Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Working Translations index updated

I've updated the list of Working Translations to include most of the recent work (although I've already found one text I missed, and will no doubt be making more additions.) Longer, in-progress works (Nono, The Humanisphere and The Claque-Dents) now have pages attached to the Working Translations blog, where anyone can check the current state of the projects. I was a little surprised to see that the list now includes over 100 texts, ranging from single poems to short books.

I've also updated the Working Translations icon since, as some of you already knew, it has been revealed that the picture that Wikipedia identified as Joseph Déjacque was in fact someone else entirely. Ernest Coeurderoy has taken his place, and the manuscript in the background is by Bakunin.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Learning political economy with Nono

My translation of Jean Grave's The Adventures of Nono has reached roughly the halfway point, at which point young Nono will be carried off, as has already been foreshadowed, to the land of money and capitalism, to learn the major lessons of the novel, which arguably makes a better argument against the status quo than it does for the future anarchist communist society. The land of Autonomie is a sort of curious place, peopled by children and various embodied principles, which play an explicitly tutelary role, it bears some of the characteristics we might expect from an anarchistic utopia, like the organization of tasks by attractive industry, but it is very much a child's garden of anarchy, while its neighboring kingdom is peopled by adults. It's worth asking what we are supposed to make of that, in a novel that is very obviously concerned with delivering a moral, symbolic message. One possibility is that the land of children really is supposed to represent anarchism, as a land of innocence, from which Nono is obviously going to be taken by a fall from grace. 

The imagery of the Garden and Fall are not subtle, however uncomfortably they may sit with some of the political elements of the story. But in this quick note I'm more interested in the economic context for Nono's fall than I am in the conventional elements. 

Autonomie is obviously located in a realm without scarcity. Nono's is fed so well by the wild creatures he helps along the way that he might have had his dinner spoiled, even without his gluttonous behavior in the orchard. And the slaughter of flowers that results from his lessons in garland-making is a display of truly excessive consumption. I was reminded in many ways of the slaughter of passenger pigeon's in James Fenimore Cooper's The Pioneers. It seems clear that we are supposed to think of Autonomie and its environs as a place of nearly inexhaustible plenty. 

But there always seems to be one rule in every garden that will get you thrown right on out, and Nono wastes no time in finding and breaking it. 

The severity of the punishment for taking food from the table is remarkable, and moreso because it seems obvious that there is no lack of food. But Nono is almost carried off to the land of capitalism for putting aside a couple of pieces of fruit. So what is the sin he is guilty of? 

It seems clear that Nono has attempted to establish a capital. He has "put aside" for himself. So we have a society in which any sort of saving, even the most minute forms of capital accumulation, simply disqualify one from participation.

*     *     *     *     *

There's a hard line drawn here that fascinates me, but also repels me a bit. I think it is very useful to look at these arguments against saving, like the one Proudhon made in What is Property? There is still, I think a lesson for mutualists to learn about trusting in circulation to provide, in its own roundabout ways, without worrying about market mechanisms like price, and it is most likely we will learn that from (some of) the anarchist communists. But there is also a cautionary lesson here, I think, about avoiding certain kinds of absolutist thinking, which always imagine (for example) the emergence of capitalism from every piece of fruit smuggled off in a child's pocket, and therefore cannot tolerate the slightest deviation from the hard line against accumulation (all the while perhaps not talking resource use all that seriously.) 

Friday, December 21, 2012

The Scandalous Joseph Déjacque

I have this nagging fear that perhaps readers of the blog have not been reading the translations by Joseph Déjacque. It's hard for me to imagine any other reason for the failure of at least a minor Déjacque cult emerging. His work strikes me as an exciting amalgamation of revolutionary fervor and socialist social science, with literary qualities which range from the heights to the depths in entirely entertaining ways. This essay from Le Libertaire No. 4 (August 2, 1858), and is a sort of explanation for his approach to anarchist propaganda. Along the way it includes one of the most interesting characterizations of "revolutionaries" I've ever seen. In the final section, we see the revolutionary idea make another appearance, although this time it is Scandal which is personified. (And if you missed the rather sexy personification of the Revolutionary Idea in the Prelude to Part II of The Humanisphere, go back and experience some one of the strangest turns ever in the framing narrative for a utopia...)
 
