary of thought^ and even of 
action : we never weary of love ! And each of us saw that the 
perfection of friendship implies difference of sex, saving it from the 
possibility of disturbance by rivalry. 

Although this perfect harmony was taken from me so soon, it is 
enough that I have felt it once, never to be satisfied again with feebler 
sympathy. Thus I shall go down to the grave without having known, 
except for one short moment, that full identification for which my heart 
longed ! Not for me those chaste caresses, those loving looks, which 
dissipate in an instant the weariness of prolonged meditation, and only 
leave the charm of the elevation and the wide scope which it has 
brought 1 At the banning of the slow and painful struggle, which 
never clouded the reason, though in an illness almost always accom- 
panied by violent delirium, you pictured my inner life in touching 

' Les glandes pensées viennent du cœur. — Tr. 


words, comiDg fi-om a heart always absorbed in unselfish feeling ; You 
will not have had your companion long ! 

But the hope of gaining some public 63rmpath7 with my personal 
sorrow must be vain until I show the inestimable loss that Humanity 
has sustained. Alas 1 it is but a year ago, when I was asking you to 
promise that my own heart one day should be justly judged. The 
stem i^ilosopher, thought to be accessible only to intellectual in> 
tereslB, had been at once recognised by you as the most loving of 
all men that you had known. Tour imcontested decision, on a point 
essentially reserved for women, would perhaps have protected my 
memory against the angry sophisms and shallow prejudices by which 
intellectual reformers are usually harassed. Why, in defiance of the 
natural order of age, should it be to me that it falls now to reveal to 
the world its ignorance of you ? 

My warrant for claiming public sympathy in the performance of 
this sacred duty, is that I saw in you not merely a noble ûiend and 
precious counsellor, but alao a powerfid fellow*worker in the immense 
work of regeneration called for in our time. The new philosophy, as 
this second treatise will show, has now reached the point where it calls 
upon your sex, not merely for earnest S3rmpathy, but for active and 
potent aid; and of this your heart and your mind were equally 
conscious. No intellectual reform can truly regenerate society until the 
transformation of ideas has been followed by that of feelings : this last 
alone is decisive of its social power, and without it Philosophy could 
never be a substitute for Religion. The first part of the work, in 
which inteUectual questions predominate, might naturally be reserved 
to mj own sex : but the second, where the heart predominates, should 
be the domain of yoiu^. Tou alone, amidst the gifted women of our 
time, had clearly imderstood this succession and this union of efforts ; 
your conception of them, in your own way, being hardly less profound 
than my own. 

The common prejudices as to the so-called hardness of Positivism 
ceased to have weight with you, when you saw the distinction between 
Positive Philosophy and the various special researches which prepared 
the way for it. All the conceptions that I had ever formed, or was yet 
to form, with the view of enlarging the scope of himian power in every 
direction, I felt sure of being able to submit with profit to your fidendly 
judgment : you alone I knew would never suspect me of affected feel- 
ing, so foreign to my whole intellectual and moral temper. The deep 


impression that Catholicism could not fail to make on such a nature 
had happily preserved your progress to intellectual freedom from being 
seriously hampered by the shallow deism of the last century : besides^ 
your mind, with all its gentle gaiety, could never be satisfied with the 
attitude of mere criticism, fit only for writers of the second rank. All 
that was noble or tender in the admirable system of medieval life, can 
and should, you saw, be appropriated by the modem time : with the 
superiority inherent in a system of which every principle can bear 
discussion, and in which the noblest aspirations are no longer tainted 
by inordinate self-love. 

You saw already the noble career opened for women by partici- 
pation in this mighty work; the natural earnest of the wider field 
of legitimate influence reserved for them in the future. Your mind, 
familiar as it was with the principal productions of your sex, would 
soon have completed the necessary training. I had succeeded at last, 
notwithstanding your singular modesty, in showing you that exceptional 
purity made in your case the natural reaction of feeling upon thought 
one of peculiar power. You had already marked out for yourself as a 
contribution in aid of the regenerating movement a literary work, 
which at the same time was to forward your most legitimate desire 
for personal independence. I deeply regret not to be able to supply 
any fragment of your unfinished Willelmine^ to ^hich I had con- 
tributed ûiendly counsel, and even indirect participation, by the letter 
which at your request I vrrote you, last January, on the true theory 
of marriage. But the secret oppression which weighed down your 
whole life was not arrested by your tomb : the precious manuscript 
which you openly bequeathed me, was finally refused, in defiance of 
the most formal promises, and notwithstanding the explicit order of 
the head of your family, whose soldierly sense of honoiu: was shocked 
at a violation of faitli due perhaps to the painful motive of literary 

Yet the general purpose of this sketch should be indicated here, 
not so much in justice to you, as because it is so striking an example 
of a wise practical use of feminine talent. In a time when so many 
minds of vigour and experience are occupied with revolutionary dreams 
affecting the elementary constitution of the family, it is well to note the 
instance of a yoimg and gifted woman, ripened by sorrow, devoting a 
career of rich literary promise to the earnest defence of the inviolable 
laws that lie at the root of social union. If your sad history ever 


becomes known, it will be acknowledged that no one had greater cause 
for r^arding the institution of marriage with imrelenting bitterness. 
But as you said so well in your touching story of Lucie; It is unworthy 
of a noble nature to diffuse its pain. This beautiful saying was uncon- 
sciously the motto for your life. 

Guiltless victim of a strange &tality, you fully acknowledged that the 
generality indispensable to social rules must not be judged by the light 
of painful anomalies. Through all the injustice of your suffering, your 
calm reason saw clearly through the frivolous or sophistic declamation 
that concentrates itself on evils undoubtedly real, yet minor or accidental, 
and hurries forward to radical changes which would undermine the 
purity and permanence of the highest human feelings. Inspired by 
your own beautiful nature, your Willelmine was intended to refute, 
indirectly but decisively, the dangerous paradoxes of an eloquent 
contemporary authoress, with whom if fidrly judged you had no reason 
to fear comparison. 

Your singular heroine would have past through the principal 
aberrations of the present time ; but, preserved by innate purity and 
elevation of character, was at last to reach true domestic happiness 
without having ever succumbed throughout her various trials. The 
series of pictures of a woman's heart under varying inâuences, skilfully 
analysed by a mind of spotless purity, would have been keenly inte* 
resting and in the highest sense useful. To the honour of your sex I 
have observed that these sophistic attacks upon the family, though 
nominally intended for their profit, have foimd little acceptance among 
good women. Women, judging mainly from the heart, are soon revolted 
by the moral anarchy involved in them ; while the more ambitious reason 
of men, plunging into these difficult speculations unguided by principle, 
ÊLstens often upon pernicious extravagances, all the more dangerous and 
permanent because less checked by delicacy of feeling. Bearing out 
thiB contrast, the tendency of your own noble attempt was to close this 
mischievous controversy by the supreme intervention of true feeling, 
the natural field for womanly talent. 

Although death stopped this sacred work, perseveringly pursued 
through much physical sufFerlng, I hope this imperfect and inadequate 
account may be sufficient to inspire sincere regret, perhaps to stimulate 
similar effort. The oppressive sorrow of your life should at least 
predispose others to venerate principles capable of producing such con- 
Tictions in those who were the heaviest sufferers from their rigorous 


application.' Were it right to compare my case with yours, though your 
sorrows were so far the greater, I might remark that we alone in the 
party of progress have stood out in energetic defence of marriage, in spite 
of unmerited personal suffering. Besides the new argument thus fur> 
nished in behalf of this basis of social union, we have here a refutation 
of the common-place prejudices against the moral side of the only 
philosophy now capable of systematically defending the principles of 
order, which are becoming more and more compromised by theological 
paralysis and metaphysical anarchy. 

Our spontaneous convergence on these subjects is enough to con- 
vince competent judges of the philosophical value attaching to our 
union, quite independently of any mere dogmatic assent. Therefore 
all who seriously interest themselves in the new philosophy cannot 
but mourn the loss of precious aid from one who while never idling in 
the finest delicacy of her sex, had thus in her own way made the 
highest conceptions of social truth so entirely her own. The positivist 
principle of the fimdamental harmony between the two sexes had been 
eagerly accepted by a nature so capable of applying it wisely. The 
dominant qualities of either sex being usually too feeble in the other, 
it is in other than merely material aspects that their union is indis- 
pensable to form the true elemental unit of human society. 

If nothing great can come from individuals without perfect harmony 
between the mind and heart, so, too, all social renovation needs active 
co-operation of the two sexes. So long as women silently regret the 
extinction of Catholic Feudalism, dwelling, as they well may, on the 
beautiful and und3dng memories of chivalry, the modem revolution 
will have failed yet to assimie its permanent character, and political 
reaction will continue to seem possible. The only way to make them 
cordial fellow- workers in the movement is to offer them a philosophy 
as satisfying to the needs of the heart as to those of the mind. This 
condition Positivism undoubtedly fulfils : but women can only be con- 
vinced of it by a woman. 

With myself too, doubtless, the heart must be the final aim ; but I 
have to reach it indirectly, through the mind ; by securing the triumph 
of ideas corresponding to the highest sympathies. For you I had re- 
served the converse task, easier and equally effectual, of appealing 
directly to generous emotions, and of leading thought thus to almost 
resistless acceptance of the widest truths. Each of these two great 
tasks is socially inadequate without the other : the first alone, leaving 


the feelings passive, îb incompatible with practical application of the 
principles, even in isolated cases ; and the second, without the first, 
giving no coherent basis for the feelings, would stir up mystic agita- 
tions, in which man and humanity would oscillate and wander endlessly 
without issue. 

Both of us clearly imderstood this beautiful adjustment of functions, 
so correlated, yet so independent ; as distinct in procedure as in prin- 
ciple and in purpose ; the one striving to establish by scientific research 
solid masculine conviction ; the other by the agencies of art stirring 
the deepest feminine feeling. Between two services equally indippensa- 
ble there could be no question of preference ; nor could their order of 
snccession be a matter for debate, since each can and must strengthen 
the other. Our pure friendship could only have adorned and hastened 
on this unexampled union of efforts, giving thus a spontaneous example 
of the way in which true philosophy reconciles the hitherto opposed 
claims of the intellect and the heart. 

III. Such was the sacred union which entitles me now to call on 
higher natures for sympathy with my own private and imending sorrow : 
for death alone destroyed this noble plan, the principal conditions of 
which had been already fulfilled, and which the life before us eeemed 
sufficient to realise. Ah ! could my reason ever sink back to théologie 
creeds adapted only to the childhood of our race, this calamity would 
suffice for indignant rejection of the providential optimism which claims 
to console our sorrow by inculcating blind admiration of the most 
appalling disorder. Ever spotless victim, thou who knewest of life 
little but its deepest sorrows, thou wast stricken at the moment when 
thy just meed of personal happiness began, bound up with the lof\iest of 
social missions ! And I too, though less pure, did I deserve, after such 
unjust sufiering, to be thus cut off from bliss that came so late to 
a lonely life, consecrated from earliest years to the highest service of 
humanity ? And is not this twofold private sorrow a public loss, for 
which it is impossible to imagine compensation ? 

But sound philosophy, while setting aside for ever chimerical and 
idle beliefs, henceforth as noxious as formerly they were useful, rejects 
also the complaints that follow them. It does not require us to accept 
the dangerous sophisms which would veil the exceeding imperfection of 
the universal order. Yet it is the only source of that true Resignation 
which submits courageously to evils which himian intervention cannot 
reach, while striving to react on outward fatalities by strengthening the 


inner life. My sorrow admits neither consolation or distraction ; and I 
seek none. As Yauvenargues said when he too was lamenting an 
untimely loss ; To be consoled is to love no longer; and that is shallow- 
hearted and ungrateful. Far from forgetting you, I should strive to 
suppose you living, that our imion may become ever more complete. 
Our one incomparable year of mutual and virtuous love has left me 
many pure and noble memories, strengthened by characteristic corre- 
spondence. These I shall call to life, as I have done for six months, by 
daily, weekly, and ultimately by annual acts of devotion. This treasure 
of affections is the chief sustenance of my inner life. 

And if, despite all efforts, the sad closing picture will still force its 
way before the rest, yet with it comes back the latest testimony of your 
sacred love. To me alone were those last words spoken : none else 
was present except Sophie, the noble^hearted servant whom your 
generous spirit loved to look on as a sister, and whose unflagging devo- 
tion to your long sufferings will ever claim our deepest gratitude. Can 
I ever forget the last command, solemnly repeated five times, when you 
could see and hear no longer, b^it could still think and love, a few 
minutes before the final breath : Comte, remember that I have done 
nothing to deserve my suffering ! 

These venerated words, too faithful portraiture of your whole life, 
will command my inmost soul^s obedience. They are the irrevocable 
seal of a imion which for both alike was almost equally exclusive ; for 
in the sphere of personal feeling each was all to the other. Death can- 
not bring back my former isolation, for nothing now can shatter or 
unloose the only tie which binds me. The culture of all memories, 
personal or public, is upheld by Positivism more systematically and 
with greater effect than by any other system ; and by this precious 
attribute of the new Philosophy we are the first to profit How many 
loving hearts have fed through long years upon this sad sustenance, 
without the same resources for procuring it ! 

The highest purpose of our union was to make our hearts more 
perfect ; and that purpose can still be pursued with delight, even though 
the intercourse of feeling is active on one side only. True insight into 
human nature, individual or collective, prescribes the general rule of 
indissolubility for all close ties. A finer extension of the same principle 
leads on similar grounds to the universal rule of widowhood. This moral 
duty, honoured and approved by all, becomes for either sex a fruitful 


scarce of moral progress and of noble joy. If a whole life hardljr 
suffices for two beings to know and love each other perfectly, if there- 
fore through perfect constancy alone can the deepest human feelings 
lipen, why should Death break oft the continuity of sympathy ? When 
the &xal separation comes, is not the obligation equally undoubted, 
whether the union has been of months or of years ? Or rather, should 
not that be more strenuously prolonged of which the duration has been 
briefest ? Forgetfulness can only come &om shallowness of heart, which 
£:>r want of persevering tenderness loses at once the best fruit sown in 
past years. Still more certain is the degradation of inconstancy in him 
who, deprived of the higher love, is satisfied with some coarser affection, 
as in the case so energetically stigmatised by Calderon.^ 

Six months of deep meditation on this bitter crisis of my life have 

thus added strength to the solenm promises which comforted your last 

hours. And anxiety for my own highest welfare will keep the sense of 

this duty ever present with me. Therefore it is that every day. before 

the shrine consecrated to you I repeat with growing assurance, that 

Death for ever seals the bond of affection, esteem, and reverence. 

Here then, for me, in this irrevocable communion of our lives, the 
age of personal passion finds its fitting close. Henceforth I give myself 
exclusively to the noble civic passion which from earliest youth devoted 
every energy of my being to the great work of regeneration. Thus it 
is that the seeds sown by your infiuence shall, in spite of Death, grow 
to full maturity. Though an active fellow-worker no longer, yet your 
silent aid cannot be taken from me. During our sacred year of 
^PpinesB, your sweet impulses mingled far more than you could ever 
Mere with my highest philosophic inspirations. The same blest in- 
fluence has been with me during the last six months, aiding my 
thoughts as they moved onwards in the midst of tears. Wisely 
cherished, it will continue, I feel, to purify and kindle my highest 
thonghts. It strengthens and ennobles too all that sense of beauty 
^hich we shared in common, and which besides its intrinsic worth is 
^w the sole antidote for the oppressive barrenness of scientific study. 

Es hombre vil, es infâme, 
£1 que, Bolamente atento 
A lo bruto del deseo, 
Viendo perdido lo mas, 
Se contenta con lo mènes. 


Consecrated henceforth to the work of social reconstruction built 
up on the basis of philosophic reform, I shall feel the full and immediate 
value of that long-delayed completion of m j moral training which I owe 
to you. In all that relates to the true position of women, and to their 
increasing share in the general movement of mankind, it will be raj 
delight to strengthen and develop mj philosophic conclusions by the 
vivid remembrance of our complete agreement on a subject in which it 
is peculiarly important for the thoughts of one to receive full sanction 
from the other. With singular clearness you had seen the natxutd 
tendency of Positivism to bring forward into systematic prominence, 
both in private and in public life, the worship of woman, which in the 
Middle Ages had been faintly foreshadowed. In the varied develop- 
ments of this fertile range of thoughts and feelings, I shall henceforth 
feel the inspiring charm of personal experience, the sincerity and 
fulness of which can be contested by none. 

In bringing these words of well-merited Dedication to a close, I feel 
already the large residts flowing from our eternal union. By the 
fulfilment of a loving duty I am brought back to the great work which 
had been suspended by our calamity. Meanwhile the moral reaction 
thus obtained will restore, I trust, all my former powers. By distinct 
and regular utterance, feelings no less than thoughts gain increased 
precision and coherence. This perhaps, with competent judges, may be 
an excuse for the unusual character and length of this testimony of re- 
spect. Those thinkers who know the influence of generous sympathies 
upon the mind will not think that time spent in retracing and rekindling 
pure emotions has been spent in vain. But I appeal more especially 
to those in whom the impulses of the heart are paramount ; whether 
amongst women, amongst the people, or amongst the young. 

Farewell, changeless friend I farewell, my Saint Clotilda, thou who 
wert to me in the stead of wife, of sister, and of child 1 farewell, loved 
pupil, true fellow-worker ! Thy angel influence will govern what re- 
mains to me of life, whether public or private, ever urging me onwards 
toward perfection ; purifying feeling, enlar^ng thought, ennobling con- 
duct. May this solemn incorporation into my whole life reveal at last 
to the world thy hidden worth ! Thus only can thy benefits now be 
recognised, by rendering my own performance of the mighty task 
before me more complete. As the highest personal reward for the 
noble work that yet remains to be done under thy lofly inspiration, 


it will be granted perhaps that thy name shall remain ever joined with 
mine in the most distant memories of grateful Humanity. 

La pierre da ceicueil est ton premier autel ! > 

Donna, se' tanto grande e tanto vali, 
Che qnal vuol grazia e a te non ricorre, 
Sua disianza tqoI volar senz* ali. 

La tua benignità non pur soccorre 
A chi dimanda, ma moite fiate 
libenunente al dimandar precorre. 

In te misericordia, in te pietate, 
In te. magnificenza, in te s'adnna, 
Qnantunqne in creatura è di bontate ! * 

Auguste Comte. 

' Elisa MercŒur. 

' Dante, ' Faradiso/ canto xxxiii. 





Tbe object of Philosophy is to present a systematic view of hmnan life as a 

basis for modifying its imperfections ..... 6 

The Theological synthesis £uled to include the practical side of human nature 7 

Bat the Positive spirit originated in practical life .... 8 

In human nature, and therefore in the Positive system, A£fection is the pre- 
ponderating element . . . . . . .10 

The proper function of Intellect is the service of the Social Sympathies . 12 

Under Theology the intellect was the slave of the heart ; under Positivism 

its servant ........ 13 

The subordination of the intellect to the heart is the Subjective Principle of 

Positivism ........ 16 

Objective bogie of the system ; External Order of the World, as revealed by 

Science ......... 16 

By it tbe selfish affections are controlled ; the unselfish strengthened . 18 

Our conception of this External Order has been gradually growing from the 

earliest times» and is but just complete . . . .19 

Even where not modifiable, its influence on the character is of the greatest 

value ......... 21 

But in most cases we can modify it ; and in these the knowledge of it forms 

the systematic basis of human nature . . . .23 

The chief difficulty of the Positive Synthesis was to complete our conception 

of the External Order, by extending it to Social phenomena . . 25 

By the discovery of Sociological laws social questions are made paramount ; 
and thus our subjective principle is satisfied without danger to free 
thought ......... 27 

I>iE*li action between Abstract and Concrete laws. It is the former only that 

we require for the purpose before us . . . . .80 

In our Theory of Development, the required Synthesis of Abstract concep- 
tions already exists . • . . . . .32 

Therefore we are in a position "to proceed at once with the work of social re- 

generation . . . . . . . .35 

Error of identifying Positivism with Atheism, Materialism. Fatalism, or 

Optimisnv Atheism, lik^ Theology, discufises insoluble mysteries . 86 

xlviii CONTENTS. 


Materialism is due to the encroachment of the lower sciences on the domain 

of the higher ; an error which Fositivism rectifies . . .39 

Nor is Positivism fatalist, since it asserts the External Order to be mo^- 

fiable ........ . 42 

The charge of Optimism applies to Theology rather than to Positivism. The 
Positivi St judges of all historical actions rdatively, but does not justify 
them indiscriminately ....... 43 

The word Positive connotes all the highest intellectual attributes, and will 

ultimately have a moral significance . . . . .44 



The relation of Positivism to the French Revolution . . . .47 

The negative or destructive phase of the Revolution stimulated the desire of 

Progress, and consequently the study of social phenomena . . 47 

The constructive phase of the Revolution. The first attempts to construct 

&iled, being based on destructive principles . . . .51 

Counter-revolution from 1794 to 1830 . . . . .53 

Political stagnation between 1830 and 1848 . . . .54 

The present position, 1848-1850. Republicanism involves the great prin- 
ciple of subordinating Politics to Morals . . . .55 

It gives prominence to the problem of reconciling Order and Progress . 56 

It brings the metaphysical revolutionary schools into discredit . . 58 

And it proves to all the necessity of a true spiritual power; a body of 
thinkers whose business is to study and to teach principles, holding aloof 
from political action . . . . . .60 

The need of a spiritual power is common to the whole Republic of Western 

Europe ......... 63 

This Republic consists of the Italian, Spanish, British, and German popula- 
tions grouped round France as their centre . . . . 6& 

Relation of Positivism to the mediaeval system, to which we owe the first 

attempt to separate spiritual from temporal power . . 68 

But the medieval attempt was premature ; and Positivism will renew and 

complete it . . . . . . . .71 

The Ethical system of Positivism . . . . . .73 

Subjection of Self-love to Social love is the great ethical problem. The 
Social State of itself favours this result; but it may be hastened by orga- 
nised and conscious effort . . . .73 

Intermediate between f<elf-love and universal benevolence are the domestic 

affections : filial, fraternal, cozgugal, paternal . . .75 

Personal virtues placed upon a social basis . . . .77 

Moral education consists partly of scientific demonstration of ethical truth, 

but still more of culture of the higher sympathies . . «79 

Organisation of Public Opinion . . . . . .80 

Commemoration of great men . . . .81 

The political motto of Positivism : Order and Progress . . .83 

Progress, the development of Order . . . . .83 

Analysis of Progress : material, physical, intellectual, and moral . . 84 

Application of our principles to actual politics. All government must for the 

present be provisional ....... 87 




Banger of attempting poUticnl reconstraction before spiritunl . . 80 

Politically what is wanted is Dictatorship, with liberty of speech and dis- 

cnssion ••••.«••. 01 
Such a dictatorship would be a step towarda the separation of spiritual and 

temporal power ......•» 05 

The motto of 1830, lÀberiy and Public Order . . • «05 

liberty should be extended to Education • • • • .06 

Order demands centralisation . • • h • «08 

Intimatfl connection of Liberty with Order • . • • .00 


Acnoif OF posmviSK ufok the wobking classbb. 

Positiribin will not for the present recommend itself to the governing classes 

so much as to the People ...... 101 

The working num who accepts his position is fiiTourably situated for the 

reception of comprehcnsiyo principles and generous sympathies . .103 

This the Convention felt ; but they encouraged the People to seek political 

supremacy, for which they are not fit . . • . .105 

It is only in exceptional cases that the People can be really ' sovereign ' . 106 
Tbe truth involved in the expression is that the well-being of the people 

should be the one great object of government .... 107 

Tbe People's function is to assist the spiritual power in modifying the action 
of government ........ 108 

'Hieir combined efforts result in the formation of Public Opinion . .110 

Public opinion involves, (1) principles of social conduct, (2) their acceptance 

by society at laige, (3) an organ through which to cnimciate them . 112 
^'oiking men's clubs . . . . . . . .114 

^l three conditions of Public Opinion exist, but have not yet been combined 110 
Spontaneous tendracies of the people in a right direction. Their Com- 
nmnism ......... 120 

Its new title of Socialism . . . . . . .122 

'H^y is in its nature social, and needs control % . . .123 

But Positirism rejects the Communist solution of the problem. Property is 
to Ijc controlled by moral not legal lOgcncies . . . .125 

^ndualisRition of functions as ncccssiiry as co-operation . . . 126 

"^dnstry requires its captains as well as War .... 127 

(Communism is deficient in the historical spirit . . . .128 

'0 ^ as a system, it is worthless, though prompted by noble feelings . 128 
"operty is a public trust, not to be interfered with legally . . .130 

l^itritance £ivourable to its right employment . . . .132 

^tellect needs moral control as much as wealth . . . .132 

Actioa of organised public opinion upon Capitalists ; Strikes . .133 

^blic opinion must be based upon a sound system of education . .136 

«iocation has two stages ; from birth to puberty, from puberty to adoles- 
cence. The first, consisting of physical and esthetic training, to be given 
at home ......... 138 

^e second part consists of public lectures on the Sciences from Mathematics 
to Sociology . . . . . . . . 140 

Travels of Apprentices . . . . . . .143 

Coocentiation "of study •••..•• 143 

TOL. I. C 



Goyermnental assistance not required, except for certain special institationsi 

and this only as a provisional measure . . • • • 144 

We are not ripe for this system at present; and Gorcmment must not attempt 

to hasten its introduction . . • . • .146 

IntollQctual attitude of the people. l^Miancipation from theological belief • 148 
From petaphysical doctrines . . . • . • .150 

Their mistaken prefei^enco of Uteraxy ^nd rhetorical talent to real intdlectnal 

ppwer .. ^ .. . . • . 160 

Moral, attitude of the people. The workman should regard himself aa a 

public functionary . . . ... . • 153 

Ambition of power and wealth must be abandoned . . . .155 

The working classes are the best guarantee ibr Liberty and for Order, owing 
to their emancipation, their dislike of war, and their indifference to par- 
liaments ......*.. 158 

The dictatorship prorisionally required will be of popular origin • • 160 



Women represent the aflfcctiye element in our nature, as philosophers and 

people represent the intellectual and practical elements . . .164 

Women have stood aloof from the modem movement, because of its anti- 
historic character, and its failure to subordinate politics to morality • 165 
But they will sympathise with the constructive tendencies of the new syn- 
thesis ; and will distinguish sound philosophy from scientific specia- 
lities ......... 167 

Women's position in society. Like philosophers and people, their part is 

not to govern, but to modify . . . . . .169 

The united action of philosophers, women, and proletaries constitutes Moral 

Force ......... 172 

Superiority of the new spiritual power to the old. Self-regarding tenden- 
cies of Catholic doctrine ....... 176 

The spirit of Positivism, on the contrary, is essentially social. The Heart 

and the lùtellect mutually strengthen each other . . .177 

Intellectual and moral affinities of women with Positivism . . .180 

Catholicism purified love, but did not directly strengthen it . . .181 

Women's influence over the working classes and their teachers • .188 

Their social influence in the salon . . . . . .185 

But the family is their principal sphere of action . . . .187 

Woman's mission as a wife. Conjugal love an education for universal sym- 
pathy ......••• 187 

^"Conditions of marriage. Indissoluble monogamy . • . .190 

Perpetual widowhood .....••. 191 

Woman's mission as a mother . . . . . .193 

Education of children belongs to mothers. They only can guide the de- 
velopment of character . . . . . .193 

Modem sophisms about Women's rights. The domesticity of her life follows 

from the principle of Separation of Powers . . . .196 

The position of the sexes tends to differentiation rather than identity • 198 

Woman to be maintained by Man •••••• 199 




The edneation of women should "be identical with that of men • . 201 

Women's privileges. Their mission is in itself a priyilege . . 204 

They will receiye hononr and worship from men .... 204 

Development of medisBTal chivalry ...... 205 

The practice of Prayer, so fat from disappearing, is pnrifled and strengthened 

in Positive religion . • -. . . . . 208 

The worship of Woman a preparation for the worship of Ilamanity . .211 

Ezeeptional women. Joan of Arc . . . ' . 212 

It is for women to introduce Positivism into the Southern nations . .215 



Positivism when complete is as £ivonrable to imagination, as, when incom- 
plete, it was unfavoorable to it . . . . . . 220 

"Kfthfldf talent is ibr the adornment of life, not for its government . . 222 
Tile political influence of literary men a deplorable sign and source of 

anarchy .««... 

Art is the idealised representation of Fact . 
Poetry is intermediate between Philosophy and Polity 
Art calls each element of our nature into harmonious action 
^niree stages in the esthetic process ; Imitation, Idealisation, Expression . 281 
Glaanfication of the arts on the principle of decreasing generality, and in- 
creasing intensity ....... 284 

Poetzy • .-• . • . . • 234 

Music. ......... 235 

Punting, Sculpture, Architecture ...... 236 

The conditions most £ivourable to Art have never yet been combined . 23G 

Neither in Polytheism * . . . . 237 

Nor under the Mediaeval system ...... 238 

Much less in modem times ....... 230 

Under Positivism the conditions will all bo favourable ; owing to its fixity of 

principles, and nobler moral culture ..... 240 

Predisposing influence of education ...... 242 

Bdation of Art to Beligion ....... 243 

Idéalisation of historical types ...... 244 

Art requires the highest education ; but little special instruction . . 245 
Artisti as a class will disappear. Their function will be appropriated by 

the three classes composing the spiritual power .... 247 

Philosophic poetry .... . . • 248 

Identity of esthetic and scientific genius . . . • • 2^0 
Women's poetry * , . . . . .260 

Psople's poetry . . , . • . • 251 

Value of Art in the present crisis ....•• 252 

1. Construction of normal types on the basis furnished by philosophy . 253 

2. Pictures of the Future of Man . . . . • .253 

3. jContEasts with the Past ....••• ^^ 
tanmaiy of the chapter . . , • 







Becapitulation of the results obtained ..... 2Ô7 

Harmony of three sides of human nature ..... 257 

Practical object of hiunan life . . . . . . 258 

The Spiritual Power ........ 2d0 

Priests ......... 260 

Women ......... 260 

The People ......... 261 

Gradual perception of tlie great problem of life .... 262 

Humanity is the centre to which every aspect of Positivism converges . 263 

With the discovery of sociological laws, a synthesis on the basis of Science 
becomes possible, science being now concentrated on the study of 
Humanity ........ 265 

Statical Aspects of Humanity . . . . ^ . 267 

Dynamical aspects ........ 268 

Inorganic and organic sciences elevated by their connection with the supreme 

science of Humanity ....... 270 

The n,ew religion is eyen more favourable to Art th^ to Science . .271 

Poetic portraiture of |Jie new Supren^o Being . , . . . 272 

Contrast with, former divinities ...... 273 

Organisation of festivals, representing statical and dynamical aspects of 

Humanity ........ 27i 

Worslpp of the dead. Commemoration of their service • . . 276 

All the arts may co-operate in the service of religion .... 279 

Positivism is the successor of Christianity, and surpasses it . . . 280 

Positivist prayer . . . . , . . . . . . 283 

Superiority of Positive morality . . . . . 283» 

Bise of the new Spiritual power ...... 288 

Temporal power will always be necessary, but its action will be moilifiod by 

the spiritual . .... . . . . 2Sr 

Substitution of duties for rights ...... 280 

Consensus of the social organism . . . . . . .291 

Continuity of the past with the present . . . . .292 

Necessity of a spiritual power to study and teach these truths ; standing 
apart from the temporal power, and thus securing alike freedom and 
convergence ........ 293 

Nutritive functions of Humanity, performed by Capitalists, as the temporal 

power ......... 297 

These are modified by the cerebral functions, performed by the throe ele- 
ments of the spiritual power ...... 298 

Capitalists not to bo coerced politically ..... 300 

Inheritance to be respected ....... 300 

Women and priests to have their material subsistence guaranteed . . 301 

Normal relation of priests, p^ple, apd capitalists .... 303 

We are not yet ripe for the normal state. But the revolution of 1848 is a 

step towards it . . . . . . . . 304 

First revolutionary motto ; Liberty and Equality . . . . . 304 

Second motto ; Libeiiy and Order ...... 306 

Third motto ^ Order and Progress . . . . . 305 

Provisional policy for the period of transition «... 306 




Popalar dictatorship vith fraedom of speech . ^ . • • -307 

Positire Committee for Western Europe .. ■••.•• 309 

Occidental navy ........ 310 

International coinage . • . . . . . .311 

Occidental school ........ 311 

Flag for the Western Bepablic . . . . . .311 

Colonial and Foreign Associates of the Committee, the action of which will 

ultimately extend to the whole human race . . . .313 

Bussia ......... 315 

Mohammedan countries • . . . . . 315 

In^ .......... 315 

China. Japan ........ 315 

Africa ......... 315 

Conclusion. Perfection of the Positivist ideal . . .316 

Corruption of Monotheism ....... 320 





Prefatory Remarks^ pp, 325-330. 

Positirism a coordination of the three aspects of human nature . . 325 

Woxihjp and Discipline must rest on Doctrine . . . .326 

T^ Treatise, though chiefly doctrinal (sociology), will also touch on dis- 
cipline (sociocracy) and worship (sociolatry) .... 327 
SttctioD of Feeling on Thought favoured by pressure of social needs . 328 

^itimacy of Logic of Feeling . . . . . .329 

^visions of this Chapter : L Purpose aimed at in this Introduction, 

pp. 331-343. 

Contzadictions in conception of God duo to liis absolute independence . 

^0 the dependence of the new Supreme Being on the external order lies its 
moral and social superiority . . ... . • 

Importance of this order (a) individually ; {b) socially 

(tf) It is an essential constituent of Life in every phase, whether material or 
moral . . . . . . . • . 

It has been partly recognised from the earliest ages . • . • 

Poritirism represents it more completely than theology 

(^) This order is a bond of union •••••• 

It eatablishe» 1. Communitj» of conviction - • • • • • 

2. OnnmuBity of action • • • • • « « 






8. Pisciplioe of pride « . . . ... • 8S8 

4. Sympathy ........ 389 

Social missioA of science the sole means of co-ordinating it • . . 880 

Apart from such considerations, scientific study irrational and immoral . 840 

The subjection of Science to this moral discipline not chimerical • , 841 

//. Nature of the Scientific St/nthesis, Distinction of Abstract and 

Concrete, pp. 343-354. 

The Synthesis embraces only the series of abstract or irreducible concep- 
tions ; not including the mass of concrete or composite conceptions . 848 
Difficulty of passage from abstract to concrete. Here scientific dogmatism 

finds its limits, and room for judicious empiricism must always be left . 344 

Bespective functions of Dogmatism and Empiricism • . • . 346 

Difficulty of Abstraction in higher Sciences ..... 348 

Gradual development of the distinction between abstract and concrete . 348 

Sjrnthesis of concrete science impossible and needless . . .349 

Concrete studies should be limited by consideraUons of utility as belonging 

to domain of Practice, not of Theoiy ..... 351 

This restriction no less applicable to sociology than to other sciences • 352 

///. Flan of Scientific Stfnthesis. Combination of objective with 

subjective method, pp. 355-368. 

Division of Natural Philosophy into Cosmology and Biology • . 355 

Conceptions of the World, and of Life, mutually necessary . . . 355 

Phenomena unintelligible without percipient ..... 356 
Life, from lowest to highest functions, implies adjustment of organism to en- 

Anronment, of subject to object ...... 356 

Law, i.e. constancy amidst variation, implies harmony of biological and cos- 

mological relations ....... 857 

This harmony variable ; and sociology deals with the hiws of its variation in 

man .••.....• 358 
Order of succession. Objective method, passing from the World to Man, 

predominates . . . . . . . .359 

But the subjective Method, from Man to the World, tliough hitherto pro- 
visional and theological, has a permanent and positive part to play . 361 
That part consists in constant maintenance of constructive and human 

stand-point ........ 362 

Relation of the two methods in author's works .... 363 

The harmony of the two methods constitutes Logic in its widest sense . 364 

This harmony an immediate result of the conception of Humanity . . 364 

Combination in Positive Synthesis of Logic of Signs, with Logic of Images, 

and Logic of Feeling ....... 365 



• • • 

Sumipary of preceding chapter . . • « . • • 369 

Special difficulty and importance of disripliue in Co^ology • • « 369 



IKrision of Cosmology into celestial and terrestrial : i.e. laws accessible, and 

laws inaccessible to human interrention . . . » .371 

Philosophical'characteristics of each ••.... 372 
Beligiooa aspects • -« •*••••• 872 

Celestial Cosmology^ pp. 378-415. 
iHrision into abstract and concrete aspect : Mathematics and Astronomy . 878 

. 374 

. 376 

. 376 

. 376 

. 376 

. 378 

. 379 

. 880 

. 381 

. 382 

. 383 

. 388 

. 385 

• Mathematics^ pp. 373-403. 

. .... 

Intellectual and moral Talue of Mathematics 

Their present degradation ..... 

Ftopoeed work on the subject .... 

Dirisioo into Calculus, Geometiy, and Mechanics 

Their order fq^ows tl^e geneiyil plan ,of scientific claçsification 

Beasons for studying Calculus in combination with Geometry 

Kechanics to be studied more separately 

Ilecessity of restricting mathematical studies . 

Abuse of Algebro ...... 

lleglwt of indnctiye studies s v . •• •. 

Horal danger of Mathematics studied in this spirit . 

Controlling principle ; each science to be studied sufficiently for the 

ments of that which stands next above it in the scale . 
Sodology, the final science, should control all 
EieeptioQal cases may be left to practical men 
Soôal statics and dynamics can alone elevate Science to her true rank . 38d 

^ce as degenerate as theology ; but, unlike theology, susceptible of re- 
generation ........ 386 

Ctlcolns viewed separately ....... 387 

Gwmetzy viewed separately ....... 889 

CoQibination of abstract and concrete aspect in Cartesian geometry • . 390 

AU phenomena might be represented by equations, but for the practical diffi- 
culties ......... 390 

^noseeodental analysis ....... 392 

^allis 392 

I^bnits ......... 393 

Iioportance of studying methods in combination with doctrines . . 394 

Mechanics ;....... 39Ô-402 

^ Oeooetry wo consider the simplest form of passive Existence ; in Mechanics, 
of£zigtence combined with Activity ..... 896 

Intimate connection of Statics with Dynamics .... 896 

AUtnction in Mechanics. Inertia ...... 897 

object-matter of Mechanics. Composition of Motions . . . 398 

^ue« of the Science. 1. Logical artifice of Inertia ..... 399 

2. The three laws of Motion ...... 399 

Apt^ication of these laws in other subjects . . . • • 400 

Systématisation of the science . . • • . .401 

^ts of its range '•••'••.•• 401 
Sunmaiy ••••••»•• ^02 


Astronomi/f pp. 403-415. 


Logical features of Astronomy. 1. Observation and induction • • 404 

2. Art of hypothesis •••••• • 405 

3. Exercise of abstraction .••.••» 405 
Scientific value of Astronomy. Conception of invariable Order • • 406 
Permanent importance of Astronomy as an instrument of discipline • • 407 
Belativity of knowledge ...•••• 409 
Moral influence of this relativity • • » • • «410 
Systématisation of the science . » • • • .411 
Bestriction to solar system • . • . . • .411 
Futility of sidereal astronomy . . . . • .412 
Even the solar system should be regarded from the terrestrial point of view . 413 
Constitution of the Science. Astronomy presupposes Geometry • .414 
Influence of Mechanics on Astronomy ; uniting it with other branches of 

Natural Philosophy • • • • • • .415 

Terrestrial Cosmology, pp. 415-454. 

Interval between Astronomy and Biology formed flrst by Chemistry, then by 

Physics ....••••• 416 

Physics, pp. 417-430. 

Proper position of Physics in the scale of Sciences . . . .417 

Its influence on the inductive faculty . . . . . .418 

Induction more important than Deduction . . . . .418 

Development of experimental method ..... 420 

Atomic theory viewed as a logical artifice . . . . .421 

Metaphysical aberrations, imaginary fluids, ethers, &c. . . . 421 

Encroachments of Algebra ....... 423 

Beorganisation of Physics depends on tlie general reorganising movement . 425 
Constitution of the Science ....... 425 

Attempt to reduce its various branches to one chimerical because they depend 

on multiplicity of senses ....... 425 

Deficiency of sciences corresponding to senses of taste and smell . . 426 

Classification of the Physical Sciences ..... 428 

Barology, Thermology, Optics, Acoustics, Electrology . . . 42S 

Proper limitations of the Science ...••. 42d 

Chemistry, pp. 430-454. 

Its logical aspects. More removed than Physics from the danger of over- 
strained deduction ....... 430 

It affofds glimpses of the compardtive methods . . . .432 

It has developed the art of scientific nomenclature .... 432 

Its scientific aspects ........ 431 

It deals with the most complex mode of inorganic existence . . . 434 

Its influence on industrial progress ...... 435 

It prepares the way for Biolo^^y .'.'.... 436 

ChcmiStiy mofe amen&blo to (Social diteipline'than previous Sciences* . 437 

Isolated culture of each science in inverse proportion to its rank in the scale 438 

First rise of systematic chemistry, under Boerhaave and Stahl » , 440 




Yet the proper period of its isolated cidtare has already past • .441 

Uigencj axid possibilitj of discipline in Chemistzy .... 442 

Unity of purpose in chemical science; prevision of compounds £rom knowledge 

of components •.•••., ^ 444 

Pntility of distinction between organic and inoiganic chemistry • . 444 

Dualism of combinations: a subjective artifice . • . . 446 

Objections to Dualism •••>••• 447 

Its utility ......... 447 

Logical rule of the simplest hypothesis . . . . .448 

Analogy of this artifice to that of Inertia, or to Atomic hypothesis . . 440 

Logical necessity of Dualism in other subjects «... 440 

Arrangement of the science ..««... 450 

1. Study of chemical combination ...... 460 

2. Analysis of Air and Water ...... 460 

Its historical importance . • . • . . . 461 

Its bearing on Biology ....... 452 

3. Study of the elementary bodies ...... 452 

4. Study of compound bodies, arranged according to degree of complexity . 458 
Endless divergence of chemical studies as now pursued . . • 468 



Prefatory Remarks^ pp. 456-474. 

I^tirity of knowledge now rests on Biology, as formerly on Astronomy . 466 

elated study of Biology ; rapidity of its degradation . . . 467 

Inroads on the fundamental principles of the Science ... . 450 

(Wased ideas of classification ...... 460 

Stagnation of cerebral physiology .••... 460 

^Qcroachments of chemists ....... 460 

^^^ ezTors intensified in Germany . . . . . «461 

^uoipleofBlainville . . . . . . .462 

^<od of Sociological disdplino ...... 463 

^«tinction of organic and inorganic ...... 464 

Ancient conception of three kingdoms ; a basis for an objective synthesis . 465 
Bise of Phywcs and Chemistry showed objective synthesis to be impossible ; 

Babjective synthesis must await rise of sociology . . . 466 

Binaiy and ternary modes of expressing series of the sciences . . 467 

^escence of the animal and vegetable kingdoms .... 468 

^tinction of Organic and Inozganic is the final blow to all objective syn- 
thesis ......... 468 

^ximity in time of positive Biology to Sociology .... 460 

£iTQr of old synthesis not in being subjective but in being absolute . . 470 
Modern inversion of relative importance of Astronomy and Biology . .471 
£ieinplified by Descartes after Êiilures of his objective and his subjective 

synthesis ......... 472 

Speedy reconstruction of Biology under Sociological auspices • • • 478 




Divisions of the Chapter: L Subject Matter of Biology. Abstract 
Theory of Life, pp. 474-517. Vegetal Life, pp. 474-482. 


General characteristics of Life. 1. ^noyation of particles ; its connection 

Tfith higher phenomena ...... . 475 

Vitalily restricted to certain elements, and in these is temporary . - . 475 

Moral and social bearings of ^e law, of Henovation .... 476 

2. Law of Death ........ 476 

Law of Death not a mere consequence of the preceding . . .477 

Sociological bearings of this law . . . . . . 478 

3. I^w of Reproduction .* . . . .- . . 478 

It cannot be explained by inorganic science ..... 470 

Ferm^ence of Species ....... 479 

Cbneral remarks on Vegetal Life ...... 481 

Animal Life, pp. 482-501. 

Its dependence upon Vegetable life . 

First beginning of a biological hierarchy 

Sensibility and Contractility .... 

Laws of intermittence and habit 

Instinctiye life intervening between sensation and cqntrastion 

Various modes of instinctive life 

Connection of Instincts with mode of alimentation . 

Fossibility of modifying alimentation 

Mental and social reaction of carnivorous alimentation 

Three laws of animal life. 1. Law of intermittence . 

2. Law of Habit ..... 
Imitation dependent on habit .... 

3. Law of Exercise ..... 
Hereditary modifications .... 
Consensus of animal life : resulting from subordination to vegetal life 
Two modes of this subordination 

1. Fersonal mode ..... 

2. Social mode ..... 
Association of animals with man 
Biocratic League under the leadership of Humanity for 

Earth's resources .... 

Elimination of useless or noxious races 
Limits of the power of this league 
Biocratic league presupposes Sociocracy 

Social Life, pp. 501-508. 

Tendency in all animal species towards formation of a collective organism . 501 
But Sociality the sulgect of a distinct science, because only developed by 

historic Continuity ....... 502 

Biology as an isolated science irrational ..... 503 

Still it controls and prepares the way for Sociology .... 504 

G^rms of sociological laws in animal races ..... 505 

1. Law of three stages ....... 505 

2. Hierarchy of scientific conceptions ..... 506 

3. Law of evolution of activity •••••• 507 

development of 







. 508 

. 610 

. 510 

. 611 

. 612 

. 613 

. 614 

. 614 

. 616 

. 616 

. 617 

Limitaticm of Social State to Human Race 
Straggle of races for superiority rcsujtmg in victoiy of one .. 
Reasons why the Tictory was gained by the human species . 
>Ian capable of camiyorous food, though not restricted to it . 
Cerebral functions. 1. Man superior on the whole in social instincts 
Prolonged infancy ...... 

2. Int43llectual superiority of hum^n species exaggerated, but real 
Tocal organs of Man ...... 

3. Practical qualities better combined in Man than elsewhere 
Muscular and sensorial characters .... 

Nudity ....... 

Reriew of results obtained. Successive Scale of Being 

//. Scheme of Treatise on Abstract Biology, pp. 517-540. 

Sdentific principles ^ ..... . 517-626 

Twofold adjujstment : (a) of organism and enyironmont : (6) of organ and 

function ......... 617 

Sulxndination of the second adjustment to the first . . . .619 

f unction the result of action between Organism and Environment. Extcn- 

Bjon of tips truth to Cosmology , j. . . . . 620 

Separate study of anatomy and physiology necessary as a preparation . 622 

Keceasi^ of statical conception to fix dynamical thought . . . 623 

ProgresB made by Bichat in correlating anatomy with physiology . . 624 

l4>^ principles ....... 626-632 

^ecesBitj of mathematical training ...... 526 

IndncdTe logic ........ 626 

^^(%ical method ........ 626 

^thod of comparisons ....... 628 

Présent mode of regarding it too limited ..... 628 

Biol()gic^ classification . . . . . . .620 

^^ of received views of Classification ..... 630 

!• It is presented as an objective reality ..... 630 

2. It is incomplete; not comprehending either Vegetal or Social lif e . .631 

Syllabus of Biological Course, pp, 532-540. 

1. Preamble : containing throe lectures on Method ; four on Histology and 
Anatomy ; five on Classification . • . . . • 

Connection of Organ with Function never to be lost sight of . 

2. Main subject of the course. The nine Laws of Life ; sixteen lectures . 

3. Conclusion ; containing three lectures on Consensus ; four on action of 
Environment ; five on reaction of Organism .... 

The Consensus ........ 

The environment ........ 

Reaction of organism ........ 

///. Theory of cerebral functions, pp. 540-593. 

Appr^iatioQ of Gall's work . • • • • 

Charter of present theory ; (1) subi'ective, i.e. functional ; (2) dependent on 
9)cîologiçal observation,^ checked by Zoology # 






Ck>nneetion of Brain with the rest of the Organism too much neglected by 

xJ&U • • • • • ••• • • 

From the study of cerebral functions we may determine the number of cere- 
bral organs, and their relative position .... 

But their form, sise, and structure must be reserved for objective investi 
gation ......•• 

General classification of cerebral functions . . . .048- 

Acceptance of Qall's distinction of affective from intellectual functions ; re 

jection of his distinction of propensities from feelings • 
Division of moral functions into Heart and Character 
Afiection the chief source of spontaneity and of unity 
Afibction, unlike Intellect or Activity, never completely intermittent . 
Afifbctive functions ....... 057-' 

Distinction of personal from social feeling .... 

Anatomical relation of personal and social instincts . . , . 

Intermediate propensities 

Enumeration of egoistic propensities. 1. Self-preservation . 
Preservation of Haco. 2. Sexual instinct 3. Maternal instinct 

4. Destructive or Military Instinct, ô. Constructive or Industrial instinct 
Intermediate propensities. 6. Love of Praise • . • 

7. Love of Power ..•••.« 
Social instincts ; possessed by lower animals .... 

Social Instincts the source of Unity ..... 

Social Instincts : 8. Attachment; 9. Veneration; 10. Humanity 
Localisation of Social Instincts ..... 

Classification of characters in accordance with predominant propensities 
Intellectual functions ....... bllA 

Defects of Gall's view due to a1)sence of sociological theory . 

His multiplication of distinctions ; and misapprehension of the Senses 

His erroneous view of Memory and Imagination 

The true view of these processes. They are composite intellectual results 

Even Judgment is composite . ... 

Intellectual functions. Distinction of Conception firom Expression . 
Conception divided into contemplation and meditation 
Two organs of Contemplation. 11. Concrete and synthetic; 12. Abstract 
and analytic ....... 

Two organs of Meditation. 13. Inductive; 14. Deductive . 

15. Organ of Expression ...... 

Active functions. 16. Courage; 17. Caution; 18. Firmness 

Consensus of Cerebral organs . . . . . . c 

Relations of Brain with organs of animal and vegetal life . . •I 

History of the growth of this Theory . . . . . . ( 

Statical conclusions much more uncertain than the dynamical . . t 

Practical applications of the Theory . . . . • . £ 

Its sociological bearing ...... 

Its logical bearing ....... 

Conclusion ........ 


Speech at Blainville's funeral . . . . . ml 

Lucie . • • • • • • • • \ 

Les Peniées d'une fleur * . • • • • • % i 

Letter on Social Commemoration . . . • . C 






We tire of thinking and eyen of acting ; we never tire of loving. 

Ix the following series of systematic essays upon Positivism, 
the essential principles of the doctrine are first considered ; I 
then point out the agencies by which its propagation will be 
effected; and I conclude by describing certain additional 
features indispensable to its completeness. My treatment of 
these questions will of coiu^se be summary : yet it will suffice, 
1 hope, to overcome several excusable but unfounded prejudices. 
It will enable any competent reader to assure himself that the 
new general doctrine aims at something more than satisfying 
the Intellect ; that it is in reality quite as favourable to Feeling 
wd even to Imagination. 


PosmnsM consists essentially of a Philosophy and a Polity. 
These can never be dissevered ; the former being the basis, and 
the latter the end of one comprehensive system, in which our 
intellectual faculties and our social sympathies are brought 
into close correlation with each other. For, in the first place, 
the science of Society, besides being more important than any 
other, supplies the only logical and scientific link by which all 
^ varied observations of phenomena can be brought into one 

TOL. I. B 



consistent whole.* Of this science it is even more true than of 
any of the preceding sciences, that its real character cannot be 
understood without explaining its exact relation in all general 
features with the art corresponding to it. Now here we find a 
coincidence which is assuredly not fortuitous. At the verj 
time when the theory of society is being laid down, an inunens^ 
sphere is opened for the application of that theory ; the direc 
tion, namely, of the social regeneration of Western Europe 
For, if we take another point of view, and look at the grea 
crisis of modem history, as its character is displayed in tli< 
natural course of events, it becomes every day more evideni 
how hopeless is the task of reconstructing political institution 
without the previous remodelling of opinion and of life. To 
form then a satisfactory synthesis of all human conceptions is 
the most urgent of our social wants : and it is needed equally 
for the sake of Order and of Progress. During the gradual 
accomplishment of this great philosophical work, a new moral 
power will ai-ise spontaneously throughout the West, which, as 
its influence increases, will lay down a definite basis for the re- 
organisation of society. It will offer a general system of 
education for the adoption of all civilised nations, and by this 
means will supply in eveiy department of public and private 
life fixed principles of judgment and of conduct. Thus the 
intellectual movement and the social crisis will be broughl 
continually into close connection with each other. Both wil 
combine to prepare the advanced portion of humanity for th^ 
acceptance of a true spiritual power, a power more coherent, a 
well as more progressive, than the noble but premature attemp' 
of mediaeval Catholicism. 

The primary object, then, of Positivism is twofold : to 
generalise our scientific conceptions, and to systematise the art 
of social life. These are but two aspects of one and the sam^ 
problem. They will form the subjects of the two first chapters 
of this work. I shall first explain the general spirit of the new 
philosophy. I shall then show its necessary connection mih 

* The establishment of this great principle is the most important result of m^ 
* System of Positive Philosophy/ This work was published 1830-1842, with the 
title of ' Course of Positive Philosophy/ because it was based upon a course ol 
lectures delivered 1828-1829. But since that time I have always given it the 
more appropriate name of System. Should the work reach a second edition, the 
c'>rrection wiU be made formally : meanwhile, this wiU, I hope, remove all mis' 
conception on the subject. 


the whole course of that vast revolution which is now about to 
terminate under its guidance in social reconstruction. 

This will lead us naturally to another question. The re- 
geneia-ing doctrine cannot do its work without adherents : in 
what quarter should we hope to find them ? Now, with indi- 
nduil exceptions of great value, we cannot expect the adhesion 
of any of the upper classes in society. They are all more or 
less under the influence of baseless metaphysical theories, and 
of aristocratic self-seeking. They are absorbed in blind political 
agitation, and in disputes for tlie possession of the useless 
remnants of the old theological and military system. Their 
action only tends to prolong the revolutionary state indefinitely, 
and can never result in true social renovation. 

Whether we regard its intellectual character or its social 
objects, it is certain tliat Positivism must look elsewhere for 
support. It will find a welcome in those classes only whose 
good sense has been left unimpaired by our vicious system of 
education, and whose generous sympathies are allowed to 
develope themselves freely. It is among Women, therefore, 
and among the Working classes that the heartiest supporters 
of the new doctrine will be found. It is intended, indeed, 
ultimately for all classes of society. But it will never gain 
much real influence over the higher ranks till it is forced upon 
their notice by these powerful patrons. When the work of 
spiritual reorganisation is completed, it is on them that its 
maintenance will principally depend ; and so too, their com- 
bined aid is necessary for its commencement. Having but little 
influence in political government, they are the more likely to 
appreciate the need of a moral government, the special object 
of which it will be to protect them against the oppressive action 
ûf the temporal power. 

In the third chapter, therefore, I shall explain the mode in 
which philosophers and working men will co-operate. Both 
liave been prepared for this coalition by the general course 
which modem history has taken, and it offers now the only 
hope we have of really decisive action. We shall find that the 
etforts of Positivism to regulate and develope the natural ten- 
dencies of the people, make it, even from the intellectual point 
of view, more coherent and complete. 

fiut there is another and a more unexpected source from 
which Positivism vrill obtain support ; and not till then will 

B 2 


its true character and the full extent of its constructive power 
be appreciated. I shall show in the fourth chapter how 
eminently calculated is the Positive doctrine to raise and reg'i- 
late the social condition of Women. It is from the feminine 
aspect only that human life, whether individually or collectively 
considered, can really be comprehended as a whole. For the 
only basis on which a system really embracing all the require- 
ments of life can be formed, is the subordination of int^illect to 
social feeling : a subordination which we find directly repre- 
sented in the womanly type of character, whether regarded in 
its personal or social relations. 

Although these questions cannot be treated fully in the 
present work, I hope to convince my readers that Positivism is 
more in accordance with the spontaneous tendencies of the 
people and of women than Catholicism, and is therefore better 
qualified to institute a spiritual power. It should be observed 
that the groimd on which the support of both these classes is 
obtained is, that Positivism is the only system which can super- 
sede the various subversive schemes that are growing every day 
more dangerous to all the relations of domestic and social life. 
Yet the tendency of the doctrine is to elevate the character of 
both of these classes ; and it gives a most energetic sanction to 
all their legitimate aspirations. 

Thus it is that a philosophy originating in speculations of 
the most abstract character, is found applicable not merely to 
every department of practical life, but also to the sphere of our 
moral nature. But to copiplete the proof of its universality I 
have still to speak of another very essential feature. I shall 
show, in spite of prejudices which exist very naturally on this 
point, that Positivism is eminently calculated to call the 
Imaginative faculties into exercise. It is by these faculties 
that the unity of human nature is most distinctly represented : 
they are themselves intellectual, but their field lies principally 
in our moral nature, and the result of their operation is to 
influence the active powers. The subject of Women treated in 
the fourth chapter, will lead me by a natural transition to speak 
in the fifth of the Esthetic aspects of Positivism. I shall 
attempt to show that the new doctrine by the very fact of 
embracing the whole range of human relations in the spirit of 
reality, disclofea the true theory of Ait, which has hitherto 
been so great a deficiency in our speculative conceptions. The 


principle of the theory is that, in co-ordinating the primary 
functions of Humanity, Positivism places the Idealities of the 
poet midway between the Ideas of the philosopher and the 
Kealities of the statesman. We see from this theory how it is 
that the poetical power of Positivism cannot be manifested at 
present. We must wait until moral and mental regeneration 
bas advanced far enough to awaken the sympathies whicli 
naturally belong to it, and on which Art in its renewed state 
must depend for the future. The first mental and social shock 
once passed, Poetry will at last take her proper rank. She will 
lead Humanity onward towards a future which is now no longer 
vague and visionary, while at the same time she enables ub to 
pay due honour to all phases of the past. The great object 
which Positivism sets before us individually and socially, is the 
endeavour to b ^ome n^ y ye perfect . The highest importance is 
attached therefore to the imaginative faculties, because in every 
sphere with which they deal they stimulate the sense of perfec- 
tion. Limited as my explanations in this work must be, I shall 
be able to show that Positivism, while opening out a new and 
wide field for art, supplies in the same spontaneous way new 
means of expression. 

I shall thus have sketched with some detail the true cha- 
racter of the regenerating doctrine. All its principal aspects 
will have been considered. Beginning with its philosophical 
basis, I pass by natural transitions to its political purpose ; 
thence to its action upon the people, its influence with women, 
and lastly, to its esthetic power. In concluding this review, 
i^bich is but the introduction to a larger treatise, I have only 
to speak of the conception which unites all these various aspects. 
As summed up in the positivist motto, LovCy Ord&r^ Progress, 
they lead us to the conception of Humanity, which implicitly 
involves and gives new force to each of them. Rightly inter- 
preting this conception, we view Positivism at last as a com- 
plete and consistent whole. The subject will naturally lead us 
to speak in general terms of the future progress of social re- 
generation, as far as the history of the past enables us to foresee 
Jt. The movement originates in France, and is limited at first 
to the great family of Western nations. I shall show that it 
^U afterwards extend, in accorda,nce with definite laws, to the 
rest of the white race, and finally to the other two great races 
of man* 




loobjoctof The object of all true Philosophy is to frame a system which 

lilowphy _. w x^ J af . — 

to present shall Comprehend human life under every aspect, social as well 
ÎW of hn. as individual. It embraces, therefore, the three kinds of phe- 

in life as a - , * 

fig for mo- nomena of which our life consists, Thoughts, Feelings, and 
perfec- Actions. Under all these aspects, the growth of Humanity is 
primarily spontaneous ; and the basis upon which all wise 
attempts to modify it should proceed, can only be furnished by 
an exact acquaintance with the natural process. We are, how- 
ever, able to modify this process systematically; and the impor- 
tance of this is extreme, since we can thereby ^eatly diminish 
the partial deviations, the disastrous delays, and the grave 
inconsistencies to which so complex a growth would be liable 
were it left entirely to itself. To eflfect this necessary inter- 
vention is the proper sphere of politics. But a right conception 
cannot be formed of it without the aid of the philosopher, whose 
business it is to define and amend the principles on which it is 
conducted. With this object in \iew the philosopher endeavours 
to co-ordinate the various elements of man's existence, so that 
it may be conceived of theoretically as an integral whole. His 
synthesis can only be valid in so far as it is an exact and com- 
plete representation of the relations naturally existing. The 
first condition is therefore that these relations be carefully 
studied. When the philosopher, instead of formipg such a 
synthesis, attempts to interfere more directly with the course of 
practical life, he commits the error of usurping the pro\'ince of 
the statesman, to whom all practical measures exclusively belong. 
Philosophy and Politics are the two principal functions of the 
great social organism. JSIorality, systematically considered, 
forms the connecting link and at the same time the line of de- 
marcation between them. It is the most important application 


of philosophy, and it gives a general direction to polity. 

Natural morality, that is to say, the various emotions of our 

ûioral nature, will, as I have shown in my previous work, always 

Sovem the speculations of the one and the operations of the 

^ther. This I shall explain more fully. 

But the synthesis, which it is the social function of Philo- 

^phy to construct, will neither be real nor permanent, unless it 

embraces every department of himian nature, whether specida- 

tire, affective, or practical. These three orders of phenomena 

react upon each other so intimately, that any system which does 

Dot include all of them must inevitably be unreal and inadequate. 

Yet it is only in the present day, when Philosophy is reaching 

the positive stage, that this which is her highest and most 

essential mission can be fully apprehended. 

The Theological synthesis depended exclusively upon our af- ^J*\*5^ 
fective nature ; and to this is owing its original supremacy and ^ciJjS^^ 
its ultimate decline. For a long: time its influence over all our p^?^' 

^o «Ide of hu- 

highest speculations was paramount. This was especially the ""» n»tar». 
case during the Polytheistic period, when Imagination and Feel- 
ing still retained their sway under very slight restraint from the 
reasoning faculties. Yet even during the time of its highest 
development, intellectually and socially, theology exercised no 
real control over practical life. It reacted, of course, upon it to 
some extent, but the effects of this were in most cases far more 
apparent than real. There was a natural antagonism between 
them, which though at first hardly perceived, went on increasing 
till at last it brought about the entire destruction of the theo- 
logical fabric. A system so purely subjective could not har- 
monise with the necessarily objective tendencies and stubborn 
realities of practical life. Theology asserted all plienomena to 
be under the dominion of Wills more or less arbitrary : whereas 
in practical life men were led more and more clearly to the con- 
ception of invariable laws ; since without laws human action 
would have admitted of no rule or plan. In consequence of 
this utter inability of theology to deal with practical life, its 
treatment of speculative and even of moral problems was ex- 
ceedingly imperfect, such problems being all more or less 
dependent on the practical necessities of life. To present a 
perfectly synthetic view of human nature was, then, impossible 
as long as the influence of theology lasted ; because the Intel- 
lect was impelled by Feeling and by the Active powers in two 


totally different directions. The failure of all metaphysical 
attempts to form a synthesis need not be dwelt upon here. 
Metaphysicians, in spite of their claims to absolute truth, have 
never been able to supersede theology in questions of feeling, 
and have proved still more inadequate in practical questions. 
Ontology, even when it was most triumphant in the schools, 
was always limited to subjects of a purely intellectual nature ; 
and even here its abstractions, useless in themselves, dealt only 
with the case of individual development, the metaphysical spirit 
being thoroughly incompatible with the social point of view. 
In my work on Positive Philosophy I have clearly proved that 
it constitutes only a transitory phase of mind, and is totally 
inadequate for any constructive purpose. For a time it was 
supreme; but its utility lay simply in its revolutionary tendencies. 
It aided the preliminary development of Humanity by its gradual 
inroads upon Theology, which, though in ancient times entrusted 
with the sole direction of society, had long since become in 
every respect utterly retrograde, 
but the Pod- But all Positive speculations owe their first origin to the 
oriRinsted in occupatious of practical life ; and consequently, they have always 
Ste? given some indication of their capacity for regulating our active 

powers, which had been omitted from every former synthesis. 
Their value in this respect has been and still is materially 
impaired by their want of breadth, and their isolated and in- 
coherent character ; but it has always been instinctively felt. 
The importance that we attach to theories which teach the laws 
of phenomena, and give us the power of prevision, is chiefly due 
to the fact that they alone can regulate our otherwise blind 
action upon the external world. Hence it is that while the 
Positive spirit has been growing more and ml)re theoretical, 
and has gradually extended to every department of speculation, 
it has never lost the practical tendencies which it derived from 
its source ; and this even in the case of researches useless in 
themselves, and only to be justified as logical exercises. From 
its first origin in mathematics and astronomy, it has always 
shown its tendency to systematise the whole of our conceptions 
in every new subject which has been brought within the scope 
of its fundamental principle. It exercised for a long time a 
modifying influence upon theological and metaphysical prin- 
ciples, which has gone on increasing ; and since the time of 
Descartes and Bacon it has become evident that it is destined 


to supersede them altogether. Positivism has gradually taken 
possession of the preliminary sciences of Physics and Biology, 
and in these the old system no longer prevails. All that re- 
mained \?as to complete the range of its influence by including 
the study of social phenomena. Vox this study metaphysics 
had proved incompetent ; by theological thinkers it had only 
been pursued ipdirectly and empirically as a condition of govern- 
ment. I believe that my work on Positive Philosophy has 
so far supplied what was wanting. I think it must now be 
clear to all that the Positive spirit can embrace the entire range 
of thought without lessening, or rather with the effect of 
strengthening its original tendency to regulate practical life. 
And it is a further guarantee for the stability of the new 
intellectual synthesis that Social science, which is the iinal 
result of our researches, gives them that systematic character 
in which they had hitherto been wanting, by supplying the only 
connecting link of which they all admit. 

This conception is already adopted by all true thinkers. 
All must now acknowledge that the Positive spirit tends neces- 
sarily towards the formation of a comprehensive and durable 
system, in which every practical as well as speculative subject 
shall be included. But such a system would still be far from 
realising that universal character without which Positivism 
would be incompetent to supersede Theology in the spiritual 
government of Humaoity. For the element which really pre- 
ponderates in every human being, that is to say. Affection, 
would still be left untouched. This element it is, and this only, 
which gives a stimulus and direction to the other two parts of 
our nature ; without it the one would waste its force in ill-con- 
ceived, or, at least, useless studies, and the other in barren or 
even dangerous contention. With this immense deficiency the 
combination of our theoretical and active powers would be 
fruitless, because it would lack the only principle which could 
ensure its real and permanent stability. The failure would be 
even greater than the failure of Theology in dealing with 
practical questions; for the unity of human nature cannot 
really be made to depend either on the rational or the active 
faculties. In the life of the individual, and, still more, in the 
life of the race, the basis of unity, as I shall show in the fourth 
chapter, must always be Feeling. It is to the fact that theology 
arose spontaneously from feeling that its influence is for the 


most part due. And although theology is now palpably on the 
decline, yet it will still retain in principle at least, some legiti- 
mate claims to the direction of society so long as the new philo- 
sophy fails to occupy this important vantage-ground. • We 
come then to the final conditions with which the modem 
synthesis must comply. Without neglecting the spheres of 
Thought and Action it must also comprehend the moral sphere ; 
and the very principle on which its claim to universality rests 
must be derived from Feeling. Then, and not till then, can 
the claims of theology be finally set aside. For then the 
new system will have surpassed the old in that which is the one 
essential purpose of all general doctrines. It will have shown 
itself able to effect what no other doctrine has done, that is, to 
bring the three primary elements of our nature into harmony. 
If Positivism were to prove incapable of satisfying this condi- 
tion, we must gfive up all hope of systématisation of any kind. 
For while Positive principles are now suflSciently developed to 
neutralise those of Theology, yet, on the other hand, the in- 
fluence of Theology would continue to be far greater. Hence it 
is that many conscientious thinkers in the present day are so 
inclined to despair for the future of society. They see that 
the old principles on which society has been governed must 
finally become powerless. What they do not see is that a new 
basis for morality is being gradually laid down. Their theories 
are too imperfect and incoherent to show them the direction 
towards which the present time is ultimately tending. It must 
be owned, too, that their view seems borne out by the present 
character of the Positive method. While all allow its utility 
in the treatment of practical, and even of speculative, problems, 
it seems to most men, and very naturally, quite imtit to deal 
with questions of morality. 

But on closer examination they will see reason to rectify 

Storeln ^^®i^ judgment. They will see that the hardness with which 

^Af* Positive science has been justly reproached, is due to the 

wndSm! speciality and want of purpose with which it has hitherto been 

•lemeat. p^fg^ed, and is not at all inherent in its nature. Originating 

as it did in the necessities of our material nature, which for a 

long time restricted it to the study of the inorganic world, it 

has not till now become suflBciently complete or systematic to 

harmonise well with our moral nature. But now that it is 

brought to bear upon social questions, which for the future will 



form its most important field, it loses all the defects peculiar to 
its long period of infancy. The very attribute of reality which 
is claimed by the new philosophy, leads it to treat all subjects 
from the moral still more than from the intellectual side. The 
necessity of assigning with exact truth the place occupied by 
the intellect and by the heart in the organisation of himian 
natiure and of society, leads to the decision that Affection must 
be the central point of the synthesis. In the treatment of 
social questions Positive science will be found utterly to dis- 
card those proud illusions of the supremacy of reason, to which 
it had been liable during its preliminary stages. Batifyiug, in 
this respect, the common experience of men even more forcibly 
than Catholicism, it teaches us that individual happiness and 
public welfare are far more dependent upon the heart than 
upon the intellect. But, independently of this, the question of 
co-ordinating the faculties of our nature will convince us that 
the only basis on which they can be brought into harmonious 
union, is the preponderance of Affection over Reason, and even 
over Activity. 

The fieu^t that intellect, as well as social sympathy, is a dis- 
tinctive attribute of our nature, might lead us to suppose that 
either of these two might be supreme, and therefore that there 
might be more than one method of establishing imity. The 
fact, however, is that there is only one ; because these two 
elements are by no means equal in their fitness for assuming 
the lirst place. Whether we look at the distinctive qualities 
of each, or at the degree of force which they possess, it is easy 
to see that the only position for which the intellect is perma- 
nently adapted is to be the servant of the social sympathies. 
If, instead of being content with this honourable post, it aspires 
to become supreme, its ambitious aims, which are never realised, 
result simply in the most deplorable disorder. 

Even with the individual, it is impossible to establish per- 
manent harmony between our various impulses, except by 
giving complete supremacy to the feeling which prompts the 
sincere and habitual desire of doing good. This feeling is, no 
doubt, like the rest, in itself blind ; it has to learn from reason 
the right means of obtaining satisfaction ; and our active facul- 
ties are then called into requisition to apply those means. But 
common experience proves that after all the principal condition 
of right action is the benevolent impulse ; with the ordinary 


amount of intellect and activity that is found in men this 
stimulus, if well sustained, is enough to direct our thoughts 
and energies to a good result. Without this habitual spring of 
action they would inevitably waste themselves in barren or 
incoherent eflforts, and speedily relapse into their original 
torpor. Unity in our moral nature is, then, impossible, except so 
far as affection preponderates over intellect and activity, 
e proper True as this fundamental principle is for the individual, it 

eiiact is is in pubUc life that its necessity can be demonstrated most 
the Social irrefutably. The problem is in reality the same, nor is any dif- 
ferent solution of it required ; only it assumes such increased 
dimensions, that less uncertainty is felt as to the method to be 
adopted. The various beings whom it is sought to harmonise 
have in this case each a separate existence ; it is clear, therefore, 
that the first condition of co-operation must be sought in their 
own inherent tendency to universal love. No calculations of 
self-interest can rival this social instinct, whether in promptitude 
and breadth of intuition, or in boldness and tenacity of purpose. 
True it is th^t the benevolent emotions have in most cases less 
intrinsic energy than the selfish. But they have this beautiful 
quality, that social life not only permits their growth, but 
stimulates it to an almost unlimited extent, while it holds their 
antagonists in constant check. Indeed the increasing tendency 
in the former to prevail over the latter is the best measure by 
which to judge of the progress of Humanity. But the intellect 
may do much to confirm their influence. It may strengthen 
social feeling by diffusing juster views of the relations in which 
the various parts of society stand to each other ; or it may 
guide its application by dwelling on the lessons which the past 
offers to the future. It is to this honourable service that the 
new philosophy would direct our intellectual powers. Here the 
highest sanction is given to their operations, and an exhaustless 
field is opened out for them, from which far deeper satisfaction 
may be gained than from the approbation of the learned 
societies, or from the puerile specialities with which they are 
at present occupied. 

In fact, the ambitious claims which, ever since the hopeless 
decline of the theological synthesis, have been advanced by the 
intellect, never were or could be realised. Their only value lay 
in their solvent action on the theological system when it had 
become hostile to progress. The intellect is intended for service, 


not for empire ; when it imagines itself supreme, it is really 
only obeying the personal instead of the social instincts. It 
never acts independently of feeling, be that feeling good or bad. 
The first condition of command is force ; now reason has but 
light ; the impulse that moves it must come from ebewhere. 
The metaphysical Utopias, in which a life of pure contemplation 
is held out as the highest ideal, attractive as they are to modern 
men of science, are really nothing but illusions of pride, or veils 
for dishonest schemes. True there is a genuine satisfaction in 
the act of discovering truth ; but it is not sufficiently intense 
to be an habitual guide of conduct. Indeed, so feeble is our 
intellect that the impulse of some passion is necessary to direct 
and sustain it in almost every effort. When the impulse comes 
from kindly feeling it attracts attention on account of its rarity 
or value; when it springs from the selfish motives of glory, 
ambition, or gain, it is too common to be remarked. This is 
usually the only difference between the two cases. It does 
indeed occasionally happen that the intellect is actuated by a 
sort of passion for truth in itself, without any mixture of pride 
or vanity. Yet, in this case, as in every other, there is intense 
egotipm in exercising the mental powers irrespectively of all 
social objects. Positivism, as I shall afterwards explain, is even 
more severe than Catholicism in its condemnation of this type 
of character, whether in metaphysicians or in men of science. 
The true philosopher would consider it a most culpable abuse of 
the facilities which civilisation offers, with a very different pur- 
pose, to speculative piursuits. 

We have traced the Positive principle from its origin in the 
occupations of active life, and* have seen it extending succes- 
sively to every department of speculation. We now find it, in 
its maturity, and that as a simple result of its strict adherence 
to fact, embracing the sphere of affection, and making that 
sphere the central point of its synthesis. It is henceforth a 
fundamental doctrine of Positivism, a doctrine of as great poli- 
tical as philosophical importance, that the Heart preponderates 
over the Intellect. 

It is true that thiis doctrine, which is the only basis for rndcrxiico 
establishing harmony in our nature, had been, as I before re- teiiectwa* 
marked, instinctively accepted by theological systems. But it theiuart; 
was one of the fatalities of society in its preliminary phase, that tiTirm lu 
the doctrine was coupled with an error which, after a time, de- 


stroyed all its value. In acknowledging the superiority of the 
heart the intellect was reduced to abject submission. Its only 
chance of growth lay in resistance to the established system. 
Tliis course it followed with increasing effect, till aft^r twenty 
centiuies of insurrection, the system collapsed. The natural 
result of the process was to stimulate metaphysical and scientific 
pride, and to promote views subversive of all social order. But 
Positivism, while systematically adopting the principle here 
spoken of as the foundation of individual and social discipline, 
interprets that principle in a diflFerent way. It teaches that 
while it is for the heart to suggest our problems, it is for the 
intellect to solve them. Now the intellect was at first quit-e 
inadequate to this task, for which a long and laborious training 
was needed. The heart, therefore, had to take its place, and in 
default of objective truth, to give free play to its subjective 
inspirations. But for these inspirations, all progress, as I showed 
in my System of Positive Philosophy, would have been totally 
impossible. For a long time it was necessary that they should 
be believed absolutely; but as soon as our reason began to 
mould its conceptions upon observations, more or less accurate, 
of the external world, these supernatural dogmas became ineWt» 
ably an obstacle to its growth. Here lies the chief source of the 
important modifications which theological belief has successively 
imdergone. No further modifications are now possible without 
violating its essential principles ; and since, meantime, Positive 
science is assuming every day larger proportions, the conflict 
between them is advancing with increasing vehemence and 
danger. The tendency on the one side is becoming more retro- 
grade, on the other more revolutionary ; because the impossi- 
bility of reconciling the two opposing forces is felt more and 
more strongly. Never was this position of aflFairs more manifest 
than now. The restoration of theology to its original power, 
supposing such a thing were possible, would have the most de- 
grading influence on the intellect, and, consequently, on the 
character also ; since it would involve the admission that our 
\iews of scientific truth were to be strained into accordance 
with our wishes and our wants. Therefore no important step 
in the progress of Humanity can now be made without totally 
abandoning the theological principle. The only service of any 
real value which it still renders, is that of forcing the attention 
of Western Europe, by the very fact of its reactionary tendencies, 


upon the greatest of all social questions. It is owing to its 
influence that the central point of the new sjmthesis is placed 
in our moral rather than our intellectual nature ; and this in 
spite of every prejudice and habit of thought that has been 
formed during the revolutionary period of the last five centuries. 
And while in this, which is the primary condition of social 
organisation, Positivism proves more efficient than Theology, 
it at the same time terminates the disunion which has existed 
so long between the intellect and the heart. For it follows 
logically from its principles, and also from the whole spirit of 
the system, that the intellect shall be free to exercise its full 
share of influence in every department of human life. When it 
is said that the intellect should be subordinate to the heart, ' 
what is meant is, that the intellect should devote itself exclu- 
sively to the problems which the heart suggests, the ultimate 
object being to find proper satisfaction for om* various wants. 
Without this limitation, experience has shown too clearly that 
it woidd almost always follow its natural bent for useless or in- 
soluble questions, which are the most plentiful and the easiest 
to deal with. But when any problem of a legitimate kind has 
been once proposed, it is the sole judge of the method to be 
pursued, and of the utility of the results obtained. Its province 
is to enquire into the present, in order to foresee the future, 
and to discover the means of improving it. In this province it 
is not to be interfered with. In a word the intellect is to be ^ 
the servant of the heart, not its slave. Under these two corre- 
lative conditions the elements of our nature will at last be 
brought into harmony. The equilibrium of these two elements, 
once established, is in little danger of being disturbed. For 
since it is equally favourable to both of them, both will be 
interested in maintaining it. The fact that Season in modern 
times has become habituated to revolt, is no ground for suppos- 
ing that it will always retain its revolutionary character, even 
when its legitimate claims have been fully satisfied. Supposing 
the case to arise, however, society, as I shall show afterwards, 
would not be without the means of repressing any pretensions 
that were subversive of order. There is another point of view 
which may assure us that the position given to the heart imder 
the new system will involve no danger to the growth of intellect. 
Love, when real, ever desires light, in order to attain its ends. 


The influence of true feeling is as favourable to sound thought 
as to wise activity. 
Î gubordi- ^^^ doctrine, therefore, is one which renders hypocrisy and 
Bii^t to* oppression alike impossible. And it now stands forward as the 
S^w?w ^^^^^ ^^ ^U ^^® efforts of the past, for the regeneration of order, 
iti.r!sm ^^îc^» whether considered individually or socially, is so deeply 
compromised by the anarchy of the present time. It establishes 
a fundamental principle by which true philosophy and soimd 
polity are brought into correlation ; a principle which can be 
felt as well as proved, and which is at once the key-stone of a 
system and a basis of government. I shall show, moreover, in 
the fifth chapter that the doctrine is as rich in esthetic beauty 
as in philosophical power and in social influence. This will 
complete the proof of its efficacy as the centre of a universal 
system, equally valuable from the moral, scientific, or political 
aspect ; and the sole means of bringing this most formidable 
crisis in the history of Humanity to a real termination. It 
will be now clear to all that the force of demonstration, a force 
peculiar to modem times, and which still retains much of its 
destructive character, becomes matured and elevated by Posi- 
tivism. It begins to develope constructive tendencies, which 
will soon be developed more largely. It is not too much, then, 
to say that Positivism, notwithstanding its speculative origin, 
offers as much to natures of deep sjrmpathy as to men of highly 
cultivated intellects, or of energetic character. 

The spirit and the principle of the synthesis which all true 
I of the philosophers should endeavour to establish, have now been de- 

Bm ; Ex- * * ' 

fti Order fined. I procecd to explain the method that should be followed 
jveftied in the task, and the peculiar difficulty with which it is attended. 
The object of the synthesis will not be seciured until it em- 
braces the whole extent of its domain, the moral and practical 
departments as well as the intellectual. But these three depart- 
ments cannot be dealt with simultaneously. They follow an 
order of succession which, so far from dissevering them from the 
whole to which they belong, is seen when carefully examined to 
be a natural result of their mutual dependence. The truth is, 
and it is important to recognise it, that Thoughts must be 
systematised before Feelings, Feelings before Actions. It is, 
doubtless, owing to a conftised apprehension of this truth that 
philosophers hitherto, in framing their systems of himian nature, 
have dealt almost exclusively with our intellectual &cultie& 


The necessity of commencing with the co-ordination of ideas 
is not merely due to the fact that the relations of these, being 
more simple and more susceptible of demonstration, form a 
useful logical preparation for the remainder of the task. On 
closer examination we find a more important, though less 
obvious reason. If this first portion of the work be once 
efficiently performed, it is the foimdation of all the rest. In 
what remains no very serious difficulty will occur, provided 
always that we content ourselves with that d^^ee of complete- 
ness which the ultimate purpose of the system requires. 

Tr» give such paramount importance to this portion of the 
subject may seem at first sight inconsistent with the proposition 
just laid down, that the strength of the intellectual faculties is 
far inferior to that of the other elements of our nature. It is 
quite certain that Feeling and Activity have much more to do 
with any practical step that we take than pure Season. In 
attempting to explain this paradox, we come at last to the 
peculiar difficulty of this great problem of human Unity. 

The first condition of unity is a subjective principle ; and 
this principle in the Positive system is the subordination of the 
intellect to the heart. Without this the unity that we seek can 
never be placed on a permanent basis, whether individually or 
collectively. It is essential to have some influence sufficiently 
powerfiil to produce convergence amid the heterogeneous and 
often antagonistic tendencies of so complex an organism as ours. 
But this first condition, indispensable as it is, would be quite 
insufficient for the purpose, without some objective basis, exist- 
ing independently of ourselves in the external world. That 
basis consists for us in the laws or Order of the phenomena by 
which Hiunanity is regulated. The subjection of human life 
to this order is incontestable : and as soon as the intellect has 
enabled us to comprehend it, it becomes possible for the feeling 
of love to exercise a controlling influence over our discordant 
tendencies. This, then, is the mission allotted to the intellect 
in the Positive synthesis ; in tliis sense it is that it should be 
constipated to the 8er\'ice of the heart. I have said that our 
conception of luunan unity must be totally inadequate, and, 
indeed, cannot deserve the name, so long as it does not embrace 
every eh^ment of our nature. But it would be equally fatal to 
the completeness of this great conception to think of luiman 
nature irrespectively of what lies outside it. A purely subjective 



unity, without any objective basis, would be simply impossible. 
In the first place any attempt to co-ordinate man*s moral nature, 
without regard to the external world, supposing the attempt 
feasible, would have very little permanent influence on our 
happiness, whether collectively or individually ; since happiness 
depends so largely upon our relations to all that exists around 
us. Besides this we have to consider the exceeding imperfection 
of ouj: nature. Self-love is deeply implanted in it, and when left 
to itself is far stronger than Social Sympathy. The social 
instincts would never gain the mastery were they not sustained 
and called into constant exercise by the economy of the external 
world, an influence which at the same time checks the power of 
the selfish instincts, 
r ft the To understand this economy aright, we must remember that 

«sarewln- it embraces not merely the inorganic world, but also the phe- 
ieWh ° nomena of our own existence. The phenomena of human life, 
S!; " though more modifiable than any others, are yet equally subject 
to invariable laws ; laws which form the principal objects of 
Positive speculation. Now the benevolent affections, which 
themselves act in harmony with tïie laws of social development, 
incline us to submit to all other laws, as soon as the intellect 
has discovered their existence. The possibility of moral unity 
depends, therefore, even in the case of the individual, but still 
more in that of society, upon the necessity of recognising our 
subjection to an external power. By this means our self-regarding 
instincts are rendered susceptible of discipline. In themsdves 
they are strong enough to neutralise all sympathetic tendencies, 
were it not for the support that the latter find in this External 
Order. Its discovery is due to the intellect ; which is thus en» 
listed in the service of feeling, with the ultimate purpose of 
regulating action. 

Thus it is that an intellectual synthesis, or systematic study 
of the laws of nature, is needed on far higher grounds than those 
of satisfying our theoretical faculties, which are, for the most 
part, very feeble, even in men who devote themselves to a life of 
thought. It is needed, because it solves at once the most difficult 
problem of the moral synthesis. The higher impulses within us 
are brought under the influence of a powerful stimulus firom 
without. By its means they are enabled to control our discor- 
dant impulses, and to maintain a state of harmony towards 
which they have always tended, but which, without such aid« 


could never be realised. Moreover, this conception of the order 
of nature evidently supplies the basis for a synthesis of human 
action ; for the eflScacy of oiu* actions depends entirely upon 
their conformity to this order. But this part of the subject 
has been fully explained in my previous work, and I need not 
enlarge upon it further. As soon as the synthesis of mental con- 
ceptions enables us to form a synthesis of feelings, it is cle^r 
that there will be no very serious difficulties in constnicting a 
synthesis of actions. Unity of action depends upon imity of 
impulse, and unity of design ; and thus we find that the co- 
ordination of human nature, as a whole, depends ultimately 
upon the co-ordination of mental conceptions, a subject which 
seemed at first of comparatively slight importance. 

The subjective principle of Positivism, that is, the sub- 
ordination of the intellect to the heart, is thus fortified by an 
objective basis, the immutable Necessity of the external world ; 
and by this means it becomes possible to bring human life 
witliin the influence of social sympathy. The superiority of the 
new synthesis to tlie old is even more evident under this second 
aspect than under the first. In theological systems the ol)- 
jective basis was supplied by spontaneous belief in a supernatural 
Will. Now, whatever the degree of reality attributed to these 
fictions, they all proceeded from a subjective source ; and there- 
fore their influence in most cases must have been very confused 
and fluctuating. In respect of moral discipline they cannot be 
compared either for precision, for force, or for stability, to the 
conception of an invariable Order, actually existing without us, 
and attested, whether we will or no, by every act of our existence. 

This fundamental doctrine of Positivism is not to be at- onrconorp 
tributed in the full breadth of its meaning to any single thinker. Exurnaior 
It is the slow result of a vast process carried out in separate Irîîdimiiy*^' 
departments, which began with the first use of our intellectual Sm uîo 
powers, and which is only just completed in those who exhibit ti^.w.nndi 
those powers in their highest form. During the long period of pJac!"^ *^^™ 
her infancy Humanity has been preparing this the most precious 
of her intellectual attainments, as the basis for the only system 
of life which is permanently adapted to oiu: nature. The doctrine 
has to be demonstrated in all the more essential cases from 
obser\'ation only, except so far as we admit argument from 
analogy. Deductive argument is not admissible, except in such 
cases as are evidently compounded of others in which the proof 

c 2 


^ven has been sufficient. Thus, for instance, we are authorised 
by sound logic to assert the existence of laws of weather ; though 
most of these are still, and perhaps, always will be, unknown. 
For it is clear that meteorological phenomena result from a 
combination of astronomical, physical, and chemical influences, 
each of which has been proved to be subject to invariable laws. 
But in all phenomena which are not thus reducible, we must 
have recourse to inductive reasoning ; for a principle which ii 
the basis of all deduction cannot be itself deduced. Hence it 
is that the doctrine, being so entirely foreign as it is to oui 
primitive mental state, requires such a long course of preparation. 
Without such preparation even the greatest thinkers could not 
anticipate it. It is true that in some cases metaphysical con- 
ceptions of a law have been formed before the proof really required 
liad been furnished. But they were never of much ser\' ice, excepi 
so far as they generalised in a more or less confused way tin 
analogies natiu^lly suggested by the laws which had actually beei 
discovered in simpler phenomena. Besides, such assertions 
always remained very doubtful and very barren in result, until 
they were based upon some outline of a really Positive theory. 
Thus, in spite of the apparent potency of this metaphysical 
method to which modem intellects are so addicted, the con- 
ception of an External Order is still extremely imperfect in 
many of the most cultivated minds, because they have not veri- 
fied it sufficiently in the most intricate and important class of 
phenomena, the phenomena of society. I am not, of course, 
speaking of the few thinkers who accept my discovery of the 
principal laws of Sociology. Such imcertainty in a subject sc 
closely related to all others, produces great confusion in men^ 
minds, and affects their perception of an invariable order, even 
in the simplest subjects. A proof of this is the utter delusion 
into which most geometricians of the present day have fellen 
with respect to what they call the Calculus of Chances ; à con- 
ception which presupposes that the phenomena considered are 
not subject to law. The doctrine, therefore, cannot be considered 
as firmly established in any one case, until it has been verified 
specially in every one of the primary categories in which pheno- 
mena may be classed. But now tliat this difficult condition hai 
really been fulfilled by the few thinkers who have risen to th( 
level of their age, we have at last a firm objective basis on whicl 
to establish tlie liarmony of our moral nature. That basis is 


that all events whatever, the events of our own personal and 

social life included, are always subject to natural relations of 

sequence and similitude, which in all essential respects lie 

beyond the reach of our interference. 

