|Response to the question "Does thought enlighten both us and our actions with the same indifference as the sun, or, what is our hope, and what is its value?", in La Carte d'après nature, June 1954 (special issue edited by René Magritte).
This world was born of indifference, but indifference has no place in it. Thought is valuable only to the extent that it awakens demands, and compels their realization.
Those revolutionary students who demonstrated naked in Canton in 1927 were dying the following year in locomotive boiler rooms. Here the celebration of thought comes to an end. If we take some small satisfaction in the intelligence generally attributed to us, it is thanks to the means which that intelligence places in the service of a willfully-chosen extremism.
It is time to impose a new human condition. Economic restrictions and their moral corollaries are anyway destined to be destroyed through universal social harmony. The problems which we are still obliged to take into account will be overcome, along with today's contradictions, for the ancient myths will lose their force as we come to live more violent ones.
A complete civilization will have to be built: one in which all forms of activity tend perpetually towards an affective unsettling of life.
We have begun to address the problem of leisure
The great civilization which is on its way will construct situations and adventures. A science of life is possible. The adventurer seeks out and creates adventure, rather than wait for it to come. The conscious use of environments will condition constantly renewed behaviors. The role of those small flights of chance which we call fate will continue to fade. An architecture, an urban planning and a mood-affecting form of plastic expression
The practice of disorientation/displacement (dépaysement) and the choice of encounters, the sense of incompleteness and ephemerality, the love of speed transposed onto the plane of the mind, together with inventiveness and forgetting are among the elements of an ethics of drifting (éthique de la dérive) which we have already begun to test in the poverty of the cities of our time.
A science of relations and ambiances, which we call psychogeography, is being developed. It will give collective play (le jeu de société1) its true meaning: a society founded upon play. Nothing is more serious. Amusement is the royal privilege that must be made available to everyone.
Happiness, Saint-Just proclaimed, is a new idea in Europe. This program is only now becoming realizable.
Sovereign attraction, which Charles Fourier discovered in the free play of passions, must be ceaselessly reinvented. We will work to create new desires, and will spare no effort in promoting them.
We will be the ones to infuse social conflict with the only authentic rage. Revolution isn't made by demanding 25,216 francs per month. Now is the time to seize control of life (gagner sa vie2), a completely material life in which everything is achievable:
Very little is to be expected of the strength and power of the mind.
Paris, May 5, 1954
For the Lettrist International:
1 the parlor game.