Ayn Rand Quotes

We've searched our database for all the quotes and captions related to Ayn Rand. Here they are! All 100 of them:

β€œ
[Dean] β€œMy dear fellow, who will let you?” [Roark] β€œThat’s not the point. The point is, who will stop me?
”
”
Ayn Rand (The Fountainhead)
β€œ
Do not let your fire go out, spark by irreplaceable spark in the hopeless swamps of the not-quite, the not-yet, and the not-at-all. Do not let the hero in your soul perish in lonely frustration for the life you deserved and have never been able to reach. The world you desire can be won. It exists.. it is real.. it is possible.. it's yours.
”
”
Ayn Rand (Atlas Shrugged)
β€œ
If you don't know, the thing to do is not to get scared, but to learn.
”
”
Ayn Rand (Atlas Shrugged)
β€œ
Learn to value yourself, which means: fight for your happiness.
”
”
Ayn Rand
β€œ
I could die for you. But I couldn't, and wouldn't, live for you.
”
”
Ayn Rand (The Fountainhead)
β€œ
Freedom (n.): To ask nothing. To expect nothing. To depend on nothing.
”
”
Ayn Rand (The Fountainhead)
β€œ
To say "I love you" one must know first how to say the "I".
”
”
Ayn Rand (The Fountainhead)
β€œ
A creative man is motivated by the desire to achieve, not by the desire to beat others.
”
”
Ayn Rand
β€œ
I swear by my life and my love of it that I will never live for the sake of another man, nor ask another man to live for mine.
”
”
Ayn Rand (Atlas Shrugged)
β€œ
The smallest minority on earth is the individual. Those who deny individual rights cannot claim to be defenders of minorities.
”
”
Ayn Rand
β€œ
I started my life with a single absolute: that the world was mine to shape in the image of my highest values and never to be given up to a lesser standard, no matter how long or hard the struggle.
”
”
Ayn Rand (Atlas Shrugged)
β€œ
The hardest thing to explain is the glaringly evident which everybody has decided not to see.
”
”
Ayn Rand (The Fountainhead)
β€œ
Why do they always teach us that it's easy and evil to do what we want and that we need discipline to restrain ourselves? It's the hardest thing in the world--to do what we want. And it takes the greatest kind of courage. I mean, what we really want.
”
”
Ayn Rand
β€œ
The man who does not value himself, cannot value anything or anyone.
”
”
Ayn Rand (The Virtue of Selfishness: A New Concept of Egoism)
β€œ
People think that a liar gains a victory over his victim. What I’ve learned is that a lie is an act of self-abdication, because one surrenders one’s reality to the person to whom one lies, making that person one’s master, condemning oneself from then on to faking the sort of reality that person’s view requires to be faked…The man who lies to the world, is the world’s slave from then on…There are no white lies, there is only the blackest of destruction, and a white lie is the blackest of all.
”
”
Ayn Rand (Atlas Shrugged)
β€œ
To sell your soul is the easiest thing in the world. That's what everybody does every hour of his life. If I asked you to keep your soul - would you understand why that's much harder?
”
”
Ayn Rand (The Fountainhead)
β€œ
Contradictions do not exist. Whenever you think that you are facing a contradiction, check your premises. You will find that one of them is wrong.
”
”
Ayn Rand
β€œ
My happiness is not the means to any end. It is the end. It is its own goal. It is its own purpose.
”
”
Ayn Rand (Anthem)
β€œ
Have you felt it too? Have you seen how your best friends love everything about you- except the things that count? And your most important is nothing to them; nothing, not even a sound they can recognize.
”
”
Ayn Rand (The Fountainhead)
β€œ
He is free to evade reality, he is free to unfocus his mind and stumble blindly down any road he pleases, but not free to avoid the abyss he refuses to see.
”
”
Ayn Rand
β€œ
Devotion to the truth is the hallmark of morality; there is no greater, nobler, more heroic form of devotion than the act of a man who assumes the responsibility of thinking.
”
”
Ayn Rand (Atlas Shrugged)
β€œ
Never think of pain or danger or enemies a moment longer than is necessary to fight them.
”
”
Ayn Rand (Atlas Shrugged)
β€œ
The truth is not for all men but only for those who seek it.
”
”
Ayn Rand
β€œ
Let me give you a tip on a clue to men's characters: the man who damns money has obtained it dishonorably; the man who respects it has earned it.
