'What if man is not really a scoundrel? Man in general, I mean, the whole race of mankind- then all the rest is prejudice, simply artificial terrors and there are no barriers and it is all as it should be.'
'But you're a poet and I'm a simple mortal and therefore I will say that one must look at things from the simplest, most practical point of view. I, for one, have long since freed myself from all shackles and even obligations. I only recognize obligations when I see I have something to gain by them. You, ofcourse, can't look at things like that, your legs are fettered and your taste is morbid. You yearn for the ideal, for virtue. But my friend I am ready to recognize anything you tell me, but what do I do if I know for a fact that at the root of all human virtues lies the most intense egoism?'
“It would be jolly to go to Kuragin's,” he thought. But he immediately recalled his promise to Prince Andrey not to go there again. But, as so often happens with people of weak character, as it is called, he was at once overcome with such a passionate desire to enjoy once more this sort of dissipation which had become so familiar to him, that he determined to go. And the idea at once occurred to him that his promise was of no consequence, since he had already promised Prince Anatole to go before making the promise to Andrey. Finally he reflected that all such promises were merely relative matters, having no sort of precise significance, especially if one considered that to-morrow one might be dead or something so extraordinary might happen that the distinction between honourable and dishonourable would have ceased to exist. Such reflections often occurred to Pierre, completely nullifying all his resolutions and intentions. He went to Kuragin's.'