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The Virtue of Selfishness

Ayn Rand

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Abbreviated quote from p76:

"The greatest pleasure one can offer oneself is pride - the pleasure one takes in one's own achievements and in the creation of one's own character. The pleasure one takes in the character and achievements of another person is that of admiration. The highest expression of the most intense union of these two responses -pride and admiration- is romantic love. Its celebration is sex."

Selected quotes:
"Only rationally selfish man, a man of self-esteem, is capable of love - because he is the only man capable of holding firm, consistent, uncompromissing, unbetrayed values."

"Like any other value, ... love is an unlimited response to be earned."

"Among the emotion-driven, neither love nor any other emotion has any meaning."

"Emotions are not tools of cognition."

"The most exclusive form -romantic love- is not an issue of competition."

"Happiness is a state of non-contradictory joy ... Happiness is possible only to a rational man, the man who desires nothing but rational goals, seeks nothing but rational values and finds his joy in nothing but rational actions."

"thinking is not an automatic function... Man is free to think or evade that effort. Thinking requires a state of full focused awareness. The act of focusing one's conciousness is volitional. Man can focus his mind to a full, active, purposefully directed awareness of reality - or he can unfocus it and let himself drift in a semiconscious daze, merely reacting to any chance stimulus of the immediate moment, at the mercy of his undirected sensory-perceptual mechanism of any random, associational connections it might happen to make."

"Psychologically, the choice "to think or not" is the choice "to focus or not." Existentially, the choice "to focus or not" is the choice "to be conscious or not." Metaphysically, the choice "to be conscious or not" is the choice of live or death."

"that one must never permit oneself contradictions"

"If a man desires and pursues contradictions ... he disintegrates his conciousness (which incidentally, is the inner state of most people today)."

"In a free society, one does not have to deal with those who are irrational. One is free to avoid them. In a non-free society, no pursuit of any interest is possible to anyone; nothing is possible but gradual and general destruction."

"When I say "capitalism," I mean a full, pure, uncontrolled, unregulated laissez-faire capitalism - with a separation of state and economics, in the same way and for the same reasons as the separation of state and church. A pure system of capitalism has never yet existed, not even in America; various degrees of government control had been undercutting and distorting it from the start. Capitalism is not the system of the past; it is the system of the future - if mankind is to have a future."

p104: "Rome fell, bankrupted by statist controls and taxation, while its emperors were building coliseums. Louis XIV of France taxed his people into a state of indigence, while he built the palace of Versailles, for his contemporary monarchs to envy and for modern tourits to visit."

p106: "Whoever claims the "right" to "redistribute" the wealth produced by others is claiming the "right" to treat human beings as chattels."


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