Guy Debord 1957

On Chance

Source: Oeuvres. Gallimard, Paris, 2006;
Translated: from the original for by Mitchell Abidor;
CopyLeft: Creative Commons (Attribute & ShareAlike) 2008.

  1. We can’t reduce chance. We can know, for existing conditions, all the limited possibilities of chance (statistics).
  2. In known conditions the role of chance is conservative. Thus, games of chance leave no place for novelty. In the same way, card readers play on the very small number of chance events that might manifest themselves in personal life. They often ‘predict’ events to the extent that the average individual life is of as great a poverty as the few classic variants of their predictions.
  3. Every progress, every creation is the organization of new conditions of chance.
  4. At this higher level chance is truly unpredictable – amusing – for a certain period of time; but the new field of chance fixes certain limits to its action, which are then studied and precisely known.
  5. Man never desires chance in and of itself. He desires more and expects of chance the encounter with that which he desires. This is a passive and reactionary situation (the surrealist mystification) if it isn’t corrected by the invention of concrete conditions determinant of the movement of desirable chances.