SCANDAL

We live in an era of decadence. The world is peopled only with walking corpses. Everything that moves, moves slowly. A sovereign indolence weighs on nations and individuals alike. However, looking deeply into this human charnel house, we glimpse the subterranean life that stirs, swarms and sometimes ventures to the surface. Our century is a century of transition; under its visible inertia an immense transformation is taking place. This is not yet the complete death of the old social order, but it is already the beginning of the new. The operation, although it is latent, is nonetheless real. Government, property, family, religion, everything that makes up the organism of the civilized societies breaks down and begins to rot. There are no more morals; the morals of the past no longer have any sap; those of the future are still only a sprout. What is good for the one, is evil for the other. Justice has no criterion other than force; success legitimates all crimes. Mind and body are prostituted in the commerce of mercantile interests. Pleasures are no longer possible, if they are not the pleasures of the brute. Dignity, friendship, and love are banished from our mores, lie separated from one another, or perish, strangled, as soon as they want to dawn across this officially bourgeois society. There is no more grace or beauty in this world, no naïve smile or delicate kiss. The feeling for art is replaced by the taste for the disgusting and grotesque. Society, in its decrepitude,  resorts to bloody flagellations to over-stimulate its old carcass and sometimes still give itself some dreadful semblance of virility. Atony and gangrene have blunted all its capacities for labor, as well as for pleasure. It can no longer enjoy anything. For it, work is a punishment and pleasure a labor. It does not know what it wants or what it does not want. Everything weighs on it; it stumbles and sinks in all sorts of depravity and cowardice. It wants to escape from that horrible nightmare, to shake off the burden of degradation that suffocates it; it looks forward to waking up; it knows that it only has to stand up on its feet to destroy that oppression, and it is so drained that it does not have the strength to rise, or the courage to conquer its numbness. And yet the idea ferments in it, and enlightens it internally in its sleep, until it is powerful enough to make it open its eyes and shine from its pupils. One side of its life, its robe of flesh, is left in the sepulcher of the past; the other side, its mind or spirit, floats on the winds of the future.
It is up to us, revolutionaries, tatters of humanity whom the breath of progress lifts, social rags that the light of understanding colors with its purple fires, and that it displays above the Civilized like a scarecrow or a flag,—a scarecrow for those who want to remain stationary, and a flag for those who want to press forward,–it is up to us to stimulate the work of decomposition, up to us to try to indicate the stone that holds Humanity in immobility, up to us to open the paths of universal regeneration.
Two manners of acting present themselves to those who want to become propagators of new ideas. One is calm, scientific discussion, without renouncing anything of principles, to report them, and comment on them with a fine courtesy and firm restraint. This process consists of injecting truth drop by drop into minds that are already prepared, elite intelligences, still beset by error, but animated by good will. Missionaries of Liberty, preachers with smiling faces and caressing voices, (but not hypocrites,) with the honey of their words they pour conviction into the hearts of those who listen to them; they initiate into the knowledge of truth those who have a feeling for it. The other is bitter argument, although scientific as well, but which, standing firm in the principles as in a coat of mail, arms itself with Scandal as with an axe, to strike redoubled blows on the skulls of the prejudiced, and force them to move under their thick covering. For those, there are no words blistering enough, no expressions cutting enough to shatter all these ignorances of hardened steel, that that dark and weighty armor that blinds and deafens the dull masses of the people. All is good to them–the sharp sting and the boiling oil—in order to make these apathetic minds tremble to their heart of hearts, under their tortoise shells, and to make resonate, by tearing at them, these fibers which do not ring out. Aggressive circulators, wandering damned and damnators, they march, bloodthirsty and bleeding, sarcasm on the lips, the idea before them, torch in the hand, across hatreds and hisses, to the accomplishment of their fateful task; they convert as the spirit of hell converts: by bite and fire.
