On Chance

1. One cannot reduce chance. One can [merely] know all of the limited possibilities of chance in the existing conditions (statistics).

2. In known conditions, the role of chance is conservative. Thus, games of chance do not give way to any novelty. Likewise, the readers of cards play upon the very small number of possibilities [de hasards] that might exist in someone's private life. They often "foresee" events to the extent that an average individual's life is as impoverished as the classical variants of their own predictions.

3. All progress, all creation, is the organization of new conditions of chance.

4. At this superior level, chance is really unforeseeable -- amusing -- for a certain period of time, but the new field of chance sets other limits to its action, and these limits will come to be precisely studied and known.

5. Man does not desire chance as such. He desires more, and he expects from chance the encounter with what he desires. This is a passive and reactionary situation (cf. the surrealist mystification) if it isn't corrected by the invention of concrete conditions that determine the movement of desirable chances.

(Written by Guy Debord on 23 May 1957, but never published during his lifetime. Translated from the French by NOT BORED! February 2010.)

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