”
”
Ayn Rand (Atlas Shrugged)
β€œ
Don't fool yourself, my dear. You're much worse than a bitch. You're a saint. Which shows why saints are dangerous and undesirable.
”
”
Ayn Rand (The Fountainhead)
β€œ
She did not know the nature of her loneliness. The only words that named it were: This is not the world I expected.
”
”
Ayn Rand (Atlas Shrugged)
β€œ
You have been the one encounter in my life that can never be repeated
”
”
Ayn Rand (The Fountainhead)
β€œ
If you saw Atlas, the giant who holds the world on his shoulders, if you saw that he stood, blood running down his chest, his knees buckling, his arms trembling but still trying to hold the world aloft with the last of his strength, and the greater his effort the heavier the world bore down upon his shoulders - What would you tell him?" I…don't know. What…could he do? What would you tell him?" To shrug.
”
”
Ayn Rand (Atlas Shrugged)
β€œ
If it's worth doing, it's worth overdoing.
”
”
Ayn Rand
β€œ
I regret nothing. There have been things I missed, but I ask no questions, because I have loved it, such as it has been, even the moments of emptiness, even the unanswered-and that I loved it, that is the unanswered in my life.
”
”
Ayn Rand (The Fountainhead)
β€œ
I love you so much that nothing can matter to me - not even you...Only my love- not your answer. Not even your indifference
”
”
Ayn Rand (The Fountainhead)
β€œ
There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old’s life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs." [Kung Fu Monkey -- Ephemera, blog post, March 19, 2009]
”
”
John Rogers
β€œ
A government is the most dangerous threat to man's rights: it holds a legal monopoly on the use of physical force against legally disarmed victims.
”
”
Ayn Rand
β€œ
What greater wealth is there than to own your life and to spend it on growing? Every living thing must grow. It can't stand still. It must grow or perish.
”
”
Ayn Rand (Atlas Shrugged)
β€œ
I never found beauty in longing for the impossible and never found the possible to be beyond my reach.
”
”
Ayn Rand (Atlas Shrugged)
β€œ
Who is John Galt?
”
”
Ayn Rand (Atlas Shrugged)
β€œ
Integrity is the ability to stand by an idea.
”
”
Ayn Rand (The Fountainhead)
β€œ
I am, therefore I'll think.
”
”
Ayn Rand
β€œ
The purpose of morality is to teach you, not to suffer and die, but to enjoy yourself and live.
”
”
Ayn Rand
β€œ
I worship individuals for their highest possibilities as individuals and I loathe humanity for its failure to live up to these possibilities.
”
”
Ayn Rand
β€œ
A man's sexual choice is the result and the sum of his fundamental convictions.... He will always be attracted to the woman who reflects his deepest vision of himself, the woman whose surrender permits him to experience a sense of self-esteem. The man who is proudly certain of his own value, will want the highest type of woman he can find, the woman he admires, the strongest, the hardest to conquer--because only the possession of a heroine will give him the sense of an achievement.
”
”
Ayn Rand (Atlas Shrugged)
β€œ
Live and act within the limit of your knowledge and keep expanding it to the limit of your life.
”
”
Ayn Rand (Atlas Shrugged)
β€œ
But why should you care what people will say? All you have to do is please yourself.
”
”
Ayn Rand
β€œ
When I disagree with a rational man, I let reality be our final arbiter; if I am right, he will learn; if I am wrong, I will; one of us will win, but both will profit.
”
”
Ayn Rand
β€œ
Love is blind, they say; sex is impervious to reason and mocks the power of all philosophers. But, in fact, a person's sexual choice is the result and sum of their fundamental convictions. Tell me what a person finds sexually attractive and I will tell you their entire philosophy of life. Show me the person they sleep with and I will tell you their valuation of themselves. No matter what corruption they're taught about the virtue of selflessness, sex is the most profoundly selfish of all acts, an act which they cannot perform for any motive but their own enjoyment - just try to think of performing it in a spirit of selfless charity! - an act which is not possible in self-abasement, only in self-exultation, only on the confidence of being desired and being worthy of desire. It is an act that forces them to stand naked in spirit, as well as in body, and accept their real ego as their standard of value. They will always be attracted to the person who reflects their deepest vision of themselves, the person whose surrender permits them to experience - or to fake - a sense of self-esteem .. Love is our response to our highest values - and can be nothing else.
