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Rand quotes

“What do you want? Perfection?”
“—or nothing. So, you see, I take the nothing.”
“That doesn’t make sense.”
“I take the only desire one can really permit oneself. Freedom, Alvah, freedom.”
“You call that freedom?”
“To ask nothing. To expect nothing. To depend on nothing.”
“What if you found something you wanted?”
“I won’t find it. I won’t choose it. It would be part of that lovely world of yours. I’d have to share it with all the rest of you—and I wouldn’t. You know, I never open again any great book I’ve read and loved. It hurts me to think of the other eyes that have read it and of what they were. Things like that can’t be shared. Not with people like that.”
“Dominique, it’s abnormal to feel so strongly about anything.”
“That’s the only way I can feel. Or not at all.”

"He stopped. He shrugged and smiled- he was alive for a moment and it was the strangest smile she had ever seen: it held secret amusement, and heartbreak, and an infinite bitterness."
 
"He despised causeless affection, just as he despised unearned wealth. They professed to love him for some unknown reason and they ignored all the things for which he could wish to be loved."
 
"She took it as a regrettable accident, to be borne patiently for awhile, that she happened to be imprisoned among people who were dull."
 
"I like cigarettes... I like to think of fire held in a man's hand. Fire, a dangerous force, tamed at his fingertips."
 
"Joy is one's fuel."
"Independence is the only gauge of human virtue and value. What a man is and makes of himself; not what he has or hasn't done for others. There is no substitute for personal dignity. There is no standard of personal dignity except independence."
 
"The first right on earth is the right of the ego. Man's first duty is to himself."
 
"I do not recognize anyone's right to one minute of my life. Nor to any part of my energy. Nor to any achievement of mine. No matter who makes the claim, how large their number or how great their need."
 
"In what act or thought of his has there ever been a self? What was his aim in life? Greatness- in other people's eyes. Fame, admiration, envy- all that which comes from others...He didin't want to be great, but to be thought great."
 
"Money is only a means to some end. If a man wants it for a personal purpose- to invest in his industry, to create, to study, to travel, to enjoy luxury- he's completely moral. But the men who place money first go much beyond that. Personal luxury is a limited endeavor. What they want is ostentation: to show, to stun, to entertain, to impress others. They're second handers."
 
"Every form of happiness is private."
 
"If one doesn't respect oneself one can have neither love nor respect for others."
 
"I could die for you. But I couldn't and wouldn't live for you."
 
"Self-sacrifice, we drool, is the ultimate virtue. Let's stop and think for a moment. Is sacrifice a virtue? Can a man sacrifice his integrity? His honor? His freedom? His ideal? His convictions? The honesty of his feelings? The independence of his thought?"
 
"Self-sacrifice? But it is precisely the self that cannot and must not be sacrificed. It is the unsacrificed self that we must respect in man above all."
 
"It stands to reason that where there's sacrifice, there's someone collecting sacrificial offerings."
 
"A leash is only a rope with a noose at both ends."
 
"The egotist in the absolute sense is not the man who sacrifices others. He is the man who stands above the need of using others in any manner. He does not function through them...He does not exist for any other man- and he asks no other man to exist for him. This is the only form of brotherhood and mutual respect possible between men."
 
"In all proper relationships there is no sacrifice of anyone to anyone."
 
"Love is exception-making."
 
"I love you so much that nothing can matter to me- not even you... I've never really wanted anything. Not in the total, undivided way, not with the kind of desire that becomes an ultimatum, 'yes' or 'no,' and one can't accept the 'no' without ceasing to exist. That's what you are to me. But when one reaches that state, it's not the object that matters, it's the desire. Not you, but I. The ability to desire like that. Nothing less is worth feeling or honoring."
 
"If you want to know what it is, listen to the first phrases of Tchaikovsky's First Concerto- or the last movement of Rachmaninoff's Second. Men have not found the words for it nor the deed nor the thought, but they have found the music."
 
