Quotes by Ayn Rand (Page 3 of 3)
When men abandon reason, physical force becomes their only means of dealing with one another and of settling disagreements.
All the reasons which made the initiation of physical force evil, make the retaliatory use of physical force a moral imperative.
Man's rights can be violated only by the use of physical force. It is only by means of physical force that one man can deprive another of his life, or enslave him, or rob him, or prevent him from pursuing his own goals, or compel him to act against his own rational judgment.
What is a demanding pleasure that demands the use of ones mind! Not in the sense of problem solving, but in the sense of exercising discrimination, judgment, awareness.
Altruism is a moral system which holds that man has no right to exist for his own sake, that service to others is the sole justification of his existence, and that self-sacrifice is his highest moral duty, value and virtue. This is the moral base of collectivism, of all dictatorships.
The end does not justify the means. No one's rights can be secured by the violation of the rights of others.
No man can have a right to impose an unchosen obligation , an unrewarded duty or an involuntary servitude on another man. There can be no such thing as the right to enslave .
We the Living is not a novel 'about Soviet Russia.' It is a novel about Man against the State. Its basic theme is the sanctity of human life -- using the word 'sanctity' not in a mystical sense, but in the sense of 'supreme value.'
It is impossible to be consumed by a single passion without knowing its nature, no matter what rationalizations one constructs to hide it from oneself.
It is true that the welfare-statists are not socialists, that they never advocated or intended the socialization of private property, that they want to 'preserve' private property-with government control of its use and disposal. But that is the fundamental characteristic of fascism.
Whether you know the shape of a pebble or the structure of a solar system, the anxioms remain the same: that it exists and that you know it.
He stepped to the window and pointed to the skyscrapers of the city. He said that we had to extinguish the lights of the world, and when we would see the lights of New York go out, we would know that our job was done.
Altruism does not mean mere kindness or generosity, but the sacrifice of the best among men to the worst, the sacrifice of virtues to flaws, of ability to incompetence, of progress to stagnation-and the subordinating of all life and of all values to the claims of anyone's suffering.
To preserve one's mind intact through a modern college education is a test of courage and endurance, but the battle is worth it and the stakes are the highest possible to man: the survival of reason.
The political function of 'the right of free speech' is to protect dissenters and unpopular minorities from forcible suppression -- not to guarantee them the support, advantages, and rewards of a popularity they have not gained.
I am not primarily an advocate of capitalism, but of egoism; I am not primarily an advocate of egoism, but of reason. If one recognizes the supremacy of reason and applies it consistently, all the rest follows.
Your emotional capacity is an empty motor, and your values are the fuel with which your mind fills it. If you choose a mix of contradictions, it will clog your motor, corrode your transmission and wreck you on your first attempt to move with a machine which you, the driver, have corrupted.
The social system based on and consonant with the altruist morality-with the code of self-sacrifice- is socialism, in all or any of its variants: fascism, Nazism, communism. All of them treat man as a sacrificial animal to be immolated for the benefit of the group, the tribe, the society, the state.
The meaning ascribed in popular usage to the word 'selfishness' is not merely wrong: it represents a devastating intellectual 'package-deal,' which is responsible, more than any other single factor, for the arrested moral development of mankind.
The fight we are in here, make no mistake about it, is a fight of individualism versus collectivism.
It meant nothing to him any longer, only a faint tinge of sadness -- and somewhere within him, a drop of pain moving briefly and vanishing, like a raindrop on the glass of a window, its course in the shape of a question mark.
I can't compete and when I do, the rules of engagement change in the middle of the game. I'll let the powers that be vanquish themselves and return in three to five years to sift through the remains.
A 'whim' is a desire experienced by a person who does not know and does not care to discover its cause.
If an uncompromising stand is to be smeared as 'extremism,' then that smear is directed at any devotion to values, any loyalty to principles, any profound conviction, any consistency, any steadfastness, any passion, any dedication to an unbreached, inviolate truth -- any man of integrity.
I write -- and read -- for the sake of the story... My basic test for any story is: 'Would I want to meet these characters and observe these events in real life? Is this story an experience worth living through for its own sake? Is the pleasure of contemplating these characters an end itself?
While, politically, a mixed economy preserves the semblance of an organized society with a semblance of law and order, economically it is the equivalent of the chaos that had ruled China for centuries: a chaos of robber gangs looting-and draining-the productive elements of the country.
