Ayn Rand : Youth and Individual Dedication to a Moral Ideal

This view of 
the individual 
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 humans
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
of abandoning one’s values
practicality, of losing self-esteem.

Yet a few 
hold on and move on,
their fire 
is not to be betrayed,
how to give it shape,
purpose and reality.
Whatever their future,
at the dawn of 
their lives,
people seek 
a noble vision 
of their nature 
and of 
life’s potential.

... from the Introduction of the Fountainhead : Ayn Rand