The two approaches are good and useful, depending on the sorts of listeners we encounter along our way. Some require one, and some require the other. For both, it is a matter of temperament, a question of their condition in the current society. They can even be alternately applied, according to the disposition of the mind or the environment in which we find ourselves. Both, if they do not back down from the principles, if they cling firmly to liberty, are agents provocateurs [in the sense of inciting agents] of the Revolution. However, in our civilized societies, it is the smallest number who are disposed to listen. The greatest number turn a deaf ear, and it is by Scandal that one pierces the eardrum.
How, anyway, not to employ words forged with the tongue of scorn to penetrate into this manure of the world where strut, like some like some poisonous mushrooms, the round, flat faces of the ignominious bourgeoisie. Can one employ anything but the teeth of a pitchfork to speak to these vegetations of legal matters? Does all of that feel? Does all of that think? Can a man with a heart live in such a society? Is he called to live only to drag along his days among that filthy rabble? Is it my fault, it is our fault, who have in our heart the poetry of the future, if nature has given us some disposition to love, an intelligence of the good, enthusiasm for the beautiful, and if we encounter at every step only intellectual and moral deformities? Is it our fault if in such a society we only find hate to dispense, if there we can only revel in disgust?
O Scandal! Vengeful fury, be my companion as long as the world remains the old world, as long as bourgeois obesity and obscenity ripen on the velour of exploitation, as long as servility and idiocy of the workers will grovel in the rut and under the halter of capital!
Yes, there must be some like me, like us–the cursed, the rebels–to march unbending–in the direction of progress, to move the inert blocks, to face the avalanches of stones and smooth the way for those who have the same goal, but who make the propaganda in less irritating forms, who engage in polemics with more peaceful epithets.
Scandal, avenging fury, to you my pen and my lips!
It is through you that shame enters the hearts of men. It is through you that their minds awaken to enlightenment. It is through you that the wicked tremble, and through you that the good hope.
If there is still, or rather if there is already some modesty in the world, Scandal, avenging fury, great redresser of morals, it is to you that it is owed.
It is you that forces enemies of the new idea to serve this idea by criticizing it. All who speak of socialism, for good or evil, spread socialism by spreading its name. Sooner or later truth emerges from untruth, it gets the better of its detractors in the long run. Only silence is harmful, and it is you, Scandal, who imposes speech on the mute and, whether they like it or not, forces them to make themselves heralds of that which they persecute.
Scandal, anarchic authority, you are more powerful than all the authorities of the official world. The kings and the bourgeois, the emperors and their subjects can only put the gag of death on the mouths of men; you, voice strident, fiber electric, you make even the stones speak!
O Scandal! Great educator of the deaf and mute, revolutionary breath, satanic deity, spread your wings and vibrate over the world; bring forth the idea from all these skulls of granite, like the sibylline sounds from the depths of the grottos.
Scandal, you are the organ that makes the Civilized bow down their heads in their shame, and that their thought raises up the spheres of future harmony.
Bellow and rumble still, provocative storm. Your thunder-bursts are a salutary anthem.
My pen and my lips are yours, Scandal! 
[Working translation by Shawn P. Wilbur]

