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Ayn Rand Quotes

  • To know one’s own desires, their meaning and their costs requires the highest human virtue: rationality.
  • The mind leads, the emotions follow.
  • The verdict you pronounce upon the source of your livelihood is the verdict you pronounce upon your life.
  • “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.” —John Galt in ‘Atlas Shrugged’ by Ayn Rand
  • It stands to reason that where there’s sacrifice, there’s someone collecting sacrificial offerings. Where there’s service, there’s someone being served. The man who speaks to you of sacrifice, speaks of slaves and masters. And intends to be the master.
  • Force and mind are opposites; morality ends where the gun begins.
  • The right to agree with others is not a problem in any society; it is the right to disagree that is crucial. It is the institution of private property that protects and implements the right to disagree…
  • To fear to face an issue is to believe the worst is true.
  • To arrive at a contradiction is to confess an error in one’s thinking; to maintain a contradiction is to abdicate one’s mind and to evict oneself from the realm of reality.
  • The smallest minority on earth is the individual. Those who deny individual rights, cannot claim to be defenders of minorities.
  • There is a level of cowardice lower than that of the conformist: the fashionable non-conformist.
  • Man’s character is the product of his premises.
  • To rest one’s case on faith means to concede that reason is on the side of one’s enemies- that one has no rational arguments to offer.
  • The basic need of the creator is independence. The reasoning mind cannot work under any form of compulsion. It cannot be curbed, sacrificed or subordinated to any consideration whatsoever. It demands total independence in function and in motive. To a creator, all relations with men are secondary.
  • Even if smog were a risk to human life, we must remember that life in nature, without technology, is wholesale death.
  • The only purpose of education is to teach a student how to live his life-by developing his mind and equipping him to deal with reality. The training he needs is theoretical, i.e., conceptual. He has to be taught to think, to understand, to integrate, to prove. He has to be taught the essentials of the knowledge discovered in the past-and he has to be equipped to acquire further knowledge by his own effort.
  • 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.
  • Economic power is exercised by means of a positive, by offering men a reward, an incentive, a payment, a value; political power is exercised by means of a negative, by the threat of punishment, injury, imprisonment, destruction. The businessman’s tool is values; the bureaucrat’s tool is fear.
  • 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 never found beauty in longing for the impossible and never found the possible to be beyond my reach.
  • 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.
  • Every man builds his world in his own image; he has the power to choose, but no power to escape the necessity of choice. If he abdicates his power, he abdicates the status of man, and the grinding chaos of the irrational is what he achieves.
  • Morality is the judgment to distinguish right and wrong, vision to see the truth, courage to act upon it, dedication to that which is good, integrity to stand by the good at any price.
  • 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 it’s vision drown in the swamp of the moment’s torture.
  • 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 am, therefore I’ll think.
  • The world you desired can be won, it exists, it is real, it is possible, it’s yours. But to win it requires total dedication and a total break with the world of your past, with the doctrine that man is a sacrificial animal who exists for the pleasure of others. Fight for the value of your person. Fight for the virtue of your pride. Fight for the essence, which is man, for his sovereign rational mind. Fight with the radiant certainty and the absolute rectitude of knowing that yours is the morality of life and yours is the battle for any achievement, any value, any grandeur, any goodness, any joy that has ever existed on this earth.” — John Galt quote ending Ayn Rand’s last public speech (New Orleans Nov 1981)