Here is an excerpt from Fyodor Dostoevsky’s Notes from Underground, (page 71 of Kaufman’s translation in Existentialism: From Dostoevsky to Sarte) a profound work that served as part of the inspiration for this blog’s title. Take note of the last half- especially the end.
Man is stupid, you know, phenomenally stupid; or rather, he is not all stupid, but he is so ungrateful that you could not find another like him in all creation. I, for instance, would not be in the least surprised if all of a sudden, o propos, of nothing, in the midst of general prosperity a gentleman with an ignoble, or rather with a reactionary and ironical, countenance were to arise and, putting his arms akimbo, say to us all: ‘I say, gentlemen, hadn’t we better kick over the whole show and scatter rationalism to the winds, simply to send these logarithms to the devil, and to enable us to live once more at our own sweet foolish will?’ That again would not matter, but what is annoying is that he would be sure to find followers — such is the nature of man. And all for the most foolish reason, which, one would think, was hardly worth mentioning: that is, that man everywhere and at all times, whoever he may be, has preferred to act as he chose and not in the least as his reason and advantage dictated. And one may choose what is contrary to one’s own interests, and sometimes one positively ought (that is my idea). One’s own free unfettered choice, one’s own caprice, however wild it may be, one’s own fancy worked up at times to a frenzy — is that very ‘most advantageous advantage’ which we have overlooked.