“No one can tell men what they must live for. No one can take that right-because there are things in men, in the best of us, which are above all states, above all collectives! Do you ask: what thing? Man’s mind and his values. Look into yourself, honestly and fearlessly. Look and don’t tell me, don’t tell anyone, just tell yourself: what are you living for?
Aren’t you living for yourself and only for yourself? call it your aim, your love, your cause-isn’t it still your cause? Give your life, die for your ideal-isn’t it still your ideal? Every honest man lives for himself. The one who doesn’t-doesn’t live at all. You cannot change it. You cannot change it because that’s the way man is born, alone, complete, an end in himself. No laws, no Party, no G.P.U. will ever kill that thing in man which knows how to say ‘I’. You cannot enslave men’s mind, you can only destroy it. You have tried. Now look at what you’re getting. Look at those whom you allow to triumph. Deny the best in men-and see what will survive. Do we want the crippled, creeping, crawling, broken monstrosities that we’re producing? Are we not castrating life in order to perpetuate it?”
“And who-in this damned universe-who can tell me why I should live for anything but for that which I want? Who can answer that in human sounds that speak for human reason?…But you’ve tried to tell us what we should want. You came as a solemn army to bring a new life to men. You tore that life you knew nothing about, out of their guts-and you told them what it had to be. You took their every hour, every minute, every nerve, every thought in the farthest corners of their souls-and you told them what it had to be. You came and forbade life to the living. You’re driven us all into an iron cellar and you’ve closed all doors, and you’ve locked us airtight, airtight till the blood vessels of our spirits burst! Then you stare and wonder what it’s doing to us. Well, then, look! All of you who have eyes left- look!”
We The Living