This, then, is the external basis of our synthesis, which in- Even wiin 
1 1 •ifi. y '"^'^ modi- 

eludes the moral and practical faculties, as well as the specu- fl"i>if, it«i 

. , ^ flufiioe on 

lative. It rests at every point upon the unchangeable Order tncciumu: 

o ter i« of tli 

of the world. The right understanding of this order is the grf.uoat 
principal subject of our thoughts ; its preponderating influence 
det43rmines the general course of our feelings ; its gradual im- 
provement is the constant object of our actions. To form a 
more precise notion of its influence, let us imagine that for a 
moment it were really to cease. The result would be that our 
intellectual faculties, after wasting themselves in wild extrava- 
gances, would sink rapidly into incurable sloth; our nobler 
toelings would be unable to prevent the ascendancy of the lower 
instincts ; and our active powers would abandon themselves 
to purposeless agitation. Men have, it is true, been for a long 
time ignorant of this Order. Nevertheless we have been always 
subject to it; and its influence has always tended, though 
without our knowledge, to control our whole being ; our actions 
iirst, and subsequently our thoughts, and even our aflFections. 
As we have advanced in our knowledge of it, our thoughts have 
become less vague, our desires less capricious, our conduct let^s 
arbitrary. And now that we are able to grasp the full meaning 
of the conception, its influence extends to every part of our con- 
duct. For it teaches us that the object to be aimed at in the 
economy devised by man, is wise development of the irrésistible^ 
economy of nature, which cannot be amended till it is first 
studied and obeyed. In some departments it has the character 
of fate ; that is, it admits of no modification. But even here, 
in spite of the superficial objections to it which have arisen 
from intellectual pride, it is necessary for the proper regulation 
of human life. Suppose, for instance, that man were exempt 
from the necessity of living on the earth, and were free to pass 
at will from one planet to another, the very notion of society 
would be rendered impossible by the licence which each indi- 
vidual would have to give way to whatever unsettling and dis- 
tracting impulses his nature might incline him. Our pro- 
pensities are so heterogeneous and so deficient in elevation, that 
there would be no fixity or consistency in our conduct, but 


for these insurmountable conditions. Our feeble reason may 
fret at such restrictions, but without them all its deliberations 
would be confused and purposeless. We are powerless to create: 
all that we can do in bettering our condition is to modify an 
order in which we can produce no radical change. Supposing 
us in possession of that absolute independence to which meta- 
physical pride aspires, it is certain that so far from improving 
our condition, it would be a bar to all development, whether 
social or individual. The true path of human progress lies in 
the opposite direction ; in diminishing the vacillation, incon- 
sistency, and discordance of our designs by furnishing external 
motives for those operations of our intellectual, moral, and 
practical powers, of which the original source was purely in- 
ternal. The ties by which our various diverging tendencies are 
held together would be quite inadeqiiate for their purpose, 
without a basis of support in the external world, which is un- 
affected by the spontaneous variations of our nature. 

But, however great the value of Positive doctrine in pointing 
out the imchangeable aspects of the imiversal Order, what we have 
principally to consider are the nimierous departments in which 
that order admits of artificial modifications. Here lies the 
most important sphere of human activity. The only phenomena, 
indeed, which we are wholly unable to modify are the simplest 
of all, the phenomena of the Solar System which we inhabit. It 
is true that now that we know its laws we can easily conceive 
them improved in certain respects ; but to whatever degree our 
power over nature may extend, we shall never be able to produce 
the slightest change in them. What we have to do is so to 
dispose our life as to submit to these resistless fatalities in the 
best way we can ; and this is comparatively easy, because their 
greater simplicity enables us to foresee them with more pre* 
cision and in a more distant future. Their interpretation hy 
Positive science has had a most important influence on the 
gradual education of the human intellect ; and it will always 
continue to be the source from which we obtain the clearest 
and most impressive sense of Immutability. Too exclusively 
studied they might even now lead to fatalism ; but controlled 
as their influence will be henceforward by a more philosophic 
education, they may well become a means of moral improve- 
ment by disposing us to submit with resignation to all evils 
which are absolutely insurmountable. 


In other parts of the external economy, invariability in all But in m 
rimary aspects is found compatible with modifications in SîoSfyit 
oints of secondary importance. These modifications become theknoti 
lore numerous and extensive as the phenomena are more fomu^tiu 
omplex. The reason of this is, that the influences to a com- tMin of\ 
)ination of which the results are due, being more varied and °**° °* 
Qore accessible, offer greater facilities to our feeble powers to 
nterfere with advantage. But all this has been fully explained 
in my ' System of Positive Philosophy.' The tendency of that 
work was to show that our intervention became more efficacious 
in proportion as the phenomena upon which we acted had a 
closer relation to the life of man or society. Indeed the ex- 
tensive modifications of which society admits, go far to keep 
up the common mistake that social phenomena are not subject 
to any constant law. 

At the same time we have to remember that this increased 
possibility of human intervention in certain parts of the Ex- 
ternal Order necessarily coexists with increased imperfection, 
for which it is a valuable but very inadequate compensation. 
Both features alike result from the increase of complexity. 
Even the laws of the Solar System are very far from perfect, not- 
withstanding their greater simplicity, which indeed makes their 
defects more perceptible. The existence of these defects should 
be taken into careful consideration ; not indeed with the hope 
of amending them, but as a check upon unreasoning admiration. 
Besides, they lead us to a clearer conception of the true position 
of Humanity, a position of which the most striking feature is 
the necessity of struggling against difficulties of every kind. 
Wtly, by observing these defects we are less likely to waste 
our time in seeking for absolute perfection, and so neglecting 
the wiser course of looking for such improvements as are really 

In all other phenomena, the increasing imperfection of the 
economy of nature becomes a powerful stimulus to all our facul- 
ties, whether moral, intellectual, or practical. Here we find 
sufferings which can really be alleviated to a large extent by 
^ise and well-sustained combination of efforts. This considera- 
tion should give a firmness and dignity of bearing, to which 
Humanity could never attain during her period of infancy. 
Those who look wisely into the future of society will feel that 
^he conception of man becoming, without fear, or boast, the 


arbiter, within certain limits, of his own destiny, has in it 
something far more satisfying than the old belief in Providence, 
which implied our remaining passive. Social union will be 
strengthened by the conception, because everyone vrill see that 
imion forms our principal resource against the miseries of 
human life. And while it calls out our noblest sympathies, it 
impresses us more strongly with the importance of high intel- 
lectual culture, being itself the object for which such culture is 
required. These important results have been ever on the in- 
crease in modem times ; yet hitherto they have been too limited 
and casual to be appreciated rightly, except so far as we could 
anticipate the future of society by the light of sound historical 
principles. Human art, viewed as a system of procediu-e, does 
not include that part of the economy of nature which, being the 
most modifiable, the most imperfect, and the most important of 
all, ought on every ground to be r^;arded as the principe 
object of human exertions. Even medical art, specially so 
called, is only just beginning to free itself from its primitive 
routine. And social art, whether moral or political, is plunged 
in routine so deeply that few statesmen admit the possibility of 
shaking it off. Yet of all the arts, it is the one which best 
admits of being reduced to a system ; and until this is done 
it will be impossible to place on a rational basis all the rest of 
our practical life. All these narrow views are due simply to 
insufficient recognition of the fact that the highest phenomena 
are as much subject to laws as others. When the conception of . 
the Order of Nature has become generally accepted in its full ex- 
tent, the ordinary definition of Art will become as comprehensive 
and as homogeneous as that of Science ; and it will then become 
obvious to all sound thinkers tliat the principal sphere of both 
Art and Science is the social life of man. 

Thus, the social services of the Intellect are not limited to 
revealing the existence of an external Economy, and the neces- 
sity of submission to its sway. If tlie theory is to have any 
influence upon our active powers, it should include an exact 
estimate of the imperfections of this economy and of the limits 
within which it varies, so as to indicate and define the boun- 
daries of human intervention. Thus it will always be an im- 
portant function of philosophy to criticise nature in a Positive 
spirit, although the antipathy to theology by which such 
criticism was formerly animated has ceased to have much 



interest, firom the very feet of having done its work so effectu- 
ally. The object of Positive criticism is not controversial. It 
aims simply at putting the great question of human life in a 
clearer light* It bears closely on what Positivism teaches to be 
the great end of life, namely, the struggle to become more 
perfect; which implies previous imperfection. This truth is 
strikingly apparent when applied to the case of our own nature, 
for true morality requires a deep and habitual consciousness of 
cor natural defects. 

I have now described the fundamental condition of the The chief 
Positive Synthesis. Deriving its subjective principle from the t^pîJdtiîl 
affections, it is dependent ultimately on the intellect for its wm to*wm- 
objective basis. This basis connects it with the Economy of SSSono?"' 
the external world, the dominion of which Humanity accepts, ^iî^^b^ïï^ 
and at the same time modifies. I have left many points unex- ^IS'^phV^ 
plained; but enough has been said for the purpose of this 
review, which is only the introduction to a more complete treat- 
ment. We are thus led to the essential difficulty that pre- 
sented itself in the construction of the Synthesis. That diffi- 
culty was to discover the true theory of human and social 
development. The first decisive step in this discovery renders 
the conception of the Order of Nature complete. It stands 
out then as the fundamental doctrine of an universal system, 
for which the whole course of modem progress has been pre- 
paring the way. For three centuries men of science have been 
imconsciously co-operating in the work. They have left no 
gap of any importance, except in the region of Moral and 
Social phenomena. And now that man's history has been for 
the first time systematically considered as a whole, and has 
been found to be, like all other phenomena, subject to invariable 
laws, the preparatory labours of modem Science are ended. 
Her remaining task is to construct that synthesis which will 
place her at the only point of view from which every depart- 
ment of knowledge can be embraced. 

In my System of Positive Philosopliy both these objects 
were aimed at. I attempted, and in the opinion of the princi- 
pal thinkers of our time successfully, to complete and at the 
same time to co-ordinate Natural Philosophy, by establisliing the 
genenl law of human development, social as well as intellectual. 
I tthall not now enter into the discussion of this law, since its truth 
is no longer contested. Fuller consideration of it is reserved 


for the third volume of the present treatise. It lays down, as 
is generally known, that our speculations upon all subjects 
whatsoever, pass necessarily through three successive stag^: 
t he Theological stage, in which free play is given to spontaneous 
fictions admitting of no proof; the Metaphysical stage, cha- 
racterised by the prevalence of personified abstractions or 
entities ; lastly, the Positive stage, based upon an exact view 
of the real facts of the case. The first, though purely pro- 
visional, is invariably the point from which we start ; the third 
is the only permanent or normal state ; the second has but a 
modifying or rather a solvent influence, which qualifies it for 
regulating the transition from the first stage to the third. We 
begin with theological Imagination, thence we pass through 
metaphysical Discussion, and we end at last with Positive 
Demonstration. Thus by means of this one general law we 
are enabled to take a comprehensive and simultaneous view of 
the past, present, and future of Humanity. 

In my System of Positive Philosophy, this law of Filiation 
has alwajrs been associated with the law of Classification, the 
application of which to Social Dynamics furnishes the second 
element requisite for the theory of development. It fixes 
the order in which our different conceptions pass through each 
of these phases. That order, as is generally known, is deter- 
mined by the decreasing generality, or what comes to the same 
thing, by the increasing complexity of the phenomena; the 
more complex being naturally dependent upon those that are 
more simple and less special. Arranging the sciences according 
to this mutual relation, we find them grouped naturally in six 
primary divisions : Mathematics, Astronomy, Physics, Chemistry, 
Biology, and Sociology. Each passes through the three phases of 
development before the one succeeding it. Without continuous 
reference to this classification the theory of development would 
be confused and vague. 

The theory thus derived from the combination of this second 
or statical law with the dynamical law of the three stages, 
seems at first sight to include nothing but the intellectual 
movement. But my previous remarks will have shown that 
this is enough to guarantee its applicability to social progress 
also ; since social progress has invariably depended on the 
growth of our fundamental beliefs with regard to the economy 
that surroimds us. The historical portion of my ^ Positive 


Philosophy ' bas proved an unbroken connection between the 
development of Activity and that of Speculation ; on the com- 
bined influence of these depends the development of AffectioUe 
The theory therefore requires no alteration : what is wanted is 
merely an additional statement explaining the phases of active, 
that is to say, of political development. Human activity, as 
I have long since shown, passes successively through the stages 
of Offensive warfare^ Dfifensive- war&re, and Industry. The 
respective connection of these, states with the preponderance of 
the théologie^, the metaphysical, or the positive spirit leads 
at once to â complete explanation of history. It reproduces in 
a systematic form the only historical conception which has 
become adopted by imiversal consent; the division namely, 
of history in to A ncient, Mediaeval, and Modem. 

~ Thus the foundation of social science depends simply upon 
establishing the truth of this theory of development. We do 
this by combining the dynamic law, which is its distinctive 
feature, with the statical principle which renders it coherent ; 
we then complete the theory by extending it to practical life. 
All knowledge is now brought within the sphere of Natural 
Philosophy; and the provisional distinction by which, since 
Aristotle and Plato, it has been so sharply demarcated from 
Moral Philosophy, ceases to exist. The Positive spirit, so long 
confined to the simpler inorganic phenomena, has now passed 
through its difficult course of probation. It extends to a more 
important and more intricate class of speculations, and dis- 
engages them for ever from all theological or metaphysical 
influence. All our notions of truth are thus rendered homo- 
geneous, and begin at once to converge towards a central prin- 
ciple. A firm objective basis is consequently laid down for 
that complete co-ordination of human existence towards which 
all sound Philosophy has ever tended, but which the want of 
adeqiiate materials has hitherto made impossible. 

It will be felt, I think, that the principal difficulty of the By the db- 
Positive Synthesis was met by my discovery of the laws of doi^<ii^ 
development, if we bear in mind that while that theory com- qii'îrtîontan 
pietés and co-ordinates the objective basis of the system, it at monntT^nc 
the same time holds it in subordination to the subjective >«5w*^^?- 
principle. It is under the influence of this moral principle m Ahoat 
that the whole philosophical construction should be carried on. d^thougiii 
The enquiry into the Order of the Universe is an indispensable 


task, and it comes necessarily within the province of the 
intellect ; but the intellect is too apt to aim in its pride at 
something beyond its proper function, which consists in un- 
remitting service of the social sympathies. It would willingly 
escape from all control and follow its own bent towards specu- 
lative digressions ; a tendency which is at present &voured by 
the undisciplined habits of thought naturally due to the first rise 
of Positivism in its special departments. The influence of the 
moral principle is necessary to recall it to its true function ; 
since if its investigations were allowed to assume an absolute 
character, and to recognise no limit, we should only be repeat- 
ing in a Scientific form many of the worst results of theological 
and metaphysical belief. The Universe is to be studied not for 
its own sake, but for the sake of Man or rather of Humanity. 
To study it in any other spirit would not only be immoral, but 
also highly irrational. For, as statements of pure objective 
truth, our scientific theories can never be really satisfactory. 
They can only satisfy us from the subjective point of view; 
that is, by limiting themselves to the treatment of such ques- 
tions as have some direct or indirect influence over human life. 
It is for social feeling to determine these limits ; outside which 
our knowledge will always remain imperfect as well as useless, 
and this even in the case of the simplest phenomena ; as astro- 
nomy testifies. Were the influence of social feeling to be 
slackened, the Positive spirit would soon &11 back to thç 
subjects which were preferred during the period of its infancy ; 
subjects the most remote from human interest, and therefore 
also the easiest. While its probationary period lasted, it was 
natural to investigate all accessible problems without distinc- 
tion ; and this was often justified by the logical value of many 
problems that, scientifically speaking, were useless. But now 
that the Positive method has been sufficiently developed to be 
applied exclusively to the piu^aose for which it was intended, 
there is no use whatever in prolonging the period of probation 
by these idle exercises. Indeed the want of purpose and 
discipline in our researches is rapidly assuming a retrograde 
character. Its tendency is to undo the chief results obtained 
by the spirit of detail during the time when that spirit was 
really essential to progress. 

Here, then, we are met by a serious difficulty. The con- 
struction of the objective basis for the Positive synthesis 


imposes two conditions which seem, at first sight, incompatible. 
On the one hand we must allow the intellect to be free, or else 
we shall not have the full benefit of its services ; and, on the 
other, we must control its natural tendency to unlimited di- 
gressions. The problem was insoluble, so long as the study of 
the natural economy did not include Sociology. But so soon as 
the Positive spirit extends to the treatment of social questions, 
these at once take precedence of all others, and thus the moral 
point of view becomes paramoimt. Objective science, pro- 
ceeding from without inwards, falls at last into natural harmony 
with the subjective or moral principle, the superiority of which 
it had for so long a time resisted. As a mere speculative 
question it may be considered as proved to the satisfaction of 
every true thinker, that the social point of view is logically and 
scientifically supreme over all others, being the only point from 
which all our scientific conceptions can be regarded as a whole. 
Yet its influence can never be injurious to the progress of other 
Positive studies; for these, whether for the sake of their 
method or of their subject-matter, will always continue to be 
necessary as an introduction to the final science. Indeed the 
Positive system gives the highest sanction and the most power- 
ful stimulus to all preliminary sciences, by insisting on the 
relation which each of them bears to the great whole. Humanity. 
Thus the foundation of social science bears out the state- 
ment made at the beginning of this work, that the intellect 
would, under Positivism, accept its proper position of subordi- 
nation to the heart. The recognition of this, which is the 
subjective principle of Positivism, renders the construction of a 
complete system of a human life possible. The antagonism 
which, since the close of the Middle Ages, has arisen between 
Reason and Feeling, was an anomalous though inevitable con- 
dition. It is now for ever at an end ; and the only system 
which can really satisfy the wants of oiu: nature, individually or 
collectively, is therefore ready for our acceptance. As long as 
the antagonism existed, it was hopeless to expect that Social 
Sympathy could do much to modify the preponderance of self- 
love in the affairs of life. But the case is different as soon as 
reason and sympathy are brought into active co-operation. 
Separately, their influence in our imperfect organisation is very 
feeble; but combined it may extend indefinitely. It will 
never, indeed, be able to do away with the feet that practical 

ore TU, 


life must, to a large extent, be regulated by interested motives ; 
yet it may introduce a standard of morality inconceivably higher 
than any that has existed in the past, before these two modify- 
ing forces could be made to combine their action upon our 
stronger and lower instincts, 
itinction In Order to give a more precise conception of the intellectual 
act and basis OU which the system of Positive Polity should rest, I must 
V». It is explain the general principle by which it should be limited. 
ly that we It should be confiued to what is really indispensable to the 
purpose construction of that Polity. Otherwise the intellect will be 
carried away, as it has been before, by its tendency to useless 
digressions. It will endeavour to extend the limits of its 
province ; thereby escaping from the discipline imposed by 
social motives, and putting off all attempts at moral and social 
regeneration for a longer time than the construction of the 
philosophic basis for action really demands. Here we shall find 
a fresh proof of the importance of my theory of development. 
By that discovery the intellectual synthesis may be considered 
as having already reached the point from which the synthesis 
of affections may be at once begun ; and even the synthesis of 
actions, at least in its highest and most difficult part, morality 
properly so called. 

With the view of restricting the construction of the objeo-» 
tive basis within reasonable limits, there is this distinction to 
be borne in mind. In the Order of Nature, there are two classes 
of laws ; those that are simple or Abstract, those that are com- 
poimd or Concrete. In my work on * Positive Philosophy,' the 
distinction has been thoroughly established, and frequent use 
has been made of it. It will be sufficient here to point out its 
origin and the method of applying it. 

Positive science may deal either with objects themselves as 
they exist, or with the separate phenomena that the objects ex* 
hibit. Of course we can only judge of an object by the sum of 
its phenomena ; but it is open to us either to examine a special, 
class of phenomena abstracted from all the beings that exhibit it, 
or to take some special object, and examine the whole concrete 
group of phenomena. In the latter case we shall be studying 
different systems of existence ; in the former, different modes of 
activity. As good an example of the distinction as can be given 
is that, already mentioned, of Meteorology. The facts of 
weather are evidently combinations of astronomical, physical. 


chemical, biological, and even social phenomena ; each of these 
classes requiring its own separate theories. Were these abstract 
laws sufficiently well known to us, then the whole difficulty of 
the concrete problem would be so to combine them, as to deduce 
the order in which each composite effect would follow. This, 
however, is a process which seems to me so far beyond our 
feeble powers of deduction, that, even supposing our knowledge 
of the abstract laws perfect, we should still be obliged to have 
recourse to the inductive method. 

Now the investigation of the economy of nature here con- 
templated 18 evidently of the abstract kind. We decompose 
that economy into its primary phenomena, that is to say, into 
those which are not reducible to others. These we range in 
classes ; each of which, notwithstanding the connection that 
exists between all, requires a separate inductive process ; for the 
existence of laws cannot be proved in any one of them by pure 
deduction. It is only with these simpler and more abstract 
relations that our synthesis is directly concerned : when these are 
established, they afford a rational gioundwork for the more com- 
posite and concrete researches. The great complexity of concrete 
relations makes it improbable that we shall ever be able to co- 
ordinate them perfectly. In that case the synthesis would 
always remain limited to abstract laws. But its true object, 
that of supplying an objective basis for the great synthesis of 
human life, will none the less be attained. For this ground- 
work of abstract knowledge would introduce harmony between 
all our mental conceptions, and thereby would make it possible 
to systematise feelings and actions, which is the object of all 
soimd philosophy. The abstract study of nature is therefore all 
that is absolutely indispensable for the establishment of unity 
in human life. It serves as the foundation of all wise action ; 
as the philosaphia prima, the necessity of which in the normal 
state of humanity was dimly foreseen by Bacon. When the 
abstract laws exhibiting the various modes of activity have been 
brought systematically before us, our practical knowledge of 
each special system of existence ceases to be purely empirical, 
though the greater number of concrete laws may still be un- 
known. We find the best example of this truth in the most 
difficult and important subject of all. Sociology. Knowledge of 
the principal statical and dynamical laws of social existence is 
evidently sufficient for the purpose of systematising the various 


aspects of private or public life, and thereby of rendering onr 
condition far more perfect. Should this knowledge be acquired, 
of which there is now no doubt, we need not regret being unable 
to give a satisfactory explanation of every state of society that 
we find existing throughout the world in all ages. The disci- 
pline of social feeling will check any foolish indulgence of the 
spirit of curiosity, and prevent the understanding from wasting 
its powers in useless speculations ; for feeble as these powers 
are, it is from them that Humanity derives her most efficient 
means of contending against the defects of the External Order, 
The discovery of the principal concrete laws would no doubt 
be attended by the most beneficial results, moral as well as 
physical ; and this is the field in which the science of the future 
will reap its richest harvest. But such knowledge is not in- 
dispensable for our present purpose, which is to form a complete 
sjrnthesis of life, eflFecting for the final state of humanity what 
the theological synthesis effected for its primitive state. For 
this purpose Abstract philosophy is undoubtedly sufficient ; so 
that even supposing that Concrete philosophy should never 
become so perfect as we desire, social regeneration will still be 
my The. Kcgardcd imder this more simple aspect, our system of 

Lpment, Scientific knowledge is already so far elaborated, that all thinkers 
iith«8i8of whose nature is sufficiently sympathetic may proceed without 
nceptîonfl delay to the problem of moral regeneration ; a problem which 
ia, ^ **' must prepare the way for that of political reorganisation. For 
we shall find that the theory of development of which we have 
been speaking, when looked at from another point of view, 
condenses and systématises all our abstract conceptions of the 
order of nature. 

This will be imderstood by regarding all departments of our 
knowledge as being really component- parts of one and the same 
science ; the science of Humanity. All other sciences are but 
the prelude or the development of this. Before we can enter 
upon it directly, there are two subjects which it is necessary to 
investigate ; our external circumstances, and the oi^anisation 
of our own nature. Social life cannot be understood without 
first understanding the medium in which it is developed, and 
the beings who manifest it. We shall make no progress, there» 
fore, in the final science imtil we have sufficient abstract 
knowledge of the outer world and of individual life to define the 


iBfluenoe of these laws on the special laws of social phenomena. 
And this is necessary from the logical as well as from the scientific 
point of view. The feeble &ciilties of our intellect require to 
he trained for the more difficult speculations by practice in the 
easier. For the same reasons, the study of the inorganic world 
should take precedence of the organic. For, in the first place, 
the laws of the more universal mode of existence have a pre- 
ponderating influence over those of the more special modes ; 
and in the second place it is clearly incumbent on us to begin 
the study of the Positive method with its simplest and most 
characteristic applications. I need not dwell further upon 
principles so fully established in my former work. 

Social Philosophy, therefore, ought on every ground to 
be preceded by Natural Philosophy in the ordinary sense of the 
word; that is to say by the study of inorganic and organic 
nature. It is reserved for our own century to take in the whole 
Mope of science ; but the commencement of these preparatory 
studies dates firom the first astronomical discoveries of antiquity. 
Natural Philosophy was completed by the modem science of 
Biology, of which the ancients possessed nothing but a few 
statical principles. But though the dependence of biological 
conditions upon astronomical is imquestionable, yet these two 
sciences differ too much from each other, and are too indirectly 
connected to give us an adequate conception of Natural Philo- 
sophy as a whole. It would be pushing the principle of con- 
densation too &r to reduce it to these two terms. One con- 
necting link was supplied by the science of Chemistry which 
arose in the middle ages. The natural succession of Astronomy, 
Chemistry, and Biology leading gradually up to the final science. 
Sociology, afforded a glimpse of the true intellectual synthesis. 
But the interposition of Chemistry was not enough : because, 
^ugh its relation to Biology was intimate, it was too remote 
from Astronomy. For want of understanding the mode in 
which astronomical conditions really affected us, the arbitrary 
*nd chimerical femcies of astrology were employed, though of 
course quite valueless except for this temporary purpose. In 
the seventeenth century, however, the science of Physics, spe- 
cially so called, was founded; and a satis£Eictory arrangement 
of scientific conceptions began to be formed. Physics included 
I series of inorganic researches, the more general branch of 
which bordered on Astronomy, the more special on Chemistry. 

TOL. I. D 


To complete our view of the scientific hierarchy we have now 
only to go back to its origin, Mathematics ; a class of specular 
tions so simple and so general, that they passed at once and 
without effort into the Positive stage. Without Mathematics, 
Astronomy was impossible : and they will always continue to be 
the starting point of Positive education for the individual as 
they have been for the race. Even Tmder the most absolute 
theological influence they stimulate the Positive spirit to a 
certain degree of systematic growth. From them it extends 
step by step to the subjects from which at first it had been 
most rigidly excluded. 

We see from these brief remarks that the series of the 
abstract sciences naturally arranges itself according to the 
decrease in generality and the increase in complication. We 
see the reason for the introduction of each member of the series, 
and the mutual connection between them. The classification is 
evidently the same as that before laid down in my theoiy of 
development. That theory therefore may be regarded, from the 
statical point of view, as furnishing a direct basis for the co- 
ordination of Abstract conceptions, on which, as we have seen, 
the whole synthesis of human life depends. Such co-ordination 
at once establishes unity in our intellectual operations. It 
realises. the desire obscurely expressed by Bacon for a ecala 
intellectûs, by the aid of which our thoughts may pass with 
ease from the lowest subjects to the highest, or vice veraêL, 
without weakening the sense of their continuous connection in 
nature. Each of the six terms of which our series is composed 
is in its central portion quite distinct from the two adjoininf 
links; but it is closely related in its commencement to the 
preceding term, in its conclusion to the term which follows. A 
further proof of the homogeneousness and continuity of the 
system is that the same principle of classification, when applied 
more closely, enables us to arrange the various theories of whidi 
each science consists. For example, the three great orders of 
mathematical speculations. Arithmetic, Geometry, and Me- 
chanics, follow the same law of classification as that by which 
the entire scale is regulated. And I have shown in my ' Positive 
Philosophy ' that the same holds good of the other sciences. Ab 
a whole, therefore, the series is the most concise summary thai 
can be formed of the vast range of Abstract truth ; and oonh 
versely, all rational researches of a special kind result in some 


partial development of this series. Each term in it requires its 
own special processes of induction ; yet in each we reason 
deductively from the preceding term, a method which will 
always be as necessary for purposes of instruction, as it was 
originally for the purpose of discovery. Thus it is that all our 
other studies are but a preparation for the final science of 
Humanity. By it their mode of culture will always be in- 
fluenced, and will gradually be imbued with the true spirit of 
generality, which is so closely connected with social sympathy. 
Nor is there any danger of such influence becoming oppressive, 
since the very principle of our system is to combine a due 
measure of independence with practical convergence. The fact 
that our theory of classification, by the very terms of its eom- 
position, subordinates intellectual to social considerations, is 
eminently calculated to secure its popular acceptance. It 
brings the whole speculative system imder the criticism, and at 
the same time under the protection of the public, which is 
usually not slow to check any abuse of those habits of abstrac- 
tion which are necessaiy to the philosophic function. 

The same theofy then which explains the mental evolution 
of Humanity, lays down the true method by which our abstract 
conceptions should be classified ; thus reconciling the conditions 
of Order and Movement, hitherto more or less at variance. Its 
Mstorical clearness and its philosophical force strengthen each 
other, for we cannot understand the connection of our concep- 
tionfl except by studying the succession of the phases through 
which they pass. And on the other hand, but for the existence 
of such a connection, it would be impossible to explain the 
liistorical phases. So we see that fox aU sound thinkers. 
History and Philosophy are inseparable. 

A theory which embraces the statical os well as the d3ma- Therefor. 
Qiical aspects of the subject, and which fulfils the conditions pmitioat 
iere spoken of, may certainly be regarded as establishing the S^ wit 
true objective basis on which imity can be established in our m>^ui re» 
intellectual functions. And this unity will be developed and 
consolidated as our knowledge of its basis becomes more satis- 
factory. But the social application of the system will have far 
more influence on the result than any overstrained attempts at 
exact scientific accuracy. The object of our philosophy is to 
direct the spiritual reorganisation of the civilised world. It is 
with a view to this object that all attempts at fresh discovery 

D 2 



or at improved arrangement should be conducted. Moral and 
political requirements will lead us to investigate new relations ; 
but the search should not be carried farther than is necessary 
for their application. Sufficient for our purpose, if this 
incipient classification of our mental products be so far worked 
out that the synthesis of AflFection and of Action may be at once 
attempted ; that is, that we may begin at once to construct that 
system of morality under which the final regeneration of 
Humanity will proceed. Those who have read my Positive 
Philosophy will, I think, be convinced that the time for this 
attempt has arrived. How urgently it is needed will appear in 
every part of the present work, 
rror of I havc uow described the general spirit of Positivism. But 

6Titiif irinfif 

cM>itiviMu there are two or three points on which some further explanation 

ith Athe- , ,1 . , f • ■* • A 

tn. MBtc- IS necessary, as tbey are the source of misapprehensions too 
lisml'or' common and too serious to be disregarded. Of course I only 
bbeum. ' coucem myself with such objections as are made in good fedth. 
B^.diT' The fact of entire freedom from theological belief being 

'wc my»-" necessary before the Positive state can be perfectly attained, 
has induced superficial observers to confound Positivism with a 
state of pure negation. Now this state was at one time, and 
that even so recently as the last century, favourable to progress ; 
but at present in those who unfortunately still remain in it, it 
is a radical obstacle to all soimd social and even intellectual 
organisation. I have long ago repudiated all philosophical or 
historical connection between Positivism and what is called 
Atheism. But it is desirable to expose the error somewhat 
more clearly. 

Atheism, even from the intellectual point of view, is s 
very imperfect form of emancipation ; for its tendency is to 
prolong the metaphysical stage indefinitely, by continuing to 
seek for new solutions of Theological problems, instead of 
setting aside all inaccessible researches on the ground of tiieir 
utter inutility. The true Positive spirit consists in substituting 
the study of the invariable Laws of phenomena, for that of 
their so-called Causes, whether proximate or primary; in a 
word, in studying the How instead of the Why. Now, this is 
wholly incompatible with the ambitious and visionary attempts 
of Atheism to explain the formation of the Universe, the origin ] 
of animal life, &c. The Positivist comparing the various 
phases of human speculation, looks upon these scientific 


chimeras as far less valuable even from the intellectual point 
of view than the first spontaneous inspirations of primeval times. 
The principle of Theology is to explain everything by super;^ 
natural Wills. That principle can never be set aside imtil we 
acknowledge the search for Causes to be beyond our reach, 
and limit ourselves to the knowledge of Laws. As long as 
men persist in attempting to answer the insoluble question» 
which occupied the attention of the childhood of our race, by 
&r the more rational plan is, to do as was done then, that is, 
simply to give free play to the imagination. These spon- 
taneous beliefs have gradually fallen into disuse, not because 
they have been disproved, but because mankind has become 
more enlightaied as to its wants and the scope of its powers, 
and has gradually given an entirely new direction to its specu» 
lative efforts. If we insist upon penetrating the unattainable 
mystery of the essential Cause that produces phenomena, there 
is no hypothesis more satisfactory than that they proceed from 
Wills dwelling in them or outside them ; an hypothesis which 
assimilates them to the effect produced by the desires which 
exist within ourselves. Were it not for the pride induced by 
metaphysical and scientific studies, it would be inconceivable 
that any Atheist, modem or ancient, should have believed that 
his vague hypotheses on such a subject were preferable to this 
direct mode of explanation. And it was the only mode which 
really satisfied the reason, until men began to see the utter 
inanity and inutility of all search for absolute truth. The Order 
of Nature is doubtless very imperfect in every respect ; but its 
production would be far more compatible with the hypothesis 
of an intelligent Will than with that of a blind mechanism. 
Persistent Atheists, therefore, would seem to be the most 
illo^cal of theologists ; because they occupy themselves with 
theological problems, and yet reject the only appropriate 
method of handling them. But the fact is, that pure Atheism 
even in the present day is very rare. What is called Atheism 
is usually a phase of Pantheism, which is really nothing but a 
relapse disguised under learned terms into a vague and abstract 
form of Fetichism. And it is not impossible that it may lead 
to fBe reproduction in one form or other of every theological 
phase, as soon as the check which modem society still imposes 
on metaphysical extravagance, has become somewhat weakened. 
The adoption of such theories as a satisfactory system of 


belief, indicates a very exaggerated or rather false view of in- 
tellectual requirements, and a very insufficient recognition of 
moral and social wants. It is generally connected with the 
visionary but mischievous tendencies of ambitious thinkers to 
uphold what they call the empire of Beason. In the moral 
«phere, it forms a sort of basis for the degrading fedlacies of 
modem metaphysicians as to the absolute preponderance of self- 
interest. Politically, its tendency is to unlimited prolongation 
of the revolutionary position : its spirit is that of blind hatred 
to the past ; and it resists all attempts to explain it on Positive 
principles, with the view of disclosing the future. Atheism, 
therefore, is not likely to lead to Positivism except in those who 
pass through it rapidly as the last and most short-lived of 
metaphysical phases. And the wide diffusion of the scientifio 
spirit in the present day makes this passage so easy that to 
arrive at maturity without accomplishing it, is a symptom of 
a certain mental weakness, which is often connected with 
moral insufficiency, and is very incompatible with Positivism. 
Negation offers but a feeble and precarious basis for union : 
and disbelief in Monotheism is of itself no better proof of a 
mind fit to grapple with the questions of the day than disbelief 
in Polytheism or Fetichism, which no one would maintain to 
be an adequate ground for claiming intellectual sympathy. 
The Atheistic phase indeed was not really necessary, except for 
the revolutionists of the last century who took the lead in the 
movement towards radical regeneration of society. The neces- 
sity has already ceased ; for the decayed condition of the old 
system makes the need -of regeneration palpable to all. Per- 
sistency in anarchy, and Atheism is tlie most characteristic 
symptom of anarchy, is a temper of mind more unfavourable to 
the organic spirit, which ought by this time to have esta- 
blished its influence, than sincere adhesion to the old forms. 
This latter is of course obstructive : but at least it does not 
hinder us from fixing our attention upon the great social problem. 
Indeed it helps us to do so ; because it forces the new philosophy 
to throw aside every weapon of attack against the older faith 
except its own higher capacity of satisfying our moral and 
social wants. But from the Atheism maintained by many meta- 
physicians and scientific men of the present day, Positivism, 
instead of wholesome rivalry of this kind, will meet with no- 
«thing but barren resistance. Anti-theological as such m^ 


may be, they feel unmixed repugnance for any attempts at 
social regeneration, although their efforts in the last century 
had to some extent prepared the way for it. Far then, from 
ooonting upon their support, Positivists must expect to find 
them hostile : although from the incoherence of their opinions 
it will not be difficult to reclaim those of them whose errors 
are not essentially due to pride. 

The charge of Materialism which is often made against Materiaiiam 
Positive philosophy is of more importance. It originates in Si^JSiâ."" 
the coarse of scientific study upon which the Positive System Swct^^* 
ifl based. In answering the charge, I need not enter into any don^^f 
discussion of impenetrable mysteries. Our theory of develop- m*e^" * 
ment will enable us to see distinctly the real ground of the u^f*^- 
confusion that exists upon the subject. ^^ 

Positive science was for a long time limited to the simplest 
subjects ; it could not reach the highest except by a natural 
series of intermediate steps. As each of these steps is taken, 
the student is apt to be influenced too strongly by the methods 
and results of the preceding stage. Here, as it seems to me, 
lies the real source of that scientific error which men have in- 
stinctively blamed as MateriaUsm. The name is just, because 
the tendency indicated is one which degrades the higher sub- 
jects of thought by confounding them with the lower. It was 
hardly possible that this usurpation by one science of the domain 
of another should have been wholly avoided. For since the 
more special phenomena do really depend upon the more 
general^ it is perfectly legitimate for each science to exercise a 
certain deductive influence upon that which follows it in the 
scale. By such influence the special inductions of that science 
were rendered more coherent. The result, however, is that 
each of the sciences has to undergo a long struggle against the 
encroachments of the one preceding it ; a struggle which even 
in the case of the subjects which have been studied longest, is 
not yet over. Nor can it entirely cease until the controlling 
influence of sound philosophy be established over the whole 
scale, introducing juster views of the relations of its several 
parts, about which at present there is such irrational confusion. 
Thus it appears that Materialism is a danger inherent in the mode 
in which the scientific studies necessary as a preparation for 
Positivism were pursued. Each science tended to absorb the 
one next to it, on the ground of having reached the Positive 


stage earlier and more thoroughly. The evil then is really 
deeper and more extensive than is imiagined by most of those 
who deplore it. It passes generally unnoticed except in the 
highest class of subjects. These doubtless are more seriously 
affected, inasmuch as they imdergo the encroaching process 
from all the rest; but we find the same thing in different 
degrees, in every step of the scientific scale. Even the lowest 
step, Mathematics, is no exception, though its position would 
seem at first sight to exempt it. To a philosophic eye there is 
Materialism in the common tendency of mathematicians at the 
present day to absorb Greomertry or Mechanics into the Calcu- 
lus, as well as in the more evident encroachments of Mathe- 
matics upon Physics, of Physics upon Chemistry, of Chemistry, 
which is more frequent, upon Biology, or lastly in the common 
tendency of the best biologists to look upon Sociology as a 
mere corollary of their own science. In all these cases it is 
the same fundamental error ; that is, an exaggerated use of 
deductive reasoning ; and in all it is attended with the same 
result ; that the higher studies are in constant danger of being 
disorganised by the indiscriminate application of the lower. All 
scientific specialists at the present time are more or less ma^ 
terialists, according as the phenomena they study are more or 
less simple and general. Geometricians, therefore, are more 
liable to the error than any others ; they all aim consciously 
or otherwise at a synthesis in which the most elementary studies, 
those of Number, Space, and Motion, are made to r^^ulate all 
the rest. But the biologists who resist this encroachment 
most energetically, are often guilty of the same mistake. They 
not im&equently attempt, for instance, to explain all sociologi- 
cal flEu^ts by the influence of climate and race, which are purely 
secondary ; thus showing their ignorance of the fundam^ital 
laws of Sociology, which can only be discovered by a series 
of direct inductions from history. 

This philosophical estimate of Materialism explains how it 
is that it has been brought as a charge against Positivism, and 
at the same time proves the deep injustice of the charge. Posi- 
tivism, &r from countenancing so dangerous an error, is, as we 
have seen, the only philosophy which can completely remove it. 
The error arises from certain tendencies which are in them- 
selves legitimate, but which have been carried too far ; and 
Positivism satisfies these tendencies in their due measure. 


Hitherto the evil has remained unchecked, except by the 
theol<^co-metaphysical spirit, which, by giving rise to what is 
called Spiritualism, has rendered a very valuable service. But 
useful as it has been, it could not arrest the active growth of 
3faterialism, which has assumed in the eyes of modem thinkers 
something of a progressive character, from having been so long 
connected witti the cause of resistance to a retrograde system. 
Notwithstanding all the protests of the spiritualists, the lower 
sciences have encroached upon the higher to an extent that 
seriously impairs their independence and their value. But 
Positivism meets the difficulty far more effectually. It satisfies 
and reconciles all that is really tenable in the rival claims of 
both Materialism and Spiritualism ; and, having done this, it 
discards them both. It holds the oae to be as dangerous to 
Order as the other to Progress. This result is an immediate 
consequence of the establishment of the encyclopaedic scale, in 
which each science retains its own proper sphere of induction, 
while deductively it remains subordinate to the science which 
precedes it. But what really decides the matter is the para- 
mount importance, both logically and seientifieally, given by 
Positive Philosophy to social questions. For these being the 
questions in which the influence of Materialism is most 
mischievous, and also in which it is most easily introduced, a 
system which gives them the precedence over all others neces- 
sarily considers Materialism as obstructive as Spiritualism, both 
alike retarding the growth of that science for the sake of which 
all other sciences are studied. Further advance in the work of 
social regeneration implies the elimination of both of them, 
because it cannot proceed without exact knowledge of the laws of 
moral and social phenomena. In the next chapter I shall have 
to speak of the mischievous effects of Materialism upon the Art 
or practice of social life. It leads to a misconception of the 
most fundamental principle of that Art, namely, the systematic 
separation of spiritual and temporal power. To maintain that 
separation, to carry out on a more satisfactory basis the ad- 
mirable attempt made in the Middle Ages by the Catholic 
Church, is the most important of political questions. Thus the 
antagonism of Positivism to Materialism rests upon political no 
less than upon philosophical grounds. 

With the view of securing a dispassionate consideration of 
ibis subject, and of avoiding all confusion, I have laid no stress 


upon the charge of immorality that is so often brought against 
Materialism. This reproach, even when made sincerely, is 
constantly belied by experience. Indeed it is inconsistent witli 
all that we know of human nature. Our opinions, whether 
right or wrong, have not, fortunately, the absolute power over 
our feelings and conduct which is commonly attributed to thenL 
Materialism has been provisionally connected with the whole 
movement of emancipation, and it has therefore often been 
found in common with the noblest aspirations. That connec- 
tion, however, has now ceased ; and it must be owned that ev^ 
in the most favourable cases this error, purely intellectual 
though it be, has to a certain extent always checked the free 
play of our nobler instincts, by leading men to ignore or mis- 
conceive moral phenomena, which were left unexplained by its 
crude hypothesis. Cabanis, a philosopher whose moral nature 
was as pure and sympathetic as his intellect was elevated and 
enlarged, gave a striking example of this tendency in his un- 
fortunate attack upon mediaeval chivalry. The Materialism of 
his day had entirely blinded him to the beneficial results of the 
attempts made by the most energetic of our ancestors to insti- 
tute the Worship of Woman. 

We have now examined the two principal charges brought 
against the Positive system, and we have found that they apply' 
merely to the unsystematic state in which Positive principles 
are first introduced. But the system is also accused of Fatalism 
and of Optimism ; charges on which it will not be necessary ta 
dwell at great length, because, though frequently made, they 
are much easier to refute, 
ir is Post- The charge of Fatalism has accompanied every firesh ez- 

JjttooB u^* tension of Positive science, from its first beginnings. Nor is 
^raai^^ this surprising ; for when any series of phenomena passes firom 
âlflabiê!* the dominion of Wills, whether modified by metaphysical ab- 
stractions or not, to the dominion of Laws, the regularity of the 
latter contrasts so strongly with the instability of the former, as 
to present an appearance of fatality, which nothing but a very 
careful examination of the real character of scientific truth can 
dissipate. And the error is the more likely to occur from the 
fact that our first types of natural laws are derived from the 
phenomena of the heavenly bodies. These, being wholly 
beyond our interference, always suggest the notion of absolute 
necessity, a notion which it is difiicult to prevent from extend- 


ing to more complex phenomena, as soon as they are brought 
within the reach of the Positive method. And it is quite true 
that Positivism holds the Order of Nature to be in its primary 
aspects strictly invariable. All variations, whether spontaneous 
or artificial, are only transient and of secondary import. The 
conception of unlimited variations would in fact be equivalent 
to the rejection of Law altogether. But while this accoimts 
for the feet that every new Positive theory is accused of 
Fatalism, it is equally clear that blind persistence in the 
accusation shows a very shallow conception of what Positivism 
leally is. For unchangeable as the Order of Nature is in its 
main aspects, yet all phenomena, except those of Astronomy, 
admit of being modified in their secondary relations, and this 
the more as they are more complicated. The Positive spirit, 
whai confined to the subjects of Mathematics and Astronomy, 
was inevitably fetalist ; but this ceased to be the case when it 
extended to Physics and Chemistry, and especially to Biology, 
where the margin of variation is very considerable. Now that 
it embraces Social phenomena, the reproach, however it may 
luive been once deserved, should be heard no longer, since these 
phenomena, which will for the future form its principal field, 
^drnit of larger modification than any others, and that chiefly 
by our own intervention. It is obvious then that Positivism, 
&r firom encouraging indolence, stimulates us to action, es- 
pecially to social action, fer more energetically than any Theo- 
logical doctrine. It removes all groimdless scruples, and pre- 
vents us from having recourse to chimeras. It encourages our 
efforts everywhere, except where they are manifestly useless. 

For the charge of Optimism there is even less ground than Theobir 
for that of Fatalism. The latter was, to a certain extent, con- Sp^Fi^ 
nected with the rise of the Positive spirit ; but Optimism is S?^th2 
simply a result of Theology, and its influence has always been Th^p^ 
decreasing with the growth of Positivism. Astronomical laws, S w^ 
it is true, suggest the idea of perfection as naturally as that of S^^jy" In 
necessity. On the other hand, their great simplicity places the t^tboi; 
defects of the Order of Nature in so clear a light, that optimists ^^té^ 
would never have sought their arguments in astronomy, were 
it not that the fiirst elements of the science had to be worked 
out under the influence of Monotheism, a system which in- 
volved the hypotheoB of absolute wisdom. But by the theory 
of development on which the Positive synthesis is here made to 


rest, Optimism is discarded as well as Fatalism, in the direct 
proportion of the intricacy of the phenomena. It is in the 
most intricate that the defects of Nature, as well as the power 
of modifying them, become most manifest. With regard, 
therefore, to social phenomena, the most complex of all, both 
charges are utterly misplaced. Any optimistic tendencies that 
writers on social subjects may display, must be due to the 
fact that their education has not been such as to teach them 
the nature and conditions of the true scientific spirit. For 
want of sound logical training, à property peculiar to social 
phenomena, namely, that they exhibit a greater amount of 
spontaneous wisdom than might have been expected from their 
complexity, has been misrepresented by modem writers as 
though this wisdom were perfect. The phenomena in question 
are those of intelligent beings who are always occupied in 
amending the defects of their economy. It is obvious, there- 
fore, that they will show less imperfection than if, in a case 
equally complicated, the agents could have been blind. The 
standard by which to judge of action is always to be taken 
relatively to the social state in which the action takes place. 
Therefore all historical positions and changes must have at 
least some grounds of justification ; otherwise they would be 
totally incomprehensible, because inconsistent with the nature 
of the agents and of the actions performed by them. Now this 
naturally fosters a dangerous tendency to Optimism in all 
thinkers, who, whatever their powers may be, have not passed 
through any strict scientific training, and have consequently 
never cast off metaphysical and theological modes of thought 
in the higher subjects. Because every government shows a 
certain adaptation to the civilisation of its time, they make the 
loose assertion that the adaptation is perfect; a conception 
which is of course chimericaL But it is unjust to charge Posi- 
tivism with errors which are evidently contrary to its true 
spirit, and merely due to the want of logical and scientific 
training in those who have hitherto engaged in the study of 
social questions. The object of Sociology is to explain all 
historical facts ; not to justify them indiscriminately, as is done 
by those who are unable to distinguish the influence of the 
agent from that of surrounding circumstances, 
le word On reviewing this brief sketch of the intellectual character 


ttesairthê of Positivism, it will be seen that all its essential attributes are 

Se^D^^ summed up ia the word Positive, which I applied to the new 


philosophy at its outset. All the languages of Western Europe tribute», and 
agree in understanding by this word and its derivatives the two matdy h%rt 
qualities of reaiity and usefulneaa. Combining these, we get nucance. 
at once an adequate definition of the true philosophic spirit, 
which, after all, is nothing but good sense generalised and put 
into a systematic form. The term also implies in all European 
languages, certavniy and precision^ qualities by which the 
intellect of modem nations is markedly distinguished firom that 
of antiquity. Again, the ordinary acceptation of the term im- 
plies a directly organic tendency. Now the metaphysical spirit 
is incapable of organising ; it can only criticise. This dis- 
tinguishes it from the Positive spirit, although for a time they 
liad a common sphere of action. By speaking of Positivism as 
organic, we imply that it has a social purpose ; that purpose 
lieing to supersede Theology in the spiritual direction of the 
human race. 

But the word will bear yet a further meaning. The organic 
character of the system leads us naturally to another of its 
sttribates, namely, its invariable relativity. Modem thinkers 
will never rise above that critical position which they have 
Utherto taken up towards the past, except by repudiating all 
absolute principles. This last meaning is more latent than the 
others, but is really contained in the term. It will soon be- 
come generally accepted, and the word Positive will be imder- 
stood to mean relative as much as it now means organic^ pre- 
<^«5 certavn^ uaefuly and real. Thus the highest attributes of 
hmnan wisdom have, with one exception, been gradually con- 
^lensed into a single expressive term. All that is now wanting 
is that the word should denote what at first could form no part 
of the meaning, the union of moral with intellectual qualities. 
At present, only the latter are included; but the course of 
modem progress makes it certain that the conception implied 
hy the word Positive, will ultimately have a more direct re- 
ference to the heart than to the understanding. For it will 
^n be felt by all that the tendency of Positivism, and that by 
nrtue of its primary characteristic, reality, is to make Feeling 
^stematically supreme over Reason as well as over Activity. 
After all, the change consists simply in realising the full etymo- 
logical value of the word Philosophy. For it was impossible 
to realise it until moral and mental conditions had been recon- 
ciled ; and this has been now done by the foimdation of a 
Positive science of society. 




As the chief characteristic of Positive Philosophy is the 
ponderance of the social point of view through the whole r 
of speculation, its efficiency for the purposes of practical li 
involved in the very spirit of the system. When this spir 
rightly understood, we find that it leads at once to an objec 
higher than that of satisfying our scientific curiosity ; 
object, namely, of organising human life. Conversely, 
practical aspect of Positive Philosophy exercises the 
salutary influence upon its speculative character. By kee 
constantly before us the necessity of concentrating all sciei 
efforts upon the social object which constitutes their valu< 
take the best possible means of checking the tendency inh* 
in all abstract enquiries to degenerate into useless digress 
But this general connection between theory and practice y 
not by itself be sufficient for our purpose. It would be in 
sible to secure the acceptance of a mental discipline, so ne\ 
so difficult, were it not for considerations derived froni 
general conditions of modem society ; considerations calcu 
to impress philosophers with a more definite sense of oblig 
to do their utmost towards satisfying the wants of the i 
By thus arousing public sympathies and showing that the su 
of Positivism is a matter of permanent and general import 
the coherence of the system as well as the elevation of its 
will be placed beyond dispute. We have hitherto been rej 
ing Positivism as the issue in which intellectual develop 
necessarily results. We have now to view it from the i 
side ; for until we have done this, it is impossible to fo 
true concef)tion of it. 


And to do this, all that is here necessary is to point out the The reution 
close relation in which the new philosophy stands to the whole tsm to the' 
course of the French Revolution. This revolution has now been voiuuon. 
agitating Western nations for sixty years. It is the final issue 
of tlie vast transition through which we have been passing 
during the five previous centuries. 

In this great crisis there are naturally two principal phases ; 
of which only the first, or negative, phase has yet been accom- 
plished. In it we gave the last blow to the old system, but 
without arriving at any fixed and distinct prospect of the new. 
Ib the second or positive phase, which is at last beginning, a 
basis for the new social state has to be constructed. The first 
pbase led as its ultimate result to the formation of a sound philo- 
sophical system : and by this system the second phase will be 
directed. It is this twofold connection which we are now to 

The strong reaction which was exercised upon the intellect The nega- 
by the first great shock of revolution was absolutely necessary stmctive 
to rouse and sustain our mental efforts in the search for a new ^eroiution^ 
çstem. For the greatest thinkers of the eighteenth century thed^rfreof 
W been blinded to the true character of the new state by the and^^- 
^ete renmants of the old. And the shock was especially neces- ?^y of so. 
ttry for the foundation of social science. For the basis of that mena. **" 
science is the conception of human Progress, a conception which 
nothing but the Revolution could have brought forward into 
efficient prominence. 

Social Order was r^arded by the ancients as stationary : 
^nd its theory under this provisional aspect was admirably 
sketched out by the great Aristotle. In this respect the case 
of Sociology resembles that of Biology. In Biology statical 
conceptions were attained without the least knowledge of 
dynamical laws. Similarly, the social speculations of antiquity 
are entirely devoid of the conception of Progress. Their his- 
torical field was too narrow to indicate any continuous movement 
of Humanity. It was not till the Middle Ages that this move- 
ment became sufficiently manifest to inspire the feeling that we 
were tending towards a state of increased perfection. It was 
then seen by all that Catholicism was superior to Polytheism 
and Judaism ; and this was afterwards confirmed by the cor- 
responding political improvement produced by the substitution 
of Feudalism for Boman government. Confused as this first 


feeling of human Progress was, it was yet very intense and veiy 
largely diffused ; though it lost much of its vitality in the theo- 
logical and metaphysical discussions of later centuries. It is 
here that we must look if we would understand that ardour in 
the cause of Progress which is peculiar to the Western family 
of nations, and which has been strong enough to check many 
sophistical delusions, especially in the countries where the noble 
aspirations of the Middle Ages have been least impaired by 
the metaphysical theories of Protestantism or Deism. 

But whatever the importance of this nascent feeling, it was 
veiy far from sufficient to establish the conception of Progress 
as a fundamental principle of human society. To demonstrate 
any kind of progression, at least three terms are requisite. Now 
the absolute character of theological philosophy, under which 
the comparison between Polytheism and Catholicism was in- 
stituted, prevented men from conceiving the bare possibility of 
any further stage. The limits of perfection were supposed to 
have been reached by the mediaeval system, and beyond it there 
was nothing but the Christian Utopia of a future life. The 
decline of mediaeval theology soon set the imagination free from 
any such obstacles ; but it led at the same time to a mental 
reaction which for a long time was unfavourable to the develop* 
ment of this first conception of Progress. It brought a feeling 
of blind antipathy to the Middle Ages. Almost all thinkers in 
their repugnance to Catholic dogmas were seized with such 
irrational admiration for Antiquity as entirely to ignore the 
social superiority of the mediaeval system ; and it was only 
among the untaught masses, especially in the countries preserved 
firom Protestantism, that any real feeling of this superiority was 
retained. It was not till the middle of the seventeenth century 
that modem thinkers began to dwell on the conception of Pro- 
gress, which re-appeared then under a new aspect. Conclusive 
evidence had by that time been furnished that the more civilised 
portion of our race had advanced in science and industry, and 
even, though not so unquestionably, in the fine arts. But these 
aspects were only partial : and though undoubtedly the source 
of the more systematic views held by our own century upon the 
subject, they were not enough to demonstrate the fact of a pro- 
gression. • And indeed, from the social point of view, so fiur 
more important than any other. Progress seemed more doubtful 
than it had been in the Middle Ages. 


But this condition of opinion was changed by the revo- 
lutionary shock which impelled France, the normal centre of 
Western Europe, to apply itself to the task of social regeneration. 
A third term of comparison, that is to say the type on which 
modem society is being moulded, now presented itself; though 
it lay as yet in a distant and obscure future. Compared with 
the mediaeval system it was seen to be an advance ss great as 
that which justified our ancestors of chivalrous times in as- 
serting superiority to their predecessors of antiquity. Until 
the destruction of Catholic Feudalism became an overt fact, its 
effete remnants had concealed the political future, and the fact 
of continuous progress in society had always remained uncertain. 
Social phenomena have this peculiarity, that the object observed 
undergoes a process of development as well as and simultaneously 
with the observer. Now up to the time of the Revolution, 
political development, on which the principal argument for the 
theory of Progress must always be based, corresponded in its 
imperfection to the incapacity of the scientific spirit to frame 
the theory of it, A century ago, thinkers of the greatest 
eminence were unable to conceive of a really continuous pro- 
gression ; and Humanity, as they thought, was destined to move 
in circles or in oscillations. But under the influence of the 
Revolution a real sense of human development has arisen 
spontaneously and with more or less result, in minds of the 
most ordinary cast : first in France, and subsequently through- 
out the whole of Western Europe. In this respect the crisis 
has been most salutary ; it has given us that mental audacity as 
well as strength without which the conception could never have 
arisen. This conception is the basis of social science and therefore 
of all Positive Philosophy ; since it is only from the social aspect 
that Positive Philosophy admits of being viewed as a connected 
whole. Without the theory of Progress, the theory of Order, 
even supposing that it could be formed, would be inadequate as 
a basis for Sociology. It is essential that the two should be 
oombined. The very fact that Progress, however viewed, is 
nothing but the development of Order, shows that Order cannot 
be fully manifested without Progress. The dependence of 
Positivi^nn upon the French Revolution may now be understood 
more clearly. Nor was it by a merely fortuitous coincidence 
that by this time the introductory course of scientific knowledge 

VOL. I. B 


by which the mind is prepared for Positivism should have been 
suflBciently completed. 

But we must here observe that, beneficial as the intellectual 
reaction of this great crisis imdoubtedly was, its effects could 
not be realised until the ardour of the revolutionary spirit had 
been to some extent weakened. The dazzling light thrown 
upon the Future for some time obscured our vision of the Past. 
It disclosed, though obscurely, the third term of the social 
progression ; but it prevented us from fairly appreciating the 
second term. It encouraged that blind aversion to the Middle 
Ages, which had been inspired by the emancipating process 
of modem times ; a feeling which had once been necessary to 
induce us to abandon the old system. The suppression of 
this intermediate step would be as fsttal to the conception of 
Progress as the absence of the last ; because this last differs too 
widely from the first to admit of any direct comparison with it. 
Right views upon the subject were impossible therefore until full 
justice had been rendered to the Middle Ages, which form at 
once the point of union and of separation between ancient and 
modem history. Now it was quite impossible to do this as long 
as the excitement of the first years of the revolution lasted. 
In this respect the philosophical reaction, organised at the 
beginning of our century by the great De Maistre, was of 
material assistance in preparing the true theory of Progress. 
His school was of brief duration, and it was no doubt animated 
by a retrograde spirit ; but it will always be ranked among the 
necessary antecedents of the Positive system ; although its 
works are now entirely superseded by the rise of the new 
philosophy, which in a more perfect form has embodied all 
their chief results. 

What was required therefore for the discovery of Socio- 
logical laws, and for the establishment upon these laws of a 
sound philosophical system, was an intellect in the vigour of 
youth, imbued with all the ardour of the revolutionary spirit, 
and yet spontaneously assimilating all that was valuable in the 
attempts of the retrograde school to appreciate the historical 
importance of the Middle Ages. In this way and in no other 
could the true spirit of history arise. For that spirit consists 
in the sense of hmnan continuity, which had hitherto been felt 
by no one, not even by my illustrious and unfortunate prede- 
cessor Condorcet. Meantime the genius of Gall was completing 


the recent attempts to systematise biology, by commencing the 
study of the internal functions of the brain ; as far at least as^ 
these could be understood from the phenomena of individual as, 
distinct from social development. This completes the series of 
social and intellectual conditions by which the discovery of 
sociological laws, and consequently the foundation of Positivism^ 
was fixed for the precise date at which I began my philosophical 
career : that is to say, one generation after the progressive dic- 
tatorship of the Convention, and alnwst inmiediately after the 
fciU of the retrograde tyranny of Bonaparte. 

Thus it appears that the revolutionary movement, and the 
long period of reaction which succeeded it, were alike necessary. 
Wore the new general doctrine could be distinctly conceived of 
as a whole. And if this preparation was needed for the estab- 
lishment of Positivism as a philosophical system, far more 
i^eedful was it for the recognition of its social value. For it 
guaranteed free exposition and discussion of opinion : and it 
led the public to look to Positrvisna as the system which con- 
ned in germ the ultimate solution of social problems. This 
^ a point so obvious that we need not dwell upon it further. 

Having satisfied ourselves of the dependence of Positivism 
^pon the first phase of the Revolution, we have now to consider 
It as the future guide of the second phase. 

It is often supposed that the destruction^ of the old régime The con- 
^ brought about by the Eevolution. But history when phaae of the 
carefully examined points to a very diflferent conclusion. It The nm^li 
stows that the Revolution was not the cause but the consequence constmct 
of the utter decomposition of the mediaeval system ; a process based on ae^ 
Which had been going on for five centuries throughout Western principles. 
Europe, and especially in France ; spontaneously at first, and 
afterwards in a more systematic way. The Revolution, far 
from protracting the negative mo\'ement of previous centuries, 
was a bar to its further extension. It was a final outbreak in 
which men showed their irrevocable purpose of abandoning the 
old 8y:>tem altogether, and of proceeding at onoe to the task of 
^tire reconstruction. The most conclusive proof of this in- 
tention was given by the abolition of royalty ; which had been 
the rallying point of all the decaying remnants of the old 
French constitution. But with this exception, which only 
occupied the Convention during its first sitting, the construc- 
tive tendencies of the movement were apparent from its outset ; 


and they showed themselves still more clearly as soon as the 
republican spirit had become predominant. It is obWous, 
however, that strong as these tendencies may have been, the 
first period of the Revolution produced results of an extremely 
negative and destructive kind. In fact the movement was in 
this respect a failure. This is partly to be attributed to the 
pressing necessities of the hard struggle for national indepen- 
dence which France maintained so gloriously against the com- 
bined attacks of the retrograde nations of Europe. But it is 
far more largely owing to the purely critical character of the 
metaphysical doctrines by which the revolutionary spirit was at 
that time directed. 

The negative and the positive movements which have been 
going on in Western Europe since the close of the Middle Ages, 
liave been of course connected with each other. But the former 
has necessarily advanced with greater rapidity than the latter. 
The old system had so entirely declined, that a desire for social 
regeneration had become general, before the groundwork of the 
new system had been sufficiently completed for its true 
character to be understood. As we have just seen, the doctrine 
by which social regeneration is now to be directed, could not 
have arisen previously to the Revolution. The impulse which 
the Revolution gave to thought was indispensable to its 
formation. Here then was an insurmoimtable fatality by which 
men were forced to make use of the critical principles which 
had been found serviceable in former struggles, as the only 
available instruments of construction. As soon as the old 
order had once been fairly abandoned, there was of course no 
utility whatever in the negative philosophy. But its doctrines 
had become familiar to men's minds, and its motto of ' Liberty 
and Equality,' was at that time the one most compatible with 
social progress. Thus the first stage of the revolutionary move- 
ment was accomplished under the influence of principles that 
had become obsolete, and that were quite inadequate to the new 
task required of them. 

For constructive purposes the revolutionary philosophy was 
valueless ; except so far as it put forward a vague programme 
of the political future, founded on sentiment rather than con- 
viction, and unaccompanied by any explanation of the right 
mode of realising it. In default of organic principles the doc- 
trines of the critical school were employed : and the result 


speedily showed their inherent tendency to anarchy ; a tendency 
as perilous to the germs of the new order as to the ruins of the 
old. The experiment was tried once for all, and it left such 
inefiiEuseable memories that it is not probable that any serious 
attempt will be made to repeat it. The incapacity for con- 
struction of the doctrine in which the revolutionary spirit had 
embodied itself was placed beyond the reach of doubt. The 
result was to impress everyone with the deep urgent necessity 
for social renovation ; but the principles of that renovation were 
still left undetermined. 

In this condition of philosophical and political opinion, the connter.n» 
necessity of Order was felt to be paramount, and a long period J^m nU 
of reaction ensued. Dating from the official Deism introduced ^ 
% Bobespierre, it reached its height under the aggressive 
system of Bonaparte, and it was feebly protracted, in spite of 
the peace of 1815, by his insignificant successors. The only 
pennanent result of this period was the historical and doc- 
^riaal evidence brought forward by De Maistre and his school, 
of the social inutility of modem metaphysics, while at the same 
time their intellectual weakness was being proved by the 
saccessful attempts of Cabanis, and still more of Gall, to ex- 
tend the Positive method to the highest biological questions. 
In all other respects this elaborate attempt to prevent the final 
emancipation of Humanity proved a complete failure ; in fact, 
it led to a revival of the instinct of Progress. Strong anti- 
pathies were roused everywhere by these fruitless effi)rts at 
reconstructing a system which had become so entirely obsolete, 
that even those who were labouring to rebuild it no longer 
understood its character or the conditions of its existence. 

A re-awakening of the revolutionary spirit was then in- 
evitable ; and it took place as soon as peace was established, and 
the chief support of the retrograde system had been thus re- 
nioved. The doctrines of negation were called back to life ; 
hut very little illusion now remained as to their capacity for 
^fganising. In want of something better, men accepted them 
^ a means of resisting retrograde principles, just as these last 
^ owed their apparent success to the necessity of checking 
the tendency to anarchy. Amidst these fresh debates on wofu- 
^ut subjects, the public soon became aware that a final solution 
of the question had not yet arisen even in germ. It therefore 
^ucemed itaelf for little except the maintenance of Order and 



Ijiberty; conditions as indispensable for the free action o1 
philosophy as for material prosperity. The whole position wai 
most favourable for the construction of a definite solution ; anc 
it was, in fact, during the last phase of the retrograde move 
ment that the elementary principle of a solution was furnished 
by my discovery in 1822 of the two-fold law of intellectua 
oiiticai The apparent indiflFerence of the public, to whom all the 

ctw«n??ao existing parties seemed equally devoid of insight into the 
political future, was at last mistaken by a blind government for 
tacit consent to its unwise schemes. The cause of Progress waa 
in danger. Then came the memorable crisis of 1830, by which, 
the system of reaction, introduced thirty-six years previously - 
was brought to an end. The convictions which that systeDc 
inspired were indeed so superficial, that its supporters came o 
their own accord to disavow them, and uphold in their ow^ 
fashion the chief revolutionary doctrines. These again yrew 
abandoned by their previous supporters on their accession t. 
power. When the history of these times is written, nothing 
will give a clearer view of the revulsion of feeling on both sides 
than the debates which took place on Liberty of Education. 
Within a period of twenty years, it was alternately demanded 
and refused by both ; and this in behalf of the same principle», 
as they were called, though it was in reality a question of 
interest rather than principle on either side. 

All previous convictions being thus thoroughly upset, more 
room was left for the instinctive feeling of the public ; and the 
question of reconciling the spirit of Order with that of Progre&s 
now came into prominence, as the final mode of stating th^ 
great social problem. But this only made the absence of * 
solution more manifest ; and the principle of the solution e^* 
isted nowhere but in Positivism, which as yet was immature. A.1 
the opinions of the day had become alike utterly incompatible 
both with Order and with Progress. The Conservative school 
undertook to reconcile the two ; but it had no constructive 
power ; and the only result of its doctrines was to give equal 
encouragement to anarchy and to reaction, so as to be ahle 
always to neutralise the one by the other. The establishment 
of Constitutional Monarchy was now put forward as the ultimate 
issue of the great Revolution. But no one could seriously 
place any real confidence in a system so alien to the whole cha* 


Tacter of French history, offering as it did nothing but a super- 
ficial and unwise imitation of a political anomaly essentially 
peculiar to England. 

The period then between 1830 and 1848 may be regarded 
as a natural pause in the political movement. The reaction 
which succeeded the original crisis had exhausted itself; but 
the final or organic phase of the Revolution was still delayed 
for want of definite principles to guide it. No conception had 
been formed of it, except by a small number of philosophic 
minds who had taken their stand upon the recently established 
laws of social science, and had found themselves able, without 
recourse to any chimerical views, to gain some general insight 
into the political future, of which Condorcet, my principal pre- 
decessor, knew so little. But it was impossible for the regene* 
rating doctrine to spread more widely and to be accepted as 
the peaceful solution of social problems, until a distinct refu- 
tation had been given of the false assertion so authoritatively 
made that the parliamentary system was the ultimate issue of 
the Revolution. This notion once destroyed, the work of 
spiritual reorganisation should be left entirely to the free 
efforts of independent thinkers. In these respects our last 
political change (1848) will have accomplished all that is 

Thanks to the instinctive sense and vigour of our working The prêtant 
classes, the reactionist leanings of the Orleanist government, ms-i^^id. 
which had become hostile to the purpose for which it was origi- i8m?nv<at^ 
nally instituted, have at last brought about the final aboli- principUiof 
tion of monarchy in France. The prestige of monarchy had ing Pout!!« 
long been lost, and it now only impeded Progress, without 
being of any real benefit to Order. By its fictitious supremacy 
it directly hindered the work of spiritual reformation, whilst 
the measure of real power which it possessed was insufficient 
to control the wretched political agitation maintained by 
animosities of a purely personal character. 

Viewed negatively, the principle of Republicanism sums up 
the first phase of the Revolution. It precludes the possibility 
of recurrence to Royalism, which, ever since the second half of 
the reign of Louis XIV., has been the rallying point of all 
reactionist tendencies. Interpreting the principle in its 
positive sense, we may regard it as a direct step towards the 
final regeneration of society. By consecrating all human forces 


of whatever kind to the general service of the commnnity, 
republicanism recognises the doctrine of subordinating PoUtics 
to Morals. Of course it is as a feeling rather than as a prin- 
ciple that this doctrine is at present adopted; but it could 
not obtain acceptance in any other way ; and even when put 
forward in a more systematic shape, it is upon the aid of 
feeling that it will principally rely, as I have shown in the pre- 
vious chapter. In this respect France has proved worthy of 
her position as the leader of the great family of Western 
nations, and has in reality already entered upon the normal 
state. Without the intervention of any theological system, ûat 
has asserted the true principle on which society should rest, 
a principle which originated in the Middle Ages under the 
impulse of Catholicism ; but for the general acceptance of 
which a soimder philosophy and more suitable circumstances 
were necessary. The direct tendency, then, of the French 
£epubiic is to sanction the fundamental principle of Positivism, 
the preponderance, namely, of Feeling over Intellect and Acti- 
vity. Starting from this point, public opinion will soon be 
convinced that the work of organising society on republican 
principles is one which can only be performed by the new 
itgiTvspro. The whole position brings into fuller prominence the fun- 

tbe^iem damcutal problem previously proposed, of reconciling Order 
Lg^CT ' and Progress. The urgent necessity of doing so is acknow- 
^BB. ' ledged by all ; but the utter incapacity of any of the existing 
schools of opinion to realise it becomes increasingly evident. 
The abolition of monarchy removes the most important obstacle 
to social Progress ; but at the same time it deprives us of the 
only remaining guarantee for public Order. Thus the time is 
doubly favourable to constructive tendencies ; yet at present 
there are no opinions which possess more than the purely 
negative value of checking, and that very imperfectly, the error 
opposite to their own. In a position which guarantees Prxigres» 
and compromises Order, it is naturally for the latter that the 
greatest anxiety is felt ; and we are still without any organ 
capable of systematically defending it. Yet experience should 
have taught us how extremely fragile every government must 
be which is purely material ; that is, which is based solely upon 
self-interest, and is destitute of sympathies and convictions. 
On the other hand, spiritual order is not to be hoped for at 


ent in the absence of any doctrine which commands general 
ect. Even the social instinct is a force on the political 
e of which we cannot always rely ; for when not based on 
i definite principle, it not un&equently becomes a source 
isturbance. Hence, we are driven back to the continuance 
material system of government, although its inadequacy is 
owledged by all. In a republic, however, such a govem- 
b cannot employ its most efficient instrument, corruption. 
18 to resort instead to repressive measures of a more or 
transitory kind, every time that the danger of anarchy 
mes too threatening. These occasional measures, how- 
» naturally proportion themselves to the necessities of the 
Thus, though Order is exposed to greater perils than 
^ess, it can count on more powerful resources for its defence, 
tly after the publication of the first edition of this work, 
extraordinary outbreak of June 1848, proved that the re- 
ic could call into play, and indeed could push to excess, 
le cause of public Order, forces &r greater than those of 
monarchy* Thus royalty no longer possesses that mon- 
y of preserving Order, which has hitherto induced a few 
3re and thinking men to continue to support it ; and hence- 
1 the sole political characteristic which it retains is that of 
ructing Progress. And yet by another reaction of this 
radictory position of affairs, the monarchical party seems at 
ient to have become the organ of resistance in behalf of 
«rial Order. Retrograde as its doctrines are, yet from their 
retaining a certain organic tendency, the conservative in- 
cts rally round them. To this the progressive instincts 
r no serious obstacle, their insufficiency for the present 
Is being more or less distinctly recognised. It is not to 
monarchical party, however, that we must look for con- 
ative principles ; for in this quarter they are wholly aban- 
d, and imhesitating adoption of every revolutionary prin- 
i is resorted to as a means of retaining power ; so that the 
rines of the revolution would seemed fated to close their 
ence in the retrograde camp. So urgent is the need of 
r that we are driven to accept for the moment a party 
i has lost all its old convictions, and which had apparently 
ne extinct before the Republic began. Positivism, and 
ivism alone, can disentangle and terminate this anomalous 
on. The principle upon which it depends is manifestly 



this : As long as Progress tends towards anarchy, so long 
Order continue to be retrograde. But the retrograde mc 
ment never really attains its object : indeed its principles 
always neutralised by inconsistent concessions. Judged by 
boastful language of its leaders, we might imagine that it 
destroying republicanism; whereas the movement would 
exist at all, but for the peculiar circumstances in which we 
placed ; circumstances which are forced into greater promin< 
by the foolish opposition of most of the authorities. As i 
as the instinct of political improvement has placed itself ui 
systematic guidance, its growth will bear down all résistai 
and then the reason of its present stagnation will be patent 
brings And for this Theology is, unawares, preparing the way. 

ïy^îfie- apparent preponderance places Positivism in precisely 
îootaï^ position which I wished for ten years ago. The two org 
principles can now be brought side by side, and their rela 
strength tested, without the compUcation of any metaphyj 
considerations. For the incoherence of metaphysical syst 
is now recognised, and they are finally decaying under the ' 
political system which seemed at one time likely to pron 
their acceptance. Construction is seen by all to be the tl 
wanted ; and men are rapidly becoming aware of the u 
hollowness of all schools which confine themselves to prot 
against the institutions of theology, while admitting its essen 
principles. So defunct, indeed, have these schools become, 1 
they can no longer fulfil even their old office of destruct 
This has fallen now as an accessory task upon Positivism, wl 
offers the only systematic guarantee against retrogression 
well as against anarchy. Psychologists, strictly so called, 1 
already for the most part disappeared with the fall of < 
stitutional monarchy; so close is the relation between t 
two importations from Protestantism. It seemed likely th 
fore that the Ideologists, their natural rivals, would regain t 
influence with the people. But even they cannot win back 
confidence reposed in them during the great Revolution, bee 
the doctrines in virtue of which it was then given are no^ 
utterly exploded. The most advanced of their number, unwo; 
successors of the school of Voltaire and Danton, have sh 
themselves thoroughly incapable either morally or intellects 
of directing the second phase of the revolution, which the; 


hardly able to distingaish from the first phase. Formerly I 
had taken as their type a man of far superior merit, the noble 
Armand Carrel, whose death was such a grievous loss to the re- 
publican cause* But he was a complete exception to the general 
rule. True republican convictions were impossible with men 
who had been schooled in parliamentary intrigues, and who 
had directed or aided the pertinacious efiForts of the French 
press to rehabilitate the name of Bonaparte. Their accession to 
power was futile ; for they could only maintain material order 
by calling in the retrograde party ; and they soon became mere 
auxiliaries of this party, disgracefully abjuring all their philo- 
sophical convictions. There is one proceeding which, though 
it is but an episode in the course of events, will always remain 
as a test of the true character of this unnatural alliance. I allude 
to the Soman expedition of 1849 ; a detestable and contemptible 
act, for which just penalties will speedily be imposed on all who 
were accessory to it ; not to speak of the damnatory verdict of 
history. But precisely the same hypocritical opposition to 
progress has been exhibited by the other class of Deists, the 
disciples, that is, of Rousseau, who profess to adopt Robespierre's 
policy. Having had no share in the government, they have 
not so entirely lost their hold upon the people ; but they are 
at the present time totally devoid of political coherence. Their 
wild anarchy is incompatible with the general tone of feeling 
maintained by the industrial activity, the scientific spirit, and 
the esthetic culture of modem life. These Professors of the 
Guillotine, as they may be called, whose superficial sophisms 
would reduce exceptional outbreaks of popular fury into a cold- 
blooded system, soon found themselves forced, for the sake of 
popularity, to sanction the law which very properly abolished 
capital punishment for political offences. In the same way 
they are now obliged to disown the only real meaning of the 
red flag which serves to distinguish their party, too vague as it 
is for any other name. Equally wrong have they shown them- 
selves in interpreting the tendencies of the working classes, 
from being so entirely taken up with questions of abstract rights. 
The people have allowed these rights to be taken from them 
without a struggle whenever the cause of Order has seemed to 
require it ; yet they still persist, mechanically, in maintaining 
that it is on questions of this sort that the solution of all our 
difficulties depends* Taking for their political ideal a short 


and anomalous period of our history which is never likely to 
recur, they are always attempting to suppress liberty for the 
sake of what they call progress. In a time of imchangeable 
peace they are the only real supporters of war. Their con- 
ception of the organisation of labour is simply to destroy the 
industrial hierarchy of capitalist and workman established in 
the Middle Ages ; and, in £Bict, in every respect these sophistical 
anarchists are utterly out of keeping with the century in which 
they live. There are some, it is true, who still retain a measure 
of influence with the working classes, incapable and unworthy 
though they are of their position. But their credit is rapidly 
declining ; and it is not likely to become dangerous at a time 
when political enthusiasm is no longer to be won by meta- 
physical prejudices. The only efiFect really produced by this 
party of disorder, is to serve as a bugbear for the benefit of the 
retrograde party, who thus obtain official support from the 
middle class, in a way which is quite contrary to all the prin- 
ciples and habits of that class. It is very improbable that these 
foolish levellers will ever succeed to power. Should they do so, 
however, their reign will be short, and wiU soon result in their 
final extinction ; because it will convince the people of their 
profound incapacity to direct the regeneration of Europe. The 
position of affairs, therefore, is now distinct and clear ; and it 
is leading men to withdraw their confidence from all meta- 
physical schools, as they had already withdrawn it from theology. 
In this general discredit of all the old systems the way becomes 
clear for Positivism, the only school which harmonises with the 
real tendencies as well as with the essential needs of the nine- 
teenth century. 
^nditproTes ^^ ^^^^ explanation of the recent position of French affidrs 
^ty 'Sr* oiiG point yet remains to be insisted on. We have seen from 
îu^pîïer ; the general course of the philosophical, and yet more of the 
ju^ere' political, movement, the urgent necessity for a universal doctrine 
î^sto^' capable of checking erroneous action, and of avoiding or 
i^h^n-^ moderating popular outbreaks. But there is another need 
i'lgSi)^^" equally manifest, the need of a spiritual power, without which 
aa Mtikttu' it would be utterly impossible to bring our philosophy to bear 
upon practical life. Widely divergent as the various metaphysical 
sects are, there is one point in which they all spontaneously 
agree ; that is, in repudiating the distinction between temporal 
and spiritual authority. This ha9 been the great revolutionary 


principle ever since the fourteenth century, and more especially 
since the rise of Protestantism. It originated in repugnance to 
the mediseval system. The so-called philosophers of our time, 
whether psychologists or ideologists, have, like their Greek 
predecessors, always aimed at a complete concentration of all 
social powers ; and they have even spread this delusion among 
the students of special sciences. At present there is no appre- 
ciation, except in the Positive system, of that instinctive 
sagacity which led all the great men of the Middle Ages to 
institute for the first time the separation of moral from political 
authority. It was a masterpiece of human wisdom ; but it was 
piemature^ and could not be permanently successful at a time 
when men were still governed on theological principles, and 
practical life still retained its military character. This sepa- 
ration of powers, on which the final organisation of society 
will principally depend, is understood and valued nowhere but in 
the new school of philosophy, if we except the unconscious and 
tacit admiration for it which still exists in the countries from 
which Protestantism has been excluded. From the outset of 
the Revolution, the pride of theorists has always made them 
wish to become socially despotic ; a state of things to which 
they have ever looked forward as their political ideal. Public 
opinion has by this time grown far too enlightened to allow any 
pnictical realisation of a notion at once so chimerical and so 
retrogtade. But public opinion not being as yet sufficiently 
organised, efibrts in this direction are constantly being made. 
The longing among metaphysical reformers for practical as 
fellas theoretical supremacy is now greater than ever ; because, 
from the changed state of affairs, their ambition is «no longer 
lûûited to mere administrative functions. Their various views 
diverge so widely, and all find so little sympathy in the public, 
that there is not much fear of their ever being able to check 
free discussion to any serious extent by giving legal sanction to 
their own particular doctrine. But quite enough has been 
•ttempted to convince everyone how essentially despotic every 
theory of society must be which opposes this fundamental prin- 
ciple of modem polity, the permanent separation of spiritual 
from temporal power. The disturbances caused by meta- 
physical ambition corroborate, then, the view urged so con- 
elosively by the adherents of the new school, that this division 
of powers is equally essential to Order and to Progress. If 


Positivist thinkers continue to withstand all temptations to mix 
actively in politics, and go on quietly with their own work 
amidst the unmeaning agitation around them, they will 
ultimately make the impartial portion of the public fiaimiliar 
with this great conception. It will henceforth be judged 
irrespectively of the religious doctrines with which it was 
originally connects. Men will involuntarily contrast it with 
other systems, and will see more and more clearly that Positive 
principles aflFord the only basis for true freedom as well as for 
true union. They alone can tolerate full discussion, because 
they alone rest upon solid proof. Men's practical wisdom, 
s^iided by the peculiar nature of our political position, will re- 
act strongly upon philosophers and keep them strictly to their 
sphere of moral and intellectual influence. The slightest 
tendency towards the assumption of political power will be 
checked, and the desire for it will be considered as a certain 
sign of mental weakness, and indeed of moral deficiency. Now 
that royalty is abolished, all true thinkers are secure of perfect 
freedom of thought, and even of expression, as long as they 
abide by the necessary conditions of public order. Royalty waa 
the last remnant of the system of castes, which gave the 
monopoly of deciding on important social questions to a special 
family ; its abolition completes the process of theological 
emancipation. Of course the magistrates of a republic may 
show despotic tendencies; but they can never become veiy 
dangerous where power is held on so brief a tenure, and where» 
even when concentrated in a single person, it emanates from 
suffrage, incompetent as that may be. It is easy for the 
Positivist to show that these functionaries know very little m(xt^ 
than their constituents of the logical and scientific conditions 
necessary for the systematic working out of moral and social 
doctrines. Such authorities, though devoid of any spiritual 
sanction, may, however, command obedience in the name of 
Order. But they can never be really respected, unless they 
adhere scrupulously to their temporal functions, without claims 
ing the least authority over thought. Even before the cential 
power falls into the hands of men really fit to wield it, the 
republican character of our government will have forced this 
conviction upon a nation that has now got rid of all political 
fanaticism, whether of a retrograde or anarchical kind. And 
the conviction is the more certain to arise, because practical 


authorities will become more and more absorbed in the main- 
tenance of material order, and will therefore leave the question 
of spiritual order to the unrestricted efforts of thinkers. It is 
neither by accident nor through personal influence that my 
own career exhibits so large an advance in freedom of expression, 
whether in my writings or subsequently in public lectures, and 
this under governments all of which were more or less oppres- 
sive. Every true philosopher will receive the same licence, if, 
like myself, he offers the intellectual and moral guarantees 
which the public and the civil power are fairly entitled to expect 
from the systematic organs of Humanity. The necessity of 
controlling levellers may lead to occasional acts of unwise 
violence. But I am convinced that respect will always be 
shown to constructive thinkers, and that they will soon be called 
in to the assistance of public order, which will not be able to 
exist much longer without the sanction of some rational 
The result then, of the important political chancres which The need of 

1 , r r o ^ spiritual 

have recently taken place is this. The second phase of the power is 

Di« t • t t • 1 1 1 «i-i n ^ common to 

Acvolution, which hitherto has been restricted to a few ad- the whole 
vanced minds, is now being entered by the public, and men western 
are rapidly forming juster views of its true character. It 
is becoming recognised that the only firm basis for a reform 
of our political institutions, is a complete reorganisation of 
<»pinion and of life ; and the way is open for the new religious 
4ctrine to direct this work. I have thus explained the way in 
which the social mission of Positivism connects itself with the 
spontaneous changes which are taking place in France, the 
centre of the revolutionary movement. But France will not 
!« the only scene of these reorganising efforts. Judging on 
î^und historical principles, we cannot doubt that they will em- 
hrace the whole extent of Western Europe. 

During the five centuries of revolutionary transition which 
have elapsed since the Middle Ages, we have lost sight of the 
^^ that in all fundamental questions the Western nations 
form one political system. It was under Catholic Feudalism 
that they were first united ; a union for which their incorpora- 
tion into the Roman empire had prepared them, and which was 
Aostllj organised by the incomparable genius of Charlemagne. 
In spite of national differences, embittered as they were after- 
wards by theological discord, this great Republic has in modem 


times shown intellectual and social growth both in the positive 
and negative direction, to which other portions of the hnman 
race, even in Europe, can show no parallel. The dismption of 
Catholicism, and the decline of Chivalry, at first seriously im- 
paired this feeling of relationship. But it soon began to show 
itself again imder new forms. It rests now upon the basis, 
inadequate though it be, of community in industrial develop- 
ment, in esthetic culture, and in scientific discoveiy. Aiûidst 
the disorganised state of political affairs, which have obviously 
been tending towards some radical change, this similarity in 
civilisation has produced a growing conviction that we are all 
participating in one and the same social movement ; a move- 
ment limited as yet to our own family of nations. The first 
step in the great crisis was necessarily taken by the Frendi 
nation,because it was better prepared than any other. It was there 
that the old order of things had been most thoroughly uprooted, 
and that most had been done in working out the materials of 
the new. But the strong sympathies which the outbreak of our 
revolution aroused in every part of Western Europe, showed 
that our sister-nations were but granting us the honourable post 
of danger in a movement in which all the nobler portion of 
Humanity was to participate. And this was the feeling pro- 
claimed by the great republican assembly in the midst of its 
war of defence. The military extravagances which followed, 
and which form the distinguishing feature of the coxmter-revolo-' 
tion, of course checked the feeling of union on both sides* 
But so deeply was it rooted in all the antecedents of modéra 
history that peace soon restored it to life, in spite of the per-* 
tinacious efforts of all parties interested in maintaining un^- 
natural separation between France and other countries. What 
greatly facilitates this tendency is the decline of every form of 
theology, which removes the chief source of former disagree 
ment. During the last phase of the counter-revolution, asd 
still more during the long pause in the political movement 
which followed, each member of the group entered upon a 
series of revolutionary efforts more or less resembling those of 
the central nation. And our recent political changes cannot 
but strengthen this tendency; though of course with nations 
less fully prepared the results of these efforts have at present 
been less important than in France. Meanwhile it is evident 
that this uniform condition of internal agitation gives increased 


security for peace, by which its extension had been originally 
&cilitated. And thus, although there is no organised inter- 
national union resembling that of the Middle Ages, yet the 
pacific habits and intellectual culture of modem life have already 
been so diffused as to call out an instinct of fraternity stronger 
than any that has ever existed before, and sufficient to prevent 
the subject of social regeneration from being ever regarded as a 
merely national question. 

And this is the point of view which displays the character 
of the second phase of the Revolution in its truest light. The 
first phase, although in its results advantageous to other nations, 
^as necessarily conducted as if peculiar to France, because no 
other country was ripe for the original outbreak. Indeed 
French nationality was stimulated by the necessity of resisting 
the counter-revolutionary coalition. But the final and construe- 
tive phase, which has begun now that the national limits of the 
crisis have been reached, should always be regarded as common to 
the whole of Western Europe. For it consists «ssentially in 
spiritual reorganisation : and the need of this in one shape or 
other presses already with almost equal force upon each of the 
five nations who make up the great Western family. Con- 
versely, the more occidental the character of the reforming 
movement, the greater will be the prominence given to in- 
tellectual and moral regeneration as compared with mere 
modifications of government, in which of course there must be 
very considerable national differences. The first social need of 
Western Europe is community in belief and in habits of life ; 
^d this must be based upon a uniform system of education 
oontrolled and applied by a spiritual power that shall be 
'Wîcepted by all. This want satisfied, the reconstruction of 
governments may be carried out in accordance with the 
special requirements of each nation. Difference in this respect 
is legitimate: it will not affect the essential unity of the 
Positivist Republic, which will be bound together by more 
complete and durable ties than the Catholic Republic of the 
Kiddle Ages. 

Not only then do we find from the whole condition of 
Western Europe that the movement of opinion transcends in 
importance all political agitation ; but we find that everything 
points to the necessity of establishing a spiritual power, as the 
sole means of directing this extension and systematic reform of 



opinion and of life with the requisite consistency and large- 
ness of view. We now see that the old revolutionary prejudice 
of confounding temporal and spiritual power is directly an- 
tagonistic to social regeneration, although it once aided the 
preparation for it. In the first place it stimulates the sense 
of nationality, which ought to be subordinate to larger feelings 
of international fraternity. And at the same time, with the 
view of satisfying the conditions of imiformity which are so 
obviously required for the solution of the common problem, 
it encourages efforts for forcible incorporation of all the nations 
into one, efforts as dangerous as they are fruitless. 
iji Repnb- My work on Positive Philosophy contains a detailed his- 
i ï^uan!* torical explanation of what I mean by the expression. Western 
1? and ' Europe. But the conception is one of such importance in rel2h 


)uiation8 tion to the questions of our time, that I shall now proceed to 
Hid enumerate and arrange in their order the elements of which 

ince as 

ir centre, this great family of nations consists. 

Since the fall of the Soman empire, and more especially 
from the time of Charlemagne, France has always been the 
centre, socially as well as geographically, of this Western 
region which may be called the nucleus of Humanity. On the 
one great occasion of imited political action on the part of 
Western Eiurope, that is, in the crusades of the 11th and 12th 
century, it was evidently France that took the initiative. It 
is true that when the decomposition of Catholicism began to 
assume a systematic form, the centre of the movement for two 
centuries shifted its position. It was Germany that gave birth to 
the metaphysical principles of negation. Their first political 
application was in the Dutch and English revolutions, which, 
incomplete as they were, owing to insufficient intellectual pre^ 
paration, yet served as preludes to the great final crisis* 
These preludes were most important as showing the real 
social tendency of the critical doctrines ; but it was reserved 
for France to co-ordinate these doctrines into a consistent system 
and to propagate them successfully. France then resumed her 
position as the principal centre in which the great moral and 
political questions were to be worked out. And this position 
she will in all probability retain, as in fact it is only a recur* 
rence to the normal organisation of the Western Republic 
which had been temporarily modified to meet special conditions. 
Fresh displacements of the centre of the social movement are 


•t to be expected, unless in a future too distant to engage our 
tention. They can indeed only be the result of wide ex- 
nsion of our advanced civilisation beyond European limits, 
. will be explained in the conclusion of this work. 

