100 (Controversial) Ayn Rand Quotes
Ayn Rand, born Alisa Zinov’yevna Rosenbaum (1905 – 1982) was a controversial Russian-American novelist, philosopher, playwright, and screenwriter. She completed her education in Russia and moved to the United States in 1926. After two early novels that were initially unsuccessful, she achieved fame with her 1943 novel, The Fountainhead. In 1957, Rand published her best-known work, the novel Atlas Shrugged. Afterward, she turned to non-fiction to promote her philosophy, publishing her own periodicals and releasing several collections of essays until her death in 1982.
Ayn Rand is known for developing a philosophical system she called Objectivism. Rand advocated reason as the only means of acquiring knowledge and rejected faith and religion. She supported rational and ethical egoism and rejected altruism. In politics, she condemned the initiation of force as immoral and opposed collectivism and statism as well as anarchism, instead supporting laissez-faire capitalism, which she defined as the system based on recognizing individual rights, including property rights. In art, Rand promoted romantic realism. She was critical of most philosophers and philosophical traditions known to her, except for Aristotle, Thomas Aquinas, and classical liberals. Literary critics received Rand’s fiction with mixed reviews and academia generally ignored or rejected her philosophy, though academic interest has increased in recent decades. The Objectivist movement attempts to spread her ideas and quotes, both to the public and in academic settings.
Ayn Rand Short Quotes
- I am. I think. I will.
- The world you desire can be won.
- I think, therefore I’ll think.
- Freedom (n.): To ask nothing. To expect nothing. To depend on nothing.
- If it’s worth doing, it’s worth overdoing.
- Worry is a waste of emotional reserve.
- Civilization is the process of setting man free from men.
- Never ask people about your work.
- Integrity is the ability to stand by an idea.
- Money is only a tool. It will take you wherever you wish, but it will not replace you as the driver.
- It is not death that we wish to avoid, but life that we wish to live.
- The secrets of this earth are not for all men to see, but only for those who will seek them.
- One loses everything when one loses one’s sense of humor.
- The more you learn, the more you know that you know nothing. Within the extent of your knowledge, you are right.
- Money will not purchase happiness for the man who has no concept of what he wants.
- Don’t think. Believe. Trust your heart, not your brain. Don’t think. Feel. Believe.
Ayn Rand Inspiring Quotes
- Learn to value yourself, which means: fight for your happiness.
- I started my life with a single absolute: that the world was mine to shape in the image of my highest values and never to be given up to a lesser standard, no matter how long or hard the struggle.
- The question isn’t who is going to let me; it’s who is going to stop me.
- Achievement of your happiness is the only moral purpose of your life, and that happiness, not pain or mindless self-indulgence, is the proof of your moral integrity, since it is the proof and the result of your loyalty to the achievement of your values.
- Live and act within the limit of your knowledge and keep expanding it to the limit of your life.
- Ask yourself whether the dream of heaven and greatness should be left waiting for us in our graves-or whether it should be ours here and now and on this earth.
- Never think of pain or danger or enemies a moment longer than is necessary to fight them.
- A rational man never distorts or corrupts his own standards and judgment in order to appeal to the irrationality, stupidity, or dishonesty of others.
- What greater wealth is there than to own your life and to spend it on growing? Every living thing must grow. It can’t stand still. It must grow or perish.
- But there are people who’ll try to hurt you through the good they see in you ― knowing that it’s the good, needing it and punishing you for it. Don’t let it break you when you discover that.
- I don’t wish to be the symbol of anything. I’m only myself.
- Self-sacrifice? But it is precisely the self that cannot and must not be sacrificed.
- We are on strike against self-immolation. We are on strike against the creed of unearned rewards and unrewarded duties. We are on strike against the dogma that the pursuit of one’s happiness is evil. We are on strike against the doctrine that life is guilt.
- If you don’t know, the thing to do is not to get scared, but to learn.
- The truth is not for all men but only for those who seek it.
- It’s not that I don’t suffer, it’s that I know the unimportance of suffering. I know that pain is to be fought and thrown aside, not to be accepted as part of one’s soul and as a permanent scar across one’s view of existence.
- But why should you care what people will say? All you have to do is please yourself.
