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Guy Debord: An Impassioned Drama

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“They, the little men, seem to believe at present that I have taken things by the theory, that I am a builder of theory – that learned architecture you have only to go and inhabit as soon as you know its address, and one or two bases of which you could even modify a little, ten years later, by shuffling three pages of paper, in order to attain the definitive perfection of the theory which will operate their salvation.

But theories are made only to die in the war of time: they are stronger or weaker units which must be engaged at the right moment in the combat and, whatever their merits or insufficiencies, one can surely only use the ones which are there in useful time. Just as theories have to be replaced because their decisive victories even more than their partial defeats produce their wear-and-tear, similarly no living epoch started off from a theory; it was at first a game, a conflict, a journey. It can also be said of revolution that which Jomini said of war; that it is ‘not at all a positive or dogmatic science, but an art subject to some general principles, and even more than this, an impassioned drama.”

Guy Debord, In Girum Imus Nocte et Consumimur Igni (1978)

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