The fortune 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.
At a time like this, we can't afford the luxury of thinking!
People, he thought, were as hungry for a sight of joy as he had always been--for a moment's relief from that gray load of suffering which seemed so inexplicable and unnecessary. He had never been able to understand why men should be unhappy.
Have you noticed that the imbecile always smiles? Man's first frown is the first touch of God on his forehead. The touch of thought.
She thought: at this moment, the glass stem between his fingers feels just like the one between mine. We have this much in common.
He stood motionless, not turning to the crowd, barely hearing the applause. He stood looking at the judges. There was no triumph in his face, no elation, only the still intensity of contemplating a vision with a bitter wonder that was almost fear. He was seeing the enormity of the smallness of the enemy who was destroying the devastation, past the ruins of great factories, the wrecks of powerful engines, the bodies of invincible men, he had come upon the despoiler, expecting to find a giant and had found a rat eager to scurry for cover at the first sound of a human step. If this is what has beaten us, he thought, the guilt is ours.
You who prattle that morality is social and that man would need no morality on a desert island it is on a desert island that he would need it most. Let him try to claim, when there are no victims to pay for it, that a rock is a house, that sand is clothing, that food will drop into his mouth without cause or effort, that he will collect a harvest tomorrow by devouring his stock seed today and reality will wipe him out, as he deserves reality will show him that life is a value to be bought and that thinking is the only coin noble enough to buy it.
No matter how vast your knowledge or how modest, it is your own mind that has to acquire it. It is only with your own knowledge that you can deal. It is only your own knowledge that you can claim to possess or ask others to consider. Your mind is your only judge of truth and if others dissent from your verdict, reality is the court of final appeal. Nothing but a man's mind can perform that complex, delicate, crucial process of identification which is thinking. Nothing can direct the process but his own judgment. Nothing can direct his judgment but his moral integrity.
A rational process is a moral process. You may make an error at any step of it, with nothing to protect you but your own severity, or you may try to cheat, to fake the evidence and evade the effort of the quest but if devotion to the truth is the hallmark of morality, then there is no greater, nobler, more heroic form of devotion than the act of a man who assumes the responsibility of thinking.
He thought of all the living species that train their young in the art of survival, the cats who teach their kittens to hunt, the birds who spend such strident efforts on teaching their fledglings to fly - yet 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 ... Men would shudder, he thought, if they saw a mother bird plucking the feathers from the wings of her young, then pushing him out of the nest to struggle for survival - yet that was what they did to their children.
To achieve, you need thought. You have to know what you are doing and that's real power.
More Ayn Rand Quotations (Based on Topics)
Man - Mind - Life - Money & Wealth - World - Morality - Reality - Love - Good & Evil - Value - Honesty & Integrity - Success - Purposes - Vice & Virtue - Thought & Thinking - Sense & Perception - Happiness - Efforts - Reasoning - View All Ayn Rand Quotations
More Ayn Rand Quotations (By Book Titles)
- Atlas Shrugged
- The Fountainhead
Napoleon Hill - Dale Carnegie - Robert Louis Stevenson - Paul Davies - Michael Cunningham - Joseph Addison - Henry Drummond - Dr. Seuss - Bernardo Bertolucci - Antiphanes