I am a sick man… I am a spiteful man. I am an unattractive man. I believe my liver is diseased. However, I know nothing at all about my disease, and do not know for certain what ails me.

Notes From The Underground by Fyodor Dostoyevsky is a fictional memoir by a 19th-century bug man who is angry and hateful because things don’t go his way. His life is utterly void of meaning. He is petty, vindictive, and lacking love in his heart. As a character novel, this book captures the psychology of even the modern bug man who insists on living within his narrow, composite world, waiting to exert his will over others in the most cowardly ways imaginable.

Existential sickness

It was not only that I could not become spiteful, I did not know how to become anything, neither spiteful nor kind, neither rascal nor an honest man, neither a hero nor an insect. Now, I am living out my life in my corner, taunting myself with the spiteful and useless consolation that an intelligent man cannot become anything seriously, and it is only the fool who becomes anything.

[…]

We are oppressed at being men—men with a real individual body and blood, we are ashamed of it, we think it a disgrace and try to contrive to be some sort of impossible generalized man. We are stillborn, and for generations past have been begotten, not by living fathers, and that suits us better and better. We are developing a taste for it. Soon we shall contrive to be born somehow from an idea.

We’re seeing that come to fruition now. We are born into a world spirit of globalism, equality, climate change, and gay acceptance. We are not allowed to hold opinions if they clash with those of the ruling class. We cannot undergo our own search for truth if it conflicts with the agenda of the times. From the day you were born, you were groomed to hold a set of beliefs and perform a prescribed set of behaviors that serve the will of the princes of this world, and thus is born the bug man who tries to win within the crooked system and false reality.

Civilization leads to a subtle barbarism

Take the whole of the nineteenth century in which Buckle lived. Take Napoleon—the Great and also the present one. Take North America—the eternal union. Take the farce of Schleswig-Holstein… And what is it that civilization softens in us? The only gain of civilization for mankind is the greater capacity for variety of sensations—and absolutely nothing more. And through the development of this many-sidedness man may come to finding enjoyment in bloodshed. In fact, this has already happened to him. Have you noticed that it is the most civilized gentlemen who have been the subtlest slaughterers, to whom the Attilas and Stenka Razins could not hold a candle, and if they are not so conspicuous as the Attilas and Stenka Razins it is simply because they are so often met with, are so ordinary and have become so familiar to us. In any case civilization has made mankind if not more blood-thirsty, at least more vilely, more loathsomely bloodthirsty. In old days he saw justice in bloodshed and with his conscience at peace exterminated those he thought proper. Now we do think bloodshed abominable and yet we engage in this abomination, and with more energy than ever.

Look at a man such as Bill Gates, heralded as a computer genius who for some reason is qualified to advise you on health care even though no one would describe him as looking healthy. He was integral in pushing through a vaccine that has already killed tens of thousands of people around the world, and once all is said and done, the death toll could be in the millions, and yet right now, he’s probably eating something banal, an organic avocado spread on supermarket bread, and after that he will check his email and sip on a beverage enriched with added minerals. His assistant will then present him with his fluffy lap dog, which has just returned from the groomers with a cute ribbon tied around its neck and a behavioral report card of B+.

The scientific man

…then, you say, science itself will teach man (though to my mind it’s a superfluous luxury) that he never has really had any caprice or will of his own, and that he himself is something of the nature of a piano-key or the stop of an organ, and that there are, besides, things called the laws of nature; so that everything he does is not done by his willing it, but is done of itself, by the laws of nature. Consequently we have only to discover these laws of nature, and man will no longer have to answer for his actions and life will become exceedingly easy for him. All human actions will then, of course, be tabulated according to these laws, mathematically, like tables of logarithms up to 108,000, and entered in an index; or, better still, there would be published certain edifying works of the nature of encyclopaedic lexicons, in which everything will be so clearly calculated and explained that there will be no more incidents or adventures in the world.

[…]

…you tell me again that an enlightened and developed man, such, in short, as the future man will be, cannot consciously desire anything disadvantageous to himself, that that can be proved mathematically. I thoroughly agree, it can—by mathematics. But I repeated for the hundredth time, there is one case, one only, when man may consciously, purposely, desire what is injurious to himself, what is stupid, very stupid—simply in order to have the right to desire for himself even what is very stupid and not to be bound by an obligation to desire only what is sensible.

