by Ayn Rand
Atlas Shrugged Philosophical Viewpoints: Objectivism Quotes
How we cite our quotes: Citations follow this format: (Volume.Chapter.Section.Page). We used the 50th Anniversary Edition published by Signet Books in 2007.
"I want you to know this. I started my life with a single absolute: that the world was mine to shape in the image of my highest values and never to be given up to a lesser standard, no matter how long or hard the struggle.... I am going back to fight for this valley – to release it from its underground, to regain for it its full and rightful realm, to let the earth belong to you in fact, as it does in spirit – and to meet you again on the day when I'm able to deliver to you the whole of the world." (188.8.131.52)
Dagny hits upon the main moral conflict of the book here: is the best way to live Objectivist values to go on strike or to continue fighting the looters in the "outside" world?
"Whenever anyone accuses some person of being 'unfeeling' he means that that person is just. He means that that person has no causeless emotions and will not grant him a feeling which he does not deserve. He means that 'to feel' is to go against reason, against moral values, against reality." (184.108.40.206)
Dagny explains to Cherryl one of the conflicts of language in the book. Looters use the word "unfeeling" as an insult, but Dagny explains that in Objectivism feeling is a product of reason and values. What the looters call "feeling" isn't really feeling at all.
"But to think is an act of choice. The key to what you so recklessly call 'human nature'...is the fact that man is a being of volitional consciousness. Reason does not work automatically; thinking is not a mechanical process...you are free to think or to evade the effort. But you are not free to escape from your nature, from the fact that reason is your means of survival." (220.127.116.11)
Galt's idea of "volitional consciousness" means that people can choose to use reason to make various life choices. Choice becomes each person's right and responsibility here.