- I never found beauty in longing for the impossible and never found the possible to be beyond my reach.
- People create their own questions because they are afraid to look straight. All you have to do is look straight and see the road, and when you see it, don’t sit looking at it – walk.
- It is not advisable to venture unsolicited opinions. You should spare yourself the embarrassing discovery of their exact value to your listener.
- You have been called selfish for the courage of acting on your own judgement and bearing sole responsibility for your own life. You have been called arrogant for your independent mind. You have been called cruel for your unyielding integrity. You have been called anti social for the vision that made you venture upon undiscovered roads.
- If one’s actions are honest, one does not need the predated confidence of others.
- Self respect is something that can’t be killed. The worst thing is to kill a man’s pretense at it.
- Well, I always know what I want. And when you know what you want ― you go toward it. Sometimes you go very fast, and sometimes only an inch a year. Perhaps you feel happier when you go fast. I don’t know. I’ve forgotten the difference long ago, because it really doesn’t matter, so long as you move.
- I take no pride in hopeless longing; I wouldn’t hold a stillborn aspiration. I’d want to have it, to make it, to live it.
- What is morality, she asked. Judgement to distinguish right and wrong, vision to see the truth, and courage to act upon it, dedication to that which is good, integrity to stand by the good at any price.
Insightful Quotes by Ayn Rand
- Power-lust is a weed that grows only in the vacant lots of an abandoned mind.
- If one doesn’t respect oneself one can have neither love nor respect for others.
- Why do they always teach us that it’s easy and evil to do what we want and that we need discipline to restrain ourselves? It’s the hardest thing in the world ― to do what we want. And it takes the greatest kind of courage. I mean, what we really want.
- The hardest thing to explain is the glaringly evident which everybody has decided not to see.
- Reason is not automatic. Those who deny it cannot be conquered by it. Do not count on them. Leave them alone.
- 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?
- A creative man is motivated by the desire to achieve, not by the desire to beat others.
- The most depraved type of human being is the man without a purpose.
- Rationalization is a process of not perceiving reality, but of attempting to make reality fit one’s emotions.
- There’s nothing as significant as a human face. Nor as eloquent. We can never really know another person, except by our first glance at him. Because, in that glance, we know everything. Even though we’re not always wise enough to unravel the knowledge.
- I worship individuals for their highest possibilities as individuals and I loathe humanity for its failure to live up to these possibilities.
- Achieving life is not the equivalent of avoiding death.
- Let me give you a tip on a clue to men’s characters: the man who damns money has obtained it dishonorably; the man who respects it has earned it.
- The purpose of morality is to teach you, not to suffer and die, but to enjoy yourself and live.
- She knew that even pain can be confessed, but to confess happiness is to stand naked, delivered to the witness.
- Every form of happiness is private. Our greatest moments are personal, self-motivated, not to be touched.
- The measure of hell you’re able to endure is the measure of your love.
Ayn Rand Cynical Quotes
- I could die for you. But I couldn’t, and wouldn’t, live for you.
- The man who does not value himself, cannot value anything or anyone.
- A government is the most dangerous threat to man’s rights: it holds a legal monopoly on the use of physical force against legally disarmed victims.
- My happiness is not the means to any end. It is the end. It is its own goal. It is its own purpose.
- There’s no way to rule innocent men. The only power any government has is the power to crack down on criminals. Well, when there aren’t enough criminals, one makes them. One declares so many things to be a crime that it becomes impossible for men to live without breaking laws.
- When I die I hope to go to heaven ― whatever that is ― and I want to be able to afford the price of admission.
- Men who reject the responsibility of thought and reason can only exist as parasites on the thinking of others.
- In a free society, one does not have to deal with those who are irrational. One is free to avoid them.
- People don’t want to think. And the deeper they get into trouble, the less they want to think. But by some sort of instinct, they feel that they ought to and it makes them feel guilty. So they’ll bless and follow anyone who gives them a justification for not thinking. Anyone who makes a virtue – a highly intellectual virtue – out of what they know to be their sin, their weakness and their guilt… They envy achievement, and their dream of greatness is a world where all men have become their acknowledged inferiors. They don’t know that that dream is the infallible proof of mediocrity, because that sort of world is what the man of achievement would not be able to bear.
