"Exaltation" is usually taken to mean an emotional state
evoked by contemplating the supernatural. "Worship" means the emotional
experience of loyalty and dedication to something higher than man. "Reverence"
means the emotion of a sacred respect, to be experienced on ones knees. "Sacred"
means superior to and not-to-be-touched-by any concerns of man or of his earth.
But such concepts do name actual emotions, even though no supernatural dimension exists;
and these emotions are experienced as uplifting or ennobling, without the self-abasement
required by religious definitions.
... It is this highest level of man's emotions that has to be redeemed from the murk of
mysticism and redirected at its proper object: man.
Ayn Rand in the Introduction to the 25th Anniversary Edition
It is not in the nature of man - nor of any living entity - to start out
by giving up, by spitting in one's own face and damning existence; that requires a process
of corruption whose rapidity differs from man to man. Some give up at the first touch of
pressure; some sell out; some run down by imperceptible degrees and lose their fire, never
knowing when or how they lost it. Then all of these vanish in the vast swamp of their
elders who tell them persistently that maturity consists of abandoning one's mind; security,
of abandoning one's values; practicality, of losing self-esteem. Yet a few hold on and move
on, knowing that that fire is not to be betrayed, learning how to give it shape, purpose
and reality. But whatever their future, at the dawn of their lives, men seek a noble
vision of man's nature and of life's potential.
Ayn Rand in the Introduction to the 25th Anniversary Edition
Each structure was inevitable what it had to be. It was not as if the
draftsman had sat over them, pondering laboriously, piecing together doors, windows and
columns, as his whim dictated and as the books prescribed. It was as if the buildings
had sprung from the earth and some living force, complete, unalterable right. The hand
that made the sharp pencil lines still had much to learn. But not a line seemed
superfluous, not a needed plane was missing. The structures were austere and simple, until
one looked at them and realized what work, what complexity of method, what tension of
thought had achieved the simplicity. No laws had dictated a single detail. The buildings
were not Classical, they were not Gothic, they were not Renaissance. They were only
On Howard Roark's Sketches
"I want to be an architect, not an archeologist. I see no purpose
in doing Renaissance villas. Why learn to design them, when I'll never build them?"
"My dear boy, the great style of the Renaissance is far from dead. Houses of that
style are being erected every day."
"They are. And they will be. But not by me."
"Come, come, now, this is childish."
"I came here to learn about building. When I was given a project, its only value to
me was to learn to solve it as I would solve a real one in the future. I did them the way
I'll build them. I've learned all I could learn here - in the structural sciences of which
you don't approve. One more year of drawing Italian post cards would give me nothing"
Dialogue between Roark and the Dean
"Here are my rules: what can be done with one substance must never be
done with another. No two materials are alike. No two sites on earth are alike. No two
buildings have the same purpose. The purpose, the site, the material determine the shape.
Nothing can be reasonable or beautiful unless it's made by one central idea, and the idea
sets every detail. A building is alive, like a man. Its integrity is to follow its own
truth, its one single theme, and to serve its own single purpose. A man doesn't borrow
pieces of his body. A building doesn't borrow hunks of its soul. Its maker gives it the
soul and every wall, window and stairway to express it."
"... The Parthenon did not serve the same purpose as its wooden ancestor. An airline
terminal does not serve the same purpose as the Parthenon. Every form has its own meaning.
Every man creates its meaning and form and goal. Why is it so important - what others have
done? Why does it become sacred by the mere fact of not being your own? Why is anyone and
everyone right - so long as it's not yourself? Why does the number of those others take
the place of truth?"
Howard Roark to the Dean
"I have, let's say, sixty years to live. Most of the 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."
Howard Roark to the Dean
"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?"
Roark to Peter Keating
A blind admiration would have been precarious; a deserved admiration
would have been a responsibility; and undeserved admiration was precious.
Guy Francon feeling elated with Keating's faked admiration
Both men disliked Roark. He was usually disliked, from the first sight
of his face, anywhere he went. His face was closed like the door of a vault; things locked
in a saftey vault are valuable; men did not care to feel that. He was a cold disquieting
presence in the room; his presence had a strange quality; it made itself felt and yet it
made them feel that he was not there; or perhaps that he was and they weren't.