”
”
Ayn Rand
β€œ
Run for your life from any man who tells you that money is evil. That sentence is the leper's bell of an approaching looter.
”
”
Ayn Rand (Atlas Shrugged)
β€œ
There is no such thing as a lousy job - only lousy men who don't care to do it.
”
”
Ayn Rand (Atlas Shrugged)
β€œ
People create their own questions because they are afraid to look straight. All you have to do is look straight and see the road, and when you see it, don't sit looking at it - walk.
”
”
Ayn Rand
β€œ
There’s nothing as significant as a human face. Nor as eloquent. We can never really know another person, except by our first glance at him. Because, in that glance, we know everything. Even though we’re not always wise enough to unravel the knowledge.
”
”
Ayn Rand (The Fountainhead)
β€œ
Joy is the goal of existence, and joy is not to be stumbled upon, but to be achieved, and the act of treason is to let its vision drown in the swamp of the moment's torture.
”
”
Ayn Rand (Atlas Shrugged)
β€œ
If one's actions are honest, one does not need the predated confidence of others.
”
”
Ayn Rand (Atlas Shrugged)
β€œ
Money is only a tool. It will take you wherever you wish, but it will not replace you as the driver.
”
”
Ayn Rand (Atlas Shrugged)
β€œ
Patience is always rewarded and romance is always round the corner!
”
”
Ayn Rand (The Fountainhead)
β€œ
Rationalization is a process of not perceiving reality, but of attempting to make reality fit one’s emotions.
”
”
Ayn Rand (Philosophy: Who Needs It?)
β€œ
Have you ever felt the longing for someone you could admire? For something, not to look down at, but up to?
”
”
Ayn Rand
β€œ
Self-sacrifice? But it is precisely the self that cannot and must not be sacrificed.
”
”
Ayn Rand (The Fountainhead)
β€œ
It is not death that we wish to avoid, but life that we wish to live.
”
”
Ayn Rand (Atlas Shrugged)
β€œ
What is man? He's just a collection of chemicals with delusions of grandeur.
”
”
Ayn Rand (Atlas Shrugged)
β€œ
Ayn Rand's 'philosophy' is nearly perfect in its immorality, which makes the size of her audience all the more ominous and symptomatic as we enter a curious new phase in our society.... To justify and extol human greed and egotism is to my mind not only immoral, but evil.
”
”
Gore Vidal
β€œ
I have always found it quaint and rather touching that there is a movement [Libertarians] in the US that thinks Americans are not yet selfish enough.
”
”
Christopher Hitchens
β€œ
If you tell a beautiful woman that she is beautiful, what have you given her? It's no more than a fact and it has cost you nothing. But if you tell an ugly woman that she is beautiful, you offer her the great homage of corrupting the concept of beauty. To love a woman for her virtues is meaningless. She's earned it, it's a payment, not a gift. But to love her for her vices is a real gift, unearned and undeserved. To love her for her vices is to defile all virtue for her sake - and that is a real tribute of love, because you sacrifice your conscience, your reason, your integrity and your invaluable self-esteem.
”
”
Ayn Rand (Atlas Shrugged)
β€œ
But you see," said Roark quietly, "I have, let’s say, sixty years to live. Most of that time will be spent working. I’ve chosen the work I want to do. If I find no joy in it, then I’m only condemning myself to sixty years of torture. And I can find the joy only if I do my work in the best way possible to me. But the best is a matter of standardsβ€”and I set my own standards. I inherit nothing. I stand at the end of no tradition. I may, perhaps, stand at the beginning of one.
”
”
Ayn Rand (The Fountainhead)
β€œ
There's no way to rule innocent men. The only power any government has is the power to crack down on criminals. Well, when there aren't enough criminals, one makes them. One declares so many things to be a crime that it becomes impossible for men to live without breaking laws.
”
”
Ayn Rand
β€œ
Men who reject the responsibility of thought and reason can only exist as parasites on the thinking of others.
”
”
Ayn Rand (The Virtue of Selfishness: A New Concept of Egoism)
β€œ
I can accept anything, except what seems to be the easiest for most people: the half-way, the almost, the just-about, the in-between.
”
”
Ayn Rand
β€œ
But I don't think of you. (Howard Roark)
”
”
Ayn Rand (The Fountainhead)
β€œ
She knew that even pain can be confessed, but to confess happiness is to stand naked, delivered to the witness...
