The Fountainhead

Rand, Ayn

“Mr. Roark!” she gasped, pointing at his clothes. “You’re not going like this?” “Why not?” “But it’s your Dean!” “Not any more, Mrs. Keating.”

“How do you expect us to pass you after this?” “I don’t.” “You left us no choice in the matter. Naturally, you would feel bitterness toward us at this moment, but ...” “I feel nothing of the kind,” said Roark quietly. “I owe you an apology. I don’t usually let things happen to me. I made a mistake this time. I shouldn’t have waited for you to throw me out. I should have left long ago.”

“My dear fellow, who will let you?” “That’s not the point. The point is, who will stop me?”

I don’t intend to build in order to have clients. I intend to have clients in order to build.”

His face bore not a wrinkle nor a single straight line; it was an artful composition in globes, circles, arcs and ellipses,

“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?”

he took for granted that whatever he felt for her was love. He did not know whether there was any reason why he should respect her judgment. She was his mother; this was supposed to take the place of reasons.

In the eighteen-eighties, the architects of New York fought one another for second place in their profession. No one aspired to the first. The first was held by Henry Cameron

Men hate passion, any great passion. Henry Cameron made a mistake : he loved his work. That was why he fought. That was why he lost.

You get an idea like this and you don’t know what to do with it! You stumble on a magnificent thing and you have to ruin it! Do you know how much you’ve got to learn?” “Yes. That’s why I’m here.”

People felt sorry for poor dear Lucius, admired him for the effort of undertaking a professional career, and thought it would be nice to let him build their homes. Francon built them and required no further service from Lucius. This satisfied everybody.

It was half past nine when he finished the plans, stacked them neatly on Davis’ table, and left the office. He walked down the street, glowing with a comfortable, undignified feeling, as though after a good meal. Then the realization of his loneliness struck him suddenly. He had to share this with someone tonight. He had no one.

you see, it’s not what you do that matters really. It’s only you.”

“You see, of all men, I’m the last one to whom you should have come. I’ll be committing a crime if I keep you here. Somebody should have warned you against me. I won’t help you at all. I won’t discourage you. I won’t teach you any common sense. Instead, I’ll push you on. I’ll drive you the way you’re going now. I’ll beat you into remaining what you are, and I’ll make you worse....

“If,” said Roark, “at the end of my life, I’ll be what you are today, here, in this office, I shall consider it an honor that I could not have deserved.”

Listen. I understand. And it’s very nice of you. But you don’t know. I thought a few days here would be enough to take the hero worship out of you. I see it wasn’t. Here you are, saying to yourself how grand old Cameron is, a noble fighter, a martyr to a lost cause, and you’d just love to die on the barricades with me and to eat in dime lunchwagons with me for the rest of your life. I know, it looks pure and beautiful to you now, at your great old age of twenty-two. But do you know what it means? Thirty years of a lost cause, that sounds beautiful, doesn’t it? But do you know how many days there are in thirty years? Do you know what happens in those days?

There will be days when you’ll stand in the corner of a hall and listen to a creature on a platform talking about buildings, about that work which you love, and the things he’ll say will make you wait for somebody to rise and crack him open between two thumbnails; and then you’ll hear the people applauding him, and you’ll want to scream, because you won’t know whether they’re real or you are, whether you’re in a room full of gored skulls, or whether someone has just emptied your own head, and you’ll say nothing, because the sounds you could make—they’re not a language in that room any longer; but if you’d want to speak, you won’t anyway, because you’ll be brushed aside, you who have nothing to tell them about buildings!

Keating had had a long conversation with him, one dreary November afternoon, on the subject of old porcelain. It was Heyer’s hobby; he owned a famous collection, passionately gathered. Keating displayed an earnest knowledge of the subject, though he had never heard of old porcelain till the night before, which he had spent at the public library. Heyer was delighted; nobody in the office cared about his hobby, few ever noticed his presence.

In the drafting room, Keating concentrated on Tim Davis. Work and drawings were only unavoidable details on the surface of his days; Tim Davis was the substance and the shape of the first step in his career.

Davis had not wanted it to be known. Keating made it known, with an air of naïve confidence which implied that he was only a tool, no more than Tim’s pencil or T-square, that his help enhanced Tim’s importance rather than diminished it and, therefore, he did not wish to conceal it.

When Keating approached Stengel with the suggestion of a proposed luncheon, the man listened to him without a word. Then he jerked his head and snapped: “What’s in it for you?” Before Keating could answer, Stengel threw his head back suddenly. “Oh,” said Stengel. “Oh, I see.”

Stengel’s parting remark to him had been only: “You’re a worse bastard than I thought you were. Good luck. You’ll be a great architect some day.”

“and you’re spilling brandy all over your vest....”

Francon had said to him about the building: “It must have dignity, you know, dignity ... nothing freaky ... a structure of elegance ... and stay within the budget,” which was Francon’s conception of giving his designer ideas and letting him work them out.

“Well,” said Francon, studying it, “well, I declare! ... What an imagination you have, Peter ... I wonder ... It’s a bit daring, but I wonder ...” He coughed and added: “It’s just what I had in mind.” “Of course,” said Keating. “I studied your buildings, and I tried to think of what you’d do, and if it’s good, it’s because I think I know how to catch your ideas.”

No one can teach you anything, not at the core, at the source of it. What you’re doing—it’s yours, not mine, I can only teach you to do it better. I can give you the means, but the aim—the aim’s your own.

He stated further that he wished to see the average man “think and speak of architecture as he speaks of baseball.”

“Mandatory reading for anyone aspiring to the title of intellectual.” There seemed to be a great many aspiring to that title. Readers acquired erudition without study, authority without cost, judgment without effort. It was pleasant to look at buildings and criticize them with a professional manner and with the memory of page 439; to hold artistic discussions and exchange the same sentences from the same paragraphs.

He carried his head high, his body erect with studied uprightness; he looked like the picture of a successful young man in advertisements for high-priced razors or medium-priced cars.

He had forgotten his first building, and the fear and doubt of its birth.

He had learned that it was so simple. His clients would accept anything, so long as he gave them an imposing façade, a majestic entrance and a regal drawing room, with which to astound their guests. It worked out to everyone’s satisfaction: Keating did not care so long as his clients were impressed, the clients did not care so long as their guests were impressed, and the guests did not care anyway.

