Part 1 Chapter 7-Part 1 Chapter 8
Part 1 Chapter 7: The UM more clearly focuses his assault on Chernyshevsky's "golden dreams" in this chapter, where he asserts that man is an inherently irrational creature (he cites human history, including the American Civil War, which was in progress during the time he was writing), and therefore does not always act in his own self-interest. Indeed, the Underground Man asks, "And what if it turns out that man's advantage sometimes not only may, but even must in certain circumstances, consist precisely in his desiring something harmful to himself instead of something advantageous?" Freedom to act against the laws of nature, against the crystal palace of reason, is the advantage the UM sees above all others. The UM goes on: "Man needs only one thing-his own independentdesire, whatever that independence might cost and wherever it might lead."
Part 1 Chapter 8: Next, he confronts the counter-argument that man's "free will" is just an illusion-just a scientific formula of biological chemicals. The UM says that if this were ever the case, man would cease being human altogether and become an organ stop. Later, he even suggests that this liberty of choice, this freedom to be stupid, is a right.