The man without a purpose is a man who drifts at the mercy of random feelings or unidentified urges and is capable of any evil, because he is totally out of control of his own life. In order to be in control of your life, you have to have a purpose-a productive purpose.
If that which we have found is the corruption of solitude, then what can men wish for save corruption? If this is the great evil of being alone, than what is good and what is evil?
You will follow me, if we are what we are, you and I, if we live, if the world exists, if you know the meaning of this moment and can't let it slip by, as others let it slip, into the senselessness of the unwilled and unreached.
What is kinder -- to believe the best of people and burden them with a nobility beyond their endurance -- or to see them as they are, and accept it because it makes them comfortable?
We are on strike, we, the men of the mind.
We are on strike against self-immolation. We are on strike against the creed of unearned rewards and unrewarded duties. We are on strike against the dogma that the pursuit of one's happiness is evil. We are on strike against the doctrine that life is guilt.
In the many months of his absence, she never wondered whether he was true to her or not; she knew he was. She knew, even though she was too young to know the reason, that indiscriminate desire and unselective indulgence were possible only to those who regarded sex and themselves as evil.
Have you ever felt the longing for someone you could admire? For something, not to look down at, but up to?
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.
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.
I do not seek the good of others as a sanction for my right to exist, nor do I recognize the good of others as a justification for their seizure of my property or their destruction of my life.
Statism needs war; a free country does not. Statism survives by looting; a free country survives by producing.
When you force a man to act against his own choice and judgment, it's his thinking that you want him to suspend.
Men have died in torture chambers, on the stake, in concentration camps, in front of firing squads, rather than renounce their convictions. The appeaser renounces his under the pressure of a frown on a vacant face.
You love people, not for what you do for them or what they do for you. You love them for their values; their virtues.
Rationality is the recognition of the fact that nothing can alter the truth and nothing can take precedence over that act of perceiving it.
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.
A rational man is guided by his thinking -- by a process of Reason -- not by his feelings and desires.
Love is not self-sacrifice, but the most profound assertion of your own needs and values. It is for your own happiness that you need the person you love, and that is the greatest compliment, the greatest tribute you can pay to that person.
My philosophy, in essence, is the concept of man as a heroic being, with his own happiness as the moral purpose of his life, with productive achievement as his noblest activity, and reason as his only absolute.
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.
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.
I know what I want up to the age of two hundred. Know what you want in life and go after it. I worship individuals for their highest possibilities as individuals, and I loathe humanity, for its failure to live up to these possibilities.
Let us throw away our candles and our torches. Let us flood the cities with light. Let us bring a new light to men!
A gracefully effortless floating, flowing and flying are the essentials of the ballet's image of man.
The dance is the silent partner of music and participates in a division of labor: music presents a stylized version of man's consciousness in action--the dance presents a stylized version of man's body in action.
They talked about nothing in particular, sentences that had meaning only in the sound of the voices, in warm gaiety, in the ease of complete relaxation.
Every honest man lives for himself. Every man worth calling a man lives for himself. The one who doesn't -- doesn't live at all.
I do not think that tragedy is our natural fate and I do not live in chronic dread of disaster. It is no happiness, but suffering that I consider unnatural. It is not success, but calamity that I regard as the abnormal exception in Human Life.
Do not let the hero in your soul perish in lonely frustration for the life you deserved and have never been able to reach.
Politically, the goal of today's dominant trend is statism. Philosophically, the goal is the obliteration of reason; psychologically, it is the erosion of ambition.
The spread of evil is the symptom of a vacuum. Whenever evil wins, it is only by default: by the moral failure of those who evade the fact that there can be no compromise on basic principles.
In a free society, one does not have to deal with those who are irrational. One is free to avoid them.
A rational mind does not work under compulsion; it does not subordinate its grasp of reality to anyone's orders, directives, or controls; it does not sacrifice its knowledge, its view of the truth, to anyone's opinions, threats, wishes, plans.
The difference between animals and humans is that animals change themselves for the environment, but humans change the environment for themselves.
He seemed as graciously at home as in the best restaurants of the city; his elegance had an odd quality here--it did not insult the place, but seemed to transform it, like the presence of a king who never alters his manner, yet makes a palace of any house he enters.