Mrs. Keating rented her house in Stanton and came to live with him in New York. He did not want her; he could not refuse—because she was his mother and he was not expected to refuse. He met her with some eagerness; he could at least impress her by his rise in the world. She was not impressed; she inspected his rooms, his clothes, his bank books and said only: “It’ll do, Petey—for the time being.”

“You want to know why I’m doing it?” Roark smiled, without resentment or interest. “Is that it? I’ll tell you, if you want to know. I don’t give a damn where I work next. There’s no architect in town that I’d want to work for. But I have to work somewhere, so it might as well be your Francon—if I can get what I want from you. I’m selling myself, and I’ll play the game that way—for the time being.”

it’s what you’ve renounced by never wanting it.”

He saw what he could make of it, how to change the lines he drew, where to lead them in order to achieve a thing of splendor. He had to choke the knowledge. He had to kill the vision. He had to obey and draw the lines as instructed. It hurt him so much that he shrugged at himself in cold anger. He thought: difficult?—well, learn it.

He could not understand what made others blind to it, and what made their indifference possible. He looked at the paper before him. He wondered why ineptitude should exist and have its say. He had never known that. And the reality which permitted it could never become quite real to him.

People meant very little to Mike, but their performance a great deal. He worshiped expertness of any kind. He loved his work passionately and had no tolerance for anything save for other single-track devotions. He was a master in his own field and he felt no sympathy except for mastery. His view of the world was simple: there were the able and there were the incompetent; he was not concerned with the latter.

“I can’t do it,” said Roark, very quietly. “What? Are you speaking to me? Are you actually saying: ‘Sorry, I can’t do it’?” “I haven’t said ‘sorry,’ Mr. Francon.”

It was not malice. It was not a judgment passed upon his merit. They did not think he was worthless. They simply did not care to find out whether he was good.

He had a system of his own. He employed five designers of various types and he staged a contest among them on each commission he received. He chose the winning design and improved it with bits of the four others. “Six minds,” he said, “are better than one.”

“Don’t say that I’m beautiful and exquisite and like no one you’ve ever met before and that you’re very much afraid that you’re going to fall in love with me. You’ll say it eventually, but let’s postpone it. Apart from that, I think we’ll get along very nicely.”

“Listen, Roark, won’t you please listen?” “I’ll listen if you want me to, Mr. Snyte. 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.”

He saw Roark coming up the hill, and frowned. He had seen Roark only a week ago, and because these visits meant too much to both of them, neither wished the occasions to be too frequent.

Mike winked at him in understanding, whenever he passed by. Mike said once: “Control yourself, Red. You’re open like a book. God, it’s indecent to be so happy!”

when Roark looked at him with approval, when Roark smiled, when Roark praised one of his articles, Heller felt the strangely clean joy of a sanction that was neither a bribe nor alms.

“What is it that I like so much about the house you’re building for me, Howard?” “A house can have integrity, just like a person,” said Roark, “and just as seldom.”

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

my study is the room I’ll need most and you’ve given it the dominant spot—and, incidentally, I see where you’ve made it the dominant mass from the outside, too. And then the way it connects with the library, and the living room well out of my way, and the guest rooms where I won’t hear too much of them

That it would be terrible to have a job I enjoyed and did not want to lose.” “Why?” “Because I would have to depend on you—you’re a wonderful person, Alvah, but not exactly inspiring and I don’t think it would be beautiful to cringe before a whip in your hand

it’s such a peculiar thing—our idea of mankind in general. We all have a sort of vague, glowing picture when we say that, something solemn, big and important. But actually all we know of it is the people we meet in our lifetime. Look at them. Do you know any you’d feel big and solemn about? There’s nothing but housewives haggling at pushcarts, drooling brats who write dirty words on the sidewalks, and drunken debutantes. Or their spiritual equivalents.

“Then what are you going to do? You’re not worried?” “No. I expected it. I’m waiting.” “For what?” “My kind of people.” “What kind is that?” “I don’t know. Yes, I do know, but I can’t explain it. I’ve often wished I could. There must be some one principle to cover it, but I don’t know what it is.”

He tried to explain and to convince. He knew, while he spoke, that it was useless, because his words sounded as if they were hitting a vacuum. There was no such person as Mrs. Wayne Wilmot; there was only a shell containing the opinions of her friends, the picture postcards she had seen, the novels of country squires she had read;

“But I like you. Why can’t you build it for me? What difference would it make to you?” Roark did not explain. Later, Austen Heller said to him: “I expected it. I was afraid you’d turn him down. I’m not blaming you, Howard. Only he’s so rich. It could have helped you so much. And, after all, you’ve got to live.” “Not that way,” said Roark.

He spoke for a long time. He explained why this structure could not have a Classic motive on its façade. 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. The chairman interrupted him: “Mr. Roark, I agree with you. There’s no answer to what you’re saying. But unfortunately, in practical life, one can’t always be so flawlessly consistent. There’s always the incalculable human element of emotion. We can’t fight that with cold logic.

She had expected him to seem incongruous in her house; but it was the house that seemed incongruous around him.

Half an hour later Roark was on a train. When the train started moving, he remembered Dominique and that he was leaving her behind. The thought seemed distant and unimportant. He was astonished only to know that he still thought of her, even now.

He had refused all further comment. “No, my friends,” he had said, “not about this.”

“I like to indulge in the luxury of commenting solely upon interesting subjects. I do not consider myself one of these.”

“Hello, Peter Keating,” said Ellsworth Monkton Toohey in his compelling, magical voice. “What do you think of the temple of Nike Apteros?”

“You wanted to thank me for my article,” said Toohey and made a little grimace of gay despair. “And here I’ve been trying so hard to prevent you from doing it. Do let me get away with it, won’t you?

If you happened to deserve the things I said—well, the credit belongs to you, not to me. Doesn’t it?”

‘Ellsworth’ is the monument to my parents’ peculiar taste in nomenclature

You must read her, Peter. I don’t suggest that as a rule except to the discriminating

Keating leaned back with a sense of warmth and well-being. He liked this book. It had made the routine of his Sunday morning breakfast a profound spiritual experience; he was certain that it was profound, because he didn’t understand it.

Keating thought he could talk of this book to his friends, and if they did not understand he would know that he was superior to them. He would not need to explain that superiority—that’s just

Keating thought he could talk of this book to his friends, and if they did not understand he would know that he was superior to them.

