13 January 2010

can a spider hate the fly?

This was a duel to the death. And here—I was not insulted! There was an insult, but I didn't feel it! Far from it! I was even glad; having come to hate her, I even felt I was beginning to love her. "I don't know, can a spider hate the fly it has picked out and wants to catch? Sweet little fly! It seems to me that one loves one's victim; at least one may. You see, I love my enemy: I find it terribly pleasing, for instance, that she's so beautiful. I find it terribly pleasing, madam, that you are so haughty and majestic; if you were a bit meeker, the satisfaction wouldn't be so great. You spat on me, but I'm triumphant; if you were actually to spit in my face with real spit, I really might not get angry, because you are my victim—mine, and not his. What a fascinating thought! No, the secret awareness of power is unbearably more enjoyable than manifest domination. If I were worth a hundred million, I think I'd precisely enjoy going around in my old clothes, so as to be taken for the measliest of men, who all but begs for alms, and be pushed around and despised; for me, the consciousness alone would be enough."

Fyodor Dostoyevsky, The Adolescent (2003: 42)