Roark in Cameron's office
It's funny, Howard, next spring it will be three years that you've
been here. Seems so much longer, doesn't it? Well, have I taught you anything? I'll tell
you: I've taught you a great deal and nothing. 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.
Cameron to Roark
"Can't you be human for once in your life?"
"Human! Simple. Natural"
"But I am."
"Can't you ever relax?"
Roark smiled, because he was sitting on the window sill, leaning sloppily against
the wall, his long legs hanging loosely, the cigarette held without pressure between
"That's not what I mean!" said Keating. "Why can't you go out for a
drink with me?"
"Do you always have to have a purpose? Do you always have to be so damn serious?
Can't you do things without reason, just like everybody else? You're so serious, so
old. Everything's important with you, everything's great, significant in some way,
every minute, even when you keep still. Can't you ever be comfortable and unimportant?"
"Don't you get tired of the heroic?"
"What's heroic about me?"
"Nothing. Everything. I don't know. It's not what you do. It's what you make
people feel around you."
"The un-normal. The strain. When I'm with you - it's always like a choice.
Between you - and the rest of the world. I don't want that kind of a choice. I don't
want to be an outsider. I want to belong. There's so much in this world that's simple
and pleasant. It is not all fighting and renunciation. It is - with you."
"What have I ever renounced?"
"Oh, you'll never renounce anything! You'd walk over corpses for what you want.
But it's what you've renounced by never wanting it.?"
"That's because you can't want both."
"Look, Peter. I've never told you any of those things about me. What makes you
see them? I've never asked you to make a choice between me and anything else. What
makes you feel that there is a choice involved? What makes you uncomfortable when you
feel that - since you're so sure I'm wrong?"
"I.... I don't know." He added: "I don't know what you're talking
about." And then he asked suddenly:
"Howard, do you hate me?"
"I don't hate you."
"Well, that's it! Why don't you hate me at least?"
"Why should I?"
"Just to give me something. I know you can't like me. You can't like anybody.
So it would be kinder to acknowledge people's existence by hating them."
"I'm not kind, Peter."
And as Keating found nothing to say, Roark added:
"Go home, Peter. You got what you wanted. Let it go at that. See you Monday"
Roark and Keating. After Keating offered Roark a job.
It was not malice. It was not a judgement passed upon his merit. They
did not think he was worthless. They simply did not care to find out whether he was good.
Sometimes, he was asked to show his sketches; he extended them across a desk feeling a
contraction of shame in the muscles of his hand; it was like having the clothes torn off
his body, and the shame was not that his body was exposed, but that it was exposed to
Roark while looking for a job
A young woman stood before the railing, speaking to the reception clerk.
Her slender body seemed out of all scale in relation to a normal human body; its lines were
so long, so fragile, so exaggerated that she looked like a stylized drawing of a woman and
made the correct proportions of a normal being appear heavy and awkward beside her. She
wore a plain gray suit; the contrast between its tailored severity and her appearance
was deliberately exorbitant - and strangely elegant. She let the finger tips of one hand
rest on the railing, a narrow hand ending the straight imperious line of her arm. She had
gray eyes that were not ovals, but two long, rectangular cuts edged by parallel lines
of lashes; she had an air of cold serenity and an exquisitely vicious mouth. Her face,
her pale gold hair, her suit seemed to have no color, but only a hint, just on the verge
of the reality of color, making the full reality seem vulgar.
The house on the sketches had been designed not by Roark, but by the
cliff on which it stood. It was as if the cliff had grown and completed itself and
proclaimed the purpose for which it had been waiting. The house was broken into many
levels, following the ledges of the rock, rising as it rose, in gradual masses, in planes
flowing together up into one consummate harmony. The walls, of the same granite as the
rock, continued its vertical lines upward; the wide projecting terraces of concrete,
silver as the sea followed the line of the waves, of the straight horizon.
The first house of Architect Roark
"It doesn't say much. Only 'Howard Roark, Architect.' But it's
like those mottoes men carved over the entrance of a castle and died for. It's a
challenge in the face of something so vast and so dark, that all the pain on earth -
and do you know how much suffering there is on earth? - all the pain comes from that
thing you are going to face. I don't know what it is, I don't know why it should be
unleashsed against you. I know only that it will be. And I know that if you carry these
words through to the end, it will be a victory. Howard, not just for you, but for
something that should win, that moves the world - and never wins acknowledgement. It will
vindicate so many who have fallen before you, who have suffered as you will suffer.