"Did you want to scream, when you were a child, seeing nothing but fat ineptitude around you, knowing how many things could be done and done so well, but having no power to do them? Having no power to blast the empty skulls around you? Haivng to take orders- and that's bad enough- but to take orders from your inferiors!"
 
"What you feel in the presence of a thing you admire is just one word- 'Yes.' The affirmation, the acceptance, the sign of admittance. And that 'Yes' is more than an answer to one thing, it's a kind of 'Amen' to life, to the earth that holds this thing, to the thought that created it, to yourself for being able to see it. But the ability to say 'Yes' or 'No' is the essence of all ownership. It's your ownership of your own ego. Your soul, if you wish. Your soul has a single basic function- the act of valuing. 'Yes' or 'No,' 'I wish' or 'I do no wish.' You can't say 'Yes' without saying 'I.'"
 
"I was thinking of people who say that happiness is impossible on earth. Look how hard they all try to find some joy in life. Why should any living creature exist in pain? By what conceivable right can anyone demand that a human being exist for anything but his own joy?"
 
"he wondered whether the peculiar solemnity of looking at the sky comes, not from what one contemplates, but from that uplift of one's head."
 
"I don't think a man can hurt another, not in any important way. Neither hurt him nor help him."
 
"To sell your soul is the easiest thing in the world. That's what everybody does every hour of his life."
 
"This was pity- this complete awareness of a man without worth or hope, this sense of finality, of the not to be redeemed. There was shame in this feeling- his own shame that he should have to pronounce such judgment upon a man, that he should know an emotion which contained no shred of respect. This is pity, he thought, and then he lifted his head in wonder. He thought that there must be something terribly wrong with a world in which this monstrous feeling is called a virtue."
 
"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. I mean, what we really want. As I wanted to marry you. Not as I want to sleep with some woman or get drunk or get my name in the papers. Those things- they're not even desires- they're things people do to escape from desires- because it's such a big responsibility, really to want something."
 
 
"The person who loves everybody and feels at home everywhere is the true hater of mankind. He expects nothing of men, so no form of depravity can outrage him."
 
"One can't love man without hating most of the creatures who pretend to bear his name."
 
"Love is reverence, and worship, and glory, and the upward glance. Not a bandage for dirty sores."
 
"Those who speak of love most promiscuously are the ones who've never felt it."
 
"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."
 
"She had seen people of wealth, stiff and awed before that which represented their ultimate goal. The splendor of this place was not the aim, not the final achievement of the man who leaned casually across the table."
 
"You've never felt how small you were when looking at the ocean." "Never. Nor looking at the planets. nor at mountain peaks. Nor at the Grand Canyon. Why should I? When I look at the ocean, I feel the greatness of man, I think of man's magnificent capacity that created this ship to conquer all that senseless space."
 
"Is it beauty and genius they want to see? Do thy seek a sense of the sublime? Let them come to New York, stand on the shore of the Hudson, look and kneel."
 
 
"Men hate passion, any great passion."
 
"Every loneliness is a pinnacle."
 
"Why did you decide to be an architect?" "I didin't know it then. But it's because I've never believed in God."
 
"I know you can't like me. You can't like anybody. So it would be kinder to acknowledge people's existence by hating them."
 
"the only desire one can really permit oneself. Freedom... to ask nothing. To expect nothing. To depend on nothing."
 
"You're too arrogant to boast."
 
"You're the coldest man I know.... I always feel, when I see you, that you're the most life-giving person I've ever met."
 
"When you see a man casting pearls without getting even a pork chop in return- it is not  against the swine that you feel indignation. It is against the man who valued his pearls so little that he was willing to fling them into the muck and to let them become the occasion for a whole concert of grunting..."
 
"Ask anything of men. Ask them to achieve wealth, fame, love, brutality, murder, self-sacrifice. But don't ask them to achieve self-respect. They will hate your soul."
 
"I realize fully that at this moment I am as futile as Howard Roark. This is my Stoddard Temple- my first and my last."
 
