Sociologists who do not want to be associated with Comte and who consider him a bit of a maverick, as I just indicated, have good reasons to keep their distance from the man who gave us the word sociology. Later on in his life Comte became a little bit strange. I have to admit that my students are taken aback when I tell them that Comte, later on in his tormented life, arrived at the conclusion that mankind now needs a completely new kind of religion. And that he, Auguste Comte, was to become the high priest of that new church. The elder Comte became disillusioned with what science could achieve. And he returned to a kind of Catholic religion, but he sketched a modern version of it, adapted to the age of science and of industrialism. A religion that was not the enemy of science, but more a kind of complement. Science, Comte said, is all about the intellect, about rationality. But my own, brand-new religion is about emotion. It is about the universal love that can never be proved by any scientist, but that the human race cannot do without. The students in my lecture hall begin to laugh a little when I tell them that Comte even worked on a calendar with days devoted to the saints of humanity. Not the saints of the Christian calendar, of the Catholic Church, but scientists such as Copernicus or James Watt. Great philosophers such as David Hume, and also Adam Smith. Even holy artists like Shakespeare, Goethe and Mozart. And my students laugh a little bit louder when I also tell them that the elderly Comte devoted his time to designing the clothes, the robes of the clergy of his church. He even wrote a part of his catechism, a little book that children should study in order to become familiar with the principles of his church, the Church of Humanity. The further development of that Comtean religion, the impact it had strangely enough in the country of Brazil, that is quite another story. It's an interesting topic, but I don't have time do that here. If you want to know more about that you can go to the Internet and find all kind of interesting information. And if you happen to visit Paris, by the way, you might go to a small museum there in the house where Comte lived, 10 Rue Monsieur Le Prince just a five minute walk from metro stop Odeon. And you will find all kind of other interesting information. But what I find important in this peculiar life story is that it seems to be the reflection of a dilemma that we all have to struggle with. Comte was not the only sociological thinker who believes that human societies need some kind of religion to create a certain social unity, an emotional and intellectual consensus that lays the foundations for Structural Unity. Early on in his life, Comte believed that the theological way of looking at the world had become outdated, an antiquity. Science now fulfills the functions that once were fulfilled by religion. But when he became older, he distanced himself a little bit from that position. And he begin to acknowledge that religion still serves important functions in stabilizing societies even today. But he was also convinced that modern industrialized societies need another kind of religion than agrarian societies. And he believes that the Catholic Church lacked the kind of flexibility to adapt itself to the new exigencies. So, what should be done? Now Comte had been brought up to become an engineer, and he just did what you would expect an engineer to do under those circumstances. He constructed meticulously, and with an eye for every detail, his own brand of religion, a kind of do-it-yourself Catholicism. Of course, that is a very strange road to take, but it is the consequence of his own line of reasoning. And Comte was not the kind of man to shy away from the consequences of his own reasoning. When one studies this fascinating life, one may wonder why Comte's students or his fellow professors never pointed out to him that now he really took a very strange direction. But Comte had no students. He had an audience of admirers. Comte did not have critical fellow professors who put question marks in the margins of his manuscripts because Comte was never affiliated with the university. He practiced sociology when the discipline was not yet talked inside the walls of the Sorbonne University. The disadvantage of working in the pre-institutionalized stage of sociology is that you lack the critical forum of colleagues who tell you about the weaknesses in your argument. This by the way, is something that was noticed by Louis Coser in his beautiful book, Masters of Sociological Thought. The case of Comte makes clear that science is a collective effort. When an isolated thinker tries to contribute to science without a critical sounding board, he might easily be lead astray following the drumbeat of his own music.