The scientists have already figured it all out for you: what to eat, how to sleep, how to work, when to get vaccinated, and increasingly, what to believe. You simply have to follow their precepts for a happy life that maximizes physical health. All the petty problems and inconveniences of the bug man and soy man are ameliorated: they are permitted microdoses of pleasure that prevent them from considering the spiritual life because the tasty engineered food, pornography, and two minutes of daily online outrage satisfies them just enough, but when they die, how will God judge them?

Fantasies of revenge constrained by bug man cowardice

I was standing the billiard-table and in my ignorance blocking up the way, and he wanted to pass; he took me by the shoulders and without a word—without a warning or explanation—moved me from where I was standing to another spot and passed by as though he had not noticed me. I could have forgiven blows, but I could not forgive his having moved me without noticing me.

[…]

I often met that officer afterwards in the street and noticed him very carefully. I am not quite sure whether he recognized me, I imagine not; I judge from certain signs. But I—I stared at him with spite and hatred and so it went on… for several years. My resentment grew even deeper with years.

[…]

One morning, though I had never tried my hand with the pen, it suddenly occurred to me to write a satire on this officer in the form of a novel which would unmask his villainy. I wrote the novel with a relish. I did unmask his villainy, I even exaggerated it; at first I so altered his surname that it could easily be recognized, but on second thoughts changed it, and sent the story to the Itetchestvenniya Zapiski. But at the that time such attacks were not the fashion and my story was not printed. That was a great vexation to me.

When face masks were first required, I was yelled at several times by other customers, people I would have never noticed in my daily life, who seemed to be the type that is never noticed by others either, yet go through great pains to be noticed. The face mask mandate was their moment of courage. The legal authorities were on their side. They could intrude on a person’s life with expletive-laced demands and get away with it. Mad with power, they were like a terror to me when I only needed to run to the supermarket to buy a ball of mozzarella cheese for my homemade pizza.

The height of the bug man “look at me” attention ploy is to commit a mass shooting. The physiognomy of the men who commit shootings immediately confirms that it’s the invisible trying to become visible through heinous destruction, even for only a moment.

Wounded pride

Even at sixteen I wondered morosely [at the fine-looking boys at school]; even then I was struck by the pettiness of their thoughts, the stupidity of their pursuits, their games, their conversations. They had no understanding of such essential things, they took no interest in such striking, impressive subjects, that I could not help considering them inferior to myself. It was not wounded vanity that drove me to it, and for God’s sake do not thrust upon me your hackneyed remarks, repeated to nausea, that “I was only a dreamer,” while they even then had an understanding of life. They understood nothing, they had no idea of real life, and I swear that that was what made me most indignant with them.”

[…]

…I dreamed of getting the upper hand, of dominating them, carrying them away, making them like me—if only for my “elevation of thought and unmistakable wit.” They would abandon Zverkov, he would sit on one side, silent and ashamed, while I should crush him.

[…]

No one paid any attention to me, and I sat crushed and humiliated.

[…]

I smiled contemptuously and walked up and down the other side of the room, opposite the sofa, from the table to the stove and back again. I tried my very utmost to show them that I could do without them, and yet I purposely made a noise with my boots, thumping with my heels. But it was all in vain. They paid no attention.

The bug man is trapped in his own head. On one hand he is viciously critical of everyone who doesn’t rise to his level of fantastical perfection, but on the other he is desperate for just one morsel of positive attention. If you want to wound a bug man, to see his face twisted in pain, simply disagree with one of his lofty ideas. The fact that he announced his opinion to you means it was rehearsed in his mind for a long time, perhaps many years, and your refusal of it is a shameful slap. How much he will come to hate you, and develop fantasies of your own humiliation at his superior hand. Every interaction is a power struggle, a way to feed his pride, to be perpetually offended at everyone and everything for not giving him the commendation he thinks he deserves.