- What is man? He’s just a collection of chemicals with delusions of grandeur.
- I don’t want to see you. I don’t like you. I don’t like your face. You look like an insufferable egotist. You’re impertinent. You’re too sure of yourself. Twenty years ago I would have punched your face with the greatest of pleasure.
- Man is the only living species that has the power to act as his own destroyer – and that is the way he has acted through most of his history.
- Love should be treated like a business deal, but every business deal has its own terms and its own currency. And in love, the currency is virtue. You love people not for what you do for them or what they do for you. You love them for the values, the virtues, which they have achieved in their own character.
- There are two sides to every issue: one side is right and the other is wrong, but the middle is always evil.
- Contradictions do not exist. Whenever you think that you are facing a contradiction, check your premises. You will find that one of them is wrong.
- There is no such thing as a lousy job – only lousy men who don’t care to do it.
- In this world, either you’re virtuous or you enjoy yourself. Not both.
Intellectual Quotes by Ayn Rand
- When I disagree with a rational man, I let reality be our final arbiter; if I am right, he will learn; if I am wrong, I will; one of us will win, but both will profit.
- I can accept anything, except what seems to be the easiest for most people: the half-way, the almost, the just-about, the in-between.
- Devotion to the truth is the hallmark of morality; there is no greater, nobler, more heroic form of devotion than the act of a man who assumes the responsibility of thinking.
- 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.
- No speech is ever considered, but only the speaker. It’s so much easier to pass judgement on a man than on an idea.
- People think that a liar gains a victory over his victim. What I’ve learned is that a lie is an act of self-abdication, because one surrenders one’s reality to the person to whom one lies, making that person one’s master, condemning oneself from then on to faking the sort of reality that person’s view requires to be faked. The man who lies to the world, is the world’s slave from then on. There are no white lies, there is only the blackest of destruction, and a white lie is the blackest of all.
- 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 freedom for which the blood of the centuries behind him had been spilled.
- I do not think that tragedy is our natural fate and I do not live in chronic dread of disaster. It is no happiness, but suffering that I consider unnatural. It is not success, but calamity that I regard as the abnormal exception in Human Life.
- A viler evil than to murder a man, is to sell him suicide as an act of virtue.
- 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 the quest. I wished to know the meaning of all 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. 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 sacrifice on their alters.
Romantic Quotes by Ayn Rand
- I love you so much that nothing can matter to me – not even you…Only my love – not your answer. Not even your indifference.
- You have been the one encounter in my life that can never be repeated.
- He wanted her. He knew where to find her. He waited. It amused him to wait, because he knew that the waiting was unbearable to her. He knew that his absence bound her to him in a manner more complete and humiliating than his presence could enforce. He was giving her time to attempt an escape, in order to let her know her own helplessness when he chose to see her again.
- Patience is always rewarded and romance is always round the corner.
- He, too, stood looking at her for a moment–and 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.
- Love is the expression of one’s values, the greatest reward you can earn for the moral qualities you have achieved in your character and person, the emotional price paid by one man for the joy he receives from the virtues of another.
Poetic Quotes by Ayn Rand
- Art is a selective re-creation of reality according to an artists metaphysical value judgments.
- People want nothing but mirrors around them. To reflect them while they’re reflecting too … Reflections of reflections and echoes of echoes. No beginning and no end. No center and no purpose.
- The worst guilt is to accept an unearned guilt.
Photo by Bryan Minear
- She did not know the nature of her loneliness. The only words that named it were: This is not the world I expected.
- Joy is the goal of existence, and joy is not to be stumbled upon, but to be achieved, and the act of treason is to let its vision drown in the swamp of the moment’s torture.
- It was the greatest sensation of existence: not to trust but to know.
- He liked to observe emotions; they were like red lanterns strung along the dark unknown of another’s personality, marking vulnerable points.
- Do not let your fire go out, spark by irreplaceable spark in the hopeless swamps of the not-quite, the not-yet, and the not-at-all. Do not let the hero in your soul parish, in lonely frustration, for the life you deserved but never have been able to reach. Check your road and the nature of your battle. The world you desire can be won. It exists, it is real, it is possible, it is yours.
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