Comte took his own experience of the sublimation of physical love as a necessary process for all those trying to resolve the social and cultural transition of the three states. When he came to work out the logic of the revised strategy, he based the new construction on a subjective method: the law of the three states was to be completed by adding a theory of the emotions to the theory of science and industry. In order to reach this final state there would be a transition period in which the dictatorship of the proletariat would purify economic life and the commercial spirit.
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Against the revolutionary and communist visions of the dictatorship of the proletariat, Comte argued that the positive doctrine would legitimate a new hierarchical social order: in the economy it would legitimate differences of wealth, and in the family it would legitimate the separation of the sexes and the spiritual ascendency of women based on the realisation of the principle of virgin motherhood.
Comte aimed to appeal to all sections of political opinion, radical and conservative, since he wanted to reveal precisely how each element fitted into a broad scheme of social progression. Here his aim is to reverse the tendency to the debasement of love in Western culture, and to deal with the new phenomenon of feminism and the demand for equality between the sexes. Comte poses this issue again historically as a problem of the debasement of the ideals of chivalry and courtly love of the medieval period.
His aim is to restore some substance to the idealization and purification which the medieval practice seem to inspire. He commends the principle of eternal widowhood with certain limited exceptions which would have applied to Clotilde , and reasserts the value of the segregation of the sexes. The woman should obey the husband, but the latter should adopt the cult of women and guardian angels.
This utopia itself will reverse the decline in the status of women. The utopia would give women complete control over human reproduction. It is not absolutely clear just what Comte had in mind.
There could be an organic development which itself would lead to a new hermaphroditic condition, or artificial insemination would become the norm. The specific details of the cult of woman were developed and practised by Comte: the nature of the image, the prayers, the language, the gestures.
"Explanations" of Male Dominance
What women will do is left an open question to be developed and solved by women themselves. Against the demands of feminism, for instance as exemplified by the demands of his wife Caroline Massin, he claimed that they could never form the basis of a set of stable human relationships, but produce only continuous metaphysical strife. It is through the segregated and hierarchical structures, through idealisation and duty , that a new stability can be attained.
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In effect therefore, the Comtean programme for the family is intended to end the metaphysical phase within the domestic sphere. Once the final stage is achieved science itself comes to an end in a system of harmonised laws which are all conscious of their place in the totality.
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