North and south of this natvutil centre, we find two pairs 
: nations, between which France will always form an inter- 
lediate link, partly from her geographical position, and also 
:om her language and manners. The first pair is for the most 
art, Protestant. It comprises, first, the great Germanic body, 
^Ib the numerous nations that may be regarded as its off- 
shoots ; especially Holland, which, since the Middle Ages, has 
Wn in every respect the most advanced portion of Grermany. 
Secondly, Great Britain, with which may be classed the 
United States, notwithstanding their present attitude of rivalry. 
The second pair is exclusively Catholic. It consists of the 
great Italian nationality, which in spite of political divisions 
bas always maintained its distinct character ; and of the popula- 
tion of the Spanish peninsula, (for Portugal, sociologically 
considered, is not to be separated from Spain,) which has so 
largely increased the Western family by its cok»nie8. To com- 
plete the conception of this group of advanced nations, we must 
add two accessory members, Greece and Poland, countries 
^hich, though situated in Eastern Europe, are connected with 
the West, the one by ancient history, the other by modern. 
Besides these, there are various intermediate nationalities 
^hich I need not now enumerate, connecting or demarcating 
the more important branches of the family. 

In this vast Republic it is that the new philosophy is to 
find its sphere of intellectual and moral action ; the object 
heing so to modify the initiative of the central nation by the 
reacting influences of the other foiu*, as to give increased 
efficiency to the general movement. It is a task eminently 
^Iculated to test the social capabilities of Positivism, and for 
^hich no other system is qualified. The Metaphysical spirit 
i^^ as unfit for it as the theological. The disruption of the 
Diediaeval system is due to the decadence of theology ; but the 
direct agency in the rupture was the solvent force of the meta- 
physical spirit. Neither, therefore, is likely to recombine 
elements the sepsuration of which is principally due to their own 
conceptions. It is entirely to the spontaneous action of the 
Positive spirit that we owe those new though insufficient links 

F 2 


of union, whether industrial, artistic, or scientific, which, since 

the close of the jVIiddle Ages, have been leading us more and 

more decidedly to a reconstruction of the Western alliance. 

And now that Positivism has assumed its matured and systematic 

form, its competence for the work is even more unquestionable. 

It alone can effectually remove the national antipathies which still 

exist. But it will do this without impairing the natural qualities 

of any of them ; its object being by a wise combination of these 

qualities, to develop imder a new form the feeling of a common 


iHtion of By extending the social movement to its proper limits, we 

mtdiae- thus exhibit on a larger scale the same features that were 

*hich we noticed when France alone was being: considered. Abroad or 

B tho fifat 

emptto at home, every great social problem that arises proves that the 
lai from oljject of the secoud revolutionary phase is a reorganisation of 
ler. principles and of life. By this means a body of public opinion 
will be formed of suflBcient force to lead gradually to the growth 
of new political institutions adapted to the special requirements 
of each nation, under the general superintendence of the spiritual 
power, from whom our fundamental principles have proceeded. 
The general spirit of these principles is essentially historical, 
whereas the tendency of the negative phase of the revolution was 
anti-historical. Without blind hatred of the past, men would 
never have had suflScient energy to abandon the old system. 
But henceforth the best evidence of having attained complete 
emancipation will be the rendering full justice to the past in 
all its phases. This is the most characteristic feature of that 
relative spirit which distinguishes Positivism. The surest sign 
of superiority, whether in persons or systems, is fair apprecia- 
tion of opponents. And this must always be the tendency o 
social science when rightly understood, since its prevision o 
the future is avowedly based upon systematic examination o 
the past. It is the only way in which the free and yet universal- 
adoption of general principles of social reconstruction can eveiC 
be possible. Such reconstruction, viewed by the light o^ 
Sociology, will be regarded as a necessary link in the series o:^ 
human development ; and thus many confused and incoherent 
notions suggested by the arbitrary beliefs hitherto prevalen"^ 
will finally disappear. The growth of public opinion in thi^ 
respect is aided by the increasing strength of social feelingr* 
Both combine to encourage the historical spirit which dis* 


tingiiishes the second period of the Hevolution, as we see indi- 
cated already in so many of the popular sympathies of the day. 
Acting on this principle, Positivists will always acknowledge 
the close relation between their own system and the memorable 
effort of mediaeval Catholicism. In offering for the acceptance 
of H'omanity a new organisation of life, we would not dissociate 
it with all that is gone before. On the oontrary, it is our 
boast that we are but proposing for her maturity the accomplish- 
ment of the noble effort of her youth, made under intellectual 
and social conditions which precluded the possibility of success. 
We are too full of the future to fear any serious charge of retro- 
gression towards the past ; and such a charge would come 
strangely from those of oiur opponents whose political ideal is 
that amalgamation of temporal and spiritual power which was 
adopted by the theocratic or military systems of ajitiquity. 

The separation of these powers in the Middle Ages is the 
greatest advance ever yet made in the theory of social Order. 
It was imperfectly effected, because the time waa not ripe for 
it; but enough was done to show the object of the separation, 
and some of its principal results were partially arrived at. It 
originated the fundamental doctrine of modem social life, the 
subordination of Politics to Morals ; a doctrine which in spite 
of the most obstinate resistance has siurvived the decline of the 
religion which first proclaimed it. We see it now sanctioned 
hy a republican government which has shaken off the fetters of 
^hat religion more completely than any other^, A further result 
of the separation is the keen sense of personal honour, combined 
*ith geneiul fraternity, which distinguishes Western nations, 
^cially those who have been preserved from Protestantism 
To the same source is due the general feeling that men slioulil 
^judged by their intellectual and moral worth, irrespectively 
of social position, yet without upsetting that subordination of 
fla«ses wliich is rendered necessary by the requirements of 
Practical life. And this has accustomed all classes to free dis- 
cussion of moral and even of political questions; since every 
one feels it a right and a duty to judge actions and persons by 
the general principles which a common system of education has 
inculcated alike on all. I need not enlarge on the value of the 
mediaeval church in organising the political system of Western 
Europe, in which there was no olher recognised principle of 
union. AU these social results are usually attributed to the 


excellence of the Christian doctrine ; but history when fairly 
examined shows that the source from which they are principally 
derived is the Catholic principle of separating the two powers. 
For these eflfects are nowhere \'isible except in the couintries 
where this separation has been effected, although a similar code 
of morals and indeed a faith identically the same has been 
received elsewhere. Besides, although sanctioned by the 
general tone of modern life, they have been neutralised to a 
considerable extent by the decline of the Catholic organisation, 
and this especially in the countries where the greatest efforts 
liave been made to restore the doctrine to its original purity 
and power. 

In these respects Positivism has already appreciated 
Catholicism more adequately than any of its own defenders, 
not even excepting De Maistre himself, as indeed some of the 
more candid organs of the retrograde school have allowed. 
But the merit of Catholicism does not merely depend on the 
magnitude of the task allotted to it in the long series of human 
<levelopment. What adds to the glory of its efforts is that, as 
history clearly proves, they were in advance of their time. The 
political failure of Catholicism resulted from the imperfection 
of its doctrines, and the resistance of the social medium in 
wliich it worked. It is true that Monotheism is far more com- 
patible with the separation of powers than Polytheism* But 
from the absolute character of every kind of theology, there 
was always a tendency in the mediîBval system to degenerate 
into mere theocracy. In fact, the proximate cause of its 
decline was the increased development of this tendency in 
the fourteenth century, and the resistance which it provoked 
among the kings, who stood forward to represent the general 
voice of condemnation. Again, though separation of powers 
was less diflBcult in the defensive system of mediaeval warfare 
tlian in the aggressive system of antiquity, yet it is thoroughly 
repugnant to the military spirit in all its phases, because ad- 
verse to . the concentration of authority which is requisite in 
war. And thus it was never thoroughly realised, except in 
the conceptions of a few leading men among both the spiritual 
and the temporal class. Its brief success was principally caused 
by a temporary combination of circumstances. It was for the 
most part a condition of very imstable equilibrimn, oscillating 
between theocracy and imperialism. 


But Positive civilisation will accomplish what in the Middle But the me 
Ages could only be attempted. We are aided, not merely by tompïwî'» 
the example of the Middle Ages, but by the preparatory labours aJId"pSirir 
of the last five centuries. New modes of thought have arisen, n^ JiU ™ 
and practical life has assiuned new phases ; and all are alike *^™p^*® ^^• 
tending towards the separation of powers. What in the Middle 
Ages was but dimly foreseen by a few ardent and aspiring minds, 
becomes now an inevitable and obvious result, instinctively felt 
and formally recognised by all. From the intellectual point of 
view, it is nothing more than the distinction between theory 
and practice ; a distinction which is already admitted more or 
less formally throughout civilised Europe in subjects of less im- 
portance ; which therefore it would be imreasonable to abandon 
in the most difficult of all arts and sciences. Viewed socially, 
it implies the separation of education from action ; or of morals 
from politics ; and few would deny that the maintenance of this 
separation is one of the greatest blessings of our progressive 
civilisation. The distinction is of equal importance to morality 
and to liberty. It is the only way of bringing opinion and con- 
duct under the control of principle : for the most obvious appli- 
cation of a principle has little weight when it is merely an act of 
o^^ence to a special command. Taking the more general 
question of bringing our political forces into harmony, it seems 
clear that theoretical and practical power are so totally distinct 
in origin and operation, whether in relation to the heart, intel- 
lect, or character, that the functions of counsel and of command 
^ugbt never to belong to the same organs. All attempts to 
'uiite them are at once retrograde and visionary, and if success- 
W would lead to the intolerable government of mediocrities 
dually unlit for either kind of power. But as I shall show in 
^te following chapters, this principle of separation will soon find 
increasing support among women and the working classes ; the 
^^0 elements of society in which we find the greatest amoimt 
of good sense and right feeling. 

Modem society is, in fact, already ripe for the adoption of 
this fundamental principle of polity ; and the opposition to it 
proceeds almost entirely from its connection with doctrines of 
the mediaeval church which have now become deservedly obsolete. 
But there will be an end of these revolutionary prejudices 
imong all impartial observers as soon as the principle is seen 
embodied in Positivism, the only doctrine which is wholly dis- 


connected with Theology. All human conceptions, all social 
improvements originated imder theological influence, as we see 
proved clearly in many of the humblest details of life. But 
this has never prevented Humanity from finally appropriating 
to herself the results of the creeds which she has outgrown. 
And so it will be with this great political principle; it has 
already become obsolete except for the Positive school, whicl 
has verified inductively all the minor truths implied in it. Tb< 
only direct attacks against it come from the metaphysicians 
whose ambitious aspirations for absolute authority would b 
thwarted by it. It is they who attempt to fasten on Positivisîi 
the stigma of theocracy: a strange and in most cases disii 
genuous reproach, seeing that PositiNista are distinguished fro: 
their opponents by discarding all beliefs which supersede tl 
necessity for discussion. The fact is that serious disturbanc 
will soon be caused by the pertinacious efforts of these adherent 
of pedantocracy to regulate by law what ought to be left t 
moral influences ; and then the public will become more aliv< 
to the necessity of the Positivist doctrine of systematicallj 
separating political from moral government. The latter shoulc 
be understood to rely exclusively on the forces of convictioi 
and persuasion ; its influence on action being simply that o 
counsel ; whereas the former employs direct compulsion, base^ 
upon superiority of physical force. 

We now imderstand what is meant by the constructive cha 
racter of the second revolutionary phase. It implies a union ( 
the social aspirations of the Middle Ages with the wise pel 
tical instincts of the Convention. In the interval of these tv 
periods the more advanced nations were without any bystemat 
organisation, and were abandoned to the twofold process 
transition, which was decomposing the old order and preparix 
the new. Both these preliminary steps are now sufficient! 
accomplished. The desire for social regeneration has becooQ 
too strong to be resisted, and a philosophical system capable c 
directing it has already arisen. The task, therefore, that lie 
now before us is to recommence on a better intellectual an» 
social basis the great effort of Catholicism, namely, to brin; 
Western Europe to a social system of peaceful activity an 
intellectual culture, in which Thought and Action should I 
subordinated to imiversal Love. Eeconstruction will begin { 


tie points where demolition began previously. The dissolution 
of the old organism began in the fourteenth century by the 
destruction of its international character. Conversely, reorgan- 
isation begins by satisfying the intellectual and moral wants 
common to the five Western nations. 

And here, since the object of this chapter is to explain the The Ethical 

•' r r MTstem of 

social value of Positivism, I may show briefly that it leads Podtiviam. 
necessarily to the formation of a definite system of imiversal 
Morality; this being the ultimate object of all Philosophy, 
and the starting-point of all Polity. Since it is by its moral 
code that every spiritual power must be principally tested, 
this will be the best mode of judging of the relative merits of 
Positivism and Catholicism. 

To the Positivist the object of Morals is to make our sym- gjj^^"^* 
pathetic instincts preponderate as far as possible over the ÏJ^^^°^!^ 
selfish instincts ; social feelings over personal feelings. This g^^ ç«^ 
way of viewing the subject is peculiar to the new philosophy, ^^^*^ 
for no other system has included the more recent additions to ▼o»" ^^^J* . 
the theory of human nature, of which Catholicism gave so gnîd1)y ôîl 
imperfect a representation. ganiaed ana 

It is one of the first principles of Biology that organic life 'o^** 
always preponderates over animal life. By this principle the 
^ciologist explains the superior strength of the self-regarding 
instincts, which are all connected more or less closely with the . 
instinct of self-preservation. But although there is no evading 
tliis fact, Sociology shows that it is compatible with the existence 
of benevolent atfections ; aifections which Catholicism had as- 
^ned to be altogether alien to our nature, and to be entirely 
dependent on superhuman Grace derived from a sphere beyond 
the reach of Law. The great problem, then, is to raise social 
teeling by artificial effort to the position which, in the natiural 
œndition, is held by selfish feeling. The solution is to be found 
in another biological principle, namely, that functions and 
organs are developed by constant exercise, and atrophied by 
prolonged inaction. Now the efiect of the Social state is, tliat 
while our sympathetic instincts are constantly stimulated, the 
s*îlfish propensities are restricted ; since, if free play were given 
^0 them, human intercourse would very shortly become im- 
P^Siible. ITius it compensates to some extent the natural 
w^jakness of the Sympathies that they are capable of almost 


indefinite extension, whilst Self-love meets inevitably with & 
more or less efficient check. Both these tendencies naturally 
increase with the progress of Humanity, and their increase is 
the best measure of the degree of perfection that we have at- 
tained. Their growth, though spontaneous, may be materially 
hastened by the organised intervention both of individuals and 
of society, the object being to increase all favourable influenoei 
and diminish the unfavourable. This is the object of the art c 
Morals. Like every other art, it is restricted within certai 
limits. But in this case the limits are less narrow, becaui 
the phenomena, being more complex, are also more modifiabl 
Positive morality differs therefore from that of theological j 
well as of metaphysical systems. Its primary principle is tJ 
preponderance of Social Sympathy. Full and free expansion < 
the benevolent emotions is made the first condition of ind 
vidual and social well-being, since these emotions are at onceth 
sweetest to experience, and are the only feelings which can fini 
expression simultaneously in all. The doctrine is as deep m 
pure as it is simple and true. It is eminently characteristic o 
a philosophy which, by virtue of its attribute of reality, subordi 
nates all scientific conceptions to the social point of view, as tl] 
sole point from which they can be co-ordinated into a whol 
The intuitive methods of metaphysics could never advance wit 
any consistency beyond the sphere of the individual. Theolog 
especially Christian theology, could only rise to social conce] 
tions by an indirect process, forced upon it, not by its pri 
ciples, but by its practical functions» Intrinsically, its spii 
was altogether personal ; the highest object placed before ea« 
indi\âdual was the attainment of his own salvation, and t 
human affections were made subordinate to the love of Gc 
It is true that the first training of our higher feelings is due 
theological systems ; but their moral value depended main 
on the wisdom of the priesthood. They compensated the d 
fects of their doctrine, and at that time no better doctrine wi 
available, by taking advantage of the antagonism which nati 
rally presented itself between the interests of the imaginai 
and those of the real world. The moral value of Positi\4sm, ( 
the contrary, is inherent in its doctrine, and can be large 
developed independently of any spiritual discipline, though n 
so far as to dispense with the necessity for such disciplh 
Thus, while the science of morals is made far more consiste 


by being placed in ita true connection >vith the rest of our 
knowledge, the sphere of natural morality is widened by bring- 
ing human life, individually and collectively, under the direct 
and continuous influence of Social Feeiing. 

1 have stated that Positive morality is brought into a co- interme. 
herent and ^stematic form by its principle of universal love, tween auir. 
iliis pnnciple must now be examined nrst m its application to yenai bene- 
the separate aspects of the subject, and subsequently as the the domc»tio 

Affect io tin * 

means by which the various parts may be co-ordinated. nuai, fraùr. 

There are three successive states of morality answering to gaiiSutti. 
the three principal stages of human life ; the personal, the 
domestic, and the social stage. The succession represents the 
gradual training of the sympathetic principle ; it is drawn out 
fctep by step by a series of aiîections whicli, as it diminishes in 
intensity, increases in dignity. This series forms our best 
resource in attempting as fair as possible to reach the normal 
state ; subordination of self-love to social feeling. These are 
the two extremes in the scale of human ati'ections ; but between 
them there is an intermediate degree, namely, domestic at- 
tachment, and it is on this that the solution of the great moral 
problem depends. The love of his family leads Man out of his 
original state of Self-love and enables him to attain finally a 
sulhcient measure of Social love. Every attempt on the part of 
the moral educator to call this last into immediate action, 
regardless of the intermediate st^ge, is to be condemned as 
utterly chimerical and profoimdly injmious. Such attempts 
^e regarded in the present day with tar too favourable an eye. 
i'arfrom being a sign of social progress, they would, if successful, 
l)e an immense step backwards ; the feeling which inspires them 
^^ one of perverted admiration for antiquity. 

Since the importance of domestic lite is so great as a transi- 
tion from sellish to social feeling, a systematic view of its rela- 
tions will be the best mode of explaining the spirit of Positive 
Diorality, which is in every respect based upon the order found 
iû nature. 

The first germ of social feeling is seen in the affection of 

^e child for its parents. Filial love is the starting-point of 

our moral education : from it springs the instinct of Continuity, 

and consequently of reverence for our ancestors. It is the first 

tk by which the new being feels himself bound to the whole 

past history of Man. Brotherly love comes next, implanting 


the instinct of Solidarity, that is to say of union with our con- 
temporaries : and thus we have already a sort of outline of 
social existence. With maturity new phases of feeling are de- 
veloped. Relationships are formed of an entirely voluntary nature; 
which have therefore a still more social character than the in- 
voluntary ties of earlier years. This second stage in moral 
education begins with conjugal aflfection, the most important of 
all, in which perfect fullness of devotion is secured by the re- 
ciprocity and indissolubility of the bond. It is the highest type 
of all sympathetic instincts, and has appropriated to itself in a 
special sense the name of Love. From this most perfect of 
unions proceeds the last in the series of domestic sympathies, 
parental love. It completes the training by which Nature pre- 
pares us for universal sympathy : for it teaches us to care for 
our successors ; and thus it binds us to the Future, as filial love 
had bound us to the Past, 

I placed the voluntary class of domestic sympathies after 
the involuntary, because it was the natural order of indi\idual 
development, and it thus bore out my statement of the necessity 
of family life as an intermediate stage between personal and 
social life. But in treating more directly of the theory of the 
Family as the constituent element of the body politic, the in- 
verse order should be followed. In that case conjugal attachment 
would come first, as being the feeling through which the ÊBunily 
comes into existence as a new social unit, which in many cases 
consists simply of the original pair. Domestic sympathy, when 
once formed by marriage, is perpetuated first by parental then 
by filial affection ; it may afterwards be developed by the tie of 
brotherhood, the only relation by which different families can be 
brought into direct contact. The order followed here is that of 
decrease in intensity, and increase in extension. The feeling of 
fraternity, which I place last, because it is usually least power- 
ful, will be seen to be of primary invportance when regarded as 
the transition from domestic to social affections ; it is, indeed, 
the natural type to which all social sympathies conform. But 
there is yet another intermediate relation, without which this 
brief exposition of the theory of the family would be incomplete; 
I mean the relation of household servitude, which may be called 
indifferently domestic or social. It is a relation which at the 
present time is not properly appreciated on account of our dis- 
like to all subjection; and yet the word domestic is enough to 


remind us that in every normal state of Humanity it supplies 
-what would otherwise be a want in household relations. Its 
value lies in completing the education of the social instinct by 
sk special apprenticeship in obedience and command; both being 
subordinated to the universal principle of mutual sympathy. 

The object of the preceding remarks was to show rapidly 
the efficacy of the Positive method in moral questions by ap- 
plying it to the most important of all moral theories, the theory 
of the &mily. Fuller treatment of the subject will be pre- 
aented in subsequent portions of this work. I would call atten- 
tion, however, to the beneficial influence of Positivism on 
personal morality. Actions which hitherto had always been 
referred even by Catholic philosophers to personal interests, 
are now brought under the great principle of Love on which 
the whole Positive doctrine is based. 

Feelings are only to be developed by constant exercise ; f^^'J^^ 
and exercise is most necessary when the intrinsic energy of the JJ^"**^^ 
feeling is least. It is therefore quite contrary to the true spirit 
of moral education to degrade duty in questions of personal 
morality to a mere calculation of self-interest. Of course in 
this elementary part of Ethics it is easier to estimate the con- 
sequences of actions, and to show the personal utility of the 
rules enjoined. But this method of procedure inevitably stimu- 
lates the self-regarding propensities, which are already too pre- 
ponderant, and the exercise of which ought as far as possible to 
he discouraged. Besides, it often results in practical failure. 
To leave the decision of such questions to the judgment of the 
individual, is to give a formal sanction to all the natural dif- 
ferences in men's inclinations. When the only motive urged 
13 consideration for personal consequences, everyone feels him- 
self to be the best judge of these, and modifies the rule at his 
pleasure. Positivism, guided by a truer estimate of the facts, 
entirely remodels this elementary part of Ethics. Its appeal 
is to social feeling and not to personal ; since the actions in 
question are of a kind in which the individual is far from being 
the only person interested. For example, such virtues as tem- 
P^f^ce aud chastity are inculcated by the Positivist on other 
pounds than those of their personal advantages. He will not 
^^ course be blind to their individual value ; but this is an 
*^P^ on which he will not dwell too much, for fear of con- 
^^trating attention on self-interest. At all events, he will 


never make it the basis of his precepts, but will invariably rest 
them upon their social value. There are cases in which men 
are preserved by an unusually stron^a^ constitution from the in- 
jurious effects of intemperance or libertinage: but such men 
are bound to sobriety and continence as rigorously as the rest, 
because without these virtues they cannot perform their social 
duties rightly. Even in the commonest of personal virtues, 
cleanliness, this alteration in the point of view may be made 
with advantage. A simple sanitary regulation is thus ennobled 
by knowing that the object of it is to make each one of us 
more fit for the service of others. In this way, and in no other, 
can moral education assiune its true character at the verv outset. 
We shall become habituated to the feeling of subordination to 
Hiunanity, even in our smallest actions. It is in these that we 
should be trained to gain the mastery over the lower propen- 
sities: and the more so that in these simple cases it is less 
difficult to appreciate their consequences. 

The influence of Positivism on personal morality is in 
itself a proof of its superiority to other systems. Its superiority 
in domestic morality we have already seen, and yet this was 
the best aspect of Catholicism, forming indeed the principal 
basis of its admirable moral code. On social morality strictly 
so called I need not dwell at length. Here the value of the 
new philosophy will be more direct and obvious, the fact of it5 
standing at the social point of view being the very featiure which 
distinguishes it from all other systems. In defining the mutnal 
duties arising from the various relations of life, or again in 
giving solidity and extension to the instinct of our common 
fraternity, neither theological nor metaphysical morality can 
bear comparison with Positivism. Its precepts are adapted 
without difficulty to the special reqmrements of each case, 
because they are ever in harmony with the general laws of 
society and of human nature. But on these obvious character- 
istics of Positivism I need not farther enlarge, as I shall have 
other occasions for referring to them. 

After this brief exposition of Positive morality I must allude 
with equal brevity to the means by which it will be established 
and applied. These are of two kinds. The first lay down the 
foundations of moral training for each individual ; they furnish 
principles, and they regulate feelings. The second carry out 
the work begun, and insure the application of the principles 


inculcated to practical life. Both these functions are in the 
fiist instance performed spontaneously, under the influence of 
tine doctrine and of the sympathies evoked by it. But for 
t: leir adequate performance a spiritual power specially devoted 
±,0 the purpose is necessary. 

The moral education of the Positivist is based both upon Moral edn- 

^ cation con- 

Keason and on Feeling, the latter having always the* preponder- Jl/^^Ji^ 
ïàDce, in accordance with the primary principle of the system. Jj^™ ©""eSi. 
The result of the rational basis is to bring moral precepts ^^^JJJjJ^^^ 
t^the test of rigorous demonstration, and to secure them against Jjj^j^^^^" 
all danger from discussion, by showing that they rest upon the sympathies, 
laws of our individual and social nature. By knowing these 
law8, we are enabled to form a judgment of the influence of 
each affection, thought, action, or habit, be that influence 
direct or indirect, special or general, privately or publicly ex- 
ercised. Convictions based upon such knowledge will be as 
deep as any that are formed in the present day from the strictest 
scientific evidence, with that excess of intensity due to their 
hiffher importance and their close connection with our noblest 
feelings. Nor will such convictions be limited to those who are 
able to appreciate the logical value of the arguments. We see 
constantly in other departments of Positive science that men 
will adopt notions upon trust, and carry them out with the 
J^ame zeal and confidence as if they were thoroughly acquainted 
with all the grounds for their belief. All that is necessary is 
that they should feel satisfied that their confidence is well 
bestowed ; the fiuît being, in spite of all that is said of the re- 
^jelliousness of modem thought, that it is often given too readily. 
The most willing assent is yielded every day to the rules which 
mathematicians, astronomers, physicists, chemists, or biologists, 
have laid down in their respective arts, even in cases where the 
greatest interests are at stake. And similar assent will certainly 
be accorded to moral rules when they, like the rest, shall 
be acknowledged to be susceptible of scientific proof. 

But while using the force of demonstration to an extent 
hitherto imposable, Positivists will take care not to exaggerate 
its importance. Moral education, even in its more 8yst,ematic 
P^s, should rest principally upon Feeling, as the mere statement 
<>f the great human problem indicates. The study of moral 
«l^egtions, intellectually speaking, is most valuable; but the 
«ffect it leaves is not directly moral, since the analysis will 



refer, not to oiir own actions, but to those of others ; because aD 
scientific investigations, to be impartial and free from confuaon, 
must be objective, not subjective. Now to judge others without 
immediate reference to self, is a process which may possibly 
result in strong convictions ; but so far from calling out right 
feelings, it will, if carried too far, interfere with or check their 
natural development. However, the new school of Moralists is 
the less likely to err in this direction, that it would be totally 
inconsistent with that profound knowledge» of himian nature 
in which Positivism has already shown itself so far superior to 
Catholicism. No one knows so well as the Positivist that the 
principal source of real morality lies in direct exercise of oiir 
social sympathies, whether systematic or spontaneous. He will 
spare no efforts to develope these sympathies from the earliest 
years by every method which sound philosophy cai\ indicate. It 
is in this that moral education, whether private or public, 
principally consists ; and to it mental education is always to be 
held subordinate. I shall revert to these remarks in the next 
chapter, when I come to the general question of educating the 
f8«ni»- But however eflBcient the training received in youth, it 

on of Pub- ^ \ 

c Opinion, will not be enough to regulate our conduct in after years, amidst 
all the distracting influences of practical life, unless the same 
spiritual power which provides the education prolong its influ- 
ence over oiw maturity. Part of its task will be to recall 
individuals, classes, and even nations, when the case requires 
it, to principles which they have forgotten or misinterpreted, 
and to instruct them in the means of applying them wisely. 
And here, even more than in the work of education strictly so 
called, the appeal will be to Feeling rather than to pure BeasoD. 
Its force will be derived from Public Opinion strongly organised. 
If the spiritual power awards its praise and blame justly, public 
opinion, as I shall show in the next chapter, will lend it the 
most irresistible support. This moral action of Humanity upon 
each of her members has always existed whenever there was any 
real conmiunity of principles and feelings. But its strength 
will be far greater under the Positive system. The reality of 
the doctrine and the social character of modem civilisation give 
advantages to the new spiritual power which were denied to 

And these advantages are brought forward very prominentlj 


ty the Positive system of commemoration. Commemoration, cjommemo. 
when regularly instituted, is a most valuable instrument in the gx«fttmea. 

s of a spiritual power for continuing the work of moral 
education. It was the absolute character of Catholicism, even 
more than the defective state of mediaeval society, that caused 
the failiure of its noble aspirations to become the universal 
religion. In spite of all its efforts, its system of commemor- 
ation has always been restricted to very narrow limits, both in 
time and space. Outside these limits, Catholicism has always 
shown the same blindness and injustice that it now complains 
of receiving from its own opponents. Positivism, on the con- 
trary, can yield the full measure of praise to all times and all 
oountries, without either weakness or inconsistency. Possessing 
the true theory of human development, every mode and phase 
of that development will be celebrated. Thus every moral 
precept will be supported by the influence of posterity ; and 
this in private life as well as in public, for the system of com- 
memoration will be applied in the same spirit to the humblest 
8er\ices as well as to the highest. 

While reserving special details for subsequent consideration 
in this treatise, I may yet give one illustration of this important 
aspect of Positivism; an illustration which probably will be 
the first step in the practical application of the system. I 
would propose to institute in Western Europe on any days that 
may be thought suitable, the yearly celebration of the three 
greatest of our predecessors, Csesar, St. Paul, and Charlemagne, 
who are respectively the highest types of Greco-Roman civilisa- 
tion, of Medieval Feudalism, and of Catholicism which forms 
the link between the two periods. The services of these illus- 
trious men have never yet been adequately recognised, for want 
of a sound historical theory enabling us to explain the prominent 
part which they played in the development of our race. This 
fe true even in the case of St. Paul, notwithstanding the sanctity 
with wliich theology has invested him. Positivism gives him 
a still higher place ; for it looks upon him as historically the 
founder of the religion which bears the inappropriate name of 
Christixmity. In the other two cases the influence of Positive 
principles is even more necessary. For Csesar has been almost 
equally misjudged by theological and by metaphysical writers ; 
and Catholicism has done very little for the proper appreciation 
of Cliarlemagne. However, notwithstanding the absence of any 
VOL. I. G 


systematic appreciation of these great men, yet from the reve- 
rence with which they are generally regarded, we can hardly 
doubt that the celebration here proposed would meet with ready 
acceptance throughout Western Europe. 

To illustrate my meaning still further, I may observe that 
history presents cases where exactly the opposite course is called 
for, and which should be held up not for approbation but for 
infamy. Blame, it is true, should not be carried to the same 
extent as praise, because it stimulates the destructive instincts 
to a degree which is always painful and sometimes injuri- 
ous. Yet strong condemnation is occasionally desirable. It 
strengthens social feelings and principles, if only by giving 
more significance to our approval. Thus, I would suggest that 
after doing honour to the three great men who have done so 
much to promote the development of our race, there should be 
a solemn reprobation of the two principal opponents of progress^ 
Julian and Bonaparte ; the latter being the more criminal of the 
two, the former the more insensate. Their influence has 
suflSciently extensive to allow of all the Western nations joii 
in this damnatory verdict. 

The principal function of the spiritual power is to 
the future of society by means of education ; and as a suppl^^- 
mentary part of education, to pronoimce judgment upon tbfc« 
past in the mode here indicated. But there are functions of 
another kipd, relating more immediately to the present ; axxd 
these too result naturally from its position as an educatiii^r 
body. If the educators are men worthy of their position, it 
will give them an influence over the whole course of practical 
life, whetheï private or public. Of course it will merely be 
the influence of counsel, and practical men will be free to accept 
or reject it; but its weight may be very considerable whea 
given prudently, and when the authority from which it proceed» 
is recognised as competent. The questions on which its advice 
is most needed are the relations so frequently resulting in 
hostility between different classes and populations. Its action 
will be coextensive with the diffusion of Positive principles; 
for nations professing the same faith, and sharing in the same 
education, will naturally accept the same intellectual and 
moral directors. In the next chapter I shall treat this subjects 
more in detail. I merely mention it here as one among th^ 
list of functions belonging to the new spiritual power. 



It will not now bei difficult to show that all the charac- The political 
teristics of Positivism are summed up in its motto, Order and sitivism : 
Prof^ress, a moito which has a philosophical as well as political Progrwa. 
V)earing, and of which I shall always feel glad to have been 
the author. 

Positivism is the only school which has given a definite 
significance to these two great conceptions, whether regarded 
from their scientific or their social aspect. With regard to 
Progress the assertion will hardly be disputed ; no definition of 
it but the Positive ever having yet been given. In the case of 
Order it is less apparent ; but, as I have shown in the first 
chapter, it is no less profoundly true. All previous philosophies 
had regarded Order as stationary, a conception which rendered 
it wholly inapplicable to modem politics. But Positivism, by 
rejecting the absolute and yet not introducing the arbitrary, 
represents Order in a totally new light, and adapts it to oiur 
progr^ve civilisation. It places it on the firmest possible 
foundation, that is, on the doctrine of the invariability of the 
laws of nature, which defends it against all danger from subjec- 
tive chimeras. The Positivist regards artificial Order, in Social 
phenomena as in all others, as resting necessarily upon the 
Order of nature, in other words upon the whole series of natural 

But Order has to be reconciled with Progress: and here Progrc8«,uio 
Positivism is still more obviously without a rival. Necessary as of order, 
the reconciliation is, no other system has even attempted it. 
But the facility with which we are now enabled, by the encyclo- ^ 

paedic scale, to pass from the simplest mathematical phenomena 1 

to the most complicated phenomena of political life, leads at 
once to a solution of the problem. Viewed scientifically, it is 
an instance of that necessary correlation of existence and move- 
ment which we find indicated in the inorganic world, and which 
becomes still more distinct in Biology. Finding it in all the 
lower sciences, we are prepared for its appearance in a still more 
definite shape in Sociology. Here its practical importance 
becomes more obvious, though it had been implicitly involved 
before. In Sociology the correlation assumes this form : Order 
s the condition of all Progress ; Progress is always the object of 
)rder. Or, to penetrate the question stiD more deeply. Progress 
nay be regarded simply as the development of Order ; for the 
rder of nature necessarily contains within itself the gei*XQ of all 

o 2 

Mid moral. 


possible progress. The rational view of human affairs is to look 
on all their changes, not as new Creations, but as new Evolutions. 
And we find this principle fully borne out in history. Every 
social innovation has its roots in the past ; and the rudest phases 
of savage life show the primitive trace of all subsequent improve- 
Analysis of Progrcss thcu is in its essence identical with Order, and may 

nmuTiai, be lookcd upon as Order made manifest. Therefore, in ei- 
i. lie. tua'i. plaining this double conception on which the Science and Art of 
society depend, we may at present limit ourselves to the analysis 
of Progress. Thus simplified it is more easy to grasp, especially 
now that the novelty and importance of the question of Progrès 
are attracting so much attention. For the public is becoming 
instinctively alive to its real significance, as the basis on 
which all sound moral and political teaching must henceforth 

Taking then this point of view, we may say that the one 
great object of life, personal or social, is to become more perfect 
in every way ; in our external condition first, but also and more 
especially in our own nature. The first kind of progress we 
share in coDMnon with the higher animals ; all of which make 
some efforts to improve their material position. It is of course 
the least elevated stage of progress, but being the easiest it is 
the point from wliich we start towards the higher stages. A 
nation that has made no efforts to improve itself materially, will 
take but little interest in moral or mental improvement. This 
is the only ground on which enlightened men can feel much 
pleasure in the material progress of our own times. It stirs up 
influences that tend to the nobler kinds of prograss ; influences 
which would meet with even greater opposition than they do, 
were not the temptations presented to the coarser natures by 
material prosperity so irresistible. Owing to the mental and 
moral anarchy in which we live, systematic efforts to gain the 
higher degrees of progress have been as yet impossible; andth& 
explains, though it. does not justify, the exaggerated importance 
attributed nowadays to material improvements. But the only 
kinds of improvement really characteristic of Himianity are those 
which concern our own nature ; and even here we are not quite 
alone ; for several of the higher animals show some slight tea- 
dencies to improve themselves physically. 

Progress in the higher sense includes improvements of tJhree 


sorts; that is to say, it may be Physical, Intellectual, or Moral 
progress ; the diïculty of each class being in proportion to it% 
\ihxe and the extent of its sphere. Physical progress, which 
again might be divided on the same principle, seems undfM* 
some of its aspects almost the same thing as material. But 
regarded as a whole it is far more important and far more 
lifficult : its influence on the well-being of Man is also muoh 
greater. We gain more, for instance, by the smallest addition 
to the length of life, or by any increased security for health, 
than by the most elaborate improvements in our modes of 
travelling by land or water, in which birds will always have a 
great advantage over us. However, as I said before, physical 
progress is not exclusively confined to Man. Some of the animals, 
for instance, advance as far as cleanliness, which is the first step 
in the progressive scale. 

Intellectual and Moral progress, then, is the only kind really 
distinctive of our race. Individual animals sometimes show it, 
but never a whole species, except as a consequence of prolonge I 
intenention on the part of Man. Between these two highest 
grades, as between the two lower, we shall find a difference of 
value, extent, and difficulty ; always supposing the standard to 
be the manner in which they affect Man's well-being, collect- 
ively or individually. To strengthen the intellectual powers, 
whether for art or for science, whether it be the powers of 
observation or those of induction and deduction, is, when cir- 
cumstances allow of their being made available for social purposes, 
of greater and more extensive importance, than all physical, and 
d fortiori than all material improvements. But we know from 
the fundamental principle laid down in the first chapter of this 
work, that moral progress has even more to do with our well- 
being than intellectual progress. The moral faculties are mor(^ 
modifiable, although the effort required to modify them is greater. 
A real increase, for instance, in benevolence or courage would 
bring more happiness than any addition to our intellectual 
»wer8. Therefore, to the question. What is the true object of 
luman life, whether looked at collectively or individually ? the 
implest and most precise answer would be, the perfection of 
or moral nature ; since it has a more immediate and certain 
ifluence on our well-being than perfection of any other kind. 
11 the other kinds are necessary, if for no other reason than to 
•epare the way for this ; but from the very fact of this con- 


nection, it may be regarded as their representative ; since it 
involves them all implicitly and stimulates them to increased 
activity. Keeping then to the question of moral perfection, we 
find two qualities standing above the rest in practical importance, 
namely. Sympathy and Energy. Both these qualities are in- 
cluded in the word Hearty which in all Eiu-opean languages has 
a different meaning for the two sexes. Both will be developed by 
Positivism, more directly, more continuously, and with greater 
result, than under any former system. The whole tendency of 
Positivism is to encourage sympathy ; since it subordinates every 
thought, desire, and action to social feeling. Energy is also 
presupposed, and at the same time fostered, by a system which 
removes a heavy weight of superstition, reveals the true dignity 
of man, and supplies an unceasing motive for individual and 
collective action. The very acceptance of Positivism demands 
some vigour of character; it implies the braving of spiritual 
terrors which were once enough to intimidate the firmest 

Progress, then, may be regarded imder four successive aspects: 
Material, Physical, Intellectual, and Moral. Each of these 
might again be divided on the same principle, and we should 
then discover several intermediate phases. These cannot be 
investigated here; and I have only to note that the philo- 
sophical principle of this analysis is precisely the same as that 
on which I have based the Classification of the Sciences. In 
both cases the order followed is that of increasing generality and 
complexity in the phenomena. The only difference is in the 
mode in which the two arrangements are developed. For 
scientific purposes the lower portion of the scale has to be ex- 
panded into greater detail ; while from the social point of view 
attention is concentrated on the higher parts. But whether it 
be the scale of the True or that of the Good, the conclusion is 
the same in both. Both alike indicate the supremacy of social 
considerations ; both point to imiversal Love as the highest ideal. 

I have now explained the principal purpose of Positive 
Philosophy, namely, spiritual reorganisation ; and I have shown 
how that purpose is involved in the Positivist motto, Order and 
Progress. Positivism, then, realises the highest aspirations of 
medisBval Catholicism, and at the same time fulfils those con-- 
ditions the absence of which caused the failure of the Convea— 
tion. It combines the opposite merits of the Catholic and tlwji 


Revolutionary spirit, and by so doing supersedes them both. 
Theology and Metaphysics may now disappear without danger, 
lecause the service which each of them rendered is now harmo- 
nised with that of the other, and will be performed more perfectly. 
The principle on which this result depends is the separation of 
«piritual from temporal power. This, it will be remembered, 
kd always been the chief subject of contention between the two 
antagonistic parties. 

I have spoken of the moral and mental reorganisation of AppUcation 
Western Europe as characterising the second phase of the piMtoactnal 
Hevolution. Let us now see what are its relations with the Sorei^ient 
present state of politics. Of course the development of Positivism piwentbe^ 
will Dot be much aflFected by the retrograde tendencies of the ^^ ^^ 
day, whether theological or metaphysical. Still the general 
course of events will exercise an influence upon it, of which it is 
important to take account. So too, although the new doctrine 
cannot at present do much to modify its surroundings, there 
are yet certain points in which action may be taken at once. 
In the fourth volume of this treatise the question of a transi- 
tional policy will be carefully considered, with the view of 
&cilitating the advent of the normal state which social science 
indicates in a more distant future. I cannot complete this 
chapter without some notice of such a policy, which must be 
carried on until Positivism has made its way to general ac- 

The principal feature of this policy is that it is temporary. 
To set up any permanent institution in a society which has no 
filed opinions or principles of life, would be hopeless. Until 
the most important questions are thoroughly settled, both in 
principle and practice, the only measures of the least utility 
we those which feicilitate the process of reconstruction. Measures 
^pted with a view to permanence must end, as we have seen 
them end so often, in disappointment and feilure, however 
enthusiastically they may have been received at first. 

Inevitable as this consequence of our revolutionary position 
^ it has never been understood, except by the great leaders 
of the republican movement in 1793. Of the various govem- 
^ï^ts that we have had during the last two generations, all 
^cept the Convention have feUen into the vain delusion of 
^mpting to found permanent institutions, without waiting 
^or any intellectual or moral basis. And therefore it is that 


none but the Convention has left any deep traces in men^s 
thoughts or feelings. All its principal measures, even those 
which concerned the future more than the present, were avowedly 
provisional ; and the consequence was that they harmonised 
well with the peculiar circumstances of the time. The true 
philosopher will always look with respectful admiration on these 
men, who not only had no rational theory to guide them, but 
were encumbered with false metaphysical notions; and who 
yet notwithstanding proved themselves the only real statesmen 
that Western Europe can boast of since the death of Frederick 
the Great. Indeed the wisdom of their policy would be almost 
unaccountable, only that the very circumstances which called 
for it so urgently were to some extent calculated to suggest it. 
The state of things was such as to make it impossible to settle 
the government on any permanent basis. Again, amidst all 
the wild extravagance of the principles in vogue, the neces- 
sity of a strong government to resist reactionary invasion 
coimteracted many of their worst effects. On the removal of 
this salutary pressinre, the Convention fell into the common 
error, though to a less extent than the Constituent Assembly. It 
set up a constitution framed according to some abstract model, 
which was supposed to be final, but which did not last so long 
as the period originally proposed for its own provisional labours. 
It is on this first period of its government that its fame rests. 

The plan originally proposed was that the government of 
the Convention shoidd last till the end of the war. If this 
plan could have been carried out, it would probably have been 
extended still further, as the impossibility of establishing any 
permanent system would have been generally recognised. The 
only avowed motive for making the government provisional 
was of course the urgent necessity of national defence. But 
beneath this temporary motive, which for the time superseded 
every other consideration, there was another and a deeper 
reason for it, which could not have been understood without 
sounder historical principles than were at that time possible. 
That motive was the utterly negative character of the metaphy- 
sical doctrines then accepted, and the consequent absence of 
any intellectual or moral basis for political reconstruction. This 
of course was not recognised, but it was really the principal 
reason why the establishment of any definite system of govern- 
ment was delayed. Had the war been brought to an end, 


dearer views of the subject wotild no doubt have been formed ; 

bdeed they had heen formed akeady in the opposite camp, by 

men of the Neo-catholic school, who were not absorbed by the 

urgent question of defending the Eepublic. What blinded 

men to the truth was the fundamental yet inevitable error of 

suppoang the critical doctrines of the preceding generation 

applicable to purposes of construction. They were undeceived 

at last by the utter • anarchy which the triumph of these 

principles occasioned ; and the next generation occupied itself 

^th the counter-revolutionary movement, in which similar 

^tempts at finality were made by the various reactionist parties. 

These parties were quite as destitute as their opponents of any 

principles suited to the task of reconstruction ; and they had 

to fell hack upon the old system as the only recognised basis 

on which public Order coidd be maintained. 

And in this respect the situation is still unchanged. It still Dangerofat. 
retains its revolutionary character; and any immediate attempt uticaireoon- 

jut , ll.lH. -vL Ha. 

^ reorganise political administration would only be the signal fore gpirit- 

for fresh attempts at reaction, attempts which now can have no 

other result than anarchy. It is true that Positivism has just 

applied us with a philosophical basis for political reconstruction. 

But its principles are still so new and undeveloped, and besides 

*re understood by so few, that they cannot exercise much 

influence at present on political Ufe. Ultimately, and by slow 

degrees, they will mould the institutions of the future, but 

Dieanwhile they must work their way freely into men's minds and 

hearts, and for this at least one generation will be necessary. 

Spiritual organisation is the only point where an immediate 

beginning can be made ; diflBcult as it is, its possibility is at 

last as certain as its urgency. When sufficient progress has 

been made with it, it will cause a gradual regeneration of political 

institutions. But any attempt to modify these too rapidly 

would only result in fresh disturbances. Such distiurbances it 

18 true will never be as dangerous as they were formerly, 

^^^cause the anarchy of opinion is so profound that it is far more 

^iifficult for men to agree in any fixed principles of action. The 

^bsolute doctrines of the last century which inspired such 

iiitense conviction, can never regain their strength ; because, 

^ben brought to the crucial test of experience as well as of 

^^^cussion, their uselessness for constructive purposes and their 

^versive tendency become evident to everyone. They have 


been weakened too by theological concessions, which their 
supporters, in order to carry on the government at all, were 
obliged to make. Consequently the policy with which they are 
at present connected is one which oscillates between reaction 
and anarchy, or rather which is at once despotic and destructive, 
from the necessity of controlling a society which has become 
almost as adverse to metaphysical as to theological nile. In 
the utter absence then of any general convictions, the worst 
forms of political commotion are not to be feared, because it 
would be impossible to rouse men's passions sufficiently. But 
unwise efforts to set up a permanent system of government 
would even now lead in certain cases to lamentable disorder, 
and would at all events be utterly useless. Quiet at home 
depends now, like peace abroad, simply on the absence of dis- 
turbing forces ; a most insecure basis, since it is itself a symptom 
of the extent to which the disorganising movement has proceeded. 
This singular condition must necessarily continue until the 
vnterregnum which at present exists in the moral and 
intellectual region comes to an end. As long as there is such 
an utter want of harmony in feeling as well as in opinioD, 
there can be no real security against war or internal disorder. 
The existing equilibrium has arisen so spontaneously that it is 
no doubt less imstable than is generally supposed. Still it is 
sufficiently precarious to excite continual panics both at home 
and abroad, which are not only very irritating, but often exercise 
a most injurious influence over our policy. Now attempts at 
immediate reconstruction of political institutions, instead of 
improving this state of things, make it very much worse, 
by giving factitious life to the old doctrines which, being 
thoroughly worn out, ought to be left to the natural process of 
decay. The inevitable result of restoring them to official 
authority will be to deter the public, and even the thinking 
portion of it, from that free exercise of the mental powers by 
which, and by which only, we may hope to arrive without dis- 
turbance at fixed principles of action. 

The cessation of war therefore justifies no change in 
republican policy. As long as the spiritual interregnum lasts, 
it must retain its provisional character. Indeed this character 
ought to be more strongly impressed upon it than ever. For 
no one now has any real belief in the organic value of the 
received metaphysical doctrines. They would never have been 


remed but for the need of having some sort of political 

formula to work with, in default of any real social convictions. 

But the revival is only apparent, and it contrasts most strikingly 

with the utter absence of systematic principles in most active 

niinds. There is no real danger of repeating the error of the 

first revolutionists and of attempting to construct with negative 

doctrines. We have only to consider the vast development of 

industry, of esthetic culture, and of scientific study, things 

incompatible with any regard for the metaphysical teaching of 

ideologists or psychologists, to free ourselves from all anxiety on 

this head. Nor is there much to fear in the natural enthusiasm 

which is carrying us back to the first days of the Revolution. 

It will only revive the old republican spirit, and make us forget 

the long period of retrogression and stagnation which have 

elapsed since the first great outbreak ; for this is the point on 

which the attention of posterity will be finally concentrated. 

[ But while satisfying these very legitimate feelings, the people 

will soon find that the ouly aspect of this great crisis which we 

i have to imitate is the wise insight of the Convention during 

the first part of its administration, in perceiving that their 

policy could only be provisional, and that definite reconstruction 

must be reserved for better times. We may fairly hope that 

the next formal attempt to set up a constitution according to 

some abstract ideal, will convince the French nation, and 

idtimately the whole West, of the utter futility of such schemes. 

Besides, the free discussion which has become habitual to us, 

and the temper of the people which is as sceptical of political 

entities as of Christian mysteries, would be very imfavourable 

to these last efforts of an expiring metaphysical philosophy. 

Never was there a time so unpropitious for doctrines admitting 

of no real demonstration ; demonstration being now the only 

possible basis of permanent belief. Supposing then a new 

constitution to be set on foot, and the usual time to be spent 

in the process of elaborating it, public opinion will very possibly 

discard it before it is conpleted; not allowing it even the 

short average duration of former constitutions. Any attempt 

to check free discussion on the subject would but result in 

securing fresh guarantees for this natural consequence of our 

intellectual and social positioii. 

The same conditions which require our policy to be pro- Poiitiaiiij 
visional while the spiritual interregnum lasts, point also to the wanted u 


mode in which this provisional policy should be carried out. 
Had the revolutionary government of the Convention continued 
till the end of the war, it would probably have been prolonged 
up to the present time. But in one most important respect a 
modification would have been necessary. During the struggle 
for independence what was wanted was a vigorous dictatorship, 
combining spiritual with temporal powers ; a dictatorship even 
stronger than the old monarchy, and only distinguished from 
despotism by its ardour in the cause of progress. Without 
complete concentration of political power, the republic could 
never have been saved. But with peace the necessity for such 
concentration was at an end. The only motive for still con- 
tinuing the provisional system was the absence of social 
convictions. But this would also be a motive for giving perfect 
liberty of speech and discussion, which till then had been 
impossible or dangerous. For liberty was a necessary condition 
for elaborating and diffusing a new system of universal 
principles, as the only sure basis for the future regeneration of 

This hypothetical view of changes which might have taken 
place in the Conventional government, may be applied to the 
existing condition of affairs. It is the policy best adapted 
for the republican government which is now arising in all 
the security of a settled peace, and yet amidst the most entire 
anarchy of opinion. The successors of the Convention, men 
unworthy of their task, degraded the progressive dictatorship 
entrusted to them by the circumstances of the time into a 
retrograde tyranny. During the reign of Charles X., which 
was the last phase of the reaction, the central power was 
thoroughly imdermined by the legal opposition of the 
parliamentary or local power. The central government still 
refused to recognise any limits to its authority ; but the growth 
of free thought made its claims to spiritual jurisdiction more 
and more untenable, leaving it merely the temporal authority 
requisite for public order. During the neutral period which 
followed the counter-revolution, the dictatorship was not merely 
restricted to its proper functions, but was legally destroyed ; 
that is, the local power as "represented by parliament took the 
place of the central power. All pretensions to spiritual 
influence were abandoned by both; their thoughts being 
sufficiently occupied with the maintenance of material order. 


The intellectual anarchy of the time made this task difficult 

enough; but they aggravated the difficulty by unprincipled 

attempts to establish their government on the basis of pure 

self-interest, irrespectively of all moral considerations. The 

restoration of the republic and the progressive spirit aroused by 

it has no doubt given to both legislative and executive a large 

increase of power ; to an extent indeed which a few years back 

would have caused violent antipathy. But it would be a 

grievous error for either of them to attempt to imitate the 

dictatorial style of the Conventional government. Unsuccess- 

M in any true sense as the attempt would be, it might 

occasion very serious disturbances, which like the obsolete 

metaphysical principles in which they originate, would be 

equally dangerous to Order and to Progress. 

We see then that in the total absence of any fixed prin- 
ciples on which men can unite, the policy required is one which 
shall be piu-ely provisional, and limited almost entirely to the 
niaintenance of material order. If order be preserved, the 
situation is in all other respects most favourable to the work of 
Diental and moral regeneration which will prepare the way for 
tte society of the future. The establishment of a republic in 
France disproves the false claims set up by official writers in 
I^balf of constitutional government, as if it was the final issue 
of the Revolution. Meantime there is nothing irrevocable in 
this republic, except the moral principle involved in it, the 
absolute and permanent preponderance of Social Feeling ; in 
other words, the concentration of all the powers of Man upon 
the common welfare. This is the only maxim of the day which 
we can accept as final. It needs no formal sanction, because 
it is merely the expression of feelings generally avowed, all 
prejudices against it having been entirely swept away. But 
with the doctrines and the institutions resulting from them, 
through which this dominion of social feeling is to become an 
organised reality, the republic has no direct connection ; it 
would be compatible with many diflFerent solutions of the 
problem. Politically, the only irrevocable point is the aboli- 
tion of monarchy, which for a long time has been in France 
and to a less extent throughout the West, the symbol of 

That spirit of devotion to the public welfare, which is the 
noblest feature of republicanism, is strongly opposed to any 


immediate attempts at political finality, as being incompatible 
with conscientious endeavours to find a real solution of social 
problems. For before the practical solution can be hoped for, 
a systematic basis for it must exist ; and this we can hardly 
expect to find in the remnants left to us of the old creeds. All 
that the true philosopher desires is simply that the question of 
moral and intellectual reorganisation shall be left to the im- 
restricted eflForts of thinkers of whatever school. And in advo- 
cating this cause, he will plead the interests of the republic^ 
for the safety of which it is of tlie utmost importance that/ 
no special set of principles should be placed under official 
patronage. Republicanism then will do far more to protect 
free thought, and resist political encroachment, than was done 
during the Orleanist government by the retrograde instincts of 
Catholicism. Catholic resistance to political reconstructions 
was strong, but blind ; its place will now be more than sup- 
plied by wise indifference on the part of the public, which has 
learnt by experience the inevitable failure of these incoherent 
attempts to realise metaphysical Utopias, The only danger of 
the position is lest it divert the public, even the more reflec- 
tive portion of it, from deep and continuous thought to prac- 
tical experiments based on superficial and hasty considerations. 
It must be owned that the temper of mind which now prevails 
would have been most imfavourable for the original elaboration 
of Positivism. That work, however, had already been accom- 
plished under the Constitutional system ; which, while not so 
restrictive as the preceding government, was yet sufficiently so 
to concentrate our intellectual powers, which of themselves 
would have been too feeble, upon the task. The original con- 
ception had indeed been formed during the preceding reign ; 
but its development and difi^usion took place under the parlia- 
mentary system. Positivism now offers itself for practical 
application to the question of social progress, which has be- 
come again the prominent question, and will ever remain so. 
Unfavourable as the present political temper would have been 
to the rise of Positivism, it is not at all so to its diffusion ; 
always supposing its teachers to be men of sufficient dignity to 
avoid the snare of political ambition into which thinkers are 
now so apt to fall. By explaining, as it alone can explain, the 
futility and danger of the various Utopian schemes which are 
now competing with each other for the reorganisation of society, 


Positivism will soon be able to divert public attention from 
these political chimeras, to the question of a total reformation 
of principles and of life. 

Republicanism, then, will offer no obstacle to the diffusion soch a dio- 
of Positivist principles. Indeed, there is one point of view would be a 
from which we may regard it as the commencement of the the sépara- 
normal state. It will gradually lead to the recognition of the ntnai and 
Amdamental principle that spiritual power must be wholly poJw. 
independent of every kind of temporal power, whether central 
or local. It is not merely that statesmen will soon have to 
confess their inability to decide on the merits of a doctrine 
which supposes an amount of deep scientific knowledge from 
which they must necessarily be precluded. Besides this, the 
disturbance caused by the ambition of metaphysical schemers, 
who are incapable of understanding the times in which they 
li^e, will induce the public to withdraw their confidence from 
8"ch men, and give it only to those who are content to abandon 
*H poUtical prospects and to devote themselves to their proper 
function as philosophers. Thus Sepublicanism will prove 
increasingly favourable to this great principle of Positivism, 
tte separation of temporal from spiritual power, notwithstanding 
the temptations offered to men who wish to cany their theories 
into inmiediate application. The principle seems, no doubt, in 
opposition to all our revolutionary prejudices. But the public, 
as well as the government, will be brought to it by experience. 
Tliey will find it the only means of saving society from the 
consequences of metaphysical Utopias, by which Order and 
Progress are alike threatened. Thinkers too, those of them at 
least who are sincere, will cease to regard it with such blind 
antipathy, when they see that while it condemns their aspira- 
tions to political influence, it opens out to them a noble and 
most extensive sphere of moral influence. Independently of 
social considerations, it is the only way in which the philo- 
sopher can maintain the dignity to which his position entitles 
him, and which is at present so often compromised by the very 
success of his political ambition. 

The political attitude which ought for the present to be The motto c 
assumed is so clearly indicated by all the circumstances of the ^^^pîiik^ 
time, that practical instinct has in this respect anticipated ^^'^^^ 
theory. The right view is well expressed in the motto. 
Liberty and PubUc Order^ which was adopted spontaneously 


by the middle class at the commencement of the neutral period 
in 1830. It is not known who was the author of it ; but it is 
certainly far too progressive to be considered as representing 
the feelings of the monarchy. It is not of course the expression 
of any systematic convictions ; but no metaphysical school 
could have pointed out so clearly the two principal conditions 
required by the situation. Positivism while accepting it as atx 
iui^piration of popular wisdom, makes it more complete b^ 
adding two points which should have been contained in it a.t 
first, only that they were too much opposed to existing pre- 
judices to have been sanctioned by public opinion. Both parts 
of the motto require some expansion. Liberty ought to inclurfe 
perfect freedom of teaching ; Public Order should involve the 
preponderance of the central power over the local. I subjoin a 
few brief remarks on these two points, which will be considered 
more fully in the fourth volume of this treatise, 
uîd'be Positivism is now the only consistent advocate of free speech 

acatiwi ^^^ ^^®^ enquiry. Schools of opinion which do not rest on 
demonstration, and would consequently be shaken by any argu- 
mentative attacks, can never be sincere in their wish for 
Liberty, in the extended sense here given to it. Liberty of 
writing we have now had for a long time. But besides this we 
want liberty of speech ; and also liberty of teaching ; that is to 
say, the abandonment by the State of all its educational mono- 
polies. Freedom of teaching, of which Positivists are the only 
genuine supporters, has become a condition of the first impor- 
tance ; and this not merely as a provisional measure, but as an 
indication of the normal state of things. In the first place, it 
is the only means by which any doctrine that has the power of 
fixing and harmonising men's convictions can become generally 
known. To legalise any system of education would imply that 
such a doctrine had been already found ; it most assuredly is 
not the way to find it. But again, freedom of teaching is a 
st«p towards the normal state; it amounts to an admission 
that the problem of education is one which temporal authorities 
are incompetent to solve. Positivists would be the last to deny 
that education ought to be regularly organised. Only they 
assert, first, that as long as the spiritual interregnum lasts no 
organisation is possible; and secondly, that , whenever the 
acceptance of a new synthesis makes it possible, it will be 
eflfected by the spiritual power to which that synthesis gives 


rise. In the meantime no general system of State education 
should be attempted ; except so far as it may be wise to con- 
tinue State assistance to those branches of instruction which 
are the most liable to be neglected by private enterprise, 
especially reading and writing. Moreover, there are certain 
institutions either established or revived by the Convention for 
higher training in special subjects ; these ought to be carefully 
preserved, and brought up to the present state of our knowledge, 
for they contain the germs of principles which will be most 
valuable when the problem of reorganising general education 
comes before us. But all the institutions abolished by the 
Convention ought now to be finally suppressed. Even the 
scientific academies should form no exception to this rule ; for 
the harm which they have done both intellectually and morally 
since their reinstalment has fully justified the wisdom of the 
men who decided on their abolition. Government should no 
doubt exercise constant vigilance over all private educational 
institutions; but this should have nothing to do with their 
doctrines, but with their morality, a point scandalously neglected 
in the present state of the law. These should be the limits of 
State interference in education. With these exceptions it 
should be left to the unrestricted efforts of private associations, 
w as to give every opportunity for a definitive educational 
«Vïtem to establish itself. For to pretend that any satisfactory 
çstena exists at present would only be a hypocritical subterfuge 
on the part of the authorities. The most important step towards 
freedom of education would be the suppression of all grants to 
theological or metaphysical societies, leaving each man free to 
support the religion and the system of instruction which he 
prefers. This, however, should be carried out in a just and 
liberal spirit worthy of the cause, and without the least taint of 
personal dislike or party feeling. Full indemnity should be 
given to members of Chiurches or Universities upon whom these 
changes would come imexpectedly. By acting in this spirit it 
^U be far less difficult to carry out measures which are ob\iously 
indicate<l by the position in which we stand. As there is now 
Do doctrine which commands general assent, it would be an act 
<>f retrogression to give legal sanction to any one of the old 
^^reeds, whatever their former claim to spiritual ascendancy. It 
^ quite in accordance with the republican spirit to refuse such 
sanction, notwithstanding the tendency that there is to allow 

VOL. I. H 


ideologists to succeed to the Academic oflSces held under the 
constitutional system by psychologists. 
>rder de- But Positivism will havc as beneficial an influence on public 

raLatfon. Order as on Liberty. It holds, in exact opposition to revolu- 
tionary prejudices, that the central power should preponderate 
over the local. The constitutionalist principle of separatia^g 
the legislative from the executive is only an empirical indtation 
of the larger principle of separating temporal and spiritua/ 
power, which was adopted in the Middle Ages. There wU 
always be a contest for political supremacy between the central 
and local authorities; and it is an error into which from various 
causes we have fallen recently, to attempt to balance them 
against each other. The whole tendency of French history has 
been to let the central power preponderate, until it degenerated 
and became retrograde towards the end of the seventeenth 
century. Our present preference for the local power is therefore 
an historical anomaly, which is sure to cease as soon as the fear 
of reaction has passed away. And as Republicanism secures us 
against any dangers of this kind, our political sympathies will 
soon resume their old course. The advantages of the central 
power are first that it is more directly responsible than the , 
other ; and secondly its increasingly practical character, which 
renders it more adapted to our essential needs and less disposed 
to set up any claims to spiritual influence. This last feature is 
of the highest importance, and is likely to become every day 
more marked. Whereas the local or legislative power, not 
having its functions clearly defined, is very apt to interfere in 
theoretical questions without being in any sense qualified for 
doing so. Its preponderance woidd then in most cases be 
injurious to intellectual freedom, which, as it feels instinctivdy, 
will ultimately result in the rise of a spiritual authority destined 
to supersede its own. On the strength of these tendencies, 
which have never before been explained, Positivists have little 
hesitation in siding in almost all cases with the central as against 
the local power. Philosophers, whom no one can accuse of 
reactionist or servile views, who have given up all political 
prospects, and who are devoting themselves whoUy to the work 
of spiritual reorganisation, need not be afraid to take this course; 
and they ought to exert themselves vigorously in making the 
central power preponderant, limiting the functions of the local 
power to what is strictly indispensable. And, notwithstanding 


all appearances to the contrary, republicanism will help to 
modify the revolutionary feeling on this point. It removes the 
distrust of authority caused naturally by the retrograde spirit of 
the old monarchy ; and it makes it easier to repress any further 
tendencies of the same kind, without necessitating an entire • 

change in the character of our policy for the sake of providing 
against a contingency of which there is now so little fear. As 
poon as the central power has given suflBcient proof of its pro- 
gressive intentions, there will be no unwillingness on the part of 
the French public to restrict the powers of the legislative body, 
whether by reducing it to one-third of its present numbers, 
which are so fjEir too large, or even by limiting its functions to 
the annual vote of the supplies. During the last phase of the 
connter-revolution, and the long period of parliamentary govern- 
ment which followed, a state of feeling has arisen on this 
subject which is quite exceptional, and which sound philosophical 
teaching, and wise action on the part of government, will easily 
nwdify. It is inconsistent with the whole course of French 
history ; and only leads us into the mistake of imitating the 
English constitution, which is adapted to no other country. 
The very extension which has just been given to the represen- 
tative system will bring it into discredit, by showing it to be as 
fotile and subversive in practice as philosophy had represented 
it to be in theory. 

Such, then, is the way in which Positivism would interpret intimât© 
these two primary conditions of our present policy. Liberty and of Liberty 
Public Order. But besides this, it explains and confirms the 
connection which exists between them. It teaches, in the first 
place, that true liberty is impossible at present without the 
vigorous control of a central power, progressive in the true 
sense of the word, wise enough to abdicate all spiritual influence 
and to keep to its own practical functions. Such a power is 
needed in order to check the despotic spirit of the various 
doctrines now in vogue. As all of them are more or less in- 
consistent with the principle of separation of powers, they would 
all be willing to employ forcible means of securing uniformity 
of opinion. Besides, the anarchy which is caused by our spiritual 
interregnum might, but for a strong government, very probably 
interfere with the philosophical freedom which the habits of 
modem life afford us. Conversely, unless Liberty in the sense 
here spoken of be granted, it will be impossible for the central 



power to maintain itself in the position which public order 
requires. The obstacle to that position at present is the fear 
of reaction ; and a scrupulous regard for freedom is the only 
means of removing this feeling, which though perhaps un- 
founded is but too natural. All fears will be allayed at once 
when liberty of instruction and of association becomes part of 
the law of the land. There will then be no hope, and indeed 
no wish, on the part of government to regulate our social in- 
stitutions in conformity with any particular doctrine. 

The object of this chapter has been to show the social value 
of Positivism. We have foimd that not merely does it throw 
light upon our Future policy, but that it also teaches us how to 
act upon the Present ; and these indications have in both cases 
been based upon careful examination of the Past, in accordance 
with the fundamental laws of human development. It is the 
only system capable of handling the problem now proposed by 
the more advanced portion of oiur race to all who would claim 
to guide them. That problem is this : to reorganise human life, 
irrespectively of god or king ; recognising the obligation of no 
motive, whether public or private, other than Social Feeling, 
aided in due measure by the positive science and practical 
energy of Man. 




PosiTiTiSH whether looked at as a philosophical system or as Positivism 
ui instrument of social renovation, cannot count upon much the.present 
support from any of the classes, whether in Church or State, itwirS^^tlie 
by whom the government of mankind has hitherto been con- cra^lïS 
dttcted. There will be isolated exceptions of great value, and the Peopi»» 
tbese will soon become more nimierous ; but the prejudices and 
passions of these classes will present seAous obstacles to the 
^ork of moral and mental reorganisation which constitutes the 
«©cond phase of the great Western revolution. Their faulty 
^ucation and their repugnance to system prejudice them against 
^ philosophy which subordinates specialities to general principles. 
Their aristocratic instincts make it very difficult for them to 
ï^ecognise the supremacy of Social Feeling ; that doctrine which 
lies at the root of social regeneration, as conceived by Positivism. 
That no support can be expected from the classes who were in 
the ascendant before the Eevolution, is of course obvious ;. and 
We shall probably meet with opposition, quite as real though 
iiiore carefriUy concealed^ from the middle classes, to whom that 
ï^evolution transferred the authority and social influence which 
thev had long been coveting. Their thoughts are entirely 
engrossed with the acquisition of power ; and they concern 
themselves but little with the mode in which it is used, or the 
objects to which it is directed. They were quite convinced that 
the Revolution had found a satisfactory issue in the parliamentary 
Fjrstem instituted during the recent period of political oscilla- 
tion. They will long continue to regret that stationary period, 
because it was peculiarly favourable to their restless ambition. 
A movement tending to the complete regeneration of society 
is almost as much dreaded now by the middle classes as it was 
formerly by the higher. And both would at all events agree 


in prolonging, so far as republican institutions admitted, the 
system of theological hypocrisy, the only effective instrument 
of retrogression now left to them. This ignoble system offers 
the double attraction of securing respect and submission on the 
part of the masses, while imposing no unpleasant duties on 
their governors. All their critical and metaphysical prejudices 
indispose them to terminate the state of spiritual anarchy which 
is the greatest obstacle to social regeneration ; while at the 
«ame time their ambition dreads the establishment of a new 
moral authority, the restrictive influence of which would of 
course press most heavily upon themselves. In the eighteenth 
century, men of rank, and even kings, accepted the purely 
negative philosophy that was then in vogue : it removed many 
obstacles, it was an easy path to reputation, and it imposed no 
great sacrifice. But we can hardly hope from this precedent 
that the wealthy and literary classes of our own time will be 
equally willing to accept Positive philosophy ; the declared 
purpose of which is to discipline our intellectual powers, in order 
to reorganise our modes of life. 

The avowal of such a purpose is quite suflScient to prevent 
Positivism from gaining the sympathies of any one of the 
governing classes. The classes to which it must appeal are 
those who have been left imtrained in the present worthless 
methods of instruction by words and entities, who are animated 
with strong social instincts, and who consequently have the 
largest stock of good sense and good feeling. In a word it is 
among the working classes that the new philosophers will find 
their most energetic allies. The force necessary for social re- 
generation depends essentially on the combined action of those 
two extreme terms of the ultimate social order. Notwithstand- 
ing their difference of position, a difference which indeed is 
more apparent than real, there are strong aflSnities between 
them, both morally and intellectually. Both have the same 
sense of the real, the same preference for the useful, and the 
game tendency to subordinate special points to general principles. 
Morally they resemble each other in generosity of feeling, in 
wise unconcern for material prospects, and in indifference to 
worldly grandeur. This at least will be the case as soon as 
philosophers in the true sense of that word have mixed suf- 
ficiently with the nobler members of the working classes to 
raise their own character to its proper leveL When the sym- 


pathies wbich unite them upon these essential points have had 
time to show themselves, it will be felt that the philosopher is, 
under certain aspects, a member of the working class fully 
trained ; while the working man is in many respects a philo- 
sopher without the training. Both too will look with similar 
feelings upon the intermediate or capitalist class. As that class 
is necessarily the possessor of material power, the pecuniary 
existence of both will -as a rule be dependent upon it. 

These affinities follow as a natural result from their re- The work- 


«pective position and functions. The reason of their not having ^^^^^ 
been recognised more distinctly is, that at present we have ^^^^Jj. 
nothing that can be called a philosophic class, or at least it is ^^^JJ^^. 
only represented by a few isolated types. Workmen worthy ^^^^ 
of their position are happily &r less rare ; but hitherto it is only J°^^°S^ 
in France, or rather in Paris, that they have shown themselves 
in their true light, as men emancipated from chimerical beliefs, 
uk! careless of the empty prestige of social position. It is, 
ttoD, only in Paris, that the truth of the preceding remarks 
•in be fully verified. 

The occupations of working men are evidently far more 
conducive to philosophical views than those of the middle 
classes; since they are not so absorbing as to prevent con- 
tinuous thought, even during the hours of labour. And besides 
leaving more time for thinking, they have a moral advantage in 
the absence of any responsibility when their work is over. The 
workman is preserved by his position from the schemes of 
aggrandisement which are constantly harassing the capitalist. 
Their difference in this respect causes a corresponding différence 
in their modes of thought ; the one cares more for general 
principles, the other more for details. To a sensible workman, 
the system of dispersive speciality now so much in vogue shows 
itself in its true light. He sees it, that is, to be brutalising, 
because it would condemn his intellect to the most paltry 
niode of culture, such as will never be accepted in France 
in spite of the irrational endeavours of our Anglomaniac 
^nomists. To the capitalist on the contrary and even to 
the man of science that system, however rigidly and consistently 
<^ed out, will seem far less degrading ; or rather it will be 
looked upon as most desirable, unless his education has been 
*nch as to counteract these tendencies, and to give him the 
desire and the ability for abstract and general thought* 


Morally, the contrast between the position of the workman 
and the capitalist is even more striking. Proud as most men 
are of worldly success, the degree of moral or mental excellence 
implied in the acquisition of wealth or power, even when the 
means used have been strictly legitimate, is hardly such as to 
justify that pride. Looking at intrinsic qualities rather than 
at visible results, it is obvious that practical success, whether 
in industry or in war, depends far more on character than on 
intellect or affection. The principal condition for it is the 
combination of a certain amount of energy with great caution, 
and a fair share of perseverance. When a man has these 
qualities, mediocrity of intellect and moral deficiency will not 
prevent his taking advantage of favourable chances; chance 
being usually a very important element in worldly success. 
Indeed it would hardly be an exaggeration to say that poverty 
of thought and feeling has often something to do with forming 
and maintaining the disposition requisite for the purpose. 
Vigorous exertion of the active powers is more frequently 
induced by the personal propensities of avarice, ambition, or 
vanity, than by the higher instincts. Superiority of position^ 
when legitimately obtained, deserves respect; but the philo- 
sopher, like the religionist, and with still better grounds, re^ 
fuses to regard it as a proof of moral superiority, a conclusion 
'which would be wholly at variance with the true theory of 
hiunan nature. 

The life of the workman, on the other hand, is far more 
favourable to the development of the nobler instincts. In 
practical qualities he is usually not wanting, except in caution, 
a deficiency which makes his energy and perseverance less 
useful to himself, though fully available for society. But it is 
in the exercise of the higher feelings that the moral superiority 
of the working class is most observable. When our habits and 
opinions have been brought under the influence of systematic 
principles, the true character of this class, which forms the 
basis of modem society, will become more distinct ; and we 
shall see that home affections are naturally stronger with them 
than with the middle classes, who are too much engrossed with 
personal interests for the full enjoyment of domestic ties. StilL 
more evident is their superiority in social feelings strictly so 
called, for these with them are called into daily exercise froin. 
earliest childhood. Here it is that we find the highest and 


most genuine types of friendship, and this even amongst those 
who are placed in a dependent position, aggravated often by the 
aristocratic prejudices of those above them, and whom we might 
imagine on that account condemned to a lower moral standard. 
We find sincere and simple respect for superiors, untainted by 
servility, not vitiated by the pride of learning, not disturbed by 
the jealousies of competition. Their personal experience of the 
miseries of life is a constant stimulus to the nobler sympathies. 
In no class is there so strong an incentive to social feeling, at 
least to the feeling of Solidarity between contemporaries ; for all 
are conscious of the support that they derive from imion, 
support which is not at all incompatible with strong individu- 
ality of character. The sense of Continuity with the past has 
ïiot, it is true, been sufficiently developed ; but this is a want 
which can only be supplied by systematic culture. It will 
hardly be disputed that there are more remarkable instances of 
prompt and unostentatious self-sacrifice at the call of a great 
public necessity in this class than in any other. Note too 
that, in the utter absence of any systematic education, all these 
iQoral excellences must be looked upon as inherent in the 
class. It is impossible to attribute them to theological in- 
fluence, now that they have so entirely shaken oflF the old faith. 
And although it is only in Paris that this hitherto unrecognised 
type can be seen in its perfection, yet the fact of its existence 
' iu the centre of Western Europe is enough for all rational 
^^bservers. A type so fiilly in accordance witli what we know 
of hunaan nature cannot fail ultimately to spread everywhere, 
specially when these spontaneous tendencies are placed under 
^he systematic guidance of Positivism. 

These remarks will prepare us to appreciate the wise and tms the 
gOierous instincts of the Convention in looking to the Pro- fcitr?ut^° 
letariate as the mainspring of its policy ; and this not merely ra^J/S"" 
on account of the incidental danger of foreign invasion, but in seekpouticai 
dealing with the larger question of social regeneration, which fo^wScif ' 
^^ pursued so ardently, though in such ignorance of its true no/i^ 
principles. Owing however to the want of a satisfactory 
Ç8tem, and the disorder produced by the metaphysical theories 
^' the time, the spirit in which this alliance with the people 
^ framed was incompatible with the real object in view. It 
^ considered that government ought as a rule to be in the 
hands of the people. Now under th« special circumstances of 


the time popular government was undoubtedly very useful. TLe 
existence of the republic depended almost entirely upon the 
proletariate, the only class that stood unshaken and true to its 
principles. But in the absolute spirit of the received political 
theories, this state of things was regarded as normal, a view 
which is incompatible with the most important conditions of 
modem society. It is of course always right for the people to 
assist government in carrying out the law, even to the extent 
of physical force, should the case require it. Interference of 
this subordinate kind, whether in foreign or internal questions, 
so far from leading te anarchy, is obviously a guarantee for 
order which ought te exist in every properly constituted society. 
Indeed in this respect our habits in France are still very de- 
fective ; men are teo often content te remain mere lookers on, 
while the police te whom they owe their daily protection is 
doing its duty. But for the people te take a direct part in 
government, and te have the final decision of political measures, 
is a state of things which in modem society is only adapted to 
times of revolution. To recognise it as final would lead at once 
to anarchy, were it not so utterly impossible te realise. 
In Positivism rejects the metaphysical doctrine of the Sove- 

xoeptionai roignty of the people. But it appropriates all that is really 
he People sound in the doctrine, and this with reference not merely to 

lan be really •' 

Boyerdgn. exceptional cases but to the normal state ; while at the same 
time it guards against the danger involved in its application as 
an absolute truth. In the hands of the revolutionary party the 
doctrine is generally used te justify the right of insurrection. 
Now in Positive Polity this right is looked upon as an ultimate 
resource with which no society should allow itself te dispense. 
Absolute submission, which is teo strongly inculcated by modem 
Catholicism, would expose us te the danger of tyranny. Insur- 
rection may be regarded scientifically as a sort of reparative 
crisis of which societies stand in more need than individuals, 
in accordance with the well-known biological law, that the 
higher and the more complicated the organism, the more frequent 
and also the more dangerous is the pathological state.^ There- 
fore the fear that Positivism when generally accepted will 
encourage passive obedience, is perfectly groimdless ; although 
it is certainly not favourable te the pure revolutionary spirit, 
which would fain take the disease for the normal type of health. 
Its whole character is so essentially relative, that it finds no 


difficulty in accepting subordination as the rule, and yet in 
allowing for exceptional cases of revolt ; a course by which good 
sense and human dignity are alike satisfied. Positivism looks 
upon insurrection as a dangerous remedy that should be reserved 
for extreme cases ; but it would never scruple to sanction and 
even to encourage it when it was really indispensable. This is 
quite compatible with refusing, as a rule, to submit the decision 
of political questions and the choice of rulers to judges who are 
obviously incompetent ; and who, under the influence of Posi- 
tivism, will be induced voluntarily to abdicate rights subversive 
of order. 

The metaphysical doctrine of the Sovereignty of the people ttic troth 
contains, however, a truth of permanent value, though in a very threxpn»- 
confused form. This truth Positivism separates very distinctly th?*wlu. 
from its dangerous alloy, yet without weakening, on the con- peopte* 
tiary, with the eflfect of enforcing its social import. There are one great ob! 
two distinct conceptions in this doctrine, which have hitlierto yenmiJat. 
^n confounded ; a political conception applicable to certain 
special cases ; a moral conception applicable to all. 

In the first place the name of the whole body politic ought 
^ be invoked in the annoimcement of any special measure of 
which the motives are suflSciently intelligible, and which directly 
concern the practical interests of the whole community. Under 
thw head would be included decisions of law courts, declara- 
tions of war, etc. When society has reached the Positive state, 
*Dd the sense of imiversal solidarity is more generally diffused, 
there will be even more significance and dignity in such ex- 
pressions than there is now, because the name invoked will no 
longer be that of a special nation, but that of Humanity as 
^ whole. It would be absurd however to extend this practice 
to those still more numerous cases where the people is incom- 
P^nt to express any opinion, and has merely to adopt the 
opinion of superior officers who have obtained its confidence. 
This may be owing either to the difficulty of the question or to 
the fact of its application being indirect or limited. Such, for 
^^^stance, would be enactments, very often of great importance, 
^hich deal with scientific principles ; or again most questions 
relating to special professions or branches of industry. In all 
these cases popular good sense would under Positivist influence 
^ly he kept clear from political illusions. It is only under 
t^e stimulus of metaphysical pride that such illusions become 


dangerous ; and the untaught masses have but little experience 
of this feeling. 

There is, however, another truth implied in the expression. 
Sovereignty of the people. It implies that it is the first of 
duties to concentrate all the efforts of society upon the common 
good. And in this there is a more direct reference to the 
working class than to any other ; first, on account of their 
immense numerical superiority, and, secondly, because the 
difficulties by which their life is surrounded require special 
interference to a degree which for other classes would be un- 
necessary. From this point of view is it a principle which all 
true republicans may accept. It is, in fact, identical with what 
we have laid down as the universal basis of morality^ the direct 
and permanent preponderance of social feeling over all personal 
interests. Not merely, then, is it incorporated by Positivism, 
but, as was shown in the first chapter, it forms the primary 
principle of the system, even under the intellectual aspect. 
Since the decline of Catholicism the metaphysical spirit has 
been provisionally the guardian of this great social precept. 
Positivism now finally appropriates it, and purifies it for th» 
future from all taint of anarchy. Revolutionists, as we shouldL 
expect from their characteristic dislike to the separation of the 
two powersj had treated the question politically. Positdvisno 
avoids all danger by shifting it to the region of morality. / 
shall show presently that this very salutary change, so far firom 
weakening the force of the principle, increases its permanent 
value, and at the same time removes the deceptive and sub- 
versive tendencies which are always involved in the metaphysical 
mode of regarding it. 
)Peopie*8 What, then, it will be asked^ is the part assigned to the 
^t the Proletariate in the final constitution of society ? The similarity 
?(^ino- of position which I pointed out between themselves and the 
k«fo?»o- philosophic class suggests the answer. They will be of the 
nment. ^Qg^ csscutial scrvicc to the spiritual power in each of its three 
social functions, judgment, counsel, and even education. All 
the intellectual and moral qualities that we have just indicated 
in this class concur in fitting them for this service. If w^ 
except the philosophic body, which is the recognised organ oC 
general principles, there is no class which is so habitually in^ — 
clined to take comprehensive views of any subject. Thei-^ 
superiority in Social Feeling is still more obvious. In tl 


even the best philosophera are rarely their equals ; and it would 
be a most beneficial corrective of the tendency of the latter to 
over-abstraction to come into daily contact with the noble and 
spontaneous instincts of the people. The working class, then, is 
better qualified than any other for understanding, and still more 
for sympathising with the highest truths of morality, though it 
may not be able to give them a systematic form. And as we 
have seen it is in social morality, the most important and the 
highest of the three branches of Ethics, that their superiority 
is most observable. Besides, independently of their intrinsic 
merits, whether intellectual or moral, the necessities of their 
daily life serve to impress them with respect for the great rules 
of moraUty, which in most cases were framed for their own 
protection. To secure the application of these rules in daily 
life, is a function of the spiritual power in the performance of 
^hich it will receive but slight assistance from the middle 
classes ; for as it is with them that temporal power naturally 
resides, it is their own misuse of power that has to be controlled 
*nd set right. The working classes are the chief sufferers from 
tie selfishness and domineering of men of wealth and power. 
For this reason they are the likeliest to come forward in defence 
of public morality. And they will be all the more disposed to 
give it their hearty support, if they have nothing to do directly 
with poUtical administration. Habitual participation in tem- 
poral power, to say nothing of its unsettling influence, would 
lead them away from the best remedy for their sufierings of 
which the constitution of society admits. Popular sagacity will 
^u detect the utter hoUowness of the oflF-hand solutions that 
^^ now being obtruded upon us. The people will rapidly be- 
come convinced that the surest method of satisfying all legitimate 
claims lies in the moral agencies which Positivism offers, though 
'^ appeals to them at the same time to abdicate a political 
'action which is either illusory or subversive. 

So natural is this tendency of the people to rally round the 
^iritual power in defence of morality, that we find it to have 
"^n the case even in mediseval times. Indeed this it is which 
^^lains the sympathies which Catholicism still retains, not- 
^thstanding its general decline, in the countries where Pro- 
testantism has failed to establish itself. Superficial observers 
^^ten mistake these sympathies for evidence of sincere attach- 
^^^t to the old creeds, though in point of fact they are more 


^ thoroughly undermined in those countries than anywhere else^^ 
It is an historical error which will, however, soon be correctecH 
hy the reception which these nations, so wrongly imagined tc^ 
be in a backward stage of political development, will give t(^ 
Positivism. For they will soon s^e its superiority to Catholicism 
in satisfying the primary necessity with which their social 
instincts are so justly preoccupied. 

In the Middle Ages, however, the relations between the 

' working classes and the priesthood were hampered by the 
institution of serfege, which was not wholly abolished imtil 
Catholicism had begun to decline. In fact a careful study of 
history will show that one of the principal causes of its decline 
was the want of popular support. The mediaeval church was a 
noble, but premature attempt. Disbelief in its doctrines, and 

; also retrograde tendencies in its directors, had virtually de- 
stroyed it, before the Proletariate had attained suflScient social 
importance to support it successfully, supposing it could have 

; deserved their support. But we are now sufficiently advanced 

' for the perfect realisation of the Catholic ideal in Positivism. 
And the principal means of realising it will be the formation 
of an alliance between philosophers and the working classes, for 
which both are alike prepared by the negative and positive 
progress of the last five centuries, 
hdrcom- The direct object of their combined action will be to set 

Ined efforts * • #» 

îsuit in the in niotiou the force of Public Opinion. All views of the future 

>nnat<on of , «. ».#. --i ii ^ 

ubuc opi- condition of society, the views of practical men as well as of 
philosophic thinkers, agree in the belief that the principal 
feature of the state to which we are tending will be the in- 
creased influence which Public Opinion is destined to exercise. 

It is in this beneficial influence that we shall find the surest 
guarantee for morality; for domestic and even for personal 
morality, as well as for social. For as the whole tendency of 
Positivism is to induce everyone to live as far as possible 
without concealment, the public will be intrusted with a strong 
check upon the life of the individual. Now that all theological 
illusions have become so entirely obsolete, the need of such a 
check is greater than it was before. It compensates for the 
insufficiency of natural goodness which we find in most men, 
however wisely their education has been conducted. Except 
the noblest of joys, that which springs from social sympathy 
when called into constant exercise, there is no reward for doing 


riS^^ «0 satijsfactoiyas the approval of our fellow-beings. Even 
iMttfer theological systems it has been one of our strongest 
asp^ï^tions to live esteemed in the memory of others. And 
stWV more prominence will be given to this noble form of 
ambition under Positivism, because it is the only way now left 
<rf satisfying the inward desire of prolonging life beyond the 
present. And the increased force of Public Opinion will corre- 
spond to the increased necessity for it. The peculiar reality of 
Positive doctrine and its constant conformity with facts facilitate 
the recognition of its principles, and remove all obscurity in 
their application. They are not to be evaded by subterfuges 
Uke those to which metaphysical and theological principles, 
from their vague and absolute character, have been always liable. 
Again, the primary principle of Positivism, ^hich is to judge 
every question by the standard of social interests, is in itself a 
direct appeal to Public Opinion ; since the public is naturally 
the judge of the good or bad eflfect of action upon the common 
welfare. Under theological and metaphysical systems no appeal 
of this sort was recognised ; because the objects upheld as the 
highest aims of life were purely personal. 

In political questions the application of our principle is still 
more obvious. For political morality Public Opinion is almost 
our only guarantee. We feel its force even now in spite of the 
intellectual anarchy in which we live, whenever any great 
public excitement controls the wide divergence of convictions 
which in most cases neutralises it. Indeed, we feel it to our 
cost sometimes when the popular mind has taken a wrong direc- 
tion ; government in such cases being very seldom able to offer 
adequate resistance. These cases may convince us how irresis- 
tible this power will prove when used legitimately, and when it 
is formed by systematic accordance in general principles, instead 
of by a precarious and momentary coincidence of feeling. And 
here we see more clearly than ever how impossible it is to effect 
any permanent reconstruction of the institutions of society, 
without a previous reorganisation of opinion and of life. The 
spiritual basis is necessary, not merely to determine the character 
of the temporal reconstruction, but to supply the principal 
motive force by which the work is to be carried out. Intellec- 
tual and moral harmony will gradually be restored, and imder 
its influence the new political system will by degrees arise. 
Social improvements of the highest importance may therefore 


be realised long before the work of spiritual reorganisation i 
completed. We find in mediseval history that Catholicisns 
exercised a powerful influence on society during its emergence 
from barbarism, before its own internal constitution had ad- 
vanced far. And this will be the case to a still greater degree 
with the regeneration which is now in progress. 
PnbUcopi. Having defined the sphere within which Public Opinion 

lion in- " * , ^ 

roives, (1) should Operate, we shall find little difficulty in determining the 
ociaicon. couditious requisite for its proper organisation. These are, 
heir accept- first, the establishment of fixed principles of social action; 

ince by so- * * 

!iety at secondly, their adoption by the public, and its consent to their 
JJJ** u application in special cases ; and, lastly, a recognised organ to 
'Wchto lay down the principles, and to apply them to the conduct of 
'>«»• daily life. Obvious as these three conditions appear, they are 

still so little understood that it will be well to explain each of 
them somewhat more fully. 

