Ayn Rand Playboy Interview, 1964

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  • Post last modified:October 10, 2004

‘Atlas Shrugged’의 저자 Ayn Rand의 철학을 엿볼 수 있는 인터뷰다.

1964 년에 발행된 글이라, 뒷 부분에서는 그 당시의 정치적 이슈를 다루고 있다. 내가 알고자 하는 내용이 아니기 때문에, 앞 부분만 읽었다.

Ayn Rand의 사상의 출발점은 비교적 간단하다. 이성적으로 생각하고, 자신의 의지로 행동한다. 그리고 그 행동이 초래한 결과에 대한 책임을 진다.

다음은 인터뷰 내용 중 일부를 발췌한 것이다.

1. The pursuit of his own happiness is his highest moral purpose,

PLAYBOY: In Atlas Shrugged your hero, John Galt, declares,

“I swear—by my life and my love of it—that I will never live for the sake of another man, nor ask another man to live for mine.”

How is this related to your basic principles?

RAND: Galt’s statement is a dramatized summation of the Objectivist ethics. Any system of ethics is based on and derived, implicitly or explicitly, from a metaphysics. The ethic derived from the metaphysical base of Objectivism holds that,

since reason is man’s basic tool of survival, rationality is his highest virtue.

To use his mind, to perceive reality and to act accordingly, is man’s moral imperative. The standard of value of the Objectivist ethics is: man’s life—man’s survival qua man—or that which the nature of a rational being requires for his proper survival. The Objectivist ethics, in essence, hold that man exists for his own sake, that

the pursuit of his own happiness is his highest moral purpose

, that he must not sacrifice himself to others, nor sacrifice others to himself. It is this last that Galt’s statement summarizes.

2. The man without a purpose.

PLAYBOY: In Atlas Shrugged, one of your leading characters is asked,

“What’s the most depraved type of human being?”

His reply is surprising: He doesn’t say a sadist or a murderer or a sex maniac or a dictator; he says,

“The man without a purpose.”

Yet most people seem to go through their lives without a clearly defined purpose. Do you regard them as depraved?

RAND: Yes, to a certain extent.


RAND: Because that aspect of their character lies at the root of and causes all the evils which you mentioned in your question. Sadism, dictatorship, any form of evil, is the consequence of a man’s evasion of reality. A consequence of his failure to think.

The man without a purpose is a man who drifts at the mercy of random feelings or unidentified urges and is capable of any evil, because he is totally out of control of his own life.

In order to be in control of your life, you have to have a purpose—a productive purpose.

PLAYBOY: Weren’t Hitler and Stalin, to name two tyrants, in control of their own lives, and didn’t they have a clear purpose?

RAND: Certainly not. Observe that both of them ended as literal psychotics. They were men who lacked self-esteem and, therefore, hated all of existence. Their psychology, in effect, is summarized in Atlas Shrugged by the character of James Taggart. The man who has no purpose, but has to act, acts to destroy others. That is not the same thing as a productive or creative purpose.

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

PLAYBOY: Where, would you say, should romantic love fit into the life of a rational person whose single driving passion is work?

RAND: It is his greatest reward.

The only man capable of experiencing a profound romantic love is the man driven by passion for his work

—because love is an expression of self-esteem, of the deepest values in a man’s or a woman’s character. One falls in love with the person who shares these values. If a man has no clearly defined values, and no moral character, he is not able to appreciate another person. In this respect, I would like to quote from The Fountainhead, in which the hero utters a line that has often been quoted by readers:

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

PLAYBOY: You hold that one’s own happiness is the highest end, and that self-sacrifice is immoral. Does this apply to love as well as work?

RAND: To love more than to anything else. When you are in love, it means that the person you love is of great personal, selfish importance to you and to your life. If you were selfless, it would have to mean that you derive no personal pleasure or happiness from the company and the existence of the person you love, and that you are motivated only by self-sacrificial pity for that person’s need of you. I don’t have to point out to you that no one would be flattered by, nor would accept, a concept of that kind. Love is not self-sacrifice, but the most profound assertion of your own needs and values. It is for your own happiness that you need the person you love, and that is the greatest compliment, the greatest tribute you can pay to that person.

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