"I can accept anything, except what seems to be the easiest for most people: the halfway, the almost, the just-about, the in-between."
 
"I will have destroyed myself first. That's the only gesture of protest open to me. What else could I offer you? The things people sacrifice are so little... .I'll refuse  to permit myself happiness in their world. I'll take suffering. That will be my answer to them, and my gift to you. I shall probably never see you again. I shall try not to. But I will live for you, through every minute and every shameful act I take, I will live for you in my own way, in the only way I can."
 
"You could ask, why not kill myself then. Because I love you. Because you exist. That alone is so much that it won't allow me to die. And since I must be alive in order to know that you are, I will live in the world as it is, in the manner of life it demands. Not halfway, but completely. Not pleading and runing from it, but walking out to meet it, beating it to the pain and the ugliness, being first to choose the worst it can do to me."
 
"I love you... As selfishly as the fact that I exist. As selfishly as my lungs breathe air. I breathe for my own necessity, for the fuel of my body, for my survival. I've given you, not my sacrifice or my pity, but my ego and my naked need. This is the only way you can wish to be loved. This is the only way I can want you to love me. If you married me now, I would become your whole existence. But I would not want you then. You would not want yourself- and so you would not love me long. To say 'I love you' one must know first how to say the 'I.'"
 
"A battle is never selfless."
 
"You'll win, because you've chosen the hardest way of fighting for your freedom from the world."
 
"One of these days you'll bore me." "I' shall endeavor not to do so until the right time."
 
"It's said that the worst thing one can do to a man is to kill his self-respect. But that's not true. Self-respect is something that can't be killed. The worst thing is to kill a man's pretense at it."
 
"I don't want you to suffer- I can't feel anything else- but I feel that much."
 
"A quest for self-respect is proof of its lack."
 
"No happy person can be quite so impervious to pain."
 
 
I do not recognize anyone's right to one minute of my life.
 

It's the hardest thing in the world--to do what we want.

 

To say "I love you" one must first be able to say the "I."

 
"Never ask people. Not about your work. Don't you know what you want? How can you stand it, not to know?"
 
"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."
"But I don't think of you."

"why do they always teach us that it's easy and evil to do what we want? It's the hardest thing in the world-to do what we want.what we really want. As I wanted to marry you. Not as I want to sleep with some woman or get drunk or get my name in the papers. Those things-they're not even desires-they're things people do to escape from desires-because it's such a big responsibility, really to want something."
 
"One day a reporter felt sorry for him and, walking down the stairs, threw a nickel into Wynand's lap saying: 'Go buy yourself a bowl of stew, kid.'  Wynand had a dime left in his pocket.  He took the dime and threw it at the reporter, saying: 'Go buy yourself a screw.' "
"When I listen to a symphony I love, I don't get from it what the composer got.  His 'Yes' was different from mine.  He could have no concern for mine and no exact conception of it.  That answer is too personal to each man.  But in giving himself what he wanted, he gave me a great experience."
"When I listen to a symphony I love, I don't get from it what the composer got.  His 'Yes' was different from mine.  He could have no concern for mine and no exact conception of it.  That answer is too personal to each man.  But in giving himself what he wanted, he gave me a great experience."
 

"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."

"But money is only a tool. It will take you wherever you wish, but it will not replace you as the driver. It will give you the means for the satisfaction of your desires, but it will not provide you with desires."
 
"men had always thought of wealth as a static quantityto be seized, begged, inherited, shared, looted of obtained as a favor. Americans were the first to understand that wealth has to be created. The words 'to make money' hold the essence of human morality. "

 

To love is to value.  Only a rationally selfish man, a man of self-esteem, is capable of love - because he is the only man capable of holding firm, consistent, uncompromising, unbetrayed values.  The man who does not value himself, cannot value anything or anyone

 

Men who feel guilty for being rich will not be rich for long

 

The worst guilt is to accept an unearned guilt.

 

Love is the expression of one's values, the greatest reward you can earn for the moral qualities you have achieved in your character and person, the emotional price paid by one man for the joy he receives from the virtues of another.