This may be the first “black pill” novel. It has more philosophy than narrative, making it one of the hardest Dostoyevsky novels to fully understand, in spite of its short length. The main character is eminently unlikable, despicable, and often evil. He is the person who craves power but to whom none should be given, and yet what do we live in today but a society ruled over by petty bug men who in spite of their billions in wealth still harbor grudges for going through high school without a girlfriend. Now they get to enact their vengeance on the world using all the technology and medical toxins that are available to them. A bug man with power—a true nightmare indeed.

Learn More: Notes From The Underground on Amazon

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This may be the first “black pill” novel.

Nikolai Gogol's Diary of a Madman predates Dostoevsky and was likely an influence. Although not a short story like Diary of a Madman, Notes from Underground is typically lumped as a novella. Not much different, imho. This book along with D's other work are essential reads. Their influence on Western culture is deep.

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The scariest thing about the bug-man is seeing him in yourself.

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The scariest thing about the bug-man is seeing him in yourself.

You can be a bug man, a great sinner, or you can repent. There's a lot of joy and optimism in Dostoevsky's work that can only be understood through Christianity. So bug men are probably the result of bad childhood conditions, but where do you go from there?

I think Westerners often only read Russian novels through crappy translations, don't finish them, and don't understand Orthodoxy (or pre-Revolutionary Russia) or the Orthodox mindset, so they only see suffering where there is redemption (the deeper the grief, the closer is God). I've been watching a lot of "Peanuts" shorts and they make jokes about the incomprehensible nature of Tolstoy, or Snoopy's (Dogtoevsky) writing being criticized as trite because of his lack of suffering, etc., which I think was mid-century America's difficulty with Russian lit (why do we need to suffer to live? Can't we live our lives in peace?).

His writer's diary could have easily been written today (he was considered a right-wing reactionary back then, too)-- but then, maybe 150 years is not a long time at all.

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The scariest thing about the bug-man is seeing him in yourself.

Everyone has a bugman inside them just like good and evil cut down the center of every man’s soul. The point of life is to conquer it and live righteously and productively.

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I read that part where the guy fantasized about revenge against the officer who moved him out of the way and I was thinking if this an example of the "gamma male" that used to get brought up all the time on this forum.

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The epitome of bug-man, Doctor Cutie.

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Roosh, I wonder if you have read The Russian Monk section from The Brothers Karamazov? Its kind of the opposite of the bugman, story of the orthodox elder Zossima. Anyway, I read Notes from the Underground many years ago and your insights from it are very relevant to the predicament we are facing today.

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I was educated in one of the top high schools in my country, a big contributor to universities all over the UK. Many in this school came from families much more affluent than mine.
Without even realising it I had my first red pill at around 13 or 14, when I realised that those who seemed pre-determined to go on to study law, politics or medicine were in fact some of the sourest and least authentic people in that school. Genuinely elitist and nasty to the bone. True bug-men and women sometimes more so.
Finally, an appropriate philosophical work to show that I was not going insane, thank you for sharing, Roosh.
I think I will stop what I am doing and begin hoarding all works by Dostoevsky and other revered Russian authors!

*edit: my point may be unclear here. What I am hinting at is that it is no wonder we are facing widespread moral bankruptcy in the aforementioned sectors, these positions attract those who are only out for themselves.

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Great article Roosh. I though recognize too much of myself in the bug man.

they are permitted microdoses of pleasure that prevent them from considering the spiritual life because the tasty engineered food, pornography, and two minutes of daily online outrage satisfies them just enough, but when they die, how will God judge them?

For the last 10 years I have felt spiritually empty in this sense. My routine of work, hookup sex, porn, high-rise city apartment, travel. My only reprieve where the few days a year I spent in a monastery. To the outside world I faked a happy existence while barely kept standing.

Covid society broke me mentally and physically. I got in a burn out, dental problems, stress.

My anger is taking a hold of me, which gets me angry again, because my judgment tells me I should be calm, I'm disgusted by the system, feeling I'm living in a hell of a police state, the country I live in is full of speed bumps, trajectory control, cars with automatic photo systems fining cars parked in the wrong spot, vax mandates, being locked up, not allowed to fly or cross border because of the flu. I can't see the beauty anymore. The screens are filled with perversions and self congratulatory politicians. It's an absurd situation.

