Introductory dialogue between an educated philanthropist, living in the countryside near Paris, and Jacques, his gardener.
LE PHILANTHROPE. Good, my friend, I thank you.
JACQUES. But tell me, please, if I am not too curious, what do you want to do with those Almanachs? There are more than twenty on your table!
LE PHILANTHROPE. Yes, look, read the titles...
JACQUES. Let's see... The Almanach of Nostradamus; - The True Nostradamus; - The Matthieu Laensberg's; - The Liégeois; - The Double Liégeois; - The New Double Liégeois; - The True Double Liégeois; - The Triple Liégeois; - The Small Liégeois; - The Double French Almanach; - The Villager; - The True Universal Almanach; - The Great Universal Astrologist; - The Veridical, Almanach without no other; - Memories of a great man; - The Popular Almanach; - The Prophetic Almanach; - The Almanach of France (edited by Emile de Girardin); - The National Almanach; - The Royal Almanach; - The Trade Almanach; - The Social or Fourriériste Almanach; - The Comic Almanach; - The Almanach of Cities and Countries; - The Judicial or Palatial Almanach; - The State Council Almanach; - The Longitude Bureau Almanach; - The Useful Knowledges Almanach; - The Democratic; - The Pairy; - The Christen; - The Devil Science; - The Encyclopedic; - The Backstage; - The Good Messenger.
LE PHILANTHROPE. And they are already talking about another one, to be published, The Almanach of Thélème, the Thelemite.
JACQUES. What a weird name, The Thelemite! What is this beast about?
LE PHILANTHROPE. It is an Almanach destined to make know and to propagate the Thelemite system, which means the social and political organisation system established in Thélème, as described and told in Gargantua.
JACQUES. But this is Community! This is Communism, the villain Communism!
LE PHILANTHROPE. How, my friend, the villain Communism!... Do you know what is Communism? Have you studied, examined, discussed it...?
JACQUES. No, but one says...
LE PHILANTHROPE. Those "one says" are preventions, prejudgments, errors, slanders... I am a Communist, myself!
JACQUES. Really, sir?
LE PHILANTHROPE. Jesus-Christ was a Communist. He proclaimed, preached, recommended, instituted the Community for the whole Earth...
JACQUES. Really, sir!
LE PHILANTHROPE. Oh yes! Communism, is Christianism in its whole original purity, before Priests and Aristocrats had corrupted and denatured it for the benefit of their egoism, of their ambition, of their pride; it is the purest moral, the most perfect justice, the most sublime religion; it is the abolishment of all slaveries and all oppressions, in order to substitute it with liberty, equality, association and all its consequences; it is the suppression of privileges, concurrence, antagonism, rivalry, hatred, discord, in order to substitute it with fraternity, benevolence, love, union and concord; it is annihilation of misery, in order to substitute it with ease and happiness for all equally, without tyrannizing nor skinning no one, enriching the poor without impoverishing the rich.
JACQUES. I can not believe it... How this would be makable?
LE PHILANTHROPE. By a more reasonable organisation of Society and Work, by order substituted everywhere to disorder, by education and instruction, by the undefined multiplication of machines, that will increase tenfold agricultural and manufactured production for that everyone profit from it without damaging no one.
JACQUES. But, sir, one says that Communists want to abolish marriage and family, to violently skin proprietors, and you feel...
LE PHILANTHROPE. There might be some Communists that have particular ideas, as there are Royalists, Republicans, Democrats, Reformists of all kind; but the mass of Communists that are called Communists of Thélème, because they have joined the Thelemite Community, want marriage and family, do not think about skinning someone, and do pretend to establish Community only by discussion, by persuasion, by the public opinion, by the national will.
JACQUES. Ah! I start to understand why all the workers of Mr. R...'s factory are Communists...
LE PHILANTHROPE. There are many more! You can count thousands of them, in Paris, in Lyon, everywhere... It is a kind of new Christianism that starts, to free the human genre and make his salvation and his happiness by the only power of reason, justice, morals, order and fraternity. The community guarantee to everyone that he will be fed, clothed and housed; that he will have the possibility to marry and have a family; that his children will receive this education and this instruction the most capable to make them men, workers, citizens; and all that, on the only condition of a moderate work, that machines will ease, without peril, without fatigue, without disgust.
