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Saturday, August 8, 2015

Quotes from Ayn Rand's The Fountainhead

1. “Who will let you? That’s not the point. The point is who will stop me.”

2. “…But you see, I have, let’s say, sixty years to live. Most of that time will be spent working. I’ve chosen the work I want to do. If I find no joy in it, then I’m only condemning myself to sixty years of torture. And I can find the joy only if I do my work in the best way possible to me. But the best is a matter of standards—and I set my own standards.”

3.“Listen to what is being preached today. Look at everyone around us. You’ve wondered why they suffer, why they seek happiness and never find it. If any man stopped and asked himself whether he’s ever held a truly personal desire, he’d find the answer. He’d see that all his wishes, his efforts, his dreams, his ambitions are motivated by other men. He’s not really struggling even for material wealth, but for the second-hander’s delusion – prestige. A stamp of approval, not his own. He can find no joy in the struggle and no joy when he has succeeded. He can’t say about a single thing: ‘This is what I wanted because I wanted it, not because it made my neighbors gape at me’. Then he wonders why he’s unhappy.”

4. “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?”

5. “During his first week at school the teacher called on Gail Wynand constantly – it was sheer pleasure to her, because he always knew the answers. When he trusted his superiors and their purpose, he obeyed like a Spartan…But the force of his will was wasted: within a week he saw that he needed no effort to be first in the class. After a month the teacher stopped noticing his presence; it seemed pointless, he always knew his lesson and she had to concentrate on the slower, duller children. He sat, unflinching, through hours that dragged like chains, while the teacher repeated and chewed and rechewed, sweating to force some spark of intellect from vacant eyes and mumbling voices.”

6. “Throughout the centuries there were men who took first steps down new roads armed with nothing but their own vision. Their goals differed, but they all had this in common: that the step was first, the road new, the vision unborrowed, and the response they received—hatred. The great creators—the thinkers, the artists, the scientists, the inventors—stood alone against the men of their time. Every great new thought was opposed. Every great new invention was denounced. The first motor was considered foolish. The airplane was considered impossible. The power loom was considered vicious. Anesthesia was considered sinful. But the men of unborrowed vision went ahead. They fought, they suffered and they paid. But they won.”

7. “But Keating could never be the same when he had an audience, any audience. Something was gone. He did not know it, but he felt Roark knew; Roark’s eyes made him uncomfortable and that made him angry.”

8. “Henry Cameron: Why did you’d decide to become an architect?
Howard Roark: I didn’t know it then. But it’s because I’ve never believed in God.
Henry Cameron: Come on, talk sense.
Howard Roark: Because I love this earth. That’s all I love. I don’t like the shape of things on this earth. I want to change them.
Henry Cameron: For whom?
Howard Roark: For myself.”

9. “Rules? Here are my rules: what can be done with one substance must never be done with another. No two materials are alike. No two sites on earth are alike. No two buildings have the same purpose. The purpose, the site, the material determine the shape. Nothing can be reasonable or beautiful unless it’s made by one central idea, and the idea sets every detail. A building is alive, like a man. Its integrity is to follow its own truth, its one single theme, and to serve its own single purpose.”

10. “I could die for you. But I couldn’t, and wouldn’t, live for you.”

11. “It’s easy to run to others. It’s so hard to stand on one’s own record. You can fake virtue for an audience. You can’t fake it in your own eyes. Your ego is your strictest judge. They run from it. They spend their lives running. It’s easier to donate a few thousand to charity and think oneself noble than to base self-respect on personal standards of personal achievement. It’s simple to seek substitutes for competence–such easy substitutes: love, charm, kindness, charity. But there is no substitute for competence.”

12. “He tried to explain and to convince. He knew, while he spoke, that it was useless, because his words sounded if they were hitting a vacuum. There was no such person as Mrs. Wayne Wilmot; there was only a shell containing the opinions of her friends. the picture post cards she had seen, the novels of country squires she had read; it was this that he had to address, this immateriality which could not hear him or answer, deaf and impersonal like a wad of cotton.”

13. “Mrs. Sanborn was the president of many charity organizations and this had given her an addiction to autocracy such as no other avocation could develop.”

14. “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? And then people tell me about pilgrimages to some dank pesthole in a jungle where they go to do homage to a crumbling temple, to a leering stone monster with a pot belly, created by some leprous savage. Is it beauty and genius they want to see? Do they seek a sense of the sublime? Let them come to New York, stand on the shore of the Hudson, look and kneel. When I see the city from my window – no, I don’t feel how small I am – but I feel that if a war came to threaten this, I would throw myself into space, over the city, and protect these buildings with my body.”

15. “As a matter of fact, the person who loves everybody and feels at home everywhere is the true hater of mankind….I mean the person who has the filthy insolence to claim that he loves equally the man who made that statue of you and the man who makes a Mickey Mouse balloon to sell on the street corners.”

16. Peter: “Well, I don’t know why I should come to you, but — Howard, I’ve never said it before, but you see, I’d rather have your opinion on things than the Dean’s — I’d probably follow the Dean’s, but it’s just that yours means more to me myself, I don’t know why.

Howard: If you want my advice, Peter, you’ve made a mistake already. By asking me. By asking anyone. Never ask people. Not about your work. Don’t you know what you want? How can you stand it, not to know? How can you let others decide for you?”

17. “He wondered whether he really liked his mother. But she was his mother and this fact was recognized by everybody as meaning automatically that he loved her, and so he took for granted that whatever he felt for her was love. He did not know whether there was any reason why he should respect her judgement. She was his mother and that was supposed to take the place of reasons.“

18. “It doesn’t say much. Only ‘Howard Roark, Architect.” But it’s like those mottos men carved over the entrance of a castle and died for. It’s a challenge in the face of something so vast and so dark, that all the pain on earth — and do you know how much suffering there is on earth? — all the pain comes from that thing you are going to face…I know that if you carry these words through to the end, it will be a victory, Howard, not just for you, but for something that should win, that moves the world — and that never wins acknowledgement.”

19. Toohey: “Mr. Roark, we’re alone here. Why don’t you tell me what you think of me? IN any words you wish. Nobody will ever hear us.

Howard: But I don’t think of you.”

20. “It’s doing something horrible to me. I’m beginning to hate people, Uncle Ellsworth. I’m beginning to be cruel and mean and petty in a way I’ve never been before. I expect people to be grateful to me. I…I demand gratitude. I find myself pleased when slum people bow and scrape and fawn over me. I find myself liking only those who are servile.”

21. “The Temple was to be a small building of gray limestone. Its lines were horizontal, n to the lines reaching to heaven, but the lines of the earth. It seemed to spread over the ground like arms outstretched at shoulder-height, palms down, in great, silent acceptance. It did not cling to the soil and it did not crouch under the sky. It seemed to lift the earth, and its few vertical shafts pulled the sky down. It was scaled to human high in such a manner that it did not dwarf man, but stood as a setting that made his figure the only absolute, the gauge of perfection by which all dimensions were to be judged. When a man entered the temple, he would feel space molded around him, for him, as if it had waited for his entrance, to be completed. It was a joyous place, with the joy of exhalation that must be quiet. It was a place where one would come to feel sinless and strong, to find peace of spirit never granted save by one’s own glory.”

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