notes from underground

by chaotarroo

“Ha, ha, ha! You will be finding enjoyment in toothache
next,’ you cry, with a laugh.

‘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. It is
a good example, gentlemen, and I will develop it. Those
moans express in the first place all the aimlessness of your
pain, which is so humiliating to your consciousness; the
whole legal system of nature on which you spit disdainfully,
of course, but from which you suffer all the same while she
does not. They express the consciousness that you have no
enemy to punish, but that you have pain; the consciousness
that in spite of all possible Wagenheims you are in complete
slavery to your teeth; that if someone wishes it, your
teeth will leave off aching, and if he does not, they will go
on aching another three months; and that finally if you are
still contumacious and still protest, all that is left you for
your own gratification is to thrash yourself or beat your
wall with your fist as hard as you can, and absolutely nothing
more.”

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