The first condition, that of laying down fixed principles, is 
in fact the extension to social questions of that separation 
between theory and practice, which in subjects of less impor- 
tance is universally recognised. This is the aspect in which 
the superiority of the new spiritual system to the old is most 
perceptible. The principles of moral and political conduct that 
were accepted in the Middle Ages were little better than empi- 
rical, and owed their stability entirely to the sanction of religion. 
In this respect, indeed, the superiority of Catholicism to the 
systems which preceded it, consisted merely in the feet of 
separating its precepts from the special application of them. 
By making its precepts the distinct object of preliminary study, 
it secured them against the bias of human passions. Yet impor- 
tant as this separation was, the system was so defective intellec- 
tually, that the successful application of its principles depended 
simply on the good sense of the teachers ; for the principles in 
themselves were at first as vague and as absolute as the creeds 
from which they were derived. The influence exercised by 
Catholicism was due to its indirect action upon social feeling in 
the only mode then possible. But the claims with which 
Positivism presents itself are far more satisfactory. It is based 
on a complete synthesis ; one which embraces, not the outer 
world only, but the inner world of human nature. This, while 
in no way detracting from the practical value of social principles, 
gives them the imposing weight of theoretical truth; and 


ensures their stability and coherence, by connecting them with 
the whole series of laws on which the life of man and of society 
depend. For these laws will corroborate even those which are 
not immediately deduced from them. By connecting all our 
rules of action with the fundamental conception of social duty, 
we render their interpretation in each special case clear and 
consistent, and we secure it against the sophisms of passion. 
Principles such as these, based on reason, and rendering our 
conduct independent of the impulses of the moment, are the 
only means of sustaining the vigour of Social Feeling, and at 
the same time of saving us from the errors to which its un- 
gwided suggestions so often lead. Direct and constant cultiu-e 
of Social Feeling in public as well as in private life is no doubt 
the first condition of morality. But the natural strength of 
Sel^love is such that something besides this is required to con- 
trol it. The course of conduct must be traced beforehand in all 
^portant cases by the aid of demonstrable principles, adopted 
*t first upon trust, and afterwards from conviction. 

There is no art whatever in which, however ardent and 
^ï^cere our desire to succeed, we can dispense with knowledge 
^* the nature and conditions of the object aimed at. Moral 
^d political conduct is assuredly not exempt from such an 
^l>ligation, although we are more influenced in this case by the 
direct promptings of feeling than in any other of the arts of 
We. It has been shown only too clearly by many striking 
^ïistances how fer Social Feeling may lead us astray when it is 
^ot directed by right principles. It was for want of fixed con- 
victions that the noble sympathies entertained by the French 
^tion for the rest of Europe at the outset of the Revolution so 
*oon degenerated into forcible oppression when her retrograde 
Wer began his seductive appeal to selfish passions. Inverse 
^^'^^ are still more common ; and they illustrate the connection 
^f feeling and opinion as clearly as the others. A false social 
doctrine has often favoured the natural ascendancy of Self-love, 
^y giving a perverted conception of public well-being. This has 
^n too plainly exemplified in our own time by the deplorable 
Influence which Malthus's sophistical theory of population ob- 
t^ed in England. This mischievous error met with very little 
*^ptance in the rest of Europe, and it has been already le^ 
^t«d by the nobler thinkers of his own country ; but it still 
^^e& the show of scientific sanction to the criminal antipathy 
^ou L I 


of the governing classes in Great Britain to all effectual measupes 
of reform. 

Next to a system of principles, the most important condition 
for the exercise of Public Opinion is the existence of a social 
atmosphere favourable to the acceptance of these principles. Now 
it was here that Catholicism proved po weak; and therefore, 
even had its doctrine been less perishable, its decline was un- 
avoidable. But the defect is amply supplied in the new spiritual 
order, which, as I have before shown, will receive the influential 
support of the working classes. And the need of such assistance 
is as certain as the readiness with which it will be yielded. For 
though the intrinsic efficacy of Positive teaching is far greater 
than that of any doctrine not susceptible of demonstration, yet 
the convictions it inspires cannot be expected to dispense with 
the aid of vigorous popular support. Human nature is im- 
perfectly organised ; and the influence which Beason exercises 
over it is not by any means so great as this supposition would 
imply. Even Social Feeling, though its influence is far greater 
than that of Eeason, would not in general be sufficient for the 
right guidance of practical life, if Public Opinion were not con- 
stantly at hand to support the good inclinations of individuals. 
The arduous struggle of Social Feeling against Self-love requires 
the constant assertion of true principles to remove uncertainty 
as to the proper course of action in each case. But it requires 
also something more. The strong reaction of All upon Each is 
needed, whether to control selfishness or to stimulate sympathy. 
The tendency of our poor and weak nature to give way to the 
lower propensities is so great that, but for this universal co- 
operation, Feeling and Season would be almost always in- 
adequate to their task. In the working class we find the 
requisite conditions. They will, as we have seen, form the 
principal source of opinion, not merely from their numerical 
superiority, but also from their intellectual and moral qualities, 
as well as from the influence directly due to their social position. 
Thus it is that Positivism views the great problem of human 
life, and shows us for the first time that the bases of a solution 
already exist in the very structure of the social organism. 
orkinjç Working men, whether as individuals or, what is still more 

important, collectively, are now at liberty to criticise all the 
details, and even the general principles, of the social system 
under which they live ; affecting, as it necessarily does, them* 

en's clubs. 


selves more nearly than any other class. The remarkable 
eagerness lately shown by oar people to form clubs, though 
there was no special motive for it, and no very marked en- 
thusiasm, was a proof that the checks which had previously 
prevented this tendency from showing itself were quite unsuited 
to our times. Nor is this tendency likely to pass away ; on the 
contrary, it will take deeper root and extend more widely, 
because it is thoroughly in keeping with the habits, feelings, 
and wants of working men, who form the majority in these 
meetings. A consistent system of social truth will largely in- 
crease their influence, by giving them a more settled character and 
a more important aim. So far from being in any way destructive, 
they form a natural though imperfect model of the mode of life 
^hich will ultimately be adopted in the regenerate condition 
of Humanity. In these unions social sympathies are kept in 
constant action by a stimulus of a most beneficial kind. They 
offer the speediest and most effectual ineans of elaborating 
Public Opinion : this at least is the case when there has been 
* feir measure of individual training. No one at present has 
^7 idea of the extent of the advantages which will one day 
^nng from these spontaneous meetings, when there is an 
^uate system of general principles to direct them. Spiritual 
organisation will find them its principal basis of support, for 
^hey secure its acceptance by the people ; and this will have 
the greater weight, because it will be always given without 
compulsion or violence. The objection that meetings of this 
^Qd may lead to dangerous political agitation, rests upon a 
misinterpretation of the events of the Revolution. So far from 
^heir stimulating a desire for what are called political rights, 
<^r encouraging their exercise in those who possess them, their 
tendency is quite in the opposite direction. They will soon 
divert working men entirely from all useless attempts to inter- 
fere with existing political institutions, and bring them to their 
^nie social function, that of assisting and carrying out the 
<^perations of the new spiritual power. It is a noble prospect 
^hich is thus held out to them by Positivism, a prospect far 
more inviting than any of the metaphysical illusions of the day. 
■*"C real intention of the Club is to form a provisional substitute 
^^ ^e Church of old times, or rather to prepare the way for 
® J'eligious building of the new form of worship, the worshij» 
-Sxunanity ; which, as I shall explain in a subsequent chapter, 

I 2 


will be gradually introduced under the regenerating influence 
of Positive doctrine. Under our present republican government 
all progressive tendencies are allowed free scope, and therefore 
it will not be long before our people accept this new vent for 
social sjmapathies, which in former times could find expression 
only in Catholicism. 

In this theory of Public Opinion one condition yet remains 
to be described. A philosophic organ is necessary to interpret 
the doctrine ; the influence of which would otherwise in most 
cases be very inadequate. This third condition has been much 
disputed ; but it is certainly even more indispensable than the 
second. And in fact it has never been really wanting, for every 
doctrine must have had some founder, and usually has a per- 
manent body of teachers. It would be diflScult to conceive that 
a system of moral and political principles should be possessed of 
great social influence, and yet at the same time that the men 
who originate or inculcate the system should exercise no spiritual 
authority. It is true that this inconsistency did for a time 
exist under the negative and destructive influence of Protes- 
tantism and Deism, because men's thoughts were for the time 
entirely taken up with the struggle to escape from the retrograde 
tendencies of Catholicism. During this long period of insur- 
rection, each individual became a sort of priest ; each, that is, 
followed his own interpretation of a doctrine which needed no 
special teachers, because its function was not to construct but 
to criticise. All the constitutions that have been recentlv 
established on metaphysical principles give a direct sanction 
to this state of things, in the preambles with which they com- 
mence. They apparently regard each citizen as competent to 
form a sound opinion on all social questions, thus exempting 
him from the necessity of applying to any special interpreters. 
This extension to the normal state of things of a phase of mind 
only suited to the period of revolutionary transition, is an 
error which I have already suflSciently refuted. 

In the minor arts of life, it is obvious that general 
principles cannot be laid down without some theoretical study ; 
«and that the application of these rules to special cases is not to 
be entirely left to the untaught instinct of the artisan. And 
can it be otherwise with the art of Social Life, so far harder 
and more important than any other, and in which, from its 
principles being less simple and less precise, a special explan- 


ation of them in each case is even more necessary? However 
perfect the demonstration of social principles may become, it 
must not be supposed that knowledge of Positive doctrine, even 
when it has been taught in the most efficient way, will dispense 
with the necessity of frequently appealing to the philosopher 
for advice in questions of practical life, whether private or 
public. And this necessity of an interpreter to intervene 
occasionally between the principle and its application, is even 
niore evident from the moral than it is from the intellectual 
^pect. Certain as it is that no one will be so well acquainted 
^ith the true character of the doctrine as the philosopher who 
teaches it, it is even more certain that none is so likely as 
himself to possess the moral qualifications of purity, of exalted 
^ins, and of freedom from party spirit, without which his 
counsels could have but little weight in reforming individual or 
^ial conduct. It ia principally through his agency that we 
^y hope in most cases to bring about that reaction of All 
^pon Each, which, as we have seen, is of such indispensable im- 
portance to practical morality. Philosophers are not indeed 
^he principal source of Public Opinion, as intellectual pride so 
^ften leads them to believe. Public Opinion proceeds 
^^sentially from the free voice and spontaneous co-operation of 
^te people. But in order that the ftdl weight of their un- 
animous judgment may be felt, it must be announced by some 
Recognised organ. There are, no doubt, rare cases where the 
direct expression of popular feeling is enough, but these are 
^uite exceptional. Thus working men and philosophers are 
mutually necessary, not merely in the creation of Public 
Opmion, but also in most cases in the manifestation of it. 
^ ithout the first, the doctrine, however well established^ would 
îlot have sufficient force. Without the second, it would usually 
^ too incoherent to overcome those obstacles in the constitu- 
tion of man and of society, which make it so difficult to bring 
practical life under the influence of fixed principles. 

In fact, this necessity for some systematic organ to direct 
^^ give effect to Public Opinion, has always been felt, even 
^dst the spiritual anarchy which at present surrounds us, on 
^^ery occasion in which such opinion has played any important 
P^ For its eflFect on these occasions would have been null 
^ void but for some individual to take the initiative and 
P^^ual responsibility. This is frequently verified in private 


life by cases in which we see the opposite state of things ; we 
see principles which no one would think of contesting, 
practically inadequate, for want of some recognised authority 
to apply them. It is a serious deficiency, which is, however, 
compensated, though imperfectly, by the greater facility of 
arriving at the truth in such cases, and by the greater strength 
of the sjmapathies which they call forth. But in public life, 
with its more diflScult conditions and more important claims, 
such entire absence of systematic intervention could never be 
tolerated. In all public transactions even now we may perceive 
the participation of a spiritual authority of one kind or other ; 
the organs of which, though constantly fluctuating, are in 
most cases metaphysicians or literary men writing for the 
press. Thus even in the present anarchy of feelings and con- 
victions. Public Opinion cannot dispense with guides and in- 
terpreters. Only it has to be content with men who at the 
best can only oflfer the guarantee of personal responsibility, 
without any reliable security either for the stability of their 
convictions or the purity of their feelings. But now that the 
problem of organising Public Opinion has once been proposed 
by Positivism, it cannot remain long without a solution. It 
plainly reduces itself to the principle of separating the two 
social powers ; just as we have seen that the necessity of an 
established doctrine rested on the analogous principle of 
separating theory from practice. It is clear, on the one hand, 
that sound interpretation of moral and political rules, as in the 
case of «my other art, can only be furnished by philosophers 
engaged in the study of the natural laws on which they rest. 
On the other hand these philosophers, in order to preserve that 
breadth and generality of view which is their principal intel- 
lectual characteristic, must abstain scrupulously from all 
regular participation in practical affairs, and especially from 
political life: on the ground that its specialising influence 
would soon impair their speculative capacity. And such a 
course is equally necessary on moral grounds. It helps to 
preserve purity of feeling and impartiality of character ; qualities 
essential to their influence upon public as well as upon private 

Such, in outline, is the Positive theory of Public Opinion. 
In each of its three constituent elements, the Doctrine, the 
Power, and the Organ, it is intimately connected with the 


whole question of spiritual reorganisation : or rather, it forms 
the simplest mode of viewing that great subject. All the 
essential parts of it are closely related to each other. Positive 
principles, on the one hand, cannot count on much material 
support, except from the working classes ; these in their turn 
will for the future regard Positivism as the only doctrine with 
which they can sympathise. So, again, with the philosophic 
organs of opinion; without the People, their necessary inde- 
pendence cannot be established or sustained. To our literary 
classes the separation of the two powers is instinctively re- 
pugnant, because it would lay down systematic limits to the 
worthless ambition which now actuates them. And it will 
^ disliked as strongly by the rich classes, who will look with 
frar upon a new moral authority destined to impose an irre- 
sistible check upon their selfishness. At present it will be 
generally understood and welcomed only by the proletary class, 
who have more aptitude for general views and for social sym- 
P^hy, In France especially they are less under the delusion 
of metaphysical sophisms and of aristocratic prestige than any 
other class ; and the Positivist view of this primary condition 
of social regeneration will find a ready entrance into their 
lûinds and hearts. 

Our theory of Public Opinion shows us at once how far Aiithreocon- 
^e have already gone in organising this great regulator of PubUcopi. 
modern society ; how far we still fall short of what is wanted, but have Aot 
The Doctrine has at last arisen : there is no doubt of the oombinwi. 
wistence of the Power ; and even the Organ is not wanting. 
l^ut they do not as yet stand in their right relation to each 
other. The effective impulse towards social regeneration 
^^pends, then, on one ultimate condition ; the formation of a 
°nn alliance between philosophers and proletaries. 

Of this powerful coalition I have already spoken. I have 

^ow to explain the advantages which it offers to the people in 

^"^ way of obtaining suflBcient recognition of all legitimate 

Of these advantages, the principal, and that by which the 
ïest will speedily be developed and secured, is the important 
*^ial function which is hereby conferred upon them. They 
^me auxiliaries of the new spiritual power ; auxiliaries 
^dispensable to its action. This vast proletary class, which 
^ver since its rise in the Middle Ages has been shut out from 


the political system, will now assume the position for which 
by nature it is best adapted, and which is most conducive to the 
general well-being of society. Its members, independently 
of their special vocation, will at last take a regular and most 
important part in public life, a part which will compensate for 
the hardships inseparable from their social position. Their 
combined action, far from disturbing the established order of 
things, will be its most solid guarantee, from the fact of being 
moral, not political. And here we see definitely the alteration 
which Positivism introduces in the revolutionary conception of 
the action of the working classes upon society. For stormy 
discussions about rights, it substitutes peaceable definition of 
duties. It supersedes useless disputes for the possession of 
power, by enquiring into the rules that should regulate its wise 
x>ntan«oaR A Superficial observer of the present state of things might 
S people In imagine our working classes to be as yet very far from this 
m, Vheir' frame of mind. But he who looks deeper into the question 
)mmun- ^^ ^^ ^j^^^ ^^^ ^^^ experiment which they are now trying, 

of extending their political rights, will soon have the effect of 
showing them the hoUowness of a remedy which has so slight 
a bearing upon the objects really important to them. Without 
making any formal abdication of rights, which might seem 
inconsistent with their social dignity, there is little doubt that 
their instinctive sagacity will lead them to the still more 
efficacious plan of indifference. Positivism will readily con- 
vince them that whereas spiritual power, in order to do its 
work, must ramify in every direction, it is essential to public 
order that political power should be as a rule concentrated. 
And this conviction will grow upon them, as they see more 
clearly that the primary social problems which are very pro- 
perly absorbing their attention are essentially moral rather 
than political. 

One step in this direction they have already taken of their 
own accord, though its importance has not been duly appreciated. 
The well-known scheme of Communism, which has foimd such 
rapid acceptance with them, serves, in the absence of sounder 
doctrine, to express the way in which they are now looking at 
the great social problem. The experience of the first part of 
the Ee volution has not yet wholly disabused them of political 
illusions, but it has at least brought them to feel that Property 


is of more importance than Power in the ordinary sense of the 
word. So fer Communism has given a wider meaning to the 
great social problem, and has thereby rendered an essential 
service, which is not neutralised by the temporary dangers 
involved in the metaphysical forms in which it comes before 
us. Commimism should therefore be carefully distinguished 
from the numerous extravagant schemes brought forward in 
this time of spiritual anarchy ; a time which stimulates incom- 
petent and ill-trained minds to the most difficult subjects of 
thought. The foolish schemes referred to have so few definite 
features, that we have to distinguish them by the names of 
their authors. But Communism bears the name of no single 
author, and is something more than an accidental product of 
anomalous circumstances. We should look upon it as the 
natiuTil progress in the right direction of the revolutionary 
spirit ; progress of a moral rather than intellectual kind. It 
is a proof that revolutionary tendencies are now concentrating 
themselves upon moral questions, leaving all purely political 
questions in the background. It is quite true that the solution 
of the problem which Communists are now putting forward, is 
still as essentially political as that of their predecessors ; since 
the only mode by which they propose to regulate the employ- 
ment of property, is by a change in the mode of its tenure. 
Still it is owing to them that the question of property is at 
last brought forward for discussion : and it is a question which 
80 evidently needs a moral solution, the solution of it by 
political means is at once so inadequate and so destructive, 
that it cannot long continue to be debated without leading to 
the more satisfactory result offered by Positivism. Men will 
see that it forms a part of the final regeneration of opinion and 
of life, which Positivism is now inaugurating. 

To do ]ustice to Communism, we must look at the generous 
sympathies bj. which it is inspired, not at the shallow theories 
in which those ".vmpathies find expression provisionally, imtil 
circumstances enab^'^ them to take some other shape. The 
workmen connected with the Communist utopia, caring but very 
little for metaphysical principles, do not attach nearly the same 
importance to these theories as is done by men of literary 
education. As soon as they see a better way of bringing forward 
the points on which they have such legitimate claims, they will 
very soon adopt the clear and practical conceptions of Positivism, 


which can be carried out peaceably and permanently, in pre- 
ference to these vague and confused chimeras, which, as they 
will instinctively feel, lead only to anarchy. Till then they will 
naturally abide by Communism, as the only method of bringing 
forward the most fundamental of social problems in a way which 
there shall be no evading. The very alarm aroused by these 
proposed solutions of the problem helps to stir public attention, 
and fix it on this great subject. But for this constant appeal 
to their fears, the metaphysical delusions and aristocratic self- 
seeking of the governing classes would shelve the question 
altogether, or pass it by with indifference. And even when the 
mistakes of Communists have been rectified, it does not follow 
that they should give up the name, which is a simple assertion of 
the paramount importance of Social Feeling. However, now 
that we have happily passed from monarchy to republicanism, 
the name of GoTYimunist is no longer indispensable ; the word 
Republican expresses the meaning as well, and without the 
same danger. Positivism, then, has nothing to fear from 
Communism ; on the contrary, it will probably be accepted by 
most of the Communist workmen, especially in France, where 
abstractions have but little influence on minds thorouffhlv 
emancipated from theology. The people will gradually find 
that the solution of the great social problem which Positivism 
offers is better than the Communistic solution. 
S^llium* A tendency in this direction has already shown itself since 
the first edition of this work was published. French workmen 
have now adopted a new expression. Socialism^ thus indicating 
that they accept the problem of the Communists while rejecting 
their solution. Indeed that solution would seem to be finally 
disposed of by the voluntary exile of their leader. Yet, if the 
Socialists at present keep clear of Conmiunism, it is only be- 
cause their position is one of criticism or inaction. If they were 
to succeed to power, with principles so fax below the level of 
their sympathies, they would inevitably fall into the same error» 
and extravagances which they now instinctively feel to be wrong. 
Consequently the rapid spread of Socialism very naturally alarms 
the upper classes ; and their resistance, blind though it be, is 
at present the only legal guarantee for material order. In fact, 
the problem brought forward by the Communists admits of no 
solution but their own, so long as the revolutionary confusion of 
temporal and spiritual power continues. Therefore the uni- 

in its natnn 
social, and 
needs con 


versai blame that is lavished on these Utopian schemes cannot 
Êiil to lead men towards Positivism, as the only doctrine which 
can preserve Western Europe from some serious attempt to 
bring Communism into practical operation. Positivists stand 
forward now as the party of construction, with a definite basis 
for political action ; namely, systematic prosecution of the wise 
attempt of mediaeval statesmen to separate the two social powers. 
On this basis they are enabled to satisfy the poor, and at the 
same time to restore the confidence of the rich. It is a final 
solution of our diflSculties which will make the titles of which 
we have been speaking imnecessary. Stripping the old word 
S^ublican of any false meaning at present attached to it, we 
may retain it as the best expression of the social sympathies on 
which the regeneration of society depends. For the opinions, 
manners, and even institutions of future society, Poaitivist is 
the only word suitable. 

The peculiar reality of Positivism, and its invariable ten- property is 
dency to concentrate our intellectual powers upon social ques- 
tions, form a twofold reason for its presentation in a systematic 
form of the spontaneous principle of Commimism ; namely, that 
Property is in its nature social, and that it needs control. 

Property has been erroneously represented by most modem 
jurists as conferring an absolute right upon the possessor, irre^ 
actively of the good or bad use made of it. The instincti\'e 
ol>jection of workmen to this view is shared by all true philo- 
^phers. It is an anti-social theory, due historically to exag- 
gerated reaction against previous legislation of a peculiarly 
oppressive kind, but it has no real foundation either in justice 
or in fact. Property can neither be created, nor even trans- 
iQitted by the sole agency of its possessor. Since the co-opera- 
^lon of the public is always necessary, whether in the assertion 
of the general principle or in its special application, the tenure 
of property cannot be regarded as purely individual. In every 
age and in every coimtry the state has intervened, to a greater 
or less degree, making property subservient to social require* 
ments. Taxation evidently gives the public an interest in the 
private fortime of each individual : an interest which, instead 
of diminishing with the progress of civilisation, has been always 
on the increase, especially in modern times, now that the con- 
nection of each member of society with the whole is becoming 
more apparent. The practice of confiscation, which also is in 

8 new title 


which can be carried out peaceably and permanently, in pre- 
ference to these vague and confused chimeras, which, as they 
will instinctively feel, lead only to anarchy. Till then they will 
naturally abide by Communism, as the only method of bringing 
forward the most fundamental of social problems in a way which 
there shall be no evading. The very alarm aroused by these 
proposed solutions of the problem helps to stir public attention, 
and fix it on this great subject. But for this constant appeal 
to their fears, the metaphysical delusions and aristocratic self- 
seeking of the governing classes would shelve the question 
altogether, or pass it by with indifference. And even when the 
mistakes of Communists have been rectified, it does not follow 
that they should give up the name, which is a simple assertion of 
the paramount importance of Social Feeling. However, now 
that we have happily passed from monarchy to republicanism, 
the name of Communist is no longer indispensable ; the word 
Republican expresses the meaning as well, and without the 
same danger. Positivism, then, has nothing to fear from 
Communism ; on the contrary, it will probably be accepted by 
most of the Communist workmen, especially in France, where 
abstractions have but little influence on minds thoroughly 
emancipated from theology. The people will gradually find 
that the solution of the great social problem which Positivism 
offers is better than the Commimistic solution. 

A tendency in this direction has already shown itself since 
the first edition of this work was published. French workmen 
have now adopted a new expression. Socialism^ thus indicating 
that they accept the problem of the Communists while rejecting 
their solution. Indeed that solution would seem to be finally 
disposed of by the voluntary exile of their leader. Yet, if the 
Socialists at present keep clear of Communism, it is only be- 
cause their position is one of criticism or inaction. If they were 
to succeed to power, with principles so fax below the level of 
their sympathies, they would inevitably fall into the same errors 
and extravagances which they now instinctively feel to be wrong. 
Consequently the rapid spread of Socialism very naturally alarms 
the upper classes ; and their resistance, blind though it be, is 
at present the only legal guai-antee for material order. In fact, 
the problem brought forward by the Communists admits of nc^ 
solution but their own, so long as the revolutionary confusion of 
temporal and spiritual power continues. Therefore the uni- 


^rsal blame that is lavished on these Utopian schemes cannot 
til to lead men towards Positivism, as the only doctrine which 
aji preserve Western Europe from some serious attempt to 
iring Communism into practical operation. Positivists stand 
brward now as the party of construction, with a definite basis 
ibr political action ; namely, systematic prosecution of the wise 
attempt of mediaeval statesmen to separate the two social powers. 
On this basis they are enabled to satisfy the poor, and at the 
same time to restore the confidence of the rich. It is a final 
solution of our diflSculties which will make the titles of which 
we have been speaking unnecessary. Stripping the old word 
Repvhlican of any false meaning at present attached to it, we 
may retain it as the best expression of the social sympathies on 
which the regeneration of society depends. For the opinions, 
manners, and even institutions of future society, Positivist is 
the only word suitable. 

The peculiar reality of Positivism, and its invariable ten- property u 
dency to concentrate oiu: intellectual powers upon social ques- l^dS^'anS** 
tions, form a twofold reason for its presentation in a systematic "^^ ^^ 
form of the spontaneous principle of Communism ; namely, that 
Property is in its nature social, and that it needs control. 

Property has been erroneously represented by most modern 
jurists as conferring an absolute right upon the possessor, irre- 
spectively of the good or bad use made of it. The instinctive 
objection of workmen to this view is shared by all true philo- 
«)phers. It is an anti-social theory, due historically to exag- 
gerated reaction against previous legislation of a peculiarly 
oppressive kind, but it has no real foundation either in justice 
or in fact. Property can neither be created, nor even trans- 
^tted by the sole agency of its possessor. Since the co-opera- 
^Jon of the public is always necessary, whether in the assertion 
^^ the general principle or in its special application, the tenure 
^ property cannot be regarded as purely individual. In every 
ër^ and in every country the state has intervened, to a greater 
^ less degree, making property subservient to social require* 
^^nts. Taxation evidently gives the public an interest in the 
*^ivate fortime of each individual : an interest which, instead 
^* diminishing with the progress of civilisation, has been always 
*^ the increase, especially in modern times, now that the con- 
^^ction of each member of society with the whole is becoming 
^ore apparent. The practice of confiscation, which also is in 


universal use, shows that in certain extreme cases the commu 
nity considers itself authorised to assume entire possession of 
private property. Confiscation has, it is true, been abolished 
for a time in France. But this isolated exception is due only 
to the abuses which recently accompanied the exercise of what 
was in itself an undoubted right ; and it will hardly survive 
when the causes which led to it are forgotten, and the power 
which introduced it has passed away. In their abstract views 
of property, then, Communists are perfectly able to maintain 
their ground against the jurists. 

They are right, again, in dissenting as deeply as they do 
from the Economists, who lay it down as an absolute principle 
that the application of wealth should be entirely unrestricted by 
society. This error, like the one just spoken of, is attributable 
to instances of unjustifiable interference. But it is utterly 
opposed to all sound philosophical teaching, although it has a 
certain appearance of truth, in so far as it recognises the sub- 
ordination of social phenomena to natural laws. But the 
Economists seem to have adopted this important principle only 
to show how incapable they are of comprehending it. Before 
they applied the conception of Law to the higher phenomena of 
nature, they ought to have made themselves well acquainted 
with its meaning, as applied to the lower and more simple 
phenomena. Not having done so, they have been utterly blind 
to the fact that the Order of nature becomes more and more 
modifiable as it grows more complicated. This conception lies 
at the very root of our whole practical life ; therefore nothing 
can excuse the metaphysical school of Economists for syste- 
matically resisting the intervention of human wisdom in the 
various departments of social action. That the movement of 
society is subject to natural laws is certain ; but this truth, 
instead of inducing us to abandon all efforts to modify societj) 
should rather lead to a wiser application of such efforts, since 
they are at once more efficacious and more necessary in social 
phenomena than in any other. 

So far, therefore, the fundamental principle of Conmiunism 
is one which the Positivist school must obviously adopt. Posi- 
tivism not only confirms this principld, but widens its scope, 
by showing its application to other departments of human life; 
by insisting that, not wealth only, but that all our powers shall 
be devoted in the true republican spirit to the continuous 


serv-ice of the community. The long period of revolution which 
lias elapsed since the Middle Ages has encouraged individualism 
in the moral world, as in the intellectual it has fostered the 
specialising tendency. But both are equally inconsistent with 
the final order of modem society. In all healthy conditions of 
Humanity, the citizen, whatever his position, has been regarded 
as a public functionary, whose duties and claims were deter- 
mined more or less distinctly by his faculties. The case of 
property is certainly no exception to this general principle. 
Proprietorship is regarded by the Positivist as an important 
social function ; the function, namely, of creating and adminis- 
tering that capital by means of which each generation lays the 
foundation for the operations of its successor. This is the only 
tenable view of property; and wisely interpreted, it is one 
which, while ennobling to its possessor, does not exclude a due 
measure of freedom. It will in fact place his position on a 
firmer basis than ever. 

But the ainreement here pointed out between sociological But PodtiT- 

lam i^{c/*ta 

Science and the spontaneous inspirations of popular judgment, the Cummu. 

goes no fJEurther. Positivists accept, and indeed very much oftheprob- 

enlarge, the programme of Communism; but we reject its tyiitote 

practical solution on the ground that it is at once inadequate moral not le. 

and subversive. The chief diflFerence between our own solution 

and theirs is that we substitute moral agencies for political. 

Thus we come again to our leading principle of separating 

spiritual firom temporal power ; a principle which, disregarded 

as it has hitherto been in the system of modem renovators, 

will be foimd in every one of the important problems of oiu: 

time to be the sole possible issue. In the present case, while 

throwing such light on the fallacy of Communism, it should 

lead us to excuse the fallacy, by reminding us that politicians 

of every accredited school are equally guilty of it. At a time 

when there are so very few, even of cultivated minds, who have 

a clear conception of this the primary principle of modem 

politics, it would be harsh to blame the people for still accepting 

a result of revolutionary empiricism, which is so universally 

adopted by other classes. 

I need not enter here into any detailed criticism of the 
Utopian scheme of Plato. It was conclusively refuted twenty- 
two centuries ago, by the great Aristotle, who thus exemplified 
the organic character! by which, even in its earliest manifesta- 


tions, the Positive spirit is distinguished. In modem Com* 
miinism^ moreover, there is one &tal inconsistency, which while 
it proves the utter weakness ot ice system, testifies at the same 
time to the honourable character of the motives firom which it 
arose. Modem Communism differs from the ancient, as ex- 
pounded by Plato, in not making women and children common 
as well as property ; a result to which the principle itself ob- 
viously leads. Yet this, the only consistent view of Communism, 
is adopted by none but a very few literary men, whose affec- 
tions, in themselves too feeble, have been perverted by vicious 
intellectual training. Our untaught proletaries, who are the 
only Communists worthy our consideration, are nobly incon- 
sistent in this respect. Indivisible as their erroneous system 
is, they only adopt that side of it which touches on their social 
requirements, energetically repudiating the other aspect as 
offensive to all their highest instincts. 

Without discussing these chimerical schemes in detail, it 
will be well to expose the errors inherent in the method of 
reasoning which leads to them, because they are common to all 
the other progressive schools, the Positivist school excepted. 
The mistake consists in the first place, in disr^[arding or even 
denying the natural laws which r^;ulate social phenomena; 
and secondly, in resorting to political agencies where moral 
agency is the real thing needed. The inadequacy and the 
danger of the various Utopian systems which are now setting up 
their rival claims to bring about the regeneration of society, 
are all attributable in reality to these two closely-connected 
errors. For the sake of clearness, I shall continue to refer 
specially to Communism as the most prominent of these sys- 
tems. But it will be easy to extend the bearing of my remarks 
to all the rest. 
indiTiduaU- The ignorance of the true laws of social life nnder which 

fSnStoM M Communists labour is evident in their dangerous tendency to 
wî^^Sôn. suppress individuality. Not only do they ignore the inherent 
preponderance in our nature of the personal instincts ; but they 
forget that, in the collective Organism, the separation of func- 
tions is a feature no less essential than the co-operation of 
functions. Suppose for a moment that the connection between 
men could be made such that they were physically inseparable^ 
as has been actually the case with twins in certain cases of 
monstrosity ; society would obviously be impossible. Extravar 


gant as this supposition is, it may illustrate the fact that in 
social life individuality cannot be dispensed with. It is ne- 
cessary in order to admit of that variety of simultaneous efforts 
which constitutes the inmiense superiority of the Social Organ- 
ism over every individual life. The great problem for man is 
to harmonise, as &r as possible, the freedom resulting from 
isolation, with the equally urgent necessity for convergence. 
To dwell exclusively upon the necessity of convergence would 
.tend to undermine not merely our practical energy, but our 
true dignity ; since it would do away with the sense of personal 
responsibility. In exceptional cases where life is spent in 
forced subjection to domestic authority, the comforts of home 
are often not enough to prevent existence from becoming an 
intolerable biurden, simply from the want of suflBcient inde- 
pendence. What would it be, then, if everybody stood in a 
similar position of dependence towards a community that was 
indifferent to his happiness ? Yet no less a danger than this 
would be the result of adopting any of those Utopian schemes 
which sacrifice true liberty to imcontrolled equality, or even to 
an exaggerated sense of fraternity. Wide as the divergence 
between Positivism and the Economic schools is, Positivists 
adopt substantially the strictures which they have passed upon 
Communism ; especially those of Dunoyer, their most advanced 

There is another point in which Communism is equally indnBtryre- 

inconsistent with the laws of Sociology. Acting under false SaptSiwiw 

views of the constitution of our modern industrial system, it ^^ " 

proposes to remove its directors, who form so essential a part 

of it. An army can no more exist without officers than 

without soldiers; and this elementary truth holds good of 

Industry as well as of War. The organisation of modern 

industry has not been found practicable as yet ; but the germ 

of such organisation lies unquestionably in the division which 

^ arisen spontaneously between Capitalist and Workman. 

^0 great works could be undertaken if each worker were also 

to be a director, or if the management, instead of being fixed, 

^ere entrusted to a passive and irresponsible body. It is 

^^dent that under the present system of industry there is a 

^dency to a constant enlargement of imdertakings : each 

^h step leads at once to still further extension. Now this 

^odeacy, so far from being opposed to the interests of the 


working classes, is a condition which will most seriouslj 
facilitate the real organisation of our material existence, as soon 
as we have a moral authority competent to control it. For it 
is only the larger employers that the spiritual power can hope 
to penetrate with a strong and habitual sense of duty to their 
subordinates. Without a sufficient concentration of material 
power, the means of satisfying the claims of morality would be 
found wanting, except at such exorbitant sacrifices, as would 
be soon found incompatible with all industrial progress. Tbi« 
is the weak point of every plan of reform which limits itself 
to the mode of acquiring power, whether public power or 
private, instead of aiming at controlling its use in whosever 
hands it may be placed. It leads to a waste of those foices 
which, when rightly used, form our principal resource in 
dealing with grave social difficulties, 
amunum The motives, therefore, from which modem Communism 
hiMtori. has arisen, however estimable, lead at present, in the want of 
^^ ^'' proper scientific teaching, to a very wrong view both of the 
nature of the disease and of its remedy. A heavier re- 
proach against it is that in one point it shows a manifest 
insufficiency of social instinct. Commimists boast of their 
spirit of social imion : but they limit it to the union of the 
present generation, stopping short of historical continuity, 
which yet is the principal characteristic of Humanity. When 
they have matured their moral growth, and have followed out 
in Time that connection which at present they only recc^ise 
in Space, they will at once see the necessity of these general 
conditions which at present they would reject. They will 
understand the importance of inheritance, as the natural means 
by which each generation transmits to its successor the result 
of its own labours and the means of improving them. The 
necessity of inheritance, as far as the commimity is concerned, 
is evident, and its extension to the individual is an obvious 
consequence. But whatever reproaches Communists may 
deserve in this respect are equally applicable to all the other 
progressive sects. They are all pervaded by an anti-historic 
spirit, which leads them to conceive of Society as though it 
had no ancestors ; and this, although their own ideas for the 
most part can have no bearing except upon posterity. 
ict,a8ft Serious as these errors are, a philosophic mind will treat 

^Siai,^ the Communism of our day, so far as it is adopted in good 


faith, with indulgence, whether he look at the motives from thongh 
which it arose, or at the practical results which will follow from S^te'feei. ^ 
it. It is hardly fair to criticise the intrinsic merits of a 
doctrine, the whole meaning and value of which are relative 
to the peculiar phase of society in which it is proposed. Com- 
munism has in its own way discharged an important function. 
It has brought prominently forward the greatest of social 
problems ; and, if we except the recent Positivist explanation, 
its mode of stating it has never been surpassed. And let no 
one suppose that it would have been enough simply to state 
the problem, without any such dangerous solution as is here 
offered. Those who think so do not understand the exigencies 
of man's feeble intellect. In far easier subjects than this, it 
is impossible to give prolonged attention to questions which 
are simply asked, without any attempt to answer them. Sup- 
pose, for instance, that Gall and Broussais had limited 
themselves to a simple statement of their great problems 
without venturing on any solution ; their principles, however 
incontestable, would have been barren of result, for want of 
the renovating impulse which nothing can give but a syste- 
matic solution of some kind or other, hazardous as the attempt 
must be at first. Now it is hardly likely that we should be 
able to evade this condition of our mental faculties in subjects 
which are not only of the highest difficulty, but also more 
exposed than any others to the influence of passion. Besides, 
when we compare the errors of Communism with those of other 
social doctrines which have recently received official sanction, 
we shall feel more disposed to palliate them. Are they, for 
instance, more shallow and more really dangerous than the 
absurd and chimerical notion which was accepted in France 
for a whole generation, and is still upheld by so many political 
teachers ; the notion that the great Bevolution has found its 
final issue in the constitutional system of government, a system 
peculiar to England during her stage of transition ? Moreover, 
our so-called conservatives only escape the errors of Communism 
by evading or ignoring its problems, though they are becoming 
every day more tu'gent. Whenever they are induced to deal 
with them, they render themselves liable to exactly the same 
dangers, dangers common to all schools which reject the 
di^ôsion of the two powers, and which consequently are for ever 
trying to make legislation do the work of morality. Accord- 

TOL. I. K 


ingly we see the governing classes now-a-days upholding 
institutions of a thoroughly Communist character, such as 
alms-houses, foundling hospitals, &c. ; while popular feeling 
strongly and rightly condemns such ' institutions, as being ' 
incompatible with that healthy growth of home affection which 
should be common to all ranks. 

Were it not that Communism is provisionally useful in 
antagonising other doctrines equally erroneous, it would have 
then, no real importance, except that due to the motives which 
originated it ; since its practical solution is far too chimerical 
and subversive ever to obtain acceptance. Yet, from the high 
morality of these motives, it will probably maintain and increase 
its influence until our working men find that their wantiS can 
be more effectually satisfied by gentler and surer means. Our 
republican system seems at first sight favourable to the scheme; 
but it cannot fail soon to have the reverse effect, because, while 
adopting the social principle which constitutes the real merit of 
Communism, it repudiates its mischievous illusions. In France 
at all events, where property is so easy to acquire, and is con- 
sequently so generally enjoyed, the doctrine cannot lead to much 
practical harm ; rather its reaction will be beneficial, because it 
will fix men's minds more seriously on the just claims of the 
People. The danger is far greater in other parts of Western 
Europe, especially in England, where aristocratic influence is 
less undermined, and where consequently the working classes 
are less advanced and more oppressed. And even in Catholic 
countries, where individualism and anarchy have been met by a 
truer sense of fraternity. Communistic disturbances can only be 
avoided finally by a more rapid dissemination of Positivism, 
which will ultimately dispel all social delusions, by establishing 
the true solution of the questions that gave rise to them. 

The nature of the evil shows us at once that the remedy we 
seek must be almost entirely of a moral kind. This truth, 
based as it is on real knowledge of hiunan nature, the people 
will soon come to feel instinctively. And here Communists 
are, without knowing it, preparing the way for the ascendancy 
of Positivism. They are forcing upon men's notice in the 
strongest possible way a problem to which no peaceable and 
satisfactory solution can be given, except by the new philosophy. 
Property is • That philosophy, disregarding all useless and irritating di»» 
I'ot^be^ eussions as to the origin of wealth and the extent of its poe» 


session, proceeds at once to tlie moral rules which should regii- interfcnxi 
late it as a social function. The distribution of power among ^ ^^ ^ 
men, of material power especially, lies so far beyond our means 
of intervention, that to set it before us as our main object to 
rectify the defects of the natural order in this respect, would be 
to waiîte our short life in barren and interminable disputes. 
The chief concern of the public is that power, in whosever 
hands it may be placed, should be exercised for their benefit ; 
and this is a point to which we may direct our efforts with far 
greater effect. Besides, by regulating the employment of 
wealth, we do, indirectly, modify its tenure ; for the mode in 
which wealth is held has some secondary influence over the right 
use of it. 

The regulations required should be moral, not political, in 
their source ; general, not special, in their application. Those 
who accept them will do so of their own free will, imder the 
influence of their education. Thus their obedience, while 
steadily maintained, will have, as Aristotle long ago observed, 
the merit of voluntary action. By converting private property 
into a public function, we would subject it to no tyrannical 
interference ; for this, by the destruction of free impulse and 
responsibility would prove most deeply degrading to man's cha- 
racter. Indeed, the comparison of proprietors with public func- 
tionaries will frequently be applied in the inverse sense ; with 
the view, that is, of strengthening the latter rather than of 
weakening the former. The true principle of republicanism is, 
that all forces should work together for the common good. 
With this view we have on the one hand to determine precisely 
what it is that the common good requires ; and on the other, to 
develope the temper of mind most likely to satisfy the require- 
ment. The conditions requisite for these two objects, are a 
recognised code of principles, an adequate education, and a 
healthy direction of public opinion. For such conditions we 
must look principally to the philosophic body which Positivism 
proposes to establish at the apex of modern society. Doubtless 
this purely moral influence would not be sufficient of itself. 
Human frailty is such that Government in the ordinary sense 
of the word, will have as before, to repress by force the more 
palpable and more dangerous class of delinquencies. But this 
additional control, though necessary, will not fill so important 
a place as it did in the Middle Ages under the sway of Catholi- 

X 2 


cism. Spiritual rewards and punishments will preponderate 
over temporal, in proportion as human development evokes a 
stronger sense of the ties which unite each with all by the three- 
fold bond of Feeling, Thought, and Action, 
iheritance Positivism being more pacific and more efficacious than 

>iu right Commumsm, because more true, is also broader and more 
mit7' complete in its solution of great social problems. The super- 
ficial view of property, springing too often from envious motives, 
wliich condemns Inheritance because it admits of possession 
without labour, is not subversive merely, but narrow. From 
the moral point of view we see at once the radical weakness of 
these empirical reproaches. They show blindness to the tàci 
that this mode of transmitting wealth is really that which is 
most likely to call out the temper requisite for its right em- 
ployment. It saves the mind and the heart from the mean and 
sordid habits which are so often engendered by slow accumula- 
tion of capital. The man who is bom to wealth is more likely 
to feel the wish to be respected. And thus those whom we are 
inclined to condemn as idlers may very easily become the most 
useful of the rich classes, under a wise reorganisation of opinions 
and habits. Of course too, since with the advance of Civilisa- 
tion the difficulty of living without industry increases, the class 
that we are speaking of becomes more and more exceptional. 
In every way, then, it is a most serious mistake to wish to upset 
society on account of abuses which are already in course of removal, 
and which admit of conversion to a most beneficial purpose. 
toiie-t Again, another feature in which the Positivist solution sur- 

ïtîoTaT^ passes the Communist, is the remarkable completeness of its 
aith!* application. Commimism takes no accoimt of anything but 
wealth ; as if wealth were the only power in modem society 
badly distributed and administered. In reality there are greater 
abuses connected with almost every other power that man 
possesses ; and especially with the powers of intellect ; yet these 
our visionaries make not the smallest attempt to rectify. 
Positivism being the only doctrine that embraces the whole 
sphere of human existence, is therefore the only doctrine that 
can elevate Social Feeling to its proper place, by extending it 
to all departments of human activity without exception. Iden- 
tification, in a moral sense, of private ftmctions with public 
duties is even more necessary in the case of the scientific man 
or the artist, than in that of the proprietor ; whether we look 


at the source from which his powers proceed or at the object to 
which they shoidd be directed. Yet the men who wish to make 
material wealth common, the only kind of wealth that can be 
held exclusively by an individual, never extend their Utopian 
scheme to intellectual wealth, in which it would be far more 
admissible. In feet the apostles of Commimism often come 
forward as zealous supporters of what they call literary property. 
Such inconsistencies show the shallowness of the system ; it 
proclaims its own feilure in the very cases that are most favour- 
able for its application. The extension of the principle here 
suggested would expose at once the inexpediency of political 
regulations on the subject, and the necessity of moral rules; for 
these and these only can ensiu'e the right use of all our faculties 
without distinction. Intellectual effort, to be of any value,^ 
must be spontaneous; and it is doubtless an instinctive sense 
of this truth which prevents Communists from subjecting intel- 
lectual feculties to their Utopian regulations. But Positivism 
can deal with these faculties, which stand in the most urgent 
need of wise direction, without inconsistency and without dis- 
turbànce. It leaves to them their fair measure of free action ; 
and in the case of other faculties which, though less eminent, 
are hardly less dangerous to repress, it strengthens their freedom, 
^en a pure morality arises capable of impressing a social ten- 
dency upon every phase of human activity, the freer our action 
Wmes the more useful will it be to the public. The tendency 
of modem civilisation, far from impeding private industry, is to 
entrust it more and more with functions, especially with those 
<>f a material kind, which were originally left to government. 
Infortunately this tendency, which is very evident, leads econo- 
"ûsts into the mistake of supposing that industry may be left 
altogether without organisation. All that it really proves is 
that the influence of moral principles is gradually preponderating 
over that of governmental regulations. 

The method which is peculiar to Positivism of solving our Action of 
peat social problems by moral agencies, will be found appli- pffi**^ 
cable also to the settlement of industrial disputes, so far as tlie cïpitauXr 
Popular claims involved are well founded. These claims will 
thus become clear from all tendency to disorder, and will con- 
^uently gain immensely in force ; especially when they are 
^ to be consistent with principles which are freely accepted 
^J all, and when they are supported by a philosophic body of 


known impartiality and enlightenment. This spiritual power, 
^\lule impressing on the people the duty of respecting their 
temporal leaders, will impose duties upon these latter, which 
they will find impossible to evade. As all classes will have 
received a common education, they will all alike be penetrated 
with the general principles on which these special obligations 
will rest. And these weapons, derived from no source but that 
of feeling and reason, and aided solely by public opinion, will 
wield an influence over practical life, of which nothing in the 
present day can give any conception. We might compare it 
with the influence of Catholicism in the Middle Ages, only that 
men are too apt to attribute the results of Catholicism to the 
ehimerical hopes and fears which it inspired, rather than to the 
energy with which praise and blame were distributed. With 
the new spiritual power praise and blame will form the only 
resource ; but it will' be developed and consolidated to a degree 
wliich, as I have before shown, was impossible to Catholicism. 

This is the only real solution of the disputes that are so 
constantly arising between workmen and their employers. 
Both parties will look to this philosophic authority as a supreme 
coiurt of arbitration. In estimating its importance, we must 
not forget that the antagonism of employer and employed has 
not yet been pushed to its full consequences. The struggle 
between wealth and numbers would have been far more serious, 
but for the fact that combination, without which there can be 
no struggle worth speaking of, has hitherto only been permitted 
to the capitalist. It is true that in England combinations of 
workmen are not legally prohibited. But in that country they 
axe not yet suflBciently emancipated, either intellectually or 
morally, to make such use of the right as would be the case in 
France. When French workmen are allowed to concert their 
plans as freely as their employers, the antagonism of intereste 
that will then arise will make both sides feel the need of amoral 
power to arbitrate between them. Not that the conciliating 
influence of such a power will ever be such as to do away entirely 
with extreme measures ; but it will greatly restrict their appli- 
cation, and also will mitigate its harshness. Such measure» 
should be limited on both sides to refusal of co-operation ; » 
power which every free agent ought to be allowed to exercise» 
on his own personal responsibility, with the object of impressing 
on those who are treating him unjustly the importance of tb& 



services which he has been rendering. The workman is not to 
be compelled to work any more than the capitalist to direct. 
Any abuse of this extreme protest on either side will of course 
be disapproved by the moral power ; but the option of making 
the protest is always to be reserved to each element in the col- 
lective organism, by virtue of his natural independence. In the 
most settled times functionaries have always been allowed to 
suspend their services on special occasions. It was done fre- 
quently in the Middle Ages by priests, professors, judges, etc. 
All we have to do is to regulate this right, and embody it into 
the industrial system* This will be one of the secondary duties 
of the philosophic body, who will naturally be consulted on most 
of these occasions, as on all others of public or private moment. 
The formal sanction or positive order which it may give for a 
suspension of work, will render that measure far more effective 
than it is at present. The operation of the measiu-e is but 
partial at present, but it might in this way extend, first to all 
who belong to the same trade, then to other branches of industry, 
and even ultimately to every Western nation that accepts the 
same spiritual guides. Of course persons who think themselves 
aggrieved may always resort to this extreme course on their own 
responsibility, against the advice of the philosophic body. 
True spiritual power confines itself to giving counsel : it never 
commands. But in such cases, unless the advice given by the 
philosophers has been ^vrong, the suspension of work is not 
likely to be suflSciently general to bring about any important 

This theory of trade-imions is, in fact, in the industrial world, 
what the power of insurrection is with regard to the higher 
social functions ; it is an ultimate resource which every collec- 
tive organism must reserve. The principle is the same in the 
simpler and more ordinary cases as in the more unusual and 
iiûportant. In both the intervention of the philosophic body, 
whether solicited or not, whether its purpose be to organise 
' legitimate but empirical efforts or to repress them, will largely 
ûifluence the result. 

We are now in a position to state with more precision the 
ïûain practical difference between the policy of Positivism, and 
Uiat of Communism or of Socialism. All progressive political 
schools agree in concentrating their attention upon the problem, 
^. How to give the people their proper place as a component 


element of modem Society, which ever since the Middle A^ee 
has been tending more and more distinctly to its normal mode 
of existence. They also agree that the two great requiremeoto 
of the working classes are, the organisation of Edacation, and 
the organisation of Labour. But here their agreement endhu 
When the means of effecting these two objects have to be ooq* 
sidered, Positivists find themselves at issue with all other pro* 
gressive schools. They maintain that the organisation of Inr 
dustry must be based upon the organisation of Education, 
whereas it is commonly supposed that both may be begun simd^ 
taneously, or indeed that Labour may be organised irrespectivdy 
of Education. It may seem as if we are making too much of % 
' mere question of arrangement ; yet the difference is one which 
affects the whole character and method of social reconstruction» 
The plan usually followed is simply a repetition of the old 
attempt to reconstruct politically, without waiting for spiritual 
reconstruction : in other words, to raise the social edifice before 
its intellectual and moral foundations have been laid. Hence 
the attempts made to satisfy popular requirements by measures 
of a purely political kind, because they appear to meet the evil 
directly ; a course as useless as it is destructive. Positivism, 
on the contrary, substitutes for such agencies an influence which 
is sure and peaceful, although it be gradual and indirect ; the 
influence of a more enlightened morality, supported by a purer 
state of Public Opinion ; such opinion being organised by com- 
petent minds, and diffused freely amongst the people. In fieust, 
the whole question, whether the solution of the twofold problem 
before us is to be empirical, revolutionary, and therefore confined 
simply to France ; or whether it is to be consistent, pacific, and 
applicable to the whole of Western Europe, depends upon the 
precedence or the postponement of the organisation of Labour 
to the organisation of Education. 
>ubiic opi- This conclusion involves a brief explanation of the general 

M^^pon system of education which Positivism will introduce, as the 
em^edu^ principal function of the new spiritual power, and its most 
efficient instrument for satisfying the working classes in all 
reasonable demands. 

It was the great social virtue of Catholicism, that it intro- 
duced for the first time, as feu: as circumstances permitted, a 
system of education common to all classes without distinction, 
not excepting even those who were still slaves. It was a vast 


ondertakiiig, yet essential to its purpose of founding a spiritual 
power which was to be independent of the temporal power. 
Apart fiom its temporary value, it has left us one imperishaWe 
principle, namely that in all education worthy of the name, 
nioral training should be regarded as of greater importance than 
«cifflitific teaching. Catholic education, however, was of course 
extremely defective ; owing partly to the circmnstances of the 
time, and partly to the weakness of the doctrine on which it 
rested. Having reference almost exclusively to the oppressed 
BMffies, the principal lesson which it taught was the duty of 
almost passive resignation, with the exception of certain obliga- 
tions imposed upon rulers. Intellectual culture in any true 
sense there was none. All this was natural in a faith which 
directed men's highest efforts to an object unconnected with 
social life, and which taught that all phenomena were regulated 
by an impenetrable Will. Catholic Education was consequently 
quite unsuited to any period but the Micjdle Ages ; a period 
during which the advanced portion of Humanity was gradually 
ridding itself of the ancient institution of slavery, by commu- 
ting it first into serfdom, as a preliminary step to entire per- 
sonal freedom. In the ancient world Catholic education would 
have been too revolutionary ; at the present time it would be 
servile and inadequate. Its sole function was that of directing 
the long and diflScult transition from the social life of Antiquity 
to that of Modem times. Personal emancipation once obtained, 
the working classes began to develope their powers and rise to 
their true position as a class ; and they soon became conscious 
of intellectual and social wants which Catholicism was wholly 
incapable of satisfying. 

And yet this is the only real system of universal education 
which the world has hitherto seen. For we cannot give that 
name to the so-called University system which metaphysicians 
began to introduce into Eiurope at the close of the Middle Ages, 
and which was a mere extension of the special instruction pre- 
viously given to the priesthood ; that is, the study of tlie Latin 
language, with the dialectical training required for the defence 
of their doctrines. Morals were imtaught except as a part of 
the training of the professed theologian. All this metaphysical 
and literary instruction was of no great service to modem pro- 
gress, except so far as it developed the critical power ; it had, 
however, a certain indirect influence on the constructive move- 


ment, especially on the development of Art. But its defects, 
both practical and theoretical, have been made more evident by 
its application to new classes of society, whose occupations, 
whether practical or speculative, required a very different kind 
of training. And thus, while claiming the title of Universal, 
it never reached the working classes, even in Protestant 
coimtries, where each believer became to a certain extent his 
own priest. 

The theological method being obsolete, and the metaphysical 
method inadequate, the tusk of founding an efficient system of 
popular education belongs to Positivism; the only doctrine 
capable of reconciling those two orders of conditions, the in- 
tellectual and the moral, which are equally necessary, but 
vhich since the Middle Ages have always proved incompatible. 
Positivist education, while securing the supremacy of the heart 
over the imderstanding more efficiently than Catholicism, will 
yet put no obstacle in the way of intellectual growth. The 
function of intellect, in education as in practical life, will be to 
regulate Feeling ; the culture of which, beginning at birth, will 
be maintained by constant exercise of the three classes of duties 
relative to Self, to the Family, and to Society. 

I have already explained the mode in which the principles 
of universal morality will be finally co-ordinated ; this being 
the principal service to be rendered by the new spiritual power. 
I have now only to point out the paramount influence of morality 
in every part of Positive Education. It will be seen to be 
connected at first spontaneously, and afterwards in a more syste- 
matic form, with the entire system of Human knowledge. 

Positive Education^ adapting itself to the requirements of 
the Organism with which it has to deal, subordinates intellec- 
tual conditions to social ; regarding the latter as the end, the 
former as simply the means. Its principal aim is to induce the 
working classes to accept their high social function of support- 
ing the spiritual power, while at the same time it will render 
them more efficient in their own special duties, 
dncationi Presuming that Education extends from birth to manhood, 

M two 

Irth to pu- 

sgmitrom we may divide it into two periods, the first ending with puberty. 

^y, ftSm that is, at the beginning of industrial apprenticeship. Edu- 

i^ie^noe. catiou here should be essentially spontaneous, and should be 

^^g of carried on as far as possible in the bosom of the family, the 

^S^"** only studies required,' being those connected with esthetic cul- 


tare. In the second period. Education takes a systematic form, training, to 

consisting chiefly of a public course of scientific lectures upon home. 

the essential laws of the various orders of phenomena. This 

course will be the grand work of a moral system, co-ordinating 

the whole, and pointing out the relation of each part to the 

social purpose common to all. Thus, at about the time which 

long experience has fixed as that of legal majority, and wlien 

in most cases the term of apprenticeship closes, the workman 

will be prepared intellectually and morally for his public and 

private service. 

The first years of life, from infancy to the end of the period 
of second dentition, should be devoted to education of the 
physical powers, carried on under the superintendence of the 
parents, especially of the mother. Physical education, as 
tisnally practised, is nothing but mere muscular exercise ; but 
a more important object is that of training the senses, and 
giving manual skill, so as to develope from the very first our 
powers of observation and action. Study, in the ordinary 
acceptation, there should be none during this period, not even 
reading or writing. An acquaintance with facts of various 
^ds, such as may spontaneously attract the growing powers of 
attention, will be the only instruction received. The philo- 
sophic system of the infant individual, like that of the infant 
*?)ecies, consists in pure Fetichism, and its natural development 
should not be disturbed by unwise interference. The only care 
of the parents will be to impress those prepossessions and habits 
for which a rational basis will be given at a later period. By 
taking every opportunity of calling the higher instincts into 
play, they will be laying down the best foundation for true 

During the period of about seven years comprised between 
the second dentition and puberty. Education will become some- 
what more systematic ; but it will be limited to the culture of 
the fine arts ; and it will be still most important, especially on 
ïûoral grounds, to avoid separation from the family. The study 
^^ Art ^ould simply consist in practising it more or less syste- 
'^ticîally. No formal lectures are necessary, at least for the 
P^iT)08es of general education, and apart from the requirements 
^^ special professions. There is no reason why these studies 
should not be carried on at home by the second generation of 
^^tivists, when the culture of the parents will be suflBciently 



advanced to allow them to superintend it. They will include 
Poetry, the art on which all the rest are based ; and the two 
most important of the special arts, music and drawing. Fami- 
liarity with the principal Western languages will be involved 
in the study of poetry, since it cannot be properly appreciated 
without them. Moreover, independently of esthetic considera- 
tions, a knowledge of them is most important morally, as a 
means of destroying national prejudices, and of forming the 
true Positivist standard of Occidental feeling. Each nation 
will be taught to consider it a duty to learn the language of 
contiguous countries ; an obvious principle, which, ip the case 
of Frenchmen, will involve their learning all the other four 
languages, as a consequence of that central position which 
gives them so many advantages. When this rule becomes 
general, and the natural affinities of the five advanced nations 
are brought fiiUy into play, a common Occidental language 
will not be long in forming itself spontaneously, without the 
aid of any metaphysical scheme for producing a language that 
shall be absolutely imiversal. 

During the latter portion of primary Education, devoted to 
the culture of the imaginative powers, the philosophic develop- 
ment of the individual, corresponding to that of the race, will 
carry him from the simple Fetichism with which he began to 
the stage of Polytheism. This resemblance between the growth 
of the individual and that of society has always shown it«elf 
more or less, in spite of the irrational precautions of Christian 
teachers. They have never been able to give children a dis- 
taste for those simple tales of fairies and genii, which are 
natural to this phase. Positivist education allows free scope to 
this tendency, without however encouraging any hypocrisy on 
the part of the parents, or necessitating any subsequent contra- 
diction. The simple truth is enough. The child may be told 
that these spontaneous beliefs are but natural to his age, but 
that they will gradually lead him on to others, by the funda- 
mental law of all human development. Language of this kincL 
will not only have the advantage of familiarising him with a 
great principle of Positivism, but will stimulate the nascent 
sense of sociability, by leading him to sympathise with ibe 
various nations who still remain at his own primitive stage o! 
intellectual development. 
I^^SftB ^^® second part of Positivist Education cannot be con- 


ducted altogether at home, since it involves public lectures, in of pabuc 
which of course the part taken by the parent can be only tbeSSiSi, 
accessory. But this is no reason for depriving the pupil of the i^îSc^S*'*" 
advantages of family life ; it remains as indispensable as ever ° ^^' 
to his moral development, which is always to be the first 
consideration. It will be easy for him to follow the best 
masters without weakening his sense of personal and domestic 
morality, which is the almost inevitable result of the monastic 
seclusion of modem schools. The public-school system is 
commonly thought to compensate for these disadvantages, by 
the knowledge of the world which it gives ; but this is better 
obtained by free intercourse with society, where sympatliies are 
far more likely to be satisfied. Recognition of this truth 
would do much to facilitate and improve popular education : 
and it applies to all cases, except perhaps to some special 
professions, where seclusion of the pupils may still be necessary, 
though even in these cases probably it may be ultimately dis- 
pensed with. 

The plan to be followed in this period of education, will 
obviously be that indicated by the encyclopsBdic law of Classi- 
fication, which forms part of my Theory of Development. 
Scientific study, whether for the working man or the philo- 
sopher, should b^n with the inorganic world around us, and 
then pass to the subject of human nature, individual and social ; 
since our ideas on these two subjects form the basis of our 
practical action. The first class of studies, as I have stated 
before, includes four sciences which we may arrange in couples : 
llathematicB and Astronomy forming the first; Physics and 
Chemistry the second. To each of these couples, two years 
ïûay be given. But as the first ranges over a wide field, and is 
0^ greater logical importance, it will require two lectures 
weekly; whereas, for all the subsequent studies one lecture 
^U be sufficient. Besides, during these two years, the 
^necessities of preotical life will not press heavily, and more 
time may f&irly be spent in mental occupation. From the 
*tudy of inorganic science, the pupil will proceed to Biology : 
tbis subject may easily be condensed in the fifth year into a 
^ries of forty lectures, without really losing either its philosophic 
Of its popular character. This concludes the introductory part 
of Education. The student will now in the sixth year co- 
ordinate all his previous knowledge by the direct study of 


Sociology, statically and dynamically viewed. On this subject 
also forty lectures will be given, in which the structure and 
growth of human societies, especially those of modem times, 
will be clearly explained. With this foundation we come to 
the last of the seven 3 ears of pupillage, in which the great 
social purpose of the scheme is at last reached. It will be 
devoted to a systematic exposition of Moral Science, the 
principles of which may be now fully understood by the light 
of the knowledge previously obtained of the World, of Life, 
and of Humanity. 

During this coiurse of study, part of the three unoccupied 
months of each year will be spent in public examinations, to 
test the degree to which the instruction has been assimilated. 
A very small amount of encouragement wisely given will induce 
the pupils to continue their esthetic pursuits voluntarily. 
During the last two years the Latin and Greek languages 
might be acquired, as an accessory study completing the poetic 
culture of the young workman, and throwing light on tlie 
historical and moral questions with which he will then be occu- 
pied. For the purposes of Art, Greek is the more useful ; but 
in the second object, that of enabling us to realise our social 
Filiation, Latin is of even greater importance. 

In the course of these seven years the philosophic develop- 
ment of the individual, preserving its correspondence with that 
of the race, will pass through its last phase. As the pupil 
passed before from Fetichism to Polytheism, so he will now 
pass, as spontaneously, into Monotheism, induced by the in- 
fluence on his imaginative powers which hitherto have been 
supreme, of the spirit of discussion. No interference should be 
offered to this metaphysical transition, which is the natural 
way of rendering homage to the necessary conditions under 
which mankind arrives at truth. There is something in this 
provisional phase which evidently harmonises well with the 
abstract and independent character of Mathematics, with which 
the two first years of the seven are occupied. As long as more 
attention is given to deduction than to induction, the mind 
cannot but retain a leaning to metaphysical theories. Under 
their influence the student will soon reduce his primitive 
theology to Deism of a more or less distinct kind; and this 
d\u4ng his physico-chemical studies will most likely degenerate 
into a species of Atheism ; which last phase, under the enlight- 


ening influence of biologicsal and still more of sociological 
knowledge, will be finally replaced by Positivism. Thus at the 
time fixed for the ultimate study of moral science, each new 
memfeer of Humanity will have been strongly impressed by 
personal experience, with a sense of historical Filiation, and 
will be enabled to sympathise with his ancestors and con- 
temporaries, while devoting his practical energies to the good 
of his successors. 

There is an excellent custom prevalent among the working Trarou of 
men of France and creditable to their good sense, with which 
our educational scheme seems at first sight incompatible. I 
refer to the custom of travelling from place to place during the 
last years of apprenticeship ; which is as beneficial to their 
mind and character, as the purposeless excursions of our wealthy 
and idle classes are in most cases injurious. But there is no 
necessity for its interfering with study, since it always involves 
long residence in the chief centres of production, where the 
workman is sure to find annual courses of lectures similar to 
those which he would otherwise have been attending at home. 
As the stnicture and distribution of the philosophic body will 
be everywhere the same, there need be no great inconvenience 
in these changes. For every centre not more than seven 
teachers will be required ; each of whom will take the whole 
EncyclopsBdic scale successively. Thus the total number of 
lecturers will be so small as to admit of a high standard of 
merit being everywhere attained, and of finding everywhere a 
Éûr measure of material support. So far from discouraging 
the travelling system. Positivism will give it a new character, 
intellectually and socially, by extending the range of travel to 
the whole of Western Europe, since there is no part of it in 
which the workman will not be able to prosecute his education, 
unhampered as he will then be by differences of language. 
Not only would the sense of fraternity among western nations 
be strengthened by such a plan, but great improvement would 
result esthetically. The languages of Europe would be learnt 
more thoroughly, and there would be a keener appreciation of 
works of art, whether musical, pictorial, or architectural ; for 
these can never be properly appreciated but in the country 
which gave them birth. 

Judging by our present practice, it would seem impossible concentra 
to include such a mass of important scientific studies, as are «tudy. 


here proposed, in the seven years course of three hundred and 
sixty lectures. But the length to which similar courses now 
extend is owing partly to the special or professional object 
with which the course is given, and still more to the discursive 
and unphilosophical spirit of most of the teachers, under the 
present wretched conditions of scientific study. Its regeneration 
under the influence of a sound philosophy will inspire it with a 
social spirit, and thus give it a larger and more comprehensive 
tendency. Teachers will become more practised in the art of 
condensing, and their lectures will be far more substantial. 
They will not indeed be a substitute for voluntary effort, on 
which all the real value of teaching depends. Their aim will 
be rather to direct such effort. A striking example, which is 
not so well remembered as it should be, vrill help to explain my 
meaning. At the first opening of the Polytechnic School, 
courses of lectures were given, very appropriately named 
Revolutionary Courses^ which concentrated the teaching of 
three years into three months. What was in that case an 
extraordinary anomaly, due to republican enthusiasm, may 
become the normal state when a moral power arises not inferior 
in energy, and yet based upon a consistent intellectual synthesis, 
of which our great predecessors of the Revolution could have no 

Little attention has hitherto been given to the didactic 
value of Feeling. Since the close of the Middle Ages, the 
heart has been neglected in proportion as the mind has been 
cultivated. But the characteristic principle of Positivism, is 
that the Intellect, whether acting spontaneously or under 
systematic direction, is subordinate to Social Feeling, is a 
principle as fertile in intellectual as in moral results. Through- 
out this course of popular education, parents and masters will 
seize every suitable occasion for calling Social Feeling into 
play ; and the most abstruse subjects will often be vivified by 
its influence. The office of the mind is to strengthen and to 
cultivate the heart ; the heart again should animate and direct 
the mental powers. This mutual influence of general view» 
and generous feelings will have greater effect upon scientific 
study, from the esthetic culture previously given, in which 
such habits of mind will have been formed, as will give grace ' 
and beauty to the whole life. 

When I speak of this education as specially destined for tiie 


people, I am not merely using words to denote its compre- atviBtance 
hensiveness and philosophic character. It is, in my opinion, except for ' 
the only education, with the exception of certain special ciai^MtiSn 
branches, for which public organisation is needed. It should th^nîy as a 
be looked on as a sacred debt which the republic owes to the mnsuni^ 
working classes. But the claim does not extend to other classes, 
who can easily pay for any special instruction that they may 
require. Besides such instruction will be only a partial de- 
velopment of the more general teaching, or an application of it 
to some particular purpose. Therefore if the general training 
be sound, most people will be able to prosecute accessory studies 
by themselves. Apprenticeship to any business involves very 
little, except the practice. of it. Even in the highest arts, no 
course of systematic instruction is necessary. The false Wews 
now prevalent on the subject are due to the unfortunate 
absence of all general education, since the decay of Catholicism. 
The special institutions founded in Europe during the last three 
centuries, and carefully remodelled in France by the Convention, 
are only valuable as containing certain germs of truth, which 
will be found indispensable when general education is being 
finally reorganised. . But important as they may be from a 
Fcientific aspect, their practical utility, which seems to have 
l)een the motive for establishing them, is exceedingly doubtful. 
The arts which they were intended to promote could have done 
perfectly well without them. I include in these remarks such 
institutions as the Polytechnic School, the Museum of Natural 
History, etc. Their value, like that of all good institutions of 
tbe present unsettled time, is purely provisional. Viewed in 
this light, it may be useful to reorganise them by the help of 
\ a philosophy which, without any illusion as to their durability, 
^U render them better adapted to their important temporary 
purpose. Indeed there are some new institutions which it 
lûight be advisable to form; such, for instance, as a school 
of higher philology, the object of which would be to range 
^1 human languages according to their true affinities, thus 
^Ddpensating the suppression of Greek and Latin professor- 
^l^ip?, which is certainly an indispensable measure. But the 
^hole of this provisional framework would no doubt disappear 
"^fore the end of the nineteenth century, when a system 
^f general education will have been thoroughly organised. The 
Présent necessity for a provisional system should lead to no 

TOL. I. L 


miscoDception of its character and purpose. Working men 

are the only class who have a real claim upon the State for 

instruction ; and this, if wisely organised, dispenses with the 

necessity of special institutions. The adoption of these views 

would at once facilitate and ennoble popular education. 

Naticms, provinces, and towns will vie with one another in 

inviting the best teachers that the spiritual authorities of 

Western Eiu"ope can supply. And every true philosopher 

will take pride in such teaching, when it becomes generally 

imderstood that the popular character of his lectures implies 

that they shall be at the same time systematic. Members 

of the new spiritual power will in most cases regard teaching 

as their principal occupation, for at least a considerable portion 

of their public life. 

We are not What has bccu said makes it clear that any organisation of 

system'at such cducatiou as this at the present time would be impossible. 

GoTCTnment Howcver sinccro the intentions of governments to eflFect this 

Stemptto great result might be, any premature attempt to do it would 

hasten its in- i j • • à\_ i • n •/* a\_ ^ • i • j. 

troducuon. but mjure the work, especially if they put m a claim to 
superintend it. The truth is that a system of education, if it 
deserve the name, presupposes the acceptance of a definite 
philosophical and social creed to determine its character and 
purpose. Children cannot be brought up in convictions contrary 
to those of their parents, or indeed without their parents' assist- 
ance. Opinions and habits that have been already formed may 
subsequently be strengthened by an educational system; but 
the carrying out of any such system is impossible, until the 
principles of combined action and belief have been well esta- 
blished. Till then our mentxil and moral synthesis is only 
possible in the case of individuals who are ripe for it, each of 
these endeavouring to repair the faults and deficiencies of his 
own education in the best way he can, by the aid of the general 
doctrine which he accepts. Assuming that the doctrine is 
destined to triumph, the number of such minds gradually in- 
creases, and they superintend the social progress of the next 
generation. This is the natural process, and no artificial interfe- 
rence can dispense with it. So far, then, from inviting govern- 
ment to organise education, we ought rather to exhort it to abdi- 
cate the educational powers which it already holds, and which, I 
refer more especially to France, are either useless or a source of 
discord. There are only two exceptions to this remark, of 


which I have akeady spoken, namely, primary education, and 
special instruction in certain higher branches. But with these 
exceptions, it is most desirable that government, whether mu- 
nicipal or central, should surrender its unreasonable monopoly, 
and establish real liberty of teaching ; the condition of such 
liberty being, as I said before, the suppression of all annual 
grants whatsoever for theological or metaphysical purposes. 
Until some imiversal faith has been accepted on its own merits, 
all attempts made by Government to reform education must 
necessarily be reactionary; since they will- always be based on 
some one of the retrogressive creeds which it is our object to 
supersede altogether. 

It is with adults, then, that we must deal. We must 
endeavour to disseminate systematic convictions among' them, 
and thus open the door to a real reform of education for tho 
next generation. The press and the power of free speech oôer 
many ways of bringing about this result, the most important 
being a more or less connected series of popular lectures on the 
various positive sciences, including history, which henceforth 
takes its place among them. Now for these lectures to produce 
their full effect, they must, even when treating of the most 
elementary point in mathematics, be thoroughly philosophic 
and consequently animated by a social spirit. They must be 
entirely independent of government, so as not to be hampered 
by any of the authorised views.^ Lastly, there is a condition in 
which all the rest are summsçd up. These lectures should be 
Occidental, not simply Nationals. What we require is a free 
association of philosophers throughout Western Em'ope, formed 
by the voluntary co-operation of alt who can contribute effi- 
ciently to this great preliminary work ; their services being 
essentially gratuitous. It is a result which no system but 
Positivism is capable of effecting. By its agency that coalition 
between philosophers and the working classes, on which so much 
depends, will speedily be established.- 

While the work of propagating Positivist convictions is 
going on in the free and unrestricted manner here described, 
the spiritual authority will at the same time be forming itself, 
and will be prepared to make use of these convictions as the 
basis for social regeneration. Thus the transitional state will 
be brought as nearly as possible into harmony with the normal 
state ; and this the more in proportion as the natural affinity 



between philosophers and workmen is brought out more dis- 
tinctly. The connection between Positivist lectures and Posi- 
tivist clubs will illustrate my meaning. While the lectures 
prepare the way for the Future, the clubs work in the same 
direction by judging the Past, and advising for the Present; 
so that we have at once a beginning of the three essential func- 
tions of the new spiritual power. 

We have now a clear conception of popular education in it« 
provisional, and in its normal state. Long before the normal 
state can be realised, the mutual action of philosophers and 
workmen will have done great service to both. Meeting with 
such powerful support from the people, the rising spiritual 
power will win the respect if not the affection of their rulers, 
even of those among them who are now the most contemptuous 
of every influence but that of material power. Their excess of 
pride will often be so far humbled that they will invite its 
mediation in cases where their people have been roused to just 
indignation. The force of numbers seems at first so violent as 
to carry all before it ; but in the end it usually proves far in- 
ferior to that of wealth. It cannot exist for any length of time 
without complete convergence of opinion and feeling. Hence, 
a spiritual power has very great weight in controlling or direct- 
ing its action. Philosophers will never, indeed, be able to 
manage the working classes as they please, as some imprincipled 
agitators have imagined ; but when they exercise their authority 
rightly, whether it be in the cause of Order or that of Progress, 
they will have great power over their passions and conduct 
Such influence can only spring from long cherished feelings of 
gratitude and trust, due not merely to presumed capacity, but 
to services actually rendered. No one is a fit representative of 
his own claims ; but the philosopher may honourably represent 
the cause of working men before the governing classes ; and 
the people will in their tiun compel their rulers to respect the 
new spiritual power. By this habitual exchange of services the 
aspirations of the people will be kept clear of all subversive 
tendencies, and philosophers will be led to abandon the folly or 
seeking political power. Neither class will degrade itself by" 
making its own interest the chief consideration : each will find its 
own reward in keeping to the nobler course of its own social duty- 

To complete this view of the political attitude which Posi- 
tivism recommends to the working class, I have now to speak 


of the intellectual and moral conditions which that attitude Emaiicipa. 

tion fr 

requires, and on which the character of their spiritual leaders tiZi.!jri"ui 

depends. What is wanted is only a more perfect development 
of tendencies which already exist in the people, and which have 
already shown themselves strong in Paris, the centre of the 
great Western movement. 

Intellectually the principal conditions are two; Emanci- 
pation from obsolete beliefs, and a sufficient amount of mental 

The emancipation of the working classes from theology is / 
complete, at least in Paris. In no other class has it so entirely ■ 
lost its power. The shallow Deism, which satisfies so many of 
our literary men, finds little favour with the people. They are 
happily unversed in studies of words and abstractions, without 
which this last stage in the process of emancipation speedily 
comes to an end. We only require a stronger expression of 
popular feeling on this point, so as to avoid all deception and 
false statement as to the intellectual character of the reorganisa- 
tion that is going on. And the freedom that we are now enjoy- 
ing will admit of these feelings being unmistakeably manifested, 
especially now that they have the new philosophy for their ex- 
ponent. Strong declarations of this kind are intimately con- 
nected with the social needs of the people ; for the hypocritical 
affectation of theological belief against which we have to fight, 
is designed to prevent, or at least has the effect of preventing, 
the just enforcement of popular claims. These unscrupulous 
attempts to mystify the people presuppose their men taL subjec- 
tion, and have simply the result of evading their legitimate 
^pirations for real progress by diverting their thoughts towards 
an imaginary future state. It is for the working classes them- 
selves to break through this concerted scheme, which is even 
lûore contemptible than it is odious. They have only to declare 
^thout disguise what their intellectual position really is ; and to 
^^ this so emphatically as to make any mistake on the part of 
the governing classes impossible. They will consequently reject 
^^ teachers who are insufficiently emancipated, or who in any 
^y support the system of theological hypocrisy, which, from 
Robespierre downwards, has been the refuge of all reactionists, 
whether democrat or royalist. To teachers of another kind, 
^ho sincerely m ^îT^^^^î" that our life here on earth is a tem- 
poiaiy banishment, and that we ought to take as little interest 



in it as possible, a prompt answer may be given. They should 
be requested to follow out their principle consistently, and to 
cease to interfere in the management of a world which is so 
alien to their one supreme object. 
ï>!nmctft- Metaphysical principles have more hold on our workinc: 

iuc«. classes than theological; yet their abandonment is equally neces- 

sary. The subtle extravagances by which the German mind 
has been so confused, find, it is true, little favour in Catholic 
countries. But even in Paris the people retains a prejudice in 
favour of metaphysical instruction, though happily it has not 
been able to obtain it. It is most desirable that this last illu- 
sion of oiu* working classes should be dissipated, as it forms the 
one great obstacle to their social action. One reason for it is 
that they fall into the conunon error of confounding knowledge 
with intelligence, and imagine in their modesty that none but 
instructed men are capable of governing. Now this error, 
natural as it is, often leads them to choose incompetent leaders. 
A truer estimate of modem society would teach them that it is 
not among our literary, or even our scientific men, proud as they 
may be of their attainments, that the largest number of really 
powerful intellects are to be found. There are more of them 
among the despised practical class, and even amongst the most 
uninstructed working men. In the Middle Ages this truth was 
better known tlian it is now. Education was thought more of 
than instniction. A knight would be appreciated for his saga- 
city and penetration, and appointed to important posts, though 
he might be extremely ignorant. Clear-sightedness, wisdom, and 
even consistency of thought, are qualities which are very inde- 
pendent of learning ; and hitherto they have been far better 
cultivated in practical life than by scholastic study. In breadth 
of view, which lies at the root of all political capacity, our 
literary classes have certainly shown themselves far below the 
[leir nii^- And uow wc comc to auothcr and a deeper reason for the 

nwoniti- prejudice of which I am accusing even the most emancipated of 
rkauaiont our workmcu. It is that they make no distinction between one 
iioctnai kind of instruction and another. The imfortimate confidence 
which they still bestow on literary men and lawyers shows that 
the prestige of pedantocracy lingers among them longer than 
the prestige of theology or monarchy. But all this will soon be 
altered under the influence of republican government, and the 



strong disciplÎDé of a soand philosophical system. Popular 
instinct will soon discover that constant practice of the faculty 
of expression, whether in speech or in writing, is no guarantee 
for real power of thought : indeed that it has a tendency to 
incapacitate men from forming a clear and decided judgment 
on any question. Eesting, as it does, upon a course of instruc- 
tion totally devoid of fixed principles, it almost always either 
presupposes or causes a total absence of fixed convictions. Most 
minds thus trained, while skilled in putting other men's thoughts 
into shape, become incapable of distinguishing true from felse 
in the commonest subjects, even when their own interest requires 
it. The people must give up the feeling of blind respect which 
kaà them to intrust such men with their highest interests. 
Beverence for superiors is doubtless indispensable to a well- 
ordered state ; only it needs to be better guided than it is now. 
What then, working men may ask, is the proper training for 
themselves, and consequently for those who claim to guide them? 
The answer is, systematic cultivation of the Positive spirit. It 
is already called into exercise by their daily occupations ; and 
all that is wanted is to strengthen it by a course of scientific 
study. Their daily work involves a rudimentary application of 
the Positive method: it turns their attention to many most im- 
portant natural laws. In fact, the workmen of Paris whom I 
take as the best type of their class, have a clearer sense of that 
'iûion of reality with utility by which the Positive spirit is 
characterised, than most of our scientific men. The speciality 
of their employment is no doubt disadvantageous with respect 
to breadth and coherence of ideas. But it leaves the mind free 
trom responsibility, and this is the most favourable condition 
for developing these qualities to which all vigorous intellects are 
naturally disposed. But nothing will so strongly impress on 
^^e people the importance of extending and organising their 
^i^ntific knowledge, as their interest in social questions. Their 
^^^rmination to rectify a faulty condition of society will suggest 
^ them that they must first know what the laws of Social life 
'^'ly are ; knowledge which is obviously necessary in every other 
^"ject. They will then feel how impossible it is to understand 
^^ present state of society, without understanding its relation 
^û the one hand with the Past, and on the other with the Future, 
^r desire to modify the natural course of social phenomena 
tin make them anxious to know the antecedents and conse- 


quences of these phenomena, so as to avoid all mischievous or 
useless interference. They will thus discover that Political Art 
is even more dependent than other arts, upon its corresponding 
Science. And then they will soon see that this science is na 
isolated department of knowledge, but that it involves prelimi- 
nary study of Man and of the World. In this way they will 
pass downwards through the hierarchic scale of Positive concep- 
tions, until they come back to the inorganic world, the sphere 
more immediately connected with their own special avocations. 
And thus the proletary mind will be driven to the conclusion 
that Positivism is the only system which can satisfy either the 
intellectual or material wants of the people, since its subject- 
matter and its objects are identical with their own, and since, 
like themselves, it subordinates everything to social considera- 
tions. All that it claims is to present in a systematic form 
principles which they already hold instinctively. By co-ordi- 
nating these principles of morality and good sense, their value 
whether in public or in private questions, is largely increased ; 
and the union of the two forms of wisdom, theoretical and 
practical wisdom, is permanently secured. When all this is 
understood, the people will feel some shame at having entrusted • 
questions of the greatest complexity to minds that have never 
quite comprehended the différence between a cubic inch and a 
cubic foot. As to men of science, in the common acceptation 
of the word, who are so respected by the middle classes, we need 
not be afraid of their gaining much influence with the people. 
They are alienated from them by their utter indiflferenoe to 
great social questions ; and before these their learned puerilities 
fade into insignificance. Absorbed in the details of their own 
special science, they are quite incapable of satisfying unsophis- 
ticated minds. What the people want is to have clear concep- 
tions on all subjects, des clartés de tout, as Molière has it«» 
Whenever the savants of our time are drawn by their foolisk:^ 
ambition into politics, ordinary men find to their surprise tha^, 
except in a few questions of limited extent and importance 
their minds have become thoroughly narrow under the influence 
of the specialising system of which they are so proud. Posi- 
tivism explains the mystery, by showing that, since the neces- 
sity for the specialising system now no longer exists, it natUîi, 
rally results, if prolonged, in a sort of academic idiocy. During 
the last three centuries it did real service to society by laying 




down the scientific groundwork for the renovation of Philosophy 
projected by Bacon and Descartes. But as soon as the ground- 
work was sufficiently finished to admit of the formation of true 
Science, that is, of Science viewed relatively to Humanity, the 
specialising method became retrograde. It ceased to be of any 
assistance to the modem spirit ; and indeed it is now, especially 
in France, a serious obstacle to its diffusion and systematic 
working. The wise revolutionists of the Convention were well 
aware of this when they took the bold step of suppressing the 
Academy of Sciences. The beneficial results of this statesman- 
like policy will soon be appreciated by our workmen. The 
danger lest, in withdrawing their confidence from metaphysicians 
or literary men, they should fall into the bad scientific spirit, is 
not therefore very great. With the social aims which they 
have in view, they cannot but see that generality in their oon- 
ceptions is as necessary as positivity. The Capitalist class by 
which industry is directed, being more concentrated on special 
objects, will always look on men of pure science with more re- 
spect. But the people will be drawn by their political leanings 
towards philosophers in the true sense of that word. The 
number of such men is but very small at present ; but it will 
soon increase at the call of the working classes, and will indeed 
be recruited from their ranks. 

This, then, shoidd be the attitude of the working class. Moral atti- 
intellectually. Morally, what is required is, that they should ^l\*e. -nie 
bave a sufficient sense of the dignity of labour, and that ghouw rS^ 
tbey should be prepared for the mission that now lies before M^miWi^ 

them. functionary. 

The workman must learn to look upon himself, morally, as 

* public servant, with functions of a special and also of a general 

^d. Not that he is to receive his wages for the future from 

^"^ State, instead of from a private hand. The present plan is 

P^^fectly well adapted to all services which are so direct and 

^finite, that a conmion standard of value can be at once applied 

^ them. Only let it be understood that the service is not 

^^^ciently recompensed, without the social feeling of gratitude 

^^irards the agent that performs it, a feeling that is recognised 

already in the so-called liberal professions, where the client or 

Patient is not dispensed from gratitude by payment of his fee. 

*U this respect the republican instincts of the Convention have 

instinctively anticipated the teaching of philosophy. They 


valued the workman's labour at its true worth. Workmen have 
only to imagine laboiu* suppressed or even suspended in the 
trade to which they may belong, to see its importance to the 
whole fabric of modem society. Their general functions as a 
class, the function of forming public opinion, and of supporting 
the action of the spiritual power, it is of course less easy for 
them to understand at present. But, as I have already shown, 
it foJlows so naturally from their character and position, and 
corresponds so perfectly with their requirements as a class, that 
tliey cannot fail to appreciate its importance when the course of 
events allows and indeed compels them to bring it into play. 
The only danger lies in their insisting on the possession of what 
metaphysicians call political rights, and in engaging in useless 
discussions about the distribution of power, instead of fixing 
their attention on the manner in which it is used. Of this, 
however, there is no great fear, at all events in France, where 
the metaphysical theory of Right has never reached so fanatical 
a pitch with the working classes as elsewhere. Ideologists may 
blame them, and may use their official influence as they will; 
but the people have too much good sense to be permanently 
misled as to their true function in society. Deluged as they 
have been with electoral votes, they will soon voluntarily 
abandon this useless qualification which now has not even the 
charm of a privilege. Questions of pure politics have ceased to 
interest the people ; their attention is fixed, and will remain 
fixed, on social questions, which are to bè solved for the most 
part through moral agencies. That substitutions of one person 
or party for another, or that mere modifications of any kind in 
the administration should be looked on as the final issue of 
the great Eevolution, is a result in which they will never 

And if this is to be the attitude of the people, it must be the 
attitude no less of those who seek to gain their confidence. 
With them, as with the people, political questions should be 
subordinate to social questions ; and with them the conviction 
should be even more distinct, that the solution of social prob- 
lems depends essentially on moral agencies. They must, in fact, 
accept the great principle of separation of spiritual fix)m tem- 
poral power, as the basis on which modem society is to be per- 
manently organised. So entirely does this principle meet the 
wants of the people, that the latter will soon insist on its adop- 


tion by their teachers. They will accept none who do not formally 
abandon any prospects they may have of temporal power, par- 
liamentary as well as administrative. And by thus dedicating 
their lives without reservation to the priesthood of Humanity, 
they will gain confidence, not merely from the people, but from 
the governing classes. Governments will offer no impediment 
to social speculations which do not profess to be susceptible of 
immediate application ; and thus the normal state may be pre- 
pared for in the future without disturbance, and yet without 
neglecting the present. Practical statesmen meanwliile, no 
longer interfered with by pretentious sophists, will give up their 
retrograde tendencies, and will gradually adapt their policy to 
the new ideas current in the public mind, while discharging 
the indispensable function of maintaining material order. 

For the people to rise to the true level of their position. Ambition oi 
I they have only to develope and cultivate certain dispositions wealth mm 
which already exist in them spontaneously. And the most im- doned. 
portant of these is absence of ambition for wealth or rank. 
Political metaphysicians would say that the sole object of the 
Great Revolution was to give the working classes easier access 
to political and civil power. But this, though it should always 
be open to them, is very far from meeting their true wants. 
Individuals among them may be benefited by it, but the mass 
is left unaffected, or rather is placed often in a worse position, 
l>y the desertion of the more energetic members. The Conven- 
tion is the only government by which this result has been 
properly appreciated. It is the only government which has 
shown due consideration for working men as such ; which has 
ij recognised the value of their services, and encouraged what is 
J the chief compensation for their condition of poverty, their parti- 
cipation in public life. All subsequent governments, whether 
retrograde or constitutional, have, on the contrary, done all they 
Could to divert the people from their true social function, by 
affording opportunity for individuals among them to rise to 
iigber positions. The monied classes, under the influence of 
blind routine, have lent their aid to this degrading policy, by 
continually preaching to the people the necessity of saving ; a 
precept which is indeed incumbent on their own class, but not 
on others. Without saving, capital could not be acciunulated 
and administered ; it is therefore of the highest importance that 
the monied classes should be as economical as possible. But in 


other classes, and especially in those dependent on fixed wages, 
parsimonious habits are uncalled for and injurious ; they lower 
the character of the labourer, while they do little or nothing to 
improve his physical condition; and neither the working classes 
nor their teachers should encourage them. Both the one and 
the other will find their truest happiness in keeping clear of all 
serious practical responsibility, and in allowing free play to 
their mental and moral faculties in public as well as private 
life. In spite of the Economists, savings-banks are regarded bj 
the working classes with immistakeable repugnance. And tlie 
repugnance is justifiable; they do harm morally, by checking 
the exercise of generous feelings. Again, it is the fJE^hion to 
declaim against wine-shops ; and yet, after all, they are at 
present the only places where the people can enjoy soci^. 
Social instincts are cultivated there which deserve our approv'al 
far more than the self-helping spirit which draws men to the 
savings-bank. No doubt this unconcern for money, wise as it is, 
involves real personal risk ; but it is a danger which civilisation 
is constantly tending to diminish, without efi*acing quaUties 
which do the workmen honour, and which are the source of its 
most cherished pleasures. The danger ceases when the mental 
and moral faculties are called into stronger exercise. The 
interest which Positivism will arouse among the people in 
public questions, will lead to the substitution of the club for 
the wine-shop. In these questions, the generous inspirations of 
popular instinct hold out a model which philosophers will do 
well to follow themselves. Fondness for money is as much a 
disqualification for the spiritual government of Humanity, as 
political ambition. It is a clear proof of moral incompetence, 
which is generally connected in one way or other with intellec- 
tual feebleness. 