“Ah, there’s nothing like tea in the afternoon. When the British Empire collapses, historians will find that it had made but two invaluable contributions to civilization—this tea ritual and the detective novel.

The too innocent, too trifling manner in which he repeated the name, with the faint, contemptuous question mark quite audible at the end, made Keating certain that Toohey knew the name well. One did not stress total

“Roark? Roark?” asked Toohey. “Who is Roark?” The too innocent, too trifling manner in which he repeated the name, with the faint, contemptuous question mark quite audible at the end, made Keating certain that Toohey knew the name well. One did not stress total ignorance of a subject if one were in total ignorance of it.

When they walked out together, when they were alone in the cold brilliance of streets flooded with late sunlight, Keating felt himself recapturing everything Catherine had always meant to him, the strange emotion that he could not keep in the presence of others.

thinking how little we know about ourselves. Some day you’ll know the truth about yourself too, Peter, and it will be worse for you than for most of us.

He hated bankers, labor unions, women, evangelists and the stock exchange.

Roark never mentioned the attempt he had made to reach Enright, nor his interview with the bored secretary. Enright learned of it somehow. Within five minutes the secretary was discharged, and within ten minutes he was walking out of the office, as ordered, in the middle of a busy day, a letter left half typed in his machine.

There’s an interesting question there. What is kinder—to believe the best of people and burden them with a nobility beyond their endurance—or to see them as they are, and accept it because it makes them comfortable?

After a while Dominique found it easier to associate with people. She learned to accept self-torture as an endurance test, urged on by the curiosity to discover how much she could endure.

Then she did not want him to stop or glance at her, because she wanted to watch the ascetic purity of his person, the absence of all sensuality; to watch that—and to think of what she remembered.

He liked to throw back the covers of her bed, then to sit talking quietly for an hour or two, not looking at the bed, not mentioning her writing or buildings or the latest commission she had obtained for Peter Keating, the simplicity of being at ease, here, like this, making the hours more sensual than the moments they delayed.

he called you some names I’d never heard before.

He heard envious comments from all his friends. He was, he thought bitterly, the only man in New York City who did not think that Dominique Francon was in love with him.

It happened that Pat Noonan offered Ellsworth a bag of jelly beans in exchange for a surreptitious peek at his test paper. Ellsworth took the jelly beans and allowed Pat to copy his test. A week later, Ellsworth marched up to the teacher, laid the jelly beans, untouched, upon her desk and confessed his crime, without naming the other culprit. All her efforts to extract that name could not budge him; Ellsworth remained silent; he explained only that the guilty boy was one of the best students, and he could not sacrifice the boy’s record to the demands of his own conscience. He was the only one punished—kept after school for two hours. Then the teacher had to drop the matter and let the test marks remain as they were. But it threw suspicion on the grades of Johnny Stokes, Pat Noonan, and all the best pupils of the class, except Ellsworth Toohey.

Ellsworth was fifteen, when he astonished the Bible-class teacher by an odd question. The teacher had been elaborating upon the text: “What shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?” Ellsworth asked: “Then, in order to be truly wealthy, a man should collect souls?”

He was polite, not in the manner of one seeking favor, but in the manner of one granting it. His attitude was contagious.

People did not question the reasons of his superiority; they took it for granted that such reasons existed

“Toohey draws the sticky kind. You know the two things that stick best: mud and glue.” Toohey overheard it and shrugged, smiling, and said: “Oh, come, come, there are many more: adhesive plaster, leeches, taffy, wet socks, rubber girdles, chewing gum and tapioca pudding.” Moving away, he added over his shoulder, without smiling: “And cement.”

“I,” said Toohey, “play the stock market of the spirit. And I sell short.”

Ellsworth Toohey made no announcement or explanation to anyone. He disregarded the friends who cried that he had sold himself. He simply went to work.

Toohey was the only Wynand employee who had a contract permitting him to write anything he pleased. He had insisted upon it. It was considered a great victory, by everybody except Ellsworth Toohey. He realized that it could mean one of two things: either Wynand had surrendered respectfully to the prestige of his name—or Wynand considered him too contemptible to be worth restraining.

People admired his sense of humor. He was, they said, a man who could laugh at himself. “I’m a dangerous person. Somebody ought to warn you against me,” he said to people, in the tone of uttering the most preposterous thing in the world. Of all the

People admired his sense of humor. He was, they said, a man who could laugh at himself. “I’m a dangerous person. Somebody ought to warn you against me,” he said to people, in the tone of uttering the most preposterous thing in the world.

The young photographer glanced at Roark’s face—and thought of something that had puzzled him for a long time: he had always wondered why the sensations one felt in dreams were so much more intense than anything one could experience in waking reality—why the horror was so total and the ecstasy so complete—and what was that extra quality which could never be recaptured afterward;

Roark’s office had grown to four rooms. His staff loved him. They did not realize it and would have been shocked to apply such a term as love to their cold, unapproachable, inhuman boss.

He did not smile at his employees, he did not take them out for drinks, he never inquired about their families, their love lives or their church attendance. He responded only to the essence of a man: to his creative capacity. In this office one had to be competent. There were no alternatives, no mitigating considerations. But if a man worked well, he needed nothing else to win his employer’s benevolence: it was granted, not as a gift, but as a debt. It was granted, not as affection, but as recognition. It bred an immense feeling of self-respect within every man in that office.

Roark made mistakes in choosing his employees occasionally, not often; those whom he kept for a month became his friends for life. They did not call themselves friends; they did not praise him to outsiders; they did not talk about him. They knew only, in a dim way, that it was not loyalty to him, but to the best within themselves.

You know, there was a time when everyone thought it self-evident that the earth was flat. It would be entertaining to speculate upon the nature and causes of humanity’s illusions. I’ll write a book about it some day. It won’t be popular. I’ll have a chapter on boards of directors. You see, they don’t exist.”

“Just that: have you ever known a board to do anything at all?” “Well, they seem to exist and function.” “Do they? You know, there was a time when everyone thought it self-evident that the earth was flat. It would be entertaining to speculate upon the nature and causes of humanity’s illusions. I’ll write a book about it some day. It won’t be popular. I’ll have a chapter on boards of directors. You see, they don’t exist.”

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.

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?

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.

“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.

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.”

“Now,” he said, “talk. Talk about the things you really want said. Don’t tell me about your family, your childhood, your friends or your feelings. Tell me about the things you think.”

