In Notes from the Underground, the Underground man argues that suffering is enjoyable – even a toothache. The pleasure, he says, comes when you are intensely conscious of your pain, adding that it's enjoyable to make others suffer with you. Suffering is necessary, he continues, because it leads to consciousness. The two notions – suffering and consciousness – have a complicated relationship in the text, each necessitating the other and making the other possible. For this reason, man will never give up suffering, since man needs to be conscious and have his free will. He will even purposely cause himself pain to prove that he's free to do so.
Dostoevsky holds up the Underground Man as a negative example; Notes from the Underground argues against self-inflicted suffering.
Dostoevsky holds up the Underground Man as a positive example; Notes from the Underground argues in favor of self-inflicted suffering.