Covid is also laying bare my lack of courage. To step outside the bug man existence, on the one hand I hate it, on the other hand I'm fearful to leave it. I feel I can never go back to my old existence, but I also don't know how to pursue.

The bug man is trapped in his own head. On one hand he is viciously critical of everyone who doesn’t rise to his level of fantastical perfection, but on the other he is desperate for just one morsel of positive attention

I know this feeling. Maybe the last year I'm a bit less of it, but I recognize this behaviour in my work.

Prayer, God, Church is becoming a larger part of my life, but I have to get used to it, the bug man is still in me judging this newly developing side. The Bugman in me wants to believe he knows everything, he is god, but if I look from a little distance the sadness comes over me.

How did I waste 10 years of life? And then right after, I don't want to think about it now, tomorrow I'll think about it. Time passing by in bug man existence.

if only for my “elevation of thought and unmistakable wit.” They would abandon Zverkov, he would sit on one side, silent and ashamed, while I should crush him.

Feeling small and crushed, crafting an intellectual worldly identity, making others belief it, desiring to overpower to feel anything.

It's a tree on bad soil giving rotten fruit.

Me picking up the bible the last year, going to church is destroying any illusion of grandiosity I have. To be honest I find it hard. I'm looking at myself and thinking, man what did I do, what ruins I created along the road. Sickening.

Not a lot is left.

I tried to read Dostojevki in the past but found it too confronting, and I wanted comfort. I now know why.

Have a great day men.

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I was educated in one of the top high schools in my country, a big contributor to universities all over the UK. Many in this school came from families much more affluent than mine.
Without even realising it I had my first red pill at around 13 or 14, when I realised that those who seemed pre-determined to go on to study law, politics or medicine were in fact some of the sourest and least authentic people in that school. Genuinely elitist and nasty to the bone. True bug-men and women sometimes more so.

“Power attracts the corruptible. Suspect any who seek it.”​

― Frank Herbert

And in my opinion also attracts the already corrupt. The One Ring of Power.

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My own feelings are that this era is just beginning to see a verse from the Book of Acts coming to fruition: “And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams.”

That much will wholly contradict everything the bugmen are about.

As the technocratic ZOG applies ever more pressure and grows ever more hypocritical and anti-human, I foresee people resisting by forming uprisings based primarily on either race or traditional religion. “Race” will be the more common, as it requires less temperance and pleas for divine guidance on behalf of the participants—however, it will also yield a lot less happiness in the long term.

A theocratic 3rd-positionism like Cordreanu’s “Iron Guard” (or “Legionnaires”) would be more ideal. It was hardly without its connection to the Romanian people or their lands; even so, it’s emphasis was thoroughly Christian—as well as anti-usury and anti-secret society.

The strong religious nature of the Iron Guard died with Cordreanu in 1938. After that it increasingly became an extension of the German Nazi regime, itself secular in deportment. Following the war’s close Romania had lingering 3rd positionists in power, including Legionnaires, yet these had no choice to but to cede to the Soviet-backed communists in 1948.

It seemed everything went from the spiritual to the secular in the 20th century. Yet in our present era this pattern has arguably started reversing, and will continue reversing as the time draws nearer to Christ’s return.

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Me picking up the bible the last year, going to church is destroying any illusion of grandiosity I have. To be honest I find it hard. I'm looking at myself and thinking, man what did I do, what ruins I created along the road. Sickening.

I know that feeling my friend. I am often tormented by sins of the past, particularly from my young partying days. But I want to offer you a word of encouragement as you have turned to the Lord, at these evil times of persecution many are just doubling down on their delusions. No man comes to the Father unless the Father draws him. All the best brother

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I was educated in one of the top high schools in my country, a big contributor to universities all over the UK. Many in this school came from families much more affluent than mine.
Without even realising it I had my first red pill at around 13 or 14, when I realised that those who seemed pre-determined to go on to study law, politics or medicine were in fact some of the sourest and least authentic people in that school. Genuinely elitist and nasty to the bone. True bug-men and women sometimes more so.
Finally, an appropriate philosophical work to show that I was not going insane, thank you for sharing, Roosh.
I think I will stop what I am doing and begin hoarding all works by Dostoevsky and other revered Russian authors!

