30+ quotes from We the Living by Ayn Rand

Quotes from We the Living

Ayn Rand ·  464 pages

Rating: (23.5K votes)


“Well, I always know what I want. And when you know what you want--you go toward it. Sometimes you go very fast, and sometimes only an inch a year. Perhaps you feel happier when you go fast. I don't know. I've forgotten the difference long ago, because it really doesn't matter, so long as you move.”
― Ayn Rand, quote from We the Living


“She smiled. She knew she was dying. But it did not matter any longer. She had known something which no human words could ever tell and she knew it now. She had been awaiting it and she felt it, as if it had been, as if she had lived it. Life had been, if only because she had known it could be, and she felt it now as a hymn without sound, deep under the little whole that dripped red drops into the snow, deeper than that from which the red drops came. A moment or an eternity- did it matter? Life, undefeated, existed and could exist. She smiled, her last smile, to so much that had been possible.”
― Ayn Rand, quote from We the Living


“Because, you see, God—whatever anyone chooses to call God—is one's highest conception of the highest possible. And whoever places his highest conception above his own possibility thinks very little of himself and his life. It's a rare gift, you know, to feel reverence for your own life and to want the best, the greatest, the highest possible, here, now, for your very own. To imagine a heaven and then not to dream of it, but to demand it.”
― Ayn Rand, quote from We the Living


“It's strange. There's your life. You begin it, feeling that it's something so precious and rare, so beautiful that it's like a sacred treasure. Now it's over, and it doesn't make any difference to anyone, and it isn't that they are indifferent, it's just that they don't know, they don't know what it means, that treasure of mine, and there's something about it that they should understand. I don't understand it myself, but there's something that should be understood by all of us. Only what is it? What?”
― Ayn Rand, quote from We the Living


“Now look at me! Take a good look! I was born and I knew I was alive and I knew what I wanted. What do you think is alive in me? Why do you think I'm alive? Because I have a stomach and eat and digest the food? Because I breathe and work and produce more food to digest? Or because I know what I want, and that something which knows how to want—isn't that life itself? And who—in this damned universe—who can tell me why I should live for anything but for that which I want?”
― Ayn Rand, quote from We the Living


“If you write a line of zeroes, it´s still nothing.”
― Ayn Rand, quote from We the Living


“We'll meet again. We'll meet when years have passed, and years make such a difference, don't they?”
― Ayn Rand, quote from We the Living


“Andrei, did you like the opera?"
"Not particularly."
"Andrei, do you see what you're missing?"
"I don't think I do, Kira. It's all rather silly. And useless."
"Can't you enjoy things that are useless, merely because they are beautiful?"
"No. But I enjoyed it."
"The music?"
"No. The way you listened to it.”
― Ayn Rand, quote from We the Living


“It's a curse, you know, to be able to look higher than you're allowed to reach.”
― Ayn Rand, quote from We the Living


“I loathe your ideals because I know no worse injustice than the giving of the undeserved.”
― Ayn Rand, quote from We the Living


“It's because...you see, if we had souls, which we haven't, and if our souls met--yours and mine--they'd fight to the death. But after they had torn each other to pieces, to the very bottom, they'd see that they had the same root.”
― Ayn Rand, quote from We the Living


“Kira, the highest thing in man is not his god. It's that in him which knows the reverence due a god. And you, Kira, are my highest reverence...”
― Ayn Rand, quote from We the Living


“Well, if I asked people whether they believed in life, they'd never understand what I meant. It's a bad question. It can mean so much that it really means nothing. So I ask them if they believe in God. And if they say they do -- then, I know they don't believe in life. Because, you see, God -- whatever anyone chooses to call God -- is one's highest conception above his own possibility thinks very little of himself and his life. It's a rare gift, you know, to feel reverence for your own life and to want the best, the greatest, the highest possible, here, now, for your very own. To imagine a heaven and then not to dream of it, but to demand it.”
― Ayn Rand, quote from We the Living


