Wednesday, May 30, 2007

The Fountainhead ode to Ayn Rand!

The Fountainhead quotes - an ode to Ayn Rand!


"My dear fellow, who will let you?"

"That's not the point. The point is, who will stop me?"

"Nothing can be reasonable or beautiful unless it's made by one central idea, and the idea sets every detail."

"But you see," said Roark quietly, "I have, let's say, sixty years to live. Most of that time will be spent working. I've chosen the work I want to do. If I find no joy in it, then I'm only condemning myself to sixty years of torture. And I can find the joy only if I do my work in the best way possible to me. But the best is a matter of standards--and I set my own standards. I inherit nothing. I stand at the end of no tradition. I may, perhaps, stand at the beginning of one."

"If you want my advice, Peter," he said at last, "you've made a mistake already. By asking me. By asking anyone. Never ask people. Not about your work. Don't you know what you want? How can you stand it, not to know?"

"What do you want? Perfection?"
"--or nothing. So, you see, I take the nothing."

"I take the only desire one can really permit oneself. Freedom, Alvah, freedom."
"You call that freedom?"
"To ask nothing. To expect nothing. To depend on nothing."

"Argument, Mrs. Gillespie," he said, "is one of the things that has neither use nor charm. Leave it to the men of brains. Brains, of course, are a dangerous confession of weakness. It has been said that men develop brains when they have failed in everything else."

"Whatever made you think that I aspired to be dangerous, Mrs. Gillespie? I'm merely--well, shall we say? that mildest of all things, a conscience. Your own conscience, conveniently personified in the body of another person and attending to your concern for the less fortunate of this world, thus leaving you free not to attend to."
"But a desire to choose the hardest might be a confession of weakness in itself."

"It's a secret, Howard. A rare one. I'll give it to you free of charge with my compliments: always be what people want you to be. Then you've got them where you want them. I'm giving it free because you'll never make use of it.


"The style of a soul. Do you remember the famous philosopher who spoke of the style of a civilization? He called it 'style.' He said it was the nearest word he could find for it. He said that every civilization has its one basic principle, one single, supreme, determining conception, and every endeavor of men within that civilization is true, unconsciously and irrevocably, to that one principle....I think, Kiki, that every human soul has a style of its own, also. Its one basic theme. You'll see it reflected in every thought, every act, every wish of that person. The one absolute, the one imperative in that living creature. Years of studying a man won't show it to you. His face will. You'd have to write volumes to describe a person. Think of his face. You need nothing else."


"You know, Ellsworth, I think the man who designed this should have committed suicide. A man who can conceive a thing as beautiful as this should never allow it to be erected. He should not want to exist. But he will let it be built, so that women will hang out diapers on his terraces, so that men will spit on his stairways and draw dirty pictures on his walls. He's given it to them and he's made it part of them, part of everything. He shouldn't have offered it for men like you to look at. For men like you to talk about. He's defiled his own work by the first word you'll utter about it. He's made himself worse than you are. You'll be committing only a mean little indecency, but he's committed a sacrilege. A man who knows what he must have known to produce this should not have been able to remain alive."

The gist of entire story sums up in this quote. It is not written from the correct point of view, but yet represents the perspective of Ayn Rand and the words are put in the mouth of the antagonist.

"But to be beaten by the man who has always stood as the particular example of mediocrity in his eyes, to start by the side of this mediocrity and to watch it shoot up, while he struggles and gets nothing but a boot in his face, to see the mediocrity snatch from him, one after another, the chances he'd give his life for, to see the mediocrity worshipped, to miss the place he wants and to see the mediocrity enshrined upon it, to lose, to be sacrificed, to be ignored, to be beaten, beaten, beaten--not by a greater genius, not by a god, but by a Peter Keating--well, my little amateur, do you think the Spanish Inquisition ever thought of a torture to equal this?"

You're much worse than a bitch. You're a saint. Which shows why saints are dangerous and undesirable."

This is one of the best expressions of double meaning, or pun. The quote can be read both ways – in a positive or a negative meaning.

"I have visited the Enright construction site. I wish that in some future air raid a bomb would blast this house out of existence. It would be a worthy ending. So much better than to see it growing old and soot-stained, degraded by the family photographs, the dirty socks, the cocktail shakers and the grapefruit rinds of its inhabitants. There is not a person in New York City who should be allowed to live in this building."