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Joseph Déjacque, "The Humanisphere" — Second Part, Prelude


The Humanisphere

Anarchic Utopia

Second Part

Prelude
 
Dream, Idea, Utopia
Daughters of right, sylphs of my dreams,
Equality! Liberty! my loves!
Will you always only be lies!
Fraternity! Will you always flee from us!
No, n’est-ce pas ? my darling goddesses;
The day approaches when the ideality
The old clock-face of reality
Will mark the hour of utopias!...
Dear utopia, ideal of my heart,
Oh! defy one more the ignorance and error.
 
(Les Lazaréennes)
 
What is a utopia? A dream unrealized, but not unrealizable. The utopia of Galileo is now a truth; it has triumphed despite the sentence of his judges: the earth turns. The utopia of Christopher Columbus was realized despite the clamor of his detractors: a new world, America, has risen at his call from the depths of the Ocean. What was Salomon de Caus?[1] A utopian, a madman, but a madman who discovered steam. And Fulton? Another utopian. Instead, ask the academicians of the Institute and their emperor and master, Napoleon, called the Great... Great like the prehistoric monsters, with stupidity and ferocity. All innovative ideas were utopias at their birth; age alone, by developing them, makes them enter the world of the real. The seekers of ideal happiness, like the searchers for the philosopher’s stone, will never realize their utopia absolutely, but their utopia will be the cause of humanitary progress. Alchemy did not succeed in making gold, but it has drawn from its crucible something good more precious than a vain metal; it has produced a science, chemistry. Social science will be the work of the dreamers of perfect harmony.
Humanity, that conquering immortal, is an army corps that has its vanguard in the future and its rearguard in the past. To move the present and pave its way, it must have its outposts of skirmishers, lost sentries who shoot the idea at the limits of the Unknown. All the great stages of humanity, its forced marches on the terrain of social conquest have only been established in the steps of the guides of thought. “Forward!” cried these explorers of the Future, standing on the alpine summits of utopia. “Halt!” grumbled the laggards of the Past, squatting in the ruts of mired reactions. “March!” responded the genius of Humanity. And the great revolutionary masses set off at its voice.—Humanity! On the road of future centuries I fly the flag of the anarchic utopia, and cry to you: “Forward!” Let the stragglers of the Past sleep in their cowardly immobility and find death there. Respond to their death-rattle, to their deathly groans with a resounding call to movement, to life. Put the clarion of Progress to your lips, take your insurrectionary drumsticks in your hands, and beat and sound the marching tune.
 —March! March!! March!!!
Today when steam exists in all its virility, and electricity exists in an infant state; today when locomotion and navigation are made with great speed; that there are no longer Pyrenees, nor Alps, nor deserts, nor oceans; today when the printing house publishes the word in hundreds of thousands of copies and commerce peddles in even the most unknown corners of the globe; today when exchange by exchange we open the ways of unity; today when the labors of generations have formed, stage by stage and arch by arch, this gigantic aqueduct that pours across the present world torrents of science and enlightenment; today when the motive and the force of expansion exceeds all that the most utopian dreams of ancient times could imagine of the grandeur of modern times; today when the word “impossible” scratched out of the human dictionary; today when man, new Phoebus directing the advance of steam, warms up the vegetation and produces where he pleases greenhouses where sprout, grow and flower the plants and trees of all climates,  an oasis that the traveler encounters in the midst of the snow and ice of the North; today when human genius, in the name of its suzerainty, has taken possession of the sun, that focus of brilliant artists, when it has captured its rays, chained them in its workshop, and constrained them, like servile vassals, to etch and paint its image on zinc plates or sheets of paper; today, finally, when every march takes giant’s steps, is it possible that Progress, that giant among giants, will continue to advance gently, gently [piano-piano] on the railways of social science? No, no. I tell you that it will change its pace; it will put itself in step with steam and electricity, and it will struggle with them with peace and agility. Woe then to those who want to stop it in its course: they will be spewed out in shreds on the other side of the tracks by the cowcatcher of the colossal locomotive, that cyclops with an eye of fire that tows with all the heat of hell the satanic procession of humanity, and which, standing up on its axels, advances, brow high and head lowered, along the straight way of anarchy, shaking in the air its brown hair studded with sparks of flame! Woe to those who would want to go against this rolling volcano! All the gods of the ancient and modern worlds are not big enough to measure up to this new Titan. Make way! Make way! Step aside, crowned cowherds, merchants of human livestock who return from Poissy with your cart, Civilization. Pull over, Lilliputian bully-boys, and make way for utopia. Make way! Make way for the forceful breath of the Revolution! Step aside, money-changers and forgers of chains, make way for the idea-changers, to the forger of the thunderbolt!...