May God bless you - or whoever it is that is alone to see the best, the highest possible
to human hearts..."
Cameron's reaction after seeing snapshots of Howard's new office.
Roark stood on the cliff by the structure, and looked at the
countryside, at the long, gray ribbon of the road twisting past along the shore. An
open car drove by, fleeing into the country. The car was overfilled with people bound
for a picnic. There was a jumble of bright sweaters, and scarfs fluttering in the wind;
a jumble of voices shrieking without purpose over the roar of the motor, and overstressed
hiccoughs of laughter; a girl sat sidewise, her legs flung over the side of the car; she
wore a man's straw hat slipping down to her nose and she yanked savagely at the strings
of a ukulele, ejecting raucous sounds, yelling "Hey!". These people were
enjoying a day of their existence; they were shrieking to the sky their release from the
work and the burdens of the days behind them; they had worked and carried the burdens in
order to reach a goal - and this was the goal.
He looked at the car as it streaked past. He thought that there was a
difference, some important difference, between the consciousness of this day in him and
in them. He thought that he should try to grasp it. But he forgot. He was looking at a
truck panting up the hill, loaded with a glittering mound of cut granite.
Roark's idea of celebration?
"You know, it's such a peculiar thing - our idea of mankind in
general. We 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 equivalent. As a matter of fact, one can feel
some respect for people when they suffer. They have a certain dignity. But have you ever
looked at them when they're enjoying themselves? That's when you see the truth. Look at
those who spend the money they've slaved for - at amusement parks and side shows. Look
at those who're rich and have the whole world open to them. Observe what they pick out
for enjoyment Watch them in the smarter speak-easies. That's your mankind in general. I
don't want to touch it."
Dominique to Alvah Scarret.
Sometimes, not often, he sat up and did not move for a long
time; then he smiled, the slow smile of an executioner watching a victim. He thought of
the days going by, of the buildings he could have been doing, should have been doing
and, perhaps, never would be doing again. He watched the pain's unsummoned appearance
with a cold, detached curiosity; he said to himself: Well, here it is again. He waited
to see how long it would last. It gave him a strange, hard pleasure to watch his fight
against it, and he could forget that it was his own suffering; he could smile in
contempt, not realizing that he smiled at his own agony. Such moments were rare. But
when they came, he felt as he did in the quarry: that he had to drill through granite,
that he had to drive a wedge and blast the thing within him which persisted in calling
to his pity.
Roarks life at the quarry.
When she was on the rocks above him, he raised his head and looked
at her; she had not caught him noticing her approach; he looked up as if he expected her
to be there, as if he knew she would be back. She saw the hint of a smile, more insulting
than words. He sustained the insolence of looking straight at her in such manner, he
would not move, he would not grant the concession of turning away - of acknowledging
that he had no right to look at her in such manner. He had not merely taken away that
right, he was saying silently that she had given it to him....
She went back to the quarry three days later. She stopped over the
ledge where he worked and she stood watching him openly. When he raised his head, she
did not turn away. Her glance told him she knew the meaning of her action, but did not
respect him enough to conceal it. His glance told her only that he had expected her to
come. He bent over his drill and went on with his work. She waited, she wanted him to
look up. She knew that he knew it. He would not look again.
Strange games people play! (Roark and Dominique)
... she felt the sinking gasp inside, that feeling of shame and
pleasure which he always gave her: she realized that their understanding had been more
intimate and flagrant than ever - in his natural acceptance of an unnatural offer; he
had shown her how much he knew - by his lack of astonishment.
When Roark accepted Dominique's request to repair the fireplace
Roger Enright had started life as a coal miner in Pennsylvania. On his way
to the millions he now owned, no one had ever helped him. "That," he explained,
"is why no one has ever stood in my way." A great many things and people had stood
in his way, however; but he had never noticed them. Many incidents of his long career were not
admired; none was whispered about. His career had been glaring and public like a billboard. He
made a poor subject for blackmailers or debunking biographers.
