In the section titled “Underground,” the underground man discusses the notion of determinism. He states that to accept this theory, one’s actions become stripped from any ulterior motive. “That is to say, in life itself, [it] is bound to be nothing other than two times two is four – that is a formula; and two times two is no longer life gentleman, but the beginning of death” (pg 32). Moreover, that to believe two times two is four and that the outcome of four is unchangeable within the distance future, is something that the Underground man refutes. For one’s life to have any meaning or validity, actions must be understood as non-robotic; an answer to this question must not only be unknown, but more imp...
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...nd. The underground man concludes that it’s impossible to discover yourself without feeling fear, and the potential for feeling fear doesn’t give an excuse for one to not try, even if one’s within a book.
But we’re not the underground man. We’re not characters in a book. We can feel words and bring forth actions which transcend them. Our consciousness will never allow us to understand the complexity of life; we don’t live in a two-times-two world. If our future seems doomed, we have time at our disposal and the ability to utilize it for change. This concept is hard to live with. It brings with it that most rare breed of pain: the kind that’s removed only through acceptance and action. Once the pain settles, however, you’ll emerge out of that shattered lattice once called the underground, with and a deeper, clearer understanding of that which you are, we all are.
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