Literary Quotations
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AYN RAND QUOTES


Atlas Shrugged (1957)

I am, therefore I'll think.

An inventor is a man who asks 'Why?' of the universe and lets nothing stand between the answer and his mind.

Existence exists—and the act of grasping that statement implies two corollary axioms: that something exists which one perceives and that one exists possessing consciousness, consciousness being the faculty of perceiving that which exists.

Force and mind are opposites; morality ends where the gun begins.

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

You seek escape from pain. We seek the achievement of happiness. You exist for the sake of avoiding punishment. We exist for the sake of earning rewards. Threats will not make us function; fear is not our incentive. It is not death that we wish to avoid, but life that we wish to live.

Existence is Identity, Consciousness is Identification.

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

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.

All work is an act of philosophy.

Honest people are never touchy about the matter of being trusted.

For centuries, the battle of morality was fought between those who claimed that your life belongs to God and those who claimed that it belongs to your neighbors--between those who preached that the good is self-sacrifice for the sake of ghosts in heaven and those who preached that the good is self-sacrifice for the sake of incompetents on earth. And no one came to say that your life belongs to you and that the good is to live it.

So you think that money is the root of all evil? Have you ever asked what is the root of money? Money is a tool of exchange, which can't exist unless there are goods produced and men able to produce them. Money is the material shape of the principle that men who wish to deal with one another must deal by trade and give value for value. Money is not the tool of the moochers, who claim your product by tears or of the looters, who take it from you by force. Money is made possible only by the men who produce. Is this what you consider evil?

Guilt is a rope that wears thin.

Rationality is the recognition of the fact that nothing can alter the truth and nothing can take precedence over that act of perceiving it.

The good, say the mystics of spirit, is God, a being whose only definition is that he is beyond man's power to conceive--a definition that invalidates man's consciousness and nullifies his concepts of existence. Man's mind, say the mystics of spirit, must be subordinated to the will of God. Man's standard of value, say the mystics of spirit, is the pleasure of God, whose standards are beyond man's power of comprehension and must be accepted on faith. The purpose of man's life is to become an abject zombie who serves a purpose he does not know, for reasons he is not to question.

Love is our response to our highest values.

If you ask me to name the proudest distinction of Americans, I would choose- because it contains all the others- the fact that they were the people who created the phrase to make money. No other language or nation had ever used these words before; men had always thought of wealth as a static quantity- to be seized, begged, inherited, shared, looted or obtained as a favor. Americans were the first to understand that wealth has to be created.

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.

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.

Pride is the recognition of the fact that you are your own highest value and, like all of man’s values, it has to be earned.

That which you call your soul or spirit is your consciousness, and that which you call 'free will' is your mind's freedom to think or not, the only will you have, your only freedom, the choice that controls all the choices you make and determines your life and your character.

It is not advisable, James, to venture unsolicited opinions. You should spare yourself the embarrassing discovery of their exact value to your listener.

The evil of the world is made possible by nothing but the sanction you give it.

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