“How did you know what’s been killing me? Slowly, for years, driving me to hate people when I don’t want to hate.... Have you felt it, too? Have you seen how your best friends love everything about you—except the things that count?

“Like it?” Roark asked. “Don’t use stupid words.”

I speculate occasionally upon how far you’ll go. You see, I’ve always had a weakness for astronomy.”

It is difficult enough to acquire fame. It is impossible to change its nature once you’ve acquired it. No, you can never ruin an architect by proving that he’s a bad architect. But you can ruin him because he’s an atheist, or because somebody sued him, or because he slept with some woman, or because he pulls wings off bottleflies. You’ll say it doesn’t make sense? Of course it doesn’t. That’s why it works. Reason can be fought with reason. How are you going to fight the unreasonable?

“Dominique, you’re letting me down. And how I waited for you! I’m a very self-sufficient person, as a rule, but I do need an audience once in a while. You’re the only person with whom I can be myself. I suppose it’s because you have such contempt for me that nothing I say can make any difference.

“Watch your stomach, kid,” said Mike, “just watch your stomach. A man can’t get sick just because he oughta.”

“I’m so delighted, so pleasantly sur ... Oh, hell, Dominique, what’s the use? I always try to be correct with you and you always see through it so well that it’s perfectly pointless. So I won’t play the poised host. You know that I’m knocked silly and that your coming here isn’t natural and anything I say will probably be wrong.” “Yes, that’s better, Peter.”

They were married in a living room that displayed armchairs of faded tapestry, blue and purple, and a lamp with a fringe of glass beads. The witnesses were the judge’s wife and someone from next door named Chuck, who had been interrupted at some household task and smelled faintly of Clorox.

It would have been easy, if she had seen a man distorting his mouth to bite off sound, closing his fists and twisting them in defense against himself. But it was not easy, because she did not see him doing this, yet knew that this was being done, without the relief of a physical gesture.

Roark, I can accept anything, except what seems to be the easiest for most people: the halfway, the almost, the just-about, the in-between. They may have their justifications. I don’t know. I don’t care to inquire. I know that it is the one thing not given me to understand.

I will live in the world as it is, in the manner of life it demands. Not halfway, but completely. Not pleading and running from it, but walking out to meet it, beating it to the pain and the ugliness, being first to choose the worst it can do to me. Not as the wife of some half-decent human being, but as the wife of Peter Keating.

you. I love you, Dominique.” She closed her eyes, and he said: “You’d rather not hear it now? But I want you to hear it. We never need to say anything to each other when we’re together. This is—for the time when we won’t be together.

I love you, Dominique.” She closed her eyes, and he said: “You’d rather not hear it now? But I want you to hear it. We never need to say anything to each other when we’re together. This is—for the time when we won’t be together.

To say ‘I love you’ one must know first how to say the ‘I.’

“You must learn not to be afraid of the world. Not to be held by it as you are now. Never to be hurt by it as you were in that courtroom. I must let you learn it. I can’t help you. You must find your own way.

many members pointed out that the article in “One Small Voice” had actually brought about the Stoddard lawsuit; and that a man who could force clients to sue was a man to be treated with caution. So it was suggested that Ellsworth Toohey should be invited to address the A.G.A. at one of its luncheons. Some members objected, Guy Francon among them. The most passionate objector was a young architect who made an eloquent speech, his voice trembling with the embarrassment of speaking in public for the first time; he said that he admired Ellsworth Toohey and had always agreed with Toohey’s social ideals, but if a group of people felt that some person was acquiring power over them, that was the time to fight such person. The majority overruled him.

He paid Mallory’s rent and he paid for most of their frequent meals together. Mallory had tried to object. “Shut up, Steve,” Roark had said. “I’m not doing it for you. At a time like this I owe myself a few luxuries. So I’m simply buying the most valuable thing that can be bought—your time. I’m competing with a whole country—and that’s quite a luxury, isn’t it? They want you to do baby plaques and I don’t, and I like having my way against theirs.”

most people say they’re concerned with the suffering of others. I’m not. And yet there’s one thing I can’t understand. Most of them would not pass by if they saw a man bleeding in the road, mangled by a hit-and-run driver. And most of them would not turn their heads to look at Steven Mallory. But don’t they know that if suffering could be measured, there’s more suffering in Steven Mallory when he can’t do the work he wants to do, than in a whole field of victims mowed down by a tank? If one must relieve the pain of this world, isn’t Mallory the place to begin?

The bedroom was a glass cage on the roof of the penthouse, its walls and ceiling made of huge glass sheets. There were dust-blue suede curtains to be pulled across the walls and enclose the room when he wished; there was nothing to cover the ceiling. Lying in bed, he could study the stars over his head, or see flashes of lightning, or watch the rain smashed into furious, glittering sunburst in mid-air above him, against the unseen protection.

Mr. Toohey, why should I consider your opinion?” “Well, after all, I am your architectural expert!” He could not keep the edge of anger out of his voice. “My dear Mr. Toohey, don’t confuse me with my readers.”

descendants to the gutter. Something about all the Wynands—in tenement,

One day he walked up to the press-room boss and stated that they should start a new service—delivering the paper to the reader’s door in the morning; he explained how and why it would boost circulation. “Yeah?” said the boss. “I know it will work,” said Wynand. “Well, you don’t run things around here,” said the boss. “You’re a fool,” said Wynand. He lost the job.

He made his greatest effort and learned to keep silent, to keep the place others described as his place, to accept ineptitude as his master—and to wait. No one had ever heard him speak of what he felt. He felt many emotions toward his fellow men, but respect was not one of them.

One evening he spoke. Sitting at her feet, his face raised to her, he allowed his soul to be heard. “My darling, anything you wish, anything I am, anything I can ever be ... That’s what I want to offer you—not the things I’ll get for you, but the thing in me that will make me able to get them. That thing—a man can’t renounce it—but I want to renounce it—so that it will be yours—so that it will be in your service—only for you.” The girl smiled and asked: “Do you think I’m prettier than Maggy Kelly?” He got up. He said nothing and walked out of the house. He never saw that girl again. Gail Wynand, who prided himself on never needing a lesson twice, did not fall in love again in the years that followed.

“Men differ in their virtues, if any,” said Gail Wynand, explaining his policy, “but they are alike in their vices.”