”
”
Ayn Rand (The Fountainhead)
β€œ
One loses everything when one loses one's sense of humor.
”
”
Ayn Rand (The Fountainhead)
β€œ
Power-lust is a weed that grows only in the vacant lots of an abandoned mind.
”
”
Ayn Rand (Atlas Shrugged)
β€œ
In this world, either you're virtuous or you enjoy yourself. Not both, lady, not both.
”
”
Ayn Rand (Atlas Shrugged)
β€œ
Self respect is something that can't be killed. The worst thing is to kill a man's pretense at it.
”
”
Ayn Rand (The Fountainhead)
β€œ
I don't wish to be the symbol of anything. I'm only myself.
”
”
Ayn Rand (The Fountainhead)
β€œ
Never ask people about your work.
”
”
Ayn Rand (The Fountainhead)
β€œ
Ask yourself whether the dream of heaven and greatness should be left waiting for us in our graves-or whether it should be ours here and now and on this earth.
”
”
Ayn Rand (Atlas Shrugged)
β€œ
Do you mean to tell me that you're thinking seriously of building that way, when and if you are an architect?” β€œYes.” β€œMy dear fellow, who will let you?” β€œThat’s not the point. The point is, who will stop me?
”
”
Ayn Rand (The Fountainhead)
β€œ
Reason is not automatic. Those who deny it cannot be conquered by it. Do not count on them. Leave them alone.
”
”
Ayn Rand
β€œ
I take no pride in hopeless longing; I wouldn't hold a stillborn aspiration. I'd want to have it, to make it, to live it.
”
”
Ayn Rand (Atlas Shrugged)
β€œ
But you see, the measure of hell you're able to endure is the measure of your love.
”
”
Ayn Rand (Atlas Shrugged)
β€œ
Man cannot survive except through his mind. He comes on earth unarmed. His brain is his only weapon. Animals obtain food by force. man had no claws, no fangs, no horns, no great strength of muscle. He must plant his food or hunt it. To plant, he needs a process of thought. To hunt, he needs weapons,and to make weapons - a process of thought. From this simplest necessity to the highest religious abstraction, from the wheel to the skyscraper, everything we are and we have comes from a single attribute of man -the function of his reasoning mind.
”
”
Ayn Rand (The Fountainhead)
β€œ
It's easy to run to others. It's so hard to stand on one's own record. You can fake virtue for an audience. You can't fake it in your own eyes. Your ego is your strictest judge. They run from it. They spend their lives running. It's easier to donate a few thousand to charity and think oneself noble than to base self-respect on personal standards of personal achievement. It's simple to seek substitutes for competence--such easy substitutes: love, charm, kindness, charity. But there is no substitute for competence.
”
”
Ayn Rand (The Fountainhead)
β€œ
What is morality, she asked. Judgement to distinguish right and wrong, vision to see the truth, and courage to act upon it, dedication to that which is good, integrity to stand by the good at any price.
”
”
Ayn Rand (Atlas Shrugged)
β€œ
Listen to what is being preached today. Look at everyone around us. You've wondered why they suffer, why they seek happiness and never find it. If any man stopped and asked himself whether he's ever held a truly personal desire, he'd find the answer. He'd see that all his wishes, his efforts, his dreams, his ambitions are motivated by other men. He's not really struggling even for material wealth, but for the second-hander's delusion - prestige. A stamp of approval, not his own. He can find no joy in the struggle and no joy when he has succeeded. He can't say about a single thing: 'This is what I wanted because I wanted it, not because it made my neighbors gape at me'. Then he wonders why he's unhappy.
”
”
Ayn Rand (The Fountainhead)
β€œ
Achievement of your happiness is the only moral purpose of your life, and that happiness, not pain or mindless self-indulgence, is the proof of your moral integrity, since it is the proof and the result of your loyalty to the achievement of your values.
”
”
Ayn Rand
β€œ
Love should be treated like a business deal, but every business deal has its own terms and its own currency. And in love, the currency is virtue. You love people not for what you do for them or what they do for you. You love them for the values, the virtues, which they have achieved in their own character.
”
”
Ayn Rand
β€œ
To say β€˜I love you’ one must first know how to say the β€˜I.’ The meaning of the β€˜I’ is an independent, self-sufficient entity that does not exist for the sake of any other person. A person who exists only for the sake of his loved one is not an independent entity, but a spiritual parasite. The love of a parasite is worth nothing.
