Let me explain: the pleasure I experienced came directly from being too vividly aware of my own degradation, from the feeling of having gone too far; that it was foul but that it couldn’t be otherwise; that there’s no way out for you, that you’d never make yourself a different person; that even if there remained enough time and faith to change yourself into something different you most probably wouldn’t want to change yourself. And that even if you did want to, you’d end up by doing nothing because there might in fact be nothing to change yourself into. But finally, and most importantly, all this proceeds from the normal, fundamental laws of heightened consciousness and from the inertia which is the direct result of those laws and therefore not only could you not change yourself, you’d simply do nothing at all.
Notes From Underground. Fyodor Dostoyevsky. 1864.