He did not think of Dominique often, but when he did, the thought was not a
sudden recollection, it was the acknowledgement of a continuous presence that needed no
acknowledgement. He wanted her. He knew where to find her. He waited. It amused him to wait,
because he knew that the waiting was unbearable to her. He knew that his absence bound her to
him in a manner more complete and more humiliating than his presence could enforce. He was
giving her time to attempt an escape, in order to let her know her own helplessness when he
chose to see her again. She would know that the attempt itself had been of his choice, that it
had been only another form of mastery. Then she would be ready either to kill him or to come
to him of her own will.
Roark thinking of Dominique before the construction of Enright House begun.
"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. You'll never
know how. You're brilliant in some respects, Howard, I've always said that - and terribly
stupid in others."
The Peter Keating attitude.
"No man likes to be beaten. 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?"
Ellsworth to Dominique.
"Compassion is a wonderful thing. It's what one feels when one
looks at a squashed caterpillar. An elevating experience. One can let oneself go and spread
- you know, like taking a girdle off. You don't have to hold your stomach, your heart or
your spirit up - when you feel compassion. All you have to do is to look down. It's much
easier. When you look up, you get pain in the neck. Compassion is the greatest virtue. It
justifies suffering. There's got to be suffering in the world, else how would we be
virtuous and feel compassion? .... Oh, it has an antithesis - but such a hard, demanding
one... Admiration. But that takes more than a girdle..."
Dominique in a sarcastic mood.
"What, incidentally, do you think integrity is? The ability not to
pick a watch out of your neighbor's pocket? No, it's not that 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."
Lansing, who got Roark to build the Aquitania.
"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."
Mallory looked at him incredulously and whispered:
"How did you know that?" Roark smiled and said nothing.
"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? And your most important is nothing
to them, nothing, not even a sound they can recognize. You mean, you want to hear? You want
to know what I do and why I do it, you want to know what I think? It's not boring to you?
Mallory and Roark.
"Howard Roark built a temple to the human spirit. He saw man as
strong, proud, clean, wise and fearless. He saw man as a heroic being. And he built a temple
to that. A temple is a place where man is to experience exaltation. He thought that exaltation
comes from the consciousness of being guiltless, of seeing the truth and achieving it, of
living up to one's highest possibility, of knowing no shame and having no cause for shame,
of being able to stand naken in sull sunlight. He thought that exaltation means joy and that
joy is man's birthright. He thought that a place built as a setting for man is a sacred
place.... But Ellsworth Toohey said that this temple was a monument to a profound hatred of
humanity. Ellsworth Toohey said that the essence of exaltation was to be sacred out of your
wits, to fall down and to grovel. Ellsworth Toohey said that man's hight act was to
realize his own worthlessness and to beg forgiveness.... 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 let them become the occasion for a whole concert of grunting..."
Dominique at the trial of the Stoddard temple.
To say 'I love you' one must first know how to say the 'I'.
Roark to Dominique on a particularly painful moment.
"...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 have 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 have felt what it means to love as you and I know it - the total passion for the total
height - you are incapable of anything less."
Dominique to Wynand.
"... 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."
"Have you always like being Howard Roark?"
Roark smiled. The smile was amused, astonished, involuntarily contemptuous.
"You've answered," said Wynand.
Wynand and Roark.
"...When I listen to a symphony I love, I don't get from it what the
composer got... He could have no concern for me... But in giving himself what he wanted, he
gave me a great experience... I am alone when I design this house, Gail, and you can never
know the way in which I own it. But if you said 'Amen' to it - it's also yours. I'm glad
Roark at Wynand's dinner table.
"There's so much nonsense about human inconstancy and the transience of all
emotions. I've always thought that a feeling which changes never existed
in the first place. There are books I liked at the age of sixteen. I still like them."
Wynand at his dinner table.
"If it were true, that old legend about appearing before a supreme
judge and naming one's record, I would offer, with all my pride, not any act I committed,
but one thing I have never done on this earth: that I never sought an outside sanction. I
would stand and say: I am Gail Wynand, the man who has committed every crime except the
foremost one: that of ascribing futility to the wonderful fact of existence and seeking
justification beyond myself. This is my pride, that now, thinking of the end, I do not cry
like the men of my age: but what was the use and the meaning? I was the use and meaning. I,
Gail Wynand. That I lived and I acted."
Wynand thinking while driving to his new house.