”
”
Ayn Rand
β€œ
Well, I always know what I want. And when you know what you want--you go toward it. Sometimes you go very fast, and sometimes only an inch a year. Perhaps you feel happier when you go fast. I don't know. I've forgotten the difference long ago, because it really doesn't matter, so long as you move.
”
”
Ayn Rand (We the Living)
β€œ
The man who refuses to judge, who neither agrees nor disagrees, who declares that there are no absolutes and believes that he escapes responsibility, is the man responsible for all the blood that is now spilled in the world. Reality is an absolute, existence is an absolute, a speck of dust is an absolute and so is a human life. Whether you live or die is an absolute. Whether you have a piece of bread or not, is an absolute. Whether you eat your bread or see it vanish into a looter's stomach, is an absolute. There are two sides to every issue: one side is right and the other is wrong, but the middle is always evil. The man who is wrong still retains some respect for truth, if only by accepting the responsibility of choice. But the man in the middle is the knave who blanks out the truth in order to pretend that no choice or values exist, who is willing to sit out the course of any battle, willing to cash in on the blood of the innocent or to crawl on his belly to the guilty, who dispenses justice by condemning both the robber and the robbed to jail, who solves conflicts by ordering the thinker and the fool to meet each other halfway. In any compromise between food and poison, it is only death that can win. In any compromise between good and evil, it is only evil that can profit. In that transfusion of blood which drains the good to feed the evil, the compromise is the transmitting rubber tube.
”
”
Ayn Rand (Atlas Shrugged)
β€œ
That love is reverence, and worship, and glory, and the upward glance. Not a bandage for dirty sores. But they don’t know it. Those who speak of love most promiscuously are the ones who’ve never felt it. They make some sort of feeble stew out of sympathy, compassion, contempt, and general indifference, and they call it love. Once you’ve felt what it means to love as you and I know it – the total passion for the total height – you’re incapable of anything less.
”
”
Ayn Rand
β€œ
Learn to distinguish the difference between errors of knowledge and breaches of morality. An error of knowledge is not a moral flaw, provided you are willing to correct it; only a mystic would judge human beings by the standard of an impossible, automatic omniscience. But a breach of morality is the conscious choice of an action you know to be evil, or a willful evasion of knowledge, a suspension of sight and of thought. That which you do not know, is not a moral charge against you; but that which you refuse to know, is an account of infamy growing in your soul. Make every allowance for errors of knowledge; do not forgive or accept any break of morality.
”
”
Ayn Rand (Atlas Shrugged)
β€œ
It was the only thing I ever really wanted. And that’s the sin that can’t be forgiven--that I hadn’t done what I wanted. It feels so dirty and pointless and monstrous, as one feels about insanity, because there’s no sense to it, no dignity, nothing but pain--and wasted pain...why do they always teach us that it’s easy and evil to do what we want and that we need discipline to restrain ourselves? It’s the hardest thing in the world--to do what we want. And it takes the greatest kind of courage.
”
”
Ayn Rand
β€œ
Love is reverence, and worship, and glory, and the upward glance. Not a bandage for dirty sores. But they don't know it. Those who speak of love most promiscuously are the ones who've never felt it. They make some sort of feeble stew out of sympathy, compassion, contempt and general indifference, and they call it love. Once you've felt what it means to love as you and I know it - total passion for the total height - you're incapable of anything less.
”
”
Ayn Rand (The Fountainhead)
β€œ
I would give the greatest sunset in the world for one sight of New York's skyline. Particularly when one can't see the details. Just the shapes. The shapes and the thought that made them. The sky over New York and the will of man made visible. What other religion do we need? And then people tell me about pilgrimages to some dank pesthole in a jungle where they go to do homage to a crumbling temple, to a leering stone monster with a pot belly, created by some leprous savage. Is it beauty and genius they want to see? Do they seek a sense of the sublime? Let them come to New York, stand on the shore of the Hudson, look and kneel. When I see the city from my window - no, I don't feel how small I am - but I feel that if a war came to threaten this, I would throw myself into space, over the city, and protect these buildings with my body.
