-Nathaniel Branden, “Mental Health versus Mysticism and Self-Sacrifice” in Ayn Rand, The Virtue of Selfishness (New York: Signet Centennial Edition, 2005 re-print of 1964 edition), p. 42.
- “Intellectual pride is not—as the mystics preposterously imply it to be—a pretense at omniscience or infallibility. On the contrary, precisely because man must struggle for knowledge, precisely because the pursuit of knowledge requires an effort, the men who assume this responsibility properly feel pride…Pride is one’s response to one’s power to achieve values, the pleasure one takes in one’s own efficacy.”
- “In order to deal with reality successfully—to pursue and achieve the values which his life requires—man needs self esteem: he needs to be confident of his efficacy and worth.”
- “A mind is healthy to the extent that its method of functioning is such as to provide man with the control over reality that the support and furtherance of his life require. The hallmark of this control is self-esteem.”
- “One of the hallmarks of the man who lacks self-esteem—and the real punishment for his moral and psychological default—is the fact that all his pleasures are pleasures of escape from the two pursuers whom he has betrayed and from whom there is no escape: reality and his own mind.”
- “…through his work man gains his basic sense of control over existence—his sense of efficacy—which is the necessary foundation of the ability to enjoy any other value. The man whose life lacks direction or purpose, the man who has no creative goal, necessarily feels helpless and out of control; the man who feels helpless and out of control, feels inadequate to and unfit for existence; and the man who feels unfit for existence is incapable of enjoying it.”