01. Introduction
02. Grammar/Activities:
03. Reading Section
04 Listening Section:
05. Speaking Section:
06. Writing Section:
07 Final TOEFL tests

Listening Test 1.9


Professor – Good morning! Ready to begin? Today, I’d like to complement our study of romanticism by examining more closely the life of Charles Fourier. That’s FOUR like the number and I-E-R. But before we study Mr. Fourier, let’s review what we know about romanticism. Who can tell me what romanticism was and when it lasted. Yes, Miss Stiles?

Student – Romanticism was a cultural and, um, artistic movement in Europe. It lasted for the first quarter of the eighteenth… no, I mean, the nineteenth century.

Professor – Very nice, Miss Stiles. Who would like to summarize the main message of romanticism? Oh, Miss Stiles, OK again.

Student – The main message was probably that artists should… um… that individuals should use their imagination to choose the form and content of all art. The Romantics thought that the Enlightenment had kind of choked off imagination and feeling and creativity and um… like stifled all individual freedom

Professor – Well put, Miss Stiles. The Romantics loathed any kind of rationalism. The Enlightenment had emphasized rationality and reason so much that the Romantics thought the individual had been demolished, reduced to an automated robot. It was time to liberate the soul, to break away and stand out, to reclaim individual freedom. Rousseau penned the rallying cry in the beginning of his Confessions. I’m quoting him: “I am not made like any of those I have seen. I venture to believe that I am not made like any of those who are in existence, I am not better; at least, I’m different.” So, then it was against this backdrop that Charles Fourier appeared on the historical stage. Mr. Fourier was what Karl Marx would later dub a “utopian socialist.” He was one of the three main utopian socialists along with Robert Owen and Henri de Saint Simon. A utopian socialist, broadly speaking, was someone who employed socialist principles to create hypothetical versions of perfect utopias; societies that were egalitarian or communal in which people would live in perfect fairness and harmony. Utopian philosophers believed these kinds of societies could be achieved in the immediate future. They, thus, planted the first seeds of the early twentieth century socialist movement. Mr. Fourier was born in northeast France on April 7, 1772, and he died in Paris in 1837. He was widely regarded as the most utopian of the utopian socialists. He argued vigorously for instance that women should have equal rights with men and actually coined our modern word “feminism.” Also, he thought the industrial revolution that was taking place in England was simply a passing phase, that mankind would move beyond industrialism to something better. As to what that something better would be, Fourier had some rather unusual ideas. He was born into a well-to-do family of cloth merchants, and after he inherited his mother’s estate in 1812, he had the money and time to pursue these notions. In his four published works, Fourier laid out a vision of a future community built on emotional bonds, fueled by what he called the laws of passional attraction. Basic human passions and drives had been repressed for too long, he argued. Now, these emotions needed to be openly expressed and harnessed. Men and women would live in self-contained housing units with 1620 members. Why 1620? Because Mr. Fourier had determined that people could be classified into 810 different psychological types. If you multiply this by two, for men and women, you get 1620. With such precise pairing, he was certain that the laws of passional attraction would produce ideal harmonious relationships. Many of Fourier’s ideas, to be frank, were perfect nonsense. He projected that his new world would last eighty thousand years, the last eight thousand of these in an era of perfect harmony. In this period, he predicted, among other things, that six moons would orbit the Earth and the seas would become oceans of lemonade. Perfect nonsense, but sprinkled amidst his nonsense were enough kernels of fresh thoughts to qualify Fourier as an instrumental influence on later socialist thinkers such as Marx and Engels. Many think the most valuable of these kernels was Fourier’s idea that work, especially heavy manual labor, would be turned into play, something deeply satisfying both mentally and physically. That was probably the one vision of Fourier’s that most captivated later socialist thinkers.