Brothers Karamazov, by Fyodor Dostoevsky

When I walk into a room, I'm lower than anyone else, and that everyone takes me for a buffoon, so "Why not, indeed, play the buffoon, I'm not afraid of your opinions, because you're all, to a man, lower than me! pg 43

A man who lies to himself and listens to his own lie comes to a point where he does not discern any truth either in himself or anywhere around him, and thus falls into disrespect towards himself and others. Not respecting anyone, he ceases to love, and having no love, he gives himself up to passions and coarse pleasures, in order to occupy and amuse himself, and in his vices reaches complete bestiality, and it all comes from lying continually to others and to himself. A man who lies to himself is often the first to take offense. It sometimes feels very good to take offense, doesn't it? And surely he knows that no one has offended him, and that he himself has invented the offense and told lies just for the beauty of it, that he has exaggerated for the sake of effect, that he has picked on a word and make a mountain out of a pea - he knows all of that and still he is the first to take offense, he likes feeling offended, it gives him great pleasure, and thus he reaches the point of real hostility . . . pg 44

That's just it, that 'but . . ., Ivan was shouting. I tell you, novice, that absurdities are all too necessary on earth. The world stands on absurdities, and without them perhaps nothing at all would happen. We know what we know! pg 243

For the mystery of man's being is not only in living, but in what one lives for. Without a firm idea of what he lives for, man will not consent to live and will sooner destroy himself than remain on earth, even if there is bread all around him. pg 254

I knew on "fighter for an idea" who told himself that when he was deprived of tobacco in prison, he was so tormented by this deprivation that he almost went and betrayed his "idea" just so that they would give him some tobacco. And such a man: "I am going to fight for mankind." Well, how far will such a man get, and what is he good for? Perhaps some quick action, but he will not endure for long. And no wonder that instead of freedom they have fallen into slavery, and instead of serving brotherly love and human unity, they have fallen, on the contrary, into disunity and isolation, as my mysterious visitor and teacher used to tell me in my youth. - pg 314