resilience and youth

From the Preface to The_Fountainhead, Ayn Rand, May  1968.

The noble soul has reverence for itself. – Frederich Nietzsche

This view of man has rarely been expressed in human history. Today, it is virtually non-existent. Yet this is the view with which – in various degrees of longing, wistfulness, passion and agonized confusion – the best of mankind’s youth start out in life. It is not even a view, for most of them, but a foggy, groping, undefined sense made of raw pain and incommunicable happiness. It is a sense of enormous expectation, the sense that one’s life is important, that great achievements are within one’s capacity, and that great things lie ahead.

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 their elders who tell them persistently that maturity consists of abandoning one’s mind; security, of abondoning one’s values; practicality, of losing self-esteem. Yet a few hold on and move on, knowing that the 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 future and of man’s potential.

 


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