Wednesday, October 19, 2011

"Notes From The Underground" by Fyodor Dostoyevsky

Kindle edition here.
  • "I am well-educated enough not to be superstitious, but I am superstitious"
  • "I refuse to consult a doctor from spite."
  • "Of course, I can't explain who it is precisely that I am mortifying in this case by my spite: I am perfectly well aware that I cannot "pay out" the doctors by not consulting them; I know better than anyone that by all this I am only injuring myself and no one else. But still, if I don't consult a doctor it is from spite. My liver is bad, well--let it get worse!"
  • "I was inwardly conscious with shame that I was not only not a spiteful but not even an embittered man, that I was simply scaring sparrows at random and amusing myself by it."
  • "opposite elements. I knew that they had been swarming in me all my life"
  • "Now, I am living out my life in my corner, taunting myself with the spiteful and useless consolation that an intelligent man cannot become anything seriously, and it is only the fool who becomes anything."

  • "a man in the nineteenth century must and morally ought to be pre-eminently a characterless creature; a man of character, an active man is pre-eminently a limited creature."
  • "To live longer than forty years is bad manners"
  • "because ... ech!"
  • "But what can a decent man speak of with most pleasure? Answer: Of himself."
  • "I swear, gentlemen, that to be too conscious is an illness--a real thorough-going illness."
  • "The more conscious I was of goodness and of all that was "sublime and beautiful," the more deeply I sank into my mire"
  • "I am as suspicious and prone to take offense as a humpback or a dwarf."
  • "upon my word I sometimes have had moments when if I had happened to be slapped in the face I should, perhaps, have been positively glad of it"
  • "in despair there are the most intense enjoyments, especially when one is very acutely conscious of the hopelessness of one's position."
  • "I have always considered myself cleverer than any of the people surrounding me, and sometimes, would you believe it, have been positively ashamed of it."
  • "And the worst of it is, he himself, his very own self, looks on himself as a mouse"
  • "There in its nasty, stinking, underground home our insulted, crushed and ridiculed mouse promptly becomes absorbed in cold, malignant and, above all, everlasting spite."
  • "Maybe it will begin to revenge itself, too, but, as it were, piecemeal, in trivial ways, from behind the stove, incognito, without believing either in its own right to vengeance, or in the success of its revenge, knowing that from all its efforts at revenge it will suffer a hundred times more than he on whom it revenges itself, while he, I daresay, will not even scratch himself."
  • "hell of unsatisfied desires turned inward"
  • "Nature does not ask your permission, she has nothing to do with your wishes, and whether you like her laws or dislike them, you are bound to accept her as she is, and consequently all her conclusions."
  • "sink into luxurious inertia"
  • "Well, even in toothache there is enjoyment," I answer. I had toothache for a whole month and I know there is. In that case, of course, people are not spiteful in silence, but moan; but they are not candid moans, they are malignant moans, and the malignancy is the whole point. The enjoyment of the sufferer finds expression in those moans; if he did not feel enjoyment in them he would not moan."
  • "the laws of nature have continually all my life offended me"
  • "You know the direct, legitimate fruit of consciousness is inertia, that is, conscious sitting-with-the-hands-folded."
  • "the object flies off into air, your reasons evaporate"
  • "Result: a soap-bubble and inertia."
  • "perhaps I consider myself an intelligent man, only because all my life I have been able neither to begin nor to finish anything."
  • "Granted I am a babbler, a harmless vexatious babbler, like all of us."
  • "the intentional pouring of water through a sieve?"
  • "Oh, if I had done nothing simply from laziness! Heavens, how I should have respected myself, then. I should have respected myself because I should at least have been capable of being lazy"
  • ""Sluggard"--why, it is a calling and vocation, it is a career."
  • "should find my occupation in continually respecting myself"
  • "I should have sought out the sublime and the beautiful."

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