— I had hardly finished writing these lines when I was forced to stop, as I have been forced to do quite often in the course of this work. The excessive stress on all my faculties, to lift and cast off the burden of ignorance which weighs on my head, that fanatic overexcitement of thought, acting on my weak temperament, made tears pour from my eyes. I choked and sobbed. Blood beat in my temples and raised in my brain some torrential waves, boiling flood that my arteries did not stop precipitate there through all their channels. And while with the right hand I tried to contain and calm the frantic activity of my brow, with the left hand I tried in vain to contain the accelerated pulsations of my heart. The air no longer reached my lungs. I tottered like a drunken man, going to open the window of my room. I approached my bed and threw myself down on it.—I asked myself: Was I going to lose life or reason? And I got up, not being able to remain lying down, and I lay down again, unable to remain standing. It seemed to me that my head would explode, and that someone twisted my breasts with pliers. I choked: iron muscles grasped my by the throat... Ah! The Idea is a lover who in its ardent embraces bites you until you cry out, and only leaves you a moment, breathless and spent, to prepare yourself for new and more ardent caresses. To woo her, if you are not strong in science, you must be brave in intuition. “Back!” she says to the rogues and cowards, “You are unbelievers!” And she leaves them to mope outside the shrine. That languorous, splendid and passionate mistress requires men of saltpeter and bronze for lovers. Who knows how many days each of her kisses costs! Once the spasm subsided, I sat down at my desk. The Idea came to sit beside me. And, my head resting on her shoulder, one hand in her hand and the other in the curls of her hair, we exchanged a long look of calm intoxication. I went back to writing, and in her turn she leaned on me. and I felt her soft contact reawaken the eloquence in my brain and in my heart, and her breath again inflamed mine. After rereading what I had written, and in thinking of that inert mass of prejudices and ignorance that it was necessary to transform into active individualities, into free and studious intelligences, I felt a hint of doubt slip into my mind. But the Idea, speaking in my ear, soon dispelled it. A society, she told me, which in its most obscure strata, under the blouse of the worker, feels such revolutionary lava rumble, storms of sulfur and fire such as circulate in your veins; a society in which are found some disinherited to write what you have written, and thus appeal to all the rebellions of arms and intelligence; a society where such writings find presses to print them and men to clasp the hands of their authors; where these authors, who are proletarians, still find bosses to employ them,—with exceptions, naturally,—and where these heretics of the legal order can walk the streets without being marked on the forehead with a hot iron, and without anyone dragging them to the stake, them and their books; oh, such a society, although it is officially the adversary of new ideas, is close to going over to the enemy... If it still does not have a feeling of the morality of the Future, at least it no longer has a feeling for the morality of the Past. The society of the present is like a fortress surrounded on all sides, which has lost communication with the army which has protected it and which has been destroyed. It knows that it can no longer resupply. So it no longer defends itself except for appearances sake. One can calculate in advance the day of its surrender. Without any doubt, there would still be volleys of cannon shots exchanged; but when it has exhausted its last munitions, emptied its arsenals and its granaries of abundance, it must strike the flag. The old society no longer dares protect itself, or, if it does protect itself, it is which a fury which testifies to its weakness. Young people enthusiastic for the good can be bold and see success crown their audacity. The old, envious and cruel, always fail in their recklessness. There are still in our days, and more than ever, many priests to religionize souls, as there are judges to torture bodies; soldiers to pasture on authority, as there are bosses to live at the expense of the workers. But priests and judges, soldiers and bosses no longer have faith in their priesthood. There is in their public glorification of themselves, by themselves, something like an ulterior motive of shame for doing what they do. All these social climbers, these bearers of chasubles or robes, of belts garnished with pieces of gold or steel blades, do not feel at ease between the world that is coming and the world that is departing; their legs are reckless, and they feel like they’re walking on hot coals. It is true that they always continue to preside, to sentence, to shoot, to exploit, but, “in their heart of hearts, they are not sure they are not thieves and assassins!...” that is to say that they do not dare to admit it to themselves fully, for fear of being too afraid. They vaguely understand that they are at odds, that civilized society is a society of ill repute, and that one day or another the Revolution can accomplish a raid of justice in this dive. The footstep of the future echoes dully on the cobblestones. Three knocks on the door, three blasts of the alarm in Paris, and that’s it for the stakes and the players!
Civilization, the daughter of Barbarism, who has Savagery for a grandmother, Civilization, exhausted by eighteen centuries of debauchery, suffers from an incurable disease. She is condemned by science. She must pass away. When? Sooner than one might think. Her sickness is a pulmonary phthisis, and we know that consumptives maintain the appearance of life up to the last hour. One debauched night she will lie down, to rise no more.
When the Idea had finished speaking, I drew her gently into my lap and there, between two kisses, I asked her the secret of the future times. She was so tender and so good to those who love her ardently that she could not refuse me. and I remained hanging at her lips and gathered each of her words, as if captivated by the attractive fluid, by the emanations of light with which her pupil inundated me. how beautiful she was then, the graceful enchantress! I wish I could retell with all the charm with which she told me these splendors of the anarchic utopia, all these magical delights of the Harmonian world. My pen is not skillful enough to give anything but a pale glimpse. Let those who would know its ineffable enchantments appeal, as I did, to the Idea, and let them, guided by her, evoke in their turn the sublime visions of the ideal, the luminous apotheosis of future ages.

