Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Second-handers

[[ "Yes! And isn't that the root of every despicable action? not selfishness, but precisely the absence of a self. Look at them. The man who cheats and lies, but preserves a respectable front. He knows himself to be dishonest, but others think he's honest and he derives his self-respect from that, second-hand. The man who takes credit for an achievement which is not his own. He knows himself to be mediocre, but he's great in the eyes of others. The frustrated wretch who professes love for the inferior and clings to those less endowed, in order to establish his own superiority by comparison. The man whose sole aim is to make money. Now I don't see anything evil in a desire to make money. But money is only a means to some end. If a man wants it for a personal purpose - to invest in his industry, to create, to study, to travel, to enjoy luxury - he's completely moral. but the men who place money first go much beyond that. Personal luxury is a limited endeavor. What they want is ostentation: to show, to stun, to entertain, to impress others. They're second-handers. Look at our so-called cultural endeavors. A lecturer who spouts some borrowed rehash of nothing at all that means nothing at all to him - and the people who listen don't give a damn, but sit there in order to tell their friends that they have attended a lecture by a famous name. All second-handers." ]]
Ayn Rand, The Fountainhead

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