Friday, January 6, 2017

no pain no gain

One of the key tenets of the Underground man's philosophy is that it is human nature to sometimes go against what is rational and instead do something that causes pain to themselves simply because humans want to express individualism. The piano key or organ stop metaphor is one of the most evident examples of this. People want to prove their humanity instead of being like a regulated machine. This leads to acting against their own self-interest even in situations in which they are aware of what will benefit them. Dostoevsky uses this to criticize the view of his time that people will act in their own self-interest if they become aware and that this self-interest will benefit society. Here, we can directly see how the persona of the Underground Man is created to criticize such ideologies such as liberalism and utilitarianism.

5 comments:

Rickeia Coleman said...

I agree that Underground Man is used to criticize those 19th century ideals. Another reason free will is mentioned so much is because at the time people were thinking about philosophies such as this because people became more fascinated about their place in the world. People want to exercise their free will to show that they are not machines and free will is what distinguishes human kind from every other creature even if it does affect us negatively. I think Underground man is arguing that without free will what's even the point in existence. Obviously this is a rhetorical question that none truly have the answer to but it is an important point of interest in the story.

Luke Jeanfreau said...

I don't think that human's necessarily want to act against their own self interests, i think humans in general have great fear of boredom. If we always make the correct decisions, life really wouldn't be that interesting. Sometimes, to ensure that our lives stay interesting, we will act against our own self interest.

Julia Scofield said...

I believe that underground man is using himself as an example. He is obviously acting against his own self interest throughout the entire novella. A prime example of this is the Underground Man's desire to be thrown out the window. Obviously it is not within his self interest to be thrown out a window, but he needed attention in order to feel human. Instead, the officer ignores him and his need for attention increases.

Brooke Williamson said...

I think UM's philosophy is based on his search for attention. He is desperately lonely because no one signifies him as important or relevant. We read how his schoolmates disregard his presence and don't want him to attend their dinner. Even though UM appears to hate his schoomates, he still wants to be accepted by them which seems rather contradictory. I think this ultimately signifies his battle to maintain human existence and exercise free will in any capacity.

Bailey Taylor said...

I think that it's amazing how this novella was written way before now and it still is kind of relateable. I think it is so true that people do things that isn't good for them just because they can. For example, tonight I was at the hospital visiting my grandma and it got late and I wanted to leave but my dad told me to wait till he got there so he could walk me to my car. Just because he was making me wait, I didn't. I decided that I was going to walk out to my car by myself (even though it was dark out and I didn't really know where I was going) just because I could. Underground Man himself is a little extreme but I think the philosophies are pretty spot on.