My favorite Ayn Rand Quote from Atlas Shrugged

“Did it ever occur to you, Miss Taggart, that there is no conflict of interests among men, neither in business nor in trade, nor in their most personal desires – if they omit the irrational from their view of the possible and destruction from their view of the practical? There is no conflict and no call for sacrifice, and no man is a threat to the aims of another – if men understand that reality is an absolute not to be faked, that lies do not work, that the unearned cannot be had, that the undeserved cannot be given, that the destruction of a value which is, will not bring value to that which isn’t. The businessman who wishes to gain a market by throttling a superior competitor, a worker who wants a share of his employers wealth, the artist who envies a rival’s higher talent – they are all wishing facts out of existence, and destruction is the only means of their wish. If they pursue it, they will not achieve a market, a fortune or an immortal fame – They will merely destroy production, employment and art. A wish for the irrational is not to be achieved, whether the sacrificial victims are willing or not. But men will not cease to desire the impossible and will not lose their longing to destroy – so long as self destruction and self sacrifice are preached to them as the practical means of achieving the happiness of the recipients” – Ayn Rand as John Galt in Atlas Shrugged.

Read the most important part once again : “If men understand that reality is an absolute not to be faked, that lies do not work, that the unearned cannot be had, that the undeserved cannot be given, that the destruction of a value which is, will not bring value to that which isn’t”

Excellent analysis. But the author believes in idealism which according to me is non-existent and the same points are repeated again and again and again and again – to the extent of irritating you (Especially after Mr. John Galt comes in).

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26 Replies to “My favorite Ayn Rand Quote from Atlas Shrugged”

  1. Do you remember in 11th and 12th we did physics problem with Friction = 0? only in engineering we started calculating the friction and then subtracting it. Some what like that, I read fountain head first and obviously romanticized about Howard Roark, then read "Atlas Shrugged" and started following "John Galt", what I have realized though real life it good to be Francisco to survive. I started believe in realistic idealism.

    1. I find all the characters equally good. Francisco is powerful but even Dagny and Hank Rearden were all creators…. with sound business principles. And yes, I am not sure about what friction you are talking about… 🙂 I used to omit all the numerical problems in physics and still managed to pass engineering!!

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  2. I have to be totally honest here….I never finished Atlas Shrugged and it is still on my shelf awaiting me. Thanks for the inspiration to get going!

  3. Hi. I just found your site through Molly's Destination the Journey.

    Once upon a time I read both Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead and was somewhat enamored by them. But now I regard reading Ayn Rand like fishing for food in a really dirty pond. Yeah, you mighgt find something of worth there, but you have to wade through a lot of garbage to get to it. I just don't have that kind of time anymore. 🙂

    I would suggest that anyone who wants to read Ayn Rand firsy Google her philosophy of "Objectivism" and read up on it. See what you think of it. It permeates everything she writes.

    I think it's crap. 🙂

    Sorry to be such a downer on my first ever comment here. I swear I'm not usually like that (Ask Molly 🙂 But Ayn Rand touches a bit of a nerve. She's by no means harmless or benign. I think if her philosophy were widespread it would be very destructive.

    I'll try to be much more positive next time.

    Peace to you all

    1. I like frank comments on my site (WordPress users are quite the social-networking types and try their best to leave a good looking comment. I write the same stuff in Blogspot also, and there I get frank comments – Just my observation). I request people to be as frank as the above writer when it comes to commenting. Even though the views are totally opposite to the ones presented in the post.

      But as far as this comment is concerned, I agree with you partially 🙂

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  4. hahahahha ya well idealism is a dream,but then whats wrong in dreaming,if we don't dream of an Utopian society ,so will the future not be able to,thus giving the others an opportunity say we are at an end and no means are there future in our world…

    1. The dilemma which you present, has been raging in my mind for more than a decade. And I am not able to find a solution to it. That's one of the reasons that I blog. To know other people's views on major questions.

      Destination Infinity

  5. I hold this book as a stupendous (if somewhat imperious) philosophical-literary work. However, The Fountainhead is a far better work of art, IMO. I believe in most of Rand's philosophy. People can't rebut her points on basic levels, and usually use logical feints and shadow boxing moves to appear to be amking major assaults on Objectivism.

    1. I certainly agree with you that The Fountainhead is the better work of art. It was actually a coherent enjoyable read, if still thoroughly infused with objectivism. I certainly don't agree with you about objectivism. 😉

      I find it interesting that iy's difficult to find a serious philosopher these days who will take objectivism seriously. I think there's a reason for that.

      Nuff said.

  6. important part is also towards the end that men will long for distruction unless and until self distruction + selfsacrifice messaging / brainwashing will stop. About self sacrificing is such an intersting point. usually people see it like heavy. but there is a component of dignity very high in it that should instead be remarked and pointed out.

  7. It is interesting to analyze the fallacy or advantages of self sacrifice as a virtue. There are certain advantages of it also, instead of being selfish always as advocated by the book.

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  8. it is interesting to know people do differ with RAND"S Principles and her Philosophy but i suggest you should read her non fiction books to correlate and identify yourself and your stand on reality.But for sure it will make you naked and face the reality and if imbibed it will change your way of life altogether and finally you will find the real meaning of happiness and who you are.

  9. Hmm…looks like I belong to that different club you mention. I second mathavanan – check out her non-fiction.

    Your conclusion is like watching The Dark Knight or Spiderman and saying the director believes in idealism. This is a work of art in the Romantic Fiction genre!

    1. I am reading a lot of non-fiction these days, and strangely I had classified Atlas Shrugged as Non Fiction! The idea is, though she has used fiction, it is only to make a point, which I think she essentially believes in. It is a good idea to read her non fiction works also.

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      1. Dear DI (sorry for the abbreviation), I will quote your response to the earlier comment above: "I don’t differ with her principles, but think that they are too idealistic to be true!"

        Remember that James Taggart and Wesley Mouch are as real as you can get! Don't you think these characters are real? Just look around you, and you'll see countless real-life examples of many characters in AS.

        If you think characters like Eddie Willers are too good to be true, there are millions of examples in real life, like myself.

        If you think characters of the heroes like Rearden and Francisco are unreal, need I cite real-life examples? Yes, they are idealized, romaticized heroes, but that is the point of Romantic Literature. Do you come out of watching a Bond or Rambo film saying that character is too idealized? No, and that is the true nature of art of Romanticism.

        Let me also say – I'm extremely delighted and happy that you've read AS – the second most influential book in the history of mankind – and that you're transparently and honestly sharing about it. I respect and admire that and kudos to you! 🙂

  10. Loved reading the comments. You never told me about this post, Rajesh. Now don’t go on and on about how somehow the good posts will be found and that you don’t indulge in propaganda.

    Joy always,
    Susan

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