Best 276 quotes in «atlas shrugged quotes» category

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    Isn’t it wonderful that our bodies can give us so much pleasure?” he said to her once, quite simply. They were happy and radiantly innocent. They were both incapable of the conception that joy is sin.

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    It does take an exceptional mind and a still more exceptional integrity to remain untouched by the brain-destroying influences of the world’s doctrines, the accumulated evil of centuries—to remain human, since the human is the rational.

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    It is here, it exists—but one must enter it naked and alone, with no rags from the falsehoods of centuries, with the purest clarity of mind—not an innocent heart, but that which is much rarer: an intransigent mind—as one’s only possession and key.

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    It is not proper for man’s life to be a circle, she thought, or a string of circles dropping off like zeros behind him—man’s life must be a straight line of motion from goal to farther goal, each leading to the next and to a single growing sum.

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    It is only in the realm of pure science that truth is an absolute criterion. When we deal with applied science, with technology—we deal with people. And when we deal with people, considerations other than truth enter the question.

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    ...it seemed to her that it was not a look of greeting after an absence, but the look of someone who had thought of her every day of that year.

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    It’s the person who would sell his soul for a nickel, who is loudest in proclaiming his hatred of money—and he has good reason to hate it. The lovers of money are willing to work for it. They know they are able to deserve it.

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    It was a sudden, stunned state of quiet drunkenness, complete in itself, their hair mingled like the rays of two bodies in space that had achieved their meeting, she saw that he walked with his eyes closed, as if even sight would now be an intrusion.

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    It was as if he were a single whole, grasped by her first glance at him, like some irreducible absolute, like an axiom not to be explained any further, as if she knew everything about him by direct perception, and what awaited her now was only the process of identifying her knowledge.

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    It was as if a volcano were cracking open, yet the people at the foot of the mountain ignored the sudden fissures, the black fumes, the boiling trickles, and went on believing that their only danger was to acknowledge the reality of these signs.

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    It was his self-esteem she had sought to destroy, knowing that a man who surrenders his value is at the mercy of anyone’s will; it was his moral purity she had struggled to breach, it was his confident rectitude she had wanted to shatter by means of the poison of guilt—as if, were he to collapse, his depravity would give her a right to hers.

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    ...it was the security of being first, with full sight and full knowledge of one’s course—not the blind sense of being pulled into the unknown by some unknown power ahead. It was the greatest sensation of existence: not to trust, but to know.

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    ...it was not the mockery of malice—it was the laughter of a salute.

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    It was the smile of a man who is able to see, to know and to create the glory of existence. It was the mocking, challenging smile of a brilliant intelligence.

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    It was the only lie she ever told. She did not do it to protect Francisco; she did it because she felt, for some reason which she could not define, that the incident was a secret too precious to share.

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    It was new to feel protected, and to feel that it was right to accept the protection, to surrender - right, because this peculiar sense of safety was...not the protection of being spared from battle, but of having won it, not a protection granted to her weakness, but to her strength....

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    I’ve always been short on time in my life, never on what to use it for.

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    Logic is the art of non-contradictory identification. A contradiction cannot exist. No concept man forms is valid unless he integrates it without contradiction into the total sum of his knowledge. 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

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    I want you to observe...that those who cry the loudest about their disillusionment, about the failure of virtue, the futility of reason, the impotence of logic—are those who have achieved the full, exact, logical result of the ideas they preached, so mercilessly logical that they dare not identify it.

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    I will not help you to pretend that I have a chance. I will not help you to preserve an appearance of righteousness where rights are not recognized. I will not help you to preserve an appearance of rationality by entering a debate in which a gun is the final argument. I will not help you to pretend that you are administering justice.

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    Life is a process of self-sustaining and self-generated action. If an organism fails in that action, it dies...It is only the concept of ‘Life’ that makes the concept of 'Value’ possible. It is only to a living entity that things can be good or evil.

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    Logic rests on the axiom that existence exists. Logic is the art of non-contradictory identification.

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    John, the self-made man, self-made in every sense, out of nowhere, penniless, parentless, tie-less...but I’ve always thought of him as if he had come into the world like Minerva, the goddess of wisdom, who sprang forth from Jupiter’s head, fully grown and fully armed.

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    Life...had been defined as motion; man’s life was purposeful motion; what was the state of a being to whom purpose and motion were denied, a being held in chains but left to breathe and to see all the magnificence of the possibilities he could have reached, left to scream “Why?” and to be shown the muzzle of a gun as sole explanation?

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    Man, whose tool of survival is the mind, does not merely fail to teach a child to think, but devotes the child’s education to the purpose of destroying his brain, of convincing him that thought is futile and evil, before he has started to think.

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    Man cannot survive except by gaining knowledge, and reason is his only means to gain it. Reason is the faculty that perceives, identifies and integrates the material provided by his senses. The task of his senses is to give him the evidence of existence, but the task of identifying it belongs to his reason, his senses tell him only that something is, but what it is must be learned by his mind.

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    Love is our response to our highest values-and can be nothing else.

