“ — The ordinary man looks for good or evil in external things: an open carriage, a study, while the thinking man looks for them within himself.
— Go preach that philosophy in Greece, where it’s warm and smells of oranges.”
“By nature you are a flaccid, lazy man, and as a consequence have tried to arrange your life so that nothing can disturb you or make you move. You have handed your work over to the medical assistant and the rest of the riffraff, while you yourself sit in peace and warmth, piling up money, reading your books, beguiling yourself with reflections on all sorts of sublime nonsense, and…drinking. In short, you’ve never seen life, know absolutely nothing about it, and have only a theoretical acquaintance with reality. And you despise suffering and are surprised at nothing for a very simple reason: your vanity of vanities, external and internal, your contempt for life, suffering, and death, your comprehension and true blessing — all this is a most comfortable philosophy for the Russian sluggard. You see a peasant beating his wife, for instance. Why interfere? Let him beat her, they’ll both die sooner or later anyhow; and besides, the one who does the beatings wrongs himself, not his victim. Getting drunk is stupid, unseemly; if you drink — you die; and if you don’t drink — you die. A woman comes to you with a toothache . . . Well, what of it? Pain is nothing but the image of pain, and besides, we can’t live in this world without sickness, we all die, so run along, my good woman, and don’t hinder me from enjoying my thoughts and my vodka. A young man comes to you for advice, he wants to know what to do, how to live; anyone else would stop and think before replying, but you have a ready answer: strive for comprehension, for the true blessing. There is, of course, no answer . . . We are kept here behind bars, tortured, left to rot, but this is all very fine and rational, because there is absolutely no difference between this ward and a warm comfortable study. A convenient philosophy: you have nothing to do, your conscience is clear, and you feel you’re a sage. . . . No, sir, this is not a philosophy, not thought, not breadth of vision, but laziness, pretense, mental torpor.”
“You despise suffering, but if you pinched your little finger in that door, you’d probably start howling at the top of your voice.”