One of the principal results of the spiritual power exercised 
by philosophers and the working classes under the Positivist 
system, will be to compensate by a just distribution of blame 
and praise for the imperfect arrangements of social rank, in 
which wealth must always preponderate. Leaving the present 
subordination of offices untouched, each functionary will be 
judged by the intrinsic worth of his mind and heart, without 
servility, and yet without any encouragement to anarchy. It 
must always be obvious that the political importance Which 
high position gives, is out of all proportion to the real merit 


xnplied in gaiDÎDg that position. The people will come 
:o see more and more clearly that real happiness, so far from de- 
pending on rank, is far more compatible with their own hmnble 
station. Exceptional men no doubt there are, whose character 
impels them to seek power ; a character more dangerous than 
useful, unless there be sufficient wisdom in the social body to 
turn it to good accoimt. The best workmen, like the best 
philosophers, will soon cease to feel envy for greatness, laden, as 
it always must be, with heavy responsibilities. At present, the 
compensation which I hold out to them has not been realised ; 
but when it exists, the people will feel that their spiritual and 
temporal leaders are combining all the energies of society for 
the satisfaction of their wants. Eecognising this, they will care 
but little for fame that must be bought by long and tedious 
meditation, or for power burdened with constant care. There 
are men whose talents call them to these important duties, and 
they will be left free to perform them ; but the great mass of 
society will be well satisfied that their own lot is one far more 
in keeping with the constitution of our nature ; more compatible 
with that harmonious exercise of the faculties of thought, feeling, 
and action, which is most conducive to happiness. The imme- 
diate pressure of poverty once removed, the highest reward of 
honourable conduct will be found in the permanent esteem, 
posthumous as it may be sometimes, of that portion of Humanity 
^hich has witnessed it. In a word, the title, sermts servoi^m, 
which is still retained by the Papacy from false humility, but 
which originated in anticipation of a social truth, is applicable 
^ all functionaries in high position. They may be described 
*8 the involuntary servants of voluntary subordinates. It is not 
cbiinerical to conceive Positivist society so organised that its 
^ûeoretical and practical directors, with all their personal advan- 
^^ges, will often regret that they were not bom, or that they 
"^d not remain, in the condition of workmen. The only solid 
^tisfaction which great minds have hitherto found in political 
^^ spiritual power has been that, being more occupied with 
Public interests, they had a wider scope for the exercise of 
^^ial feeling. But the excellence of the future condition of 
^^iety will be, that the possibility of combining public and 
«^Hvate life will be open to all. The humblest citizen will be 
•^le to influence society, not by command but by counsel, 
*^ay8 in proportion to his energy and worth. 


AU the views brought forward in this chapter bear out the 
statement with which it began, that the Proletariate forms the 
principal basis of the social system, not merely as finally con- 
stituted, but in its present state of transition ; and admittiog 
this, the present state will be seen to have no essential difference 
from the normal future to which it tends. The principal con- 
ditions of our transitional policy were described at the conclu- 
sion of the last chapter. The best security for them is to he 
foimd in the natural tendencies of the people of Western 
Europe and especially of France. Our governors will do well to 
follow these tendencies instead of attempting to lead them; 
for they are in perfect keeping with the two great requirements 
of the present time. Liberty and Public Order. 
^^orwng The freedom of thought and speech, which is enjoyed in 
rantoelo?^ France to an extent impossible in any other country, is due 
f^K^er""^ principally to the intellectual emancipation of French and espe- 
thdTeman- ^^^^^J ^^ Parisian workmen. They have rid themselves of 
their*d£iike ^^^^^l^^SJ ^^ ^^ i^ forms, and yet have not accepted any meta- 
theTAndtf.** physical system. At the same time, though totally devoid at 
piSiMients. P^^sent of Systematic convictions, there is in them a submissive- 
ness of mind which predisposes them to receive convictions 
combining reality with utility. In all other classes there is a 
tendency to use forcible measures in support of doctrines that 
cannot hold their ground against discussion. It is only to 
the people that philosophers can look for the support and 
extension of Liberty, which is so essential to their objects; 
and from this they derive moral confidence far more re- 
assuring than any legal security. However reactionary or 
stationary the views of particular leaders or sects may be, 
with such a population as that of Paris no real oppression 
is possible. Of all the claims which France has to the 
leadership of Europe, this is the strongest. The resistance 
which is still offered to freedom of association and freedom of 
education will soon be overcame by the force of its liberal 
sympathies. A population of such strong social feeling as our» 
will certainly not allow itself to be permanently deprived of the 
power of meeting together freely in clubs ; institutions most 
conducive both to its culture and to the protection of it« interests. 
It will insist with equal force upon perfect liberty of teaching» 
feeling deeply the need of solid instruction, and the incapacity 
of metaphysicians and theologians to give it. Without popular 




pressure, the essential conditions of educational liberty will 
always be evaded. 

And if Liberty depends upon popular support, Public Order, 
whether at home or abroad, depends upon it no less. The 
inclinations of the working classes are altogether on the side 
of peace. Their strong dislike of war is the principal reason of 
the present remarkable tranquillity of Europe. The foolish 
regret expressed by all the retrograde parties for the decline of 
the military spirit is a sufficient indication of what the popular 
feeling is ; but even more significant is the necessity for com- 
pulsory enlistment, which began in France and has extended to 
other parts of Europe. There has been much factitious indig- 
nation on the subject, but at least it must be allowed, that in 
our armies, the officers are the only volunteers. Again, the 
working class is more free than any other from international 
prejudices, which still disunite the great family of Western 
nations, although they are very much weaker than formerly. 
They are strongest in the middle classes, a fact principally due 
to industrial competition. But working men feel how similar 
their wants and their conditions are in all coimtries, and this 
feeling checks their animosity. And the consciousness of imion 
will become far stronger, now that the great social problem of 
their incorporation into modem society is being raised every- 
where. No errors that statesmen can commit, whether in 
matters of war or peace, can prevent this from becoming the 
preponderating question in every European country ; and thus 
it tends to preserve their mutual concord. 

Popular sympathies of this sort are no doubt less conducive 
to internal tranquillity than to pacific foreign relations. But 
the alarm which is naturally aroused by the spiritual anarchy 
around us must not blind us to the real guarantees for Order 
which popular tendencies, rightly interpreted, hold out. It is 
to the people that we must look for the ascendancy of central 
over local power, which, as we have seen, is so indispensable to 
public order. The executive authority, provided only that it 
gives no cause to fear reaction, will always have their support 
when opposed by an assembly the prevalent tendencies of which 
will usually be adverse to their interests. They will always 
turn instinctively to the dictatorial rather than to the parlia- 
mentary branch of the administration ; feeliog that from its 
practical character and the directness of its action, it is more 


likely to meet their wants. Barren disoussions on constitutional 
questions may suit ambitious members of the middle classes, 
by facilitating their arrival to power. But the people take very 
little interest in all this unmeaning agitation, and often treat 
it with merited contempt, knowing that it can be of no use to 
them, and that its only result is to evade their real wants by 
imdermining the only authority that can do them justice. 
Consequently the people are certain to give their support to 
every government that deserves it ; especially in France, where 
political passions have already yielded to the superior and more 
permanent interest of social questions. And while strengthening 
the central power, they may do much to elevate its character 
by confining it strictly to its practical function, and resisting 
any attempts that it may make to interfere with opinion. In 
all these respects the spontaneous influence of the working 
claôses will be of material assistance in carrying out the syste- 
matic conceptions of social philosophy, 
ledictator- But a morc striking proof of the political influence to be 
Saii^V- exercised by the people is this. The dictatorship which our 
of popular transitional policy requires, as long as the spiritual interregnum 
lasts, must arise in the first instance from their ranks. 

In the word People, especially in the French language, there 
is a fortimate ambiguity, which may serve to remind us that 
the proletariate class is not, properly speaking, a class at all, 
but constitutes the body of society. From it proceed the 
various special classes, which we may regard as organs necessary 
to that body. Since the abolition of royalty, the last renmant 
of caste, our political leaders have been recruited, for the most 
part, from the working class. In the normal state, however, it 
will be required as a preliminary condition, that the holder of 
dictatorial power shall have first received the political training 
which is given by the exercise of authority in his own business. 
In a settled state of society. Government, strictly so called, is 
a mere extension of civil influence. Ultimately, therefore, 
political power will fall into the hands of the great leaders of 
industry. Unworthy as they seem of it at present they will 
gradually become less so as spiritual reorganisation proceeds ; 
and besides, the tenure of power will become less burdensome, 
because it will be confined to duties of a purely practical kind. 
As yet, however, the case is very different ; and therefore 
the wealthy, though ultimately they will be the administrators 


of power, are not those to whom it should as a rule be entrusted 
in our present condition. Special departments may be given 
to them with advantage, as we have seen proved recently, and 
that in cases where the functions to be performed had no rela- 
tion whatever to industrial skill. But they are not competent 
as yet for dictatorial power, the power which has to supply the 
place of royalty. Individual exceptions of course there may be, 
though none have appeared hitherto, and at least they are 
not enough for our provisional system to rely on. As yet the 
wealthy classes have shown themselves too debased in thought 
and feeling for an office of such importance. Nor do we find 
greater aptitude for it outside the industrial class. Scientific 
men are most assuredly unfit for it, especially in France, where 
the system of Academies has narrowed the mind, withered the 
feelings, and enervated the character to such an extent, that 
most of them fail in the conduct of common life, and are utterly 
unworthy of the smallest post of authority, even in their own 

All other classes failing us, we have to look to the working 
elaf», which has been left more free to form broad views, and in 
which the sense of duty has been better cultivated. On historical 
grounds I feel convinced that the workmen of France are more 
likely than any other class to supply men competent for supreme 
power, as long as the spiritual interregnum lasts ; that is, for at 
least one generation. 

On looking at this question calmly and without scholastic 
or aristocratic prejudice, it will be seen, as I pointed out at the 
beginning of this chapter, that the working class is better situ- 
ated than any other with respect to generality of views and 
generosity of feeling. In knowledge and experience of adminis- 
tration they woidd ordinarily be deficient ; they would therefore 
not be fit for the work of any special department. But this is 
no disqualification for the supreme power, or indeed for any of 
the higher offices for which breadth of view rather than special 
knowledge is required. These may be filled by working men, 
whose good sense and modesty will at once lead them to choose 
their agents for special departments from the classes who have 
usually furnished them before. The practical character and 
progressive spirit of such a government being placed by this 
salutary change beyond suspicion, special talent of whatever 
kind may be made available, even in the case of men who, in a 

VOL. I. U 


higher position would show themselves thoroughly hostile to 
republican institutions. Of all the diversified elements of 
modem society, there is not one which may not be of real service 
in assisting the transition. Among soldiers and magistrates, 
for instance, there are many who will join the popular movement, 
and become sincere supporters of republicanism A govein- 
ment of this kind would tranquillise the people, would obviate 
the necessity for violent compressive measures, and would at 
the same time have a most beneficial influence on the capi- 
talist class. It would show them the necessity of attaining to 
greater purity of feeling and greater breadth of view, if they 
are to become worthy of the position for which they are ulti- 
mately destined. 

Thus, whether we look at the interests of Public Order, or 
at those of Liberty, it appears necessary as a provisional 
measure, during the continuance of our spiritual interregnum, 
that the holders of dictatorial power shall be chosen firom the 
working class. The success of a few working men in the pur- 
suit of wealth has exercised an unsettling influence on the rest ; 
but in the present instance we need not fear this result. It will 
be obvious that the career of a proletary governor is a rare ex- 
ception, and one which requires peculiar endowments. 

In examining the mode in which this anomalous policy 
should be carried out, we must bear in mind the object with 
which it was instituted. It is most important to get rid of the 
custom, established by class interests during the last generation, 
of insisting on parliamentary experience as an apprenticeship 
for executive power; executive power being always the real 
object of ambition. We have found from experience what we 
might have anticipated on theoretical grounds, that this plan 
excludes all except mere talkers of the Girondist type, men 
totally devoid of statesman-like qualities. To working men it 
offers almost insurmountable obstacles; and even supposing 
these obstacles to be overcome, we may be sure that they would 
lose the straightforwardness and native vigour which constitute 
their best claim to the exceptional position proposed for them. 

It is best, then, that they should reach the position assigned 
to them at once, without the circuitous process of a parlia- 
mentary career. Our transition towards the normal state will 
then exhibit its true character. It will be tranquil and yet 
decisive, for it will rest on the combined action of philoaopliip 


without political ambition, and of dictators adverse to spiritual 
encroachment. The teacher who attempts to govern, the 
governor who attempts to educate, will both incur severe puUic 
censure, as enemies alike of peace and progress. The whole 
result will be a change in our revolutionary condition identical 
with that which the Convention would have realised, if, as the 
founders of that admirable government contemplated, it had 
lasted till the Peaœ. 

Such, then, is the nature of the compact into which aU true 
philosophers should enter with the leading members of the 
proletary class. Their object is to direct the organic and final 
phase through which the Great Bevolution is now passing, by 
a wise prolongation of the provisional system of the Convention ; 
ignoring as far as possible the traditions of all succeeding 
governments, whether stationary or retrograde. Comprehen- 
siveness of view and social sympathy predominate alike in both 
members of this great alliance ; and it is thus a guarantee for 
our present state of transition, and a sure earnest of the normal 
future. The people are the spontaneous representatives of tliis 
alliance; philosophers should become its systematic organ. The 
intellectual deficiencies of the former will easily be remedied by 
philosophers, who will show them how essential it is on social 
grounds that they should understand the true meaning of 
history ; since otherwise their conception of the imion of man- 
kind must be limited to the present generation, ignoring the 
more important truth of the continuity of the Present with the 
Past and the Future. A far greater obstacle is the moral 
deficiency of most philosophers of our time. But the wholesome 
influence of the people upon them, combined with a deep philo- 
sophic conviction of the preponderance of Feeling in every 
subject of thought, will do much to overcome the ambitious 
instincts which weaken and distract their energies in the common 
cause of social renovation. 





omen re- ALTHOUGH in their action upon society philosophers may hope 
■ectiveefe- for encigetic support from the working classes, the regene- 
ture, M rating movement requires still the co-operation of a third ele- 
d^^^pif" ment, one indicated by the true theory of human nature as well 
SStnai* as by historical study of the great modem crisis. 
leiSSSite. The moral constitution of man consists of something more 
than Intellect and Activity. These are represented in the 
constitution of society by the philosophic body and the prole- 
tariate. But besides these there is Feeling, which, in the theory 
put forward in the first chapter of this work, was shown to he 
the predominating principle, the motive power of our being, 
the only basis on which the various parts of our nature can be 
brought into unity. Now the alliance between philosophers 
and working men, which has been just described, however per- 
fectly it may be realised, does not represent the element of 
Feeling with suflBcient distinctness and prominence. 

Certainly without Social Feeling, neither philosophers nor 
proletaries can exercise any real influence. But in their case 
its soiurce is not sufficiently pure nor deep to sustain them in 
the performance of their duty. A more spontaneous and more 
perennial spring of inspiration must be foimd. 

With the philosopher social sympathies will never be want- 
ing in coherence, since they will be connected with his whole 
system of thought; but this very scientific character would 
deaden their vigour, unless they were continually revived by 
impulses in which reflection has no share. Soused as he will 
be by the consciousness of public duty to a degree of activity 
of which abstract thinkers can form no conception, the emotions 
of private life will yet be not less necessary for him than for 
others. Even his intercourse with workmen, beneficial as it 


will be, will not be enough to compensate the defects of a life 
devoted to speculation. 

The sympathies of the people again, though stronger and 
more spontaneous than those of the philosopher^ are in most 
cases, less pure and not so lasting. From the pressure of daily 
necessities it is difficult for them to maintain the same con- 
sistent and disinterested character. Great as are the moral 
advantages which will result from the incorporation of the 
people in modem society, they are not enough by themselves 
to outweigh the force of self-interest aroused by the precarious 
nature of their position. Emotions of a gentler and less tran- 
sient kind must be called into play. Philosophers^ may relieve 
the working classes from the necessity of pressing their own 
claims and grievances; but the fact still remains,. that the in- 
stincts by which those claims are prompted are personal rather 
than social. 

Thus, in the alliance which has been here proposed as neces- 
sary for social reorganisation, Feeling, the most influential part 
of human nature, has not been adequately represented. An ele- 
ment is wanting which shall have the same relation to the 
moral side of our constitution, as the philosophic body has with 
Intellect, and the people with Activity. On this, as well as on 
other grounds, it is indispensable that Women be associated in 
the work of regeneration as soon as its tendencies and conditions 
can be explained to them. With the addition of this third 
element, the constructive movement at last assumes its true 
character. We may then feel confident that our intellectual 
and practical &culties will be kept in due subordination to 
universal Love. The digressions of intellect, and the subver- 
sive tendencies of our active powers will be as far as possible 

Indispensable to Positivism as the co-operation of women is, women !»▼ 

..•« <«i i«j* Tkr t J* itOOd llloof 

it involves one essential condition. Modern progress must rise fromthemo: 
above its present imperfect character, before women can tho- nfent!^!^ 

, * ,, . .., .. canne of it» 

roughly sympathise with it. anti.hiittoric 

At present the general feeling amongst them is antipathy to nnd im ' 
the Revolution. They dislike the destructive character which 8nb!!rtiinato 
the Kevolution necessarily exhibited in its first phase ; and their morality.^ 
strongest sympathies are still given to the Middle Ages. Nor 
is this merely due, as is supposed, to a natural regret for the 
decline of chivalry, although they cannot but feel that the 


Middle Ages are the only period in which the feeling of reve- 
rence for women has been properly cultivated. The real ground 
of their predilection is deeper and less interested. It is that, 
})eing morally the purest portion of Humanity, they venerate 
Catholicism, as the only system which has upheld the principle 
of subordinating Politics to Morals. This, I cannot doubt, is 
the secret cause of most of the regret with which women still 
regard the irrevocable decay of mediaeval society. 

They do not disregard the progress which modem times have 
made in various special directions. But our erroneous tenden- 
cies towards bringing back the old supremacy of Politics over 
Morality, are, in their eyes, a retrograde movement, so compre- 
hensive in its character that no partial improvements can com- 
pensate for it. True, we are able to justify this deviation pro- 
visionally, corresponding as it does to the necessity of political 
dictatorship resulting from the decay of Catholicism. But 
women, having comparatively little to do with the practical 
business of life, can hardly appreciate this necessity without a 
more satisfactory theory of history than they at present possess. 
It is a complete mistake to charge women with being retrograde 
on accoimt of these honourable feelings of regret. They might 
retort- the charge with far better reason on the revolutionists 
for their blind admiration of Grreek and Soman society, which 
they still persist in asserting to be superior to Catholic Feu- 
dalism ; a delusion, the continuance of which is principally due 
to our absurd system of classical education, from which women 
are fortunately preserved. 

However this may be, the feelings of women upon these 
subjects are a very plain and simple demonstration of the first 
condition of social regeneration, which is, that Politics must 
again be subordinated to Morality ; and this upon a more intel- 
ligible, more comprehensive, and more permanent basis than 
Catholicism could supply. A system which supplied such a 
basis would naturally involve reverence for women as one of its 
characteristic results. Such, then, are the terms on which 
women will cordially co-operate in the progressive movement. 
Nothing but incapacity to satisfy these terms could induce any 
thinkers to condenm the conception as retrograde. 

It is not, then, to the Bevolution itself that women feel 
antipathy, but to the anti-historic spirit which prevailed in 
its first phase. The blind abuse lavished on the Middle Ages 


wounds their strongest sympathies. They care little for meta- 
physical theories of society in which hmnan happiness is made 
to consist in a continual exercise of political rights; for political 
rights, however attractively presented, will always fail to interest 
them. But they give their cordial sympathy to all reasonable 
claims of the people ; and these claims form the real object of 
the revolutionary crisis. They will wish all success to philo- 
sophers and workmen when they see them endeavouring to* 
transform political disputes into social compacts, and proving 
that they have greater regard for duties than for rights. If 
they regret the decline of the gentle influence which they pos- 
sessed in former times, it is principally because they find it 
superseded by coarse and egotistic feelings, which are now no 
longer counterbalanced by revolutionary enthusiasm. Instead 
of blaming their antipathies, we should learn from them the 
urgent necessity of putting an end to the moral and intellectual 
anarchy of our times : for this it is which gives a ground of real 
justice to their reproaches. 

Women will gladly associate themselves with the Revolution Bat they wi 
as soon as its work of reconstruction is fairly begun. Its nega- ÎSSîttie 
tive phase must not be prolonged too &r. It is difficult enough toidenciMc 
for them to understand how such a phase could ever be necessary; ti^^Sa 
therefore they cannot be expected to excuse its aberrations, gniahaonnc 
The true connection of the Bevolution with the Middle Ages ^^en- 
must be fistirly stated. History, when rightly interpreted, will tie^'^^ 
show them that its real object is, while laying down a surer 
basis for Morality, to restore it to the old position of superiority 
over Politics in which the mediœval system first placed it. 
Women will feel enthusiasm for the second phase of the Revolu- 
tion, when they see republicanism in the light in which Posi- 
ti\ism presents it, modified by the spirit of ancient chivalry. 

Then, and not till then, will the movement of social regene- 
ration be fairly begun. The movement can have no great force 
until women give cordial support to it ; for it is they who are 
the best representatives of the fundamental principle on which 
Positivism rests, the victory of social over selfish affections. On 
philosophers rests the duty of giving logical coherence to this 
principle and saving it from sophistical attacks. Its practical 
working depends upon the proletary class, without whose aid 
it would almost always be evaded. But to maintain it in all 
its purity, as an inspiration that needs neither argument nor 


compulsion, is the work of women only. So constituted, the 
alliance of the three classes will be the foreshadowed image of 
the normal state to which Humanity is tending. It will be the 
living type of perfect human nature. 

Unless the new philosophy can obtain the support of women, 
the attempt to substitute it for theology in the regulation of 
social life had better be abandoned. But if the theoiy stated 
in my first chapter be true, Positivism will have even greater 
influence with women than with the working classes. In the 
principle which animates it, in its manner of regarding and of 
handling the great problem of human life, it is but a systematic 
development of what women have always felt instinctively. To 
them, as to the people, it offers a noble career of social useful- 
ness, and it holds out a siure prospect of improvement in their 
own personal position. 

Nor is it surprising that the new philosophy should possess 
such qualities. They follow naturally from the reality which is 
one of its chief claims to acceptance ; in other words, from the 
exactness with which it takes account of the &cts of every sub- 
ject that it deals with. Strong as the prejudices of women are 
upon religious questions, it cannot be long before they find out 
that Positivism satisfies, not merely their intellectual, but their 
moral and social wants better than Catholicism. They will 
then have no further reason for clinging to the old system, of 
the decayed condition of which they are perfectly aware. At 
present they not unnaturally confound Positivism with the 
scientific specialities on which it is based. Scientific studies 
have, as they see, a hardening influence, which they cannot sup- 
pose that the new school of philosophers, who insist so strongly 
upon the necessity of studying science, can have escaped. 
Closer acquaintance with the subject will show them where 
their error lies. They will see that the moral danger of scien- 
tific studies arises almost entirely from want of purpose and 
from irrational speciality, which always alienate them from the 
social point of view. But for the Positivist this danger does 
not exist ; since, however far he may carry these preliminary 
studies, he does so simply in order to gain a stronger grasp of 
social questions. His one object is to concentrate all the powers 
of Man upon the general advancement of the race. And so 
long as this object be kept in view, women's good sense will 
readily distinguish between the training necessary for it, and 


the puerilities of the learned societies. The general spirit 
of this work, however, makes further explanation of this point 

The social mission of Woman in the Positive system follows women's po- 
as a natural consequence from the qualities peculiar to her dety. Like 

"^ *• philosophers 

nature. and people. 

In the most essential attribute of the hiunan race, the ten- not to go. 

vem but to 

dency to place social above personal feeling, she is undoubtedly moduy. 
superior to man. Morally, therefore, and apart from all 
material considerations, she merits always our loving veneration, 
as the purest and simplest impersonation of Humanity, who can 
never be ade quate ly represented in any masculine form. But 
thèse qualities do not involve the possession of political power, 
which some visionaries have claimed for women, though with- 
out their own consent. In that which is the great object of 
human life, they are superior to men ; but in the various means 
of attaining that object they are imdoubtedly inferior. In all 
kinds of force, whether physical, intellectual, or practical, it is 
certain that Man surpasses Woman, in accordance with the 
general law prevailing throughout the animal kingdom. Now 
practical life is necessarily governed by force rather than by 
afifection, because it requires unremitting and laborious activity. 
If there were nothing else to do but to love, as in the Christian 
Utopia of a future life in which there are no material wants. 
Woman would be supreme. But we have above everything 
else to think and to act, in order to carry on the struggle 
against a rigorous destiny ; therefore Man takes the command, 
notwithstanding his inferiority in goodness. Success in all great 
undertakings depends more upon energy and talent than upon 
goodwill, although this last condition reacts strongly upon the 

Thus the three elements of our moral constitution do not 
act in perfect harmony. Force is naturally supreme, and all 
that women can do is to modify it by affection. Justly conscious 
of their superiority in strength of feeling, they endeavour to 
assert their influence in a way which is too often attributed by 
superficial observers to the mere love of power. But experience 
always teaches them that in a world where the simplest neces- 
saries of life are scarce and difficult to procure, power must 
belong to the strongest, not to the most affectionate, even 
though the latter may deserve it best. With all their effoitc^ 


they can never do more than modify the harshness with which 
men exercise their authority. And men submit more readily to 
this modifying influence, from feeling that in the highest attri- 
butes of Humanity women are their superiors. They see that 
their own supremacy is due principally to the material neces- 
sities of life, provision for which calls into play the self-re- 
garding rather than the social instincts. Hence we find it the 
case in every phase of human society that women's life is 
essentially domestic, public life being confined to men. Civili- 
sation, so far from effacing this natural distinction, tends, as 
I shall afterwards show, to develop it, while remedying its 

Thus the social position of women is in this respect very 
similar to that of philosophers and of the working classes. And 
we now see why these three elements should be united. It is 
their combined action which constitutes the modifying force of 

Philosophers are excluded from political power by the same 
fatality as women, although they are apt to think that their 
intellectual eminence gives them a claim to it. Were our 
material wants more easily satisfied, the influence of intellect 
would be less impeded than it is by the practical business of life. 
But, on this hypothesis, women would have a better claim to 
govern than philosophers. For the reasoning fiu^ulties would 
have remained almost inert had they not been needed to guide 
our energies ; the constitution of the brain not being such as to 
favour their spontaneous development. Whereas the affective 
principle is dependent on no such external stimulus for its 
activity. A life of thought is a more evident disqualificatioii 
for the government of the world even than a life of feeling» 
although the self-conceit of philosophers is a greater obstacle to 
submission than the vanity of women. With all its pretensions, 
intellectual force is not in itself more moral than material force. 
Each is but an instnunent ; the merit depends entirely upon its 
right employment. The only element of our nature which is in 
itself moral is Love ; for Love alone tends of itself towards the 
preponderance of social feeling over self-interest. And since 
even Love cannot govern, what can be the claim of Intellect? 
In practical life precedence must always depend upon superior 
energy. Season, even more than Feeling, must be 
to the task of modifying. Philosophers therefiini 


eluded from government at least as rigidly as women. It is in 
vain for intellect to attempt to command ; it never can do more 
than modify. In fact, the morality which it indirectly possesses 
is due to this impossibility of exercising compulsory power, and 
would be ruined by the attainment of it, supposing such a 
dream to be possible. Intellect may do much to amend the 
natural order of thingn, but only on the condition of not at- 
tempting to subvert it. What it can do is by its power of 
systematic arrangement to effect the union of all the classes who 
are likely to exert a beneficial influence on material power. 
It is with this view that every spiritual power has availed 
itself of the aid of women, as we see was the case in the Middle 

Proceeding with our sociological analysis of moral force, we 
shall find an equally striking resemblance between the influence 
of Women and that exercised by the People. 

In the first stage of progress, there is no modifying power 
except what springs from Feeling : afterwards Intellect combines 
with it, finding itself unable to govern. The only element now 
wanting is Activity ; and this want, which is indispensable, is 
supplied by the co-operation of the people. The fact is, that 
although the people constitute the basis on which all political 
power rests, yet they have as little to do directly with the 
administration of power as philosophers or women. 

Power in the strict sense of the word, power, that is, which 
controls action without persuading the will, has two perfectly 
distinct sources, numbers and wealth. The force of numbers is 
usually considered the more material of the two ; but in reality 
it is the more moral. Being created by co-operation, it involves 
some convergence of ideas and feelings, and therefore it does 
not give such free scope for the self-regarding instincts as the 
more concentrated power of wealth. But for this very reason, 
it is too indirect and precarious for the ordinary purposes of 
government. It can influence government morally, but cannot 
take an active part in it ; and this for the same reasons that 
apply in the case of philosophers and women. Our material 
necessities are so urgent, that those who have the means of 
providing for them will always be the possessors of power. Now 
the wealthy have these means ; they hold in their hands the 
prodnett of labour, by which each generation facilitates the exist- 
ed petmmii the operations of its successor. Consequently 


the power of the capitalist is one of so concentrated and practical 
a kind, that numbers can very seldom resist it successfully. 
Even in military nations we find the same thing ; the influence 
of numbers, though more direct, aflfects only the mode of ac- 
quiring wealth, not its tenure. But in industrial states, where 
wealth is acquired by other ways than violence, the law is still 
more evident. And with the advance of civilisation it will 
operate not less but more strongly ; because capital is ever on 
the increase, and consequently is ever creating means of subsist- 
ence for those who possess nothing. In this sense, but in no 
other, the cynical maxim of Antiquity, Faucis naacitur 
humanum genua, will always bear a true meaning. The few 
provide subsistence for the many. We come back, then, to the 
conclusion of the last chapter : that the working classes are not 
destined for political power, but that they tend to become a 
most important source of moral power. The moral value of 
their influence is even more indirect than that of philosophers, 
and depends even more in their case upon subordination in 
action. In the few cases where government passes for a time 
into the hands of the masses, wealth in its turn assumes a sort 
of moral influence foreign to its nature. It moderates the 
violence with which government is apt to be administered in 
such cases. The high intellectual and moral qualities belonging* 
to the working classes are, as we have seen, in great part due 
to their social position. They would be seriously impaired if 
the political authority that belongs to wealth were habituaUj 
transferred to niunbers. 
he united Such, in outliuc, is the Positive theory of moral force ; bj 

MpbOT^ ^' which the despotism of material force may be in part controlled. 
IXtoriw** It rests upon the union of the three elements in society who are 
[aSi*Pc«L. excluded from the sphere of politics strictly so called. In their 
combined action lies our principal hope of solving, so fsur as it 
can be solved, the great problem of man's nature, the successful 
struggle of Social Feeling against Self-love. Each of the three 
elements supplies a quality indispensable to the task. Without 
women this controlling power would be deficient in purity and 
spontaneous impulse ; without philosophers, in wisdom and co- 
herence ; without the people, in energy and activity. The 
philosophic element, although neither the most direct nor the 
most efficient, is yet the distinctive feature of this power, b^ 
cause its function is to organise its constitution and direct its 


Operations in accordance with the true laws of social life. As 
being the systematic organ of the spiritual power it has become 
identified with it in name. This, however, may lead to an 
erroneous conception ; because the moral aspect of the spiritual 
power is more important than the intellectual. While retaining 
the name as an historical tradition of real value, Positivism will 
rectify the error involved in it, which originated in a time when 
theories of society were unknown, and when Intellect was con- 
sidered as the central principle of himian nature. 

Spiritual power, as interpreted by Positivism, begins with 
the influence of women in the family ; it is afterwards moulded 
into a system by thinkers, while the people are the guarantee 
for its political efficiency. Although it is the intellectual class 
that institutes the union, yet its own part in it, as it should 
never forget, is less direct than that of women, less practical 
than that of the people. The thinker is socially powerless 
except so £Bur as he is supported by feminine sympathy and 
popular energy. 

Thus the necessity of associating women in the movement 
of social r^eneration creates no obstacle whatever to the philo- 
sophy by which that movement is to be directed. On the con- 
trary, it aids its progress by showing the true character of the 
moral force which is destined to control all the other forces of 
man. It involves as perfect an inauguration of the normal 
state as our times of transition admit. For the chief character- 
istic of that state will be a more complete and more harmonious 
union of the same three classes to whom we are now looking for 
the first impulse of reform. Already we can see how perfectly 
adapted to the constitution of man this final condition of 
Humanity will be. Feeling, Reason, Activity, whether viewed 
separately or in combination, correspond exactly to the three 
elements of the regenerative movement. Women, Philosophers, 
^nd People. 

Verification of this theory may be found more or less dis- 
t-inctly in every period of history. Each of the three classes 
:referred to have always borne out the biological law that the 
life of relation or animal life, is subordinated to the life of nu- 
trition. Still more striking is the application to this case of 
smother general principle, namely, that Progress is the develop- 
"ment of Order ; a principle which, as I showed in the second 
chapter, connects every dynamical question in Sociology with 


the corrasponding statical oonoeption. For with the growth of 
society, the modifying influence of moral force is always increas- 
ing, both by larger scope being given to each of its three 
elements specially, and also by the more perfect consolidation 
of their union. Robertson's striking observation on the gradual 
improvement in the condition of women is but a particular case 
of this sociological law. The general principle on which pro- 
gress in all three classes depends, is the biological law that the 
preponderance of vegetable life over animal life diminishes, as 
the organism is higher in the scale and is more perfectly de- 

During the various phases of ancient Polytheism, the con- 
trolling power consisted simply of the moral influence exerted 
by women in the Family. In public life the influence of 
thinkers had not made itself independent of the governmental 
authority, of which it was sometimes the source, sometimes the 
instrument. MedisBval Catholicism went a step further, and 
took the first step in systematising moral force. It created an 
independent spiritual authority to which political governments 
were subordinated, and this authority was always supported by 
women. But the complete organisation of moral force was re- 
served for modem times. It is only recently that the working 
classes have begun to interfere actively in social questions; and, 
as I have shown in the preceding chapter, it is from their co- 
operation that the new spiritual power will derive its practical 
efficiency. Limited originally to the sphere of Feeling, and 
subsequently extended to the intellectual sphere, it henceforward 
embraces the sphere of Activity ; and this without losing its 
spiritual character, since the influences of which it consists are 
entirely distinct from the domain of practical politics. Each of 
its three elements persuades, advises, judges ; but except in iso- 
lated cases, never commands. The social mission of Positivism 
is to regulate and combine their spontaneous action, by directing 
each to the objects for which it is best adapted. 

And this mission, in spite of strong prejudices to the con- 
trary, it will be found well calculated to fulfiL I have already 
shown its adaptation to the case of the people and of the philo- 
sophic body, whether regarded separately or in combination ; 
I have now to show that it is equally adapted to the case of 

In proof of this I have but to refer to the principle on which. 


as stated in the first chapter, the whole system of Positivism is 
based ; the preponderance of affection in our nature. Such a 
principle is of itself an appeal to women to associate themselves 
with the system, as one of its essential elements. In Catholicism 
their co-operation, though valuable, was not of primary impor- 
tance, because Catholicism claimed a divine origin independent 
of their assistance. But to Positivism they are indispensable, 
as being the purest and simplest embodiment of its fundamental 
principle. Apart from their domestic influence, it will be their 
special task to caU phaosophers and people back to that unity 
of purpose which originated in the first place with themselves, 
and which each of the other elements is often disposed to 

All true philosophers will no doubt be profoundly influenced 
by the chain of arguments proving the logical and scientific pre- 
ponderance of the social point of view, and will therefore be 
prepared to admit as a systematic principle the precedence of 
the Heart over the Intellect. Still they require some more 
direct incentive to universal Love than such convictions can 
supply. Knowing, as they do, how slight is the practical result 
of purely intellectual considerations, they will welcome so precious 
an incentive, were it only in the interest of their own mission. 
I recognised its necessity myself, when I wrote on the 11th of 
March 1846, to her who, in spite of death, will always remain 
my constant companion : ^ I was incomplete as a philosopher, 
until the experience of deep and pure passion had given me 
fuller insight into the emotional side of hiunan nature.' Strong 
affection exercises a marvellous influence upon mental effort, by 
elevating the intellect at once to the only point of view which 
is really universaL Doubtless, the method of piure science leads 
up to it also ; but only by a long and toilsome process, which 
exhausts the powers of thought, and leaves little energy for 
following out tl^new results to which this great principle gives 
rise. The stimllation of affection under feminine influence is 
necessary, therefore, for the acceptance of Positivism, not merely 
in those classes for whom a long preliminary course of scientific 
study would be impossible. It is equally necessary for the sys- 
tematic teachers of Positivism, in whom it checks the tendency, 
which is encouraged by habits of abstract speculation, to deviate 
into useless digressions ; these being always easier to prosecute 
than researches of real value. 


aperioiity Under this new aspect the new spiritual system is obviously 

ïiritiiai superior to the old. By the institution of celibacy, which was 

ower to the 

d. Self, indispensable to Catholicism, its priests were entirely removed 
indencies from the beneficial influence exercised by women. Only those 
>ctrine. could profit from it who did not belong to the ecclesiastical 
body ; the members of that body, as Ariosto has remarked 
in his vigorous satire, were excluded. Nor could the evil be 
remedied, except in very rare cases, by an irregular attachment, 
which inevitably corrupted the priest's character by involving 
the necessity of perpetual hypocrisy. 

And when we look at the difference of the spirit by which 
the two systems are pervaded, we shall find still more striking 
evidence that the new system offers a far larger sphere of moral 
influence to women than the old. 

Both are based upon the principle of affection ; but in Posi- 
tivism the afi*ection inculcated is social, in Catholicism it is 
essentially personal. The object set before the believer, while 
purely individual, is yet of such stupendous magnitude, that 
feelings which are unconnected with it are in danger of being 
crushed. The priesthood, it is true, wise interpreters in this re- 
spect of a general instinct, brought all the more important social 
obligations within the compass of religion, by holding them out 
as necessary for salvation. Indirectly, the nobler feelings were 
thus called into action; but at the same time they were rendered 
far less spontaneous and pure. There could be no perfectly^ 
disinterested affection under a system which promised infinite 
rewards for all acts of self-denial. For it was impossible, and 
indeed it would have been thought sinful, to keepj^he future ont 
of sight ; and thus all spontaneous generosity was unavoidably 
tainted by self-interest. Catholicism gave rise to an ignoble 
theory of morals which became very mischievous when it was 
adopted by the metaphysicians ; because, while retaining the i 
vicious principle, they swept away the chec^by which the 
priesthood had controlled it. But even wheflP^e look at the 
purest form in which the love of Grod was exloHbed, we cannot 
call it a social feeling, except in so far as the same object of 
worship was held out simultaneously to all. Intrinsically it was 
anti-social ; since, when attained in absolute perfection, it vor 
plied the entire sacrifice of all other love. And in the best 
representatives of Christian thought and feeling, this tendency 
is very apparent. No one has portrayed the Catholic ideal with 

each other. 


such sublimity and pathos as the author of the Imitation, a 
work which so well deserved the beautiful translation of Corneille. 
And yet, reading it as I do daily, I cannot help remarking how ^ 
grievously the natural nobleness of his heart was impaired by 
the Catholic system, although, in spite of all obstacles, he rises \/ 
at times to the purest ardour. Certainly those of our feelings 
which are purely unselfish must be far stronger and more 
spontaneous than has ever yet been supposed, since even the 
oppressive discipline of twelve centuries could not prevent their 

Positivism, from the fact of its conformity with the consti- The sprite 

' -^ Positivism, 

tution of our nature, is the only system calculated to develop, on the con- 
both in public and in private life, those high attributes of JJ^,'**^!^^ 
Humanity, which, for want of adequate systematic culture, are "^J^*°j^ 
still in their rudimentary stage. Catholicism, while appealing 
to the Heart crushed Intellect ; and Intellect naturally struggled 
to throw off the yoke. Positivism on the contrary brings 
Reason into complete harmony with Feeling, without impairing^ 
the activity of either. 

Scientific study of the relation which each individual bears 
to the whole race is a continual stimulus to social sympathy. 
Without a theory of society it is impossible to keep this relation 
distinctly and constantly in view. It is only noticed in a few 
exceptional cases, and imconnected impressions are soon effaced 
from the memory. But the Positivist teacher, taking the social 
point of view invariably, will make this notion far more familiar 
to us than it has ever been before. He will show us the impos- 
sibility of understanding an individual or society apart from 
the whole life of the race. Nothing but the bewilderment 
caused by theological and metaphysical doctrines can account 
for the shallow explanations of human affairs given by our 
teachers, attributing as they do to Man what is really due to 
Humanity. But with the sounder theory that we now possess, 
we can see the truth as it really stands. We have but to look 
each of us at our own life under its physical, intellectual, or 
moral aspects, to recognise what it is that we owe to the com- 
bined action of our predecessors and contemporaries. Tlie man 
who dares to think himself independent of others, either in 
feelings, thoughts, or actions, cannot even put the blasphemous 
conception into words without immediate self-contradiction, 
«iuce the very language he uses is not his own. The profoundest; 

VOL. I. V 


tliinker cannot by himself fonn the simplest language; it re* 
quires the co-operation of a community for several generations. 
Without further illustration, the tendency of Positive doctrine 
is evident. It appeals systematically to our social instincts, by 
constantly impressing upon us that only the Whole is real; that 
the Parts exist only in abstraction. 

But independently of the beneficial influence which, in this 
final state of Humanity, the mind will exercise upon the heart-, 
the direct culture of the heart itself will be more pure and more 
vigorous than under any former system. It oflfers us the only 
means of disengaging our benevolent affections from all calcu- 
lations of self-interest* As far as the imperfection of man's 
nature admits, these affections will gradually tend towards 
supremacy, since they give deeper satisfaction than all others, 
and are capable of fuller development. Those for whom theo* 
logical rewards and punishments have lost their power, can 
alone attain to that which is the real happiness* of man, pure 
and disinterested love ; the true Sovereign Good, sought for so 
long by former systems of philosophy in vain. That it surpasses 
all other good one fact will show, known to the tender-hearted 
from personal experience ; that it is even better to love than to 
be loved. Overstrained as this may seem to many, it is yet in 
harmony with a general truth, that our nature is in a healthi^ 
state when active than when passive. In the happiness of being 
loved, there is always some tinge of self-love ; it is impossible 
not to feel pride in the love of one whom we prefer to all others. 
Since, then, loving gives purer satisfaction than being loved, the 
superiority of perfectly disinterested affection is at once demon- 
strated. It is the fundamental defect of our nature, that intrin- 
sically these affections are far weaker than the selfish propensities 
necessary for the preservation of our own existence. But whea 
they have once been aroused, even though the original stimulus 
may have been personal, they have greater capacity of growth» 
owing to the pecidiar charm inherent in them. Besides, in the 
exercise of these feelings, all of us can co-operate with and en- 
courage one another, whereas the reverse is the case with the 
selfish instincts. There is, therefore, nothing unreasonable io 
supposing that Positivism, by regulating and combining tlwK 
natural tendencies, may rouse our sympathetic instincts to ft 
condition of permanent activity hitherto imknown. When the 
heart is no longer crushed by theological dogmas, or hardened 


by metaphysical theories, we soon discover that real happiness 
whether public or private, consists in the highest possible de* 
velopment of the social instincts. Self-love comes to be regarded 
as an incurable infirmity) which is to be yielded to only so &r 
as is absolutely necessary. Here lies the universal adaptability 
of Positivism to every type of character and to all circumstances. 
In the humblest relations of life as in the highest, regenerate 
Humanity will apply the obvious truth, It is better to give than 
to receive. 

The Heart thus aroused will in its turn react beneficially 
upon the Intellect ; and it is especially from women that this 
reaction will proceed. I have spoken of it so fully before, that I 
need not now describe it further. It is in Feeling that I find 
the basis on which the whole structure of Positivism, intellec- 
tually as well as morally considered, rests. The only remark I 
have now to add is, that by following out this principle, philo- 
sophical difficulties of the most formidable kind are at once sur- 
mounted. From moral considerations, the intellect may be 
readily induced to submit to scientific restrictions, the propriety 
of which would remain for a long time matter of debate, were 
philosophical discussions the only means of indicating it. 
Attempt, for instance, to convince a pure mathematician, how- 
ever conscientiouB and talented, that Sociology is both logically 
and scientifically superior to all other studies. He would not 
readily admit this ; and severe exertion of the inductive and 
deductive faculties can alone convince him of it. But by the 
aid of Feeling, an artisan or a woman can without education 
readily grasp this great encyclopaedic principle, and apply it 
practically to the common affairs of life. But for this, the 
larger conceptions of philosophy would have but a limited 
range, and very few would be capable of the course of study 
which is yet so important on social grounds for all. Compre- 
hensiveness of mind is no doubt favourable to sympathy, but is 
itself more actively stimulated by it. When the Positivist 
method of education is accepted, moral excellence vrill be very 
g^cnerally regarded as a guarantee of real intellectual capacity. 
The revolutionist leaders of the Convention showed their sense 
of this connection by allowing, as they did sometimes, republi- 
can ardour to outweigh scientific attainment. Of course, so 
long as men remain without a systematic theory of morals, such 
policy would be likely to fail of its object, and indeed would 



become positively mischievous. But the reproach is usually 
that it was a retro :iprade policy ; a reproach £ax more appUcable 
to the present system, in which the standard of fitness for any 
office is regulated exclusively by intellectual considerations, the 
heart being altogether disregarded. Historically we can explain 
this practice by the fact that the religious fiEiith by which alone 
hitherto our moral nature has been stimulated has been of a 
most oppressive character. Ever since the Middle Ages, the 
intellect and the heart have been unavoidably at issue. Posi- 
tivism is the only system which can put an end to their anta- 
gonism, because, as I have before explained, while subordinating 
Reason to Feeling, it does so in such a way as not to impair the 
development of either. With its present untenable claims to 
supremacy, intellect is in reality the principal source of social 
discord. Until it abdicates in favour of the Heart, it can never 
be of real service in reconstruction. But its abdication will be 
useless, unless it is entirely voluntary. Now this is precisely 
the result which Positivism attains, because it takes up the very 
ground on which the claims of intellect are defended, namely, 
scientific demonstration ; a ground which the defenders of intel- 
lect cannot repudiate without suspicion at once attaching to 
their motives. But theological or metaphysical remedies can 
only exasperate the disease. By oppressing the intellect they 
provoke it to fresh insurrection against the heart. 
iteiicctuai For all these reasons, women, who are better judges of moral 

lUiSe^if questions than ourselves, will admit that Positivism, incontest- 
^«îism!^ ably superior as it is to other systems intellectually, surpasses 
them yet more in dealing with the affections. Their only 
objection arises from confoimding Positive Philosophy itself with 
its preliminary course of scientific study. 

Women's minds no doubt are less capable than ours of 
generalising very widely, or of carrying on long processes of 
deduction. They are, that is, less capable than men of abstract 
intellectual exertion. On the other hand, they are generally 
more alive to that combination of reality with utility which is 
one of the characteristics of Positive speculation. In this 
respect they have much in common intellectually with the 
working classes; and fortunately they have also the sainô 
advantage of being untrammelled by the present absurd system 
of education. Nor i^ their position far removed from what i* 
should be normally : being less engaged than men in the 


business of life, their contemplative faculties are called into 
activity more easily. Their minds are neither preoccupied nor 
indifferent ; the most &vourable condition for the reception of 
philosophical tr.uth. They have far more aflSnity intellectually 
with philosophers who truly deserve the name, than we find in 
the scientific men of the present day* Comprehensiveness of 
thought they consider as important as positivity, whereas our 
savants care for nothing but the latter quality, and even that 
they understand imperfectly. Molière's remarkable expression, 
des dartéa de touty which I applied in the last chapter to popular 
education, was used by him in reference to women. Accord- 
ingly we find that women took a vivid interest in the very first 
attempt made to systematise Positive speculation ; the Cartesian 
philosophy. No more striking proof could be given of their 
philosophical affinities ; and the more so that in the Cartesian 
system moral and social speculations were necessarily excluded. 
Surely then we may expect them to receive Positivism far 
more fevourably, a system of which the principal subject of 
speculation is the moral problem in which both sexes are alike 

Women therefore may, like the people, be counted among 
the future supporters of the new philosophy. Without their 
combined aid it could never hope to siirmount the strong re- 
pugnance to it which is felt by our cultivated classes, especially 
in France, where the question of its success has first to be 

But when women have sufficient acquaintance with Positi- cathouoi«m 

vism, to see its superiority to Catholicism m questions of feeung, but did not 

they will support it from moral sympathy even more than from gtrengthcn 

intellectual adhesion. It will be the heart even more than the 

mind which will incline them to the only system of philosophy 

which has fully recognised the preponderance of Feeling. They 

cannot fail to be drawn towards a system which regards women 

as the embodiment of this principle; the unity of human 

nature, of which this principle is the basis, being thus entrusted 

to their special charge. The only reason of their regret for the 

past, is that the present fails to satisfy their noblest social 

instincts. Not that Catholicism ever really satisfied them; 

indeed in its general character it is even less adapted to women 

than to men, since the dominant quality of woman's nature is 

in direct contradiction with it. Christianity, notwithstanding 



its claims to moral perfection, has always confomided the quality 
of tenderness with that of purity. And it is true that love 
cannot be deep unless it is also pure. But Catholicism, although 
it purified love from the animal propensities which had been 
stimulated by Polytheism, did nothing otherwise to strengthen 
it. It has given us indeed too many instances of purity, pushed 
to the extent of fanaticism, without tenderness. And this 
result is especially common now, because the austerity of the 
Christian spirit is not corrected, as it iwed to be, by the inspiring 
influences of Chivalry. Polytheism, deficient as it was in purity, 
was really far more conducive to tenderness than Christianity. 
Love of God, the supreme affection roimd which Catholicism 
endeavoured to concentrate all other feelings, was essentially a 
self-regarding principle, and as such conflicted with woman's 
noblest instincts. Not only did it encourage monastic isolation, 
but if developed to the full extent, it became inconsistent with 
love for our fellow-men. It was impiety for the knight to love 
his Lady better than his God ; and thus the best feelings of his 
nature were repressed by his religious faith. Women, there- 
fore, are not really interested in perpetuating the old system ; 
and the very instincts by which their nature is characterised, 
will soon incline them to abandon it. They have only been 
waiting until social life should assume a less material character ; 
so that morality, for the preservation of which they justly 
consider themselves responsible, may not be compromised. 
And on this head Positivism satisfies their heart no less than 
their understanding with all the guarantees that they can require. 
Based as it is upon accurate knowledge of our nature, it can 
combine the simple affectionate spirit of Poljrtheism with the 
exquisite purity of Catholicism, without fear of taint from the 
subversive sophisms engendered by the spiritual anarchy of our 
times. Not however that purity is to be placed on the same 
level with tenderness. Of these two essential qualities of women, 
tenderness ranks first, because more closely connected with the 
grand object of all human effort, the elevation of Social Feeling 
over Self-love. In a woman without tenderness there is some- 
thing even more monstrous than in a man without courage. 
Whatever her talents and even her energy may be, they will in 
most cases prove mischievous both to herself and to others, 
unless indeed they should be nullified by the restraint of theo- 
logical discipline. If she has force of character it will be wasted 



in a struggle against all legitimate authority ; while her mental 
power will be employed only in destructive sophisms. Too 
many cases of this kind present themselves in the social anarchy 
of the present time. 

Such is the Positivist theory on the subject of Women. It 
marks out for them a noble field of social usefulness, embracing 
public as well as private life, and yet in a way thoroughly 
in harmony with their nature. Without leaving the family, 
they will participate in the controlling power exercised by philo- 
sophers and workmen, seeking even in their own domestic sphere 
rather to modify than to govern. In a word, as I shall show 
more fully in the last chapter of this introductory work, Woman 
is the spontaneous priestess of Hiunanity. She personifies in 
the purest form the principle of Love upon which the unity of 
our natiu^ depends ; and the cultiure of that principle in others 
is her special function. 

All classes, therefore, must be brought under women's influ- women's in- 

i»ii • 1 •11 11*1 XX au flounce over 

ence, for all reqmre to be reminded constantly of the great tnitn the working 

^"^ d njuM>it Anil 

that Reason and Activity are subordinate to Feeling. Of their their 


influence upon philosophers I have spoken. These, if they are 
men worthy of their mission, will be conscious of the tendency 
which their life has to harden them and lead them into useless 
speculation ; and they will feel the need of renewing the ardour 
of their social sympathy at its native source. Feeling, when it 
is pure and deep, corrects its own errors, because they clash with 
the good to which it is ever tending. But erroneous use of the 
intellectual or practical faculties cannot be even recognised, 
much less corrected, without the aid of Affection, which is the 
only part of our nature that suffers directly from such errors. 
Therefore whenever either the philosopher or the people deviate 
from duty, it will be the part of women to remonstrate with them 
gently, and recall them to the true social principles which are 
entrusted to their special charge. 

With the working classes, the special danger to be contended 
against is their tendency to abuse their strength, and to resort to 
force for the attainment of their objects instead of persuasion. 
But the difficulty here will be less than that of contending 
against the misuse of intellectual power to which philosophers 
are bo liable. Thinkers who try to make reasoning do the work 
of feeling have hitherto not often been convinced of their error. 
Popular excitement on the contrary often yields to feminine 


influence, exerted though it is at present without any systematic 
guidance. The difference is no doubt partly owing to the fact 
that there are now few or none who deserve the name of philo- 
sophers ; for we cannot give that name to the superficial sophists 
and rhetoricians of our time, whether psychologists or ideologists, 
men wholly incapable of deep thought on any subject. Indepen- 
dently of this, however, the difference is explained by the 
character of the two classes. Women will always find it harder 
to deal with intellectual conceit than with popular violence. Ap- 
peals to social feeling are their only weapons ; and the social 
feelings of the workman are stronger than those of the philo- 
sopher. Sophistry is a far more formidable obstacle than passion. 
In fact, were it not that the working classes are even now so 
amenable to female influence, society would be in extreme danger 
from the disorder caused by intellectual anarchy. There are 
many sophisms which maintain themselves in spite of scientific 
refutation, and which would be destructive of all order, were it 
not for our moral instincts. Of this the Communists offer a 
striking example, in avoiding, with that admirable inconsistency 
to which I have already called attention, the extension of their 
principle to the Family. Surrounded by the wildest theories, of 
which the inevitable tendency is to destroy or paralyse society, we 
see large numbers of working men showing in their daily life a 
degree of affection and respect for women, which is unequalled 
by any other class. It is well to reflect on facts like these, not 
only because they lead us to judge the Communist school with 
more justice, but because, occurring as they do in the midst of 
social anarchy, they show what powerfid agencies for good will be 
at our disposal in more settled times. Certainly they cannot be 
attributed to ' theological teaching, which has rather had the 
effect of strengthening the errors which it attacks by the ab- 
surdity of its refutations. They are simply the result of the 
influence which women have spontaneously exercised on the 
nobler feelings of the people. In Protestant countries, where 
their influence is less, the mischievous effects of Communistic 
theories have been far greater. We owe it to women that the 
Family has been so little injured by the retrograde spirit of those 
republican reformers, whose ideal of modem society is to absorb 
the Family into the State, as was done by a few small tribes in 
ancient Greece. 

The readiness shown by women in applying practical reme- 
dies to erroneous theories of morality is shown in other cases 


where the attractLveness of the error would seem irresistible to 
the coarser nature of men. The evils consequent on divorce, 
which has been authorised in Germany for three centuries, have . 
been much lessened by women's instinctive repugnance to it. 
The same may be said of recent attacks upon marriage, which 
are still more serious, because the anarchy of modem life 
revives all the extravagances of the metaphysical spirit in ancient 
times. In no one case has a scheme of society hostile to mar- 
riage met with any real favour from women, plausible as many 
of them seemed. Unable in their ignorance of social science to 
see the fallacy of such schemes themselves, our revolutionary 
writers cannot conceive that women will not be convinced by 
them. But happily, women, like the people, judge in these 
matters by the heart rather than by the head. In the absence 
of any guiding principle to direct the understanding and prevent 
the deviations to which it is always exposed, the heart is a far 
safer guide. 

There is no need at present of pursuing these remarks 
farther. It is abundantly clear that women are in every re- 
spect adapted for rectifying the moral deviations to which every 
element in the social organism is liable. And if we already 
feel the value of their influence, springing as it does from the 
unaided inspirations of the heart, we may be sure it will become 
far more consolidated and will be far more widely felt, when it 
reists on the basis of a sound philosophical system, capable of 
refuting sophisms and exposing fallacies from which their unas- 
sisted instinct is insufficient to preserve us. 

Thus the part to be played by women in public life is not Their «wiai 

* r J .^ r ^ Influence In 

nierely passive. Not only will they give their sanction individu- the Mion, 
ally and collectively to the verdicts of public opinion as formed 
by philosophers and by the people ; but they will themselves 
interfere actively in moral questions. It will be their part to 
maintain the primary principle of Positivism, which originated 
with themselves, and of which they will always be the most 
natural representatives. 

But how, it may be asked, can this be reconciled with my 
pre\âous remark that women's life should still be essentially 
domestic ? 

For the ancients, and for the greater part of the human race 
at the present time, it would be irreconcileable. But in Western 
Europe the solution has long ago been found. From the time 
when Women acquired in the Middle Ages their proper ireedoixi 


in the household, opportunities for social intercourse arose which 
combined most happily the advantages of private and of public 
life ; and in these women presided. The practice afterwards 
extended, especially in France, and these meetings became the 
laboratories of public opinion. It seems now as if they had died 
out, or had lost their character in the intellectual and moral 
anarchy of our times which is so unfevourable to free inter- 
change of thoughts and feelings. But a custom so social, and 
which did such good service in the philosophical movement pre- 
ceding the Revolution, is assuredly not destined to perish. In 
the more perfect social state to which we are tending, it will be 
developed more fully than ever, when men's minds and hearts 
have accepted the rallying-point offered by the new philosophy. 
This is, then, the mode in which women can with propriety 
participate in public life. Here all classes will recognise their 
authority as paramount. Under the new system these meetings 
will entirely lose their old aristocratic character, which is now 
simply obstructive. The Positivist salon placed under feminine 
influence completes the series of social meetings, in which the 
three elements of the spiritual power will be able to act in 
concert. First, there is the religious assemblage in the Temple 
of Humanity. Here the philosopher will naturally preside, the 
other two classes taking only a secondary part. In the Club 
again it is the people who will take the active part ; women and 
philosophers supporting them by their presence, but not joining 
in the debate. Lastly, women in their salons will promote 
active and friendly intercourse between all three classes ; and 
here all who may be qualified to take a leading part will find 
their influence cordially accepted. Gently and without effort a 
moral control will thus be established, by >i»hich misguided or 
violent movements will be checked in their source. Kind 
advice, given indirectly but seasonably, will often save the 
philosopher from being blinded by ambition, or from deviating, 
through intellectual conceit, into useless digressions. Working 
men at these meetings will learn to r^ress the spirit of violence 
or envy that frequently arises in tftem, recognising the sacred- 
ness of the care thus manifested for their interests. And the 
great and the wealthy will be taught from the manner in which 
praise and blame is given by those whose opinion is most valued, 
that the only justifiable use of power or talent is to devote it to 
the service of the weak*. 


But, however important the public duties that women will ^Sîiiyîg 
ultimately be called upon to perform, the Family is after all *J^ ^^ 
their highest and most distinctive sphere of work. It was in «'«^on. 
allusion to their domestic influence that I spoke of them as the 
originators of spiritual power. Now the Family, although it is 
the basis of all human society, has never been satisfactorily 
defended by any received system of philosophy. All the corro- 
sive power of metaphysical analysis has been employed upon it ; 
and of many of the sophisms put forward no rational refutation 
has been given. On the other hand, the protection of the 
theologians is no less injurious. For they still persist in con- 
necting the institutions of the Family with their obsolete 
dogmas, which now simply endanger the existence of all that 
they once effectively defended. From the close of the Middle 
Ages the priesthood has been powerless, as the licentious songs 
of the troubadours prove, to protect the sanctity of marriage 
against the shallow but mischievous attacks which even then 
were made against it. And afterwards, when these frivolous 
maxims of private immorality became more generally prevalent, 
and even royal courts disgraced themselves by giving public 
approval to them, the weakness of the priests became still more 
manifest. Thus nothing can be more monstrous than these 
ignorant assertions that theological doctrines have been the 
safeguard of the Family. They have done nothing to preserve 
it from the most subversive attacks, under which it must have 
succumbed ; but for the better instincts of society, especially of 
the female portion of it. With the exception of a foolish fiction 
about the origin of Woman, theology has put forward no syste- 
matic defence of marriage ; and as soon as theological authority 
itself fell into discredit, the feeble sanction which it gave to 
domestic morality became utterly powerless against sophistical 
attacks. But now that the Family can be shown on Positive 
principles to rest on scientific laws of hmnan nature or of society, 
the dangers of metaphysical controversy and theological feeble- 
ness are past. These principles will be discussed systematically 
in the second volume of this treatise. But the few remarks to 
which in this introductory view of the subject I must limit 
myself, will, I hope, at least satisfy the reader as to the capa- 
bility of Positivism to re-establish morality upon a firm basis. 

Accordinir to the lower views of the subject, such as those woman's 

- ® , , , , n ' -KT ^ mission as a 

coarsely expressed by the great hero of reaction, Napoleon, wife, con- 


jaiiove procreation and maternity are the only social functions <i>f 
universal Woman, Indeed many theorists object even to her rearing k^?r 
children, and think it preferable to leave them to the abstract 
benevolence of the State. But in the Positivist theory of mar- 
riage and of the family the principal service to be rendered by 
Woman is one quite unconnected with the function of procrea- 
tion. It is directly based upon the highest attributes of our 

Vast as is the moral importance of maternity, yet the posi* 
tion of wife has always been considered even more characteristic 
of woman's natiure ; as shown by the fact that the words woman 
and wife are in many languages synonymous. Marriage is not 
always followed by children ; and besides this, a bad ¥rife is 
very seldom indeed a good mother. The first aspect then 
under which Positivism considers Woman, is simply as the com- 
panion of Man, irrespective of her maternal duties. 

Viewed thus, Marriage is the most elementary and yet the 
most perfect mode of social life. It is the only association in 
which entire identity of interests is possible. In this union, 
to the moral completeness of which the language of all civilised 
nations bears testimony, the noblest aim of human life is realised, 
as far as it ever can be. For the object of human existence, as 
shown in the second chapter, is progress of every kind ; progress 
in morality, that is to say, in the subjection of Self-interest to 
Social Feeling, holding the first rank. Now this unquestionable 
principle, which has been already indicated in the second chapter, 
leads us by a very sure and direct path to the true theory of 

Difierent as the two sexes are by nature, and increased as 
that différence is by the diversity which happily exists in their 
social position, each is consequently necessary to the moral 
development of the other. In practical energy and in the 
mental capacity connected with it, Man is evidently superior to 
Woman. Woman's strength, on the other hand, lies in Feeling. 
She excels Man in love, as Man excels her in all kinds of force. 
It is impossible to conceive of a closer union than that which 
binds these two beings to the mutual service and perfelîtion of 
each other, saving them from all danger of rivalry. The volun- 
tary character too of this union gives it a still further charm, 
when the choice has been on both sides a happy one. In the 
Positive theory, then, of marriage, its principal object is con« 


sidered to be that of completing and confirming the education 
of the heart by calling out the purest and strongest of human 

It is true that sexual instinct, which, in man^s case at all 
events, was the origin of conjugal attachment, is a feeling purely 
selfish. It is also true that its absence woidd, in the majority 
of cases, diminish the energy of affection. But woman, with 
her more loving heart, has usually far less need of this coarse 
stimulus than man. The influence of her purity reacts on man, 
and ennobles his affection. And affection is in itself so sweet, 
that when once it has been aroused by whatever agency, its own 
charm is sufficient to maintain it in activity. When this is the 
case, conjugal union becomes a perfect ideal of friendship ; yet 
still more beautiful than friendship, because each possesses and 
is possessed by the other. For perfect friendship, difference of 
sex is essential, as excluding the possibility of rivalry. No 
other voluntary tie can admit of such full and unrestrained 
confidence. It is the source of the most unalloyed happiness 
that man can enjoy ; for there can be no gpreater happiness than 
to live for another. 

But independently of the intrinsic value of this sacred union, 
we have to consider its importance from the social point of view. 
It is the first stage in our progpress towards that which is the 
final object of moral education, namely, universal Love. Many 
writers of the so-called socialist school, look upon conjugal love 
and imiversal benevolence, the two extreme terms in the scale 
of affections, as opposed to each other. In the second chapter, 
I pointed out the falseness and danger of this view. Tlie man 
who is incapable of deep affection for one whom he has chosen 
as his partner in the most intimate relations of life, can hardly 
expect to be believed when he professes devotion to a mass ot 
human beings of whom he knows nothing. The heart cannot 
tlirow off its original selfishness without the aid of that affection 
which, by virtue of its concentration on one object, is the most 
complete and endiuring. From personal experience of strong 
love we rise by degprees to sincere affection to all mankind, 
strong enough to modify conduct : although, as the scope of 
feeling widens, its energy must decrease. The connection of 
these two states of feeling is instinctively recognised by all ; 
and it is clearly indicated by the Positive theory of human 
nature, which has now placed it beyond the reach of metaphysical 



attacks. When the moral empire of Woman has been more 
firmly established by the diffusion of Positivist principles, men 
will see that the common practice of looking to the private life 
of a statesman as the best guarantee of his public conduct had 
deep wisdom in it. One of the strongest symptoms of the 
general laxity of morals to which mental anarchy has brought 
us, is that disgraceful law passed in France thirty years ago, and 
not yet repealed, the avowed object of which was to surroimd 
men's lives with a * wall ' of privacy ; a law introduced by psycho- 
logist politicians who no doubt needed such a wall.^ 
mditions The purposc of marriage once clearly imderstood, it becomes 

idiB^oiubte easy to define its conditions. The intervention of society is 
necessary ; but its only object is to confirm and to develop the 
order of things which exists naturally. 

It is essential in the first place to the high purposes for 
which marriage has been instituted, that the union shall be both 
exclusive and indissoluble. So essential indeed are both con- 
ditions, that we frequently find them even when the connection 
is illegal. That any one should have ventured to propound the 
doctrine that himian happiness is to be secured by levity and 
inconstancy in love, is a fact which nothing but the utter de- 
ficiency of social and moral principles can explain. Love can- 
not be deep unless it remains constant to a fixed object ; for the 
very possibility of change is a temptation to it. So diflFerently 
constituted as man and woman are, is our short life too much 
for perfect knowledge and love of one another ? Yet the versa- 
tility to which most human affection is liable miakes the inter- 
vention of society necessary. Without some check upon inde- 
cision and caprice, life might degenerate into a miserable series 
of experiments, ending in failure and degradation. Sexual love 
may become a powerful engine for good : but only on the con- 
dition of placing it under rigorous and permanent discipline. 
Those who doiijat the necessity for this, have only to cast a glance 
beyond Western Eiurope at the countries where no such disci- 
pline has been established. It has been said that the adoption 
or rejection of polygamy is a simple question of climate. But 
this frivolous hypothesis is as contrary to common observation 
as to philosophic theory. Marriage, like every other human 
institution, has always been improving. Beginning in all 

* This law was introduced by Hoyer-Collard. It forbids discussion of thd 
priTate a£&irs of public men. 


countries with unrestricted polygamy, it tends in all to the 
purest monogamy. Tracing back the histoiy of Northern 
Europe to a sufficiently early date, we find polygamy there as 
well as ' in the South ; and Southern nations, like Northern, 
adopt monogamy as their social life advances. We see the 
tendency to it in those parts of the East which come into contact 
with Western civilisation. 

Monogamy, then, is one of the most precious gifts which the 

Middle Ages have bequeathed to Western Europe. The striking 

superiority of social life in the West is probably due to it more 

than to any other cause. Protestant countries have seriously 

impaired its value by their laws of divorce. But this temporary 

aberration is alien to the pinrer feelings of women and of the 

people, and the mischief done by it is limited to the privileged 

classes. France is now threatened with a revival of the meta- . 

physical delusions of the Revolution, and it is feared by some 

that the disastrous example of Germany in this respect will be 

imitated. But all such tendencies, being utterly inconsistent 

with the habits of modem life, will soon be checked by the 

sounder philosophical principles which have now arisen. The 

mode of resistance to these errors which Positivism adopts will 

render the struggle most useful in hastening the adoption of the 

trae theory of marriage. The spirit of Positivism being always 

relative, concessions may be made to meet exceptional cases, 

without weakening or contradicting the principle ; whereas the 

absolute character of theological doctrine was incompatible with 

concession. The rules of morality should be general and 

comprehensive; but in their practical application exceptions 

^ve often to be made. By no philosophy but the Positive can 

^^ese two conditions be reconciled. 

To the spirit of anarchy, however. Positivism yields nothing. Perpetual 

"'ne unity essential to marriage, it renders more complete than ^^ ^ ' 

®^*^t*. It develops the principal of monogamy by inculcating, 

^^t as a l^^l institution, but as a moral duty, the perpetuity 

^ widowhood. Affection so firmly concentrated has always 

^n regarded with respect, even on man's side. But hitherto 

^^ religion has had sufficient purity or influence to seciure its 

*^optioD. Positivism, however, from the completeness of its 

'^thesis, and from the fact that its rules are invariabl}' based 

OQ the laws of natmre, will gain such influence and will find 

little difficulty in inducing all natures of delicate feeling to 


accept this additional obligation. It follows firom the very 
principle which to the Positivist is the object of all marriage, 
the raising and purifying of the heart. Unity of the tie which 
is already recognised as necessary in life, is not less so in death. 
Constancy in widowhood was once common among women ; and 
if its moral beauty is less appreciated now, it is because all 
systematic morality has been forgotten. But it is none the 
less, as careful study of hiunan nature will show, a most precious 
source of moral good, and one which is not beyond the reach of 
nobler natures, even in their youth. Voluntary widowhood, 
while it offers all the advantages which chastity can confer on 
the intellectual and physical as well as on the moral nature, is 
yet free from the moral dangers of celibacy. Constant adoration 
of one whom Death has implanted more visibly and deeply on 
the memory, leads all high natures, and philosophic natures espe- 
cially, to give themselves more unreservedly to the service of 
Humanity; and thus their public life is animated by the 
ennobling influence of their innermost feelings. Alike from a 
sense of their own truest happiness and from devotion to public 
duty, they will be led to this result. 

Deep as is the satisfaction in this prolongation of the sacred- 
ness of marriage, it may be carried by those who recognise its 
value yet further. As the death of one did not destroy the bond, 
so neither should the death of both. Let then those whom death 
could not divide be laid in the same gprave together. A promise 
of this solemn act of perpetuation might be given beforehand» 
when the organs of public opinion judged it merited. A maP^ 
would find a new motive for public exertion, if it were felt to b^ 
a pledge that the memory of her whom he loved should be fo^ 
ever coupled with his own. We have a few instances wher^ 
this union of memories has taken place spontaneously, as in th^ 
case of Laura and Petrarch, and of Dante and Beatrice. Y^* 
these instances are so exceptional, that they hardly help us to 
realise the full value of the institution proposed. There is t^^ 
reason for limiting it to cases of extraordinary genius. In ili^ 
more healthy state of society to which we are tending, where 
public and private life will be far more closely coimected than 
they liave been hitherto, this recompense of service may be given 
to all who have deserved it, by those who have come within their 
circle of influence. 

Such, then, are the consolations which Positivist sympathy 


can give. They leave no cause to regpret the visionary hopes 

held out by Christianity, hopes which now are as enfeebling to 

the heart as to the intellect. Here, as in all other respects, the 

moral superiority of Positivism is shown, for the comfort which 

it gives to the bereaved implies a strengthening of the tie. 

Christian consolation, of which so much has been said, rather 

encourages a second union. By so doing it seriously impairs the 

value of the institution ; for a division of aflFection arises, which 

indeed seems hardly compatible with the vague Utopia of a 

future life. The institutions of perpetual widowhood and of 

union in the tomb have found no place in any previous system, 

though both were wanting to make monogamy complete. Here, 

as elsewhere, the best reply which the new philosophy can give 

to ignorant prejudice or malignant cahunny, is to take new steps 

forward in the moral advaneement of Man. 

Thus the theory of marriage, as set forward by the Positivist, 
Wmes totally independent of any physical motive. It is 
regarded by him as the most powerful instrument of moral edu- 
cation; and therefore as the basis of public or individual welfare. 
It is no overstrained enthusiasm whicAi leads us to elevate the 
nioral purity of marriage. We do so from rigorous examination 
of the facts of human nature. All the best results, whether per- 
^iial or social, of marriage may follow when the union, though 
Daore impassioned, is as chaste as that of brother and sister. 
The sexual instinct has no doubt something to do in most cases 
^th the first formation of the passion ; but it is not necessary 
^ all cases to gratify the instinct. Abstinence, in cases where 
there is real ground for it on both sides, will but serve to 
^rengthen mutual aflFection. 

We have examined the position of Woman as a wife, without woman'* 
apposing her to be a mother. Completing the sociological SoSer/'* 
^eojy Qf the subject, we shall find that maternity, while it 
^^onds her sphere of moral influence, does not alter its natiu-e. 
As a mother, no less than as a wife, her position will be im- 
Pf^Ved by Positivism. She will have, almost exclusively, the 
^^^ction of household education. Public education given sub- 
^Uently, will be, as I have explained in the preceding chapter, 
^^tle but a systematic development of that which has been 
P^^viously given at home. 

For it is a fundamental principle that education, in the Education of 
formal condition of society, must be entrusted to the spiritual longs to mo- 
VOL. I. 


cCT. They power ; and in the Family the spiritual power is repressited by 
lidethe Woman. The strong: prejudices by which such a course would 
character, now be resistod are but symptoms of the revolutionary tendency 
prevalent since the close of the Middle Ages, to place the intellect 
above the heart. We have neglected the moral side of educa- 
tion, and have given undue importance to its intellectual side. 
But Positivism having superseded this revolutionary phase by 
demonstrating the preponderance of the heart over the intellect, 
moral education will resiune its proper place. Certainly the pre- 
sent mode of instruction is not adapted for Woman's teaching. 
But their influence over the education of the future will be even 
greater than it was in the Middle Ages. For in the first place, in 
every part of it, moral considerations will be paramount : and more- 
over, raitil puberty, nothing will be studied continuously except 
Art and Poetry. The knights of old times were usually brought 
up in this way under feminine guidance, and on them most 
assuredly it had no enervating influence. The training can 
hardly be supposed less adapted to a pacific than to a warlike 
state of society. For instruction, theoretical and practical, as 
distinguished from education, masters are no doubt necessary. 
But moral education will be left entirely to women, until the 
time arrives for systematic teaching of moral science in the 
years immediately preceding majority. Here the philosopher 
is necessary. But the chief duties of the philosopher lie with 
adults; his aim being to recall them, individually or collectively, 
to principles impressed on them in childhood, and to enforce 
the right application of these principles to special cases as they 
may arise. That part of education which has the greatest 
influence on life, what may be called the spontaneous training 
of the feelings, belongs entirely to the mother. Hence it is, as 
I have already observed, of the greatest importance to allow the 
pupil to remain with his family, and to do away with the 
monastic seclusion of our public schools. 

The peculiar fitness of women for inculcating the elemen- 
tary principles of morality is a truth which every true philo- 
sopher will fully recognise. Women, having stronger sympathies 
than men, must be better able to call out sympathies in others. 
Men of good sense have always felt it more important to train 
the heart than the head ; and this is the view adopted by Positive 
Philosophy. The reality characteristic of that philosophy saves 
us from the danger of exaggerating the importance of system 



and of forgetting the conditions on which its utility depends. 
In morals, even more than in other subjects, we can only syste- 
matise what has existed previously without system. The feel- 
ings must fiiBt be stimulated to free and direct action, before 
we attempt to bring them under philosophic discipline. And 
this process, which begins with birth, and lasts during the whole 
period of physical growth, should be left for women to superin- 
tend. So specially are they adapted for it, that failing the 
mother, a female firiend, if well chosen, who could make herself 
a member of the family, would in most cases do better than the 
&ther himself. The importance of cultivating feeling can only 
be appreciated by minds in which feeling is preponderant. It 
is only women who really understand that most human actions, 
and certainly those of early life, ought not to be judged in them- 
selves so much as by the tendencies which they show or by the 
habits to which they lead. Viewed with reference to their 
influence on character, no actions are indifferent. The simplest 
events in a child's life may serve as an occasion for enforcing 
the fundamental principle by which the early as well as the 
later stages of Positivist education should be directed ; the 
strengthening of Social Feeling, the weakening of Self-love. In 
feet, actions of an unimportant kind are precisely those in which 
it is easiest to appreciate the feelings which prompted them ; 
«ince the mind of the observer, not being occupied with the 
consequences of sach actions, is more free to examine their 
source. Moreover, it is only by teaching the child to do right 
in small things that he can be trained for the hard inward 
struggle that lies before him in life ; the struggle to bring the 
selfish instincts more and more completely under the control of 
^ higher sympathies. In these respects the best tutor, how- 
ever sympathetic his nature, will be always inferior to a good 
Mother. A mother may often not be able to explain the reason 
^f the principle on which she acts, but the wisdom of her plans 
^ generally show itself in the end. Without formal teaching, 
she will take every opportunity of showing her children, as no 
other instructor could show them, the joy that springs from 
generous feelings, and the misery of yielding to selfishness. 

From the relation of mother we return by a natural transi- 
tion to Woman's position as a wife. The mother, though her 
authority of course tends to decrease, continues to superintend 
the growth of character until the ordinary age of marriage. Up 

^ A 


to that time feminine influence over Man has been involuntary 
on his part. By marriage he enters into a voluntary engage- 
ment of subordination to Woman for the rest of his life. Thus 
he completes his moral education. Destined himself for action, 
he finds his highest happiness in honourable submission to the 
ennobling influence of one in whom the dominant principle is 

The important field of public and private duty thus opened 
to Woman is therefore nothing but a larger and more systematic 
development of the qualities by which she is characterised. Her 
mission is so uniform in its nature, and so clearly defined, that 
there seems hardly room for much uncertainty as to her proper 
social position. It is a striking instance of the rule which ap- 
plies universally to all human effort ; namely, that the order of 
things instituted by man ought to be simply a consolidation and 
improvement of the natural order. 
odern In all ages of transition, as in our own, there have been false 

Kut Wo- and sophistical views of the social position of Woman. But we 
le domes- find it to be a natural law that Woman should pass the cnreater 
e fouows part of her life in the family ; and this law has never been 
•indpie of affected to any important extent. It has always been accepted 
Powers, instinctively, though the sophistical arguments against it have 
never yet been adequately refuted. The institution of the feanily 
has survived the subtle attacks of Greek metaphysics, which then 
were in all the vigour of their youth, and which were acting on 
minds that had no systematic principles to oppose to them. 
Therefore, profound as the intellectual anarchy of the present 
day may be, we need not be seriously alarmed when we see that 
nothing worse comes of it than shallow plagiarisms from ancient 
Utopias, against which the vigorous satire of Aristophanes was 
quitp enough to rouse general indignation. True, there is a 
more complete absence of social principles now than when the 
world was passing from Polytheism to Monotheism ; but our 
intellectual powers are more developed than they were then, and 
in moral culture our superiority is even greater. Women in 
those times were too degraded to offer effective opposition, even 
by silence, to the pedants who professed to be taking up their 
cause ; the only resistance offered was of a purely intellectual 
kind. But happily in modem times the women of the West 
have been free ; and have consequently been able to manifest 
such unmistakeable aversion for these ideas, and for the want of 


moral discipline which gives rise to them, that, though still un- 
refuted philosophically, their mischievous effects have been neu- 
tralised. Nothing but women's antipathy has prevented the 
practical outrages which seem logically to follow firom these 
subversive principles. Among our privileged classes, the danger 
is aggravated by indolence ; moreover, the possession of wealth 
has a bad influence on women^s moral nature. Yet even here 
the evil is not really very deep or widely spread. Men have 
never been seriously perverted, and women still less so, by 
flattery of their bad propensities. The really formidable temp- 
tations are those which act upon our better instincts, and give 
them a wrong direction. Schemes which are utterly offensive 
to female delicacy will never really be adopted, even by the 
wealthier classes, who are less averse to them than others. The 
repugnance shown to them by the people, with whom the mis- 
chief that they would cause would be irreparable, is far more 
decided. The life which working people lead makes it very 
clear to both sexes what the proper position of each should be. 
Thus it will be in the very class where the preservation of the 
institution of the &mily is of the gpreatest importance, that 
Positivists will find the least diflBculty in establishing their 
theory of the social position of women, as consequent on the 
sphere of public and private duty which has been here assigned 
to them. 

Looking at the relation of this theory to other parts of the 
Positive system, we shall see that it follows from the great prin- 
ciple which dominates every other social problem, the principle 
of separating spiritual and temporal power. That Woman's life 
should be concentrated in her feimily, and that even there her 
influence should be that of persuasion rather than that of com- 
mand, is but an extension of the principle which excludes the 
spiritual power firom political administration. Women, as the 
purest and most spontaneous of the moral forces of society, are 
boimd to fulfil with rigorous exactness all the conditions which 
the exercise of moral force demands. Effectually to perform 
their mission of controlling and guiding our affections, they 
must abstain altogether from the practical pursuits of the 
stronger sex. Such abstinence, even when the arrangements of 
society may leave it optional, is still more desirable in their case 
than in the case of philosophers. Active life, incompatible as 
it is with the clearness and breadth of philosophic speculation, 


is even more injurious to delicacy of feeling, which is women's 
highest claim to our respect and the true secret of their influence. 
The philosophic spirit is incompatible with a position of prac- 
tical authority, because such a position occupies the mind with 
questions of detail. But to purity of feeling it is even more 
dangerous, because it strengthens the self-r^;arding instincts. 
And for women it would be harder to avoid the danger of such 
a position than for men. Abounding as they do in sjrmpathy, 
they are generally deficient in energy, and are therefore less 
able to withstand corrupting influences. The more we examine 
this important subject, the clearer it becomes that the present 
condition of women does not hamper them in their true work ; 
that on the contrary, it is well calculated to develop and even 
improve their highest qualities. The natural arrangements of 
society in this as in other respects are far less faulty than might 
be supposed firom the blind declamations now being directed 
against them. Were it not for the natural exercise of strong 
material forces moral force would soon deteriorate, because its 
distinctive purpose would be gone. Philosophers and pro- 
letaries would soon lose their intellectual and moral superiority 
by the acquisition of power. But on women its effect would be 
still more disastrous. From instances in the upper classes of 
society where wealth gives them independence, and sometimes 
unfortunately even power, we see but too clearly what the con-^ 
sequences would be. And this is why we have to look to th^ 
poorer classes for the highest type of womanly perfection. With 
the people sympathy is better cultivated, and has a greater 
influence upon life. Wealth has more to do with the mora/ 
degradation of women among the privileged classes than even 
idleness and dissipation. 
16 position The continuous progress of Humanity in this respect, as in 
ndf to*5- every other, is but a more complete development of the pre-exist- 
thêr tiuA ing order. Equality in the position of the two sexes is contrary 
^° to their nature, and no tendency to it has at any time been ex- 

hibited. All history assures us that with the gprowth of society 
the peculiar features of each sex have become not less but more 
distinct. Catholic Feudalism, while raising the social condition 
of women in Western Europe to a far higher level, took away 
from them the priestly functions which they had held under 
Polytheism; a religion in which the priesthood was more 
occupied with art than with science. So too, with the gradual 


decline of the principle of caste, women have been excluded 
more and more rigidly from royalty and from every other kind 
of political authority. Again, there is a visible tendency towards 
the removal of women from all industrial occupations, even from 
those which might seem best suited to them. And thus female 
life, instead of becoming independent of the Family, is being 
more and more concentrated in it ; while at the same time 
their proper sphere of moral influence is constantly extending. 
The two tendencies, so far from being opposed^ are on the con- 
trary inseparably connected. 

Without discussing the absurd and retrograde schemes which 
have been recently put fon«ard on the subject, there is one re- 
mark which may serve to illustrate the value of the order which 
now exists. K women were to obtain that equality in the affairs 
of life which their so-called champions are claiming for them 
without their wish, not only would they suffer morally,, but their 
social position would be endangered. They would be subject in 
almost every occupation to a degree of competition which they 
would not be able to sustain ; while in the meantime by rivalry 
in the pursuits of life mutual affection between the sexes would 
be corrupted at its source. 

Leaving these subversive dreams, we find a natural principle woman to 
which, by determining the practical obligations of the active to by Manr^ 
the sympathetic sex, averts this danger. It is one which no 
philosophy but Positivism has been sufBciently real and prac- 
tical to bring forward systematically for general acceptance. 
It is no new invention, however, but a universal tendency, con- 
firmed by careful study of the whole past history of Man. 
The principle is, that Man should provide for Woman. It is a 
natural law of the himtian race; a law connected with the 
essentially domestic character of female life. We find it in the 
rudest forms of social life ; and with every step in the progpress 
of society its adoption becomes more extensive and complete. 
A still larger application of this fundamental principle will 
meet all the material difliculties imder which women are now 
labouring. All social relations, and especially the question of 
wages, will be affected by it. The tendency to it is spontaneous ; 
but it also follows from the high position which Positivism has 
assigned to Woman as the sympathetic element in the spiritual 
Power. The intellectual class, in the same way, has to be sup- 
ported by the practical class, in order to have its whole tim^ 


available for the special daties imposed upon it. But in the 
case of women, the obligation of the other sex is still more 
sacred, because the sphere of duty in which protection for them 
is required is the home. The obligation to provide for the 
intellectual class afifects society as a whole ; but the mainte- 
nance of women is, with few exceptions, a personal obligatioD' 
Each individual should consider himself bound to maintain the 
woman he has chosen to be his partner in life. Apart from 
this, however, men must consider themselves as collectively re- 
sponsible in an indirect way for the support of the other sei. 
Women who are without husbands or parents should have their 
maintenance guaranteed by society ; and this not merely as ^ 
compensation for their dependent position, but with the m9^ 
of enabling them to render public service of the greatest moraJ- 

The direction, then, of progress in the social condition o^ 
woman is this : to render her life more and more domestic ; t^^ 
diminish as far as possible the burden of out-door labour ; an.<3 
so to fit her more completely for her special office of edacatia^ 
our moral nature. Among the privileged classes it is already ^ 
recognised rule that women shoidd be spared all laborious exex"- 
tion. It is almost the only point in the relations of the sexes i0 
which the working classes would do well to imitate the habits of 
their employers. In every other respect the people of Wertem 
Em'ope have a higher sense of their duties to women than the 
upper classes. Indeed there are few of them who would not he 
ashamed of the barbarity of subjecting women to the tasks im- 
posed now on so many of them, if the present state of our indus- 
trial system was compatible with the abolitioik of so monstrous 
a practice. But it is chiefly among the higher and wealthier 
classes that we find those degrading and very often fraudulent 
bargains in which immoral intervention of parents effects at once 
the humiliation of one sex, and the corruption of the other. 
Among the working classes the practice of giving dowries is 
almost extinct ; and as women's true mission becomes more re- 
cognised, and choice in marriage becomes less restricted, this relic 
of barbarism, with all its debasing results, will rapidly die out. 
With this view the application of our theory should be carried 
one step further. Women should not be allowed to inherit. If in- 
heritance be allowed, the prohibition of dowries would be evaded in 



a very obvious manner by discounting the reversionary interest. 
Since women are to be exempt from the labour of production, 
capital, that is to say, the instruments of labour produced by 
each generation for the benefit of the next, should revert to 
men. This view of inheritance, so far from giving to men an 
unnatural privilege, places them under heavy responsibilities. 
It is not from women that any serious opposition to it will pro- 
ceed Wise education will show its value to them personally, 
as a 8a£^;uard against unworthy suitors. But important as 
the rule is, it should not be legally enforced until it has 
become established on its own merits as a general custom, felt 
by all to be conducive to the healthy organisation of the Family 
as here described. 

Coming now to the subject of female education, we have only Theeduca- 
to make a ftirther application of the theory which has guided us ^«n shonta 

hif Kai^^ be identical 

^^OQTUi. with that of 

Since the vocation assigned by our theory to women is that 
<>f educating others, it is clear that the educational system 
^ichwe have proposed in the last chapter for the working 
classes, applies to them as well as to the other sex with very 
^ht alterations. Unencmnbered as it is with specialities, it 
^ be foimd, even in its more scientific parts, as suitable for 
the sympathetic element of the moderating power, as to the 
^ergic element. We have spoken of the necessity of diflfusing 
^und historical views among the working classes j and the 
same necessity applies to women ; for social sympathy can never 
be perfectly developed, without a sense of the continuity of the 
fast, as well as the solidarity of the Present. Since then both 
seies alike need historical instruction as a basis for the systé- 
matisation of moral truth, both should alike pass through the 
scientific training which prepares the way for social studies, and 
which moreover has as intrinsic value for women as for men. 
Again, since the period of spontaneous education is entirely to 
be left to, women, it is most desirable that they should them- 
selves have passed through the systematic education which is its 
necessary complement. The only department with which they 
need not concern themselves, is what is called professional educa- 
tion. This, as I have before observed, is not susceptible of regular 
organisation, and can only be acquired by careful practice and 
experience, resting upon a sound basis of theory. In all other 


respects women, philosoph^rs, and working men will receive 
the same education. 

But while I would place tiie sexes on a level in this respect, I 
do not take the view of my eminent predecessor Condorcet, that 
they should be taught together. On moral grounds, which of" 
course are the most important consideration, it is obvious, that^ 
such a plan would be equally prejudicial to both. In the church ^ 
in the club, in the aaloriy they may associate freely at every period 
of life. But at school such intercourse would be premature ; 
it would check the natural development of character, not to 
say that it would obvioilsly have an unsettling influence upon 
study. Until the feelings on both sides are sufficiently matured, 
it is of the greatest importance that the relations of the two 
sexes should not be too intimate, and that they should be super- 
intended by the watchful eye of their mothers. 

