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the music of chance, obsessive writing, intertextuality, conversation -- oh yeah, and some "real" life...

29 November 2011

Notes from Underground

"I have in my own life merely carried to the extreme that which you have never ventured to carry even halfway; and what's more, you've regarded your cowardice as prudence, and found comfort in deceiving yourselves. So, in fact, I may be even more 'alive' than you are. Do take a closer look! Why, we don't even know where the living lies today, or what it is, or what its name is."

"through loss of contact with anything alive"

"lost touch so badly"

Frustration, Humiliation, Fear, Rage

The unnamed narrator in Dostoyevsky’s Notes from the Underground is the exaggerated form of the man who continually reasons and therefore does not live. Incessantly, he makes plans that he believes will demonstrate he is a valuable individual. At times he merely wants to be considered an equal by others. But, most of the time, he is obsessed with issues of power, feeling powerless; he dreams of having some kind of control over other people, often involving abasement and humiliation. He ends up humiliated himself. Mentioned in the previous post, the only way for him to realize this power is to fantasize about physically clashing with others, including scenarios where he is thrown through a window or is involved in a duel. The actual encounter with the officer, where he does bump into him, instead of satisfying, leaves him feeling anxious and physically sick, especially when he registers the lack of recognition from the officer that the encounter even occurred. In the end, when he reveals his lack for living life, the reader is still left with the uneasy feeling that even if he, or we, were to actually live life, there might not be very many people to share the kind of intimacy that would be fulfilling to an open person.

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