The Banner presented murder, arson, rape, corruption—with an appropriate moral against each. There were three columns of details to one stick of moral. “If you make people perform a noble duty, it bores them,” said Wynand. “If you make them indulge themselves, it shames them. But combine the two—and you’ve got them.”

The Banner was permitted to strain truth, taste and credibility, but not its readers’ brain power.

The Banner was first to get the newest typographical equipment. The Banner was last to get the best newspapermen—last, because it kept them.

His procedure evolved into a simple formula. When a newspaperman received an invitation to call on Wynand, he took it as an insult to his journalistic integrity, but he came to the appointment. He came, prepared to deliver a set of offensive conditions on which he would accept the job, if at all. Wynand began the interview by stating the salary he would pay. Then he added: “You might wish, of course, to discuss other conditions—” and seeing the swallowing movement in the man’s throat, concluded: “No? Fine. Report to me on Monday.”

Sometimes he lost money on his investments, coldly and with full intention. Through a series of untraceable steps he ruined many powerful men: the president of a bank, the head of an insurance company, the owner of a steamship line, and others.

Those who denounced him too persistently were run out of their professions: some in a few weeks, others many years later. There were occasions when he let insults pass unnoticed; there were occasions when he broke a man for an innocuous remark. One could never tell what he would avenge and what he would forgive.

unscrupulous in the innocent manner of one unable to grasp the conception of a scruple.

When a distinguished society woman asked him to contribute to a worthy charity cause, Wynand handed her a signed blank check—and laughed, confessing that the amount she dared to fill in was less than he would have given otherwise.

Once, in a basement beer joint, he heard a truck driver denouncing Gail Wynand as the worst exponent of capitalistic evils, in a language of colorful accuracy. Wynand agreed with him and helped him out with a few expressions of his own, from his Hell’s Kitchen vocabulary. Then Wynand picked up a copy of the Banner left by someone on a table, tore his own photograph from page 3, clipped it to a hundred-dollar bill, handed it to the truck driver and walked out before anyone could utter a word.

The succession of his mistresses was so rapid that it ceased to be gossip. It was said that he never enjoyed a woman unless he had bought her—and that she had to be the kind who could not be bought.

The things he collected were chosen by standards of his own. He had famous masterpieces; he had canvases by unknown artists; he rejected the works of immortal names for which he did not care. The estimates set by collectors and the matter of great signatures were of no concern to him. The art dealers whom he patronized reported that his judgment was that of a master.

“We have to have the Palmers,” she said, “so that we can get the commission for their new store building. We have to get that commission so that we can entertain the Eddingtons for dinner on Saturday. The Eddingtons have no commissions to give, but they’re in the Social Register. The Palmers bore you and the Eddingtons snub you. But you have to flatter people whom you despise in order to impress other people who despise you.”

So you see, you’re like a corpse to everybody around you. A kind of walking death. That’s worse than any active crime. It’s ...” “Negation?” “Yes. Just blank negation. You’re not here. You’ve never been here. If you’d tell me that the curtains in this room are ghastly and if you’d rip them off and put up some you like—something of you would be real, here, in this room. But you never have. You’ve never told the cook what dessert you liked for dinner. You’re not here, Dominique. You’re not alive. Where’s your I?” “Where’s yours, Peter?” she asked quietly.

I took something you never had. I grant you that’s worse.” “What?” “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.”

“I gather you do want to get Stoneridge?” “Are you baiting me, Ellsworth? I’d give my right arm for it.” “That wouldn’t be advisable. You couldn’t make any drawings then—or pretend to. It would be preferable to give up something less tangible.” “I’d give my soul.” “Would you, Peter?” asked Dominique.

It’s startling to see the same elements used in two compositions with opposite themes. Everything about you in that statue is the theme of exaltation. But your own theme is suffering.” “Suffering? I’m not conscious of having shown that.” “You haven’t. That’s what I meant. No happy person can be quite so impervious to pain.”

Dominique looked at the gold letters—I Do—on the delicate white bow. “What does that name mean?” she asked. “It’s an answer,” said Wynand, “to people long since dead. Though perhaps they are the only immortal ones. You see, the sentence I heard most often in my childhood was ‘You don’t run things around here.’

I never have any definite destination. This ship is not for going to places, but for getting away from them.

When I stop at a port, it’s only for the sheer pleasure of leaving it. I always think: Here’s one more spot that can’t hold me.”

“May I name another vicious bromide you’ve never felt?” “Which one?” “You’ve never felt how small you were when looking at the ocean.” He laughed. “Never. Nor looking at the planets. Nor at mountain peaks. Nor at the Grand Canyon. Why should I? When I look at the ocean, I feel the greatness of man. I think of man’s magnificent capacity that created this ship to conquer all that senseless space.

“I would give the greatest sunset in the world for one sight of New York’s skyline. Particularly when one can’t see the details. Just the shapes. The shapes and the thought that made them. The sky over New York and the will of man made visible.

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 pigmy, 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.

“I want it to be important, Dominique. That’s why I won’t touch you tonight. Not until we’re married. I know it’s a senseless gesture. I know that a wedding ceremony has no significance for either one of us. But to be conventional is the only abnormality possible between us. That’s why I want it. I have no other way of making an exception.”

He talked about his own work. She listened, as if she were an emigrant hearing her homeland’s language for a brief while.

“Your sense of timing leaves much to be desired.

This was not a reunion, but just one moment out of something that had never been interrupted.

She thought how strange it would be if she ever said “Hello” to him; one did not greet oneself each morning.

“I love doing it. Every building is like a person. Single and unrepeatable.” He was looking across the street. He had not changed. There was the old sense of lightness in him, of ease in motion, in action, in thought. She said, her sentence without beginning or end: “... doing five-story buildings for the rest of your life ...” “If necessary. But I don’t think it will be like that.” “What are you waiting for?” “I’m not waiting.”

“Dominique.” The way he pronounced the name remained with her and made it easier to hear the words that followed: “I wish I could tell you that it was a temptation, at least for a moment. But it wasn’t.” He added: “If I were very cruel, I’d accept it. Just to see how soon you’d beg me to go back to building.”

“Until—when, Roark?” His hand moved over the streets. “Until you stop hating all this, stop being afraid of it, learn not to notice it.”