As, however, the subjects of study are to be the same for 
both, the necessity of separating the sexes does not imply that 
there should be special teachers for women. Not to speak of the 
increased expenditure that would thus be incurred, it would 
inevitably lower the standard of female education. It would 
always be presumed that their teachers were men of inferior 
attainments. To ensure that the instruction given is the same 
for both sexes, the instructors must be the same^ and must givd 
their lectures alternately to each sex. These conditions are 
perfectly compatible with the scheme described in the last 
chapter. It was there mentioned that each philosopher would 
be expected to give one, or, in some cases, two lectures eveiy 
week. Now, supposing this were doubled, it would still come 
far short of the intolerable burdens which are imposed upon 
teacheis in the present day. Moreover^ as. the Positivist 
educator will pass successively through the seven stages of 
scientific instruction, he will be able so to regulate his work 
as to avoid wearisome repetition of the same lectures in each 
year. Besides, the distinguished men to whom our educational 
system will be entrusted will soon discover that their two au- 
diences require some difference in the manner of teaching, and 
that this may be done without in any way lowering the uniform 
standard which their method and their doctrines require. 

But independently of the importance to female education 
of this, identity of teachers, it will react beneficially on the in- 
tellectual and moral character of the philosopher who teaches. 


It will preclude him from entering into useless details, and will 
keep him involuntarily to the broad principles of his subject. By 
coming into contact simultaneously with two natures, in one 
of which thought, and in the other emotion, is predominant, he 
will gain clearer insight into the great truth of the subordina- 
tion of the intellect to the heart. The obligation of teaching both 
sexes will complete that universality of mind which is to be re- 
quired of the new school of philosophers. To treat with equal 
ability of all the various orders of scientific conceptions, and 
to interest two audiences of so different a character, is a task 
which will demand the highest personal qualifications. How- 
ever, as the number required by the conditions is not excessive, 
it will not be impossible to find men fit for the purpose, as soon 
as the proper means are taken to procure their services, and to 
guarantee their material subsistence. It must be borne in mind, 
too, that the corporation of teachers is not to be recruited from 
any one nation for itself, but from the whole of Western Europe ; 
80 that the Positivist educator will change his resu'dence, when 
required, even more frequently than Catholic dignitaries in the 
^ddle Ages. Putting these considerations together, we shall find 
tliat Positivist education for both sexes may be organised on an 
*Diple scale for the.whole of Western Europe, with less than the 
^less, or worse than useless, expenditure incurred by the clergy 
rfthe Anglican church alone. This would give each functionary 
^adequate maintenance, though none of them would be degraded 
ty wealth. A body of twenty thousand philosophera would be 
enough now, and probably would always suffice, for the spiritual 
^mts of the five Western nations; since it would allow the esta- 
()lishment of the septennial system of instruction in two thousand 
stations. The influence of women and of working men will never 
become so systematic as to enable them to dispense with philosophic 
assistance altogether. But in proportion as they become more 
efifectually incorporated as elements of the spiritual power, the 
Qecessity of enlarging the purely speculative class, which under 
theological systems has been far too numerous, will diminish. 
The privil^;e of living in comfort without productive labour 
svill then be so rare, and so dearly earned as to leave no 
rational ground of objection to it. It will be universally felt 
:hat the cost of maintaining these philosophic teachers, like 
;hat of maintaining women, is no real biurden to the productive 
classes ; on the contrary, that it conduces to their highest in- 


terest, by ensuring the performance of those intellectual and 
moral functions which are the distinctive features of Humanity. 
It appears, then, that the primary principle laid down at 
the beginning of this chapter enables us to solve all the probleiM 
that offer themselves on the subject of Woman. Her function in 
society is determined by the constitution of her nature. As the 
spontaneous organ of Feeling, on which the unity of human nature 
entirely depends, she constitutes the purest and most natural ele- 
ment of the moderating power ; which, while avowing its own sub- 
ordination to the material forces of society, purposes to direct 
them to higher uses. First as mother, afterwards as wife, it is 
her office to conduct the moral education of Humanity. In 
order the more perfectly to fulfil this mission, her life must be 
connected even more closely than it has been with the Family. 
At the same time she must participate to a more and moie 
complete extent in the general system of instruction. 
women'g A fow remarks on the privileges which the fulfilment of this 

ThSi^^ vocation will bring, will complete this part of my subject. 
it^if apriTi. Women's mission is a striking illustration of the truth thai> 
^^^' happiness consists in doing the work for which we are naturally 

fitted. Their mission is in reality always the same ; it is simmied 
up in one word, Love. It is the only work in which there can 
never be too many workers ; it grows by co-operation ; it ha» 
nothing to fear from competition. Women are charged with the 
education of Sympathy, the soiu*ce of hmnan unity; and their high- 
est happiness is reached when they have the full consciousness of 
their vocation, and are free to follow it. It is the admirable feature 
of their social mission, that it invites them to cultivate quaUties 
which are natural to them ; to call into exercise emotions whidi 
all allow to be the most pleasurable. All that is required for 
them in a better organisation of society is a better adaptation 
of their circumstances to their vocation, and improvements in 
their internal condition. They must be relieved from out- 
door labour; and other means must be taken to secure due 
weight to their moral influence. Both objects are contemplated 
in the material, intellectual, and moral ameliorations whicb 
Positivism is destined to effect in the life of women. 
Theywuire- B^^ bcsidcs the pleasure inherent in their vocation, Positi- 
Sn^worawp vism oflFcrs a recompense for their services, which Catholic 
from men. feudalism foreshadowcd but could not realise. As men become 
more and more grateful for the blessing of their moral influence, 


they will give expression to this feeling in a systematic form. 

In a word the new doctrine will institute the Worship of 

'Woman, publicly and privately, in a far more perfect way than 

has ever before been possible. It is the first permanent step 

towards the worship of Humanity ; which, as the concluding 

chapter of this general view will show, is the central principle 

of Positivism, viewed either as a philosophy or as a polity. 

Our ancestors in chiv-alrous times made noble eflforts in Develop- 
ment of 

this direction, which, except by women, are now no longer ap- ^Jj^*^ 
preciated. But these efforts, however admirable, were in- 
adequate ; partly owing to the military spirit of society in those 
times, partly because their religious doctrines had not a suffi- 
ciently social character. Nevertheless, they have left memories 
which will not perish. The refinement of life in Western 
Europe is in great part due to them, although much of it is 
already effaced by the anarchy of the present time. 

Chivalry, if we are to believe the negative philosophers of 
the last century, can never revive ; because the religious beliefs 
with which it was connected have become obsolete. But the 
connection was never very profound, and there is no reason 
whatever for its continuance. Far too much has been made of 
it by recent apologists for Catholicism ; who, while laying great 
stress on the sanction which Theology gave to Chivalry, have 
failed to appreciate the sympathies to which this admirable 
institution is really due. The real source of Chivalry lies most 
unquestionably in the feudal spirit. Theological sanction for 
it was afterwards sought for, as the only systematic basis that 
offered itself at that time. But the truth is that Theology 
and Chivalry were hardly compatible. Theology fixed men's 
thoughts upon a visionary future ; Chivalry concentrated bis 
energies upon the world around him. The knight of the 
Middle Ages had always to choose between his God and his 
Lady : and could therefore never attain that concentrated imity 
of purpose, without which the full result of his mission, so gene- 
rously undertaken, could never be realised. 

Placed as we are now near the close of the revolutionary 
period, we are beginning to see that Chivalry is not destined to 
extinction ; that on the contrary when modem life has assumed 
its normal character, its influence will be greater than ever, 
because it will operate on a more pacific society, and will be 
based ona more human faith. For Chivalry satisfies an essential 


want of society, one which becomes more urgent as civilisation 
advances; the voluntary combination of the strong for the 
protection of the weak. The period of transition from the 
offensive military system of Bome to the defensive system of 
Feudalism, was naturally the time of its first appearance, and it 
received the sanction of the creed then dominant. But society 
is now entering upon a period of permanent peace ; and when 
this, the most striking political feature of modem times, has 
become firmly established, the influence of Chivalry will be 
greater than ever. Its procedure will be different, because the 
modes of oppression are happily not now what they were 
formerly. The instruments of material force being now not 
military but industrial, it is no longer the person that is 
attacked, but his means of subsistence. The advantages of the 
change are obvious : the danger is less serious, and protection 
from it is easier and more effectual. But it will still remain 
most desirable that protectors should come forward, and this in 
an organised form. The destructive instinct will always show 
itself in various ways, wherever there is the means of indulging 
it. And therefore as an adjunct to the spiritual organisation. 
Positivism will encourage a systematic manifestation of chival- 
rous feeling among the leaders of industry. Those among them 
who feel animated with the noble spirit of the heroes of the 
Middle Ages, will devote not their sword, but their wealth, 
their time, and if need be their whole energies to the defence 
of the oppressed in all classes. The objects of their generosity 
will principally be found, as in the Middle Ages, among the 
classes specially exposed to material suffering ; that is to say 
among women, philosophers, and working men. It would be 
strange indeed for a system like Positivism, the main object 
of which is to strengthen the social spirit, not to appropriate 
the institution which is the noblest product of that spirit. 

So far, then, the restoration of Chivalry is merely a recon- 
struction of the mediaeval institution in a shape adapted to the 
altered state of ideas and feelings. In modem as in mediaeval 
times, devotion of the strong to the weak follows as a natural 
consequence from the subordination of Politics to Morals. Now, 
as then, the spiritual power will be nobly seconded by members 
of the governing class in the attempt to bring that class to a 
stricter sense of social duty. But besides this. Feudal Chivalry 
had a deeper and more special purpose in reference to women. 


And in this respect the superiority of Positivism is even more 
complete and obvious. 

Feudalism introduced for the first time the worship of 
Woman. But in this it met with little support from Catholicism, 
and was in many respects thwarted by it> The habits of 
Christianity were in themselves adverse to real tenderness of 
heart; they only strengthened it indirectly, by promoting one 
of the indispensable conditions of true affection, purity of life. 
In all other respects Chivalry was constantly opposed by the 
Catholic system ; which was so austere and anti-social, that it 
could not sanction marriage except as an infirmity necessary to 
tolerate, but hazardous to personal salvation. Even its rules of 
purity, valuable as they were, were often weakened by interested 
motives which seriously impaired their value. Consequently, 
notwithstanding all the noble and long-continued efforts of our 
mediaeval ancestors, the institution of the worship of Woman 
'^ very imperfectly effected, especially in its relation to public 
life- Whatever Catholic apologists may say, there is every 
reason to believe that if Feudalism could have arisen before the 
decline of Polytheism, the influence of Chivalry would have 
l^n greater. 

It was reserved for the more comprehensive system of 
Positivism, in which sound practice is always supported by 
«ound theory, to give full expression to the feeling of veneration 
for women. In the new religion, while tenderness of heart is 
looked upon as the first of Woman's attributes, purity is held 
in due honour ; its true source and its essential value, as the 
first condition of happiness and of moral growth, are for the 
fiîBt time clearly indicated. The shallow and sophistical views 
of marriage maintained in these unsettled times by men of 
narrow minds and coarse feelings, will be easily refuted by a 
more careful study of human nature. Even the obstacles pre- 
dated by scientific materialism will rapidly disappear before the 
^fead of Positivist morality. A physician of great sagacity, 
Hufeland, has remarked, with truth, that the well-known vigour 
^f the knights of old times was a sufficient answer to men who 
Wked of the physical dangers of continence. Positivism, 
^lealing with this question in all its aspects, teaches that while 
the primary reason for insisting on purity is that it is essential 
to depth of affection, it has as close a connection with the 


physical and intellectual improvement of the individual and the 
race as with oiir moral progress. 

Positivism then, as the whole tendency of this chapter 
indicates, encourages, on intellectual as well as on moral grounds, 
full and systematic expression of the feeling of veneration for 
Women, in public as well as in private life, collectively as well 
as individually. Bom to love and to be loved, relieved from 
the burdens of practical life, free in the sacred retirement of 
their homes, the women of the West will receive from Positivists 
the tribute of deep and sincere admiration which their life 
inspires. They will feel no scruple in accepting their position 
as spontaneous priestesses of Humanity; they will fear no 
longer the rivalry of a vindictive Deity. From childhood each 
of us will be taught to regard their sex as the principal source 
of human happiness and improvement, whether in public life or 
in private. 

The treasures of affection which our ancestors wasted upon 
mystical objects, and which these revolutionary times ignore, 
will then be carefully preserved and directed to their proper 
purpose. The enervating influence of chimerical beliefs will 
have passed away ; and men in all the vigour of their energies, 
feeling themselves the masters of the known world, will feel 
it their highest happiness to submit with gratitude to the bene- 
ficent power of womanly sympathy. In a word, Man will in 
those days kneel to Woman, and to Woman alone. 

The source from which these reverential feelings for the 
sympathetic sex proceeds is a clear appreciation in the other 
sex of benefits received, and a spirit of deep thankfulness for 
them. The Positivist will never forget that moral perfection, 
the primary condition of public and private happiness, is princi- 
pally due to the influence of Woman over Man, first as mother, 
then as wife. Such a conviction cannot fail to arouse feelings 
of loving veneration for those with whom, from their position 
in society, he is in no danger of rivalry in the affairs of life. 
In proportion as the feminine vocation is better understood and 
more fully realised, will the Woman be regarded by the Man 
as the best impersonation of Humanity. 
!?pr?yi^^ Originating in spontaneous feelings of gratitude, the worship 
l^'^'wS^'is ^f Woman, when it has assumed a more systematic shape, will 
Smrthênâ ^® valued for its own sake as a new instrument of happiness 
eiSion*^^ and moral growth. Inert as the tender sympathies are in Man, 


it is most desirable to strengthen them by such exercise as the 
public and private institution of this worship will afford. And 
here it is that Positiviste will find all the elevating influences 
which Catholicism derived from Prayer, 

It is a common but very palpable error to imagine that 
Prayer is inseparable from the chimerical motives of self- 
interest in which it first originated. In Catholicism there 
was always a tendency to rise above these motives, so far at 
least as the principles of theology admitted. From St. Augus- 
tine downwards all the nobler spirits have felt more and more 
strongly, notwithstanding the self-absorbing tendencies of 
Christian doctrine, that Prayer did not necessarily imply 
petition. When sounder views of human nature have become 
prevalent, the value of this important function will be more 
clearly appreciated ; and it will ultimately become of greater 
importance than ever, because founded on a truer principle. 
In the normal state of Humanity the moral efficacy of Prayer 
will no longer be impaired by thoughts of personal recompense. 
It will be simply a solemn out-pouring, whether in private or 
in public, of men*s nobler feelings, inspiring them with larger 
and more comprehensive thoughts. As a daily practice, it is 
inculcated by Positivism as the best preservative against the 
selfish impulses and narrow ideas generated by the ordinary 
avocations of life. To men its value is even greater than to 
women ; their life being less favourable to large views and 
generous sympathies, it is the more important to revive them 
at regular periods. 

But Prayer would be of little value unless the mind could 
clearly define its object. The worship of Woman satisfies this 
condition, and may thus be of greater efficacy than the worship 
of God. True, the ultimate object of Positivist Prayer, as 
shown in the concluding chapter of this review, is Humanity. 
But some of its best moral effects would hardly be realised, if 
it were at once and exclusively directed to an object so difficult 
to conceive clearly. It is possible that Women with their 
stronger sympathies may be able to reach this stage without 
intermediate steps. However this may be, men certainly 
woidd not be able to do so ; even the intellectual class, with all 
its powers of generalisation, would find it impossible. The 
worship of Woman, begun in private, and afterwards publicly 
VOL. I. p 


celebrated, is necessary in man^s case to prepa)*e him for any 
effectual worship of Humanity. 

No one can be so unhappy as not to be able to find some 
woman worthy of his peculiar love, whether in the relation of 
wife or of mother ; some one who in his solitary prayer may be 
present to him as a fixed object of devotion. Nor will such 
devotion, as might be thought, cease with death ; rather, when 
its object has been rightly chosen, death strengthens it by 
making it more pure. The principle upon which Positivism 
insists so strongly, the imion of the Present with the Past, and 
even with the Future, is not limited to the life of Society. It 
is a doctrine which unites all individuals and all generations; 
and when it has become more familiar to us, it will stimulate 
everyone to call his dearest memories to life ; the spirit of the 
system being that the private life of the very humblest citizen 
has a close relation to his public duty. We all know how 
intellectual culture enables us to live with our great predecessors 
of the Middle Ages and of Antiquity, almost as we should do 
with absent friends. And if Intellect can do so much, will it 
not be far easier for the strong passion of Love to effect this 
ideal resurrection? We have already many instances where 
whole nations have shown strong sympathies or antipathies to 
great historical names, especially when their influence was still 
sensibly felt. There is no reason why a private life should not 
produce the same effect upon those who have been brought into 
contact with it. Moral culture has been conducted hitherto on 
such unsatisfactory principles, that we can hardly form an 
adequate notion of its results when Positivism has regenerated 
it, and has concentrated the affections as well as the thoughts 
of Man upon human life. To live with the dead is the peculiar 
privilege of Humanity, a privilege which will extend as our 
conceptions widen and our thoughts become more pure. Under 
Positivism the impulse to it will become far stronger, and it 
will be recognised as a systematic principle in private as well 
as in public life. Even the Future is not excluded from its 
application. We may live with those who are not yet bom ; s 
thing impossible hitherto simply for want of a true theory of 
history of scope sufficient to .embrace at one glance the whole 
course of hmnan destiny. There are niunberless instances to 
prove that the heart of Man is capable of emotions which have 
no outward basis, except what Imagination has supplied. The 


familiar spirits of the Polytheist, the mystical desires of the 
MoDotheist, all point to a general tendency in the Past, which 
by the aid of a more complete and comprehensive philosophy, 
we shall be able in the Future to direct to a nobler and more 
real purpose. And thus even those who may be so unfortunate 
as to have no special object of love need not, on that account, 
be precluded from the act of worship ; they may choose from 
the women of the past some tj^e adapted to their own nature. 
Men of powerful imagination might even form their own more 
perfect ideal, and thus open out the path of the future. This, 
indeed, is what was often done by the knights of chivalrous 
times, simple and uninstructed as they were. Surely then, we 
with our fuller understanding and greater familiarity with the 
Past, should be able to idealise more perfectly. But whether 
the choice lie in the Past or in the Future, its efficacy would 
be impaired unless it remained constant to one object ; and 
Positivism will indicate fixed objective laws calculated to control 
the natural tendency to versatility of feeling. 

I have dwelt at some length upon the personal adoration of The worship 
Woman under its real or ideal aspects, because upon it depends preparation 
nearly all the moral value of any public celebration. Public ship of hu- 
assemblage in the temples of Hmnanity may strengthen and 
stimulate feelings of devotion, but cannot originate them. 
Unless each worshipper has felt in his own person deep and 
reverential love for those to whom our highest aflFections are 
due, a public service in honour of women would be nothing but 
a repetition of unmeaning formulas. But those whose daily 
custom it has been to give expression to such feelings in secret, 
will gain, by assembling together, all the benefit of more intense 
and more exalted sympathy. In my last letter to her who is 
for ever mine, I said : * Amidst the heaviest anxieties which 
Love can bring, I have never ceased to feel that the one thing 
essential to happiness is that the heart shall be always nobly 
occupied.' And now that we are separated by Death, daily 
experience confirms this truth, which is moreover in exact 
accordance with the Positive theory of human nature. With- 
out personal experience of Love no public celebration of it can 
be sincere. 

In its public celebration the superiority of the new Eeligion 
is even more manifest than in the private worship. A system 
in which the social spirit is uniformly preponderant, is pecu*- 

p 2 



liarly adapted to render homage for the social services of the 
sympathetic sex. When the knights of the Middle Ages met 
together, they might give vent to their personal feelings, and 
express to one another the reverence which each felt for his own 
mistress ; but farther than this they could hot go. And such 
personal feelings will never cease to be necessary. Still the 
principal object of public celebration is to express gratitude on 
the part of the people for the social blessings conferred by 
Woman, as the organ of that element in our nature on which 
its imity depends, and as the original source of moral power. 
In the Middle Ages such considerations were impossible, for 
want of a rational theory embracing the whole circle of social 
relations. Indeed the received faith was incompatible with any 
such conception, since Crod in that faith occupied the place 
really due to Humanity. 
Exoeptiouai So uaturally does celebration of this kind find its place in 
j^^oi Arc. Positivism, that very anomalous cases are not excluded. The 
chief motive doubtless for public and private veneration is 
the mission of sympathy, which is Woman's peculiar vocation* 
But there have been remarkable instances of women whose life 
has been one of speculation, or even, what is in most cases still 
more foreign to their nature, of political activity. They have 
rendered real service to Humanity, and they should receive the 
honour that is due to them. Theology, from its absolute cha- 
racter, could not make such concessions ; they would have weak- 
ened the efficiency of its most important social rules. Conse- 
quently Catholicism was compelled, though at first with sincere 
regret, to leave some of the noblest women without conmiemo- 
ration; which indeed would have been more injurious to its 
moral standard than beneficial to its policy. A signal instance 
is the Maid of Orleans, whose heroism saved France in the four- 
teenth century. Our great King Louis XI. applied very properly 
to the Pope for her canonisation, and no objection was made to 
his request. Yet practically it was never canied into effect. It 
was gradually forgotten ; and the clergy soon came to feel a 
sort of dislike to her memory, which reminded them of nothing 
but their own social weakness. It is easy to account for this 
result ; nor is any one really to blame for it. It was feared, 
not without reason, that to consider Joan of Arc as a saint 
might have the effect of spreading false and dangerous ideas of 
feminine duty. The difficulty was insuperable for any absolute 


system, in which to sanction the exception is to compromise the 
role. But in a relative system the case is different. It is even 
more inconsistent with Positive principles than it is with 
SathoUc, for women to lead a military life, a life of all others 
the least compatible with their proper functions. And yet 
Positivists will be the first to do justice to this extraordinary 
leroine, whom theologians have been afraid to recognise, and 
irhom metaphjrsicians, even in France, have had the hardihood 
» insult. The anniversary of her glorious martyrdom will be 
I solemn festival, not only for France but for Western Europe. 
For her work was not merely of national importance : the 
enslavement of France would have involved the loss of all the 
influence which France has exercised as the centre of the ad- 
vanced nations of Europe. Moreover, as none of them are 
altogether clear from the disgrace of blackening her character, 
as Voltaire has done, all should aid in the reparation of it which 
Positivism proposes to institute. So far from her apotheosis 
baring an injurious effect on female character, it will afford an 
opportimity of pointing out the anomalous nature of her career, 
and the rarity of the conditions which alone could justify it. 
It is a fresh proof of the advantages accruing to Morality from 
the relative character of Positivism, which enables it to appre- 
ciate exceptions without weakening rules. 

The subject of the worship of Woman by Man raises a ques- 
tion of much delicacy; how to satisfy analogous feelings of 
devotion in the other sex. We have seen its necessity for men 
as an intermediate step towards the worship of Humanity ; and 
▼omen, stronger though their sympathies are, stand, it may be, 
in need of similar preparation. Yet certainly the direction 
taken should be somewhat different. What is wanted is that 
«Wîh sex should strengthen the moral qualities in which it 
18 naturally deficient. Energy is a characteristic featiu-e of 
Humanity as well as Sympathy ; as is well shown by the double 
Dieaning of the word Heart. In Man Sympathy is the weaker 
^kment, and it requires constant exercise. This he gains by 
^^ression of his feelings of reverence for Woman. In Woman, 
*>nthe other hand, the defective quality is Energy; so that 
«liould any special preparation for the worship of Humanity be 
''eeded, it should be such as to strengthen courage rather than 
ynapathy. But my sex renders me incompetent to enter 
ïrther into the secret wants of Woman's heart. Theory 


indicates a blank hitherto unnoticed, but does not enable me t^ 
fill it. It is a problem for women themselves to solve ; and 1 
should have reserved it for the noble fellow-worker, who» 
premature death will, in the future, as I trust, be univeisally 

Throughout this chapter I have been keenly sensible of the 
intellectual loss resulting from our objective separation. True,! 
have been able to show that Positivism is a matter of the 
deepest concern to women, since it incorporates them in the 
progressive movement of modem times. I have proved tiiat 
the part allotted to them in this movement is one which 
satisfies far more perfectly than Catholicism their highest 
aspirations for the Family or for Society. And yet I can 
hardly hope for much support from them imtil some woman 
shall come forward to interpret'what I have said into language 
more adapted to their nature and habits of thought. Till then 
it will always be taken for granted that they are incapable eY&OL 
of imderstanding the new philosophy, notwithstanding all the 
natural affinities for it which I have shown that they possess. 

All these difficulties had been entirely removed by the noble 
and loving fHend to whom I have dedicated this new Treatise. 
The dedication is imusual in form, and some may think it 
overstrained. But my own fear is rather, now that five years 
have past, that my words were too weak for the deep gratitude 
which I now feel for her elevating influence. Without it the 
moral aspects of Positivism would have lain very long latent* 

Clotilde de Vaux was gifted equally in mind and heart : and 
she had already begun to feel the power of the new philosophy 
to raise feminine influence firom the decline into which it had 
fallen since the close of the Middle Ages, under modem revolu- 
tionary influences. Misunderstood everywhere, even by her own 
family, her nature was far too noble for bitterness. Her sorrowa 
were as exceptional as they were undeserved; but her purity 
was even more rare than they ; and it preserved her unscathed 
from all sophistical attacks on marriage, even before the true 
theory of marriage had come before her. In the only writii^ 
which she published, there is a beautiful remark, which to 
those who know the history of her life is deeply aflecting': 
'Great natures should always be above bringing their oim 
sorrows upon others.' In this charming story, written befixe 
she knew anything of Positivism, she expressed a chano* 


teristic, and, from such a judge, a most decisive opinion on 
the subject of Woman's vocation : * Surely the true work of a 
woman is to provide a man with the comforts and delights of 
home, receiving in exchange from him the means of subsistence 
earned by his labours. I would rather see the mother of a poor 
&mily washing her children's linen, than see her earning a 
livelihood by her talents away from home. Of course I do not 
speak of women of extraordinary powers whose genius leads them 
out of the sphere of domestic duty. Such natures should have 
free scope given to them : for great minds are kindled by the 
exhibition of their powers.' These words coming from a young 
lady distinguished no less for beauty than for worth, are already 
a refutation of the subversive Utopias now prevalent. But in a 
large work which she did not live to finish, she had intended to 
refute the attacks upon marriage contained in the works of an 
eloquent contemporary, to whom she was intellectually no less 
than morally superior. Her nature was of rare endowment, 
moved by noble impulse, and yet allowing its due influence to 
reason. When she was beginning to study Positivism she wrote 
to me : ^ No one knows better than myself how weak our nature 
is, unless it has some lofty aim beyond the reach of passion.' A 
short time afterwards, writing with all the graceful freedom of 
friendship, she let fedl a phrase of deep meaning, almost 
unawares : ^ Our race is peculiarly one which must have duties, 
in order to form its feelings.' 

With such a nature my Saint Clotilda was, as may be sup- 
posed, fully conscious of the moral value of Positivism, though 
ihe had only one year to give to its study. A few months 
before her death, she wrote to me : ' If I were a man, I should 
be your enthusiastic disciple ; as a woman, I can but offer you 
iny cordial admiration.' In the same letter she explains the 
pvt which she proposed to take in diffusing the principles of 
^e new philosophy : * It is always well for a woman to follow 
^odegUy behind the * army of renovators, even at the risk of 
*^g a little of her own originality.' She describes our in- 
^^^Uectoal anarchy in this charming simile : ^ We are all standing 
*«yet with one foot in the air over the threshold of truth.' 

With such a colleague, combining as she did qualities hither- it li for wo. 
to shared amongst the noblest types of womanhood, it would trodncopoii- 
iave been easy to induce her sex to co-operate in the regene- thesonthcm 
lation of society. For she gave a perfect example of that normal °* ^^ 


reaction of Feeling upon Reason which has been here set | 
forward as the highest aim of Woman's efforts. When she had 
finished the important work on which she was engaged, I had 
marked out for her a definite yet spacious field of co-operatioD 
in the Positivist cause : a field which her intellect and character 
were fully competent to occupyé I mention it here, to illustrate 
the mode in which women may help to spread Positivism 
through the West ; giving thus the first example of the social 
influence which they will afterwards exert permanently. What 
I say has special reference to Italy and to Spain. In other 
countries it only applies to individuals who, though living in 
an atmosphere of free thought, have not themselves ventured 
to think freely. Success in this latter case is so frequent, as 
to make me confident that the agencies of which I am about to 
speak may be applied collectively with the same favourable 

The intellectual freedom of the West began in England and 
Germany ; and it had all the dangers of original efforts for 
which at that time no systematic basis could be found. With 
the legal establishment of Protestantism, the metaphysical 
movement stopped. Its stagnation was a serious obstacle to 
subsequent progress ; and is still, in the countries where Protes- 
tantism prevails, the chief impediment to all efficient renovation. 
Happily, France, the normal centre of Western Europe, was 
spared this so-called Beformation. She made up for the delay, 
by passing at one stride, under the impulse given by Voltaire, 
to a state of entire freedom of thought ; and thus resumed her 
natural place as leader of the common movement of social re- 
generation. But the French, while escaping the inconsistencies 
and oscillations of Protestantism, have been exposed to all the 
dangers resulting from unqualified acceptance of revolutionary 
metaphysics. Principles of systematic negation have now 
held their ground with us too long ; and therefore useful as 
they once were in preparing the way for social reconstruction, 
they are now a hindrance to it. It may be hoped that when the 
movement of free thought extends, as it assuredly will, to the two 
Southern nations, where Catholicism has been more successful 
in resisting Protestantism and Deism, it will be attended with 
less injurious consequences. If France was spared the Calvinistic 
stage, there seems no reason why Italy and even Spain should 
not be spared Voltairianism. As a compensation for this ap» 


parent stagnation, they might pass at onoe from Catholicism to 
Positivism without halting for any length of time at the nega- 
tive stage* These countries could not have originated the new 
philosophy, owing to their insufficient preparation ; but as soon 
as it has taken root in France, th&y will probably accept it with 
extreme rapidity. Direct attacks upon Catholicism will not be 
necessary* The new religion will simply put itself into com- 
petition with the old by performing in a better way the same 
functions that Catholicism fulfils now, or has fulfilled in past 

All evidence, especially the evidence of the poets, goes to 
prove that before Luther*s time there was less belief in the 
South of Europe, certainly less in Italy, than in the North. And 
Catholicism, with all its resistance to the progress of thought, 
has never been able really to revive the belief in Christianity. 
We speak of Italy and Spain as less advanced ; but the truth 
is that they only cling to Catholicism because it satisfies their 
moral and social wants better than any system with which they 
are acquainted. Morally they have more affinity to Positivism 
than other nations; because their feelings of fraternity have 
not been weakened by the industrial development which 
has done so much harm in Protestant countries. Intellectually, 
too, they are less hostile to the primary principle of Positive 
Polity ; the separation of spiritual and temporal power. And 
therefore they will welcome Positivism as soon as they see that 
in all essential features it equals and surpasses the mediaeval 
Church. Now as this question is almost entirely a moral one, 
their convictions in this respect will depend far more upon 
feeling than upon argument. Consequently, the work of con- 
verting them to Positivism is one for which women are peculiarly 
adapted. Positivism has been communicated to England by 
men. Holland, too, which has been the vanguard of Germany 
ever since the Middle Ages, has been initiated in the same way 
still more efficiently» But its introduction in Italy and Spain 
will depend upon the women of those countries ; and the appeal 
to them must come, not from a Frenchman, but from a French- 
woman ; for heart jnust speak to heart. Would that these 
brief remarks might enable others to appreciate the inestimable 
worth of the colleague whom I had intended to write such an 
appeal ; and that they might stimulate some one worthy to take 
her place I 


Already, then, there is ground for encouragement^ Already 
we have one striking instance of a woman ready to co-operat« 
in the philosophical movem^nt, which assigns to her sex a 
mission of the highest social consequence as the prelude to the 
function for which in the normal state they are destined* Such 
an instance, though it may seem now exceptional, does but 
anticipate what will one day be universaL Highly gifted 
natures pass through the same phases as others; only they 
undergo them earlier, and so become guides for the rest. The 
sacred friend of whom I speak had nothing that specially dis- 
posed her to accept Positivism, except the beauty of her mind 
and character, prematurely ripened by sorrow. Had she been 
an untaught working woman, it would perhaps have been still 
easier for her to grasp the general spirit of the new philosophy 
and its social purpose. 

The result of this chapter is to show the affinity of the syste- 
matic element of the modifying power, as represented by 
philosophers, with women who form its sympathetic element; 
an affinity not less close than that with the people, who con- 
stitute its synergic element. The organisation of moral force 
is based on the alliance of philosophers with the people ; but 
the adhesion of women is necessary to its completion. The 
union of all three initiates the movement of social regeneration 
which is to bring the revolution to a close. But more than 
this ; their union is at once an inauguration of the final order 
of society. Each of these three elements will' be acting as it 
will be called upon to act in the normal state, and will be 
occupying its permanent position relatively to the temporal 
power. The philosophic .class whose work it is to combine the 
action of the other two classes, will find valuable assistance 
from women in every family, as well as powerful co-operation 
from the people in every city. The result will be a combination 
of all the classes who stand apart from political administration, 
formed with the view of subjecting all practical measures to 
the fixed rules of universal morality. Exceptional cases will 
arise where moral influence is insufficient ; in these it will be 
necessary for the people to interfere actively. But philosophers 
and women are dispensed from such interference. Direct action 
would be most injurious to their powers of sympathy or medita- 
tion. They can only preserve these powers by keeping clear of 
all positions of political authority. 


But the moral force resulting from this combined action, 
while more efficient than that of the Middle Ages, will impose 
conditions of great difficulty on its systematic organs. From 
the Priest of Humanity high powers of intellect are required ; 
and a heart worthy of such intellect. To secure the support 
of women, and the co-operation of the people, he must have 
the sympathy and purity of the first, the energy and disinte- 
restedness of the second. Such natures are rare ; yet without 
them the new spiritual power cannot obtain that ascendancy 
over society to which Positivism aspires. And with all the 
agencies, physical or moral, which can be brought to bear, we 
shall have to acknowledge that the exceeding imperfection of 
human nature interposes permanent obstacles to the object for 
which Positivism strives, the victory of social sympathy over 




vhea com- 
ilet« is as 
o imagina- 
ion, as, 
irben incom- 
ilete, it was 
kble to it. 

The essential principles and the social purpose of the only 
philosophy by which the revolution can be brought to a close, 
are now before us. We have seen too that energetic support 
from the People and cordial sympathy from Women are 
necessary to bring this philosophic movement to a practical 
result. One further condition yet remains. The view here 
taken of hiunan life as regenerated by this combination of 
efforts, would be incomplete if it did not include an additional 
element, with which Positivism, as I have now to show, is no 
less competent to deal. We have spoken already of the place 
which Season occupies in our nature ; its function being to 
subordinate itself to Feeling for the better guidance of the 
Active powers. But in the normal state of our nature it has 
also another function connected with Imagination ; to which it 
yields no passive obedience, but which it stimulates at the 
same time that it controls. The esthetic faculties are far too 
important to be disregarded in the normal state of Humanity ; 
therefore they must not be omitted from the system which 
aims to introduce that state. AH these conditions, in spite of 
unfounded prejudices to the contrary, are thoroughly satisfied 
by Positivism. It furnishes, as may readily be shown, the only 
true foundation of modern Art, which since the Middle Ages 
has been cultivated without fixed principles or lofty purpose. 

The reproach that Positivism is incompatible with Art arises 
simply from the fact that almost every one is in the habit of 
confounding the philosophy itself with the scientific studies on 
which it is based. The charge only applies to the Positivist 
spirit in its preliminary phase of disconnected specialities, a 
phase which scientific men of the present day are making such 
mischievous efforts to prolong. Nothing can be more fatal to 
the fine arts than the narrow views, the overstraining of analysis, 


the abuse of the reasoning faculty, which characterise the 
scientific inyestigation of the present day; to say nothing of 
their injurious effects upon moral progress, the first condition 
of esthetic development. But all these defects necessarily 
disappear when the Positive spirit becomes more comprehensive 
and systematic ; which is the case as soon as it embraces the 
higher subjects in the encyclopedic scale of sciences. When it 
reaches the study of Society, which is its true and ultimate 
sphere, its uniform adherence to Fact leads it to deal with the 
conceptions of Poetry, as well as with the operations of Feeling : 
since its object must then be to give a faithful and complete 
representation of human nature under its individual, and still 
more under its social aspects. Hithei-to Positive Science had 
avoided these two subjects : but their charm is such that, when 
the study of them has been once begun, it cannot fail to be 
prosecuted with ardour ; and their proper place in the constitu- 
tion of Man and of Society will then be recognised. And thus 
a more complete and systematic culture brings the long 
divorce of Reason from Imagination and Feeling to a natural 

To those who have studied the foregoing chapters with at- 
tention, the view that the new philosophy is unfavourable to Art 
will be obviously unjust. Supposing even that there were no 
important functions specially assigned to the fine arts in the 
Positive system, yet indirectly the leading principles of the 
system, its social purpose, and the influences by which it is 
propagated, are all most conducive to the interests of Art. To 
demonstrate, as Positivism alone of all philosophies has done, 
the subordination of the intellect to the heart, and the depen- 
dence of the unity of human nature upon Feeling, is to stimu- 
late the esthetic faculties ; because Feeling is their true source. 
To propound a social doctrine by which the Revolution is 
brought to a close, is to remove the principal obstacle to the 
growth of Art, and to open a wide field and a firm foundation 
for it, by establishing fixed principles and modes of life ; in the 
absence of which Poetry can have nothing noble to narrate or 
to inspire. To exhort the working classes to seek happiness 
in calling their moral and mental powers into constant exercise, 
and to give them an education the principal basis of which 
is esthetic, is to place Art under the protection of its natural 


But one consideration is of itself suflBcient for our purpose. 
We have but to look at the influence of Positivism upon Women, 
at its tendency to elevate the social dignity of their sex, and at 
the same time to strengthen all family ties. Now of all the 
elements of which society is constituted, Woman certainly Ib 
the most esthetic, alike from her nature and her position ; and 
both her position and her nature are raised and strengthened 
by Positivism, We receive from women, not only our first 
ideas of Groodness, but our first sense of Beauty ; for their own 
sensibility to it is equalled by their power of imparting it to 
others. We see in them every kind of beauty combined; 
beauty of mind and character as well as of person. All their 
actions, even those which are unconscious, exhibit a spontaneous 
striving for ideal perfection. And their life at home, when 
free from the necessity of labouring for a livelihood, cannot but 
be favourable to these natural tendencies. Living as they do 
for afifection, they cannot fail to feel aspirations for all that is 
highest, in the world around them first, and then also in the 
world of imagination. A doctrine, then, which regards women 
as the originators of moral influence in society, and which 
places the groundwork of education under their charge, cannot 
be suspected of being imfavourable to Art. 

Leaving these prejudices, we may now examine the mode in 
which the incorporation of Art into the modem social system 
will be promoted by Positivism. In the first place systematic 
principles of Art will be laid down, and its proper function- 
clearly defined. The result of this will be to call out new anA^ 
powerful means of expression, and also new organs. I ma^ 
observe that the position which Art will occupy in the presen'fc 
movement of social regeneration is already an inauguration of 
its final function ; as we saw in the analogous cases of the position 
of women and of the working classes. 
ssthetic ^^^ before touching on this question, it will be well to 

heSdom^ rectify a prevalent misconception on the subject, one of the 
^ouoT\t^ many consequences of our mental and moral anarchy. I refer 
rovernment. j.^ ^^le exaggeration of the influence of Art ; an error which 
tends to vitiate all the views now held with regard to it. 

All poets of real genius, from Homer to Corneille, had 
always considered their work to be that of beautifying human 
life, and so far, of elevating it. Its direction they had never 
supposed to fall within their province. Indeed no sane ndan 


would lay it down as a proposition that Imagination should 
control the other mental fiEu^ulties. It would imply really that 
the normal condition of the intellect was insanity ; insanity 
being definable as that state of mind in which subjective in- 
spirations are stronger than objective judgments. It is a static 
law of our nature, which has never been permanently suspended, 
that the fEu^ulties of Representation and Expression should be 
subordinate to those of Conception and Co-ordination. Even 
in cerebral disturbances the law holds good. The relation with 
the external world is perverted, but the original correlation of 
the internal mental functions remains unafifected. 

The foolish vanity of the later poets of . antiquity led some 
of them into errors somewhat resembling those which now 
prevail on this point. Still in Polytheistic society artists were 
at no time looked upon as the leading class, notwithstanding 
the esthetic character of the accepted creeds. If proofs were 
necessary. Homers poem, especially the Odyssey, would show 
how secondary the influence of the fine arts was upon society, 
even when the priesthood had ceased to control them. Plato's 
Utopia, written when Polytheism was in its decline, represented 
a state in which the interference of poets was systematically 
prevented. Mediseval Monotheism was still less disposed to 
overrate the importance of Art, though its true value was 
recognised more generally than it had ever been before. But 
with the decline of Catholicism, germs of errors showed them- 
selves, from which even the extraordinary genius of Dante was 
not firee. The revolutionary influences of the last five centuries 
have developed these errors into the delirium of self-conceit 
exhibited by the poets and literary men of our time. Theology 
having arrived at its extreme limits, and no conception having 
yet arisen of the Positive state, the negative condition of the 
Western Republic has become aggravated to an unheard-of 
extent. Rules and institutions which had formerly controlled 
the most headstrong ambition, have fallen rapidly into discredit. 
And as the principles of social order disappeared, artists, and 
especially poets, the leading class among them, stimulated by 
the applause which they received from their uninstructed 
audience, fell into the error of seeking political influence. In- 
compatible as all mere criticism must be with true poetry, 
modem Art since the fourteenth century has participated more 
and more actively in the destruction of the old system. Until, 


however, Negativism had received its distinct shape and cha- 
racter from the revolutions of the sixteenth and seventeenth 
centuries, the influence of Art for destructive purposes was but 
an auxiliary of that exercised by metaphysicians and legists. 
But in the eighteenth century, when negativism began to be 
propagated boldly in a systematic form, the case was changed, 
and literary ambition asserted itself more strongly. The men 
of learning who had hitherto formed the vanguard of the 
destructive movement, were replaced by mere writers, men 
whose talents were poetical rather than philosophical, but who 
had, intellectually speaking, no real vocation. When the crisis 
of the Bevolution came, this heterogeneous class took the lead in 
the movement, and naturally stepped into all political offices ; 
a state of things which will continue until there is a more 
direct and general movement of reorganisation* 
le pouticai This is the historical explanation, and at the same time the 
«rary men refutation, of the subversive schemes so prevalent in our time, 
ni and of which the object is to establish a sort of aristocracy of 
mrchy. literary pedants. Such day-dreams of unbridled self-conceit 
find favour only with the metaphysical minds who cannot 
sanction exceptional cases without making them into an 
absolute rule. If philosophers are to be excluded from political 
authority, there is still greater reason for excluding poets. 
The mental and moral versatility which makes them so apt in 
reflecting the thoughts and feelings of those around them, 
utterly unfits them for being our guides. Their natural 
defects are such as nothing but rigorous and systematic educa- 
tion can correct ; they are, therefore, certain to be peculiarly 
prominent in a time when deep convictions of any kind are so 
rare. Their real vocation is to assist the spiritual power as 
accessory members ; and this involves their renouncing all ideas 
of government, even more strictly than philosophers themselves. 
Philosophers, though unfit for action, are adapted for counsel ; 
but the poet has very little to do with either. His special 
function is to idealise and to stimulate ; and to do this well 
he must concentrate his energies exclusively upon it. It is a 
large and noble field, amply sufficient to absorb men who have^ 
a real vocation for it. Accordingly, in the great artists o 
former times we see comparatively few traces of this extra vagan 
ambition. It comes before us in a time when, owing to th 
absence of regular habits of life and fixed eonvictions, art of th5 



highest order is impossible. The poetic writers of these times, 
whether misdirected or incapable, would turn their energies into 
a new direction were Society again brought under the influence 
of a imiversal doctrine, so that real poetry should again become 
possible. Till then they will continue to waste their efforts and 
ruin their character in worthless political agitation, a career 
more &vourable to specious mediocrity than to real genius. 

In the normal state of human nature. Imagination is sub- 
ordinate to Beason as Season is to Feeling. Any prolonged 
inversion of this natural order is both morally and intellectually 
dangerous. The reign of Imagination would be still more 
disastrous than the reign of Reason ; only that it is even more 
incompatible with the practical conditions of human life. But 
chimerical as it is, the mere pursuit of it may do much indi- 
vidual harm by substituting artificial excitement, and in too 
many cases affectation of feeling, for deep and spontaneous 
emotion. Viewed politically, nothing can be worse than this 
undue preponderance of esthetic considerations caused by the 
uncontrolled ambition of artists and writers. The true object 
of Art, which is to charm and elevate human life, is gradually 
lost sight of. By being held out as the aim and object of 
existence, it dorades the artist and the public equally, and is 
therefore certain to degenerate. It loses all its higher ten- 
dencies, and is reduced either to a sensuous pleasure, or to a 
mere display of technical skill. Admiration for the Arts, which 
when kept in its proper place has done so much for modem 
life, may become a deeply corrupting influence, if it becomes 
the paramount consideration. It is notorious what an atrocious 
custom prevailed in Italy for several centuries, simply for the 
sake of improving men's voices. Art, the true purpose of which 
is to strengthen our sympathies, leads when thus degraded to 
a most abject form of selfishness ; in which enjoyment of sounds 
or forms is held out as the highest happiness, and utter apathy 
P^vails as to all questions of social interest. So dangerous is 
'^ ^Utellectually, and still more so morally, for individuals, and 
^"Ove all, for societies to allow esthetic considerations to be- 
^^e unduly preponderant; even when they spring from a 
^f ^uine impulse. But the invariable consequence to which this 
^^lation of the first principles of social order leads, is the 
^^^cess of mediocrities who acquire technical skill by long 

TOL. I. Q 


Thus it is that we have gradually &llen under the discre- 
ditable influence of men who were evidently not competent for 
any but subordinate positions, and whose preponderance has 
proved as injurious to art as it has been to Philosophy and 
Morality. A fatal &cility of giving expression to what is 
neither believed nor felt, gives temporary reputation to men 
who are as incapable of originality in Art as they are of grasping 
any new principle in science. It is the most renoiarkable of all 
the political anomalies caused by our revolutionary position ; 
and the moral results are most deplorable, unless when, as 
rarely happens, the possessor of thèse undeserved honours has a 
nature too noble to be injured by them. Poets are more ex- 
posed to these dangers than other artists, because their sphere 
is more general and gives wider scope for ambition. But in 
the special arts we find the same evil 'in a still more d^prading 
form ; that of avarice, a vice by which so much of our highest 
talent is now tainted. Another signal proof of the childish 
vanity and imcontroUed ambition of the class is, that those 
who are merely interpreters of other men's productions 
claim the same title as those who have produced original 

Such are the results of the extravagant pretensions which 
artists and literary men have gradually developed during the 
last five centuries. I have dwelt upon them because they con- 
stitute at present serious impediments to all sound views of the 
nature and purposes of Art. My strictures will not be thought 
too severe by really esthetic natures, who know from personal 
experience how feital the present system is to all talent of a high 
order. Whatever the outcry of those personally interested, it is 
certain that in the true interest of Art the suppression of medio- 
crity is at least as important as the encouragement of talent. 
True taste always implies distaste. The very fact that the object 
of Art is to foster in us the sense of perfection, implies that all 
true connoisseurs will feel a thorough dislike for feeble work. 
Happily there is this privilege in all masterpieces, that the 
admiration aroused by them endures in its full strength for all 
time ; so that the plea which is often put forward of keeping up 
the public taste by novelties which in reality injure it, fidls to 
the ground. If I may refer to my own experience, I may say 
that for thirteen years I have been accustomed on principle as 
well as from inclination, to restrict my reading almost entirely 


to the great Occidental poets, without feeling the smallest 
curiosity for the works of the day which are brought out in such 
mischievous abundance. 

Guarding ourselves, then, against errors of this kind, we may Theory of 
now proceed to consider the esthetic character of Positivism. 
In the first place it leads us naturally to the true theory of 
Art ; a subject which has never yet been satisfactorily treated 
except with regard to certain special aspects. The theory here 
offered is based on the subjective principle of the new philo- 
sophy, on its objective dogma, and on its social purpose ; as set 
forward in the two first chapters of this work. 

Art may be defined as an ideal representation of Fact; its Art u the 

ideftlised ic- 

purpose being to cultivate our sense of perfection. Its sphere pmentation 
therefore is co-extensive with that of Science. Both deal in 
their own way with the world of Fact ; the one explains it, the 
other beautifies it. The contemplations of the artist and of the 
man of science follow the same encyclopedic law ; they begin 
with the simple objects of the external world ; they g^dually 
rise to the complicated &cts of human nature. I pointed out 
in the second chapter that the scientific scale, the scale, that is, 
of the True, coincided with that of the Good : we now see that 
it coincides with tjiat of the BeautifiiL Thus between these 
three great creations of Himianity, philosophy, polity, and 
poetry, there is the most perfect harmony. The first elements 
of beauty, that is to say, order and magnitude, are visible in the 
inorganic world, especially in the heavens ; and they are there 
perceived with greater distinctness than where the phenomena 
are more complex and less uniform. The higher degrees of beauty 
will hardly be recognised by those who are insensible to this its 
simplest phase. But as in philosophy we only study the inorganic 
world as a preliminary to the study of Man ; so, but to a still 
greater extent, is it with poetry. In polity the tendency is 
similar, but less apparent. Here we begin with material pro- 
gress ; we proceed to physical and subsequently to intellectual 
progress ; but it is long before we arrive at the ultimate goal, 
moral progress. Poetry passes more rapidly over the three pre- 
liminary stages, and rises with less difficulty to the contempla- 
tion of moral beauty. Feeling, then, is essentially the sphere 
of poetry. And it supplies not the end only, but the means. 
Of all the phenomena which relate to man, human affections 



are the most modifiable, and therefore the most susceptihle of 
idealisation. Their higher complexity leading, in accordance 
with the positivist law, to greater imperfection, there is also 
wider scope for improvement. Now the act of expression, how- 
ever imperfect, reacts powerfully upon these functions, which 
from their nature are always seeking some extemul vent. Eveiy 
one recognises the influence of language upon thoughts : and 
surely it cannot be less upon feelings, since in them the need of 
expression is greater. Consequently all esthetic study, even if 
purely imitative, may become a useful moral exercise, by calling 
sympathies and antipathies Into healthy play. The effect is 
far greater when the representation, passing the limits of strict 
accuracy, is suitably idealised. This indeed is the character- 
istic mission of Art. Its function is to construct types of the 
noblest kind, by the habitual contemplation of which our feel- 
ings and thoughts may be elevated. That the portraitiure should 
be exaggerated follows from the definition of Art; it should 
surpass realities so as to stimulate us to amend them. Great as 
the influence is of these poetic emotions on individuals, they 
are far more efficacious when brought to hear upon public life; 
not only from the greater importance of the subject matter, but 
because each individual impression is rendered more intense by 
Poetry is in- Thus Positivism explains and confirms the view ordinarily 
between* taken of Poetry, by placing it midway between Philosophy and 
anarouty. Polity; issuing from the first and preparing the way for the 

Even Feeling itself, the highest principle of our ezist^ice, 
accepts the objective dogma of Philosophy, that Humanity is 
subject to the order of the external world. And Imagination 
on still stronger grounds must accept the same law. The ideal 
must always be subordinate to the real ; otherwise feebleness as 
well as extravagance is the consequence. The statesman who 
endeavours to improve the existing order, must first study it as 
it exists. And the poet, although his improvements are but 
imagined, and aie not supposed capable of realisation, must do 
likewise. True, in his fictions he will transcend the limits of 
the possible, while the statesman will keep within those limits ; 
but both have the same point of departiure, namely, the study 
of the facts of the case. In our artificial improvements we 
should never aim at anjrthing more than wise modification of 


the natural order ; we should never attempt to subvert it. And 
though Imagination has a wider range for its pictures, they are 
yet subject to the same fundamental law, imposed by Philosophy 
upon Polity and Poetry alike. Even in the most poetic ages 
this law has always been rec(^ised, only the external world was 
interpreted then very differently from now. We see the same 
thing every day in the mental growth of the child. As his 
notions of fieuït change, his fictions are modified in conformity 
with these changes. 

But while Poetry depends upon Philosophy for the principles 
on which its types are constructed, it influences Polity by the 
direction which it gives to those types. In every operation that 
man undertakes, he must imagine before he executes, as he 
must observe before he imagines. He can never produce a 
result which he has not conceived first in his own mind. In the 
simplest application of mechanics or geometry he finds it 
necessary to form a mental type, which is always more perfect 
than the reality which it precedes and prepares. Now none but 
those who confoimd poetry with verse-making can fail to see 
that this conception of a type is the same thing as esthetic 
imagination, under its simplest and most general aspect. Its 
application to social phenomena, which constitute the chief sphere 
both of Art and of Science, is very imperfectly understood as yet, 
and can hardly be said to have begun, owing to the want of any 
true synthesis. Its real value, imder proper control, will be in 
regulating the formation of social Utopias ; subordinating them 
to the natural order of the future as revealed by the past. 
Utopias are to the Art of social life what geometrical and me- 
chanical types are to their respective arts. Here their necessity 
is universally recc^ised ; and surely the necessity cannot be 
less in problems of such far greater intricacy. Accordingly we 
see that, notwithstanding the empirical condition in which 
political art has hitherto existed, every great change has been 
ushered in, one or two centuries beforehand, by some corre- 
sponding Utopia ; the product of the esthetic genius of Humanity 
working under an imperfect sense of the circumstances and 
requirements of the case. Positivism, far from laying an inter- 
dict on Utopias, tends rather to facilitate their employment and 
their influence as a normal element in society. Only, as in the 
case of all other products of imagination, they must always re- 
main subordinated to the actual laws of social existence. And 


thus by giving a systematic sanction to this poetry, as it may be 
called, of politics, most of the dangers which now surround it 
will disappear. Its present extravagances, arising simply from 
the absence of some philosophical principle to control it, need 
not be r^;arded otherwise than with indulgence. 

The whole of this theory may be summed up in the double 
meaning of the word so admirably chosen to designate our esthe- 
tic functions. The word Art is a remarkable instance of the 
popidar instinct from wliich language proceeds, and which is far 
more enlightened than cultivated conceit is willing to suppose. 
It indicates, however vaguely, a sense of the true positicxi of 
Poetry, midway between Philosophy and Polity, but with a 
closer relation to the latter. True, in the case of the tedmical 
arts the improvements proposed are practically realised, while 
those of the fine arts remain imaginary. Poetry, however, does 
produce one result of an ndirect but most essential kind ; it 
does actually modify our moral nature. If we include oratoiy, 
which is only Poetry in a simpler phase, though often worthless 
enough, we find its influence exerted in a most difficult and 
critical task, that of arousing or calming our passions ; and this 
not arbitrarily, but in accordance with the fixed laws of their 
action. Here it has been always recognised as a moral agency 
of great power. On every groimd, then, Poetry seems more 
closely related to practical than to speculative life. For its 
practical results are of the most important and comprehensive 
nature. Whatever the utility of oUier arts, material, physical, 
or intellectual, they are only subsidiary or preparatory to that 
which in Poetry is the direct aim, moral improvemenL In the 
Middle Ages it was common in all Western languages to speak 
of it as a science ; science properly so caUed being at that time 
hardly appreciable. But as soon as both artistic and scientific 
genius had become more fully developed, their distinctive 
features were more clearly recognised, and finally the name of 
Art was appropriated to the whole class of poetic functions. 
The fact is, at all events, an argument in favour of the Positive 
theory of idealisation, as standing midway between theoretical 
inquiry and practical result. 
rt calls Evidently, then, it is in Art that the unity of human nature 

roiirnàt^ finds its most complete and most natural representation. For 
lous'^oD. Art is in direct relation with the three orders of phenomena by 
which human nature is characterised ; Feelings, Thoughts, and 


Actions, It originates in Feeling ; even more obviously than 
is the case with Philosophy and Polity. It has its basis in 
Thought, and its end is Action. Hence its power of exerting 
an influence for good alike on every phase of our existence, 
whether personal or social. Hence, too, its peculiar attribute 
of giving equal pleasure to all ranks and ages. Art invites the 
thinker to leave his abstractions for the study of real life ; it 
elevates the practical man into a region of thought where self- 
love has no place. By its intermediate position it promotes 
the mutual reaction of Affection and Keason. It stimulates 
feeling in those who are too much engrossed with intellectual 
questions ; it strengthens the contemplative faculty in natures 
whose sympathy predominates. It has been said of Art that 
itç province is to hold a mirror to nature. The saying is 
usually applied to social life where its truth is most apparent. 
But it is no less true of every aspect of our existence ; for 
under every aspect it may be a source of Art, and may be re- 
presented and modified by it. Turning to Biology for the 
cause of this sociological relation, we find it in the relation of 
the muscular and nervous systems. Our motions, involuntary 
at first, and then voluntary, indicate internal impressions, 
moral impressions more especially ; and as they proceed from 
them, so they react upon them. Here we find the first germ 
of a true theory of Art. Throughout the animal kingdom 
language is simply gesticulation of a more or less expressive 
kind. And with man esthetic development begins in the same 
spontaneous way. 

With this primary principle we may now complete our Three «t»xga 
statical theory of Art, by indicating in it three distinct degrees «c proSSïl 
or phases. The fine arts have been divided into imitative and îSSi^°tiin 
inventive ; but this metaphysical distinction has no real founda- ^^''^^°'*' 
tion. Art always imitates, and always idealises. True, as the 
real is in every case the source of the ideal, art begins at first 
with simple Imitation. In the childhood whether of man or 
of the race, as also with the lower animals, servile imitation, 
and that of the most insignificant actions, is the only symptom 
of esthetic capacity. No representation, however, has at 
present any claim to the title of Art (although from motives of 
puerile vanity the name is often given to it), except so far as 
it is made more beautiful, that is to say, more perfect ; thus 
rendering the representation in reality more faithful, because 


the principal features are brought prominently forward, instead 
of being obscured by a mass of unmeaning detail. This it is 
which constitutes Idealisation; which since the time of the 
great master-pieces of antiquity has become more and more 
the characteristic feature of esthetic productions. But in re- 
cognising the superiority of Idealisation as the second stage 
of Art, we must not forget the necessity of its first stage, 
Imitation. Without it neither the origin nor the nature of 
Art could be correctly understood. 

In addition to the creative process which is the chief cha- 
racteristic of Art, there is a third function which, though not 
absolutely necessary in its imitative stage, becomes so in its 
ideal stage. I mean the function of Expression strictly so- 
called, without which, the product of imagination could not be 
communicated to others. Language, whether expressed in 
sound or form, is the last stage of the esthetic operation, and 
it does not always bear a due proportion to the inventive 
faculty. When it is too defective, the subUmest creations may 
be ranked lower than they deserve, owing to the failure of the 
poet to communicate his thought completely. Great powers 
of style may, on the other hand, confer unmerited reputation, 
which however does not endure ; as in the case of the preference 
too long continued of Bacine to Corneille. 

So long as Art is confined to imitation, no special language 
is required; imitation takes its place. But as soon as the 
representation has become idealised by heightening some 
features and suppressing or altering others, the picture exists 
in the first instance for its composer only ; and its conomunica- 
tion to the world requires additional labour devoted exclusively 
to Expression. In this final process, so necessary to the com- 
plete success of his work, the poet moulds his signs upon his 
inward type ; just as he began at first by adapting them to 
external facts. So far there is some truth in Grétry^s principle 
that song is derived from speech by the intermediate stage of 
declamation. The same principle has been applied to all the 
special arts ; it might also be applied to Poetry, oratory being 
the link between verse and prose. These views, however, are 
somewhat modified by tlie historical spirit of the new philo- 
sophy. The relation of the two stages should he inverted, at 
least with reference to those primitive times when Art and 
Language first arose. 


In their origin all our faculties of expression had an esthetic 
character ; the only expressions heing those that resulted from 
strong internal experience. Feeling had, in primitive times 
at all events, far more to do with these faculties than Thought, 
being a far stronger stimulant to external demonstration. Even 
in the most highly wrought languages, where, in consequence of 
social requirements, reason has to a great extent encroached upon 
emotion, we see evidence of this truth* There is a musical 
element in the most ordinary conversation. Listening carefully 
to a lecture on the most abstruse mathematical problem, we 
shall hear intonations which proceed obviously from the heart 
rather than the head, and which are indications of character 
even in the most unimpassioned speaker. Biology at once ex- 
plains this law, by teaching that the stimulus to the muscles 
used in expression, whether vocal or gesticulatory, comes prin- 
cipally from the affective region of the brain ; the speculative 
region being too inert to produce muscular contractions for 
which there is no absolute necessity. Accordingly, Sociology 
r^ards every language as containing in its primitive elements 
all that is spontaneous and universal in the esthetic develop- 
ment of Humanity; enough, that is, to satisfy the general need 
of communicating emotion. In this common field the special 
arts commence, and they ultimately widen it. But the opera- 
tion is the same in its nature, whether carried on by popular 
instinct or by individuals. The final result is always more de- 
pendent on feeling than on reason, even in times like these, 
when the intellect has risen in revolt against the heart. Song, 
therefore, comes before Speech; Painting before Writing; because 
the first things we express are those which move our feelings 
most. Subsequently the necessities of social life oblige us to 
employ more frequently, and ultimately, to develop, those ele- 
ments in painting or in song, which relate to our practical 
wants and to our speculative faculties so far as they are required 
for supplying them ; these forming the topics of ordinary com- 
munication. Thus the emotion from which the sign had origi- 
nally proceeded becomes gradually effaced ; the practical object 
is alone thought of, and expression becomes more rapid and less 
emphatic. The process goes on until at last the sign is supposed 
to have originated in arbitrary convention; though, if this 
were the case, its universal and spontaneous adoption would be 
inexplicable. Such, then, is the sociological theory of 


Language, on which I shall afterwards dwell moi^ fully. I 
connect it with the whole clasd of esthetic functions, from which 
in the lower animals it is not distinguished. For no animal 
idealises his song or gesture so &r as to rise to anything that 
can properly be called Art. 
cia3>ificft. To complete our review of the philosophy of Art under its 

tionofthe . '^ ^ i - * 

arts on the statical aspocts WO havc now only to speak of the order in 

principle of i 

iiecrciuing which the various arts should be classified. Placed as Art is 


and increafu midway bctwoen Theory and Practice, we may apply the same 
principle, that of decreasing generality, which I have long ago 
shown to be applicable to all Positive classification. We have 
already obtained from it a scale of the Çeautiful, answering in 
most points to that which was first laid down for the True, and 
which we applied afterwards to the Crood. By following it in the 
present instance, we shall be enabled to range the arts in an order 
of conception and succession analogous to that indicated in my 
philosophical treatise for the various branches of science and 

The arts then should be classified by the decreasing gene- 
rality and the increasing intensity of their modes of expression ; 
thus involving also increasing technicality. In its highest term 
the esthetic scale connects itself with the scientific scale ; and 
in its lowest, with the industrial scale. This is in conformity 
with the position assigned to Art, intermediate between philo- 
sopliy and practical life. Art never becomes disconnected from 
hiunan interests ; but as it becomes less general and more techni- 
cal, its relation with our higher attributes becomes leas intimate, 
and it is more dependent on inorganic Nature, so that at 
last the kind of beauty depicted by it is merely materiaL 

Poetry. On these principles of classification we must give the first 

place to Poetry, properly so called, as being the most general 
and least technical of the arts, and as being the basis on which 
all the rest depend. The impressions which it produces are less 
intense than those of the rest, but its sphere is evidently wider, 
since it embraces every side of our existence, whether indi- 
vidual, domestic, or social. Poetry, like the special arts, has 
a closer relation with actions and impulses than with thoughts. 
Yet the most abstract conceptions are not excluded firom its 
sphere ; for not merely can it improve the language in which 
they are expressed, but it may add to their intrinsio beauty. 
It is, on the whole, the most popular of all the ajts^ both on 


account of its wider scope, and also because, its instruments of 
expression being taken directly from ordinary language, it is 
more generally intelligible than any other. True, in the 
highest kind of poetry versification is necessary; but this 
cannot be called a special art. The language of Poetry, 
although distinct in form, is in reality nothing but the 
language of common men more perfectly expressed. The only 
technical element in it, prosody, is easily acquired by a few 
days' practice. So intimate is the connection with the language 
of common life that no poet has ever been able to write with 
effect in a foreign or a dead language. And not only is this 
noblest of Arts more comprehensive, more spontaneous, more 
popular than the rest, but it surpasses them in that which is the 
characteristic feature of all art. Ideality. Poetry is the art 
which idealises the most, and imitates the least. For these 
reasons it has always held the first place among the arts ; a 
vievr which will be strengthened in proportion as we attach 
greater importance to Idealisation and less to mere expression. 
In expression it is inferior to the other arts, which represent 
such subjects as fall within their compass with greater intensity. 
But it is from Poetry that these subjects are usually borrowed. 

The first term of the series being thus determined, the mmIc. 
other arts may at once be ranked according to the degree of 
their affinity with Poetry. Let us begin by distinguishing the 
different senses to which they appeal ; and we shall find that 
our series proceeds on the principle which biologists, since Gall's 
time, have adopted for the classification of the special senses, 
the principle of decreasing sociability. There are only two 
senses which can be called esthetic ; namely, Sight and Hearing : 
the others having no power of raising us to Idealisation. The 
sense of smell can, it is true, enable us to associate ideas ; but 
in man, it exists too feebly for artistic effects. Hearing and 
Sight correspond to the two modes of natural language, voice 
and gesture. From the first arises the art of Music; the 
second, which however is less esthetic, includes the three arts 
of form. These are more technical than Music ; their field is 
not so wide, and moreover they stand at a greater distance from 
poetry ; whereas Music remained for a long time identified with 
it. Another distinction is that the sense to which music 
appeals performs its function involuntarily; and this is one 
reason why the emotions which it calls forth are more spon- 



Tlie condi- 
tions favonr* 
ubio to Art 
liftve never 
yet been 

taneous and more deep, though less definite, than in the ease 
where it depends on the will whether we receive the impression or 
not. Again, the difference between them answers to the dis- 
tinction of Time and Space. The art of sound represents 
succession ; the arts of foftn, coexistence. On all these grounds 
music should certainly be ranked before the other special arts, 
as the second term of the esthetic series. Its technical diffi- 
culties are exaggerated by pedants, whose interest it is to do so ; 
in reality, special training is less needed for its appreciation, 
and even for its composition, than in the case of either painting 
or sculpture. Hence it is in every respect more popular and 
more social. 

Of the three arts which appeal to the voluntary sense of 
sight, and which present simultaneous impressions. Painting, 
on the same principle of arrangement, holds the first rank, and 
Architecture the last ; Sculpture being placed between them. 
Painting alone employs all the methods of visual expression, 
combining the effects of colour with those of form» Whether 
in public or private life, its sphere is wider than that of the 
other two. More technical skill is required in it than in music, 
and it is harder to obtain ; but the difficulty is less than in 
Sculpture or in Architecture. These latter idealise less, and 
imitate more. Of the two. Architecture is the less esthetic. 
It is far more dependent on technical processes ; and indeed 
most of its productions are rather works of industry than works 
of art. It seldom rises above material beauty : moral beauty it 
can only represent by artifices, of which the meaning is often 
ambiguous. But the impressions conveyed by it are so power- 
ful and so permanent, that it will always retain its place among 
the fine arts, especially in the case of great public buildings, 
which stand out as the most imposing record of each successive 
phase of social development. Never has the power of Archi- 
tecture been displayed to greater effect than in our magnificent 
cathedrals, in which the spirit of the Middle Ages has been 
idealised and preserved for posterity. They exhibit in a most 
striking manner the property which Architecture possesses of 
bringing all the arts together into a common centre. 

These brief remarks will illustrate the method adopted by 
the new philosophy in investigating a systematic theory of Art 
under all its statical aspects. We have now to speak of its 


action upon social life, whether in the final state of Humanity, 
or in the transitional movement through which that state is to 
be reached. 

The Positive theory of history shows us at once, in spite of 
strong prejudices to the contrary, that up to the present time 
the progress achieved by Art has been, like that of Science and 
Industry, only preparatory : the conditions essential to its full 
development never having yet been combined* 

Too much has been made of the esthetic tendencies of the Neither in 
nations of antiquity, owing to the free scope that was given to 
Imagination in constructing their doctrines. In fact Polytheism, 
from the time when its beliefs became incomprehensible, has 
been regarded as simply a work of art. But the long duration 
of its principles would be sufficient proof that they were not 
created by the poets, but that they emanated from the philo- 
sophic genius of Humanity working spontaneously, as explained 
in my theory of human development, in the only way that was 
then possible. All that Art did for Polytheism was to perform 
its proper function of rendering it more beautiful. It is quite 
true that the peculiar character of Polytheistic philosophy gave 
greater scope for the development of Art than has been afiforded 
by any subsequent system. Consequently it is to this phase of 
theology that we can always trace the first steps of esthetic 
development, whether in society or in the individual. Yet Art 
was never really incorporated into the ancient order. Its free 
growth was impossible so long as it remained under the control 
of Theocracy, which, using it as an instrument, shackled its 
operations, owing to the stationary character of its dogmas. 
Moreover, the social life of antiquity was highly imfavourable 
to Art. The sphere of personal feelings and domestic affections 
was hardly open to it. Public life in ancient times had cer- 
tainly vigorous and permanent features, and here there was a 
wider field. Yet even with Homer we feel that he would 
hardly have spent his extraordinary powers upon descriptions 
of military life, had there been nobler subjects for his 
genius. The only grand aspect, viewed socially, that war 
could offer, the system of incorporation instituted by Bome 
after a succession of conquests, could not then be foreseen. 
When that period arrived, ancient history was drawing to a 
close, and the only poetical tribute to this nobler policy was 


contained in a few beautiful lines of VirgiVs ^neid^ sununed 
up in the remarkable expression, 

Pacisque imponere morem. 

Nor under MedisBval societj, notwithstanding irrational prejudices to 

ayrtcm. the Contrary, would have been far more favourable to the fine 
arts, could it have continued longer. I do not speïtk, indeed, 
of its dogmas ; which were so incompatible with Art, as to lead 
to the strange inconsistency of giving a factitious sanction to 
Paganism in the midst of Christianity. By holding personal 
and chimerical objects before us as the end of life. Monotheism 
discouraged all poetry, except so far as it related to our indi- 
vidual existence ; dealing with this in mystical poems of great 
beauty, which touched our deepest emotions, and to which 
nothing was wanting but greater perfection of form. All that 
Catholicism eflFected for Art in other respects was to secure a 
better position for it, as soon as the priesthood became strong 
enough to coimteract the intellectual and moral defects of 
Christian doctrine. But the social life of the Middle Ages was 
far more esthetic than that of antiquity. War was still the 
prevailing occupation ; but by assmning a defensive character, 
it had become far more moral, and therefore more poetic 
Woman had acquired a due measure of freedom ; and the free 
development of home affections was thus no longer restricted. 
There was a consciousness of personal dignity hitherto unknown, 
and yet quite compatible with social devotion, which elevated 
individual life in all its aspects. All these qualities were 
summed up in the noble institution of Chivalry; which 
gave a strong stimulus to Art throughout Western Europe, 
and diffused it more largely than in any former period. This 
movement was in reality, though the fact is not recc^^nised as it 
should be, the source of modem Art. The reason for its short 
duration is to be foimd in the essentially transient and provisional 
character of mediaeval society under all its aspects. By the time 
that its languages and habits had become sufficiently stable for 
the esthetic spirit to produce works of permanent value. Catho- 
lic Feudalism was already undermined by the growing force 
of the negative movement. The beliefs and modes of life offered 
for idealisation were seen to be declining : and neither the poet 
nor his hearers could feel those deep convictions which the 
highest purposes of Art require. 

> iEneid, Lib. ri. U. 7ô6>S54. 


During the decline of Chivalry, Art received indirectly an Mnch lem 
additional impulse from the movement of social decomposition time*. 
which has heen going on rapidly for the last five centuries. In 
this movement all mental and social influences gradually par- 
ticipated. Negativism, it is true, is not the proper province of 
Art ; but the dogmas of Christianity were so oppressive to it, 
that its efforts to shake off the yoke were of great service to the 
cause of general emancipation. Dante's incomparable work is a 
striking illustration of this anomalous combination of two con- 
tradictory influences. It was a situation imfavourable for art, 
because every aspect of life was rapidly changing and losing its 
character before there was time to idealise it. Consequently the 
poet had to create his own field artificially from ancient history, 
which supplied him with those fixed and definite modes of life 
which he could not find aroimd him. Thus it was that for 
several centuries the Classical system became the sole source of 
esthetic culture; the result being that Art lost much of the 
originality and popularity which had previously belonged to it. 
That great master-pieces should have been produced at all imder 
such unfisivourable circumstances is the. best proof of the spon- 
taneous character of our esthetic faculties. The value of this 
procedure has been for some time entirely exhausted ; and now 
that the negative movement has reached its extreme limits, 
there has only been left one service, of great temporary impor- 
tance, for Art to render ; the idealisation of Doubt itself. Such 
a phase of course admitted of but short duration. The best ex- 
amples of it are the works of Byron and Gothe ; the principal 
value of which has been that they have initiated Protestant 
coimtries into the unrestricted freedom of thought which 
emanated originally firom French philosophy. 

Thus history shows that the esthetic development of Hu- 
manity has been the result of spontaneous tendencies rather 
than of systematic guidance. The mental conditions most 
favourable to it have never been fulfilled simultaneously with 
its social conditions. At the present time both are alike want- 
ing. Yet there is no evidence that our esthetic faculties are 
on the decline. Not only has the growth of art proceeded in 
spite of every obstacle, but it has become more thoroughly in- 
corporated into the life of ordinary men. In ancient times it 
was cultivated only by g small class, and was so little recognised 
as a component part of social organisation, that it did not even 


UiiJcr Posi- 
tivism th« 
will aU be 
favourable ; 
owing to it! 
fixity of 
and nobler 
moral cul- 

enter into men's imaginary visions of a future existence. But 
in the Middle Ages the simplest minds were encouraged to cul- 
tivate the sense of beauty as one of the purest delights of humaQ 
life ; and it was held out as the principal occupation of the 
celestial state. From that time all classes of European society 
have taken an increasing interest in these elevating pleasures, be- 
ginning with poetry, and thence passing to the special arts, espe- 
cially music, the most social of all. The influence of artists, even 
when they had no real claim to the title, has been on the increase ; 
imtil at last the anarchy of the present time has introduced 
them to political power, for which they are utterly unqualified. 

AU this would seem to show that the greatest epoch of Art 
has yet to come. In this respect as in every other, the Past 
has but supplied the necessary materials for future reconstruc- 
tion. What we have seen as yet is but a spontaneous and im- 
mature prelude ; but in the manhood of our moral and mental 
powers the culture of Art will proceed on principles as syste- 
matic as the culture of Science and of Industry, both of which at 
present are similarly devoid of organisation. The regeneration 
of society will be incomplete until Art has been fully incorpo- 
rated into the modem order. And to this result all our ante- 
cedents have been tending. A renewal of the esthetic movement 
so admirably begun in the Middle Ages, but interrupted by 
classical influences, will form a part of the great work which 
Positivism has undertaken ; the completion and re-establishment 
of the Mediaeval structure upon a firmer intellectual basis. And 
when Art is once restored to its proper place, its future progress 
will be unchecked, because, as I shall now proceed to show, all 
the influences of the final order, spontaneous or systematic, 
will be in every respect favourable to it. If this can be made 
clear, the poetic capabilities of Positive Philosophy will require 
no further pro0f. 

As being the only rallying point now possible for fibced con- 
victions, without which life can have no definite or permanent 
character, Positivism is on this ground alone indispensable to 
all further development of modern Art. If the poet and his 
readers are alike devoid of such convictions, no idealisation of 
life, whether personal, domestic, or social, is in any true sense 
possible. No emotions are fit subjects for Art unless they are 
felt deeply and arise spontaneously in all. When society has no 
marked intellectual or moral feature, Art, which is its nurror, 


can bave none either. And although the esthetic fiiculty is so 
innate in us that it never can remain inactive, yet its culture 
becomes in this case vague and objectless* The fact therefore 
that Positivism terminates the Bevolution by giving decisive 
preponderance to the organic movement, is of itself enough to 
prove its beneficial influence upon Art. 

Art, indeed, would profit by any method of reorganisation, 
whatever its nature. But the principle on which Positivism 
proposes to reconstruct is peculiarly favourable fo its growth. 
The opinions and the modes of life to which that principle 
conducts are precisely those most essential to esthetic develop- 

A more esthetic system cannot be imagined than one which 
teaches that Feeling is the basis on which the unity of human 
nature rests ; and which assigns as the grand object of man's 
existence, progress in every direction, but especially moral 
progress. It may seem at first as if the tendency of the new 
philosophy was merely to make us more systematic. And 
systématisation is assuredly indispensable ; but the sole object 
of it is to increase our sympathy and our synergic activity by 
supplying that fixity of principle which alone can form strong 
character. By teaching that the highest happiness is to aid in 
the happiness of others. Positivism invites the poet to his noblest 
function, the culture of generous sympathies; a subject far 
more poetic than the passions of hatred and oppression which 
hitherto have been his ordinary theme. A system which regards 
such culture as the highest object cannot fail to incorporate 
Poetry as one of its essential elements, and to give to it a far 
higher position than it has ever held before. Science, although 
it be the source from which the Positive system emanates, will 
be restricted to its proper function of supplying the objective 
Imsis for human prevision ; thus giving to Art and Industry, 
which must always be the principal objects of our attention, 
the foundation they require. Positivism, substituting in every 
subject the relative point of view for the absolute, r^arding, 
that is, every subject in its relation to Humanity, would not 
prosecute the study of the True beyond what is required for the 
development of the Good and the Beautiful. Beyond this point, 
scientific culture is a useless expenditure of time and a distrac- 
tion from the great purposes of individual or public life. Sub- 
ordinate as the ideal must ever be to the real, Art will yet 
VOL. I. R 


exercise a most salutary influence upon Science, as soon as we 
cease to study Science in an absolute spirit. In the veiy 
simplest phenomena, after reaching the degree of exactaess 
which our wants require, there is always a certain margin of 
liberty for the imagination ; and advantage may very well be 
taken of this to make our conceptions more beautiful and so &r 
more usefid. Still more available is this influence of the 
Beautiful on the True in the highest subjects, those which more 
immediately concern Humanity. Precision being here more 
difficult and at the same time less important, more room is left 
for esthetic considerations. In representing the great historical 
types for instance. Art has its place as well as Science. A 
society which devotes all its powers to making every aspect of 
life as perfect as possible, will naturally give preference to that 
kind of intellectual culture which is of all others the best cal- 
culated to heighten our sense of perfection. 
Predigpodnpr The tendency of Positivism to favour these the most ener- 

innaenoe of ^ •' 

education, getic of our intellectual faculties and the most closely related 
to our moral nature, is apparent throughout its educational 
system. The reader will have seen in the third chapter that in 
Positive education more importance is attached to Art than to 
Science, as the true theory of human development requires. 
Science intervenes only to put into systematic shape what Art, 
operating under the direct influence of affection, has sponta- 
neously begun. As in the history of mankind esthetic develop- 
ment preceded scientific development, so it will be with the 
individual, whose education on the Positive method does but 
follow the path first taken by the race. The only rational prin- 
ciple of our absurd classical system is its supposed tendency to 
encourage poetical training. The futility, however, of this pro- 
fession is but too evident : the usual result of the system being 
to implant erroneous notions of all the fine arts, if not utter 
distaste for them. A striking illustration of its worthlessness 
is the idolatry with which for a whole century our French pe- 
dants regarded Boileau ; a most skilful versifier, but of all our 
poets perhaps the least gifted with true poetic feeling. Positi- 
vist education will effect what classical education has attempted 
so imperfectly. It will familiarise the humblest working man 
or woman from childhood with all the beauties of the best poets ; 
not those of his own nation merely, but of all the West. To 
secure the genuineness and efficiency of esthetic development. 


attention must first be given to the poets who depict our own 
modem society. Afterwards, as I have said, the young Positi- 
vist will be advised to complete his poetical course, by studying 
the poets who have idealised antiquity. But his education will 
not be limited to poetry, it will embrace the special arts of 
sound and form, by which the principal effects of poetry are 
reproduced with greater intensity. Thus the contemplation and 
meditation suggested by Art, besides their own intrinsic charm, 
will prepare the way for the exercise of similar faculties in 
Science. For with the individual, as with the species, the com- 
bination of images will assist the combination of signs ; signs 
in their origin being images which have lost their vividness. 
As the sphere of Art includes every subject of human interest, 
we shall become familiarised, during the esthetic period of 
education, with the principal conceptions that are afterwards 
to be brought before us systematically in the scientific period. 
Especially will this be true of historical studies. By the time 
that the pupil enters upon them, he will be already familiar 
with poetic descriptions of the various social phases and of the 
men who played a leading part in them. 

And if Art is of such importance in the education of the Roiation of 
young, it is no less important in the aflerwork of education ; gion. 
the work of recalling men or classes of men to those high 
feelings and principles which, in the daily business of life, are so 
apt to be forgotten. In the solenmities, private or public, 
appointed for this purpose. Positivism will rely far more on 
esthetic impressions than on scientific explanations. Indeed 
the preponderance of Art over Science will be still greater than 
in education properly so called. The scientific basis of human 
conduct having been already laid down, it will not be necessary 
to do more than refer to it. The philosophic priesthood will in 
this case be less occupied with new conceptions, than with the 
enforcement of truth already known, which demands esthetic 
rather than scientific talent. 

A vague presentiment of the proper fimction of Art in 
regulating public festivals was shown empirically by the Eevolu- 
tionists. But all their attempts in this direction proved 
notorious failures; a signal proof that politicians should not 
usurp the office of spiritual guides. The intention of a festival 
is to give public expression to deep and genuine feeling ; sponta- 
neousness therefore is its first condition. Hence it is a matter 

B 2 


with which the magistrate is incompétent to deal ; and even the 
spiritual adviser should only act as the systematic organ of 
impulses which already exist. Since the decline of Cathdicism 
we have had no festivals worthy of the name ; nor can we have 
them until Positivism has become generally accepted. Till then 
the temporal authority will continue to present unmeaning and 
imdignified shows before discordant crowds, who are themselves 
the only spectacle worth beholding. Indeed the usurpation of 
this function by government is in many cases as tyrannical 
as it is irrational ; arbitrary formulas are often imposed, which 
answer to no pre-existing feeling whatever. Evidently the 
direction of festivals is a function which more than anj 
other belongs exclusively to the spiritual power, since it is 
that power which regulates the tendencies of which these festivals 
are the manifestation. Here its work is essentially esthetic. A 
festival even in private, and still more in public life, is or 
should be a work of art; its purpose being to express certain 
feelings by voice or gesture, and to idealise them. It is the 
most esthetic of all functions, since it involves usually a com- 
plete combination of the four special arts, under the présidence 
of the primary art. Poetry. On this ground governments have 
in most cases been willing to waive their official authority in 
this matter, and to be largely guided by artistic counsel, accept- 
ing even the advice of painters and sculptors in the de&ult of 
poets of real merit. 

The esthetic tendencies of Positivism in these respects will be 
sufficiently evident from the remarks in the foregoing chapter on 
the Worship of Woman, and from the explanation to be given in 
the next chapter of the Worship of Humanity. From these, in- 
deed, most Positivist festivals, private or public, will originate. 
But it will not be necessary, within the limits of this preli- 
minary review, to enlarge further upon this branch of the subject 
While the social value of Art is thus enhanced by the 
importance of the work assigned to it, new and extensive fields 
for its operation are opened out by Positivism. Chief amongst 
these is History, regarded as a continuous whole ; a domain at 
present almost untouched. 
aiisation Modeiu pocts, finding little to inspire them in their own 

times, and driven back into ancient life by the classical system, 
have already idealised some of the past phases of Humanity. 
Our great Corneille, for instance, is principally remembered for 



the eeries of dramas in which he has so admirably depicted 
various periods of Koman history. In our own times, the 
historical spirit having become stronger, Scott and Manzoni 
have made similar though less perfect attempts to idealise later 
periods. Such examples, however, are but Fpontaneous and 
imperfect indications of the new career which Positivism now 
offers to esthetic genius; its scope ranging over the whole 
region of the Past and even of the Future. Until this vast 
domain had been conceived of as a whole by the philosopher, it 
would have been impossible to bring it within the compass of 
poetry. Now theological and metaphjrsical philosophers were 
prevented by the absolute spirit of their doctrines firom imder- 
standing history in all its phases, and were totally incapable of 
idealising them as they deserved. Positivism, on the contrary, 
is always relative ; and its principal feature is a theory of 
history which enables us to appreciate and become familiar 
with every mode in which human society has formed itself. 
No sincere Monotheist can understand and represent with 
fairness the life of Polytheists 6r Fetichists. But the Positivist 
poet, accustomed to look upon all past historical stages in their 
proper filiation, will be able so thoroughly to identify himself 
with all as to awaken our sympathies for them, and revive the 
traces which each individual may recognise of corresponding 
phases in his own history. Thus we shall be able thoroughly 
to enter into the esthetic beauty of the Pagan creeds of Greece 
and Bome, without any of the scruples which Christians could 
not but feel when engaged on the same subject. In the Art of 
the Future all phases of the Past will be recalled to life with 
the same distinctness with which some of them have been 
already idealised by such men as Homer and Corneille. And 
the value of this new source of inspiration is the greater that, 
at the same time that it is being opened out to the artist, the 
public is being prepared for its enjoyment. An almost exhaust- 
less series of beautiful creations in epic or dramatic art may be 
produced, which by rendering it more easy to comprehend and 
to glorify the Past in all its phases, will form an essential 
element on the one hand of our educational system, and on the 
other of the worship of Humanity. 

Lastly, not only will the field for Art become wider, but its â?ia?hSt 
organs will be men of a higher stamp. The present faulty ^JuSS** 
system of esthetic specialities will cease; alien as it is to that eS^^on.' 


synthetic spirit which always characterises the highest poetk 


Beal talent for Art cannot fail to be called out hj the 
educational system of Positivism, which, though intended fbf 
the working classes, is equally applicable to all others. We 
can only idealise and portray what has become fiimiliar tons; 
consequently poetry has always rested upon some system d 
l)elief, capable of giving a fixed direction to our thoughts and 
feelings. The greatest poets, from Homer to Corneille, have 
always participated largely in the best education of which thdr 
times admitted. The artist must have clear conceptions before 
he can exhibit true pictures. Even in these anarchic times, 
when the system of specialities is being carried to such an 
irrational extent, the so-called poets who imagine that they can 
save themselves the trouble of philosophical training have in 
reality to borrow a basi^ of belief from some worn-out metaphy- 
sical or theological creed. Their special education, if it can be 
called so, consists merely in cultivating the talent for expression, 
and is equally injurious to their intellect and their heart. 
Incompatible with deep conviction of any kind, while giving 
mechanical skill in the technical department of Art, it impaiis 
the far more important faculty of idealisation. Hence it is 
that we are at present so deplorably over-stocked with verse- 
makers and literary men, who are wholly devoid of real poetic 
feeling, and are fit for nothing but to disturb society by their 
reckless ambition. As for the four special arts, the training 
for them at present given, being still more technical, is even 
more hurtful in every respect to the student whose education 
does not extend beyond it. On every ground then artists of 
whatever kind should begin their career with the same educa- 
tion as the rest of society. The necessity for such an education 
in the case of women has been already recognised ; and it is 
certainly not less desirable for artists and poets. 

Indeed, so esthetic is the spirit of Positive education, that 
no special training for Art will be needed, except that which is 
given spontaneously by practice. There is no other profession 
which requires so little direct instruction ; the tendency of it in 
Art being to destroy originality, and to stifle the fire of genius 
with technical erudition. Even for the special arts no profes- 
sional education is needed. These, like industrial arts, should 
be acquired by careful apprenticeship under good masters. 


TThe notorious failure of public institutions established for the 
purpose of forming musicians and painters, makes it unneces- 
aary to dwell further upon this point. Not to speak of their 
injurious effects upon character, they are a positive impediment 
to true genius. Poet^ and artists then require no- education 
beyond that which is given to the public, whose thoughts and 
emotions it is their office to represent. Its freedom from speciality 
makes it all the more fit to develop and bring forward real 
talent. It will strengthen the love of all the fine arts simul- 
taneously ; for the connection between them is so intimate that 
those who make it a boast that their talent is for one of them 
exclusively will be strongly suspected of having no real vocation 
for any. The greatest masters even in modem times have all 
shown this imiversality of taste. Its absence in the present day 
is but a fresh proof that esthetic genius does not and cannot 
exist in times like these, when Art has no social purpose and 
rests on no philosophic principles. If even amateurs are ex- 
pected to enjoy Art in all its forms, is it likely that composers 
of real genius will restrict their admiration to their own special 
mode of idealisation and expression ? 

Positivism then, while infusing: a profoundly esthetic spirit Artists m a 

class will 

into general education, would suppress all special schools of Art disappear, 
on the ground that they impede its true growth, and simply «on wiu be 
promote the success of mediocrities. When this principle is bvthethrw 

g» tt t classes com 

carried out to its full length, we shall no longer have any posing the 


special classes devoting the whole of their lives to artistic power, 
pursuits. The culture of Art, especially of poetry, will be a 
spontaneous addition to the functions of the three classes which 
constitute the moral power of society. 