Civilization is the progress toward a society of privacy.
Civilization is the progress toward a society of privacy. The savage's whole existence is public, ruled by the laws of his tribe. Civilization is the process of setting man free from men.
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.
By that time, a village half-wit could see what generations of professors had pretended not to notice.
I think that when in doubt about the truth of an issue, it's safer and in better taste to select the least numerous of the adversaries.
When intellectual leaders fail to foster the best in the mixed, unformed, vacillating character of people at large, the thugs are sure to bring out the worst. When the ablest men turn into cowards, the average men turn into brutes.
The first right on earth is the right of the ego. Man's first duty is to himself. His moral law is never to place his prime goal within the persons of others. His moral obligation is to do what he wishes, provided his wish does not depend primarily upon other men.
It is a policeman's duty to retrieve stolen property and return it to its owners. But when robbery becomes the purpose of the law, and the policeman's duty becomes, not protection, but the plunder of property -- then it is an outlaw who has to become a policeman.
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.
The skyline of New York is a monument of a splendour that no pyramids or palaces will ever equal or approach.
I would give the greatest sunset in the world for one sight of New York's skyline.
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?
Only a man of integrity can possess the virtue of honesty, since only the faking of one's consciousness can permit the faking of existence.
Thousands of years ago the first man discovered how to make fire. He was probably burnt at the stake he'd taught his brothers to light, but he left them a gift they had not conceived and he lifted darkness from the face of the Earth.
The ' pleasure' of being drunk is obviously the pleasure of escaping from the responsibility of Consciousness.
Men who reject the responsibility of thought and reason can only exist as parasites on the thinking of others.
Man needs knowledge in order to survive, and only reason can achieve it; men who reject the responsibility of thought and reason, can exist only as parasites on the thinking of others.
There is no difference between communism and socialism, except in the means of achieving the same ultimate end: communism proposes to enslave men by force, socialism -- by vote. It is merely the difference between murder and suicide.
Until and unless you discover that money is the root of all good, you ask for your own destruction. When money ceases to become the means by which men deal with one another, then men become the tools of other men. Blood, whips and guns -- or dollars. Take your choice -- there is no other.
Integrity is the recognition of the fact that you cannot fake your consciousness, just as honesty is the recognition of the fact that you cannot fake existence.
A man's spirit is his self. That entity which is his consciousness. To think, to feel, to judge, to act are functions of the ego.
Let no man posture as an advocate of peace if he proposes or supports any social system that initiates the use of force against individual men, in any form.
Serenity comes from the ability to say Yes to existence. Courage comes from the ability to say No to the wrong choices made by others.
The first society in history whose leaders were neither Attilas nor Witch Doctors, a society led, dominated and created by the Producers, was the United States of America.
Everyone has the right to make his own decisions, but none has the right to force his decision on others.
When you see corruption being rewarded and honesty becoming a self-sacrifice, you may know that your society is doomed.
Government help to business is just as disastrous as government persecution... the only way a government can be of service to national prosperity is by keeping its hands off.
Only the man who does not need it, is fit to inherit wealth, the man who would make his fortune no matter where he started.
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.
Contradictions do not exist. Whenever you think you are facing a contradiction, check your premises. You will find that one of them is wrong.
Rights are not a matter of numbers -- and there can be no such thing, in law or in morality, as actions forbidden to an individual, but permitted to a mob.
Potentially, 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.
It only stands to reason that where there's sacrifice, there's someone collecting the sacrificial offerings. Where there's service, there is someone being served. The man who speaks to you of sacrifice is speaking of slaves and masters, and intends to be the master.
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.
Reason is not automatic. Those who deny it cannot be conquered by it. Do not count on them. Leave them alone.
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.
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.
There are two sides to every issue: one side is right and the other is wrong, but the middle is always evil.
We are fast approaching the stage of the ultimate inversion: the stage where the government is free to do anything it pleases, while the citizens may act only by permission; which is the stage of the darkest periods of human history, the stage of rule by brute force.
Throughout the centuries there were men who took first steps, down new roads, armed with nothing but their own vision.
Individual rights are not subject to a public vote; a majority has no right to vote away the rights of a minority; the political function of rights is precisely to protect minorities from oppression by majorities (and the smallest minority on earth is the individual).
Quotes by Ayn Rand are featured in:
You Yourself Quotes