Scarret protested in panic: “Gail, you can’t fire Sally! Not Sally!” “When I can’t fire anyone I wish on my paper, I’ll close

Scarret protested in panic: “Gail, you can’t fire Sally! Not Sally!” “When I can’t fire anyone I wish on my paper, I’ll close it and blow up the God-damn building,” said Wynand calmly.

“That’s one way of looking at it,” he said. “There’s another. I like to think that I took the worst refuse of the human spirit—the mind of that housewife and the minds of the people who like to read about her—and I made of it this necklace on your shoulders. I like to think that I was an alchemist capable of performing so great a purification.”

There was silence in the audience, puzzled and humble. When someone laughed, the rest joined in, with relief, glad to learn that they were enjoying themselves.

Jules Fougler had not tried to influence anybody; he had merely made clear—well in advance and through many channels—that anyone unable to enjoy this play was, basically, a worthless human being.

She looked at him in the deck chair. She thought that relaxation was attractive only in those for whom it was an unnatural state; then even limpness acquired purpose.

“Do you know what you’re actually in love with? Integrity. The impossible. The clean, consistent, reasonable, self-faithful, the all-of-one-style, like a work of art. That’s the only field where it can be found—art. But you want it in the flesh. You’re in love with it.

“The worst thing about dishonest people is what they think of as honesty,” he said. “I know a woman who’s never held to one conviction for three days running, but when I told her she had no integrity, she got very tight-lipped and said her idea of

“The worst thing about dishonest people is what they think of as honesty,” he said. “I know a woman who’s never held to one conviction for three days running, but when I told her she had no integrity, she got very tight-lipped and said her idea of integrity wasn’t mine; it seems she’d never stolen any money.

He could not name the thing he wanted of life. He felt it here, in this wild loneliness. But he did not face nature with the joy of a healthy animal—as a proper and final setting; he faced it with the joy of a healthy man—as a challenge; as tools, means and material.

He had always wanted to write music, and he could give no other identity to the thing he sought. If you want to know what it is, he told himself, listen to the first phrases of Tchaikovsky’s First Concerto—or the last movement of Rachmaninoff’s Second. Men have not found the words for it nor the deed nor the thought, but they have found the music.

Music, he thought, the promise of the music he had invoked, the sense of it made real—there it was before his eyes—he did not see it—he heard it in chords—he thought that there was a common language of thought, sight and sound—was it mathematics?—the discipline of reason—music was mathematics—and architecture was music in stone—he knew he was dizzy because this place below him could not be real.

Wheeling his bicycle by his side, the boy took the narrow path down the slope of the hill to the valley and the houses below. Roark looked after him. He had never seen the boy before and he would never see him again. He did not know that he had given someone the courage to face a lifetime.

Not a place where one went to meet “refined company” and land a husband in two weeks—but a resort for people who enjoyed their own presence well enough and sought only a place where they would be left free to enjoy it.

For the last year he lived at the construction site, in a shanty hastily thrown together on a bare hillside, a wooden enclosure with a bed, a stove and a large table. His old draftsmen came to work for him again, some abandoning better jobs in the city, to live in shacks and tents, to work in naked plank barracks that served as architect’s office. There was so much to build that none of them thought of wasting structural effort on their own shelters. They did not realize, until much later, that they had lacked comforts; and then they did not believe it—because the year at Monadnock Valley remained in their minds as the strange time when the earth stopped turning and they lived through twelve months of spring.

“It doesn’t matter, Steve, does it? Not what they do about it nor who comes to live here. Only that we’ve made it. Would you have missed this, no matter what price they make you pay for it afterward?” “No,” said Mallory.

“Heller did a grand job. Do you remember, Howard, what I told you once about the psychology of a pretzel? Don’t despise the middleman. He’s necessary. Someone had to tell them. It takes two to make every great career: the man who is great, and the man—almost rarer—who is great enough to see greatness and say so.”

there were men who were impressed by the simple fact that Roark had built a place which made money for owners who didn’t want to make money; this was more convincing than abstract artistic discussions.

When he received the invitation, Roark appeared before the committee and explained that he would be glad to design the fair—alone.

“If you want me, you’ll have to let me do it all, alone. I don’t work with councils.” “You wish to reject an opportunity like this, a spot in history, a chance of world fame, practically a chance of immortality ...” “I don’t work with collectives. I don’t consult, I don’t co-operate, I don’t collaborate.”

“Most people build as they live—as a matter of routine and senseless accident. But a few understand that building is a great symbol. We live in our minds, and existence is the attempt to bring that life into physical reality, to state it in gesture and form. For the man who understands this, a house he owns is a statement of his life. If he doesn’t build, when he has the means, it’s because his life has not been what he wanted.”

“Now you know what I want. Go ahead. Start at once. Drop anything else you’re doing. I’ll pay whatever you wish. I want that house by summer.... Oh, forgive me. Too much association with bad architects. I haven’t asked whether you want to do it.”

I don’t always like being Gail Wynand.” “I know that.” “I’m going to change my mind and ask you a personal question. You said you’d answer anything.” “I will.” “Have you always liked being Howard Roark?” Roark smiled. The smile was amused, astonished, involuntarily contemptuous. “You’ve answered,” said Wynand.

“I think it hurts you to know that you’ve made me suffer. You wish you hadn’t. And yet there’s something that frightens you more. The knowledge that I haven’t suffered at all.”

“Were you ever actually homeless and starving?” Wynand asked. “A few times.” “Did you mind that?” “No.” “I didn’t either. I minded something else. Did you want to scream, when you were a child, seeing nothing but fat ineptitude around you, knowing how many things could be done and done so well, but having no power to do them? Having no power to blast the empty skulls around you? Having to take orders—and that’s bad enough—but to take orders from your inferiors!

“I think I missed you. It was a kind of substitute—gathering the details of your past. Why did you actually stay away?” “You told me to.” “Are you always so meek about taking orders?” “When I find it advisable.”

She smiled as she had always smiled at him, a quiet greeting of understanding. “What’s the matter, Gail?” “Good evening, dear. Why?” “You look happy. That’s not the word. But it’s the nearest.” “ ‘Light’ is nearer. I feel light, thirty years lighter.

Only a feeling of how much is unimportant and how easy it is to live.”

When I listen to a symphony I love, I don’t get from it what the composer got. His ‘Yes’ was different from mine. He could have no concern for mine and no exact conception of it. That answer is too personal to each man. But in giving himself what he wanted, he gave me a great experience. I’m alone when I design a house, Gail, and you can never know the way in which I own it. But if you said your own ‘Amen’ to it—it’s also yours. And I’m glad it’s yours.”

