What you call impulse, Poe calls "The Imp of the Perverse," a delightfully creepy little phrase that describes our inclination to do the wrong thing just because it's wrong; as in, putting our hand on the stove right after mom has told us not to.

Poe's narrator, confined to a prison cell, explores this "innate and primitive principle," and, in one of the writer's most widely accessible passages, even attributes procrastination to this self-destructive impulse. It is, after all, a behavior which know will cause us pain, that we willing thrust upon ourselves. College, anyone?

"The most important crisis of our life calls, trumpet-tongued, for immediate energy and action... It must, it shall be undertaken to-day, and yet we put it off until to-morrow, and why? There is no answer, except that we feel perverse, using the word with no comprehension of the principle."

He totally has us with him until he uses this to segue into admitting that he is in jail because he murdered his neighbor with a poisonous candle, a fact that went undetected until a perverse "maddening desire to shriek aloud" a confession of his crime landed him in jail.

Leave it to Poe to captivate us with a profound idea only to carry it out to a completely illogical, insane conclusion.