Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Quotations From "Anthem" By Ayn Rand

by Ayn Rand
ISBN 0-451-19113-7

Dr. Tom Stevens has taken selected quotations from this book for reference here. To enable you to research the context of each quotation, page numbers have been provided. These quotations do not necessarily reflect the ideas of Dr. Tom Stevens or the Objectivist Party.

We have come to see how great is the unexplored, and many lifetimes will not bring us to the end of our quest. But we wish no end to our quest. We wish nothing, save to be alone and to learn, and to feel as if with each day our sight were growing sharper than the hawk's and clearer than rock crystal. (pg. 36)

We are glad to be living. If this is a vice, then we wish no virtue. (pg. 47)

The secrets of this earth are not for all men to see, but only for those who will seek them. (pg. 52)

So much is still to be learned! So long a road lies before us, and what care we if we must travel it alone! (pg. 54)

We knelt by the stream and we bent down to drink. And then we stopped. For, upon the blue of the sky below us, we saw our own face for the first time. We sat still and we held our breath. For our face and our body were beautiful. Our face was not like the faces of our brothers, for we felt no pity when looking upon it. Our body was not like the bodies of our brothers, for our limbs were straight and thin and hard and strong. And we thought that we could trust this being who looked upon us from the stream, and that we had nothing to fear with this being. (pg. 80)

Your eyes are as a flame, but our brothers have neither hope nor fire. Your mouth is cut of granite, but our brothers are soft and humble. Your head is high, but our brothers cringe. You walk, but our brothers crawl. We wish to be damned with you, rather than blessed with all our brothers. (pg. 83)

I am. I think. I will. (pg. 94)

My hands. My spirit. My sky. My forest. This earth of mine. What must I say besides? These are the words. This is the answer. I stand here on the summit of the mountain. I lift my head and I spread my arms. This, my body and spirit, this is the end of my quest. I wished to know the meaning of things. I am the meaning. I wished to find a warrant for being. I need no warrant for being, and no word of sanction upon my being. I am the warrant and the sanction. (pg. 94)

It is my eyes which see, and the sight of my eyes grants beauty to the earth. It is my ears which hear, and the hearing of my ears give song to the world. It is my mind which thinks, and the judgment of my mind is the only searchlight that can find the truth. It is my will which chooses, and the choice of my will is the only edict I must respect. (pg. 94)

Many words have been granted me, and some are wise, and some are false, but only three are holy: "I will it!" (pgs. 94-95)

Whatever road I take, the guiding star is within me; the guiding star and the lodestone which point the way. They point in but one direction. They point to me. (pg. 95)

I know not if this earth on which I stand is the core of the universe or if it is but a speck of dust lost in eternity. I know not and I care not. For I know what happiness is possible to me on earth. And my happiness needs no higher aim to vindicate it. My happiness is not the means to any end. It is the end. It is its own goal. It is its own purpose. Neither am I the means to any end others may wish to accomplish. I am not a tool for their use. I am not a servant of their needs. I am not a bandage for their wounds. I am not a sacrifice on their altars. (pg. 95)

I am a man. This miracle of me is mine to own and keep, and mine to guard, and mine to use, and mine to kneel before! (pg. 95)

I do not surrender my treasures, nor do I share them. The fortune of my spirit is not to be blown into coins of brass and flung to the winds as alms for the poor of the spirit. I guard my treasures: my thought, my will, my freedom. And the greatest of these is freedom. (pgs. 95-96)

I owe nothing to my brothers, nor do I gather debts from them. I ask none to live for me, nor do I live for any others. I covet no man's soul, nor is my soul theirs to covet. (pg. 96)

I am neither foe nor friend to my brothers, but such as each of them shall deserve of me. And to earn my love, my brothers must do more than to have been born. I do not grant my love without reason, nor to any chance passer-by who may wish to claim it. I honor men with my love. But honor is a thing to be earned. (pg. 96)

I shall choose my friends among men, but neither slaves nor masters. And I shall choose only such as please me, and them I shall love and respect, but neither command nor obey. And we shall join our hands when we wish, or walk alone when we so desire. For in the temple of his spirit, each man is alone. Let each man keep his temple untouched and undefiled. Then let him join hands with others if he wishes, but only beyond his holy threshold. (pg. 96)

