I’ve been going over my past, and I can’t help wondering why I’ve lived, for what purpose I was born. There must have been some purpose, I must have had some high object in life, for I feel unbounded strength within me. But I never discovered it and was carried away by the allurements of empty, unrewarding passions. I was tempered in their flames and came out cold and hard as steel, but I’d lost forever the fire of noble endeavor, that finest flower of life. How many times since then have I been the axe in the hands of fate? Like an engine of execution, I’ve descended on the heads of the destined victims, often without malice, but always without pity. My love has brought no one happiness, for I’ve never sacrificed a thing for those I’ve loved. I’ve loved for myself, for my own pleasure, I’ve only tried to satisfy a strange inner need. I’ve fed on their feelings, love, joys and sufferings, and always wanted more. I’m like a starving man who falls asleep exhausted and sees rich food and sparkling wines before him. He rapturously falls on these phantom gifts of the imagination and feels better, but the moment he wakes up his dream disappears and he’s left more hungry and desperate than before.
- Pechorin's Corner @ Chelifer's Beach (1840)