The Fountainhead

Although I disagree with many foundational pillars of Ayn Rand’s objectivism philosophy, I am still a deep admirer of her writing. Here are a few of my favorite snippets from her book “The Fountainhead.”

In her introduction she says: “I had been opposed to the practice of dedicating books. I address books to any reader that proves worthy of it

No matter that only a few in each generation will grasp and achieve the full reality of man’s proper stature the rest will betray it. It is those few that give life its meaning those I seek to address. The rest are of no concern. It is not me they will betray – but their own souls.”

“His face was like a law of nature – not questioned altered or implored.”

“It worked out to everyone’s satisfaction, Keating did not care as long as clients were impressed. Clients did not care as long as guests were impressed, and the guests didn’t care anyway.”

“I don’t like people who try to say only what they think I think.”

“I’ll listen if you want me to but I think I should tell you now that nothing you can say will make any difference. If you don’t mind that, I don’t mind listening.”

“Your house is made by its own needs. Those others are made by the need to impress. The determining motive of the others is in the audience.”

“His charming knack for destroying the earnestness of his own moment.”

“One did not stress total ignorance on a subject one were in total ignorance of it.”

The below quote is from the context of a collective group of artists who have just seen one of the worst plays of all time and are now conveying it to someone outside the group as spectacular:

“It is a masterpiece.” said Jules Fougler. “I hope you will prove yourself worthy of it, Peter. It is the kind of play that depends upon what the members of the audience are capable of bringing with them into the theater. If you are one of those literal-minded people, with a dry soul and a limited imagination, it is not for you. But if you are a real human being with a big big heart full of laughter, who has preserved the uncorrupted capacity of his childhood for pure emotion – you will find it an unforgettable experience.”

“The basic trouble with the modern world,” said Ellsworth Toohey, “is the intellectual fallacy that freedom and compulsion are opposites. To solve the gigantic problems crushing the world today, we must clarify our mental confusion. We must acquire a philosophical perspective. In essence, freedom and compulsion are one. Let me give you a simple illustration. Traffic lights restrain your freedom to cross a street whenever you wish. But this restraint gives you the freedom from being run over by a truck. If you were assigned to a job and prohibited from leaving it, it would restrain the freedom of your career. But it would give you freedom from the fear of unemployment. Whenever a new compulsion is imposed upon us, we automatically gain a new freedom. The two are inseparable. Only by accepting total compulsion can we achieve total freedom”

“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 so much harder?”

Although over 6.5 million copies of The Fountainhead have been sold remember this book was rejected by 12 publishers as “too intellectual” “too controversial” and that “no audience exists for it.”

Photo by Lance Anderson on Unsplash.

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