La Révolution Surréaliste 1925

Letter to the Rectors of European Universities

Source: La Révolution Surréaliste, year 1, no.3, April 15, 1925;
Translated: for by Mitchell Abidor;
CopyLeft: Creative Commons (Attribute & ShareAlike) 2012.

Monsieur Rector:

Spiritual rays rot like straw in the narrow cistern that you call “thought.” Enough of language games, of syntactical artifice, of juggling with formulas. What must now be found is the great law of the heart, the law that isn’t a law or a prison, but a guide for the spirit lost in its own labyrinth. Farther than science could ever touch, there where the fasces of reason run up against the clouds, this labyrinth exists, the central point where all the forces of being converge, the ultimate veins of the spirit. In this maze of moving and ever displaced walls, outside all known forms of thought, our spirit moves, spying out its most secret and spontaneous movements, those that are revelatory, that air from elsewhere, fallen from the heavens.

But the race of prophets is no more. Europe is crystallizing, unifying itself under the bandages of its frontiers, its factories, its tribunals, its universities. The frozen spirit is cracking in the mineral vise that tightens on it. All this is the fault of your moldy systems, your logic of 2+2=4. The fault is yours, rectors, caught in the net of syllogisms. You manufacture engineers, magistrates, doctors, from whom the true mysteries of the body, the cosmic laws of being, escape: false, blind scholars from the beyond, philosophers who claim to reconstruct the intelligence. The smallest act of spontaneous creation is a world more complex and revelatory than any metaphysics.

So leave us alone, gentlemen: you are nothing but usurpers. By what right do you claim the right to channel intelligence, to hand out prizes for intelligence?

You know nothing of the spirit; you are ignorant of its most hidden and most essential ramifications, those fossil imprints so close to our own source; those traces that we sometimes manage to gather from the most obscure deposits of our brains.

We say to you, in the name of your logic, that life stinks, gentlemen. Take a look at your faces, consider your products. Through the sieve of your diplomas there passes an emaciated, lost young generation. You are the scourge of a world, messieurs, and that’s all the better for that world, but it shouldn’t think itself at the head of humanity.