-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. 40.
- “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.”
- “If man’s thinking is to be valid, this process must be guided by logic, ‘the art of noncontradictory identification’—and any new concept man forms must be integrated without contradiction into the hierarchical structure of his knowledge. To introduce into one’s consciousness any idea that cannot be so integrated, an idea not derived from reality, not validated by a process of reason, not subject to rational examination or judgment—and worse: an idea that clashes with the rest of one’s concepts and understanding of reality—is to sabotage the integrative function of consciousness, to undercut the rest of one’s convictions and kill one’s capacity to be certain of anything.”
- “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.”
- “…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.”
- “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.”