For the word "We" must never be spoken, save by one's choice and as a second thought. This word must never be placed first within man's soul, else it becomes a monster, the root of all the evils on earth, the root of man's torture by men, and of an unspeakable lie. The word "We" is as lime poured over men, which sets and hardens to stone, and crushes all beneath it, and that which is white and that which is black are lost equally in the grey of it. It is the word by which the depraved steal the virtue of the good, by which the weak steal the might of the strong, by which the fools steal the wisdom of the sages. What is my joy if all hands, even the unclean, can reach into it? What is my wisdom, if even fools can dictate to me? What is my freedom, if all creatures, even the botched and the impotent, are my masters? What is my life, if I am but to bow, to agree and to obey? But I am done with this creed of corruption. I am done with the monster of "We," the word of serfdom, of plunder, of misery, falsehood and shame. (pgs. 96-97)

And now I see the face of god, and I raise this god over the earth, this god whom men have sought since men came into being, this god who will grant them joy and peace and pride. This god, this one word: "I." (pg. 97)

Our son will be raised as a man. He will be taught to say "I" and to bear the pride of it. He will be taught to walk straight and on his own feet. He will be taught reverence for his own spirit. (pg. 100)

I shall call to me all the men and the women whose spirit has not been killed within them and who suffer under the yoke of their brothers. They will follow me and I shall lead them to my fortress. And here, in this unchartered wilderness, I and they, my chosen friends, my fellow-builders, shall write the first chapter in the new history of man. (pg. 101)

At first, man was enslaved by the gods. But he broke their chains. Then he was enslaved by the kings. But he broke their chains. He was enslaved by his birth, by his kin, by his race. But he broke their chains. He declared to all his brothers that a man has rights which neither god nor king nor other men can take away from him, no matter what their number, for his is the right of man, and there is no right on earth above this right. And he stood on the threshold of the freedom for which the blood of the centuries behind him had been spilled. (pgs. 101-102)

Through all the darkness, through all the shame of which men are capable, the spirit of man will remain alive on this earth. It may sleep, but it will awaken. It may wear chains, but it will break through. And man will go on. Man, not men. (pg. 104)

Here, on this mountain, I and my sons and my chosen friends shall build our new land and our fort. And it will become as the heart of the earth, lost and hidden at first, but beating , beating louder every day. And word of it will reach every corner of the earth. And the roads of the world will become as veins which will carry the best of the world's blood to my threshold. And all my brothers, and the Councils of my brothers, will hear of it, but they will be impotent against me. And the day will come when I shall break all the chains of the earth, and raze the cities of the enslaved, and my home will become the capital of a world where each man will be free to exist for his own sake. For the coming of that day shall I fight, I and my sons and my chosen friends. For the freedom of Man. For his rights. For his life. For his honor. And here, over the portals of my fort, I shall cut in the stone the word which is to be my beacon and my banner. The word which will not die, should we all perish in battle. The word which can never die on this earth, for it is the heart of it and the meaning and the glory. The sacred word: EGO. (pgs. 104-105)

NOTE ON THE WORD "EGO" IN THE INTRODUCTION BY LEONARD PEIKOFF: Ayn Rand's working title for this short novel was Ego. "I used the word in its exact, literal meaning," she wrote to one correspondent. "I did not mean a symbol of the self – but specifically and actually Man's Self." Man's self, Ayn Rand held, is his mind or conceptual faculty, the faculty of reason. All man's spiritually distinctive attributes derive from this faculty. For instance, it is reason (man's value judgments) that leads to man's emotions. And it is reason which possesses volition, the ability to make choices. But reason is a property of the individual. There is no such thing as a collective brain. The term ego combines the above points into a single concept: it designates the mind (and its attributes) considered as an individual possession. The ego, therefore, is that which constitutes the essential identity of a human being. As one dictionary puts it, the ego is "the I" or self of any person; (it is) a person as thinking, feeling, and willing, and distinguishing itself from the selves of others and from the objects of its thought. It is obvious why Ayn Rand exalts man's ego. In doing so, she is (implicitly) upholding the central principles of her philosophy and of her heroes: reason, values, volition, individualism. Her villains, by contrast, do not think, judge, and will; they are second-handers, who allow themselves to be run by others. Having renounced their minds, they are, in a literal sense, self-less.

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