“To a life; which is reason unto itself.”
― Ayn Rand, quote from We the Living


“It was beautiful and rare, and you have every right to despise me."
She stood pressed to the wall, not moving.
"When you came in, I thought 'Send her away.' But I knew that if you went away, I'd run after you. I thought 'I won't say a word.' But I knew that you'd know it before you left. I love you. I know you'd think kindlier of me if I said that I hate you.”
― Ayn Rand, quote from We the Living


“That's a cute sentence: the years to come. Why are you so sure they're coming?”
― Ayn Rand, quote from We the Living


“I think that when in doubt about the truth of an issue, it's safer and in better taste to select the least numerous of the adversaries.”
― Ayn Rand, quote from We the Living


“Did it ever occur to you," asked Kira, "that I may be here for the very unusual, unnatural reason of wanting to learn a work I like only because I like it?”
― Ayn Rand, quote from We the Living


“But those who were young had no thought left for spring and those who still thought were not young any longer.”
― Ayn Rand, quote from We the Living


“Little notes of music trembled in hesitation, and burst, and rolled in quick, fine waves, like the thin, clear ringing of glass. Little notes leaped and exploded and laughed, laughed with a full, unconditional, consummate joy.

She did not know whether she was singing. Perhaps she was only hearing the music somewhere. But the music had been a promise; a promise at the dawn of her life. That which had been promised then, could not be denied to her now.”
― Ayn Rand, quote from We the Living


“And what is the state but a servant and a convenience for a large number of people, just like the electric light and the plumbing system? And wouldn't it be preposterous to claim that men must exist for their plumbing, not the plumbing for the men?”
― Ayn Rand, quote from We the Living


“sometimes, she felt pity for those countless nameless ones somewhere around them who, in a feverish quest, were searching for some answer, and in their search crushed others, perhaps even her; but she could not be crushed, for she had the answer.”
― Ayn Rand, quote from We the Living


“Listen, here's something we can do: we can look at the moon, sometimes - and, you know, it's the same moon everywhere - and we would be looking at the same thing together that way, you see?”
― Ayn Rand, quote from We the Living


“There were sharp little blows in the music, and waves of quick, fine notes that burst and rolled like the thin, clear ringing of broken glass. There were slow notes, as if the cords of the violins trembled in hesitation, tense with the fullness of sound, taking a few measured steps before the leap into the explosion of laughter.”
― Ayn Rand, quote from We the Living


“And because she worshipped joy, Kira seldom laughed and did not go to see comedies in theaters. And because she felt a profound rebellion against the weighty, the tragic, the solemn, Kira had a solemn reverence for those songs of defiant gaiety.”
― Ayn Rand, quote from We the Living


“But if I were given a choice - of all centuries - I'd select last the curse of being born in this one. And perhaps, if I weren't curious, I'd choose never to be born at all.”
― Ayn Rand, quote from We the Living


“I always know what I want. And when you know what you want - you go toward it. Sometimes you go very fast, and sometimes only an inch a year. Perhaps you feel happier when you go fast. I don't know. I've forgotten the difference long ago, because it really doesn't matter, so long as you move.”
― Ayn Rand, quote from We the Living


“The basic cause of totalitarianism is two ideas: men’s rejection of reason in favor of faith, and of self-interest in favor of self-sacrifice. If”
― Ayn Rand, quote from We the Living


“I want to drink. I want a woman like you. I want to go down, as far as you can drag me.”
― Ayn Rand, quote from We the Living


“Toil, comrade,” he said, “is the highest aim of our lives. Who does not toil, shall not eat.” The book was filled. The official applied his rubber stamp to the last page. The stamp bore a globe overshadowed by a crossed sickle and hammer.”
― Ayn Rand, quote from We the Living


About the author

Ayn Rand
Born place: in St. Petersburg, Russian Federation
Born date February 2, 1905
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