*edit: my point may be unclear here. What I am hinting at is that it is no wonder we are facing widespread moral bankruptcy in the aforementioned sectors, these positions attract those who are only out for themselves.

I've noticed some similar things going to one of the USA's higher ranked business schools (Not ivy league, but a bracket below). Interestingly the types of careers you wouldn't think would attract pure sociopaths often didn't. In particular the marketing recruitment, which is where your senior management at most consumer brands comes from, was typically dominated by absolutely sociopathic "career women" types. The interesting redpill was that it was typically not the smartest people who did very well in these roles. It was social climbers who were utterly incapable of having any original thought. Most of your people who were well polished and competent went into logistics roles with a few going to Wall Street.

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Great article Roosh. I though recognize too much of myself in the bug man.

For the last 10 years I have felt spiritually empty in this sense. My routine of work, hookup sex, porn, high-rise city apartment, travel. My only reprieve where the few days a year I spent in a monastery. To the outside world I faked a happy existence while barely kept standing.

Covid society broke me mentally and physically. I got in a burn out, dental problems, stress.

My anger is taking a hold of me, which gets me angry again, because my judgment tells me I should be calm, I'm disgusted by the system, feeling I'm living in a hell of a police state, the country I live in is full of speed bumps, trajectory control, cars with automatic photo systems fining cars parked in the wrong spot, vax mandates, being locked up, not allowed to fly or cross border because of the flu. I can't see the beauty anymore. The screens are filled with perversions and self congratulatory politicians. It's an absurd situation.

Covid is also laying bare my lack of courage. To step outside the bug man existence, on the one hand I hate it, on the other hand I'm fearful to leave it. I feel I can never go back to my old existence, but I also don't know how to pursue.

I know this feeling. Maybe the last year I'm a bit less of it, but I recognize this behaviour in my work.

Prayer, God, Church is becoming a larger part of my life, but I have to get used to it, the bug man is still in me judging this newly developing side. The Bugman in me wants to believe he knows everything, he is god, but if I look from a little distance the sadness comes over me.

How did I waste 10 years of life? And then right after, I don't want to think about it now, tomorrow I'll think about it. Time passing by in bug man existence.

Feeling small and crushed, crafting an intellectual worldly identity, making others belief it, desiring to overpower to feel anything.

It's a tree on bad soil giving rotten fruit.

Me picking up the bible the last year, going to church is destroying any illusion of grandiosity I have. To be honest I find it hard. I'm looking at myself and thinking, man what did I do, what ruins I created along the road. Sickening.

Not a lot is left.

I tried to read Dostojevki in the past but found it too confronting, and I wanted comfort. I now know why.

Have a great day men.

Your honesty in introspection is admirable. Keep seeking.

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You're right about the general theme of bugmen, but, the Underground man is not a bugman. To be clear, a bugman is one who goes along with the status quo, not thinking too deeply, seeing no problems, but may feel discontent with the utter meaninglessness of his life.


The Underground man repeatedly rejects the categorization of bugman.

It was not only that I could not become spiteful, I did not know how to become anything; neither spiteful nor kind, neither a rascal nor an honest man, neither a hero nor an insect. Now, I am living out my life in my corner, taunting myself with the spiteful and useless consolation that an intelligent man cannot become anything seriously, and it is only the fool who becomes anything. Yes, a man in the nineteenth century must and morally ought to be pre-eminently a characterless creature; a man of character, an active man is pre-eminently a limited creature.

I want now to tell you, gentlemen, whether you care to hear it or not, why I could not even become an insect. I tell you solemnly, that I have many times tried to become an insect. But I was not equal even to that. I swear, gentlemen, that to be too conscious is an illness--a real thorough-going illness.

To have a conscience that's constantly bothering you hinders you in a sick society. The bugman doesn't think about the structure underlying society, he only thinks of how he can climb the social hierarchy, he doesn't ask whether or not it's good to do so, nor the cost. The Underground man wants to excel in society (which is absurd in itself, knowing what he knows), but the values society have are so outrageous to him, and society moves so fast that, he doesn't have time to process all the information to think through how to act, for he wants to think about the consequences of his actions before he treads that path.