JACQUES. But this is too beautiful! It would be Paradise on Earth...!
LE PHILANTHROPE. Yes, my friend, it will be paradise; and it will be, without no doubts, the destiny of Humanity, as soon as man will want to use his intelligence and his reason to use all the Nature's benefits. And yourself guess that with a good social organisation, the Community, with the entire People education and instruction, with a better organised work, with the abolishment of misery, with marriage and family, there will be no more motives for that the lazy and the drunkard, the thief and the murderer, the vice and the crime exist...
JACQUES. But, sir, just do an Almanach in order to explain us those things. Nothing is better than an Almanach to be read by us, the workers!...
LE PHILANTHROPE. I know; I do not know nothing more useful and efficient to enlighten the People, to expend ideas, opinions, feelings. Everybody needs an Almanach; everybody, rich or poor, poor or rich, buy an Almanach, even for the calendar. Millions of copies are made and sold. Those who can not or do not want to read books, reviews, journals, want an Almanach. It is the Poor's Library, its Encyclopedia. In every family, one hangs the Almanach on the chimney, for that it stays there the whole year, disposed for who want to consult it. If one do not read it on a certain day, he will on another one; if it is not in the morning; it will be in the evening, especially during winter; if the father does not read it, the mother, the children will; and when you find in an interesting article, you read it to the others, you discuss it in common. In a word, a well-done Almanach, that does not contain anything useless and does contain everything useful, is maybe the most precious book for propagating doctrines.
JACQUES. Thus, make us an Almanach!
LE PHILANTHROPE. Make! How are you pushing it! Don't you think that a good Almanach is one of the most difficult work to do?
JACQUES. Bah, bah ! Would you please make us an Almanach...
LE PHILANTHROPE. This was my first wish, as I so much desire to be useful for the People... I wished to try to make a popular, democratic, instructive and interesting Almanach for all; and this is why I gathered all those Almanachs, in order to study them, to take advantage of their example, to do better if possible: but it is too late for this year; I won't have the necessary time to realize my plan and do the immense and mandatory researches, it will be for next year.
JACQUES. Better late than never for this year... By the way, you can use it as an announcement for next year's edition. Come on, sir, an Almanach for this year!
LE PHILANTHROPE. Your last reasoning is deciding me; I will try the Almanach: but under one condition, that you help me to do it...
JACQUES. Bah! you are joking, sir.
LE PHILANTHROPE. No, for real! You will indicate me what a popular Almanach must contain.
JACQUES. This is not the embarrassment: I am curious, myself; I always ask for the why-s, I want everything to be explain to me.
LE PHILANTHROPE. Well, one will explain.
JACQUES. I would like the Astronomy, the Sun, the Earth, the Moon; and then the Calendar; and then a little bit of Politics; and then the weights and measures; and then remedies; and then everything that can be useful for us... And then, if you allow me, I will bring you my friend Richard, that is finer than me.
LE PHILANTHROPE. With many wishes: bring me several of your comrades; we will chat all together about what the Almanach must contain.
# # #
JACQUES. Hey, well sir, I told you last year, that your Almanach would succeed, even published after all the others!
LE PHILANTHROPE. I hoped so, like you, my dear Jacques; but the success surpassed my expectations.
JACQUES. Everybody was asking for Thelemites! I am honest, I would have never thought that we would sell 8000 copies for the first edition!
LE PHILANTHROPE. Oh yes, I remember, you were grimacing while hearing the title...
JACQUES. Damn, sir, I did not know Thélème, and I had heard so crazy things about, Lady Community! I tell you frankly, I did not like it so much, I had no consideration for it; and even if I am not a coward, she was scaring me a little bit... But the Thelemite revealed her as a good girl, honest, sweet, lovely, and reconciled me with her. You can not imagine how much a Thelemite is a good propagandist!...
