100 Enlightening Quotes By Ayn Rand, The Author Of Atlas Shrugged
Author, Screenwriter, Playwright, Developer of a philosophical system named by her as Objectivism
Ayn Rand was a Russia born American author, philosopher, playwright and intellectual. She was educated in Petrograd State University in Russia and studied history, but her passion was in literature which she pursued with great zeal. Rand arrived in the Unites States in 1925 but initially she worked as an extra in Hollywood in order to support herself while she worked on her writing and in 1934 she had her first big break with the screenplay of the film ‘Red Pawn’. However, her most important contribution to the world of literature has to be the philosophy of objectivism that placed the human being and human will above anything else. Her most famous novel ‘The Fountainhead’, published in 1943, tackled the subject at length and is regarded as one of the most influen-tial novels ever written in the English language. She followed it up with her second masterpiece ‘Atlas Shrugged’ in 1957 that explored the ideals of objectivity with even more depth. Rand is without doubt one of the most revered thinkers and philosophers of the 20th century and here are some of the finest quotes from her life and work.
The question isn't who is going to let me; it's who is going to stop me. If you don't know, the thing to do is not to get scared, but to learn. Learn to value yourself, which means: fight for your happiness. I could die for you. But I couldn't, and wouldn't, live for you. Freedom (n.): To ask nothing. To expect nothing. To depend on nothing. A creative man is motivated by the desire to achieve, not by the desire to beat others. To say "I love you" one must know first how to say the "I". 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. The smallest minority on earth is the individual. Those who deny individual rights cannot claim to be defenders of minorities. 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. The hardest thing to explain is the glaringly evident which everybody has decided not to see. The man who does not value himself, cannot value anything or anyone. 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. 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. 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. My happiness is not the means to any end. It is the end. It is its own goal. It is its own purpose. The truth is not for all men but only for those who seek it. 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. Never think of pain or danger or enemies a moment longer than is necessary to fight them. 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. 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. 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? She did not know the nature of her loneliness. The only words that named it were: This is not the world I expected. If it's worth doing, it's worth overdoing. You have been the one encounter in my life that can never be repeated 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. I never found beauty in longing for the impossible and never found the possible to be beyond my reach. I love you so much that nothing can matter to me - not even you...Only my love- not your answer. Not even your indifference I worship individuals for their highest possibilities as individuals and I loathe humanity for its failure to live up to these possibilities. The purpose of morality is to teach you, not to suffer and die, but to enjoy yourself and live. I think, therefore I'll think. 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. But why should you care what people will say? All you have to do is please yourself. 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. 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. 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. Live and act within the limit of your knowledge and keep expanding it to the limit of your life. Integrity is the ability to stand by an idea. Patience is always rewarded and romance is always round the corner! There is no such thing as a lousy job - only lousy men who don't care to do it. If one's actions are honest, one does not need the predated confidence of others. 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. Rationalization is a process of not perceiving reality, but of attempting to make reality fit one’s emotions. Have you ever felt the longing for someone you could admire? For something, not to look down at, but up to? Money is only a tool. It will take you wherever you wish, but it will not replace you as the driver. She knew that even pain can be confessed, but to confess happiness is to stand naked, delivered to the witness... What is man? He's just a collection of chemicals with delusions of grandeur. But I don't think of you.
(Howard Roark) 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. It is not death that we wish to avoid, but life that we wish to live. Men who reject the responsibility of thought and reason can only exist as parasites on the thinking of others. Self-sacrifice? But it is precisely the self that cannot and must not be sacrificed. Self respect is something that can't be killed. The worst thing is to kill a man's pretense at it. In this world, either you're virtuous or you enjoy yourself. Not both, lady, not both. 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. One loses everything when one loses one's sense of humor. 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. Within the extent of your knowledge, you are right. He liked to observe emotions; they were like red lanterns strung along the dark unknown of another's personality, marking vulnerable points. Reason is not automatic. Those who deny it cannot be conquered by it. Do not count on them. Leave them alone. Power-lust is a weed that grows only in the vacant lots of an abandoned mind. 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. Art is a selective re-creation of reality according to an artists metaphysical value judgments. But you see, the measure of hell you're able to endure is the measure of your love. She thought how strange it would be if she ever said 'Hello' to him. One did not greet oneself each morning. Never ask people about your work. The most depraved type of human being ... (is) the man without a purpose. It is not advisable to venture unsolicited opinions. You should spare yourself the embarrassing discovery of their exact value to your listener. Is it advisable to spread out all the conveniences of culture before people to whom a few steps up a stair to a library is a sufficient deterrent from reading? I don't wish to be the symbol of anything. I'm only myself. The man who damns money has obtained it dishonorably; the man who respects it has earned it. Money will not purchase happiness for the man who has no concept of what he wants. When I die I hope to go to heaven--whatever that is--and I want to be able to afford the price of admission. It was the greatest sensation of existence: not to trust but to know. Achieving life is not the equivalent of avoiding death. A viler evil than to murder a man, is to sell him suicide as an act of virtue. For the first time since her return, she felt pain, a violent pain, but it made her feel alive, because it was worth feeling. There are two sides to every issue: one side is right and the other is wrong, but the middle is always evil. Every form of happiness is private. Our greatest moments are personal, self-motivated, not to be touched". If one doesn't respect oneself one can have neither love nor respect for others. But there are people who'll try to hurt you through the good they see in you--knowing that it's the good, needing it and punishing you for it. Don't let it break you when you discover that. The worst guilt is to accept an unearned guilt. Don't think. Believe. Trust your heart, not your brain. Don't think. Feel. Believe. In a free society, one does not have to deal with those who are irrational. One is free to avoid them. Civilization is the process of setting man free from men. No speech is ever considered, but only the speaker. It's so much easier to pass judgement on a man than on an idea. A rational man never distorts or corrupts his own standards and judgment in order to appeal to the irrationality, stupidity, or dishonesty of others. People want nothing but mirrors around them. To reflect them while they’re reflecting too ... Reflections of reflections and echoes of echoes. No beginning and no end. No center and no purpose. Toohey: "Mr. Roark, we're alone here. Why don't you tell me what you think of me? In any words you wish. No one will hear us."
Roark: "But I don't think of you. Worry is a waste of emotional reserve".
The more you learn, the more you know that you know nothing.
Man is the only living species that has the power to act as his own destroyer - and that is the way he has acted through most of his history.
Every man is free to rise as far as he's able or willing, but the degree to which he thinks determines the degree to which he'll rise.
The secrets of this earth are not for all men to see, but only for those who will seek them (pg. 52).
Guilt is a rope that wears thin.
Do it first and feel about it afterwards.' - Dagny Taggart I came here to say that I do not recognize anyone's right to one minute of my life.