Monday, December 5, 2011

Notes from Underground: II.ii


The u.m. would move from his “debauch” in the outer world into dreams of the “beautiful and lofty.” He would imagine that some single outward circumstance would put everything to rights and he “would suddenly step forth under God’s heaven all but on a white horse and wreathed in laurels.”

This sense of the beautiful and lofty coming at even his worst moments he describes as a “sauce,” adding the “piquancy” of “tormenting inner analysis.”

He experienced love in his dreams—love that “was never in reality applied to anything human,” and he “never felt any need to apply it.” From here he moves on to Napoleonic dreams of grandeur.

He would “reach such happiness that [he] needed, instantly and infallibly, to embrace people and the whole of mankind.” At these times he would go to see his department chief—“one really existing person” on which to foist his love for mankind.

And his dept. chief being unavailable he would seek out Simonov—a quiet and equable schoolmate, to whome he felt he was likely a burden. Having no surety, he went anyway.

I feel so revealed, laid bare by the u.m. But how does one move past him? How does one be above ground without being a philistine idiot? An idiot—The Idiot. A purely human “good man” who was abused, who started and ended in sickness and isolation. This, too, is no solution, even if he is the antitype of the underground man.

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