"When facing society, the man most concerned, the man who is to do the most and contribute the most, has the least say. It's taken for granted that he has no voice and the reasons he could offer are rejected in advance as prejudiced--since no speech is ever considered, but only the speaker. It's so much easier to pass judgment on a man than on an idea. Though how in hell one passes judgment on a man without considering the content of his brain is more than I'll ever understand. However, that's how it's done. You see, reasons require scales to weigh them. And scales are not made of cotton. And cotton is what the human spirit is made of--you know, the stuff that keeps no shape and offers no resistance and can be twisted forward and backward and into a pretzel. You could tell them why they should hire you so very much better than I could. But they won't listen to you and they'll listen to me. Because I'm the middleman. The shortest distance between two points is not a straight line--it's a middleman. And the more middlemen, the shorter. Such is the psychology of a pretzel."


"Why are you a good architect? Because you have certain standards of what is good, and they're your own, and you stand by them. I want a good hotel, and I have certain standards of what is good, and they're my own, and you're the one who can give me what I want. And when I fight for you, I'm doing--on my side of it--just what you're doing when you design a building. Do you think integrity is the monopoly of the artist? And what, incidentally, do you think integrity is? The ability not to pick a watch out of your neighbor's pocket? No, it's not as easy as that. If that were all, I'd say ninety-five percent of humanity were honest, upright men. Only, as you can see, they aren't. Integrity is the ability to stand by an idea. That presupposes the ability to think. Thinking is something one doesn't borrow or pawn. And yet, if I were asked to choose a symbol for humanity as we know it, I wouldn't choose a cross nor an eagle nor a lion and unicorn. I'd choose three gilded balls."


And as Roark looked at him, he added: "Don't worry. They're all against me. But I have one advantage: they don't know what they want. I do."

"You're a God-damn fool. You have no right to care what I think of your work, what I am or why I'm here. You're too good for that. But if you want to know it--I think you're the best sculptor we've got. I think it, because your figures are not what men are, but what men could be--and should be. Because you've gone beyond the probable and made us see what is possible, but possible only through you. Because your figures are more devoid of contempt for humanity than any work I've ever seen. Because you have a magnificent respect for the human being. Because your figures are the heroic in man. And so I didn't come here to do you a favor or because I felt sorry for you or because you need a job pretty badly. I came for a simple, selfish reason--the same reason that makes a man choose the cleanest food he can find. It's a law of survival, isn't it?--to seek the best. I didn't come for your sake. I came for mine."

"You said something yesterday about a first law. A law demanding that man seek the best....It was funny....The unrecognized genius--that's an old story. Have you ever thought of a much worse one--the genius recognized too well?...That a great many men are poor fools who can't see the best--that's nothing. One can't get angry at that. But do you understand about the men who see it and don't want it?"


"Probably. But not quite. I'm not afraid any more. But I know that the terror exists. I know the kind of terror it is. You can't conceive of that kind. Listen, what's the most horrible experience you can imagine? To me--it's being left, unarmed, in a sealed cell with a drooling beast of prey or a maniac who's had some disease that's eaten his brain out. You'd have nothing then but your voice--your voice and your thought. You'd scream to that creature why it should not touch you, you'd have the most eloquent words, the unanswerable words, you'd become the vessel of the absolute truth. And you'd see living eyes watching you and you'd know that the thing can't hear you, that it can't be reached, not reached, not in any way, yet it's breathing and moving there before you with a purpose of its own. That's horror. Well, that's what's hanging over the world, prowling somewhere through mankind, that same thing, something closed, mindless, utterly wanton, but something with an aim and a cunning of its own. I don't think I'm a coward, but I'm afraid of it. And that's all I know--only that it exists. I don't know its purpose, I don't know its nature."


"Men like you and me would not survive beyond their first fifteen years if they did not acquire the patience of a Chinese executioner. And the hide of a battleship."


"When you see a man casting pearls without getting even a pork chop in return--it is not against the swine that you feel indignation. It is against the man who valued his pearls so little that he was willing to fling them into the muck and to let them become the occasion for a whole concert of grunting, transcribed by the court stenographer."


"But I'm afraid. Because you've changed something in me, ever since our wedding, since I said yes to you--even if I were to lose you now, I couldn't go back to what I was before--you took something I had..."

"No. I took something you never had. I grant you that's worse."


"It's said that the worst thing one can do to a man is to kill his self-respect. But that's not true. Self-respect is something that can't be killed. The worst thing is to kill a man's pretense at it."


"That love is reverence, and worship, and glory, and the upward glance. Not a bandage for dirty sores. But they don't know it. Those who speak of love most promiscuously are the ones who've never felt it. They make some sort of feeble stew out of sympathy, compassion, contempt and general indifference, and they call it love. Once you've felt what it means to love as you and I know it--the total passion for the total height--you're incapable of anything less."