“Doesn’t he remind you of Dwight Carson?” “Oh, forget Dwight Carson!” Wynand’s voice, refusing earnestness, refusing guilt, had sounded exactly like the voice that had said: “Forget the Stoddard Temple.”

You seem to hear everything I say a minute in advance. We’re unsynchronized.” “You call that unsynchronized?”

These are the first happy years of my life. I met you because I wanted to build a monument to my happiness. I come here to find rest, and I find it,

I do not know what makes you tick. I do not care to dissect your motives. I do not have the stomach required of medical students.

No special reason. Just spent a revolting half-hour and wanted to take the taste of it out of my mouth.” “What revolting half-hour?” “Had my picture taken with Lancelot Clokey.” “Who’s Lancelot Clokey?” Wynand laughed aloud, forgetting his controlled elegance, forgetting the startled glance of the waiter. “That’s it, Howard. That’s why I had to have lunch with you. Because you can say things like that.”

He had been Gail Wynand and he had stood still, like this car, and the years had sped past him, like this earth, and the motor within him had controlled the flight of the years.

In his absence the house had taken shape; it could be recognized now—it looked like the drawing. He felt a moment of childish wonder that it had really come out just as on the sketch, as if he had never quite believed it.

Roark got up, reached out, tore a thick branch off a tree, held it in both hands, one fist closed at each end; then, his wrists and knuckles tensed against the resistance, he bent the branch slowly into an arc. “Now I can make what I want of it: a bow, a spear, a cane, a railing. That’s the meaning of life.” “Your strength?” “Your work.” He tossed the branch aside. “The material the earth offers you and what you make of it

When Roark looked at her, there was no denial of memory in his eyes. The glance said simply that nothing had changed and nothing was needed to state it.

he walked to a window and stood looking up at the sky. His head thrown back, he felt the pull of his throat muscles and he wondered whether the peculiar solemnity of looking at the sky comes, not from what one contemplates, but from that uplift of one’s head.

Her philosophy consisted of one sentence—“I can get away with anything.” In conversation she paraphrased it to her favorite line: “I? I’m the day after tomorrow.”

Translated into language, Homer Slottern’s attitude consisted of two parts; they were contradictory parts, but this did not trouble him, since they remained untranslated in his mind.

What’s he so damn arrogant about? Just because he made that fortune himself? Does he have to be such a damn snob just because he came from Hell’s Kitchen? It isn’t other people’s fault if they weren’t lucky enough to be born in Hell’s Kitchen to rise out of!

What’s he so damn arrogant about? Just because he made that fortune himself? Does he have to be such a damn snob just because he came from Hell’s Kitchen? It isn’t other people’s fault if they weren’t lucky enough to be born in Hell’s Kitchen to rise out of! Nobody understands what a terrible handicap it is to be born rich. Because people just take for granted that because you were born that way you’d just be no good if you weren’t. What I mean is if I’d had Gail Wynand’s breaks, I’d be twice as rich as he is by now and three times as famous.

“Ellsworth, why have you dropped me? Why don’t you ever write anything about me any more? Why is it always—in your column and everywhere—and on any commission you have a chance to swing—why is it always Gus Webb?” “But, Peter, why shouldn’t it be?” “But... I...” “I’m sorry to see that you haven’t understood me at all. In all these years, you’ve learned nothing of my principles. I don’t believe in individualism, Peter. I don’t believe that any one man is any one thing which everybody else can’t be. I believe we’re all equal and interchangeable. A position you hold today can be held by anybody and everybody tomorrow. Equalitarian rotation. Haven’t I always preached that to you? Why do you suppose I chose you? Why did I put you where you were? To protect the field from men who would become irreplaceable. To leave a chance for the Gus Webbs of this world. Why do you suppose I fought against—for instance—Howard Roark?”

it’s not because I mind so much that I’m a failure ... it’s because I can’t understand why I slipped like that ... from the top ... without any reason at all ...” “Well, Peter, that could be terrifying to contemplate. The inexplicable is always terrifying. But it wouldn’t be so frightening if you stopped to ask yourself whether there’s ever been any reason why you should have been at the top....

“Howard, is this the terrible thing they meant by turning the other cheek—your letting me come here?” He did not think of his voice. He did not know that it had dignity. Roark looked at him silently for a moment; this was a greater change than the swollen face. “I don’t know, Peter. No, if they meant actual forgiveness. Had I been hurt, I’d never forgive it. Yes, if they meant what I’m doing. I don’t think a man can hurt another, not in any important way. Neither hurt him nor help him. I have really nothing to forgive you.”

“You want to do it?” “I might. If you offer me enough.” “Howard—anything you ask. Anything. I’d sell my soul ...” “That’s the sort of thing I want you to understand. 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?”

Bricks and steel are not my motive. Neither are the clients. Both are only the means of my work. Peter, before you can do things for people, you must be the kind of man who can get things done. But to get things done, you must love the doing, not the secondary consequences.

Have you seen the converted brownstones in which the average self-supporting couple has to live? Have you seen their closet kitchens and their plumbing? They’re forced to live like that—because they’re not incompetent enough. They make forty dollars a week and wouldn’t be allowed into a housing project. But they’re the ones who provide the money for the damn project. They pay the taxes. And the taxes raise their own rent. And they have to move from a converted brownstone into an unconverted one and from that into a railroad flat. I’d have no desire to penalize a man because he’s worth only fifteen dollars a week. But I’ll be damned if I can see why a man worth forty must be penalized—and penalized in favor of the one who’s less competent.

“I like to receive money for my work. But I can pass that up this time. I like to have people know my work is done by me. But I can pass that up. I like to have tenants made happy by my work. But that doesn’t matter too much. The only thing that matters, my goal, my reward, my beginning, my end is the work itself.

This is pity, he thought, and then he lifted his head in wonder. He thought that there must be something terribly wrong with a world in which this monstrous feeling is called a virtue.

He thought: It’s not an act—one can’t put on an act like that—unless it’s an act inside, for oneself, and then there is no limit, no way out, no reality....

“You made a mistake on the Stoddard Temple, Howard. That statue should have been, not of Dominique, but of you.” “No. I’m too egotistical for that.” “Egotistical? An egotist would have loved it. You use words in the strangest way.” “In the exact way. I don’t wish to be the symbol of anything. I’m only myself.”