II.

Ten centuries have passed over the face of Humanity. We are in the year 2858. —Imagine a savage from the earliest ages, torn from the heart of his primitive forest and cast without transition forty centuries distant into the midst of present-day Europe, in France, at Paris. Suppose that a magical power had liberated his intelligence and walked him through the marvels of industry, agriculture, architecture, of all the arts and all the sciences, and that, like a cicerone[2], it had shown him and explained to him all their beauties. And now imagine the astonishment of that savage. He would fall down in admiration before all these things; he would not be able to believe his eyes or ears; he would cry out at the miracle, the civilization, the utopia!
Now imagine a civilisée suddenly transplanted from the Paris of the 19th century to the time of humanity’s beginnings. And imagine his amazement before these men who still have no other instincts but those of the brute, who graze and bleat, who bellow and ruminate, who kick and bray, who bite, claw and roar, men for whom their fingers, tongue, and intelligence are tools of which they do not know the use, a mechanism of which they are not in a state to understand the works. Picture this civiliseé, thus exposed to the mercy of savage men, to the fury of wild beasts and untamed elements. He could not live among all these monstrosities. For him it would be disgust, horror, and chaos!
Well! The anarchic utopia is to civilization what civilization is to savagery. For one who has crossed by thought the ten centuries that separate the present from the future, who has entered into the future world and explored its marvels, how has seen, heard and felt all its harmonious details, who has been initiated into all the pleasures of that humanitary society, for that person the world of the present is still an uncultivated, swampy land, a cesspool peopled with fossil men and institutions, a monstrous skeleton of society, something misshapen and hideous that the sponge of the revolutions must wipe from the surface of the globe. Civilization, with it monuments, its laws, and its customs, with its property boundaries and its ruts of nations, its authoritarian brambles and its familial roots, its prostitutional vegetation; Civilization with its English, German, French, and Cossack patois, with its gods of metal, its crude fetishes, its pagodian animalities, its mitered and crowned caimans, its herds of rhinoceros and deer, of bourgeois and proletarians, its impenetrable forests of bayonets and its bellowing artilleries, bronze torrents stretched out in their carriages, roaring and vomiting up cascades of bullets; Civilization, Civilization, with its caves of misery, its penal colonies and its workshops, its houses of prostitution and detention, with its mountainous chains of palaces and churches, of fortresses and shops, its dens of princes, bishops, generals, and bourgeois, obscene macaques, hideous vultures, ill-mannered bears, metalivores and carnivores who soil with their debauchery and make bleed with their claws human flesh and intelligence; Civilization, with its Penal gospel and its religious Code, its emperors and its popes — its gallows-constrictors which throttle a man in their hemp loops and then swing him on high from a tree, after having broken his neck, its guillotine-alligators which crush you like a dog between their terrible jaws and separate the head from the body with one blow of their triangular portcullis; Civilization, finally, with its habits and customs, its pestilential charters and constitutions, its moral cholera, all its epidemic religionalities and its governmentalities; Civilization, in a world, in all its vigor and exuberance, Civilization, in all its glory, is, for the one who has fixed in his sight the dazzling Future, what the savagery at the origin of the world would be for the Civilizee, the newly born man emerging from his terrestrial mold and still wading through the menses of chaos; so also the anarchic utopia is, for the civilisée, what the revelation of the civilized world would be for the savage; that is to say something hyperbolically good, hyperbolically beautiful, something ultra- and extra-natural, the paradise of man on the earth.

III.

Man is an essentially revolutionary being. He does not know how to stay in place. He does not live the life of limits, but the life of the stars. Nature has given him movement and light, in order to orbit and shine. Isn’t the limit itself, although slow to move, transformed imperceptibly each day until it is entirely metamorphosed, and doesn’t continue in the eternal life its eternal metamorphoses?
So, Civilisees, do you want to be more limited than the limits?
“Revolutions are acts of conservation.”
So revolutionize yourself, in order to preserve yourself.
In the arid desert where our generation is camped, the oasis of anarchy is still for the caravan worn out from marches and counter-marches, a mirage floating at random. It is up to human intelligence to solidify that vapor, to settle the azure-winged phantom on the ground, to give it a body. Do you see over there, in the deepest depths of the immense misery, do you see a somber, reddish cloud gathering on the horizon? It is the revolutionary simoom. Look out, Civilisées. There is only time to fold the tents, if you do not want to be engulfed in that avalanche of burning sand. Look out! And flee straight ahead. You will find the fresh spring, the green lawns, the fragrant flowers, the tasty fruit, and a protective shelter under wide, high canopies. Do you hear the simoom that threatens you? Do you see the mirage that calls to you? Look out! Behind you is death; to the right and to the left, death; where you stand, death... March! Before you is life. Civilisées, Civilisées, I tell you: the mirage is not a mirage, utopia is not a utopia; what you take for a phantom is the reality!...

IV.

And, having given me three kisses, the Idea drew aside the curtain of the centuries and revealed to my eyes the main stage of the future world, where it would show me the Anarchic Utopia.

[Working translation by Shawn P. Wilbur]


[1] Salomon de Caus was credited, incorrectly, with the invention of the steam engine.—Editor.
[2] A guide.