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Chapter 4

  • "Ha, ha, ha! You will be finding enjoyment in toothache next," you cry, with _augh.
  • "Well, even in toothache there is enjoyment," I answer. I had toothache for _hole month and I know there is. In that case, of course, people are no_piteful in silence, but moan; but they are not candid moans, they ar_alignant moans, and the malignancy is the whole point. The enjoyment of th_ufferer finds expression in those moans; if he did not feel enjoyment in the_e would not moan. It is a good example, gentlemen, and I will develop it.
  • Those moans express in the first place all the aimlessness of your pain, whic_s so humiliating to your consciousness; the whole legal system of nature o_hich you spit disdainfully, of course, but from which you suffer all the sam_hile she does not. They express the consciousness that you have no enemy t_unish, but that you have pain; the consciousness that in spite of al_ossible Wagenheims you are in complete slavery to your teeth; that if someon_ishes it, your teeth will leave off aching, and if he does not, they will g_n aching another three months; and that finally if you are still contumaciou_nd still protest, all that is left you for your own gratification is t_hrash yourself or beat your wall with your fist as hard as you can, an_bsolutely nothing more. Well, these mortal insults, these jeers on the par_f someone unknown, end at last in an enjoyment which sometimes reaches th_ighest degree of voluptuousness. I ask you, gentlemen, listen sometimes t_he moans of an educated man of the nineteenth century suffering fro_oothache, on the second or third day of the attack, when he is beginning t_oan, not as he moaned on the first day, that is, not simply because he ha_oothache, not just as any coarse peasant, but as a man affected by progres_nd European civilisation, a man who is "divorced from the soil and th_ational elements," as they express it now-a-days. His moans become nasty,
  • disgustingly malignant, and go on for whole days and nights. And of course h_nows himself that he is doing himself no sort of good with his moans; h_nows better than anyone that he is only lacerating and harassing himself an_thers for nothing; he knows that even the audience before whom he is makin_is efforts, and his whole family, listen to him with loathing, do not put _a'porth of faith in him, and inwardly understand that he might moa_ifferently, more simply, without trills and flourishes, and that he is onl_musing himself like that from ill-humour, from malignancy. Well, in all thes_ecognitions and disgraces it is that there lies a voluptuous pleasure. A_hough he would say: "I am worrying you, I am lacerating your hearts, I a_eeping everyone in the house awake. Well, stay awake then, you, too, fee_very minute that I have toothache. I am not a hero to you now, as I tried t_eem before, but simply a nasty person, an impostor. Well, so be it, then! _m very glad that you see through me. It is nasty for you to hear m_espicable moans: well, let it be nasty; here I will let you have a nastie_lourish in a minute… ." You do not understand even now, gentlemen? No, i_eems our development and our consciousness must go further to understand al_he intricacies of this pleasure. You laugh? Delighted. My jests, gentlemen,
  • are of course in bad taste, jerky, involved, lacking self-confidence. But o_ourse that is because I do not respect myself. Can a man of perceptio_espect himself at all?