”
”
Ayn Rand (The Fountainhead)
β€œ
I stand here on the summit of the mountain. I lift my head and I spread my arms. This, my body and spirit, this is the end of the quest. I wished to know the meaning of all things. I am the meaning. I wished to find a warrant for being. I need no warrant for being, and no word of sanction upon my being. I am the warrant and the sanction. Neither am I the means to any end others may wish to accomplish. I am not a tool for their use. I am not a servant of their needs. I am not a sacrifice on their alters.
”
”
Ayn Rand (Anthem)
β€œ
Throughout the centuries there were men who took first steps down new roads armed with nothing but their own vision. Their goals differed, but they all had this in common: that the step was first, the road new, the vision unborrowed, and the response they received β€” hatred. The great creators β€” the thinkers, the artists, the scientists, the inventors β€” stood alone against the men of their time. Every great new thought was opposed. Every great new invention was denounced. The first motor was considered foolish. The airplane was considered impossible. The power loom was considered vicious. Anesthesia was considered sinful. But the men of unborrowed vision went ahead. They fought, they suffered and they paid. But they won.
”
”
Ayn Rand (The Fountainhead)
β€œ
The word "We" is as lime poured over men, which sets and hardens to stone, and crushes all beneath it, and that which is white and that which is black are lost equally in the grey of it. It is the word by which the depraved steal the virtue of the good, by which the weak steal the might of the strong, by which the fools steal the wisdom of the sages. What is my joy if all hands, even the unclean, can reach into it? What is my wisdom, if even the fools can dictate to me? What is my freedom, if all creatures, even the botched and impotent, are my masters? What is my life, if I am but to bow, to agree and to obey? But I am done with this creed of corruption. I am done with the monster of "We," the word of serfdom, of plunder, of misery, falsehood and shame. And now I see the face of god, and I raise this god over the earth, this god whom men have sought since men came into being, this god who will grant them joy and peace and pride. This god, this one word: "I.
”
”
Ayn Rand (Anthem)
β€œ
Haven't I? - he thought. Haven't I thought of it since the first time I saw you? Haven't I thought of nothing else for two years? ...He sat motionless, looking at her. He heard the words he had never allowed himself to form, the words he had felt, known, yet had not faced, had hoped to destroy by never letting them be said within his own mind. Now it was as sudden and shocking as if he were saying it to her ...Since the first time I saw you ...Nothing but your body, that mouth of yours, and the way your eyes would look at me, if ...Through every sentence I ever said to you, through every conference you thought so safe, through the importance of all the issues we discussed ...You trusted me, didn't you? To recognize your greatness? To think of you as you deserved - as if you were a man? ...Don't you suppose I know how much I've betrayed? The only bright encounter of my life - the only person I respected - the best business man I know - my ally - my partner in a desperate battle ...The lowest of all desires - as my answer to the highest I've met ...Do you know what I am? I thought of it, because it should have been unthinkable. For that degrading need, which would never touch you, I have never wanted anyone but you ...I hadn't known what it was like, to want it, until I saw you for the first time. I had thought : Not I, I couldn't be broken by it ...Since then ...For two years ...With not a moments respite ...Do you know what it's like, to want it? Would you wish to hear what I thought when I looked at you ...When I lay awake at night ...When I hear your voice over a telephone wire ...When I worked, but could not drive it away? ...To bring you down to things you cant conceive - and to know that it's I who have done it. To reduce you to a body, to teach you an animal's pleasure, to see you need it, to see you asking me for it, to see your wonderful spirit dependent on the upon the obscenity of your need. To watch you as you are, as you face the world with your clean, proud strength - then to see you, in my bed, submitting to any infamous whim I may devise, to any act which I'll preform for the sole purpose of watching your dishonor and to which you'll submit for the sake of an unspeakable sensation ...I want you - and may I be damned for it!
”
”
Ayn Rand
β€œ
In the name of the best within you, do not sacrifice this world to those who are at its worst. In the name of the values that keep you alive, do not let your vision of people be distorted by the ugly, the cowardly, the mindless in those who have never achieved integrity. Do not lose your knowledge that our proper estate is an upright posture, an intransigent mind and a step that travels unlimited roads. Do not let your fire go out, spark by irreplaceable spark, in the hopeless swamps of the approximate, the not-quite, the not-yet, the not-at-all. Do not let the hero in your soul perish, in lonely frustration for the life you deserved, but have never been able to reach. Check your road and the nature of your battle. The world you desired can be won, it exists, it is real, it's yours.