LE PHILANTHROPE. I can, and that is the reason why I wanted to do a Popular Almanach for years; I even brought a lot of old Almanachs to occupy myself in exile: but other works more important distracted me.
JACQUES. Thanks God you are back to it! And I believe that this year's Thelemite will make a lot of propaganda!
LE PHILANTHROPE. I hope; because besides a lot of useful, curious and interesting articles, about every subject, there will be a short history of Jesus Christ and Christianism, to prove that Christ wanted to establish Community for all the Peoples of this World, to demonstrate that Thelemite Communism is nothing else than the realization of Christianism, of Democracy, of Reform, of Fraternity. You will see more accurately even that Communism is not scaring, threatening or worrying for nobody, and that on the contrary, it is the only system of social organisation that can solve all the social problems, that can cure all the disorders and diseases of the present Society, that can bring everywhere order, concord, peace, happiness through work, substituting current work, dangerous, excessive, disgusting, despised, with a short work, moderate, attractive, honored, and that machines, infinitely multiplied, will purge of everything that produces danger, fatigue, disgust.
JACQUES. I tell you, this year's Thelemite will make a lot of propaganda!
LE PHILANTHROPE. It will point at the growing misery, at the disorder invading everything, at all the Bastilles threatening all freedoms, all progresses, all classes!...
JACQUES. It will make a lot of propaganda!
LE PHILANTHROPE. It will point at the Triumph of Communism in Toulouse, its progresses everywhere, in France, in Switzerland, in Germany, in England, in America...
JACQUES. Will the Thelemite tell something about Spain, Ireland, Basayev?
LE PHILANTHROPE. Certainly, it will... it will point at the Unfortunate Barcelona, twice bombarded by its own Bastille, at the sad Ireland defending on its own the rights of all the Peoples against all the Aristocracies that conquered them through violence and oppress them through force... It will point at Basayev, already distinguished with the glorious title of Liberator of his homeland, ready to conquer its complete and definitive liberation and to perish gloriously as a martyr for the defense of Humanity.
JACQUES. I am so going to make it read by my comrades, that's for sure!
LE PHILANTHROPE. Unfortunately, I have been disturbed by an unexpected travel, I do not have enough time, and I may not be able to do it as I conceive it should be...
JACQUES. Bah, bah, sir, I am not lazy...
LE PHILANTHROPE. Indeed, it is very easy to make a bad almanach: but you seem unconscious, my poor Jacques, that nothing is more difficult than a good Almanach, well divided, well organised, well varied, containing only useful things, including the most interesting and the most instructive. It must be a true Popular Encyclopedia, a universal abrégé. You must understand how many different knowledges are needed...
JACQUES. I got you, but it seems that a lot of people sent you articles: you have plenty of choice.
LE PHILANTHROPE. Ha! this is another difficulty, my poor Jacques! You can not imagine how difficult it is to make a short paper, clear, without repetitions! Almost all of them send me articles twice or three times too long: I have material for two or three almanachs, and I am confused for making one.
JACQUES. But you have articles sent by Olympe, Olinde, Koba...
LE PHILANTHROPE. No, they did not send nothing, and I did not ask them...
JACQUES. Ah! The Thelemite won't contain no articles by these people?
LE PHILANTHROPE. On the contrary, my friend, it will. There will be articles by Campanella, by Charles, by Aleister, by Clotilde de Vaux...
JACQUES. But I do not understand, sir...
LE PHILANTHROPE. You will. I only have to look after being useful right? I should not listen to vanity? Well, the works of these persons are an inexhaustible mine; and even if several of them are opponents, adversaries in terms of social systems, when I find in their works, useful or better expressed ideas, I do not hesitate, and say that the People should benefit from their talent. And I have only one regret, that I do not always agree with them, but more important, that they do not always agree with me.
JACQUES. Ah yes, I understand, we will hear them all in the Thelemite, and yet, the Thelemite will only be written by you... Come on, sir, quickly publish these revolutionary practices!...
Société Réaliste, Maastricht, January 2009.