"Thank you--Dominique." His voice was soft and amused. "But we weren't talking about you or me. We were talking about other people." He leaned with both forearms on the rail, he spoke watching the sparks in the water. "It's interesting to speculate on the reasons that make men so anxious to debase themselves. As in that idea of feeling small before nature. It's not a bromide, it's practically an institution. Have you noticed how self-righteous a man sounds when he tells you about it? Look, he seems to say, I'm so glad to be a pygmy, that's how virtuous I am. Have you heard with what delight people quote some great celebrity who's proclaimed that he's not so great when he looks at Niagara Falls? It's as if they were smacking their lips in sheer glee that their best is dust before the brute force of an earthquake. As if they were sprawling on all fours, rubbing their foreheads in the mud to the majesty of a hurricane. But that's not the spirit that leashed fire, steam, electricity, that crossed oceans in sailing sloops, that built airplanes and dams...and skyscrapers. What is it they fear? What is they hate so much, those who love to crawl? And why?"


"I often think that he's the only one of us who's achieved immortality. I don't mean in the sense of fame and I don't mean that he won't die some day. But he's living it. I think he is what the conception really means. You know how people long to be eternal. But they die with every day that passes. When you meet them, they're not what you met last. In any given hour, they kill some part of themselves. They change, they deny, they contradict-- and they call it growth. At the end there's nothing left, nothing unreversed or unbetrayed; as if there had never been an entity, only a succession of adjectives fading in and out on an unformed mass. How do they expect a permanence which they have never held for a single moment? But Howard--one can imagine him existing forever."


"I breathe for my own necessity, for the fuel of my body, for my survival...I've given you, not my sacrifice or my pity, but my ego and my naked need..."


Men have not found the words for it nor the deed nor the thought, but they have found the music. Let me see that in one single act of man on earth. Let me see it made real. Let me see the answer to the promise of that music. Not servants nor those served; not altars and immolations; but the final, the fulfilled, innocent of pain. Don't help me or serve me, but let me see it once, because I need it. Don't work for my happiness, my brothers--show me yours--show me that it is possible--show me your achievement--and the knowledge will give me courage for mine.


Every form of happiness is private. Our greatest moments are personal, self-motivated, not to be touched. The things which are sacred or precious to us are the things we withdraw from promiscuous sharing. But now we are taught to throw everything within us into public light and common pawing. To seek joy in meeting halls. We haven't even got a word for the quality I mean--for the self-sufficiency of man's spirit. It's difficult to call it selfishness or egotism, the words have been perverted, they've come to mean Peter Keating. Gail, I think the only cardinal evil on earth is that of placing your prime concern within other men. I've always demanded a certain quality in the people I liked. I've always recognized it at once--and it's the only quality I respect in men. I chose my friends by that. Now I know what it is. A self-sufficient ego. Nothing else matters."


"if this boat were sinking, I'd give my life to save you. Not because it's any kind of duty. Only because I like you, for reasons and standards of my own. I could die for you. But I couldn't and wouldn't live for you."


Turbo Tagger

Disclaimer: All the quotes, as an intellectual property, belong to its creator Ayn Rand. This is only a humble effort to put together the best of them from the book. This should serve as a very quick reference for those who love the book, and looking for a single or more quotes use. I am not trying to reproduce from the original work, the blog is not intended or used for professional activities. I don't want anyone on my ass like some issues in the world between JK Rowling and some die-hard Potter fan. Thanks.


Tejas said...

'The Fountainhead' is one of most legendary novels ever. Written in '40s, it is still one of the best-sellers. Ayn Rand, the author, has created a whole new idealistic world of Howard Roark, who stands against the world by his own standards. Rand depicts her principles of objectivism to establish that man's ego is the fountainhead of human progress.

So, here's a complete collection of some of the best Fountainhead quotes. I noted them down while reading the novel, and feel free to add your own. :)

DBU said...

gud collection !

Defy Gravity!! said...

one more Quote bro...

From the wheel to the skyscrapers, everything we are and everything we have comes from a single attribute of man-the function of his reasoning mind. Ayn Rand, The FountainHead.

Defy Gravity!! said...

We'd all be a heap sight better off if we'd forget the highfalutin notions of our fancy civilization and mind more what the savages knew long before us: to honor our mother." - The FountainHead,Ayn Rand.

Abhishek Yadav said...

illuminating ... useful ... motivating ... !!!