”
”
Ayn Rand
β€œ
Do you know the hallmark of a second rater? It's resentment of another man's achievement. Those touchy mediocrities who sit trembling lest someone's work prove greater than their own - they have no inkling of the loneliness that comes when you reach the top. The loneliness for an equal - for a mind to respect and an achievement to admire. They bare their teeth at you from out of their rat holes,thinking that you take pleasure in letting your brilliance dim them - while you'd give a year of my life to see a flicker of talent anywhere among them. They envy achievement, and their dream of greatness is a world where all men have become their acknowledged inferiors. They don't know that that dream is the infallible proof of mediocrity, because that sort of world is what the man of achievement would not be able to bear. They have no way of knowing what he feels when surrounded by inferiors - hatred? no, not hatred, but boredom - the terrible, hopeless, draining, paralyzing boredom. Of what account are praise and adulation from men whom you don't respect? Have you ever felt the longing for someone you could admire? For something, not to look down at, but up to?" "I've felt it all my life," she said.
”
”
Ayn Rand (Atlas Shrugged)
β€œ
I want you, Hank. I'm much more of an animal than you think. I wanted you from the first moment I saw you - and the only thing I'm ashamed of is that I did not know it. I did not know why, for two years, the brightest moments I found were the ones in your office, where I could lift my head to look up at you. I did not know the nature of what I felt in your presence, nor the reason. I know it now. That is all I want, Hank. I want you in my bed - and you are free of me for all the rest of your time. There's nothing you'll have to pretend - don't think of me, don't feel; don't care - I do not want your mind, your will, your being or your soul, so long as it's to me you will come for that lowest one of your desires. I am an animal who wants nothing but the sensation of pleasure which you despise - but I want it from you. You'd give up amy height of virtue for it , while I - I haven't any to give up. There's none I seek or wish to reach. I am so low that I would exchange the greatest sight of beauty in the world for the sight of your figure in the cab of a railroad engine. Amd seeing it, I would not be able to see it indifferently. You don't have to fear that you're now dependent on me. It's I who will depend on any whim of yours. You'll have me anytime you wish, anywhere, on any terms. Did you call it the obscenity of my talent? It's such that it gives you a safer hold on me than on any other property you own. You may dispose of me as you please - I'm not afraid to admit it - I have nothing to protect from you and nothing to reserve. You think that this is a threat to your achievement, but it is not to mine. I will sit at my desk, and work, and when the things around me get hard to bear, I will think that for my reward I will be in your bed that night. Did you call it depravity? I am much more depraved than you are: you hold it as your guilt, and I - as my pride. I'm more proud of it than anything I've done, more proud than of building the Line. If I'm asked to name my proudest attainment, I will say: I have slept with Hank Rearden. I had earned it.
”
”
Ayn Rand
β€œ
Productiveness is your acceptance of morality, your recognition of the fact that you choose to live--that productive work is the process by which man's consciousness controls his existence, a constant process of acquiring knowledge and shaping matter to fit one's purpose, of translating an idea into physical form, of remaking the earth in the image of one's values--that all work is creative work if done by a thinking mind, and no work is creative if done by a blank who repeats in uncritical stupor a routine he has learned from others--that your work is yours to choose, and the choice is as wide as your mind, that nothing more is possible to you and nothing less is human--that to cheat your way into a job bigger than your mind can handle is to become a fear-corroded ape on borrowed motions and borrowed time, and to settle down into a job that requires less than your mind's full capacity is to cut your motor and sentence yourself to another kind of motion: decay--that your work is the process of achieving your values, and to lose your ambition for values is to lose your ambition to live--that your body is a machine, but your mind is its driver, and you must drive as far as your mind will take you, with achievement as the goal of your road--that the man who has no purpose is a machine that coasts downhill at the mercy of any boulder to crash in the first chance ditch, that the man who stifles his mind is a stalled machine slowly going to rust, that the man who lets a leader prescribe his course is a wreck being towed to the scrap heap, and the man who makes another man his goal is a hitchhiker no driver should ever pick up--that your work is the purpose of your life, and you must speed past any killer who assumes the right to stop you, that any value you might find outside your work, any other loyalty or love, can be only travelers you choose to share your journey and must be travelers going on their own power in the same direction.
”
”
Ayn Rand (Atlas Shrugged)