Under the theocratic system which inaugurated the 
evolution of human society, the speculative class absorbed 
all functions except those relating to the common business of 
life. No distinction was made between esthetic and scientific 
talent. Their separation took place afterwards ; and though it 
was indispensable to the full development of both, yet it forms 
no part of the permanent order of society, in which the only 
well-marked division is that between Theory and Practice. 
Ultimately all theoretic faculties will be again combined even 
more closely than in primitive times. So long as they are 
dispersed, their full influence on practical life cannot be realised. 
Only it was necessary that they should remain dispersed until 


each constituent element had attained a sufficieiit dq^ree of 
development. For this preliminary growth the long pmod of 
time that has elapsed since the decline of theocracy was nece»> 
sary. Art detached itself from the common stem before Scienee, 
because its progress was more rapid, and fiom its nature it ms 
more independent. The priesthood had lost its hold of Art, u 
far back as the time of Homer : but it still continued to be the 
depositary of science, until it was superseded at first by philo- 
sophers strictly so called, afterwards by mathematicians and 
astronomers. So it was that Art first, and subsequently Science, 
yielded to the specialising system which, though normal for 
Industry, is in their case abnormaL It stimulated the growth 
of our speculative faculties at the time of their escape from the 
yoke of theocracy ; but now that the need for it no longer exists, 
it is the principal obstacle to the final order towards which all 
their partial developments have been tending. To recombine 
these special elements on new principles is at present the primaiy 
condition of social regeneration. 
hiiosophic Looking at the two essential fimctions of the spiritual 

power, education and counsel, it is not difficult to see that 
what they require is a combination of poetic feeling with 
scientific insight. We look for a measure of both these quali- 
ties in the public ; how then could they be separated in men 
really fit to be its spiritual guides ? That they take the name 
of philosophers in preference to that of poets, is because their 
ordinary duties are more connected with Science than with Art ; 
but they ought to be equally interested in both. Science re- 
quires systematic teaching; whereas Art is cultivated spon- 
taneously, with the exception of the technical branches of the 
special arts. It must be remembered that the highest esthetic 
functions do not admit of permanent organs. It is only works 
of rare excellence which are in the highest sense useful ; these, 
once produced, supply an unfieiiling source of idealisation and 
expression for our emotions, whether social or personal. It is 
enough if the interpreter of these works and his audience 
have been so educated as to appreciate what is perfect, and 
reject mediocrity. Organs of imusual power will arise occasion- 
ally, as in former times, from all sections of society, whenever 
the need of representing new emotions may be felt. But they 
will come more frequently from the philosophic class, in whose 



character, when it is fully developed, Sympathy will be ab 
prominent a feature as System. 

There is, in truth, nothing organically incompatible between idenuty or 
scientific and poetic genius. The difference lies merely in their Kientiao 
combinations of thought, which are concrete and ideal in the ^^ "** 
one case, abstract and real in the other. Both employ analysis 
at starting; both alike aim ultimately at synthesis. The 
erroneous belief that they are irreconcileable proceeds merely 
from the absolute spirit of metaphysical philosophy, which so 
often leads us to mistake a transitory phase for the permanent 
order. The reason for their always appearing to have different 
organs is simply that the two functions cannot be called into 
action at the same moment. A state of society that calls for 
great philosophical efforts cannot be favourable to poetry, be- 
cause it involves a new elaboration of first principles ; and it is 
essential to Art that these should have been already fixed. 
This is the reason why in history we find periods of esthetic' 
growth succeeding periods of great philosophical change, but 
never coexisting. If we look at instances of great minds who 
were never able to find their proper sphere, we see at once that 
had they risen at some other time, they might have cultivated 
either poetry or philosophy, as the case might be, with equal 
success. Diderot would no doubt have been a great poet in a 
time more fevourable to art ; and Gothe, under different social 
influences, might have been an eminent philosopher. All 
scientific discoverers in whom the inductive fiaculty has been 
more active than the deductive, have given manifest proof of 
poetic capacity. Whether the powers of invention take an ab- 
stract or a concrete direction, whether they are employed in 
discovering truth or in idealising it, the cerebral function is 
always essentially the same. The difference is merely that of 
the objects pursued ; and these in the most marked examples 
cannot be simultaneous. The remarkably synthetic character of 
Buffon's genius may be looked on historically as a spontaneous 
instance of fusion of the scientific and esthetic spirit. Bossuet 
would have been even a more striking illustration of equal 
capacity for the deepest philosophy or for the sublimest poetry, 
had the circumstances of his life given him a more definite 
impulse in either direction. 

It is, then, not unreasonable to expect, notwithstanding the 
opinion usually maintained, that the philosophical class will 


furnish poets of the highest rank when the time calls for them. 
To pass from scientific thought to esthetic thought will not be 
difficult for minds of the highest order; for in such minds there 
is always a natural inclination towards the work which is most 
urgently required by their time. To meet the technical condi- 
tions of the arts of sound and form, it will be necessary to 
provide a few special masters, who, in consideration of the 
importance of their services to general education, will be looked 
upon as accessory members of the new spiritual power. But 
even here the tendency to specialities will be materially re- 
stricted. This exceptional position will only be given to men of 
sufficient esthetic power to appreciate all the fine arts ; and they 
should be capable of practising at least the three arts of form 
simultaneously, as was done by Italian painters in the sixteenth 

As an ordinary rule, it is only by their appreciation and 
power of explaining ideal Art in all its forms that our philoso- 
phers will exhibit their esthetic faculty. They will not be 
actively engaged in esthetic functions, except in the arrange- 
ment of public festivals. But when the circumstances of the 
time are such as to call for great epic or dramatic works, the 
purely philosophic function ceasing for a time to absorb the 
highest minds, such minds will become poets in the common 
sense of the word. As the work of Co-ordination and that of 
Idealisation will for the future alternate with greater rapidity, 
we might conceive them, were man's life longer, performed by 
the same organ. But the shortness of life, and the necessity 
of youthful vigour for all great undertakings, exclude this 
hypothesis. I only mention it to illustrate the radical identity 
of two forms of mental activity which are often supposed in- 

An additional proof of the esthetic capacity of the mode- 
rating power in works of less difficulty, but admitting of greater 
frequency, will be fumishsd by its feminine element» In the 
special arts, or at least in the arts of form, but little can be 
expected of them, because these demand more technical know- 
ledge than they can well acquire, and, moreover, the slow pro- 
cess of training would spoil the spontaneousness which is so 
admirable in them. But for all poetic composition which does 
not require intense or prolonged effort, women of genius are 
better qualified than men. This they should consider as their 


proper department intellectually, since their nature is not well 
adapted for the discovery of scientific truth. WTien women 
have become more systematically associated with the general 
movement of society under the influence of the new system of 
education, they will do much to elevate that class of poetry 
which relates to personal feelings and to domestic life. Women 
are already better judges of such poetry than men ; and there 
is no reason why they should not excel them in composing it. 
For the power of appreciating and that of producing are in 
reality identical; the difference is in degree only, and this 
depends greatly upon culture. The only kind of composition 
which seems to me to be beyond their powers is epic or dra- 
matic poetry in which public life is depicted. But in all its 
other branches, poetry would seem their natural field of study ; 
and one which, regarded always as an exceptional occupation, 
is quite in keeping with the social duties assigned to them. The 
affections of our home life cannot be better portrayed than by 
those in whom they are found in their purest form, and who, 
without training, combine talent and expression with the ten- 
dency to idealise. Under a more perfect organisation, then, of 
the esthetic world than prevails at present, the larger portion 
of poetical and perhaps also of musical productions, will pass 
into the hands of the more loving sex. The advantage of this 
will be that the poetry of private life will then rise to that high 
standard of moral purity of which it so peculiarly admits, but 
which our coarser sex can never attain without struggles which 
injure its spontaneity. The simple grace of Lafontaine and the 
delicate sweetness of Petrarch will then be found united with 
deeper and purer sympathies, so as to raise lyrical poetry to a 
degree of perfection that has never yet been attained. 

The popular element of the spiritual power has not so well People'» 
marked an aptitude for art, since the active nature of tlieir 
occupations hardly admits of the same degree of intellectual life. 
But there is a minor class of poems, where energy of character 
and freedom from worldly cares are the chief sources of inspira- 
tion, for which working men are better adapted than women, 
and far more so than philosophers. When Positivist education 
has extended sufficiently to the People of the West, poets and 
musicians will spontaneously arise, as in many cases they have 
already arisen, to give expression to its own special aspirations. 
But independently of what may be due to individual efforts, the 


People as a whole has aa indirect but most important influence 
upon the progress of Art, from the fact of being the principal 
source of language. 

Such, then, is the position which Art will finally assume in 
the Positive system. There will be no class, as at present, 
exclusively devoted to it, with the exception of a few special 
masters. But there will be a general education, enabling every 
class to appreciate all the modes of idealisation, and encourag- 
ing their culture among the three elements which constitute the 
moral force of society and which are excluded from political 
government. Among these there will be a division of esthetic 
labour. Poetry descriptive of public life will emanate from the 
philosophic class. The poetry of personal or domestic life will 
be written by women or working men, according as affection or 
energy may be the source of inspiration. Thus the mental 
exercise for which our faculties are best qualified will be fully 
developed with those classes in which the various aspects of our 
nature are most perfectly developed. The only classes who 
cannot participate in this pleasant task are those whose life is 
occupied by considerations of power or wealth, and whose enjoy- 
ment of Art» though heightened by the education which they 
in common with others will receive, must remain essentially 
passive. Our idealising powers will henceforth be directly 
concentrated on a work of the highest social importance, the 
purification of our moral nature. The speciality by which so 
much of the natural charm of Art was lost will cease, and the 
moral dangers inseparable from a life exclusively devoted to the 
faculty of expression will exist no longer. 
Value of Art I havc now showu the position which Art will occupy in the 
sent ci^ social system as finally constituted. I have yet to speak of its 
influence in the actual work of regeneration which Positivism 
is inaugurating. We have already seen that each of the three 
elements of the renovating movement assumes functions similar 
to those for which it is ultimately destined, performing them in 
a more strenuous, though less methodic way. This is obviously 
true of the philosophic class who head the movement ; nor is it 
less true of the proletariate from whom it derives its vigour, nor 
of women whose support gives it a moral sanction. It would 
seem therefore that the same should hold good of the esthetic 
function which gives completeness to their work. On closer 
examination we shall find that this is the case. 


The principal function of Art is to construct types on the i. constno- 
basis furnished by Science. Now this is precisely what is mait^^m 
required for inaugurating the new social system. However nwiedby 
perfectly its first principles may be elaborated by thinkers, they ""°**'* ^• 
wUl stUl be not sufficiently definite for the practical result. 
Systematic study of the Past can only reveal the Future in 
general outline. Even in the simpler sciences perfect dis- 
tinctness is impossible without overstepping the limits of actual 
proof. Still more, therefore, in Sociology will the conclusions 
of Science &11 always &r short of that degree of fulness, 
precision, and clearness, without which no principle can be 
thoroughly popularised. But at the point where Philosophy 
must always leave a void. Poetry steps in and stimulates prac- 
tical action. In the early periods of Polytheism, Poetry re- 
paired the defects of the system viewed dogmatically. Its 
value will be even greater in idealising a system founded, not 
upon imagination, but upon observation of fact. In the next 
chapter I shall dwell at greater length on the service which 
Poetry will render in representing the central conception of 
Positivism. It will be easy to apply the same principle to 
other cases. 

In his efforts to accomplish this object, the Positivist poet s. Pictmes 
will naturally be led to form prophetic pictures of the régénéra- of Man. 
tion of Man, viewed in every aspect that admits of being ideally 
represented. And this is the second service which Art will 
render to the cause of social renovation ; or rather it is an ex- 
tension of the first. It involves in fact the systematic con- 
struction of Utopias; maintaining, as in every other branch of art, 
constant subordination of the ideal to the real. The unlimited 
licence which is apparently given to Utopias by the unsettled 
character of the time is in reality a bar to their practical in- 
fluence, since even the wildest dreamers shrink from extrava- 
gance that oversteps the ordinary conditions of mental sanity. 
But when it is once understood tliat the sphere of Imagination 
is simply that of explaining and giving life to the conclusions 
of Eeason, the severest thinkers will welcome its influence ; 
because, so far from obscuring reality, it will give greater dis- 
tinctness to it than could be given by Science unassisted. 
Utopias have then their legitimate purpose, and Positivism will 
strongly encourage their formation. They form a class of 
poetiy which, under sound sociological principles, will prove of 


material service in leading the people of the West towards the 
normal state. Each of the five modes of Art may participate 
in this salutary influence ; each in its own way may give a 
foretaste of the beauty and greatness of the new life that is 
now oflfered to the individual, to the family, and to society. 

From this second mode in which Art assists the great work 
of reconstruction we pass naturally to a third, which at the 
present time is of equal importance ; the removal of the spell 
under which the Western nations are still blinded to the 
Future by the decayed ruins of the Past. All that is neces- 
sary is to contrast them with the prophetic pictures of which 
we have been speaking. Since the decline of Catholicism 
in the fourteenth century, Art has flourished, notwithstanding 
its application to critical purposes alien to its true nature, 
which is essentially synthetic. Therefore during its future 
constructive phase, it will not be incompatible with the 
secondary object of contending against opinions, and still more 
against modes of life, which ought to have died out with the 
Catholic system, or with the revolutionary period which followed 
it. Yet resistance to some of the most deeply-rooted errors of 
the Past will not interfere with the larger purpose of Positivist 
Art ; for direct criticism will never be needed. "V^Tiether 
against theological or against metaphysical dogmas, argument 
is henceforth needless, even in a philosophical treatise, much 
more so in poetry. All that is needed is simple contrast, 
usually implied rather than expressed, of the procedure of Posi- 
tivism and Catholicism in reference to similar social and moral 
problems. The scientific basis of such a contrast is already 
furnished ; it is for Art. to do the rest, since the appeal should 
be to Feeling rather than to Season. At the close of the last 
chapter I mentioned the principal case in which this com- 
parison would have been of service, the introduction, namely, 
of Positivism to the two Southern nations. It was the task 
that I had marked out for my saintly fellow-worker, for it is 
one in which the esthetic powers of women would be peculiarly 

In this the third of its temporary functions, Positivist Art 
approximates to its noimal character. We have spoken of its 
idealisation of the Future, but here it will idealise the Past also. 
Positivism cannot be accepted until it has rendered the fullest 
and most scrui^ulous justice to Catholicism. Our poets, so &r 


from detracting from the moral and political worth of the 
mediaeval system, will begin by doing all the honour to it that 
is consistent with philosophical truth, as a prelude to the still 
higher beauty of the system which supersedes it. It will be 
the inauguration of their permanent office of restoring the Past 
to life. For it is equally in the interest of systematic thought 
and of social sympathy that the relation of the Past to the 
Future shoidd be deeply impressed upon. all. 

But these three steps towards the incorporation of Art into 
the final order, though not far distant, cannot be taken imme- 
diately. They presuppose a degree of intellectual preparation 
which is not yet reached either by the Western public or by it« 
esthetic teachers. The present generation under which, in 
France, the great revolution is now peacefully entering upon its 
second phase, may diffuse Positivism largely, not merely 
amongst qualified thinkers, but among the people of Paris, who 
are entrusted with the destinies of Western Europe, and among 
women of nobler nature. The next generation, growing up in 
the midst of this movement, may, before the expiration of a 
century from the date of the Convention, complete spon- 
taneously the moral and mental inauguration of the new system, 
by exhibiting the new esthetic features which Humanity in her 
regenerate condition will assume. 

Let us now sum up the conclusions of this chapter. We sammary of 
have found Positive Philosophy peculiarly favourable to the 
continuous development of all the fine arts. A doctrine which 
encourages Humanity to strive for perfection of every kind, 
cannot but foster and assimilate that form of mental activity 
by which our sense of perfection is so highly stimulated. It 
controls the Ideal, indeed, by systematic study of the Eeal ; but 
only in order to furnish it with an objective basis, and so to 
secure its coherence and its moral value. Placed on this foot- 
ing, our esthetic faculties are better adapted than the scientific, 
both to the nature and range of our understanding, and also to 
that which is the object of all intellectual effort, the organisa- 
tion of human unity ; for they are more inmiediately connected 
with Feeling, on which the imity of our nature must rest. 
Next to direct culture of the heart, it is in ideal Art that we 
shall find the best assistance in our efforts to become more 
loving and more noble. 

Logically, Art should have a salutary influence upon our 


intellectual ÊLculties, because it familiariaee us from childhood 
with the featiures by which all constructive efforts of man should 
be characterisecL Science has for a long time preferred the 
analytic method ; whereas Art, ev^ in these times of anarchy, 
always aims at Synthesis, which is the final goal of all intel- 
lectual activity. Even when Art, oontraiy to its nature, 
undertakes to destroy, it cannot do its work, whatever it be, 
without constructing. Thus, by implanting a taste and faculty 
for ideal construction. Art enables us to build witb greater 
effect than ever upon the more stubborn soil of reality. 

On all these grounds Art, in the Positive system, is made 
the primary basis of general education. In a subsequent stage 
education assumes a more scientific charactery with the objeet 
of supplying a systematic conception of the external world. 
But in after life Art resumes its original position. There the 
ordinary functions of the spiritual power will be esthetic rather 
than scientific. The three elements of which the modifying 
power is composed will become spontaneously the organs of 
idealisation, a function which will henceforth never be dit- 
sociated from the power of philosophic synthesis* 

Such a combination implies that the new philosophers diall 
have a true feeling for all the fine arts. In ordinary times 
passive appreciation of them will suffice ; but there will occa- 
sionally be periods where philosophic effort ceases to be necessary, 
and which call rather for the vigour of the poet ; and at these 
times the more powerful minds among them should be capaUe 
of rising to the loftiest creative efforts. - Difficult as the condi- 
tion may be, it is essential to the full degree of moral influence 
of which their office admits and which their work requires. 
The priest of Humanity will not have attained his full measure 
of superiority over the priest of Grod, until with the intellect 
of the Philosopher he combines the enthusiasm of the Poet, 
as well as the tenderness of Woman, and the People's energy. 




LoYE, then, is our principle ; Order our basis ; and Progress Beoftpitaia- 
our end. Such, as the preceding chapters have shown, is the retaitsob- 
essential character of the system of life which Positivism offers 
for the definite acceptance of society ; a system which regulates 
the whole course of our private and public existence, by bring- 
ing Feeling, Reason, and Activity into permanent harmony. 
In this final synthesis, all essential conditions are far more 
perfectly fulfilled than in any other. Each special element of 
our nature is more fully developed, and at the same time the 
general working of the whole is more cohereut. Ghreater dis- 
tinctness is given to the truth that the affective element pre- 
dominates in our nature. Life in all its actions and thoughts 
is brought under the control and inspiring charm of Social 

By the supremacy of the Heart, the Intellect, so far from Harmony of 
being crushed, is elevated ; for all its powers are consecrated to human 
the service of the social instincts, with the purpose of strength- 
ening and of directing their influence. By accepting its subor- 
dination to Feeling, Reason adds to its own authority. To it 
we look for the revelation of the fundamental order which 
guides our life in obedience to the natural laws of the phe- 
nomena around us. The objective basis thus discovered for 
human effort reacts most beneficially on our moral nature. Its 
forced acceptance controls the fickleness to which our affections 
are liable, and acts as a direct stimulus to social sympathy. 
Concentrated on so high an office, and thus preserved from use- 
less digression, the intellect will yet find a boundless field for its 
operations in the study of all the natural laws by which human 
destinies are affected, and especially of those which relate 
to the constitution of man or of society. The preponderance 
VOL. I. 8 


of the sociological point of view, so âkr from discouraging even 
the most abstract order of speculations, adds to their logical 
coherence as well as to their moral value ; since it gives the 
only central point round which they can be co-ordinated. 

And whilst Season is admitted to its due share of influence 
on Iiuman life, Imagination is also strengthened, and called into 
constant exercise ; assuming henceforth its proper function, the 
idealisation of truth. For the external basis of our conceptioiu 
scientific investigation is necessary. But this basis onoe 
obtained, the constitution of our mind is far better adapted to 
esthetic than to scientific study, provided always that Imagina- 
tion recognise the controlling influence of Science so well cal- 
culated to restrain its extravagance. Subject to this condition, 
Positivism gives every encouragement to esthetic studies, as 
being in such perfect accordance with its guiding principle of 
affection, and so closely related to its practical object. Progress. 
Art will enter largely into the social life of the Future, and will 
be regarded as the most pleasurable and most salutary exercise of 
our intellectual powers, because it leads them in the most direct 
manner to the culture and improvement of our moral nature. 
practic^ Originating in the first instance with practical life, Pod- 

human ufe. tivism will return thither with increased force, now that 
its long period of scientific preparation is accomplished, and 
that it has occupied the field of moral truth, henceforth its 
principal domain. Its principle of sympathy, so far from relax- 
ing our efforts, will stimulate all our faculties to universal 
activity by urging them onwards towards perfection of every 
kind. Scientific study of the natural Order is incidcated solely 
with the view of directing all the forces of Man and of Society 
to its improvement by artificial effort. Hitherto this aim has 
hardly been recognised, even with regard to the material world ; 
and but a small proportion of human energy has been spent 
upon it. Yet the aim is high, provided always that the view 
taken of human progress extend beyond its lower and more 
material stages. Our theoretical powers once concentrated on 
the moral problems which form their principal field, our prac- 
tical energies will not fail to take the same direction, devoting 
themselves to that portion of the natural Order which is most 
imperfect and at the same time most modifiable. With these 
larger and more systematic views of human life, its best efforts 
will be given to the improvement of the mind, and still more to 



the improvement of the character and to the increase of affection 
and courage. Public and private life are now brought into 
close relation by the identity of their principal aims, which 
being kept constantly in sight ennoble every action in both. 
Practical questions must ever continue to preponderate, as 
before, over questions of theory ; but this condition, so far from 
being adverse to speculative power, concentrate» it upon the 
most difficult of all problems, the discovery of moral and social 
laws, our knowledge of which will never be fully adequate to 
our practical requirements. * Mental and practical activity of 
this kind can never result in hardness of feeling. On the con- 
trary, it impresses us more strongly with the conviction that 
Sympathy is not merely our highest happiness, but the most 
effectual instrument of progress ; and that without it all other 
means can be of little avail. 

Thus it is that in the Positive system, the Heart, the Intel- ^ 
lect, and the Character mutually strengthen and develop one 
another ; because each is systematically directed to the mode of 
action for which it is by nature adapted. Public and private 
life are brought into a far more harmonious relation than in 
any former time, because the purpose to which both are conse- 
crated is identical, the difference being merely in the range of 
their respective instruments. The aim in both is to secure to 
the utmost possible extent, the victory of Social feeling over 
Self-love ; and to this aim all our powers, whether of affection, 
thought, or action, are in both unceasingly directed. 

This, then, is the shape in which the great human problem 
comes definitely before us. Its solution demands all the appli- 
ances of Social Art. The primary principle on which the 
solution rests, is the separation of the two elementary powers 
of society ; the moral power of counsel, and the political power 
of command. The necessary preponderance of the latter, which 
rests upon material force, corresponds to the fact that in our 
imperfect nature, where the coarser wants are the most pressing 
and the most continuously felt, the selfish instincts are natu- 
rally stronger than the unselfish. Without this compulsory 
pressure, even our individual action would be feeble and pur- 
poseless, and social life still more certainly would lose its 
character and its energy. Moral force, therefore, resting on 
conviction and persuasion, should remain simply a modifying 
influence, never assuming imperative authority. 

8 2 

a - 


I *' 



Tlic Spirit- 
ual Power. 



Originating in Feeling and in Reason, it represents the 
social side of our nature, and to this its direct influence is 
limited. Indeed by the very &ct that it is the expression of 
our highest attributes, it is precluded from that practical ascen- 
dancy which is possessed by faculties of a lower but more 
energetic kind. Inferior to material force in power, though 
superior to it in dignity, it contrasts and opposes its own classi- 
fication of men according to the standard of moral and iutd- 
lectual worth, to the classification by wealth and worldly 
position which actually prevails.' True, the higher standard 
will never be adopted practically, but the effort to uphold it 
• will react beneficially on the natural order of society. It will 
( restore the breadth of view and the sense of ^duty, which are so 
/ apt to be impaired by the ordinary course of daily life. 

The means of effecting this important result, the need of 
which is so generally felt, will not be wanting, when the mode- 
rating power enters upon its characteristic function of preparing 
us for practical life by a rational system of education, through- 
out which, even in its intellectual department, moral consideia- 
tions will predominate. This power will therefore concentrate 
itself upon theoretical and moral questions; and it can only 
maintain its position as the recognised organ of social sympathy, 
by invariable abstinence from political action. It will be its 
first duty to contend against the ambitious instincts of its own 
members. True, such instincts, in spite of the impurity of their 
source, may be of use in those natures who are really destined 
for the indispensable business of government. But for a spiritual 
power formal renunciation of wealth and rank is at the veiy 
root of its influence ; it is the first of the conditions which 
justify it in resisting the encroachments to which political power 
is always tempted. Hence the classes to whose natural sympa- 
thies it looks for support are those who, like itself, are excluded 
from political administration. 

Women, from their strongly sympathetic nature, were the 
original source of all moral influence ; and they are peculiarly 
qualified by the passive character of their life to assist the action 
of the spiritual power in the family. With its most essential 
function of education they are intimately connected. Private 
education is entrusted to their sole charge ; and public educa- 
tion simply consists in giving a more systematic shape to what 
the mother has already inculcated in childhood. As wives they 


assume still more distinctly the spiritual fimction of counsel ; 
softening by persuasion where the philosopher can only influence 
by conviction. In social meetings, again, the only mode of 
public life adapted to their nature, they assist the spiritual 
power in the formation of Public Opinion of which it is the sys- 
tematic organ, by applying the principles which it inculcates 
to the case of particular actions or persons. In all these matters 
their influence will be far more effectual when men have done 
their duty to women by setting them free from the pressure of 
material necessity ; and when women on their side have re- 
nounced both power and wealth ; as we see so often exempli- 
fied among the working classes. 

The affinity of the People with the philosophic power is less The F«opie. 
direct and less pure ; but it will be an active agent in removing 
the obstacles which the temporal power will inevitably oppose. 
The working classes having but little spare time and small 
individual influence, cannot, except on rare occasions, partici- 
pate in the practical administration of government, since all 
efficient government involves concentration of power. Moral 
force, on the contrary, created as it is by free convergence of 
opinion, admits of, and indeed 'requires, the widest ramification. 
Working men, owing to their freedom from practical responsi- 
bilities and their unconcern for personal aggrandisement, are 
better disposed than their employers to broad views and to 
generous sympathies; and will therefore naturally associate 
themselves with the spiritual power. It is they who will supply 
the principal basis of true public opinion, so soon as they are 
enabled by Positive education, which is specially framed with a 
view to their case, to give greater definiteness to their aspira- 
tions. Their wants and their sympathies will alike bring them 
into contact with the philosophic priesthood as the systematic 
g^uardian of their interests against the governing classes. In 
return for such protection they will bring the whole weight of 
their influence to assist the priesthood in its great social mission, 
the subordination of government to morality. In those excep- 
tional cases where it becomes necessary for the moderating 
power to assume political functions, the popular element will 
of itself suffice for the emergency, thus exempting the philo- 
sophic element from participating in an anomaly from which 
its character would suffer almost as seriously as the feminine 


The direct influence of Reason over our imperfect nature is 
/ so feeble that the new priesthood could not of itself ensure sndi 
respect for its theories as would bring them to any practical 
result. But the sympathies of women and of the people, 
operating in every town and in every family, will be sufficient 
to ensure its efficacy in organising that legitimate degree of 
moral pressure which the poor may bring to bear upon the rich. 
Moreover it will be one of the results of our common system of 
education that additional aid will spring from the governing 
classes themselves; for some of their noblest members will 
volunteer their assistance to the spiritual power, forming a >ort 
of new chivalry. And yet, comprehensive as our organisation 
of moral force will be, so great is the innate strength of the 
selfish instincts, that our success in solving the great human 
problem will always fall short of what we might legitimately 
desire. To this conclusion we must come, in whatever way we 
regard the destiny of Man ; but it should only encourage us to 
combine our efforts still more strongly in order to ameliorate 
the order of Nature in its most important aspects ; those which 
are at once the most modifiable and the most imperfect. 
iRiduRiper. The highest profiress of man and of society consists in 
hi irreat gradual increase of that mastery which man alone can attam 

roblem of " "^ 

Je. over all his defects, especially those of his moral nature. 

Among the nations of antiquity the progress in this direction 
was but small ; all that could be done was to prepare the way 
for it by certain necessary phases of intellectual and social 
development. The whole tendency of Greek and Roman society 
was such as made it impossible to form a distinct conception of 
the great problem of oiur moral nature; Morals being with 
them invariably subordinate to Politics. Nevertheless, it is 
moral progress which alone can satisfy our natiu^e ; and in the 
Middle Ages it was recc^ised as the highest aim of human 
effort, notwithstanding that its intellectual and social condi- 
tions were as yet very imperfectly realised. The creeds of the 
Middle Ages were too unreal and impertect, the character of 
society was too military and aristocratic, to allow Morals and 
Politics to assume permanently their right relation. The 
attempt was made, however ; and, inadequate as it was, it was 
enough to allow the people of the West to appreciate the funda- 
mental principle involved in it, a principle destined to survive 
the opinions and the habits of life from which it arose. Its 


full weight could never be felt until the Positive spirit had ex- 
tended beyond the elementary subjects to which it had been so 
long subjected, to the sphere of social truth ; and had thus 
reached the position at which a complete synthesis became 
possible. Equally essential was it that in those countries which 
had been incorporated into the Western Empire, and had passed 
from it into Catholic Feudalism, war should be definitely super- 
seded by industrial activity. In the long period of transition 
which has elapsed since the Middle Ages, both these conditions 
have been fulfilled, while at the same time the old system has 
been gradually decomposed. Finally the great crisis of the 
Sevolution has stimulated all advanced minds to reconsider, 
with better intellectual and social principles, the same problem 
that Christianity and Chivalry had attempted. The radical 
solution of it was then begun, and it is now completed and 
enunciated in a systematic form by Positivism. 

All essential phases in the evolution of society answer to Humanity 
corresponding phases in the growth of the individual, whether wwoh eren 
it has proceeded spontaneously or under systematic guidance, PositiTism 
supposing always that his development be complete. But in- 
dependently of this close connection between all modes and 
degrees of human regeneration, we have to search for a cen- 
tral point towards which all will naturally converge. In this 
point consists the unity of Positivism as a system of life. 
Unless it can be thus condensed round one single principle, it 
will never wholly supersede the synthesis of Theology, notwith- 
standing its superiority in the reality and stability of its com- 
ponent parts, and in their homogeneity and coherence as a whole. 
The possession of this central principle, equally adapted to Feel- 
ing, Reason, and Activity, is the final condition of the ascen- 
dancy of Positivism in private or in public life. 

Such a centre we find in the great conception of Humanity, 
towards which every aspect of Positivism naturally converges. 
By it the conception of God will be entirely superseded ; and a 
synthesis be formed, more complete and permanent than that 
provisionally established by the old religions. Through it the 
new doctrine becomes at once accessible to men's hearts in its 
full extent and application. From their hearts it will penetrate 
their minds, and thus the immediate necessity of beginning with 
a long and difficult course of study is avoided, though this 


must of course be always indispensable to its systematie 

This central point of Positivism is even more moral than 
intellectual in character ; it represents the principle of Love 
upon which the whole system rests. It is the peculiar diar 
racteristic of the G-reat Being who is here set forth, to be com- 
poimded of separable elements. Its existence depends therefore 
entirely upon mutual Love knitting together its various parte. 
The calculations of self-interest can never be substituted as a 
combining influence for the sympathetic instincts. 

Yet the belief in Humanity while stimulating Sympathy, 
at the same time enlarges the scope and vigour of the Intellect 
For it requires high powers of generalisation to conceive 
clearly of this vast organism as the result of spontaneous co- 
operation ; abstraction made of all partial antagonisms. Beason, 
then, has its part in this central dogma as well as Love. It 
enlarges and completes our conception of the Supreme Being, 
by revealing to us the external and internal conditions of its 

Lastly, our active powers are stimulated by it no less than 
our feelings and our reason. For since Humanity is so fieur more 
complex than any other organism, it will react miore strongly 
and more continuously on its environment, submitting to its 
influence and so modifying it. Hence results Progress, which 
is simply the development of Order under the influence of 

Thus in the conception of Humanity the three essential 
aspects of Positivism, its subjective principle, its objective 
dogma, and its practical object, are united. Towards Humanity, 
who is for us the only true Great Being, we, the conscious 
elements of whom she is composed, shall henceforth direct 
every aspect of our life, individual or collective. Our thoughte 
will be devoted to the knowledge of Himianity, our affections 
to her love, our actions to her service. 

Positivists then may, more truly than theological believers of 
whatever creed, regard life as a continuous and intense act of 
worship; worship which will elevate and purify our feelings, 
enlarge and enlighten our thoughts, ennoble and invigorate our 
actions. It supplies a direct solution, "k) fieur as a solution is 
possible, of the great problem of the Middle Ages ; the subordi- 
nation of Politics to Morals. For this follows at once from the 


consecration now given to the principle that social sympathy 
should preponderate over self-love. 

Thus Positivism becomes, in the true sense of the word, a ^ 
Beligion ; one more real and more complete than any other, 
and therefore destined to replace all imperfect and provisional 
systems resting on the primitive basis of theology. 

Even the synthesis of the old theocracies was insufficient, 
because, being based on purely subjective principles, it could 
never embrace practical life, which must always be subordinated 
to the objective realities of the external world. Theocracy was 
thus limited at the outset to the sphere of thought and of feel- 
ing ; and part even of this field was soon lost when Art became 
emancipated from theocratical control, showing a spontaneous 
tendency to its natural vocation of idealising real life. Of 
science and of morality the priests were still left sole arbiters ; 
but here, too, their influence materially diminished so soon as 
the discovery of the simpler abstract tniths of Positive science 
gave birth to Greek Philosophy. Philosophy, though as yet 
necessarily restricted to the metaphysical stage, yet already 
stood forward as the rival of the sacerdotal system. Its attempts 
to construct were in themselves fruitless ; but they overthrew 
Polytheism, and ultimately transformed it into Monotheism. 
In this the last phase of theology, the intellectual authority of 
the priests was undermined no less deeply than the principle of 
their doctrine. They lost their hold upon Science, as long ago 
they had lost their hold upon Art. All that remained to them 
was the moral guidance of society ; and even this was soon com- 
promised by the progress of free thought ; progress really due 
to the Positive spirit, although its systematic exponents still 
belonged to the metaphysical school. 

When Science had expanded sufficiently to exist apart from with the 
Philosophy, it showed a rapid tendency towards a synthesis of aocioioKicai 
its own, alike incompatible with metaphysics and with theology, therf'^ on the 
It was late in appearing, because it required what the other two enœ be- 
did not, a long series of preliminary efforts ; but as it ap- siwe, gcienoo 

, , beinif now 

proached completion, it gradually brought the Positive spirit to concen- 
bear upon the organisation of practical life, from which that study of hu- 
spirit had originally emanated. But thoroughly to effect this 
result was impossible until the science of Sociology had been 
formed ; and this was done by my discovery of the law of his- 
torical development. Henceforth aU true men of science will 


rise to the higher dignity of philosophers, and by so doing wiD 
necessarily assume something of the sacerdotal character, because 
the final result to which their researches tend is the subordi- 
nation of every subject of thought to the moral principle ; a 
result which leads us at once to the acceptance of a complete 
and homogeneous synthesis. Thus the philosophers of the future 
become priests of Humanity, and their moral and intellectual 
influence will be fer wider and more deeply rooted than that of 
any former priesthood. The primary condition of their spiritual 
authority is exclusion from political power ; as a guarantee that 
theory and practice shall be systematically kept apart. A sys- 
tem in which the organs of counsel and those of command are 
never identical cannot possibly degenerate into any of the evils 
of theocracy. 

By entirely renouncing wealth and worldly position, and 
that not as individuals merely, but as a body, the priests of 
Humanity will occupy a position of imparalleled dignity. For 
with their moral influence they will combine what since the 
downfjEdl of the old theocracies has always been separated firom 
it, the influence of superiority in art and science. Beason, 
Imagination, and Feeling will be brought into unison : and so 
united, will react strongly on the imperious conditions of 
practical life ; bringing it into closer accordance with the laws 
of universal morality, from which it is so prone to deviate. And 
the influence of this new modifying power will be the greater 
that the synthesis on which it rests will have preceded and pre- 
pared the way for the social system of the future ; whereas 
theology could not arrive at its central principle, imtil the time 
of its decline was approaching. All functions then that co- 
operate in the elevation of man will be regenerated by the 
Positive priesthood. Science, Poetry, Morality, will be devoted 
to the study, the praise, and the love of Hiunanity, in order that 
under their combined influence, our political action may be 
more unremittingly given to her service. 

With such a mission. Science acquires a position of un- 
paralleled importance, as the sole means through which we come 
to know the nature and conditions of this Great Being, the 
worship of whom should be the distinctive feature of our whole 
life. For this all-important knowledge, the study of Sociology 
would seem to suffice ; but Sociology itself depends upon pre- 
liminary study, first of the outer world, in which the actions of 


Humanity take place ; and secondly, of Man, the individual 

The object of Positivist worship is not like that of theo- ^^ 
logical believers, an absolute, isolated, incomprehensible Being, 
whose existence admits of no demonstration, or comparison with 
anything real. The evidence of the Being here set forward is 
spontaneous, and is shrouded in no mystery. Before we can 
praise, love, and serve Hiunanity as we ought, we must know 
something of the laws which govern her existence, an existence 
more complicated than any other of which we are cognisant. 

And by virtue of this complexity. Humanity possesses the suucai a*. 
attributes of vitality in a higher degree than any other organisa- manity. 
tion ; that is to say, there is at once more intimate harmony 
of the component elements, and more complete subordination 
to the external world. Immense as is the magnitude of this 
organism measured both in Time and Space, yet each of its 
phenomena carefully examined will show the general consensus 
of the whole. At the same time it is more dependent than any 
other upon the conditions of the outer world ; in other words, 
upon the sum of the laws that regulate inferior phenomena. 
Like other vital organisms, it submits to mathematical, astro- 
nomical, physical, chemical, and biological conditions ; and, in 
addition to these, is subject to special laws of Sociology with 
which lower organisms are not concerned. But as a further 
result of its higher complexity it reacts upon the world more 
powerfully ; and is indeed in a true sense its chief. Scientifi- 
cally defined, then, it is truly the Supreme Being : the Being 
who manifests to the fullest extent all the highest attributes of 

But there is yet another feature peculiar to Humanity, and 
one of primary importance. That feature is, that the elements 
of which she is composed must always have an independent 
existence. In other organisms the parts have no existence when 
severed from the whole ; but this, the greatest of all organisms, 
is made up of lives which can really be separated. There is, as 
we have seen, harmony of parts as well as independence ; but the 
last of these conditions is as indispensable as the first. Hu- 
manity would cease to be superior to other beings were it pos- 
sible for her elements to become inseparable. The diflSciilty of 
reconciling these two necessary conditions is a sufficient expla- 
nation of the slowness with which this highest of all organisms 


has been developed. It must not, however be supposed that 
the new Supreme Being is, like the old, merely a subjective 
result of our powers of abstraction. Its existence is revved to 
us, on the contrary, by close investigation of objective fact 
Man indeed, as an individual, cannot properly be said to exist, 
except in the too abstract brain of modem metaphysicians. 
Existence in the true sense can only be predicated of Humanity; 
although the complexity of her nature prevented men firom 
forming a systematic conception of it, imtil the necessary stagtes 
of scientific initiation had been passed. Bearing this conclusion 
in mind, we shall be able now to disting^sh in Himianity two 
distinct orders of functions ; those by which she acts upon the 
world, and those which bind together her component parts. 
Humanity cannot herself act otherwise than by her separable 
members ; but the efficiency of these members depends upon 
their working in co-operation, whether instinctively or with 
design. We find, then, external functions relating principally 
to the material existence of this organism ; and internal func- 
tions by which its movable elements are combined. This 
distinction is but an application to the collective (organism of 
the great theory, due to Bichat's genius, of the distinction 
between the life of nutrition and the life of relation which we 
find in the individual organism. Philosophically it is the source 
from which we derive the great social principle of separation of 
spiritual from temporal power. The temporal power governs : 
it originates in the personal instincts, and it stimulates activity, 
on which depends the general order of society. The spiritual 
power can only moderate : it is the exponent of our social 
instincts, and it promotes co-operation, which results in Pro- 
gress. Of these fimctions of Humanity the first corresponds to 
the function of nutrition, the second to that of innervation in 
the individual organism. 
jrnamioai Having now viewed our subject statically, we may come to 

its dynamical aspect ; reserving more detailed discussion for the 
third volume of this treatise, which deals with my fundamental 
theory of human development. The Great Being whom we 
worship is not immutable any more than it is absolute. Its 
nature is relative ; and, as such, is eminently capable of growth. 
In a word it is the most vital of all living beings known to us. 
It extends and becomes more complex by the continuous succes- 
sions of generations. But in its progressive changes no less 



than in its permanent functions, it is subject to invariable laws. 
And the sum of these changes henceforth to be considered as a 
whole, forms a more sublime object of contemplation than the 
solemn inaction of the old Supreme Being, whose existence was 
passive except when interrupted by acts of arbitrary and unin- 
telligible volition. Thus it is only by Positive science that we 
can appreciate this highest of all destinies by which all indi- 
vidual life is governed and surrounded. It is with this as with 
subjects of minor importance : systematic study of the Past is 
necessary in order to determine the Future, and so explain the 
tendencies of the Present. Let us then pass firom the concep- 
tion of Humanity as fully developed, to the history of its 
gradual formation ; a history which sums up eveiy aspect of 
human progress. In ancient times it was incompatible both 
with the theological spirit and also with the military character 
of society, which involved the slavery of the productive classes. 
The feeling of Patriotism, restricted as it was at first, was the 
only prelude that was then possible to the recognition of Hu- 
manity. From this narrow nationality there arose in the Middle 
Ages the feeling of universal brotherhood, as soon as military 
life had entered on its defensive phase, and all supernatural 
creeds had spontaneously merged into a monotheistic form 
common to the whole West. The growth of Chivalry, and the 
attempt made to effect a permanent separation of the two social 
powers, announced already the subordination of Politics to 
Morals ; and thus showed that the conception of Humanity was 
in direct course of preparation. But the unreal and anti-social 
nature of the mediaeval creed, and the military and aristocratic 
character of feudal society, made it impossible to go very far in 
this direction. The abolition of personal slavery was the most 
essential result of this important period. Society could now 
assume its industrial character ; and feelings of fraternity were 
encouraged by modes of life in which all classes alike partici- 
pated. Meanwhile the growth of the Positive spirit was pro- 
ceeding, and preparing the way for the establishment of Social 
Science, by which alone all other Positive studies could be 
systematised. This being done, the conception of the Great 
Being became possible. It was with reference to subjects of a 
speculative and scientific nature that two centuries ago the 
conception of this inmiense and eternal organism first foimd 


distinct expression.^ Subsequently amidst the inevitable decline 
of the theological and military system, there arose a conscious- 
ness of the movement of society, which had now advanced 
through so many phases ; and the notion of continuous progress 
as the distinctive feature of Humanity became admitted. Still 
the conception of Humanity as the basis for a new synthesis was 
impossible imtil the great revolutionary crisis which on the one 
hand proved the urgent necessity for social regeneration, and on 
the other gave birth to the only philosophy capable of eflFecting 
it. Thus our consciousness of the new Great Being has advanced 
co-extensively with its growth. Our presept conception of it is 
as much the measure of our social progress as it is the summary 
of Positive knowledge, 
organic Ih speaking of the dignity of Science when regenerated by 

«KÎM do- this lofty application of it, I do not refer solely to the special 
;jj coïj^ science of Social phenomena, but also to the preliminary studies 
Î rappeme of Life and of the Inorgfanic World, both of which form an 

ence of o ? 

"ïiauity. essential portion of Positive doctrine. A social mission of high 
importance will be recognised in the most elementary sciences, 
whether it be for the sake of their method or for the value of 
their scientific results. True, the religion of Humanity will 
lead to the entire abolition of scientific Academies, because their 
tendency, especially in France, is equally hurtful to science and 
morality. They encourage mathematicians to confine their 
attention exclusively to the first step in the scientific scale ; and 
biologists to pursue their studies without any solid basis or 
definite purpose. Special studies carried on without regard for 
the encyclopedic principles which determine the relative value of 
knowledge, and its bearing on human life, will soon be condemned 
by all men of right feeling and good sense. Such men will fed 
the necessity of resisting the morbid narrowness of mind and 
heart to which the anarchy of our times inevitably leads. But 
the abolition of the Academic system will only ensure a larger 
measure of respect for all scientific researches of real value, on 
whatever subject. The study of Mathematics, the value of 
which is at present negatived by its hardening tendency, will 
now manifest its latent moral eflScacy, as the only sure basis for 
firm conviction ; a state of mind that can never be perfectly 

* Toute la suite des hommes, pendant le cours de tant de ôècles, doit ètie 
considérée comme un même homme qui subsiste toigours et qui apprend con- 
tinuelloment. — Pascal, Pensées, Part I., Art. 1. 


attained in more complex subjects of thought, except by those 
who have experienced it in the simpler subjects. When the 
close connection of all scientific knowledge becomes more 
generally admitted, Humanity will reject political teachers who 
are ignorant of Geometry no less than geometricians who neglect 
Sociology. Biology meanwhile will lose its dangerous mate- 
rialism, and will receive all the respect due to its close con- 
nection with social science and its important bearing on the 
essential doctrines of Positivism. To attempt to explain the 
life of Humanity without first examining the lower forms of 
life, would be as serious an error as to study Biology without 
r^^d to the social purpose which Biology is intend^ to serve. 
Science recognised as indispensable to the establishment of 
moral truth, and at the same time fully admitting its subordina- 
tion to the inspirations of the heart, will take its place hence- 
forward among the most essential fimctions of the priesthood 
of Humanity. The supremacy of true Feeling will strengthen 
Beason, and will receive in turn from Reason a systematic 
sanction. Natural philosophy, besides its evident value in 
regulating the spontaneous action of Humanity, has a direct 
tendency to elevate human nature ; it draws from the outer 
world that basis of fixed truth which is so necessary to control 
our various desires. 

The study of Humanity therefore, directly or indirectly, is 
for the future the permanent aim of Science ; and Science is 
now in a true sense consecrated, as the source from which the 
imiversal religion receives its principles. It reveals to us not 
merely the nature and conditions of the Grreat Being, but also 
its destiny and the successive phases of its growth. The aim is 
high and arduous ; it requires continuous and combined exertion 
of all our faculties ; but it ennobles the simplest processes of 
scientific investigation by connecting them permanently with 
subjects of the deepest interest. The scrupulous exactness and 
rigorous caution of the Positive method, which when applied to 
useless subjects seem so often puerile, will be valued and in- 
sisted on when seen to be necessary for the eflScacy of efforts 
relating to our most essential wants. Eationalism, in the true 
sense of the word, so far from being incompatible with right 
feeling, strengthens and develops it, by placing all the facts of 
the case, in social questions especially, in their trile light. 

But, however honourable the rank which Science when The new x». 



tnore favour- 
able to Art 
than to Sci- 

Poetic por- 
traiture of 
the new 

regenerated will hold in the new religion, the sanction given to 
Poetry will be even direct and unqualified, because the fimctkt 
assigned to it is one which is more practical and which toucha 
us more nearly. Its function will be the praise of Humudtj. 
All preWous efforts of Art have been but the prelude to this, its 
natural mission ; a prelude often impatiently performed, sinee 
Art threw off the yoke of theocracy at an earlier period tfan 
Science. Polytheism was the only religion under which it had 
free scope : there it could idealise all the passions of our nature, 
no attempt being made to conceal the similarity of the gods to 
the human type. The change from Polytheism to Monotheism 
was unacceptable to Art, because it narrowed its field ; but since 
the close of the Middle Ages it has begun to shake off the 
influence of obscure and chimerical belie&, and to take posses- 
sion of its proper sphere. The field that now lies before it in 
the religion of Humanity is inexhaustible. It is called upon to 
idealise the social life of Man, which, in the time of the nationi 
of antiquity, had not been sufficiently developed to inspire the 
highest order of poetry. 

In the first place it will be of the greatest service in en- 
abling men to realise the conception of Humanity, subject only 
to the condition of not overstepping the fimdamental truths 
of Science. Science imassisted cannot define the nature and 
destinies of this Grreat Being with sufficient clearness for a 
religion in which the object of worship must be conceived 
distinctly, in order to be ardently loved and zealously served. 
The scientific spirit, especially in subjects of this nature, is 
confined within narrow limits ; it leaves inevitable deficiencies 
which esthetic genius must supply. And there are certain 
qualities in Art as opposed to Science, which specially qualify it 
for the representation of Humanity. For Hmnanity is distin- 
guished from other forms of life by the combination of indepen- 
dence with co-operation, attributes which also are natural to 
Poetry. For while Poetry is more sympathetic than Science, its 
productions have far more individuality ; the genius of their 
author is more strongly marked in them, and the debt to his pre- 
decessors and contemporaries is less apparent. Thus the synthesis 
on which the inauguration of the final religion depends is one in 
which Art will participate more than Science, the latter supply- 
ing merely the necessary basis. Its influence will be even 
greater than in the times of Polytheism ; for powerful as Art 


appeared to be in those times, it coiild in reality do nothing but 
embellish the fables to which the confused ideas of theocracy 
had given rise. By its aid we shall for the first time rise at 
last to a really human point of view, and be enabled distinctly 
to understand the essential attributes of the Great Being of 
whom we are members. The material power of Humanity, and 
the successive phases of her physical, her intellectual, and above 
all her moral progress, will each in turn be depicted. Avoiding 
the difficulties of analytical study, we shall gain a clear know- 
ledge of her nature and her conditions by the poet's description 
of her future destiny, of her constant struggle against painful 
fatalities which have at last become a source of happiness and 
greatness, of the slow growth of her infancy, of her lofty hopes 
now so near fulfilment. The history of universal Love, the soul 
by which this Grreat Being is animated, is of itself an endless 
theme for the poetry of the future ; representing the marvel- 
lous history of the advance of man, individually or socially, from 
brutish appetite to piure imselfish sympathy. 

Comparisons, too, may be instituted, in which the poet, contrast 
without specially attacking the old religion, will indicate the SVinitST 
superiority of the new. The attributes of the new Great Being 
may be forcibly illustrated, especially during the time of transi- ^ 
tion, by contrast with the inferiority of her various predecessors. 
All theological types are absolute, indefinite, and immutable ; 
consequently in none of them has it been possible to combine 
to a satisfactory extent the attributes of goodness, wisdom, and 
power. Nor can we conceive of their combination, except in a 
Being whose existence is real and subject to invariable laws. 
The gods of Polytheism were endowed with energy and sym- 
pathy, but possessed neither dignity nor morality. They were 
superseded by the sublime deity of Monotheism, who was some- 
times represented as inert and passionless, sometimes as im- 
penetrable and inflexible. But the new Supreme Being, having 
a real existence, and therefore being relative and modifiable, 
admits of being more distinctly conceived than the old ; and 
the influence of the conception will be far more elevating with- 
out controlling us less. Each one of us will recognise in it a 
power superior to his own, a power on which the whole destiny 
of his life depends, since the life of the individual is in every 
respect subordinate to the evolution of the race. But the 
knowledge of this power has not the crushing efiect of the old 

TOL. I. T 


ooDception of omnipotence. For every great or good man will 
feel that his own life is an indispensable element in the great 
organism. The supremacy of Hmnanity is but the resulted 
individual co-operation ; her power is not supreme, it is only 
superior to that of all beings whom we know. Our love for her 
is tainted by no degrading fears, yet it is always coupled mih 
the most sincere reverence. Perfection is in nowise claimed for 
her ; we study her natural defects with care, in order to remedy 
them as far as possible. The love we bear to her is a feeling as 
noble as it is strong ; it calls for no degrading expressions of 
adulation, but it inspires us with unremitting zeal for moral im- 
provement. But these and other advantages of the new religion, 
though they can be indicated by the philosopher, need the poet 
to display them in their full b'ght. Hie moral grandeur of man 
when freed from the chimeras that oppress him, was foreseen by 
Gothe, and still more clearly by Byron. But their work was 
one of destruction ; and their types could only embody the spirit 
of revolt. Poetry must rise above the negative stage at which 
owing to the circumstances of the time their genius was arrested, 
and must embrace in the Positive spirit the system of socio- 
logical and other laws to which htunan development is subject, 
before it can adequately portray the new Man in his relation to 
the new God. 
, ^ There is yet another way in which Art may serve the cause 

'eativ^ of religion ; that is, m organising the festivals, whether private 
ticai^d or public, of which to a great extent the worship of Humanity 
«otopf ^iU consist. For this purpose esthetic talent is fiewr more 
required than scientific ; the object in view being to reveal the 
nature of the great Organism more clearly, by presenting all 
aspects of its existence, static or dynamic, in idealised forms. 

These festivals then should be of two kinds, corresponding 
to the two essential aspects of Humanity ; the first illustrating 
her existence, the second her action. Thus both the elements 
of true social feeling will be stimulated. Our static festivals 
celebrating social Order, will revive the sense of Solidarity ; the 
dynamic festivals will explain social Progress, and inspire the 
sense of historical Continuity. Taken together, their periodic 
recurrence will form a continuation of Positive education; 
developing and confirming the principles instilled in youth. 
Yet there will be nothing didactic in their form ; since it is (^ 
the essence of Art not to instruct otherwise than by giving 


pleasure. Of coarse the regular recurrence of these festivals will 
not prevent any modifications which may be judged necessary 
to adapt them to special incidents that may from time to time 

The festivals of Order will necessarily take more abstract 
and austere forms than those of Progress. It will be their object 
to represent the statical relations by which the great Organism 
preserves its unity, and the various aspects of its animating 
principle, Love. The most xmiversal and the most solemn of 
these festivals will be the feast of Humanity, which will be held 
throughout the West at the b^finning of the new year, thus 
consecrating the only custom which still remains in general use 
to relieve the prosaic dulness of modem life. In this feast, 
which celebrates the most comprehensive of all unions, every 
branch of the human race will at some future time participate. 
In the same month there might be three festivals of a secondary 
order, representing the minor degrees of association, the Nation, 
the Province, and the Town. Giving this first month to the 
direct celebration of the social tie, we might devote the first 
days of the four succeeding months to the four principal domestic 
relations. Connubial, Parental, Filial, and Fraternal. In the 
sixth month, the honourable position of domestic service would 
receive its due measiure of respect. 

These would be the static festivals ; taken together they 
would form a representation of the true theory of our individual 
and social nature, together with the principles of moral duty to 
which that theory gives rise. No direct mention is made of the 
personal instincts, notwithstanding their preponderance, because 
it is the main object of Positive worship to bring them under 
the control of the social instincts. Personal virtues are by no 
means neglected in Positive education ; but to make them the 
objects of any special celebration, would only stimulate egotistic 
feeling. Indirectly their vs^lue is recognised in every part of 
oiur religious system, in the reaction which they exercise upon 
our generous sympathies. Their omission, therefore, implies no 
real deficiency in this ideal portraiture of htmian faculties and 
duties. Again, no special announcement of the subordination 
of Humanity to the laws of the External World is needed. The 
consciousness of this external power pervades every part of the 
Positive system ; it controls our desires, directs our speculations, 
stimulates our actions. The simple fact of the recurrence of our 


ceremonieR at fixed periods, determined by the Earth's motion, 
is enough to remind us of our inevitable subjection to the fiitalities 
of the External World. 

As the static festivals represent Morality, so the dynamic 
festivals, those of Progress, will represent History. In these the 
worship of Humanity assimies a more concrete and animated 
form ; as it will consist principally in rendering honour to the 
noblest types of each phase of human development. It is 
desirable, however, that each of the more important phases 
should be represented in itself, independently of the greatness 
of any individual belonging to it. Of the months unoccupied 
by static festivals, three might be given to the principal phases 
of the Past, Fetichism, Polytheism, and Monotheism ; and a 
fourth to the celebration of the Future, the normal state to 
which all these phases have been tending. 

Forming thus the chain of historical succession, we may 
consecrate each month to some one of the types who best re- 
present the various stages. I omit, however, some explanations 
of detail given in the first edition of this General View, at a 
time when I had not made the distinction between the abstract 
and concrete worship sufficiently clear. A few months after its 
publication in 1848, the circimistances of the time induced me 
to frame a complete system of conmiemoration applicable to 
Western Europe, under the title of * Positivist Calendar.' Of 
this I shall speak more at length in the fourth volume of the 
present treatise. Its success has fully justified me in antici- 
pating this part of my subject. To it I now refer the reader, 
recommending him to familiarise himself with the provisional 
arrangement of the new Western year then put forward, and 
already adopted by most Positivists. 

But the practice need not be restricted to names of European 
importance. It is applicable in its degree to each separate pro- 
ir service, vince, and even to private life. Catholicism offers two institu- 
tions in which the religion of the family connects itself with 
public worship in its most comprehensive sense. There is a day 
appointed in Catholic countries in which all are in the habit of 
visiting the tombs of those dear to them ; finding consolation 
for tlieir grief by sharing it with others. To this custom Posi- 
tivists devote the last day of the year. The working classes of 
Paris give every year a noble proof that complete freedom of 
thought is in no respect incompatible with worship of the dead, 


which in their case is unconnected with any system. Again 
there is the institution of baptismal names, which though little 
thought of at present, will be maintained and improved by Posi- 
tivism. It is an admirable mode of impressing on men the 
connection of private with public life, by furnishing every one 
with a type for his own personal imitation. Here the superiority 
of the new religion is very apparent ; since the choice of a name 
will not be limited to any time or country. In this as in other 
cases, the absolute spirit of Catholicism proved fatal to its 
prospects of becoming universal. 

These brief remarks will be enough to illustrate the two 
classes of festivals instituted by Positivism. In every week of 
the year some new aspect of Order or of Progress will be held up 
to public veneration ; and in each the link connecting public 
and private worship will be found in the adoration of Woman. 
In this esthetic side of Positive religion everything tends to 
strengthen its fundamental principle of Love. All the resources of 
Poetry, and of the special arts of sound and form, will be invoked 
to give full and regular expression to it. The dominant feeling is 
always that of deep reverence, equally free from mysticism and 
from affectation, proceeding from sincere acknowledgment of 
benefits received. While striving to surpass our ancestors, we shall 
yet render due honour to all their services and look with respect 
upon their systems of life. Influenced no longer by chimeras 
which though comforting to former times are now degrading, we 
have now no obstacle to becoming as far as possible incorporate 
with the Great Being whom we worship. By commemoration 
of past services we strengthen the desire inherent in all of us to 
prolong our existence in the only way which is really in our 
power. The fact that all human affairs are subject to one funda- 
mental law, as soon as it becomes familiarly known, enables and 
encourages each one of us to live in a true sense in the Past 
and even in the Future ; as those cannot do who attribute the 
events of life to the agency of an arbitrary and impenetrable 
Will. The praise given to our predecessors will stimulate a 
noble rivalry ; inspiring all with the desire to become them- 
selves incorporate into this mighty Being whose life endures 
through all time, and who is formed of the dead far more than 
the living. When the system of commemoration is fully de- 
veloped, no worthy co-operator will be excluded, however humble 
his sphere ; whether limited to his family or town, or extending 


to his country or to the whole West. The edncation of Pori- 
tivists will soon convince them that such recompense for honour- 
able conduct is ample compensation for the imaginary hopes 
which inspired their predecessors. 

To live in others is, in the truest sense of the word, Ufe. 
Indeed the best part of our own life is passed thus. As 
yet this truth has not been grasped firmly, because the 
social point of view has never yet been brought systematically 
before us. But the religion of Humanity, by giving an esthetic 
form to the Positivist synthesis, will make it intelligible to 
minds of every class : and will enable us to enjoy the untold 
charm springing from the sympathies of union and of continuity 
when allowed free play. To prolong our life indefinitely in the 
Past and Future, so as to make it more perfect in the Present, 
is abundant compensation for the illusions of our youth which 
have now passed away for ever. Science which deprived us of 
these imaginary comforts, itself in its maturity supplies the 
solid basis for consolation of a kind unknown before ; the hope 
of becoming incorporate into the Grreat Being whose static and 
dynamic laws it has revealed. On this firm foundation Poetiy 
raises the structure of public and private worship ; and thus all 
are made active partakers of this universal Ufe, which minds 
still fettered by theology cannot understand. Thus Imagi- 
nation, while accepting the guidance of Beason, will exercise a 
far more efficient and extensive infiuenee than in the days of 
Polytheism. For the priests of Humanity the sole purpose of 
Science is to prepare the field for Art, whether esthetic or 
industrial. This object once attained, poetic study or com- 
position will form the chief occupation of our speculative 
faculties. The poet is now called to his true mission, which is 
to give beauty and grandeur to human life, by inspiring a 
deeper sense of our relation to Humanity. Poetry will form 
the basis of the ceremonies in which the new priestJiood will 
solemnise more efficiently than the old, the most important 
events of private life : especially Birth, îlarriage, and Death ; 
so as to impress the family as well as the state with the sense of 
this relation. Forced as we are henceforth to concentrate all 
our hopes and efforts upon the real life around us, we shall feel 
more strongly then ever that all the powers of Imagination, as 
well as those of Beason, Feeling, and Activity, are required in 
its service. 


Poetry. once raised to its proper place, the arts of sound and Authetit» 
form, which render in a more vivid way the subjects which ^J^^jJ^ 
Poetry has suggested, will soon follow. Their sphere, like that of wugion. 
of Poetry, will be the celebration of Humanity ; an exhaustless 
field, leaving no cause to regret the womH>ut chimeras which, 
in the present empirical condition of these arts, are still con- 
sidered indispensable. Music in modem times has been limited 
almost entirely to the expression of individual emotions. Its 
fiiU power has never been felt in public life, except in the 
solitary instance of the Maraeillaiaey in which the whole spirit 
of our great Bevolution stands recorded. But in the worship of 
Humanity, based as it is on Positive education and animated 
by the spirit of poetry, Music, as the most social of the special 
arts, will aid in the representation of the attributes and destinies 
of Humanity, and in the glorification of great historical types. 
Painting and Sculpture will have the same object ; they will 
enable us to realise the conception of Humanity with greater 
clearness and precision than would be possible for Poetry, even 
with the aid of Music. The beautiful attempts of the artists of 
the sixteenth century, men who had very little theological 
belief, to embody the Christian ideal of Woman, may be 
regarded as an unconscious prelude to the representation of 
Humanity in the form which of all others is most suitable. 
Under the impulse of these feelings, the sculptor will overcome 
the technical difficulties of representing figures in groups, and 
will adopt such subjects by preference. Hitherto this has only 
been effected in bas-reliefs, works which stand midway between 
painting and sculpture. A few splendid exceptions afford a 
glimpse of the scope and grandeur of the latter art when raised 
to its true position. Statuesque groups, whether the figures 
are joined or, as is preferable, separate, will enable the sculptor 
to undertake many grand subjects from which he has been 
hitherto debarred. 

In Architecture the influence of Positivism will be felt less 
rapidly; but ultimately this art like the rest will be made 
available for the new religion. The buildings erected for the 
service of God may for a time suffice for the worship of 
Humanity, in the same way that Christian worship was carried 
on at first in Pagan temples as they were gradually vacated. 
But ultimately buildings will be required more specially 
adapted to a religion in which all the functions connected with 




education and worship are so completely remodelled. What 
these buildings will be it would be useless at present to enquire. 
It is less easy to foresee the Positivist ideal in Architecture 
than in other arts. And it must remain uncertain until the 
new principles of education have been generally spread, and 
imtil the Positive religion, having received all the aid that 
Poetry, Music, and the arts of Form can give, has become the 
accepted faith of Western Europe. When the more advanced 
nations are heartily engaged in the cause, the true temples of 
Himianity will soon arise. By that time mental and moral 
regeneration will have advanced far enough to commence the 
reconstruction of all political institutions. Until then the new 
religion will avail itself of Christian churches as these gradually 
become vacant. 
»08ittvtan Art then, as well as Science, partakes in the regenerating 

«or of influence which Positivism derives from its synthetic principle 
nd iur- of Lovc. xsoth are called to their proper functions, the one to 
contemplate, the other to glorify Humanity, in order that we 
may love and serve her more perfectly. Yet while the intellect 
is thus made the servant of the heart, far from being weakened 
by this subordinate position, it finds in it an exhaus^tless field, 
and full recognition of its value. Each of its faculties is called 
directly into play, and is supplied with its appropriate employ- 
ment. Poetry institutes the forms of the worship of Humanity ; 
Science supplies the principles on which those forms are framed, 
by connecting them with the laws of the external world. 
Imagination, while ceasing to usurp the place of Season, yet 
enhances rather than diminishes its original influence, which 
the new philosophy shows to be as beneficial as it is natural. 
And thus human life at last attains that state of perfect harmony 
which has been so long sought for in vain, and which consists 
in the direction of all our faculties to one common purpose 
under the supremacy of Affection. At the same time all former 
efforts of Imagination and Reason, even when they clashed 
with each other, are fully appreciated ; because we see that they 
developed our powers, that they taught us the conditions of 
their equilibrium, and made it manifest that nothing but that 
equilibrium was wanting to allow them to work together for 
our welfare. Above all do we recognise the immense value of 
the mediaeval attempt to form a Complete synthesis ; although, 
notwithstanding all the results of Greek and Boman civilisât ion. 


the time was not yet ripe for it. To renew that attempt upon 
a sounder basis, and with surer prospects of success, is the object 
of those who foimd the religion of Humanity. Widely dif- 
ferent as are their circumstances and the means they employ, 
they desire to regard themselves as the successors of the great 
men who conducted the progressive movement of Catholicism. 
For those alone are worthy to be called successors, who continue 
or carry into eflFect the undertakings which former times have 
left unfinished ; the title is utterly immerited by blind followers 
of obsolete dogmas, which have long ceased to bear any relation 
to their original purpose, and which their own authors if now 
living would disavow. 

But while bearing in mind our debt to Catholicism, we 
need not omit to recognise how largely Positivism gains by 
comparison with it. Full justice will be done to the aims of 
Catholicism, and to the excellence of its results. But the 
whole eflfect of Positivist worship will be to make men feel 
clearly how far superior in every respect is the synthesis foimded 
on the Love of Humanity to that founded on the Love of God. 

Christianity satisfied no part of our nature fully, except the 
affections. It rejected Imagination, it shrank from Beason; 
and therefore its power was always contested, and could not last. 
Even in its own sphere of affection, its principles never lent 
themselves to that social direction which the Catholic priest- 
hood, with such remarkable persistency, endeavoured to give to 
them. The aim which it set before men, being unreal and 
personal, was ill-suited to a life of reality and of social sympathy. 
It is true that the universality of this supreme affection was 
indirectly a bond of union ; but only when it was not at variance 
with true social feeling. And from the nature of the system, 
opposition between these two principles was the nile, and 
harmony the exception ; since the Love of God, even as viewed 
by the best Catholic types, required in almost all cases the 
abandonment of every other passion. The moral value of such 
a synthesis consisted solely in the discipline which it established ; 
discipline of whatever kind being preferable to anarchy, which 
would have given free scope to all the lowest propensities. But 
notwithstanding all the tender feeling of the best mystics, the 
supreme affection admitted of no real reciprocity. Moreover, 
the stupendous nature of the rewards and penalties by which 
every precept in this arbitrary system was enforced, tended to 


weaken the character and to taint our noblest impulses. Tbe 
essential merit of the system was that it was the first attempt 
to exercise systematic control over our moral nature. The 
discipline of Polytheism was usually confined to actions : some- 
times it extended to habits ; but it never touched the affectioDS 
from which both habits and actions spring. Christianity took 
the best means of effecting its purpose that were then available; 
but it was not successful, except so far as it gave indirect 
encouragement to our higher feelings. And so vague and 
absolute were its principles, that even this would have beea 
impossible but for the wisdom of the priesthood, who for a long 
time warded off dangers incident to so arbitrary a system. But 
at the close of the Middle Ages when the priesthood became 
retrograde, and lost at once their morality and their freedom, 
the doctrine was left to its own impotence, and rapidly de- 
generated till it became a growing source of degradation and of 

But the synthesis based upon Love of Hunianity has too 
deep a foundation in positive truth to be liable to similar 
decline ; and its influence cannot but increase so long as the 
progress of oiur race endures. The Great Being who is it» 
object tolerates the most searching enquiry, and yet does not 
restrict the scope of Imagination. The laws which regulate 
her existence are now known to us ; and the more deeply her 
nature is investigated, the stronger is our consciousness of her 
reality and of the greatness of her benefits. The thought of her 
stimulates the largest exercise of Imagination, and thus enables 
us to participate in a measure in the universality of her life, 
throughout the whole extent of Time and Spaoe of which we 
have any real knowledge. All our intellectual results, whether 
in art or science, are alike co-ordinated by her worship ; for it 
furnishes the sole bond of connection by which permanent 
harmony can be established between our thoughts and our 
feelings. It is the. only system which without artifice and 
without arbitrary restriction, can establish the preponderance 
of Affection over Thought and Action. It sets forth social 
feeling as the first principle of morality ; without ignoring the 
natural superiority in strength of the personal instincts. To 
live for others it holds to be the highest happiness. To become 
incorporate with Humanity, to sympathise with all her former 
phases, to foresee her destinies in the future, and to do what Ues 



in us to forward them ; this is what it puts before us as the ^ ^, 

constant aim of life. Self-love in the Positive system is_ ^> 
regarded as the great infirmity of our nature, which unremitting ^ -^ 
discipline on the part of each individual and of society may > 
materially palliate, but will never radically cure. The degree 
to which this mastery over our own nature is attaiued is the 
truest standard of individual or social progress, since it has the 
closest relation to the existence of the Great Being, and to the 
happiness of the elements that compose it. 

Inspired as it is by sincere gratitude, which increases the Po«itiTtot . 
more carefully the grounds for it are examined, the worship of 
Humanity raises Prayer for the first time above the degrading , ' 

influence of self-interest. We pray to the Supreme Being ; but 
only to express our deep thankfulness for her present and past 
benefits, which are an earnest of still greater blessings in the 
future. Doubtless it is a fact of human nature, that habitual 
expression of such feelings reacts beneficially on our moral 
nature ; and so far we, too, find in Prayer a noble recompense. 
But it is one that can suggest to us no selfish thoughts, since 
it cannot come at all unless it come spontaneously. Our 
highest happiness consists in Love; and we know that more 
than any other feeling Love may be strengthened by exercise ; 
that alone of all feelings it admits of, and increases with, 
simidtaneous expansion in all. Humanity will become more 
familiar to us than the old gods were to the Polytheists, yet 
without the loss of dignity which in their case was the residt. 
Her nature has in it nothing arbitrary, yet she co-operates with 
us in the worship that we render, since in honouring her we 
receive back ' grace for grace.' Homage accepted by the Deity 
of former times laid him open to the charge of puerile vanity. 
But the new Deity will accept praise only where it is deserved, 
and will derive from it equal benefit with ourselves. This 
perfect reciprocity of affection and of influence is peculiar to 
Positive religion, because in it alone the object of worship is a 
Being whose nature is relative, modifiable, and perfectible ; 
composed of her own worshippers, and mpre perfectly subjected 
than they to assignable laws ; permitting, therefore, her desires 
and her tendencies to be more distinctly foreseen. 

Tlie morality of Positive religion combines all the advantages sugw-iority 
of spontaneousness with those of demonstration. It is so moniity. 
thoroughly hiunan in all its parts, as to preclude all the subter- 



fuges by which repentance for transgression is so often stifled or 
evaded. By pointing out distinctly the way in which eadi 
individual action reacts upon society, it forces us to judge our 
own conduct without lowering our standard. Some migbt 
think it too gentle, and not sufficiently vigorous ; yet the lore 
by which it is inspired is no passive feeling, but a princi{fe 
which strongly stimulates our energies to the full extent com- 
patible with the attainment of that highest good to which it is 
ever tending. Accepting the truths of science, it teaches that 
we must look to our own unremitting activity for the only 
proWdence by which the rigour of our destiny can be alleviated. 
We know well that the great Organism, superior though it be 
to all beings known to us, is yet under the dominion of inscrut- 
able laws, and is in no respect either absolutely perfect or 
absolutely secure from danger. Every condition of our ex- 
istence, whether from without or from within, might at some 
time be compromised, not excepting even our moral and intel- 
lectual powers, in which our principal resources are found. 
Such contingencies are always possible, and yet they are not to 
prevent us from living nobly ; they must not lessen our love, 
our thought, or our efforts for Hiunanity ; they must not over- 
whelm us with anxiety, nor lurge us to useless complaint. But 
the very principles which demand this high standard of courage 
and resignation are themselves well calculated to maintain it 
For by making us fully conscious of the greatness of man and by 
( setting us free from the degrading influences of fear, they in- 
spire us with keen interest in our struggle, inadequate though 
it be, against the pressure of fatalities which are not always 
beyond our power to modify. And thus the reaction of these 
fatalities upon our character is turned at last to a most bene- 
ficial use. It prevents alike overweening anxiety for our own 
interests and dull indifference to them ; whereas, in theological 
and metaphysical systems, even when inculcating self-denial, 
there is always a dangerous tendency to concentrate thought on 
personal considerations. Dignified resignation to evils which 
cannot be resisted, wise and energetic action where modification 
of them is possible ; such is the moral standard which Positivism 
puts forward for individuals and for society. 

Catholicism, notwithstanding the radical defects of its 
doctrine, has unconsciously been influenced by the modem 
spirit ; and at the close of the Middle Ages was tending in a 



direction similar to that here described, although itR principles 
were inconsistent with any formal recognition of it. It is only 
in the countries that have been preserved from Protestantism 
that any traces are left of these faint efforts of the priesthood to 
rise above their own theories. The Catholic God would gradu- 
ally change into a feeble and imperfect representation of Hu- 
manity, were not the clergy so degraded socially as to be unable 
to participate in the spontaneous feelings of the conmiunity. 
It is a tendency too slightly marked to lead to any important 
result ; yet it is a striking proof of the new direction which 
men's mind and hearts are unconsciously taking in coimtries 
which are often supposed to be altogether left behind in the 
march of modem thought. The clearest indication of it is in 
their acceptance of the worship of Woman, which is the first step 
towards the worship of Himianity. Since the twelfth century, 
the influence of the Virgin, especially in Spain and Italy, has 
obtained a growing ascendancy against which the priesthood 
have often fruitlessly protested ; sometimes indeed they have 
found it necessary to sanction it, for the sake of preserving their 
popularity. The special and privileged adoration which this 
beautiful creation of Poetry is receiving cannot but produce a 
marked change in the spirit of Catholicism. It may serve as 
a connecting link between the religion of our ancestors and that 
of our descendants, the Virgin becoming gradually regarded as 
a personification of Humanity. Little, however, will be done in 
this direction by the established priesthood, even in Italy or 
Spain. We must look to the purer agency of women, who will 
be the means of introducing Positivism among our Southern 

All the points then in which the morality of Positive 
science excels the morality of revealed religion are summed up 
in the substitution of Love of Humanity for Love of God. It is 
a principle as adverse to metaphysics as to theology, since it 
excludes all personal considerations, and places happiness, 
whether for the individual or for society, in constant exercise of 
kindly feeling. To love Humanity may be truly said to consti- 
tute the whole duty of Man ; provided it be clearly understood 
what such love really implies, and what are the conditions 
required for maintaining it. The victory of Social Feeling over 
our innate Self-love is rendered possible only by a slow and 
difiScult training of the heart, in which the intellect must co- 


operate. The most important part of this tiaining consists in 
the mutual love of Man and Woman, with all other fiunilj 
affections which precede and follow it. But every aspect rf 
morality, even the personal virtues, are included in love of Hu- 
manity. It furnishes the best measure of their relative im- 
portance, and the surest method for laying down incontestaUe 
rules of conduct. And thus we find the principles of systematic 
morality to be identical with those of spontaneous morality, a 
result which renders Positive doctrine equally accessible to 

Science, therefore. Poetry, and Morality, will alike be regene- 
rated by the new religion, and will ultimately form one har- 
monious whole, on which the destinies of man will henceforth 
rest. With women, to whom the first germs of spiritual power 
are due, this consecration of the rational and imaginative 
faculties to the service of feeling has always existed spon- 
taneously. But to realise it in social life it must be brought 
forward in a systematic form as part of a general doctrine. 
This is what the mediaeval system attempted upon the basis of 
Monotheism. A moral power arose composed of the two 
elements essential to such a power, the sympathetic influence of 
women in the family, the systematic influence of the priesthood 
on public life. As a preliminary attempt the Catholic system 
was most beneficial ; but it could not last, because the sjmthesis 
on which it rested was imperfect and imstable. The Cathohc 
doctrine and worship addressed themselves exclusively to our 
emotional nature, and this only upon uncertain and arbitrary 
principles. The field of intellect, whether in art or science, as 
well as that of practical life, would have been left almost 
untouched but for the personal character of the priests. But 
with the loss of their political independence, which had been 
always in danger from the military tendencies of the time, the 
priesthood rapidly degenerated. The system was in £ELct pre- 
mature; and even before the industrial era of modem times 
had set in, the esthetic and metaphysical movements had 
already gone txK) far for its feeble power of control ; and it 
then became hostile to the progressive movement which itself 
had initiated. Moral qualities without intellectual superiority 
are not enough for a true spiritual power ; they will not enable 
it to modify to any appreciable extent the strong preponderance 
of material considerations. Consequently it is the primary 


condition of social reorganisation to put an end to the state of 
utter revolt which the intellect maintains against the heart ; a 
state which has existed ever since the close of the Middle Ages, 
and the source of which may be traced as tea back as the Greek 
Metaphysicians. Positivism has at last overcome the immense 
difficulties of this task. Its solution consists in the foundation 
of social science on the basis of the preliminary sciences, so that 
at last there is unity of method in our conceptions. Our active 
£Eu;ulties have always been guided by the Positive spirit : and 
by its extension to the sphere of Feeling, a complete synthesis, 
alike spontaneous and systematic in its nature, is constructed ; 
and every part of oiur nature is brought under the regenerating 
influence of the worship of Humanity. Thus a new spiritual 
power will arise, complete and homogeneous in structure ; co- 
herent and at the same time progressive ; and better calculated 
than Catholicism to engage the support of women which is so 
necessary to its efficient action on society. 

Were it not for the material necessities of human life. Temporal 
nothint^ further would be required for its ccuidance than a aiwayi be 
spiritual power such as is here described. We should have in bntito«c 

*^ * , tlon. will be 

that case no need for any laborious exertion ; and universal modified by 

•' _ theiptrltoÂl. 

benevolence would be looked upon as the sovereign good, and 
would become the direct object of all our efforts. All that 
would be necessary would be to call our reasoning powers, and 
still more, our imagination into play, in order to keep this 
object constantly in view. Purely fictitious as such an liypo- 
thesis may be, it is yet an ideal limit to which our actual life 
should be more and more nearly approximated. As an Utopia, 
it is a fit subject for the poet : and in his hands it will supply 
the new religion with resources far superior to any that Chris- 
tianity derived from vag^e and unreal pictures of future bliss. 
In it we may carry out a more perfect social classification, in 
which men may be ranked by moral and intellectual merit, irre- 
spectively of wealth or position. For the only standard by 
which in such a state men could be tried would be their capacity 
to love and to please Humanity. 

Such a standard will of course never be practically accepted, 
and indeed the classification in question would be impossible to 
effect ; yet it should always be present to our minds ; and should 
be contrasted dispassionately with the actual arrangements of 
social rank, with which power, even where accidentally acquired, 


has more to do than worth. The priests of Humanity with the 
assistance of women will avail themselves largely of this con- 
trast in modifying the existing order. Positivist education will 
fully explain its moral validity, and in our religious services 
appeal will frequently be made to it. Although an ideal 
abstraction, yet being based on reality, except so &r as the 
necessities of daily life are concerned, it will be far more eflBca- 
cious than the vague and uncertain classification founded on the 
theological doctrine of a future state. When society learns to 
admit no other Providence than its own, it will show such 
a disposition to adopt this ideal classification as will produce a 
strong effect on the classes who are the best aware of its im- 
practicability. But those who press this contrast must be carefiil 
always to respect the natural laws which regulate the distribu- 
tion of wealth and rank. They have a definite social function, 
and that function is not to be destroyed, but to be improved and 
regulated. In order, therefore, to reconcile these conditions, 
we must limit our ideal classification to individuals, leaving the 
actual subordination of office and position unaffected. Well- 
marked personal superiority is not very common ; and society 
would be wasting its powers in useless and interminable contro- 
versy if it undertook to give each function to its best organ, 
thus dispossessing the former functionary without taking into 
account the conditions of practical experience. Even in the 
spiritual hierarchy, where it is easier to judge of merit, such a 
coiu-se would be utterly subversive of discipline. But there 
would be no political danger, and morally there would be great 
advantage, in pointing out all remarkable cases- which illustrate 
the difference between the order of rank and the order of merit. 
Respect may be shown to the noblest without compromising the 
authority of the strongest. St. Bernard was esteemed more 
liighly than any of the Popes of his time ; yet in his modest 
position of abbot he never failed to show the most perfect 
deference for the higher functionaries of the Church. A still 
more striking example was furnished by St. Paul in recognising 
the official superiority of St. Peter, of whose moral and mental 
inferiority to himself he must have been well aware. All orga- 
nised corporations, ci\dl or military, can show instances on a less 
important scale where the abstract order of merit has been 
adopted consistently with the concrete order of rank. Where 
this is the case the contrast has no subversive consequences, and 


will be morally beneficial to all classes, at the same time that it 
proves the imperfection to which so complicated an organism as 
human society must be ever liable. 

Thus the religion of Hiunanity creates an intellectual and 
moral power, which, could human life be freed from the pressure 
of material wants, would suiSce for its giddance. Imperfect as 
our nature assuredly is, yet social sympathy has an intrinsic 
charm which would make it paramount, but for the imperious 
necessities by which the instincts of self-preservation are stimu- 
lated. So urgent are they, that the greater part of life is 
necessarily occupied with actions of a self-regarding kind, before 
which Reason, Imagination, and even Feeling, have to give way. 
Consequently this twofold spiritual power, which seems so well 
adapted to govern, must only attempt to modify. Its sym- 
pathetic element, in other words, women, accept this necessity 
without difficulty; for true affiîction always strives to attain 
what is right, as soon as it is clearly indicated. But the intel- 
lect is far more unwilling to take a subordinate position. Its 
rash ambition is far more unsettling to the world than the 
ambition of rank and wealth, against which it so often inveighs. 
It is the hardest of social problems to regulate the exercise of 
the intellectual powers, while securing them their due measure 
of influence ; the object being that theoretical power should be 
able really to modify, and yet should never be permitted to 
govern. For the nations of antiqidty this problem was insoluble ; 
with tliem the intellect was always either a tyrant or a slave. 
The solution was attempted in the Middle Ages ; but without 
success, owing to the military and theological character of the 
times. Positivism relies for solving it on the reality which is one 
of its principal features, and on the fact that Society has now 
entered on its industrial phase. Based on accurate enquiry into 
the past and future destinies of man, its aim is so to regenerate 
our political action as to transform it ultimately into a practical 
worship of Humanity ; just as Morality is the worship rendered 
by tlie affections, Science and Poetry that rendered by the 
intellect. Such is the principal mission of the Occidental priest- 
hood, a mission in which women and the working classes will 
actively co-operate. 

The most important object of this regenerated polity will be snbatitution 
the substitution of Duties for Eighth ; thus subordinating per- righta."* '^^ 
Bonal to social considerations. The word Right should be ex- 
TOL. I. u 


eluded from political language, as the word Cause from tbe 
language of philosophy. Both are theological and metaphysical 
conceptions ; and the former is as immoral and subversive as the 
latter is unmeaning and sophistical. Both are alike incompa- 
tible with the final state; and their value during the revolu- 
tionary period of modem history has simply consisted in their 
solvent action upon previous systems. Bights, in the strict sense 
\ of the word, are possible only so long as power is considered as 
emanating from a superhuman will. In their opposition to 
these theocratic rights, the metaphysicians of the last five 
centuries introduced what they called the rights of Man ; a cod^ 
ception the value of which consisted simply in its destructive 
effects. Whenever it has been taken as the basis of a construc- 
tive policy, its anti>social character and its tendency to strengths 
individualism have always been apparent. In the Positive state, 
where no supernatural claims are admissible, the idea of Righi 
will entirely disappear. Every one has duties, duties towards 
all ; but rights in the ordinary sense can be claimed by none. 
Whatever security the individual may require is found in the 
general acknowledgment of reciprocal obligations ; and this 
gives a moral equivalent for rights hitherto claimed, without 
the serious political dangers which they involved. In other 
words, no one henceforth has any Bight but that of doing his 
Duty. The adoption of this principle is the one way of realising 
the grand ideal of the Middle Ages, the subordination of Politics 
to Morals. In those times, however, the vast bearings of the 
question were but very imperfectly apprehended; its solution 
is incompatible with every form of theology ; and is only to be 
found in Positivism. 

The solution consists in r^^arding our political and social 
action as the serWce of Humanity ; that is to say the assistance 
by conscious effort of all frmctions, whether relating to Order 
or to Progress, which Humanity has hitherto performed spon- 
taneously. Here lies the ultimate object of Positive religion. 
Without it aU other aspects of that religion would be inadequate, 
and would soon cease to have any value. True affection does 
not stop short at desire for good ; it strains every effort to attain 
it. The elevation of soul arising from the act of contemplathig 
and adoring Humanity is not the sole object of religious worship. 
Above and beyond this there is the motive of becoming better 
able to serve Humanity ; unceasing action on our part being 


necessary for her preservation and development. This indeed 
is the most distinctive feature of Positive religion. The Supreme 
Being of former times had really little need of human services. 
The consequence was, that with all theological believers and 
with monotheists especially, devotion always tended to degene- 
rate into quietism. The danger could only be obviated when 
the priesthood, skilfully interpreting the general instinct, could 
take advantage of the vagueness of these theories, and draw from 
them motives for practical exertion. Nothing could be done in 
this direction unless the priesthood retained their social inde- 
pendence. As soon as this was taken from them by the usurpa- 
tion of the temporal power, the more sincere amongst Catholics 
lapsed into the quietistic spirit which for a long time had been 
kept in artificial check. In Positivism, on the contrary, the 
doctrine itself, irrespective of the character of its teachers, is a 
direct and continuous incentive to exertion of every kind. The 
reason for this appears at once in the relative and dependent 
nature of our Supreme Being, of whom her own worshippers form 
the component parts. 

In this the fundamental service of Humanity, by which cjoiweMos 
life in all its parts will be penetrated with a religious spirit, or^mdm*^ 
the feature most prominent is co-operation, conducted on a 
vast scale with which less complicated organisms have nothing 
to compare. The consensus of the social organism extends to 
Time as well as Space. Hence the two distinct aspects of 
social sympathy ; the feeling of Solidarity, or union with the 
Present ; and of Continuity, or union with the Past. Care- 
ful investigation of any social phenomenon, whether relating 
to Order or to Progress, always proves convergence, direct or 
indirect, of all contemporaries and of all former generations, 
within certain geographical and chronological limits ; and those 
limits recede as the development of Humanity advances. In our 
thoughts and feelings such convergence is unquestionable ; and 
it should be still more evident in our actions, the eflBcacy of 
which depends on co-operation to a still greater degree. Here 
we feel how false as well as immoral is the notion of Rights a 
word which, as commonly used, implies absolute individuality. 
The only principle on which Politics can be subordinated to 
Morals is, that individuals should be regarded, not as so many 
distinct beings, but as organs of one Supreme Being. Indeed, 
in all settled states of society, the individual has always been 

TT *i 



of the past 
\\ith the 

considered as a public functionary, filling more or less efficientlT 
a definite post, whether formally appointed to it or not. So 
fundamental a principle has ever been recog^sed instinctiTelj 
up to the period of revolutionary transition, which is now at 
length coming to an end ; a period in which the obstructive and 
corrupt character of organised society roused a spirit of anarchj 
which, though at first favourable to Progress, has now become 
an obstacle to it. Positivism, however, will place this principk 
beyond reach of attack, by giving a systematic deinonstrati(m 
of it, based on the sum of our scientific knowledge. 

And this demonstration will be the intellectual basis on 
which the moral authority of the new priesthood will rest 
What they have to do is to show the dependence of each impair' 
tant question, as it arises, upon social co-operation, and by this 
means to indicate the right path of duty. For this purpose afl 
their scientific knowledge and esthetic power will be needed; 
otherwise social feeling could never be developed sufficiently to 
produce any strong effect upon conduct. It would never, that 
is, go further than the feeling of mere solidarity with the Pre- 
sent, which is only its incipient and rudimentary form. We see 
this unfortunate narrowness of view too often in the best socialistic 
who, leaWng the Present without roots in the Past, would cany 
us headlong towards an undetermined Future. In all sociil 
phenomena, and especially in those of modem times, the partici- 
pation of our predecessors is greater than that of our con- 
temporaries. This truth is strikingly apparent in industiial 
undertakings, for which the combination of efforts required i» 
80 vast. It is o|ur filiation with the Past, even more than oar 
connection with the Present, which teaches us that the onlyiol 
life is the collective life of the race ; that individual life has no 
existence except as an abstraction. Continuity is the featuR 
which distinguishes our race from all others. Many of the loner 
races are able to form a union among their living memben; 
but it was reserved for Man to conceive and realise co-operatioB 
of successive generations, the source to which the gradual growtk 
of civilisation is to be traced. Social sympathy then is a bami 
and imperfect feeling, and indeed it is a cause of disturbanoih 
so long as it extends no further than the present time. It ii« 
disregard for historical Continuity which induces that mistakeij 
antipathy to all forms of inheritance which is now so commoftj( 
Scientific study of history would soon convince those of fl*j 


cialist writers who are sincere of their radical error in this 
spect. If they were more familiar with the collective in- 
îritance of society, the value of which no one can seriously 
sputa, they would feel legs objection to inheritance in its 
^plication to individuals or families. Practical experience, 
oreover, bringing them into contact with the facts of the case, 
ill gradually show them that without the sense of Continuity 
ere can be no right appreciation even of Solidarity. For, in 
e first place, each individual in the course of his growth passes 
ontaneously through phases corresponding in a great measure 
• those of our historical development ; and therefore, without 
me knowledge of the history of society, he cannot understand 
le history of his own life. Again, each of these successive phases 
ay be found amongst the less advanced nations who do not as 
ît share in the general progress of Hiunanity ; so that we 
Lunot properly sympathise with these nations, if we ignore the 
iccessive stages of development in Western Europe. The nobler 
^cialists and communists, those especially who belong to the 
orking classes, will soon be alive to the error and danger of 
lese inconsistencies, and will supply this deficiency in their 
lucation which at present vitiates their efforts. With women, 
le purest and most spontaneous element of the moderating 
3wer, the priests of Humanity will find it less difficult to 
ïtroduce the broad principles of historical science. They are 
tore inclined than any other class to recognise our continuity 
ith the Fast, being themselves its original source. 