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much! I lost my copy of The Fountainhead, and I looked everywhere for the quote about terror that's on your site. I had resigned myself to rereading the book (not that it would be a burden, but I needed this quote quickly) and then I stumbled across your site!

Thank you soooo much!

shreya said...

wonderful!!nice collection..nuthr one

""Why is it so important-wat othrs hav done?why does it become sacred by the mere fact of not being ur own?why is neone and everyone right-so long as its not urself?why does the number of those others take the place of truth?why is everything twisted out of all sense to fit everything else?there must b some reasn.i dont know.i've never known it.i'd like to understand."

anisha said...

"she sat silently in a corner. she had never before considered his presence important enough to require silence." dominique in the taxi with peter..

n this is thibk is the best one..
"whos going to be immortal? i dont mean it in the sense of fame and not that one wont die someday. who's living it? who's what conception really means? you know how people long to be eternal. but they die with every day that passes. when you meet then they're not what you met last. in any given hour, they kill some part of themselves. they change, the contradict, and they call it growth. at the end there's nothing left, nothing unreversed or unbetrayed., as if there had never been an entity, onli a succession of adjectives fading in and out on an unformed mass. how do they expect permanance when they never held it for a single moment? ".... steven mallory to dominique francon!.

Lidia. said...

My favorite book of all time!! I'm working on Atlas Shrugged right now...
a quote that is awesome:
"In the flash when walls rose outward and a building opened like a sunburst, she thought of him there, somewhere beyond, the builder who had to destroy, who knew every crucial point of that structure, who had made the delicate balance of stress and support; she thought of him selecting these key spots, placing the blast, a doctor turned murderer, expertly cracking heart, brain, and lungs at once. He was there, he saw it and what it did to him was worse than what it did to the building. But he was there and he welcomed it."

"A man of genius is guilty by definition"

He explained why an honest building, like an honest man, had to be of one piece and one faith; what constituted the life source, the idea in any existing thing or creature, and why- if one smallest part committed treason to that idea- the thing or the creature was dead; and why the good, the high and the noble on earth was only that which kept its integrity

Anonymous said...

yes , a person must be the fountainhead of his truths discoverd by him and his experience ,, and not belived without any reason,,, said...

I am trying to find a quote from "The Fountainhead." I read the book 40 years ago, but I remember a quote I think from Dominque who said that when she read a good book she would incinerate it because she couldn't stand the thoughts of sharing such great literature with such a mundane world. Do you remember such a quote or is my mind going? Gary.

Tejas said...

Gary, it's probably this quote.

"I won't find it. I won't choose to see it. It would be part of that lovely world of yours. I'd have to share it with all the rest of you--and I wouldn't. You know, I never open again any great book I've read and loved. It hurts me to think of the other eyes that have read it and of what they were. Things like that can't be shared. Not with people like that."

Did I get it right?

Anonymous said...

"Katie, why do they always teach us that it's easy and evil to 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...As I wanted to marry you. Not as I want to sleep with some woman or get drunk. Those things are not even desires- they are things people do to escape from desires- because it's such a big responsibility, to really want something."

What an amazing book!

Anonymous said...

I'm looking for a quote from Roark to Dominique. When she is dating Gail, she asks him if the pain is to much to him. He says something like "it only goes so deep, no deeper". Meaning it is not beyond his endurance and she should continue to date Wynand. How does that passage go?

Allison said...

Hey everyone, "The Fountainhead" is one of the most influential books I've ever read. Its so simple and wonderful. Only people who cannot understand it can find it complicated. I've lent my copy to a dear friend and am getting it back shortly. Soon as I do, I'm gonna reread and post as many quotes as i can. Its great to know there are so many out there who like this book as much as i do :-)

iwin said...

think its osom ..... thought me "how to live "
"meaning of joy"
Many more things .....which made my life meaningful.....

spandana said...

thank u

sanju said...

Gr8 work ya!!
My fav is a single line which says " The sound perception of an ant does not include thunder."

Bonnie K Hunter said...

My favorite so far...Roark to Wynand:

Your soul has a single basic function — The act of valuing. Yes, or No, I wish or I do not wish. You can’t say YES without saying I. There’s no affirmation without the one who affirms. In this sense everything to which you grant your love is yours…

Anu George Canjanathoppil said...

By far this is my most most most most favorite...
I am yet to finfd a book that makes me want to read over and over again.
I see and apprach life in a different light altogether

infinity discs said...

This is quite awesome!

Tejas said...

Thank you, all! If possible please share with your friends, through Digg and Twitter!

Newbie Mommy said...

Fascinating compilation.

Anonymous said...

fantastic! Thank you Bert Cooper