 

The question isn't who is going to let me; it's who is going to stop me.

 

Wealth is the product of man's capacity to think.

 

Happiness is a state of non-contradictory joy ... Happiness is possible only to a rational man, the man who desires nothing but rational goals, seeks nothing but rational values and finds his joy in nothing but rational actions.

 

Pity for the guilty is treason to the innocent.

 

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.

 

The greatest virtue of all: The ability to make money

 

A man who damns money has obtained it dishonorably; a man who respects it has earned it.

 

That something happened to you is of no importance to anyone, not even to you. The important thing about you is what you choose to make happen - your values and choices. That which happened by accident - what family you were born into, in what country, and where you went to school - is totally unimportant


A desire presupposes the possibility of action to achieve it; action presupposes a goal which is worth achieving.

 

Since time immemorial and pre-industrial, 'greed' has been the accusation hurled at the rich by the concrete-bound illiterates who were unable to conceive of the source of wealth or of the motivation of those who produce it.

 

No one's happiness but my own is in my power to achieve or to destroy.

 

Happiness is that state of consciousness which proceeds from the achievement of one's values.

"Surely you've seen through that particular stupidity. I mean the one that claims the pig is the symbol of love for humanity--the creature that accepts anything. As a matter of fact, the person who loves everybody and feels at home everywhere is the true hater of mankind. He expects nothing of men, so no form of depravity can outrage him." "When facing society, the man most concerned, the man who is to do the most and contribute the most, has the least say. It's taken for granted that he has no voice and the reasons he could offer are rejected in advance as prejudiced--since no speech is ever considered, but only the speaker. It's so much easier to pass judgement on a man than on an idea. Though how in hell one passes judgement on a man without considering the content of his brain is more than I'll ever understand. However, that's how it's done. You see, reasons require scales to weigh them. And scales are not made of cotton. And cotton is what the human spirit is made of--you know, the stuff that keeps no shape and offers no resistance and can be twisted forward and backward and into a pretzel. You could tell them why they should hire you so very much better than I could. But they won't listen to you and they'll listen to me. Because I'm the middleman. The shortest distance between two points is not a straight line--it's a middleman. And the more middlemen, the shorter. Such is the psychology of a pretzel." "You know how people long to be eternal. But they die with every day that passes. When you meet them, they're not what you met last. In any given hour, they kill some part of themselves. They change, they deny, they contradict--and they call it growth. At the end there's nothing left, nothing unreversed or unbetrayed; as if there had never been an entity, only a succession of adjectives fading in and out on an unformed mass. How do they expect a permanence which they have never held for a single moment?" "It was an air of inanities uttered as revelations and insolently demanding acceptance as such; an air, not of innocent presumption, but of conscious effrontary; as if the author knew the nature of his work and boasted of his power to make it appear sublime in the minds of his audience and thus destroy the capacity for the sublime within them. The work justified the verdict of its sponsors: it brought laughs, it was amusing; it was an indecent joke, acted out not on the stage but in the audience. It was a pedestal from which a god had been torn, and in his place there stood, not Satan with a sword, but a corner lout sipping a bottle of Coca-Cola." "It was a contest without time, a struggle of two abstractions, the thing that had created the building against the things that made the play possible--two forces that had fought since the world began--and every religion had known of them--and there had always been a God and a Devil--only men had been so mistaken about the shapes of their Devil--he was not single and big, he was many and smutty and small." "I like to see a man standing at the foot of a skyscraper. It makes him no bigger than an ant--isn't that the correct bromide for the occasion? The God-damn fools! It's man who made it--the whole incredible mass of stone and steel. It doesn't dwarf him, it makes him greater than the structure. It reveals his true dimensions to the world." "Most people build as they live--as a matter of routine and senseless accident. But a few understand that building is a great symbol. We live in our minds, and existence is the attempt to bring that life into physical reality, to state it in gesture and form. For the man who understands this, a house he owns is a statement of his life."



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