"Ted, you won't be the next one to go?" she had asked him, on his recent visit to New York; she had asked it, trying to smile. "He had answered grimly, "I hope not." "What do you mean you hope? – aren't you sure?" He had said slowly, heavily, "Dagny, I've always thought that I'd rather die than stop working. But so did the men who're gone. It seems impossible to me that I could ever want to quit. But a year ago, it seemed impossible that they ever could.... I can't tell what I'll do when I see it – whatever it was that they saw when they went." (188.8.131.52)
Ted Nielsen hits upon one of the main fears in the book: the fear of not knowing. Not knowing why people are making the choices they are making and what sort of choice you might be confronted with in an unknown situation. The unknown cuts off people's ability to judge and to decide, which causes a lot of anxiety for people who prize their power of rational choice.