'I am a sick person...A spiteful one. An unattractive person too.'
'People came to the desk where I sat to ask for information, I'd gnash my teeth at them and I felt an inexorable pleasure when it succeeded in distressing someone. It almost always succeeded. For the most part they were a shy people; they were applicants, you know what I mean.'
'I could acknowledge to myself in shame that I am not a spiteful person, I'm not even an embittered one, I am only scaring sparrows in vain, and amusing myself with it. I may foam at the mouth, but bring me some kind of dolly to play with, give me a cup of tea with sugar, and I will likely settle down. My soul might soften, even, but no doubt afterwards I will probably gnash my teeth at you and then suffer from insomnia for several months out of shame. Such, indeed, is my habit.'
'It wasn't just that I was unable to become spiteful, I couldn't become anything else either: I am not spiteful nor kind, not a scoundrel nor honest, not a hero nor an insect.'
'Now I am forty years old and yes, forty years is an entire lifetime; indeed it is deepest old age. It is unseemly to live beyond forty years - vulgar, immoral! Who lives beyond forty years - answer me in earnest, honestly? Well, I will tell you who does that: fools and rascals. I will say this to the face of all of my elders, to all those respectable elders, to all those silver-haired and sweet-smelling elders! I'll say it to the face o the whole world! I have the right to speak like this, since I myself will live to sixty years. To seventy years, I will live! To eighty years, I will live! Hold on! Let me catch my breath...'
'You probably thing, gentleman, that I want to make you laugh? Well, you're wrong about that, too.'
'I swear to you, gentleman, that being too conscious is a disease, a real and total disease. Ordinary human consciousness would easily satisfy man's daily needs- that is, half or a quarter less...
'It would have been completely sufficient, for example, to have the kind of consciousness with which all the so-called spontaneous people and men of action live. I'd place a bet that you think I'm writing this to show off, to be witty at the expense of men of action, and it's with bad taste that I show off, clanking my sword like that officer did. But, gentlemen, who can take pride in his diseases and then show off about them too?'
'Any kind of consciousness is a disease. I, for example, am horribly proud. I'm as mistrustful and touchy as a hunchback or a dwarf, but it's true, I've experienced such moments that if someone had slapped me, I might even be glad of it.'
'So I consider such a spontaneous man to be a real, normal man, just as tender Mother Nature wanted to see him when she graciously delivered him to this earth. I envy such a man to a bilious extreme. He is stupid, I'm not arguing with you on that, but maybe the normal man should be stupid - how do we know? Maybe this is a very beautiful fact, even.
'My jokes, gentlemen, are in bad taste, of course, they're uneven, contradictory and lacking self-confidence. But this is because I do not respect myself. Can a conscious man respect himself to any degree? '
'I thought up adventures and invented a life in order to live a little. How many times has it happened that, say, I simply took offence, for no reason, on purpose; and of course one knows one is not offended by anything, that one is putting it on, but one arrives at such a point that in the end one has actually taken offence in earnest. My whole life I've tended to play such games, so that in the end I'd lost all power over myself.
'The direct, legitimate, immediate fruit of consciousness is inertia, that is conscious folded-arm-sitting.
All spontaneous people and men of action are active exactly because they are dim and limited. '
'Oh, gentleman, it might just be that I consider myself to be an intelligent man because I have never managed to start or finish anything in my whole life. Yes, yes I'm a chatterbox, a harmless, annoying chatterbox, like we all are'.
'Oh, gentleman, what kind of personal free will can remain when the matter is driven to tabulation and arithmetics, when only two-times-two-is-four is the trend? Two times two will be four, regardless of my will. Such is free will for you!