Without a scientific basis, therefore, a basis which must Nooowityof 
self rest on the whole sum of Positive speculation, it is im- power to 
>ssible for our social sympathies to develop themselves fully, urïchfhk» 
i as to extend not to the Present only, but also and still more Htonding 
rongly to the Past. And this is the first motive, a motive thctcmpSai 
»unded alike on moral and on intellectual considerations, for ^nT^ur- 
le separation of temporal from ' spiritual power in the final tnodom ond 
'ganisation of society. The more vigorously we concentrate °°"^®^^*®'***' 
ir efforts upon social progress, the more clearly shall we feel 
le impossibility of modifying social phenomena without know- 
dge of the laws that regulate them. This involves the ex- 
tence of an intellectual class specially devoted to this difficult 
udy, and invested with the consultative authority for which 
leir knowledge qualifies them, as also with the function of 
aching necessary for the diffusion of their principles. In the 


minor arts of life it is generally recognised that princi|dfii 
should be investigated and taught by thinkers who aie not 
concerned in applying them. In the art of Social life, so far 
more difiScult and important than any other, the separation of 
theory from practice rests on even stronger grounds. The 
wisdom of such a coiurse is obvious, and all opposition to it will 
be overcome, as soon as it becomes generally recognised that 
social phenomena are subject to invariable laws: laws of so 
complicated a character and so dependent upon other sciences 
as to make it doubly necessary that minds of the highest order 
should be specially devoted to their interpretation. 

But there is another aspect of the question of not leas 
importance in sound polity. Separation of temporal from 
spiritual power is as necessary for free individual activity as for 
social co-operation. Humanity is characterised by the inde* 
pendence as well as by the convergence of the individuals or 
families of which she is composed. The latter condition, con- 
vergence, is that which seciues Order ; but the former is no 
less essential to Progress. Both are alike urgent: yet is 
ancient times they were incompatible, for the reason thit 
spiritual and temporal power were always in the same hands; 
in the hands of the priests in some cases, at other times in 
those of the military chief. As long as the State held together, 
the independence of the individual was habitually sacrificed to 
the convergence of the body politic. This explains why the 
conception of Progress never arose, even in the minds of the 
most visionary schemers. The two conditions were irrecondle- 
able until the Middle Ages, when a remarkable attempt wis 
made to separate the modifying power from the governing 
power, and so to make Politics subordinate to Morals. Co- 
operation of efforts was now placed on a different footing. It 
was the result of free assent rendered by the heart and und^ 
standing to a religious system which laid down general rules of 
conduct, in which nothing was arbitrary, and which were 
applied to governors as strictly as to their subjects. The 
consequence was that Catholicism, notwithstanding its extreme 
defects intellectually and socially, produced moral and political 
results of very great value. Chivalry arose, a type of life in 
which the most vigorous independence was combined with the 
most intense devotion to a common cause. Every class in 
Western Society was elevated by this union of personal digmlj 


«nth universal brotherhood. So well is human nature adapted 
For this combination,' that it was carried speedily into effect 
under the first synthesis capable of proposing it. With the 
necessary decay of the religious creed, it became seriously im- 
paired, but yet was preserved instinctively, especially in 
countries preserved from Protestantism. By it the mediaeval 
system prepared the way for the conception of Humanity ; since 
it put an end to the fatal opposition in which the two charac- 
teristic attributes of Humanity, independence and co-operation, 
had hitherto existed. Thus, the same stage of progress which 
brought into theological religion that provisional unity from 
which its decline is to be dated, paved the way long beforehand 
for the more complete and more real principle of imity, on 
which human society will be finally organised. 

But meritorious and effective as this premature attempt was, 
it was no real solution of the problem. The spirit and temper 
of the period were not ripe for any definite solution. Theo- 
logical belief and military life were alike inconsistent with any 
permanent separation of theoretical and practical powers. It 
was maintained only for a few centiuries precariously and in- 
adequately, by a sort of natural balance or rather oscillation 
between imperialism and theocracy. But the positive spirit 
and the industrial character of modem times tend naturally to 
this division of power; and when it has been consciously 
recognised as a principle, the difficulty of reconciling co-ope- 
ration with independence will exist no longer. For in the first 
place, the rules to which human conduct will be subjected, will 
rest, as in Catholic times, but to a still higher degree, upon 
persuasion and conviction, instead of compulsion. Again, the 
fact of the new faith being always susceptible of demonstration, 
renders the spiritual system based on it more elevating as well 
as more durable. The rules of Catholic morality were only 
saved from being arbitrary by the introduction of a supernatural 
Will as a substitute for mere human authority. The plan had 
undoubtedly many advantages ; but liberty in the true sense 
was not secured by it, since the rules remained as before with- 
out explanation ; it was only their source that was changed. 
Still less successful was the subsequent attempt of meta- 
physicians to prove that submission to government was the 
foundation of virtue. It was only a return to the old system of 
arbitrary wills, stripped of the theocratic sanction to ^1i\c\i ^iV 


its claims to respect and its freedom &om caprice had been due. 
The only way to reconcile independence with social union, and 
thereby to reach true liberty, lies in obedience to the objective 
laws of the world and of human nature ; clearing these as far 
as possible of all that is subjective, and thus rendering them 
amenable to scientific demonstration. Such will be the 
incalculable benefit of extending the scientific method to the 
complex and important phenomena of human nature. Man will 
no longer be the slave of man ; he yields only to external Law; 
and to this those who demonstrate it to him are as submissive as 
himself. In such obedience there can be no degradation even 
where the laws are inflexible. But, as Positivism shows us, in 
most cases they are modifiable, and this especially in the case of 
our mental and moral constitution. Consequently our obedience 
is here no longer passive obedience : it implies the devotion of 
every faculty of our nature to the improvem^it of a world of 
which we are in a true sense masters. The natural laws to 
which we owe submission furnish the basis for our intervention; 
they direct our efforts and give stability to our purpose. The 
more perfectly they are known, the more free will our conduct 
become from arbitrary command or servile obedience. True, 
our knowledge of these laws will very seldom attain such pre- 
cision as to enable us to do altogether without compiilsoiy 
authority. And here, when the intellect is inadequate, the 
heart must take its place. There are certain rules of life for 
which it is difficult to assign the exact groimd, and where 
affection must assist reason in supplying motives for obedience. 
Wholly to dispense with arbitrary authority is impossible ; nor 
will it degrade us to submit to it, provided that it be always 
regarded as secondary to the uniform supremacy of external 
Laws, and that every step in the development of our mental 
and moral powers shall restrict its employment. Both con- 
ditions are evidently satisfied in the Positive system of life. 
The tendency of modem industry and science is to make us less 
dependent on individual caprice, as well as more assimilable to 
the universal Organism. Positivism therefore secures the 
liberty and dignity of man by its demonstration that social 
phenomena, like all others, are subject to natural laws, which, 
within certain limits, are modifiable by wise action on the part 
of society. Totally contrary, on the other hand, is the spirit of 
metaphysical schemes of polity, in which society is supposed to 


have no spontaneous impulses, and is handed over to the will 
of the legislator. In these degrading and oppressive schemes, 
union is purchased, as in ancient times, by the death of freedom. 

In these two ways, then, Positive religion influences the 
practical life of Humanity, in accordance with the natural laws 
that regulate her existence. First, the sense of Solidarity with 
the Present is perfected by adding to it the sense of Continuity 
with the Past; secondly, the co-operation of her individual 
agents is rendered compatible with their independence. Not 
till this is done can Politics become really subordinate to 
florals, and the feeling of Duty be substituted for that of 
Bight. Our active powers will be modified by the combined 
influence of feeling and reason, as expressed in indisputable 
rules which it will be for the spiritual power to make known to 
us. Temporal government, whoever its administrators may be, 
will always be modified by morality. Whereas in all meta- 
physical systems of polity nothing is provided for but the modes 
of access to government and the limits of its various depart- 
ments ; no principles are given to direct its application or to 
enable us to form a right judgment of it. 

From this general view of the practical service of Hiunanity, Nutr.tiT« 
we pass now to the two leading divisions of the subject ; with Humanity^ 
the view of completing our conception of the fundamental SyCupîtai- 
principle of Positive Polity, the separation of temporal from t^*,^,'rai 
spiritual power. ^''^ ' 

The action of Himianity relates either to her external cir- 
cumstances, or to the facts of her own nature. Each of these 
two great functions involves both Order and Progress ; but the 
first relates more specially to the preservation of her existence, 
the second to her progressive development. Humanity, like 
every other organism, has to act unceasingly on the surround- 
ing world in order to maintain and extend her material exist- 
ence. Thus the chief object of her practical life is to satisfy 
the wants of our physical nature, wants which necessitate 
continual reproduction of materials in suflBcient quantities. 
This production soon comes to depend more on the co-operation 
of successive generations than on that of contemporaries. Even 
in these lower but indispensable functions, we work principally 
for our successors, and the results that we enjoy are in great 
part due to those that have gone before us. Each generation 
produces more material wealth than is required for its own 


wants ; and the use of the surplus is to facilitate the laboor and 
prepare the maintenance of the generation following. The 
agents in this transmission of wealth naturally take the lead 
in the industrial movement ; since the possession of provisions 
and instruments of production gives an advantage which can 
only be lost by imusual incapacity. And this will seldom 
happen, because capital naturally tends to accumulate with 
those who make a cautious and skilful use of it. 

Such then will be the temporal chiefs of modem society. 
Their office is consecrated in Positive religion as that of the 
nutritive organs of Humanity ; organs which collect and prepare 
the materials necessary for life, and which also distribute them, 
subject always to the influence of a modifying central organ. 
Stimulated to pride by the direct and palpable importance of 
their functions, and strongly influenced in every respect by 
personal instincts, without which the vigour of their energies could 
seldom be sustained, they are naturally prone to abuse their 
power, and to govern by the ignoble method of compulsion, dis- 
regarding all appeals to reason and to morality. Hence the 
need of a combination of moral forces to exercise a constant 
check upon the hardness with which they are so apt to use their 
authority. And this leads us to the second of the two great 
functions of Humanity. 
^^^ This function is analogous to that of Innervation in indi- 

oerebroi viduals. Tts obi'ect is the advancement of Humanity, whether 
armed {q physical or still more in intellectual and moral aspects. It 
*^wtnai ™^S^^ seem at first sight restricted, as in lower organisms, to 
»*• the secondary office of assisting the nutritive function. Soon 
however it develops qualities peculiar to itself, and on which 
our highest happiness depends. And thus we might imagine 
that life was to be entirely given up to the free play of reason, 
imagination, and feeling, were we not constantly forced back 
by the necessities of our physical nature to less delightful occu- 
pations. Therefore this intellectual and moral function, not- 
withstanding its eminence, can never be supreme in our nature ; 
yet independently of its intrinsic charm, it forms our principal 
means, whether used consciously or otherwise, in controlling 
the somewhat blind action of the nutritive organs. It is in 
women, whose function is analogous to that of the afiFective 
organs in the individual brain, that we find this modifying 
influence in its purest and most spontaneous form. But the 


full value of their influence is not realised until they act in 
combination with the philosophic class; which, though its 
direct energy is small, is as indispensable to the collective 
Organism as the speculative functions of the brain are to the 
individuaL Besides these two essential elements of moral 
power, we find, when Humanity reaches her maturity, a third 
element which completes the constitution of this power and 
furnishes a basis for its political action. This third element is 
the working class, whose influence may be r^^ded as the 
active function in the innervation of the social Organism. 

It is indeed to the working class that we look for the only 
possible solution of the great human problem, the victory of 
Social feeling over Self-love. Their want of leisure, and their 
poverty, excludes them from political power ; and yet wealth, 
which is the basis of that power, cannot be produced without 
them. They are allied to the spiritual power by the similarity 
of their tastes and of their circumstances. Moreover, they look 
to it for systematic education, of the importance of which not 
merely to their happiness, but to their dignity and moral 
culture, they are deeply conscious. The nature of their occu- 
pations, though absorbing so large a portion of their time, yet 
leaves the mind for the most part free. Finding little in the 
specialities of their work to interest them, they are the more 
inclined to rise to general principles, provided always that such 
principles combine utility with reality. Knowing nothing of 
the passionate desire of other classes for rank and wealth, they 
are the more disposed to give free play to generous feelings, the 
value and the charm of which is more strongly impressed on 
them by their experience of life. As their strength lies in 
nimibers, they have a greater tendency to union than capitalists, 
each of whom has in his own hands a power which he is apt to 
suppose resistless, and which prompts him to isolation. They 
will give their energetic support to the priesthood in its efforts 
to control the abuse of the power of wealth, and in every respect 
they are prepared to accept and enforce its moral influence. 
Being at once special and general, practical and speculative, 
and at the same time always animated by strong sympathies, 
they form an intermediate link between the practical and theo- 
retical powers : connected with the one by the need of education 
and counsel, and with the other by the necessities of laboiur and 
subsistence. The people represent the activity of the Supreme. 


Being, as women represent its sympathy, and philoeophers its 

But in the organised action of these three organs of innerva- 
tion upon the organs of social nutrition, it must be borne in 
mind that the latter are not to be impeded in their functions. 
The control exercised is to be of a kind that will ennoble them 
by setting their importance in its true light. True, we are not 
to encourage the foolish and immoral pride of modem capital- 
ists, who look upon themselves as the creators and sole arbiters 
of their material power, the foundations of which are in reaUty 
due to the combined action of their predecessors and con- 
temporaries. They ought to be regarded simply as public func- 
tionaries, responsible for the administration of capital and the 
direction of industrial enterprise. But at the same time we 
must be careful not to underrate the immense value of their 
function, or in any way obstruct its performance. All this 
follows at once from the policy of Separation of Powers. The 
responsibility imder which it is here proposed to place capital- 
ists is purely moral, whereas metaphysicians of the revolution- 
ary school have always been in favour of political coercion. In 
cases where the rich neglect their duty, the Positive priesthood 
will resort in the first instance to every method of conviction 
and persuasion that can be suggested by the education which 
the rich have received in conmion with other classes. Should 
this course fail, there remains the resource of pronouncing 
formal condemnation of their conduct ; and supposing this to 
be ratified by the working men of every city, and the women of 
every family, its efiect will be diflScult to withstand. In veiy 
heinous cases, it might be necessary to proceed to the extreme 
length of social excommunication, the efficacy of which, in cases 
where it deserved and received general assent, would be even 
greater than in the Middle Ages ; the organisation of the 
spiritual power in those times being very imperfect. But even 
in this case the means used for repression are of a purely moral 
kind. The increasingly rare cases that call for political 
measures belong exclusively to the province of the temporal 

Hereditary transmission of wealth has been strongly con- 
demned by metaphysical writers. But it is after all a natural 
mode of transmission, and the moral discipline above described 
will be a sufficient check upon its worst abuses. When the 


sense of Duty is substituted for the sense of Right, it matters 
little who may be the possessor of any given power, provided it 
be well used. Besides, inheritance, as Positivism shows, has 
great social advantages, especially when applied to fimctions 
which require no extraordinary capacity, and which are best 
learnt in the training of domestic life. Taking the moral point 
of view, we find that men who have been always accustomed to 
wealth are more disposed to be generous than those who have 
amassed it gradually, however honourable the means used. 
Inheritance was originally the mode in which all functions were 
transmitted ; and in the case of wealth there is no reason why 
it should not always continue, since the mere preservation of 
wealth, without reference to its employment, requires but little 
special ability. There is no guarantee that, if other guardians 
of capital were appointed, the public would be better served. 
Modem industry has long ago proved the administrative superi- 
ority of private enterprise in commercial transactions ; and all 
social functions that admit of it will gradually pass into private 
management, always excepting the great theoretic functions, in 
which combined action will always be necessary. Declaim as 
the envious will against hereditary wealth, its possessors, when 
they have a good disposition moulded by a wise education and a 
healthy state of public opinion, will in many cases rank amongst 
the most useful organs of Humanity. It is not the classes who 
constitute the moral force of society, poor as they are, that will 
give vent to these idle complaints ; or at least they will be con- 
fined to those individuals among them who fail to understand 
the dignity and value of their common mission of elevating 
man's affections, intellect, and energies. 

The only cases in which the spiritual power has to interfere women and 
specially for the protection of material interests fall under two have their 


principles, which are very plainly indicated by the natural order subsiatcnce 
of society. The first principle is, that Man should support *^°***^ 
Woman ; the second, that the Active class should support the 
Speculative class. The necessity of both these conditions is 
evident ; without them the affective and speculative functions of 
Humanity cannot be adequately performed. Private and public 
welfare are so deeply involved in the influence exercised by 
Feeling over the intellectual and active powers, that we shall do 
well to secure that influence, even at the cost of removing one 
half of the race from industrial occupations. Even in the lowest 


tribes of savages we find the stronger sex recognising some 
obligations towards the weaker ; and it is this which di^in- 
guishes human love, even in its coarser forms, firom animal 
appetite. With every step in the progress of Humanity we 
find the obligation more distinctly acknowledged, and more fullj 
satisfied. In Positive religion it becomes a fundamental duty, 
for which each individual, or even, when it may be necessaiy, 
Society as a whole will be held responsible. As to the second 
principle, it is one which has been already admitted by former 
systems ; and, in spite of the anarchy in which we live, it has 
never been wholly discarded, at least in countries which have 
been unaffected by the individualist tendencies of Protestantism. 
Positivism, however, while adopting the principle as indispen- 
sable to the theoretic functions of Humanity, will employ it &r 
more sparingly than Catholicism, the natural decay of which was 
very much hastened by its excessive wealth. If temporal and 
spiritual power are really to be separated, philosophers should 
have as little to do with wealth as with government. Re- 
sembling women in their exclusion from political power, thdr 
position as to wealth should be like that of the working classes, 
proper regard being had to the requirements of their office. By 
following this course, they may be confident that the purity of 
their opinions and advice will never be called in question. 

These two conditions then, Capitalists, as the normal ad- 
ministrators of the common fund of wealth, will be expected to 
satisfy. They must, that is, so regulate the distribution of wages, 
that women shall be released from work; and they must see 
that proper remuneration is given for intellectual labour. To 
exact the performance of these conditions seems no easy task ; 
yet until they are satisfied, the equilibrium of our social economy 
will remain unstable. The present holders of a position which 
is no longer tenable on the imaginary ground of personal right, 
may probably decline to accept these principles. In that case, 
their functions will pass in one way or another to new organs, 
until Humanity finds servants who will not shirk their funda- 
mental duties, but who will recognise them as the first con- 
dition of their tenure of power. That power, subject to these 
limitations, will then be regarded with the highest respect, for 
all will feel that the existence of Humanity depends on it. 
Alike on intellectual and on moral grounds, society will repu- 
diate the envious passions and subversive views which are 


aroused at present by the unfounded claims of property, and by 
its repudiation, since the Middle Ages, of every real moral 
obligation. Sich men will feel that principles like these, 
leaving as they do to the individual the merit of voluntary 
action, are the only method of escaping &om the political 
oppression with which they are now threatened. The free con- 
centration of capital will then be readily accepted as necessary 
to its social usefulness ; for great duties imply great powers. 

This then, is the way in which the priests of Humanity may Nomai rein- 
hope to regenerate the material power of wealth, and bring the priests, 
nutritive functions of society into harmony with the other parts capitaiutt. 
of the body politic. The contests for which as yet there are 
but too many motives, will then cease ; the People without loss 
of dignity will give free play to their natural instincts of respect, 
and will be as willing to accept the authority of their political 
rulers as to place confidence in their spiritual guides. They 
will feel that true happiness has no necessary connection with 
wealth ; that it depends fer more on free play being given to 
their intellectual, moral, and social qualities ; and that in this 
respect they are more favourably situated than those above 
them. They will cease to aspire to the enjoyments of avarice 
and ambition, leaving them to those whose political activity 
requires that strong stimulus. Each man's ambition will be to 
do his work well ; and after it is over, to perform his more 
general function of assisting the spiritual power, and of taking 
part in the formation of Public Opinion, by giving his best 
judgment upon passing events. Of the limits to be observed 
by the spiritual power the People will be well aware ; and they 
will accept none which does not subordinate the intellect to 
the heart, and guarantee the purity of true science by strict 
abstinence from political power. By an appeal to the principles 
of Positive Polity, they will at once check any foolish yielding 
on the part of philosophers to political ambition, and will restore 
the temporal power to its proper place. They will be aware that 
though the general principles of practical life rest upon Science, 
it is not for Science to direct their application. The incapacity 
of theorists to apply their theories practically has long been 
recognised in minor matters, and it will now be recognised as 
equally applicable to political questions. The province of the 
philosopher is education; and as the result of education, 
counsel: the province of the capitalist 'is action and authorita- 


tive direction. This is the only right distribution of power; 
and the people will insist on maintaining it in its integrity, 
seeing how indispensable it is to the harmonious existence of 
jq are not From this view of the practical side of the reliedon of Hu- 

et ripe for * ^ 

le normal manitv taken in connection with its intellectual and moral side, 

ate. But "^ 

ie révolu- we mav form a general conception of the final reorganisation of 

on of 1848 w e» r o 

' a step political institutions, by which alone the great Revolution can 
be brought to a close. But the time for effecting this recoii- 
btruction has not yet come. There must be a previous recon- 
struction of opinions and habits of life upon the basis laid down 
by Positivism ; and for this at least one generation is required. 
In the interval, all political measures must retain their pro- 
visional character, although in framing them the final state is 
always to be taken into account. As yet nothii/g can be said 
to have been established, except the moral principle on which 
Positivism rests, the subordination of Politics to Morals. For 
this is in fact implicitly involved in the proclamation of a 
Republic in France ; a step which cannot now be recalled, and 
which implies that each citizen is to devote all his fietculties to 
the service of Humanity. But as to the social organisation by 
which alone this principle can be carried into effect, although 
its basis has been laid down by Positivism, it has not yet 
received the sanction of the Public. It may be hoped, however, 
that the motto which I have put forwaixi as descriptive of the 
new political philosophy, Order and Progresaj will soon be 
adopted spontaneously, 
irrtrero. The first or nçgative phase of the Revolution in which 

lott"T^ all that was done was utterly to repudiate the old political system, 
quality!" uo indication whatever being given of the state of things 
which was to succeed it, was accurately summed up in its motto, 
Liberty and Equality^ a phrase perfectly contradictory, and in- 
compatible with any real organisation. For obviously, Liberty 
gives free scope to superiority of all kinds, and especially to 
moral and mental superiority ; so that if a uniform level is to 
be maintained, freedom of growth is checked. Yet inconsistent 
as the motto was, it was admirably adapted to the destructive 
temper of a time when hatred of the Past compensated the lack 
of insight into the Future. It had,, too, a progressive tendency, 
which partly neutralised its subversive spirit. It inspired the 
first attempt to derive true principles of polity from general 


views of history ; the memorable though misuccessful essay of 
my great predecessor Condorbet, Thus the first intimation of 
the future influence of the historical spirit was given at the very 
time when the anti-historical spirit had reached its climax. 

The long period of reaction which succeeded the first crisis 
gave rise to no political motto of any importance. It was a 
period for which men of any vigour of thought and character 
could not but feel secret repugnance. It produced, however, a 
universal conviction that the metaphysical policy of the revolu- 
tionists was of no avail for constructive purposes. And it gave 
rise to the historical works of the Neo-Catholic school, which 
prepared the way for Positivism by giving the first fair appre- 
ciation of the Middle Ages. 

But the Counter-revolution, begun by Robespierre, developed second mot- 
by Bonaparte, and continued by the Bourbons, came to an end »nd order, 
in the memorable outbreak of 1830. A neutral period of 
eighteen years followed, and a new motto. Liberty and Public 
Order, was temporarily adopted. This motto was very expressive 
of the political condition of the time : and the more so that it 
arose spontaneously, without ever receiving any formal sanction. 
It expressed the general feeling of the public, who, feeling that 
the secret of the political future was possessed by none of the 
existing parties, contented itself with pointing out the two con- 
ditions essential as a preparation for it. It was a far nearer 
approach than the former to an expression of the constructive 
purpose of the Revolution. The anti-social notion of Equality 
was eliminated : all its moral advantages without its political 
dangers existing already in the feeling of Fraternity, which, since 
the Middle Ages, has become sufficiently diffused in Western 
Europe to need no special formula. Again, this motto intro- 
duced empirically the great conception of Order; understanding 
it of course in the limited sense of material order at home and 
abroad. No deeper meaning was likely to be attached to the 
word in a time of such mental and moral anarchy. 

But with the adoption of the Republican principle in 1848, Third mot- 
the utility of this provisional motto ceased. For the Révolu- Md ?^ 
tion now entered upon its positive phase ; which indeed for all ^'^^^ 
philosophical minds, had been already inaugurated by my dis- 
covery of the laws of Social Science. But the fact of its having 
fallen into disuse is no reason for going back to the old revolu- 
tionary motto, which since the crisis of 1789 has ceased to be 
VOL. I. X 


appropriate. In the utter absence of social convictions it Im 
obtained a sort of official resuscitation ; but this will not pre?at 
men of good sense and right feeling from adopting spontane- 
ously the motto Order and Progress, as the principle of all polh 
tical action for the future. In the second chapter I dwelt upoo 
it at some length, and pointed out its political and philosophieil 
meaning. I have now only to show its connection with tk 
other mottoes of which we have been speaking and the pro- 
bability of its adoption. Each of them, like all combinatioui 
whether in the moral or physical world, is composed of two 
elements ; and the last has one of its elements in common witk 
the second, as the second has in common with the fint 
Moreover, Liberty, the element conmion to the two first, 
is in reality contained in the third ; since all Progress implies 
Liberty. But Order is put foremost, because the word is 
here intended to cover the whole field that properly belongs 
to it, including things private as well as public, theoretical as 
well as practical, moral as well as political. Progress is pot 
next, as the end for which Order exists, and as the mode is 
which it should be manifested. This conception, for which the 
crisis of 1789 prepared the way, will be our guiding principle 
throughout the constructive phase of the Western Bevolution. 
The reconciliation of Order and Progress, which had hitherto 
been impossible, is now an accepted fact for all advanced minds. 
For the public this is not yet the case ; but since the close d 
the Counter-revolution in 1830, all minds have been tending 
unconsciously in this direction. The tendency becomes still 
more striking by contrast with an opposite movement, the 
increasing identity of principles between the reactionary and 
the anarchist schools. 
Provisionid ^ut evcu if WO supposo accomplished what is yet only in 

So SriS (tf prospect, even if the fundamental principle of our future polity 
transition. ^^^^ accepted and publicly ratified by the adoption of this 
motto, yet permanent reconstruction of political institutions 
would still be premature. Before this can be attempted, the 
spiritual interregniun must be terminated. For this object, in 
which all hearts and minds, especially among the working classes 
and among women, must unite their efforts with those of the 
philosophic priesthood, at least one generation is required. 
During this period governmental policy should be avowedly 
provisional ; its one object should be to maîT^t^în what is so 
essential to our state of transition, Order, at home and abrotd. 


Here, too, Positivism suffices for the task ; by explaining on 
historical principles the stage that we have left, and that at 
which we shall ultimately arrive, it enables us to understand 
the character of the intermediate stage. 

The solution of the problem consists in a new revolutionary Popniw âk 
government, adapted to the Positive phase of the Revolution, with tree- 
as the admirable institutions of the Convention were to its speech. 
negative phase. The principal features of such a government 
should be perfect freedom of speech and discussion, and at the 
same time political preponderance of the central authority with 
proper guarantees for its purity. To secure perfect freedom of 
discussion, various measures should be taken. All penalties 
and fines which at present hamper such discussion should be 
abolished, the only check left being the obligation of signature. 
^Again, all difficulties in the way of criticising the private charac- 
ter of public men, due to the disgraceful legislation of the 
psychologists, should be removed. Lastly, all official grants to 
theological and metaphysical institutions should be discontinued ; 
for while these last, freedom of instruction in the true sense 
cannot be said to exist. With such substantial guarantees 
there will be little fear of reactionary tendencies on the part of 
the executive ; and consequently no danger in allowing it to take 
that ascendancy over the electoral body which, in the present 
state of mental and moral anarchy, is absolutely necessary for 
the maintenance of material order. On this plan the French 
assembly would be reduced to about two hundred members : 
and its only duty would be to vote the budget proposed by the 
finance committee of government, and to audit the accoimts of 
the past year. All executive or l^islative measures would come 
within the province of the central power ; the only condition 
being that they should first be submitted to free discussion, 
whether by journals, public meetings, or individual thinkers, 
though such discussion should not bind the government legally. 
The progressive character of the government thus guaranteed, 
we have next to see that the men who compose it shall be such 
as are likely to carry out the provisional and purely practical 
purpose with which it is instituted. On Positive principles, it 
is to the working classes that we should look for the only 
statesmen worthy of succeeding to the statesmen of the Con- 
vention. Three of such men would be required for the central 
government. They would combine the functions of a ministry 

X 2 


with those of monarchy, one of them taking the direction of 
Foreign affairs, another of Home afiairs, the third of Finance. 
They would convoke and dissolve the representative assembly on 
their own responsibility. Of this body the majority would in a 
short time, without any law to that effect, consist of the larger 
capitalists ; for the office would be gratidtous, and the duties 
would be of a kind for which their ordinary avocations fitted 
them. Changes would occasionally be necessary in the central 
government ; but since it would consist of three persons, its 
continuity might be maintained, and the traditions of the previoiis 
generation, as well as the tendencies of the future, and the posi- 
tion actually existing, might all be represented. 

Such a government, though of course retaining some revolu- 
tionary featiures, would come as near to the normal state as is 
at present practicable. For its province would be entirely 
limited to material questions, and the only anomaly of impor- 
tance would be the fact of choosing rulers from the working 
classes. Normally, this class is excluded from political adminis- 
tration, which £ei11s ultimately into the hands of capitalists. 
But the anomaly is so obviously dependent simply on the 
present condition of affairs, and will be so restricted in its 
application, that the working classes are not likely to be seri- 
ously demoralised by it. The primary object being to infuse 
morality into practical life, it is clear that working men, whose 
minds and hearts are peculiarly accessible to moral influence, 
are for the present best qualified for political power. No check 
meantime is placed on the action of the capitalists ; and this 
provisional policy prepares the way for their ultimate accession 
to power, by convincing them of the urgent need of private and 
public regeneration, without which they can never be worthy of 
it. By this course, too, it becomes easier to bring the con- 
sultative influence of a spiritual power to bear upon modem 
government. At first such influence can only be exercised 
spontaneously ; but it will become more and more systematic 
with every new step in the great philosophical renovation on 
which the final reorganisation of society is based* 

The propriety of the provisional policy here recommended 
is further illustrated by the wide scope of its application. 
Although suggested by the difficulties peculiar to the position of 
France, it is equally adapted to other nations who are sufficiently 
advanced to take part in the great revolutionary crisis. Thus 


the second phase of the Revolution is at once distinguished from 
the first, by having an Occidental, as opposed to a purely 
National, character. And the fact of the executive govern- 
ment being composed of working men, points in the same direc^ 
tion ; since of all classes working men are the most free from 
local prejudices, and have the strongest tendencies, both intel- 
lectually and morally, to imiversal union. Even should this 
form of government be limited for some years to France, it 
would be enough to remodel the old system of diplomacy 
throughout the West. 

Such are the advantages which the second revolutionary 
government will derive from the possession of systematic prin- 
ciples ; whereas the government of the Convention was left to 
its empirical judgments, and had nothing but its progressive 
instincts to correct them. 

A special Report was published in August 1848 by the 
Positivist Society, in which the subject of provisional govern- 
ment will be found discussed in greater detail. 

Quiet at home and peace abroad being thus secured, we shall PoidtiYe 
be able, notwithstanding the continuance of mental and moral [for western 
anarchy, to proceed actively with the vast work of social re- 
generation, with the certainty of full liberty of thought and 
expression. For this purpose it will be desirable to institute 
the philosophical and political association to which I alluded in 
the last volume of my * Positive Philosophy ' (published in 1842), 
under the title of * Positive Occidental Committee.' Its sittings 
would usually be held in Paris, and it would consist, in the first 
place, of eight Frenchmen, seven Englishmen, six Germans, five 
Italians, and four Spaniards. This would be enough to repre- 
sent ÉBÛrly the principal divisions of each population. The 
Germanic population, for instance, might send a Dutchman, a 
Prussian, a Swede, a Dane, a Bavarian, and an Austrian. So, 
too, the Italian members might come respectively from Pied- 
mont, Lombardy, Tuscany, the Roman States, and the two 
Sicilies. Again, Catalonia, Castille, Andalusia, and Portugal 
would adequately represent the Spanish Peninsula. 

Thus we should have a sort of permanent Coimcil of the new 
Church. Each of the three elements of the moderating power 
should be admitted into it; and it might also contain such 
members of the governing class as were sufficiently regenerated 
to be of use in forwarding the general movement. There shoiild 



l>e practical men in this council as well as philosophers. Hen^ 
as elsewhere, it will be principally from the working class» tk^ I i 
such practical co-operation will come ; but no support, if g^ 1 1 
sincerely, will be rejected, even should it emanate from tk 1 1 
classes who are destined to extinction. It is also most impF 
tant for the purposes of this Council that the third element rf 
the moderating power, women, shoidd be included in it, so u to 
represent the fundamental principle of the preponderance of th 
heart over the understanding. Six ladies sliould be choaenii 
addition to the thirty members above mentioned : of these, tio 
would be French, and one from each of the other natioui 
Besides their ordinary sphere of influence, it will be their specnl 
duty to disseminate Positivism among our Southern brethreiL 
It is an office that I had reserved for my saintly colleague, wIks 
but for her premature death, would have rendered «mnent 
service in such a Council. 

While material order is maintained in each nation bv its 
own government, the members of the Council, as pioneers of the 
final order of society, will be carrying on the European move- 
ment, and gradually terminating the spirited interregnum, which 
is now the sole obstacle to social regeneration. They will for- 
ward the development and diffusion of Positivism, and make 
practical application of its principles, in all ways that are 
honourably open to them. Instruction of all kinds, oral or 
written, popular or philosophic, will fall within their province; 
but their chief aim will be to inaugurate the worship of Hu- 
manity so far as that is possible. And already a beginning is 
possible, so far at least as the system of commemoration is con- 
cerned. Politically they may give a direct proof of the interna- 
tional character of the Positive system, by bringing forward 
several measures, the utility of which has long been recognised, 
but which have been neglected for want of some central authority 
placed beyond the reach of national rivalry. 

One of the most important of such measures would be the 
establishment of a Western naval force, with the twofold object 
of protecting the seas, and of assisting geographical and scientific 
discovery. It should be recruited and supported by all five 
branches of the Occidental family, and woiUd thus be a good 
substitute for the admirable institution of maritime Chivalry 
which fell with Catholicism. Its flag woidd naturally bear the 
Positivist motto, the first sign of its public adoption. 


Another measure, conceived in the same spirit, would soon ^JJJv 
Ebllow, one which has been long desired, but which, owing to «««. 
blie anarchy prevalent throughout the West since the decline of 
Catholicism, has never yet been carried out. The consent of the 
various governments will be obtained to a common monetary 
standard, by which industrial transactions will be greatly facili- 
tated. Three spheres made respectively of gold, silver, and 
platinum, and each'weighing fifty grammes, would differ suffici- 
ently in value for the purpose. The sphere should have a small 
flattened base, and on the great circle parallel to it the Positi- 
vist motto would be inscribed. At the pole would be the 
image of the immortal Charlemagne, the foimder of the Western 
Republic, and round the image his name would be engraved, in 
its Latin form, Carolus ; that name, respected as it is by all 
nations of Europe alike, would be the common appellation of the 
universal monetary standard. 

The adoption of such measures would soon bring the Positi- ^Jf**^ 
vist Committee into favour. Many others might be suggested, 
relating directly to its fundamental piu^ose, which need not be 
specially mentioned here. I will only suggest the foundation, 
by volimtary eflFort, of an Occidental School, to serve as the 
nucleus of a true philosophic class. The students would 
ultimately enter the Positivist priesthood ; they would in most 
instances come from the working class, without, however, exclud- 
ing real talent from whatever quarter. By their agency the 
septennial course of Positive teaching might be introduced in 
all places disposed to receive it. They would besides supply 
voluntary missionaries, who would preach the doctrine every- 
where, even outside the limits of Western Europe, according to 
the plan hereafter to be explained. The travels of Positivist 
workmen, in the ordinary duties of their calling, would greatly 
facilitate this work. 

A more detailed view of this provisional system of instruction 
will be found in the second edition of the * Report on the Sub- 
ject of a Positive School,' published by the Positivist Society in 

There is another step which might be taken, relating not Flag tor th< 
merely to the period of transition, but also to the normal state. EepabUc. 
A flag suitable to the Western Republic might be adopted, 
which with slight alterations would also be the flag for each 
nation. The want of such a symbol is already instinctively felt. 


What is wanted is a substitute for the old retrograde symbols, 
which yet shall avoid all subversive tendencies. It would be a 
suitable inauguration of the period of transition which we are 
now entering, if the colours and mottoes appropriate to the final 
state were adopted at its outset. 

To speak first of the banner to be used in religious servioe& 
It should be painted on canvas ; on one side the ground would 
be white ; on it would be the emblem of Humanity, pictured as 
a woman of thirty years of age, bearing her son in her arms. 
The other side would bear the reUgious formula of Positivista: 
Love is our Principle^ Order is oar Basis, Progress our End^ 
upon a ground of green, the colour of hope and therefore most 
suitable for emblems of the future. 

Green, too, would be the colour of the political flag, com- 
mon to the whole West. As it is intended to float freely, it does 
not admit of painting : but the carved image of Humanity 
might be placed at the banner-pole. The principal motto of 
Positivism will, in this case, be divided into two, both alike 
significant. One side of the flag will have the political and 
scientific motto. Order and Progress ; the other, the moral and 
esthetic motto. Live for Others. The first will be preferred by 
men ; the other is more specially adapted to women, who are 
thus invited to participate in these public manifestations of social 

This point settled, the question of the various national flags 
becomes easy. In these the centre might be green, and the 
national colours might be displayed on the border. Thus, in 
France, where the innovation will be first introduced, the border 
would be tricolour, with the present arrangement of colours, 
except that more space should be given to the white, in honour 
of our old royal flag. In this way uniformity would be combined 
with variety ; and, moreover, it would be shown that the new 
feeling of Occidentality is perfectly compatible with respect for 
the smallest nationalities. Each would retain the old signs in 
combination with the common symbol. The same principle 
would apply to all emblems of minor importance. 

The question of these symbols, of which I have spoken during 
the last two years in my weekly courses of lectures, illustrates 
the most immediate of the functions to which the Positive Com- 
mittee will be called. I mention it here, as a type of its general 
action upon European society. 


Without setting any limits to the gradual increase of the 
Association, it is desirable that the central nucleus should always 
remain limited to the original niunber of thirty-six, with two 
additions, which will shortly be mentioned. Each member 
might institute a more numerous association in his own country, 
and this again might be the parent of others. Associations 
thus affiliated may be developed to an unlimited extent ; and 
thus we shall be able to maintain the unity and homogeneity of 
the Positive Church, without impairing its coherence and vigour. 
As soon as Positivism has gained in every country a sufficient 
number of voluntary adherents to constitute the preponde- 
rating section of the commimity, the regeneration of society is 

The members assigned above for the different nations, only 
represent the order in which the advanced minds in each will 
co-operate in the movement. The order in which the great body 
of each nation will join it, will be, so far as we can judge from 
their antecedents, somewhat different* The difference is, that 
Italy here takes the second place, and Spain the third, while 
England descends to the last. The grounds for this important 
modification are indicated in the third edition of my * Positive 
Calendar.' They will be discussed in detail in the fourth volume 
of this Treatise.' 

From Europe the movement will spread ultimately to the ooioniai and 

fnndffTi Aft. 

whole race. But the first step in its progress will natiually be sodatesot 
to the inhabitants of our colonies, who, though politically inde- mittoe. ibo 
pendent of Western Europe, still retain their filiation with it. which wiii 
Twelve colonial members maybe added to the Council ; four for extend to^ 
each American Continent, two for India, two for the Dutch and homan race. 
Spanish possessions in the Indian Ocean. 

This gives us forty-eight members. To these twelve foreign 
associates will gradually be added, to represent the populations 
whose growth has been retarded ; and then the Council will 
have received its full complement. For every nation of the 
world is destined for the same ultimate conditions of aocial re- 
generation as ourselves, the only difference being that Western 
Europe, under the leadership of France, takes the initiative. It 
is of great importance not to attempt this final extension too 
soon, an error which would impair the precision and vigour of 

^ The relative position hero assigned to England and Germany is reversed in 
the fourth volume of the * Politique Positive/ 


the renovating movement. At the same time it must nev«r le 
forgotten that the existence of the Great Being remains ineonh 
plete imtil all its members are brought into harmonious oo* 
operation. In ancient times social sympathy was restricted to 
the idea of Nationality ; between this and the final conception o( 
Humanity, the Middle Ages introduced the intermediate con- 
ception of Christendom or Occidentality ; the real bearing of 
which is at present but little appreciated. It will be our first 
political duty to revive that conception, and place it on a finner 
basis, by terminating the anarchy consequent on the extinction 
of Catholic Feudalism. While occupied in this task, we shall 
become impressed with the conviction that the union of 
Western Europe is but a preliminary step to the union of Hu- 
manity ; an instinctive presentiment of which has existed from 
the infancy of our race, but which, as long as theological belief 
and military life were predominant, could never be carried out 
even in thought. The primary laws of human development 
which form the philosophical basis of the Positive system, apply 
necessarily to all climates and races whatsoever, tlie only dif- 
ference being in the rapidity of evolution. The inferiority of 
other nations in this respect is not inexplicable ; and it will now 
be compensated by a growth of greater regularity than ours, and 
less interrupted by shocks and oscillations. Obviously in our 
case systematic guidance was impossible, since it is only now 
that our growth is complete that we can learn the general laws 
common to it and to other cases. Wise and generous int-erven- 
tion of the West on behalf of our sister nations who are less 
advanced, will form a noble field for Social Art, when based on 
sound scientific principles. Relative without being arbitrary, 
zealous and yet always temperate ; such should be the spirit of this 
intervention ; and thus conducted, it will form a system of moral 
and political action far nobler than the proselytism of theology 
or the extension of military empire. The time will come when 
it will engross the whole attention of the Positive Council ; but 
for the present it must remain secondary to other subjects of 
greater urgency. 

The first to join the Western movement will necessarily be 
the remaining portion of the White race : which in all its 
branches is superior to the other two races. There are two 
Monotheist nations, and one Polytheist, which will be succes- 
sively incorporated. Each step will £eu;ilitate the one succeeding, 


and taken together, the three represent the propagation of 
Positivism in the East. 

The vast population of the Russian empire was left outside Riwu, 
the pale of Catholic Feudalism. By virtue of its Christianity, 
however, notwithstanding its entire confusion of temporal and 
spiritual power, it holds the fibrst place among the Monotheistic 
nations of the East. Its initiation into the Western movement 
will be conducted by two nations of intermediate position ; 
Greece, connected with Russia by the tie of religion ; and Poland, 
united with her politically. Though neither of these nations is 
homogeneous in structure with Russia, it woiild cause serious 
delay in the propagation of Positivism should the connection 
be altogether terminated. 

The next step will be to Mohammedan Monotheism ; first in Moiuunme- 

* dan conn- 

Turkey, afterwards in Persia. Here Positivism will find points trie». 

of sympathy of which Catholicism could not admit. Indeed 

these are already perceptible. Arab civilisation transmitted 

Greek science to us: and this will always secure for it an 

honourable place among the essential elements of the mediaeval 

system, regarded as a preparation for Positivism. 

Lastly, we come to the Polytheists of India : and with them indi*. 
the incorporation of the White race will be complete. Already 
we see some spontaneous tendencies in this direction. Although 
from exceptional causes Theocracy has been preserved in India, 
there exist real points of contact with Positivism ; and in this 
respect the assistance of Persia will be of service- It is the pecu- 
liar privilege of the Positive doctrine that, taking so complete a 
view of human development, it is always able to appreciate the 
most ancient forms of social life at their true worth. 

In these three stages of Positivist propagation, the Council 
will have elected the first half of its foreign associates ; admitting 
successively a Greek, a Russian, an Egyptian, a Turk, a Persian, 
and finally, a Hindoo. 

The Yellow race has adhered firmly to Polytheism. But it chin». 


has been considerably modified in all its branches by Mono- 
theism, either in the Christian or Mohammedan form. To some 
extent, therefore, it is prepared for further cliange; and a 
sufficient number of adherents may soon be obtained for Tartary, 
China, Japan, and Malacca to be represented in the Council. 

With one last addition the organisation of the Coimcil is Africa, 
complete. The Black race has yet to be included. It should 


send two representatives ; one from Hayti, which had the eneigr 
to shake off the iniquitous yoke of slavery, and the other fron 
central Africa, which has never yet been subjected to Euiopeui 
influence. European pride has looked with contempt on these 
African tribes, and imagines them destined to hopeless stagna 
tion. But the very fact of their having been left to themsdvei 
renders tliem better disposed to receive Positivism, the fini 
system in which their Fetichistic faith has been appreciated, ai 
the origin from which the historical evolution c^ society hu 

It is probable that the Coimcil will have reached its limit of 
sixty members, before the spiritual interregnum in the ceotnl 
region of Humanity has been terminated. But even if poli- 
tical reconstruction were to proceed so rapidly in Europe as to 
render all possible assistance to this vast movement, it is hardly 
conceivable that the five stages of which it consists can be 
thoroughly eflFected within a period of two centuries. But how- 
ever this may be, the action of the Council will become increas- 
ingly valuable, not only for its direct influence on the less 
advanced nations, but also and more especially, because the 
proofs it will furnish of the imiversality of the new religion will 
strengthen its adherents in the Western family. 

But without waiting till Positivism has been brought into 
this direct contact with all the preliminary phases of develop- 
ment, the features of the system stand out already with suflBcieBt 
clearness to enable us to begin at once the work of mental and 
social renovation for which our revolutionary predecessors so 
energetically prepared the way. In their case hatred of the 
Past impaired their judgment of the Future. With us, on the 
contrary, social sympathy rests upon the historical spirit, and at 
the same time strengthens it. Solidarity with our contempo- 
raries is not enough for us, miless we combine it with the sense 
of Continuity with former times ; and while we press on toward 
the Future, we lean upon the Past, every phase of which oiir 
religion holds in honour. So far from the energy of our pro- 
gressive movement being hampered by such feelings, it is only 
by doing such full justice to the Past as no system but ours can 
do consistently, that we can attain perfect emancipation of 
thought ; because we are thus saved from the necessity of making 
the slightest actual concession to systems which we regard as 
obsolete. Understanding their nature and their purpose better 


than the sectaries who still empirically adhere to them, we can 
see that each was in its time necessary as a preparatory step 
towards the final system, in which all their partial and imperfect 
flervices will be combined. 

Comparing it especially with the last synthesis by which the 
Western family of nations has been directed, it is clear even 
firom the indications given in this prefatory review, that the 
new synthesis is more real, more comprehensive, and more stable. 
All that we find to admire in the mediaeval system is developed 
and matured in Positivism. It is the only system which can 
induce the intellect to accept its due position of subordination 
to the heart. We recognise the piety and chivalry of our 
ancestors, who made a noble application of the best doctrine that 
was possible in their time. We believe that were they living 
now, they would be found in our ranks. They would acknow- 
ledge the decay of their provisional phase of thought, and 
would see that in its present degenerate state it is only a symbol 
of reaction, and a source of discord. 

And now that the doctrine has been shown to rest on a 
central principle appealing alike to instinct and to reason, we 
may carry our comparison a step fiuther ; and convince all clear-» 
seeing and honest minds that it is as superior to former systems 
in its influence over the emotions and the imagination, as it is 
&om the practical and intellectual aspect. Under it life, whether 
private or public, becomes in a still higher sense than imder 
Polytheism a continuous act of worship, performed under the 
inspiration of universal Love. All our thoughts, feelings, and 
actions flow spontaneously to a common centre in Humanity, 
our Supreme Being ; a Being who is real, accessible, and sym- 
pathetic, because she is of the same nature as her worshippers, 
though &r superior to any one of them. The very conception 
of Humanity is a condensation of the whole mental and social 
history of man. For it implies the irrevocable extinction of theo- 
logy and of war ; both of which are incompatible with uni- 
formity of belief and with co-operation of all the energies of the 
race. The spontaneous morality of the emotions is restored to 
its due place ; and Philosophy, Poetry, and Polity are thereby 
regenerated. Each is placed in its due relation to the others, 
and is consecrated to the study, the praise, and the service of 
Hiunanity, the most relative and the most perfectible (5f all 
beings. Science passes from the analytic to the synthetic state. 


being entrusted with the high mission of founding an objedin 
basis for man's action on the laws of the external world andrf 
man's nature; the only basis that can control the osciUatioBet 
our opinions, the versatility of our feelings, and the iostainlitj 
of our purposes. Poetry assumes at last its true social fiinctiiii, 
and will henceforth be preferred to all other studies. By ideiE- 
sing Hiunanity under every aspect, it enables us to give fit o- 
prei>sion to the gratitude we owe to her, both publicly and h 
individuals ; and thus it becomes a source of the highest spiritod 

But amidst the pleasures that spring from the study and tlie 
praise of Humanity, it must be remembered that PositiWcm u 
characterised always by reality and utility, and admits of no 
degeneration into asceticism or quietism. The Love by wliick 
it is inspired is no passive principle : while stimulating Reasoft 
and Imagination, it does so only to give a higher direction to 
the practical Energies in which the Positive spirit first arose; 
and from which it extended first to the sphere of thought, and 
ultimately to the moral sphere. The grand object of human 
existence is the constant improvement of the natural Order 
that surrounds us : of oiur material condition first ; subsequentlj 
of our physical, intellectual, and moral nature. And the 
highest of these objects is moral progress, whether in the 
individual, in the family, or in society. It is on this that 
human happiness, whether in private or public life, principallj 
depends. Political art, then, when subordinated to morality, 
becomes the most essential of all arts, consisting in concentra- 
tion of all human eflFort upon the service of Humanity, in ac- 
cordance with the natural laws which regulate her existence. 

The great merit of ancient systems of polity, of the Roman 
system especially, was that precedence was always given to 
public interests ; every citizen co-K)perating in the manner and 
degree that was possible in times when no right ordering of 
domestic life had been effected. In the Middle Ages, when 
Catholicism attempted to form a complete system of morality, 
private life was made the principal object. All our affections 
were subjected to a most beneficial course of discipline, in which 
the inmost springs of vice and virtue were reached. But owing 
to the inadequacy of the doctrines on which the system rested, 
the solution of the problem was incoherent. The method by 
which Catholicism controlled the selfish propensities was 



one which turned men away from public life, and concentrated 
.them on interests which were at once chimerical and personal. 
The immediate value of this great effort was, that it brought 
about for the first time a separation between moral and politi- 
cal power, which in the systems of antiquity had always been 
confounded. But the separation was due rather to the force of 
circumstances than to any conscious efforts, and it could not be 
liilly carried out, because it was incompatible with the spirit of 
the Catholic doctrine and with the military character of society. 
Women sympathised with Catholicism, but the people never 
supported it with enthusiasm, and it soon sank imder the 
encroachments of the temporal power and the degeneracy of the 

Positivism is the only system which can renew this pre- 
mature effort and bring it to a satisfactory issue. Combining 
the spirit of antiquity with that of Catiiolic Feudalism, it aims 
at carrying out the political programme put forward by the 

Positive religion brings before us in a definite shape the 
noblest of human problems, the permanent preponderance of 
Social feeling over Self-love. As far as the exceeding imper- 
fection of our nature enables us to solve it, it will be solved by 
calling our home affections into continuous action; affections 
which stand half way between self-love and universal sympathy. 
In order to consolidate and develop this solution. Positivism 
lays down the philosophical and social principle of separation, of 
theoretical from practical power. Theoretical power is consul- 
tative ; it directs education, and supplies general principles. 
Practical power directs action by special and imperative rules. 
All the elements of society that are excluded from political 
government become guarantees for the preservation of this 
arrangement. The priests of Humanity, who are the systematic 
organs of the moderating power, will always find themselves 
supported, in their attempts to modify the governing power, by 
women and by the people. But to be so supported, they must 
be men who, in addition to the intellectual power necessary for 
their mission, have the moral qualities which are yet more 
necessary ; who combine, that is, the tenderness of women with 
the energy of the people. The first guarantee for the posses- 
sion of such qualities is the sacrifice of political authority and 
even of wealth. Then we may at last hope to see the new 


religion taking the place of the old, because it will fulfil in a 
more perfect way the mental and social purposes for which the 
old religion existed. Monotheism will lapse like Polytheism 
and Fetichism into the domain of history ; and will like th^n, 
be incorporated into the system of universal commemoration, 
in which Humanity will render due homage to all her prede- 

It is not then merely on the ground of speculative truth 
that Positivists would urge all those who are still halting be- 
tween two opinions, to choose between the absolute and the 
relative, between the firuitless search for Causes and the adid 
study of Laws, between submission to arbitrary Wills and sub- 
mission to demonstrable Necessities. It is for Feeling still 
more than for Beason to make the decision ; for upon it depends 
the establishment of a higher form of social life. 

Monotheism in Western Europe is now as obsolete and as 
injiu"ious as Polytheism was fifteen centuries ago. The discipline 
in which its moral value principally consisted has long since 
decayed ; and consequently the sole eflfect of its doctrine, which 
has been so extravagantly praised, is to degrade the affectioBs 
by unlimited desires, and to weaken the character by servile 
terrors. It supplied no field for the Imagination, and forced it 
back upon Polytheism and Fetichism, which under Theology 
form the only possible foundation for poetry. The pursuits of 
practical life were never sincerely promoted by it^ and they 
advanced only by evading or resisting its influence. The 
noblest of all practical pursuits, that of social regeneration, is 
at the present time in direct opposition to it. For by its vague 
notion of Providence, it prevents men from forming a tnie con- 
ception of Law, a conception necessary for true prevision on 
which all wise intervention must be based. 

Sincere believers in Christianity will soon cease to interfere 
with the management of a world where they profess themselves 
to be pilgrims and strangers. The new Supreme Being is no 
less jealous than the old, and will not accept the 8er\'^Lnts of two 
masters. But the tnith is, that the more zealous theological 
partisans, whether royalists, aristocrats, or democrats, have now 
for a long time been insincere. God to them is but the nominal 
chief of a hypocritical conspiracy, a conspiracy which is even 
more contemptible than it is odious. Their object is to keep 
the people from all great social improvements by assuring them 


that they will find compensation for their miseries in an 
imaginary future life. The doctrine is already falling into dis- 
credit among the working classes everywhere throughout the 
West, especially in Paris. All theological tendencies, whether 
Catholic, Protestant, or Deist, really serve to prolong and 
ag^^vate our moral anarchy, because they hinder the diffusion 
of that social sympathy and breadth of view, without which we 
can never attain fixity of principle and regularity of Ufe. Every 
subversive scheme now afloat has either originated in Mono- 
theism or has received its sanction. Even Catholicism has lost 
its power of controlling revolutionary extravagance in some of 
its own most distinguished members. 

It is for the sake of Order therefore, even more than of 
Progress, that we call on all those who desire to rise above their 
present disastrous state of oscillation in feeling and opinion, to 
make a distinct choice between Positivism and Theology. For 
there are now but two camps : the camp of reaction and anarchy, 
vhich acknowledges more or less distinctly the direction of God : 
the camp of construction and progress, which is wholly devoted 
to Humanity. 

The Being upon whom all oiu* thoughts are concentrated is 
one whose existence is undoubted. We recognise that existence 
not in the Present only, but in the Past, and even in the Future : 
and we find it always subject to one fundamental Law, by which 
we are enabled to conceive of it as a whole. Placing our 
higliest happiness in universal Love, we live, as far as it is 
possible, for others ; and this in public life as well as in private ; 
for the two are closely linked together in our religion ; a 
religion clothed in all the beauty of Art, and yet never incon- 
sistent with Science. After having thus exercised our powers 
to the full, and having given a charm and sacredness to our 
temporary life, we shall at last be for ever incorporated into the 
Supreme Being, of whose life all noble natures are necessarily 
partakers. It is only through the worship of Humanity that we . 
can feel the inward reality and inexpressible sweetness of this 
incorporation. It is unknown to those who being still involved 
in theological belief, have not been able to form a clear concep- 
tion of the Future, and have never experienced the feeling of 
pure self-sacrifice. 

TOIm I* 





In the foregoing general review, I have shown that the advanced prkpatort 
portion of our race has now completed its preparatory training ; pp. 82«-8so 
and that being in the possession of the philosophic principles PuitiTism 
upon which its permanent social system is to be founded, it uonof the 
should proceed without delay to the task of construction. The of human 
utter decay of all theological and military institutions facilitates, 
and indeed enforces, the establishment of that state of peaceful 
enlightenment by which alone the wants of human nature can 
be fully satisfied, and which all previous phases of development 
have approached more and more nearly. An inevitable crisis in 
the condition of Western Europe has subjected it for the last 
two generations to a series of oscillations between anarchy and 
retrogression; both equally connected henceforth with theo- 
logical principles : and the only issue of this crisis lies in 
the substitution of the permanent government of Humanity for 
the provisional government of God. 

Social reconstruction as here viewed, involves the perfect 
co-ordination of the three essential modes of human existence, 
collectively or individually regarded ; that is to say, of specu- 
lative life, active life, and affective life. Under the primitive 
systems of theocracy they were imited harmoniously ; but that 
unity, becoming soon oppressive, long ago ceased, and has never 
yet been restored. Each of these modes in turn, during the 
three great epochs of European history, has been cultivated to 
the exclusion of the rest ; a process which however necessary 
for the attainment of their full growth, was fatal to their mutual 
harmony. The period of preparatory training is now past, and 
the time has arrived for the foundation of a complete and final 
synthesis, in which a wider sphere will be given for the 
simultaneous action of Intellect, Energy, and Feeling, than each 


could separately find either in Crreek civilisation. Soman citiœn- 
ship, or Catholio-feudal discipline. In such a synthesis, while 
recognising with the Romans the supremacy of action o^'er 
speculation, we should incorporate the mediseval tendency to 
subordinate both to affection, the only true source of human 
worahipand All thcsc essential conditions are alike satisfied by the 


mnstrerton Demonstrated Belifiion which is now about to replace Bevealed 

Doctrine. o r ^ 

fieligion ; as Bevelation, fifteen centuries ago, superseded Inspi- 
ration. In this final religion, as in that of primitive times, 
and in the transitory religion which followed, there are three 
distinct, though mutually-related elements : the Doctrine, th& 
Life, the Worship. They relate respectively to the three 
primary classes of human attributes : thoughts, acts, and 
feelings. They correspond, therefore, to the three great results 
of man's constructive efforts. Philosophy, Polity, and Poetiy. 

Yet, connected as these elements are, the work of systema- 
tising them cannot be effected simultaneously. Whether 
the object be union or discipline, religion involves the entire 
subordination of human existence to an external power. We 
must therefore understand the nature of this power before we 
can define the course of action which it prescribes, or tiie 
feelings of reverence with which it is to be regarded. Thus 
religious life presupposes religious doctrine ; and as the result 
of both, there follows religious worship, strengthening &ith 
and duty by maintaining their constant relation to the supreme 
element of our nature, affection. This has always been the 
natural course, even when the objects of worship were beings 
of a pinrely fictitious kind, originating in spontaneous efforts 
of Imagination. A fortiori, it will be the course followed in 
the final religion, where the object venerated is one of un- 
questioned reality, but which, from the complexity of its 
nature it was for a long time impossible to grasp. As then 
Theocracy and Theolatry depended upon Theology, so Sociology 
is necessary as the systematic basis of Sociocracy and Socio- 

^ At one time I regretted the hybrid character of these three indispensable 
terms ; although the inadequacy of any purely Greek root for the purpose is a 
bufficiont excuse for it But there is a compensation, as I reflected afterwards, for 
this etymological defect, in the fsict that it recalls the two historical sources— the 
one intellectual, the other social — from which modern civilisation has sprung. 
There are other scientific terms equally hybrid, which it has been found neoMsuy 


But the elaboration of religioug Doctrine, althomrh it is the ThiiTna. 
first point with which our attention must be occupied, will ])e cueflydoo- 
insufficiently effected until we have derived &om it some iog7),wm 
distinct conception of the Life, and also of the Worship, with diwdpune 
which it is associated. As the final object of all conceptions aodwonhii 
which have any real value is to regulate our conduct and our 
feelings, their capacity for doing so is always the best proof that 
their development is mature. Until this is the case, the mind 
still remains in the philosophical or scientific stage, by which 
especially in modem times the true religious state is prepared 
and preceded. This treatise therefore will often touch on 
Sociocracy, and even on Sociolatry, although its principal object 
will always be Sociology properly so called. The ripeness of the 
Doctrine for practical application has been clearly shown in the 
preceding fieview, and it will be exhibited at greater detail 
in the concluding volume. When the co-ordination of Positive 
Doctrine is complete, and the foundation of the religion of 
Humanity has been laid, religious Life and Worship will in turn 
become the principal object of meditation ; and thus we may 
be led incidentally to fresh sociological discoveries. But at pre- 
sent they can only be referred to as the test by which our con- 
ceptions of religious doctrine should be judged. 

These spontaneous relations of Doctrine with Life and 
Worship are of great importance in the synthesis which we are 
now undertaking ; not merely because they keep its practical 
object constantly before us, but also through the strong stimulus 
which our intellectual powers receive from being constantly 
recalled to the consciousness of their moral and social influence. 
The procedure here indicated is in the highest degree rational. 
It evidently accords with the synthetical spirit which belongs 
to every religion, and which should more especially characterise 
the final religion, since its very object is to establish a more 
complete and homogeneous relation between the various modes 
of human existence. It is in the present day peculiarly im- 
portant to bring this relation prominently forward on every 

to use, B8t e.g., mineralogy ; so that -when, as in the present case, the hybridism is 
connected with an important philosophical meaning, there is still less reason for 
rejecting it. The word Sociology has already been adopted by aU Western thinkers 
from my Positive Philosophy. It may be hoped that the words Sociolatry and 
Sociocracy will soon become current also. The reasons for their emplojrment are 
at least as nigent; and they were readily accepted by the large audience who 
attended my course of philosophic lectures on the general histoiy of Humanity. 


Reaction of 
Feeling on 
faToored by 
presrare of 
social needs. 


suitable occasion, that we may emancipate ourselTes as br » 
possible from the dispersive spirit which at present vitiate» oor 
efforts. The revolt of the intellect against the heart which hu 
lasted through the whole course of modem history, has, it is 
true, been recently terminated, in principle at least, by the 
foimdation of social science. But it has left deep traces every- 
where, which can only be eradicated by sufficient practical expe- 
rience of the normal state. Positivists then should endeavonr 
as far as possible to develop not merely the influence of Intellect 
on Character, but what is less understood and yet equally im- 
portant, the influence of Feeling in stimulating, and even in 
inspiring Intellect. In the Middle Ages, in spite of the imper- 
fection of their creed, this reaction was a sacred truth, generally 
recognised. And it is still more applicable to the Beligion of 
Demonstration, in which the field formerly occupied by 8up«- 
natiu-al grace is subjected, as in the case of all other phenomena, 
to definite laws ; laws which to the true philosopher are the 
principal subject of meditation. 

Urgent as these considerations are on their own account, 
they receive additional force from the present political condition 
of Western Europe. The Positive system, substituting com- 
prehensiveness of thought for the spirit of detail, comes before 
us at a time when social considerations of the highest kind are 
powerfully engrossing our attention. I have already pointed 
out the influence of political causes in preparing the way for, 
and even in the formation of Positive Philosophy. And now 
that this Philosophy, originating in science, is rising to the 
higher rank of a religion, there is still more room for such 
influences to guide its progress, and thus to indicate spon- 
taneously the subordination of the intellectual to the social 
point of view. The intervention of moral and political interests 
is of the greatest importance in preserving the new synthesis 
from the idle digressions and self-satisfied apathy to which our 
speculative faculties, when left to themselves, are so prone, 
especially in times of anarchy. If Positivism is to surmount 
the formidable opposition that is now being brought to bear 
against it, it must be by the combined assistance of the working 
classes and of women. Now the condition on which alone it 
can receive and retain their support is that it shall never lose 
sight of that high social mission, which in the eyes of all but 
the piurely speculative class constitutes the whole of its real value. 


Such, then, is the systematic form which all true thinkers 
of the West, stimulated by the urgent necessities of the time, 
will ultimately give to Positive Logic. In their attempts Légitima^ 
gradually to solve the great problems of life, they will com- Feeling. 
bine all the instruments of thought which have been sanctioned 
in the past history of man. During the three successive phases 
of our collective infancy, Fetichism, Polytheism, and Mono- 
theism have shown the value respectively of feelings, of images, 
and of natural or artificial signs in the treatment of such ab- 
stract and general questions as have presented themselves. But 
each of these instruments has been employed too exclusively ; 
and thus each can only be regarded as a spontaneous prepara- 
tion for the normal state of human reason. Since the close 
of the Middle Ages the pride of metaphysical or scientific 
speculation has indeed restricted the use of the term Logic to 
the last of these instruments, ihat is, to the use of signs ; 
these being the most available for Deduction, although of far 
less utility for Induction, and moreover far less adapted for 
popular use. But this separation between the Logic of women 
and working men, the Logic of poets, and the Logic of philo- 
sophers and men of science, has no real basis. In the final re- 
ligion all approved agencies for the investigation of the external 
order which man possesses will be brought into permanent 
and combined action. Deep study of man and of Humanity 
warrants then the recognition, as a logical instrument, of 
Feeling, on which the first spontaneous efforts of our nascent 
intellectual powers were based. The universal consensus by 
which the social organism is characterised, has led many 
writers, in the materialistic spirit which still exercises such 
influence over Western thought, to enlarge on the efifects of 
wholesome bodily exercise as a stimulus to thought. But such 
writers almost invariably ignore the far greater eflSciency in 
this respect of good moral impulses. In the Middle Ages this 
was universally recognised ; since that time none but the mys- 
tics have duly appreciated it. Yet the mental influence of 
the various cerebral organs on one another ought surely to be 
more direct and powerful than that of organs comparatively 
disconnected. Therefore the religion of demonstration, in 
which the general aspects of human existence are always kept 
in view, will insist even more strongly than was done in the 
Middle Ages, on the intellectual value of aflection, while at the 


same time encouraging largely the reaction of affection icon 
intellect. Both tendencies follow naturally, and to an in- 
creasing extent, from the subjection of social phenomena to 
true laws ; and this at a time when urgent political necessities 
are forcing the attention of all upon the most important and 
difficult problems of life. 

The above considerations seem at first sight to relate more 
particularly to the subject of Sociology properly so called, and 
to have little reference to the introductory principles which ive 
are at present endeavouring to systematise. But on closer ex- 
amination we shall find that it is precisely for this introductory 
portion of my treatise that the new conception of Logic h&K 
presented is most indispensable. In the final science of 
sociology the reaction of Feeling upon Thought is indicated bj 
the very nature of the subject ; there is the less occasion there- 
fore for specially insisting upon it. But it is otherwise with 
the preliminary sciences which, being engaged with more 
abstract and less elevated subjects, seem less amenable to moral 
influences. Yet it is with these that such influences are more 
peculiarly necessary, especially at the present day; because 
thinkers are so prone to misapprehend or ignore their true 
character and the purpose which they are intended to serve. 
The basis on which their systématisation as here indicated rests, 
is in reality the subordination of intellect to the service of 
social interests, from which it has been to so great an extent 
severed during the period of irreligion which has elapsed since 
the Middle Ages. This, then, is the proper occasion for 
urging, in the name of the demonstrated religion here set 
forth, the substitution of the convergent for the divergent 
system of thought. In this great logical principle we have at 
once a decisive instance of the normal reaction of Feeling upo^ 
riaioiiB of With these general remarks, which it was indispensable ^ 

^ * premise, we may proceed at once to the immediate objects ® 
this chapter. In explaining the present introduction 
Sociology, we may consider first the purpose which it is ^^ 
tended to serve ; secondly its speculative character ; and la^^ 
the method to be followed in it. 
ptopoot The necessity of such an introduction is peculiar to i^*^ 

Sf?,;^^ final religion. Primitive religions were necessarily of t^ 
!wi^. spontaneous a character to require it. We shall better und^r- 


stand its necessity, and therefore the purpose to be served by it, SoSs'to^- 
if we look at the chief points of difference between the new ^^JSJ^^ 
Supreme Being and the old. iSJSS?"*® 

The old was always simple and absolute, especially when ^«™*' 
Monotheism became the established belief. The new Supreme 
Being on the contrary, is from its nature relative and composite. 
Hence it follows necessarily that the first is omnipotent, the 
second essentially dependent ; and to this again is due the £a.ct 
that the first religious system is provisional, the second 

For in truth the supposition of absolute autocracy rendered 
the conception of God utterly self-contradictory, and therefore 
certain to decay. .Thoughtful men could not but see the im- 
possibility of reconciling omnipotence either with imlimited 
intelligence or with infinite goodness. Man's reflective powers 
begin where observation ends ; their purpose is to supply the 
leficiency of observation. If we were always able to place 
ourselves in the circumstances best adapted for investigation, we 
should not require the faculty of reason, since we should dis- 
cover everything by mere inspection. Therefore omnipotence 
is inconsistent with the notion of infinite wisdom. Its incom- 
patibility with perfect benevolence is still more direct and 
evident. All man's designs, and consequently all his feelings, 
have reference to certain fundamental obstacles, some of which 
he has to modify, to others to resign and adapt himself. The 
volitions of a being who was really all-powerful could then be 
nothing but mere caprices, not admitting of wisdom in the true 
sense of the word, since vdsdom implies a necessity in the 
world without us compelling us to adapt means to ends. 

Under Polytheism, which in every respect is the most im- 
portant of the three theological stages, these radical incon- 
sistencies remained in the background, and were for a long time 
checked. But with the establishment of Monotheism they 
began at once to perplex all vigorous minds. The impossibility 
of evading them would have speedily brought so untenable a 
doctrine into discredit had not men's thoughts been for the most 
part justly preoccupied with its moral and social applications. 
On the other hand these very applications placed the utter 
incoherence of the doctrine in a stronger light. For the divine 
type, which was being narrowed down, as we have seen, by the 
force of logic to the single attribute of omnipotence, ceased to 


be an adequate representative of the human type, in which the 
combination of Activity with Feeling and Beason is so clearly 
marked. Consequently the moment that enquiry becan» 
possible, doubts arose which it was impossible to overcome. 
And Monotheism was the less able to suppress them, that in its 
origin, while combating Polytheism, it had invoked and 
sanctioned the employment of reasoning in religious questicms, 
a process which, when its own turn came, it was still less able 
to withstand. 
^ teioTof ^^ ^^^® respect the new religion contrasts strongly with the 

^ TBetoff ^^^' '^^^ ^^^ ^^^^ ^*'^ which it is reproached, the dependence 
Miodor uoi ^^ ^^® object upou external conditions, is in reality its claim to 
|JJ™2JJJj preference. We may be sure that its duration will equal that 
rapciiority. of the Being towards whom it is directed. In speaking of 
Humanity as supreme, we use the word only in reference to 
human powers and wants. It is qidte conceivable that evai 
within the limits of the Solar System there may exist an 
organism of still higher powers. Of this however we can know 
nothing ; and besides such a speculation, even if within our 
reach, would be wholly useless, since such a being could have 
no connection with ourselves. Of the conceptions within our 
range many are of no real utility to us ; whereas we are certain 
sooner or later to become aware of every important influence 
that acts upon us, the very fact of such action being itself a 
starting-point for our investigation. Dismissing then as use- 
less the comparison between all the Great Beings whose exist- 
ence is possible, it is enough for us to be sure that our own 
is superior to every existence within the compass of our 
knowledge. Conscious that our individual life must ever be 
subordinate to the life of Humanity, we regard Humanity as 
the ultimate object of all our efforts. 

And now we may see the truth of the assertion that limita- 
tion of power constitutes the superiority which the kingdom of 
Humanity possesses, especially in moral and social aspects, over 
the kingdom of God. 

That the new Supreme Being is homogeneous with the beings 
subjected to it is at once obvious from its very structure. But 
such homogeneity, one of the first conditions of eflScacy, was 
hardly possible for Theology ; except by hiunanising its type^t 
which was done even under Monotheism. As to the second con- 
dition, that of preponderating power, the very proudest min^ 


can hardly fail to recognise it. When we reflect how dependent 
every part of our life, physical or moral, is upon time and place, 
each one of us feels the irresistible power of the true Great 
Being ; a power which his own personal effort can only modify 
within very slender limits. But the influence of Humanity is 
dependent on something besides superiority of magnitude and 
duration. For Humanity is not composed of all individuals or 
gproups of men, past, present, and future, taken indiscriminately. 
There can be no true whole imless the elements composing it 
are in a true sense assimilable. Therefore the new Great Being 
is formed by the co-operation, whether in time or space, only of 
such existences as are of a kindred nature with itself; excluding 
such as have proved merely a burden to the human race. It is 
on this ground that we regard Humanity as composed essentially 
of the Dead ; these alone being fully amenable to our judg- 
ment ; not to speak of their increasing superiority in number. 
If the living are admitted it is, except in rare instances, only 
provisionally. The present life is a period of probation, which 
after it is over results either in exclusion or in permanent sub- 
jective incorporation into the life of Humanity. Consequently 
all elements truly belonging to Humanity are of necessity 
deserving of honoiu*. Further, it is only by their nobler 
aspects that they can be considered as incorporated. The im- 
perfections which, during their first life, stimulated them to 
discordance, will form no part of their memory. These attributes 
will be brought prominently forward in the Poetry of the Future ; 
and the superiority of the new Great Being to her worshippers 
in love and intellect will be as manifest as it already is in power. 
Thus in the supreme object of Positive Eeligion we find realised 
that combination of homogeneity of nature with preponderating 
power, which Catholicism strove ineffectually to attain by its 
fictitious ideal of Christ. 

We have now to explain the nature of this dependence upon 
external conditions, with which the religious efficacy of the new 
Supreme Being is so intimately connected. Here the necessity 
of these introductory principles in a systematic treatise on 
Sociology will at once become apparent. 

The structure and the evolution of Humanity are subject to 
certain special laws which form the doctrinal basis of the final 
religion. These laws, which are not in any way susceptible of 
being reduced to others, are the most special and the most 


complicated of the whole series of natural laws. It is the 
direct purpose of this Treatise to study these laws ; and the 
second and third volumes are devoted to their statical and 
dynamical aspects. But before proceeding to their investi- 
gation, a systematic series of preliminary conceptions is 
necessary to give it scientific and logical coherence. Sociologj 
cannot exist, as Theology did at first, as an isolated and original 
system of thought, disconnected from the rest of oar knowledge. 
Alike in the methodic exposition as in the first formation of 
the science, it must be preceded and prepared by a general 
view of the laws which regulate the more general and less com- 
plicated phenomena. 

For, besides the laws peculiar to her own nature, Humanity 
is subjected also to those which govern all other beings, whether 
organic or inorganic. By the very fact of being real and not 
fictitious, her existence is in the highest possible degree relative. 
Like every other organism, only to an increased extent, she is 
invariably subordinate to two kinds of conditions ; the condi- 
tions which relate to her environment, and those which regulate 
the elements of which she is formed. True, knowledge 
of the agent and of his surrounding conditions, will never be 
sufficient without direct study of the development of Humanity; 
but they form the indispensable basis of that study, and 
indeed they contain in a systematic form the germs of it. 

Between these two classes of preliminary conditions there 
exists necessarily a harmony, of which we shall speak more parti- 
cularly in the third part of this chapter, when dealing with the 
classification of the Sciences. At present we are regarding 
Science as a whole, with the view of showing the religion? 
value inherent in it, by which studies at present pursued 
without any direct moral purpose, will ultimately be ennobled. 
, _^ It would be needless to demonstrate the obvious fact of the 


'o) kldividu^ dependence of the Great Being upon material conditions : con- 
^î (*) «>- ditions which form the starting point of its continuous actinty. 
What we have now to examine is a subject of higher import, 
and far less imderstood ; the influence which this dependence 
exercises upon the higher functions of Humanity ; upon the 
intellectual functions which guide her progress, and the social 
functions which maintain her existence. We shall find how 
close is the bearing of these preliminary truths upon reUgion 
under its two aspects, discipline and union. 


So lately as the beginning of this century, the greatest of 
Inologists, Bichat, had formed the utterly folse notion that the 
Telation of living bodies to their environments, whether special 
or general, was one of antagonism. It was soon perceived that 
the contrary of this was true: that harmony between the C^^"» 
organism and the environment was a fundamental condition of ^^^^^ 
life ; the most philosophic definition of life being that it is a 5^g,jj^». 
continuous and close adjustment of internal spontaneity with ^j^^ 
csztemal fiitality. The conception, however, of this great 
harmony, and its bearing upon the whole course of positive 
speculation, is as yet extremely inadequate. 

It has been felt more or less clearly that in mental as in 
material life dependence on the external world was a means of 
growth and a stimulus to our intellectual and active faculties. 
Sat it has a more direct and more important action on our 
Idgher moral functions which has never been sufficiently recog- 
nised. Without it the course of human passions would be 
hopelessly disordered. 

The subjection of all phenomena of whatever kind to in- 
variable laws is the very basis of our whole existence. But for 
this constancy in all natural relations, it would be impossible 
to conceive of any coherency in our thoughts, any definite 
purpose in our actions, any fixity in our desires. Even 
Imagination is unable to emancipate itself from these limita- 
tions; they form always the background of its wildest crea- 
tions. How indispensable to our being is this External Order 
is evident if we recall the confusion and terror caused by its 
apparent suspension or alteration, in the case of objects possess- 
ing the slightest interest for us. It is by this Fatality that our 
whole life, individual or collective, is moulded. When it is 
inflexible we adapt ourselves to it : when it is modifiable we 
endeavour to ameliorate it. It might be thought that only our 
active Ëiculties are affected by it ; but our intellectual powers 
are equally involved : since their principal function is to render 
our subjection or our modification more complete. In the 
normal state of man, the sphere of speculation is the same as 
that of action ; the object of speculation being to prepare for or to 
criticise action by the standard of the universal order of which 
itself alone can take cognisance. 

In its first spontaneous rudiments, then, this fundamental it baa been 
doctrine of Positivism is of still more ancient date than the 


Qised from principle of theology ; and this in every class of phenomena, 
Bgo^ even in those relating to Man. Always and in all of them 
men recognised, however partially, certain natural relations over 
which the divine will had no controL But for this empiri- 
cal basis, our practical life would have been wholly devoid of 
coherence. It is to be remarked moreover that men's earliest 
observations were directed to moral rather than to physical laws, 
the influence of the former being more familiar and immediate. 
There was a time when certain men were supposed to be gifted 
with the power of directing the coiu^ses of the planets almost at 
their own pleasure ; but no one ever attributed to them similar 
power over human passions. It is this unchanged fixity of cha- 
racter which has always been the source of the interest inspired by 
great poems ; for the fictitious element in them, however ex- 
travagant, has always been confined to their material conditions. 
In fact the very tendency in which theological philosophy origi- 
nated, was that of explaining physical phenomena by moral 
laws ; the course of practical life having revealed these latter to 
us empirically. The development of Positive speculation U 
precisely the inverse of this. But Positive speculation was im- 
possible till a far later period, when practical necessities led 
men to systematise their observations, in order to gain the 
power of prevision. Now that this method has been applied to 
the highest phenomena, the constancy of natural relations 
stands before us as a universal doctrine which directly or 
indirectly embraces every subject of Positive speculation in the 
central conception of Humanity. It is only from this point of 
view that its capacity for regulating human life can have 
free scope. 
PodtiTitm \y It has always been felt that to control the fluctuation of our 
^SSnwm- desires, the wandering of our thoughts, and the inconstancy of 
ttieok«7. ° our purposes, some fixed point was necessary ; and that it most 
be sought for outside ourselves. It has been the principal and 
avowed object of Theology to fulfil this fundamental condition; 
but it has been very imperfectly efiected. For the basis of it» 
absolute synthesis was in reality only subjective, although 
believed to be objective. The conception of an external power, 
having no real foimdation, was moulded on the internal variations 
of the human mind, individual or collective. As a means of 
discipline it failed in its most important purpose ; and conse- 
quently almost always alternated between servility and presump- 


tion. The Positive doctrine, on the contrary, secures the true 
dignity of Man, by combining noble resignation with wise 
activity, which is never allowed to be arbitrary. Regarding 
each separate life in its relation to Humanity, it represents 
Humanity herself as subordinate to a imiversal Order, which 
has an evident objective existence, and which by its necessary 
preponderance forms the principal instrument, in controlling 
human life. 

In this general view of the discipline imposed by the pre- . 
liminary sciences upon our intellectual powers, I have referred 
rather to the doctrines of these sciences than to their method. 
The method is, however, of even greater importance as an 
intellectual training than the doctrine. But this has been so 
thoroughly explained in my Positive Philosophy that I need 
not do more than mention it here ; the less so, that the two 
following chapters of this Introduction will be devoted to its 
consideration. It is especially in the gradual formation of the 
Positive Method that the intellectual development of the last 
three centiuies has assisted human progress, and prepared the 
way for the fieligion of Demonstration. And scientific training 
will always continue to be necessary for those who desire real 
solidity of convictions. It can never be seciured even by the 
best minds, when they begin at once with the higher studies 
without sufficient practice of the less complicated and more 
"general sciences. Thinkers of great power, but without this 
training, have taken such an exaggerated view of the influence 
:>f passion on the intellect, as to imagine that self-interest could 
force men to reject the simplest mathematical demonstrations, 
^uch a heresy is an expressive way of describing the state of 
ilmost indefinite fluctuation characteristic of the modem under- 
standing when uninstructed in Positive knowledge. 

Without dwelling further upon a principle which no one ^^^ ^h,, 
now disputes, I proceed now to the second aspect, in which the SJïÎJoî* 
religious efficacy of these preliminary sciences is manifested : ""^^'** 
their influence upon our Social life. I have shown the 
controlling action of Science upon the life of the individual. I 
iiave now to explain its tendency to unite individuals together. 
Lnder the first aspect we have seen its utility in guiding tlie 
progress of Humanity ; but under the second its character is 
still more sacred, since it lielps to originate and maintain her 

VOL. I. z 


The new Supreme Being is by its nature composite, and 
therefore needs constant effort to preserve its separable 
elements in a state of union. Such effort is the more necessaiy 
because the very first condition of the supreme power exercised 
by Humanity being the independence of its organs^ these 
organs have a constant tendency to separation. Consequ^tij 
the fundamental principle by virtue of which Humanity exists, 
is Love. For this direct and universal tie nothing can 
be substituted. But its influence is powerfully aided by the 
sense of a common Fatality in the world without and in that 
of our own nature : and in the demonstration of this Fatality 
the religious value of Science consists, 
[tentabiishes lu the first place scientific conviction binds men together 
nityoTcon- by the mere fact of controlling their actions. The problem of 
reconciling men together is not in reality more difficult than 
that of harmonising the successive phases of each individual. 
The fixity of principle which results from the sense of depen- 
dence on an External Order necessarily leads to community 
of opinion, by at once engaging all minds in similar subjects of 

2. Comma, thought. Morcovcr, a common object of exertion is held up to 
tion.*^' ^' all, that of moulding ourselves to this universal Fatality, or 

of modifying it. But beyond the convergence of thought and 
of action, which the conception of this Order produces, it has 
a still more direct action upon the Heart. It assists the social 
sympathies in their struggle against the personal propensities. 
It is this more sacred and less apparent influence that we are 
now to consider. 

3. Discipline Its principal effect upon the character is that it disciplines 
Pride ; an instinct which from the impossibility of satisfying it, 
divides men even more than self-interest. The habit of sub- 
mission is the first condition of order in human affairs. For 
this habit the sense of an irresistible Fatality offers the only 
adequate tmining. And it is the more effectual that it 
influences not merely our energies but our intellect, which is 
far less amenable to control. The most self-complacent meta- 
physician has always admitted the necessity of subordinating 
liis reason to mathematical and astronomical truths, even 
whilst denying the existence of any invariable law in moral 
phenomena. As soon as the development of Positive thought 
lias proceeded far enough to bring tliis involuntary submission 
into due prominence, it creates a spirit of true humility, and 

of pride. 


thus becomes consciously to ourselves a most valuable agent of 
moral discipline. Our reason, naturally so proud, will then 
have no higher aim than to become a faithful mirror of the 
"world without us, so as to dispense by its own internal workings 
"with the necessity for external observation ; for this is what is 
done by scientific prevision, a power which deserves our highest 
admiration. This combination of submission with power is 
one of our noblest achievements, and is at the same time a 
most eflTective agent in our moral training. Aided by the in- 
stinct of vanity, it has sometimes saved scientific men of the 
moat servile character from a course of degradation which 
shocked nothing but their intelligence. 

Further, the fatalities of the world and of human nature 4^ympath] 
help to bring men together by reminding them that all are 
involved in the same miseries, and therefore stand alike in need 
of mutual help. Our common liability to the worst evils of 
life will always tend to mitigate the bitterness aroused by social 
inequalities, which, indeed, are themselves but a part of the 
same destiny. But it unites us still more strongly by the fact 
that being in part modifiable, it supplies a constant object for 
our collective or individual exertion. Thus universal Love 
stands out at once as the best resource for lightening the 
evils of life, even before men arrive at a clear consciousness that 
of itself it is the purest and most direct source of happiness. 

Brief as the foregoing explanation has been, it will suffice 
as a preliminary view of a subject so intimately connected with 
the whole subject-matter of this Treatise. It has been shown 
that Science, properly so-called, whether organic or inor- 
ganic, besides being indispensable as the systematic founda- 
tion of Sociology, has of itself a deep religious value as a 
source of union and a means of control. The irreligious 
tendencies which it has hitherto called forth, and which were 
necessary for the first acquisition of mental freedom, are alien 
to the true nature of Science, the main object of which is to 
bind together, by demonstrating analogy or sequence. Science 
will always remain essential as an introduction to the final 
religion ; and its place in the Sociocracy of the Future will be 
more honourable and permanent than that which incidentally 
was accorded to it in the ancient theocracies. 

It is the consideration of this higli mission which alone socuamin- 
enables us to form a rational systématisation of the preliminary î^ UMnk 

. n 


aeaMofco- scicDces. They precede and prepare the way for Sociology: 
fc, ^ but Sociology alone can co-ordinate them. The deplorable 
manner in Which they are at present studied, shows but too 
clearly the need of some controlling power adequate to replace 
the discipline once exercised by theologico-metaphysical doc- 
trine. For want of such a guiding principle, our scientific m^ 
have become incapable, even when sincerely desirous to do so, 
of explaining or of understanding the theories of their own 
science ; having no general conceptions by which to colligate 

Biology, for instance, looked at as an isolated system, 
admits of no rational or definite treatment. Starting from the 
incontestable principle of the general consensus of the 
organism, it proposes to examine the physical functions of man 
irrespectively of the moral functions, which can only be studied 
in the collective development of Humanity. This separation is 
permissible only on the understanding that they are afterwards 
studied in combination. It is merely preliminary to the normal 
state of the understanding, in which all Positive studies are 
viewed as an inseparable whole. 

Inorganic Science might seem to admit of being co- 
ordinated into a special system irrespective of Sociology ; since 
the phenomena which it investigates may be treated without 
reference to man, except as their spectator. But apart from 
the blame which on social grounds will attach henceforth to 
this Utopia of mathematicians, its value intellectually is of the 
most superficial kind. For the domain of research being un- 
bounded, would, if independently treated, encourage unlimited 
digressions, such as not only would be utterly barren, but would 
render all systématisation hopeless. Objective unity in this field 
is impossible, as the fruitless endeavours of the last two cen- 
turies have shown. It admits by its very nature of none but 
subjective unity : that is to say, of unity produced by the pre- 
dominance of the human or social point of view. This is the 
only universal connection between the doctrines, and even 
between the methods of physical science ; and by means of it 
the treatment of each subject, however exhaustless, can be 
restricted to what is really required for the sacred pmpose of 
devoting all our efforts to the continuous service of Humanity. 
PMtfrom But the restriction of the preliminary sciences here laid 

derwion», down, and which is involved in considering them merely as a 


necessary introduction to the final science, is of even greater scientiflc 
importance to Feeling than it is to Reason and to the Active uônaiiind 
&culties. The charge of immorality so often brought in 
modem times against scientific study, illogically as it may be ex- 
pressed, contains, and always will contain, an element of truth. 

I have already spoken in my General View of the materialistic 
tendencies necessarily involved in the pursuit of the lower 
sciences when uncontrolled by the authority of the higher. 
Following this thought still further, we shall find that all 
intellectual culture, however systematic, has a tendency to vitiate 
character, not only by inducing hardness of feeling, but by 
developing pride. The great personal efforts which it requires 
arouse an exaggerated sense of individuality, which effaces and 
perverts our conception of the imiversal connection of the whole 
human race : a connection as unquestionable in this aspect as 
in every other. Everywhere it is the Great Being who in 
reality produces, although its organs must always be indi- 
vidual. In practical life we are far less apt to forget this con- 
nection ; constant co-operation being here of immediate 
necessity. In this department metaphysical self-sufficiency has 
never ventured upon its absurd fiction of universal construction 
by the unaided efforts of an individual. But intellectual life is 
always liable to these mischievous and anti-social illusions of 
pride ; and it can only be preserved from them by the constant 
control of religion, guiding it ever back to its high purpose. V 

Difficult as the introduction of such principles in the present Thegui^jec 
day may seem, it is assuredly not impracticable. We must not en^tothii 
carry our censure of modem intellect so far as to imagine it dpiine not 
permanently disqualified from accepting the just supremacy of ^ *° 
the heart. Its state of insurrection has been for a long time 
justified by the inevitable necessity of breaking through a most 
oppressive bondage. Morally that insurrection has been 
disastrous; yet in the nobler types of scientific eminence it 
has always evoked an obscure consciousness of the social and 
philosophic construction which would be the ultimate justifi- 
cation of their partial and preparatory efforts. A clear proof 
that the modem spirit isf really tending in the direction of 
wise religious discipline, is the way in whicli tlie final religion 
has arisen. For, as I showed clearly in my System of Posi- 
tive Philosophy, Positivism originated in intellectual con- 
siderations, although now it has established direct and con- 


tinuous relations with Feeling. Strong therefore as is the 
pride of science, it has yet yielded to the urgency of social con- 
siderations, and permitted the Intellect to rise above its 
condition of utter anarchy, and voluntarily to restore the 
Heart to its normal position of preponderance. The only dis- 
cipline to which modem thought is radically opposed is that 
of retrograde principles. It invites such discipline as will 
ennoble its position and secure its progress by concentrating it 
upon high moral and political problems,