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    Man has no automatic code of survival. His particular distinction from all other living species is the necessity to act in the face of alternatives by means of volitional choice. He has no automatic knowledge of what is good for him or evil, what values his life depends on, what course of action it requires...Man must obtain his knowledge and choose his actions by a process of thinking, which nature will not force him to perform.

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    Man has the power to act as his own destroyer—and that is the way he has acted through most of his history.

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    Man’s life, as required by his nature, is not the life of a mindless brute, of a looting thug or a mooching mystic, but the life of a thinking being—not life by means of force or fraud, but life by means of achievement—not survival at any price, since there’s only one price that pays for man’s survival: reason.

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    Man’s life is the standard of morality, but your own life is its purpose . If existence on earth is your goal, you must choose your actions and values by the standard of that which is proper to man—for the purpose of preserving, fulfilling and enjoying the irreplaceable value which is your life.

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    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?

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    Money is a living power that dies without its root. Money will not serve the mind that cannot match it. Is this the reason why you call it evil?

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    Money permits no deals except those to mutual benefit by the unforced judgment of the traders. Money demands of you the recognition that men must work for their own benefit, not for their own injury, for their gain, not their loss—the recognition that they are not beasts of burden, born to carry the weight of your misery—that you must offer them values, not wounds—that the common bond among men is not the exchange of suffering, but the exchange of goods.

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    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.

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    Money is your means of survival. The verdict you pronounce upon the source of your livelihood is the verdict you pronounce upon your life. If the source is corrupt, you have damned your own existence.

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    Money demands that you sell, not your weakness to men’s stupidity, but your talent to their reason; it demands that you buy, not the shoddiest they offer, but the best that your money can find. And when men live by trade—with reason, not force, as their final arbiter—it is the best product that wins, the best performance, the man of best judgment and highest ability—and the degree of a man’s productiveness is the degree of his reward. This is the code of existence whose tool and symbol is money. Is this what you consider evil?

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    Money will always remain an effect and refuse to replace you as the cause. Money is the product of virtue, but it will not give you virtue and it will not redeem your vices. Money will not give you the unearned, neither in matter nor in spirit. Is this the root of your hatred of money?

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    Money will not purchase happiness for the man who has no concept of what he wants: money will not give him a code of values, if he’s evaded the knowledge of what to value, and it will not provide him with a purpose, if he’s evaded the choice of what to seek. Money will not buy intelligence for the fool, or admiration for the coward, or respect for the incompetent.

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    Neither life nor happiness can be achieved by the pursuit of irrational whims. Just as man is free to attempt to survive in any random manner, but will perish unless he lives as his nature requires, so he is free to seek his happiness in any mindless fraud, but the torture of frustration is all he will find, unless he seeks the happiness proper to man. The purpose of morality is to teach you, not to suffer and die, but to enjoy yourself and live.

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    Rationality is the recognition of the fact that existence exists, that nothing can alter the truth and nothing can take precedence over that act of perceiving it, which is thinking—that the mind is one’s only judge of values and one’s only guide of action—that reason is an absolute that permits no compromise—that a concession to the irrational invalidates one’s consciousness and turns it from the task of perceiving to the task of faking reality—that the alleged short-cut to knowledge, which is faith, is only a short-circuit destroying the mind—that the acceptance of a mystical invention is a wish for the annihilation of existence and, properly, annihilates one’s consciousness.

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    No battle was hard, no decision was dangerous where there was no soggy uncertainty, no shapeless evasion to encounter.

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    Nobody stays in this valley except by a full, conscious choice based on a full, conscious knowledge of every fact involved in his decision. Nobody stays here by faking reality in any manner whatever.

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    No, justice has not ceased to exist. How could it? It is possible for men to abandon their sight of it, and then it is justice that destroys them. But it is not possible for justice to go out of existence, because one is an attribute of the other, because justice is the act of acknowledging that which exists.

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    No matter what corruption he’s taught about the virtue of selflessness, sex is the most profoundly selfish of all acts, an act which he cannot perform for any motive but his own enjoyment—just try to think of performing it in a spirit of selfless charity?-an act which is not possible in self-abasement, only in self-exaltation, only in the confidence of being desired and being worthy of desire. It is an act that forces him to stand naked in spirit, as well as in body, and to accept his real ego as his standard of value.

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    Nothing can justify injustice.

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    No, you do not have to live as a man; it is an act of moral choice. But you cannot live as anything else—and the alternative is that state of living death which you now see within you and around you, the state of a thing unfit for existence, no longer human and less than animal, a thing that knows nothing but pain and drags itself through its span of years in the agony of unthinking self-destruction.

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    Observe the ugly mess which most men make of their sex lives—and observe the mess of contradictions which they hold as their moral philosophy.

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    Only the man who does not need it, is fit to inherit wealth—the man who would make his own fortune no matter where he started. If an heir is equal to his money, it serves him; if not, it destroys him. But you look on and you cry that money corrupted him. Did it? Or did he corrupt his money?

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    Reality is that which exists; the unreal does not exist; the unreal is merely that negation of existence which is the content of a human consciousness when it attempts to abandon reason. Truth is the recognition of reality; reason, man’s only means of knowledge, is his only standard of truth.