And the worst of it was, and the root of it all, that it was all in accord with the normal fundamental laws of over-acute consciousness, and with the inertia that was the direct result of those laws, and that consequently one was not only unable to change but could do absolutely nothing. Thus it would follow, as the result of acute consciousness, that one is not to blame in being a scoundrel; as though that were any consolation to the scoundrel once he has come to realise that he actually is a scoundrel. But enough.... Ech, I have talked a lot of nonsense, but what have I explained? How is enjoyment in this to be explained? But I will explain it. I will get to the bottom of it! That is why I have taken up my pen....

At the time, it was a shot at Darwin and the evolution crowd, as evolution was used to justify treating people horribly. "We can brutalize you because it's in our natural interest to do so, everyone must follow their interests, and the laws of nature determine the strongest survive, therefore we're justified in what we're doing"

I will continue calmly concerning persons with strong nerves who do not understand a certain refinement of enjoyment. Though in certain circumstances these gentlemen bellow their loudest like bulls, though this, let us suppose, does them the greatest credit, yet, as I have said already, confronted with the impossible they subside at once. The impossible means the stone wall! What stone wall? Why, of course, the laws of nature, the deductions of natural science, mathematics. As soon as they prove to you, for instance, that you are descended from a monkey, then it is no use scowling, accept it for a fact. When they prove to you that in reality one drop of your own fat must be dearer to you than a hundred thousand of your fellow-creatures, and that this conclusion is the final solution of all so-called virtues and duties and all such prejudices and fancies, then you have just to accept it, there is no help for it, for twice two is a law of mathematics. Just try refuting it.
"Upon my word, they will shout at you, it is no use protesting: it is a case of twice two makes four! Nature does not ask your permission, she has nothing to do with your wishes, and whether you like her laws or dislike them, you are bound to accept her as she is, and consequently all her conclusions. A wall, you see, is a wall ... and so on, and so on."

Merciful Heavens! but what do I care for the laws of nature and arithmetic, when, for some reason I dislike those laws and the fact that twice two makes four? Of course I cannot break through the wall by battering my head against it if I really have not the strength to knock it down, but I am not going to be reconciled to it simply because it is a stone wall and I have not the strength.

As though such a stone wall really were a consolation, and really did contain some word of conciliation, simply because it is as true as twice two makes four. Oh, absurdity of absurdities! How much better it is to understand it all, to recognise it all, all the impossibilities and the stone wall; not to be reconciled to one of those impossibilities and stone walls if it disgusts you to be reconciled to it; by the way of the most inevitable, logical combinations to reach the most revolting conclusions on the everlasting theme, that even for the stone wall you are yourself somehow to blame, though again it is as clear as day you are not to blame in the least, and therefore grinding your teeth in silent impotence to sink into luxurious inertia, brooding on the fact that there is no one even for you to feel vindictive against, that you have not, and perhaps never will have, an object for your spite, that it is a sleight of hand, a bit of juggling, a card-sharper's trick, that it is simply a mess, no knowing what and no knowing who, but in spite of all these uncertainties and jugglings, still there is an ache in you, and the more you do not know, the worse the ache.

That last paragraph is especially signifigant for today if you can't see how this applies to the "Trust the Science" crowd, read it repeatedly until it sinks it. To put it in the modern context "If the science leads to repulsive conclusions, why care what the "science" says?".

