Excerpts

Ayn Rand — Atlas Shrugged Excerpt about the indolent nature of people who only want surface improvements

It’s been a while since I read some proper books and I just wanted to revisit Atlas Shrugged

Such a great book. I wish she wrote a sequel!

Then she saw the answer; she saw the secret premise behind their words. With all of their noisy devotion to the age of science, their hysterically technological jargon, their cyclotrons, their sound
rays, these men were moved forward, not by the image of an industrial skyline, but by the vision of that form of existence which the industrialists had swept away-the vision of a fat, unhygienic rajah of India, with vacant eyes staring in indolent stupor out of stagnant layers of flesh, with nothing to do but run precious gems through his fingers and, once in a while, stick a knife into the body of a starved, toil-dazed, germeaten creature, as a claim to a few grains of the creature’s rice, then claim it from hundreds of millions of such creatures and thus let the rice grains gather into gems.

She had thought that industrial production was a value not to be questioned by anyone; she had thought that these men’s urge to expropriate the factories of others was their acknowledgment of
the factories value. She, born of the industrial revolution, had not held as conceivable, had forgotten along with the tales of astrology and alchemy, what these men knew in their secret, furtive souls, knew not by means of thought, but by means of that nameless muck which they called their instincts and emotions: that so long as men struggle to stay alive, they’ll never produce so little but that the man with the club won’t be able to seize it and leave them still less, provided millions of them are willing to submit-that the harder their work and the less their gain, the more submissive the fiber of their spirit-that men who live by pulling levers at an electric switchboard, are not easily ruled, but men who live by digging the soil with their naked fingers, are-that the feudal baron did not need electronic factories in order to drink his brains away out of jeweled goblets, and neither did the rajahs of the People’s State of India.

She saw what they wanted and to what goal their “instincts,” which they called unaccountable, were leading them.

She saw that Eugene Lawson, the humanitarian, took pleasure at the prospect of human starvation-and Dr. Ferris, the scientist, was dreaming of the day when men would return to the hand-plow.
Incredulity and indifference were her only reaction: incredulity, because she could not conceive of what would bring human beings to such a state-indifference, because she could not regard those
who reached it, as human any longer. They went on talking, but she was unable to speak or to listen.

She caught herself feeling that her only desire was now to get home and fall asleep.

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