The Wynand papers? For thirty-one years they have represented everybody except Gail Wynand. I erased my ego out of existence in a way never achieved by any saint in a cloister. Yet people call me corrupt. Why? The saint in a cloister sacrifices only material things. It’s a small price to pay for the glory of his soul. He hoards his soul and gives up the world. But I—I took automobiles, silk pyjamas, a penthouse, and gave the world my soul in exchange. Who’s sacrificed more -if sacrifice is the test of virtue? Who’s the actual saint?”

Look at Peter Keating.” “You look at him. I hate his guts.” “I’ve looked at him—at what’s left of him—and it’s helped me to understand. He’s paying the price and wondering for what sin and telling himself that he’s been too selfish. In what act or thought of his has there ever been a self? What was his aim in life? Greatness—in other people’s eyes. Fame, admiration, envy—all that which comes from others. Others dictated his convictions, which he did not hold, but he was satisfied that others believed he held them. Others were his motive power and his prime concern. He didn’t want to be great, but to be thought great. He didn’t want to build, but to be admired as a builder. He borrowed from others in order to make an impression on others. There’s your actual selflessness. It’s his ego that he’s betrayed and given up. But everybody calls him selfish.”

aren’t you making out a case against selfishness? Aren’t they all acting on a selfish motive—to be noticed, liked, admired?” “—by others. At the price of their own self-respect. In the realm of greatest importance—the realm of values, of judgment, of spirit, of thought—they place others above self, in the exact manner which altruism demands. A truly selfish man cannot be affected by the approval of others. He doesn’t need it.”

You can fake virtue for an audience. You can’t fake it in your own eyes.

It’s easier to donate a few thousands to charity and think oneself noble than to base self-respect on personal standards of personal achievement.

They don’t ask: ‘Is this true?’ They ask: ‘Is this what others think is true?’

“Gail, 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.”

But we don’t wait to discover his reasons. We have convicted him without a hearing. We want him to be guilty. We are delighted with this case. What you hear is not indignation—it’s gloating. Any illiterate maniac, any worthless moron who commits some revolting murder, gets shrieks of sympathy from us and marshals an army of humanitarian defenders. But a man of genius is guilty by definition. Granted that it is a vicious injustice to condemn a man simply because he is weak and small. To what level of depravity has a society descended when it condemns a man simply because he is strong and great?

“He can’t help you, no matter what he does.” “I know he can’t. That’s not the point.” “He’s risking everything he has to save you. He doesn’t know he’ll lose me if you’re saved.” “Dominique, which will be worse for him—to lose you or to lose his crusade?” She nodded, understanding. He added: “You know that it’s not me he wants to save. I’m only the excuse.”

Don’t deny the conception of greatness. Destroy it from within. The great is the rare, the difficult, the exceptional. Set up standards of achievement open to all, to the least, to the most inept—and you stop the impetus to effort in all men, great or small. You stop all incentive to improvement, to excellence, to perfection. Laugh at Roark and hold Peter Keating as a great architect. You’ve destroyed architecture. Build up Lois Cook and you’ve destroyed literature. Hail Ike and you’ve destroyed the theater. Glorify Lancelot Clokey and you’ve destroyed the press. Don’t set out to raze all shrines—you’ll frighten men. Enshrine mediocrity—and the shrines are razed.

Look at the moral atmosphere of today. Everything enjoyable, from cigarettes to sex to ambition to the profit motive, is considered depraved or sinful. Just prove that a thing makes men happy—and you’ve damned it. That’s how far we’ve come. We’ve tied happiness to guilt.

But here you might have noticed something. I said, ‘It stands to reason.’ Do you see? Men have a weapon against you. Reason. So you must be very sure to take it away from them. Cut the props from under it. But be careful. Don’t deny outright. Never deny anything outright, you give your hand away. Don’t say reason is evil—though some have gone that far and with astonishing success. Just say that reason is limited. That there’s something above it. What? You don’t have to be too clear about it either. The field’s inexhaustible.

If you get caught at some crucial point and somebody tells you that your doctrine doesn’t make sense—you’re ready for him. You tell him that there’s something above sense. That here he must not try to think, he must feel. He must believe. Suspend reason and you play it deuces wild.

Remember the Roman Emperor who said he wished humanity had a single neck so he could cut it? People have laughed at him for centuries. But we’ll have the last laugh. We’ve accomplished what he couldn’t accomplish. We’ve taught men to unite. This makes one neck ready for one leash. We’ve found the magic word. Collectivism

Did you ever stop to think what it rested upon? Did you stop to secure the foundations? No, because you were a practical man. Practical men deal in bank accounts, real estate, advertising contracts and gilt-edged securities. They leave to the impractical intellectuals, like me, the amusements of putting the gilt edges through a chemical analysis to learn a few things about the nature and the source of gold. They hang on to Kream-O Pudding, and leave us such trivia as the theater, the movies, the radio, the schools, the book reviews and the criticism of architecture.

Dominique had tried to warn him once: “Gail, if people want to organize for wages, hours or practical demands, it’s their proper right. But when there’s no tangible purpose, you’d better watch closely.”

We praise an act of charity. We shrug at an act of achievement.

“A man thinks and works alone. A man cannot rob, exploit or rule—alone. Robbery, exploitation and ruling presuppose victims. They imply dependence. They are the province of the second-hander.

“The creator—denied, opposed, persecuted, exploited—went on, moved forward and carried all humanity along on his energy. The second-hander contributed nothing to the process except the impediments.

“I destroyed it because I did not choose to let it exist. It was a double monster. In form and in implication. I had to blast both. The form was mutilated by two second-handers who assumed the right to improve upon that which they had not made and could not equal.

Who permitted them to do it? No particular man among the dozens in authority. No one cared to permit it or to stop it. No one was responsible. No one can be held to account. Such is the nature of all collective action.

“It is said that I have destroyed the home of the destitute. It is forgotten that but for me the destitute could not have had this particular home. Those who were concerned with the poor had to come to me, who have never been concerned, in order to help the poor. It is believed that the poverty of the future tenants gave them a right to my work. That their need constituted a claim on my life. That it was my duty to contribute anything demanded of me.

“I came here to say that I do not recognize anyone’s right to one minute of my life. Nor to any part of my energy. Nor to any achievement of mine.