They were engaged in warm and earnest conversation about a farewell dinner which they wanted to arrange for the next day to a comrade of theirs called Zverkov, an officer in the army, who was going away to a distant province. This Zverkov had been all the time at school with me too. I had begun to hate him particularly in the upper forms. In the lower forms he had simply been a pretty, playful boy whom everybody liked. I had hated him, however, even in the lower forms, just because he was a pretty and playful boy. He was always bad at his lessons and got worse and worse as he went on; however, he left with a good certificate, as he had powerful interests. During his last year at school he came in for an estate of two hundred serfs, and as almost all of us were poor he took up a swaggering tone among us. He was vulgar in the extreme, but at the same time he was a good-natured fellow, even in his swaggering. In spite of superficial, fantastic and sham notions of honour and dignity, all but very few of us positively grovelled before Zverkov, and the more so the more he swaggered. And it was not from any interested motive that they grovelled, but simply because he had been favoured by the gifts of nature. Moreover, it was, as it were, an accepted idea among us that Zverkov was a specialist in regard to tact and the social graces. This last fact particularly infuriated me. I hated the abrupt self-confident tone of his voice, his admiration of his own witticisms, which were often frightfully stupid, though he was bold in his language; I hated his handsome, but stupid face (for which I would, however, have gladly exchanged my intelligent one), and the free-and-easy military manners in fashion in the "'forties." I hated the way in which he used to talk of his future conquests of women (he did not venture to begin his attack upon women until he had the epaulettes of an officer, and was looking forward to them with impatience), and boasted of the duels he would constantly be fighting. I remember how I, invariably so taciturn, suddenly fastened upon Zverkov, when one day talking at a leisure moment with his schoolfellows of his future relations with the fair sex, and growing as sportive as a puppy in the sun, he all at once declared that he would not leave a single village girl on his estate unnoticed, that that was his DROIT DE SEIGNEUR, and that if the peasants dared to protest he would have them all flogged and double the tax on them, the bearded rascals. Our servile rabble applauded, but I attacked him, not from compassion for the girls and their fathers, but simply because they were applauding such an insect. I got the better of him on that occasion, but though Zverkov was stupid he was lively and impudent, and so laughed it off, and in such a way that my victory was not really complete; the laugh was on his side. He got the better of me on several occasions afterwards, but without malice, jestingly, casually. I remained angrily and contemptuously silent and would not answer him. When we left school he made advances to me; I did not rebuff them, for I was flattered, but we soon parted and quite naturally. Afterwards I heard of his barrack-room success as a lieutenant, and of the fast life he was leading. Then there came other rumours--of his successes in the service. By then he had taken to cutting me in the street, and I suspected that he was afraid of compromising himself by greeting a personage as insignificant as me.

Zherkov is rewarded by society for he doesn't need to think, just conform. He's good looking, easy going, with money, and uses his connections to his advantage, he's doing well to climb the social ladder, and has sees no issues about using his power to force others to do his will. He's oblivious to the moral aspect of things. He's the equivalent of a mask wearing, platitude spouting, upper management type.

The Underground man on the other hand, is a very bitter, proud, and vain coward, he knows what he should do, but his sheer pettiness makes him the worst kind of creature imaginable. As this book is an attack on Western Rationalism, It shows how absolutely hideous the intellect can be without the corresponding virtues.

The novel ends on a positive reminder

Even now, so many years later, all this is somehow a very evil memory. I have many evil memories now, but ... hadn't I better end my "Notes" here? I believe I made a mistake in beginning to write them, anyway I have felt ashamed all the time I've been writing this story; so it's hardly literature so much as a corrective punishment. Why, to tell long stories, showing how I have spoiled my life through morally rotting in my corner, through lack of fitting environment, through divorce from real life, and rankling spite in my underground world, would certainly not be interesting; a novel needs a hero, and all the traits for an anti-hero are EXPRESSLY gathered together here, and what matters most, it all produces an unpleasant impression, for we are all divorced from life, we are all cripples, every one of us, more or less. We are so divorced from it that we feel at once a sort of loathing for real life, and so cannot bear to be reminded of it. Why, we have come almost to looking upon real life as an effort, almost as hard work, and we are all privately agreed that it is better in books. And why do we fuss and fume sometimes? Why are we perverse and ask for something else? We don't know what ourselves. It would be the worse for us if our petulant prayers were answered.

What makes the Underground man who he is, is his total lack of thankfulness for what he has, and that he chooses to ignore the more rewarding satisfying path in life, and more than that, he knows that if he got what he was asking for, without the struggles and work involved, it would make it even worse for him, for he would become an even weaker of a person because of it, for people who once had power/fame/comfort, who can't stand to lose it, become like the character Gollum in LOTR if it happens.

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