"The drawings of Cortlandt Homes presented six buildings, fifteen
stories high, each made in the shape of an irregular star with arms extending from a
central shaft. The shafts contained elevators, stairways, heating systems and all the
utilities. The apartments radiated from the center in the form of extended triangles. The
space between the arms allowed light and air from three sides. The ceilings were pre-cast;
the inner walls were of plastic tile that required no painting or plastering; all pipes
and wires were laid out in metal ducts at the edge of the floors, to be opened and replaced,
when necessary, without costly demolition; the kitchens and bathrooms were prefabricated
as complete units; the inner partitions were of light metal that could be folded into the
walls to provide one large room or pulled out to divide it; there were few halls or
lobbies to clean, a minimum of cost and labor required for the maintenance of the place.
The entire plan was a composition in triangles. The buildings, of poured concrete, were
a complex modeling of simple structural features; there was no ornament; none was needed;
the shapes had the beauty of sculpture."
Cortlandt Homes - Designed by Howard Roark.
"Why do they always teach us that it's easy and evil 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. And it takes the greatest kind of courage. I mean, what we really
want. As I want to marry you. Not as I want to sleep with some woman or get drunk or get my
name in the papers. Those things - they're not even desires - they're things people do to
escape from desires - because it's such a big responsibility, really to want something."
Peter Keating to Katie.
"Look at them. The man who cheats and lies, but preserves a respectable
front. He knows himself to be dishonest, but others think he's honest and he derives his
self respect from that, second-hand. The man who takes credit for an achievement which is
not his own. He knows himself to be mediocre, but he's great in the eyes of others. The
frustrated wretch who professes love for the inferior and clings to those less endowed, in
order to establish his own superiority by comparison. The man whose sole aim is to make
money. Now I don't see anything evil in a desire to make money. But money is only a means to
some end. If a man wants is for a personal purpose - to invest it in his industry, to create,
to study, to travel, to enjoy luxury - he's completely moral. But the men who place money
first go much beyond that. Personal luxury is a limited endeavor. What they want is
ostentation: to show, to stun, to entertain, to impress others. They're second-handers. Look
at our so-called cultural endeavors. A lecturer who spouts some borrowed rehash of nothing
at all that means nothing at all to him - and the people who listen and don't give a damn,
but sit there in order to tell their friends that they have attended a lecture by a
famous name. All second-handers."
Roark to Gail Wynand.
"Nothing is given to man on earth. Everything he needs has to be
produced. And here man faces his basic alternative: he can survive in only one of two ways
- by the independent work of his own mind or as a parasite fed by the minds of the others.
The creator originates. The parasite borrows. The creator faces nature alone. The parasite
faces nature through an intermediary.
The creators concern is the conquest of nature. The parasite's concern is the conquest of men.
The creator lives for his work. He needs no other men. His primary goal is within himself.
The parasite lives second-hand. He needs others. Others become his prime motive.
The basic need of the creator is independence. The reasoning mind cannot work under any
form of compulsion. It cannot be curbed, sacrificed or subordinated to any consideration
whatsoever. It demands total independence in the function and in motive. To a creator, all
relations with men are secondary."
Roark during the trial.
"If physical slavery is repulsive, how much more repulsive is the
concept of servility of the spirit? The conquered slave has a vestige of honor. He has the
merit of having resisted and of considering his condition evil. But the man who enslaves
himself voluntarily in the name of love is the basest of creatures. He degrades the dignity
of man and he degrades the conception of love."
Roark during the trial.
"Men have been taught that the highest virtue is not to achieve,
but to give. Yet one cannot give that which has not been created. Creation comes before
distribution - or there will be nothing to distribute. The need of the creator comes before
the need of any possible beneficiary."
Roark during the trial.
"She had not known Henry Cameron, and she had not heard him say it,
but what she felt now was as if she were hearing it: "And I know that if you carry these
words through to the end, it will be a victory, Howard, not just for you, but for something
that should win, that moves the world - and never wins acknowledgement. It will vindicate
so many who have fallen before you, who have suffered as you will suffer."
Dominique at the site of Wynand Building.
She saw him standing above her, on the platform of the Wynand Building. He waved to her.
The line of the ocean cut the sky. The ocean mounted as the city descended. She passes the
pinnacles of the bank buildings. She passes the crowns of courthouses. She rose above
spires of churches.
Then there was only the ocean and the sky and the figure of Howard Roark.
Dominique and Roark - The End.