Ayn Rand Glossary

altruism a moral theory urging an individual to sacrifice his values and happiness in order to serve others. Here, it is the code advocated by Ellsworth Toohey. (The Fountainhead)

aristocracy of pull a new group of powerful men who have reached their status not by means of talent or initiative, but by means of political connections. In this chapter, it refers to men like James Taggart and his friends, who seek success by currying favor with the politicians in Washington. (Atlas Shrugged)

Atlantis the legendary island or continent supposed to have existed in the Atlantic west of Gibraltar and to have sunk into the ocean. Here, used to describe the decline of New York City and of American civilization in general. Atlantis is a symbol of the shining ideal that, inexplicably, mankind has lost. (Atlas Shrugged)

benevolent universe premise Ayn Rand's belief that the world is open to the achievement of values and happiness by good men and only by good men. Here, it is embodied in the life and ultimate success of Howard Roark. (The Fountainhead)

The Box of Glass rudimentary form of an electric light that Equality 7-2521 has re-invented. Though he knows little about electricity, he recognizes that lightning is caused by the same force that generates the light. (Anthem)

The chain The chain is actually the bracelet in the shape of a chain that Rearden gives to Lillian. She claims that it's symbolic of the bondage in which Rearden keeps his family. Lillian has properly identified the nature of the relationship, but this chapter raises the question of who is in bondage to whom. (Atlas Shrugged)

City of the Damned city in which Prometheus and Gaea formerly resided, and from which they fled. (Anthem)

City Theater the large tent in which are performed plays for the social recreation of the workers. The plays are about the virtues of toil and the need to sacrifice oneself for one's brothers. (Anthem)

collectivism the theory claiming that an individual exists solely to serve society, and that he possesses no right to his own life. Here, the theory is embodied in the character of Ellsworth Toohey. (The Fountainhead)

Communism a type of collectivist dictatorship in which the individual is subordinate to the needs of the poor or the working class, as in the Soviet Union. Here, the theory is advocated by Ellsworth Toohey. (The Fountainhead)

company union an organization of workers in a single company, not affiliated with any group of labor unions. The term generally implies control by the employers. In this novel, the term refers to the Rearden Steel Workers Union. Because Rearden demands the best labor force, he pays wages significantly higher than any union scale in the country. (Atlas Shrugged)

compromise the vice of betraying those things most important to an individual, a violation of integrity. Here, shown in the life of Peter Keating. (The Fountainhead)

conformity an unthinking acceptance of the beliefs of other people. Here, it applies to a number of negative characters, especially Peter Keating. (The Fountainhead)

cornice a molded and projecting horizontal component at the top of a building. (The Fountainhead)

Council of Eugenics state agency that governs all sexual activity and procreation. Its members determine who will sleep with whom, based on the best interest of the state, not the happiness of the men and women involved. If all vestiges of individuality and personal choice are to be expunged, then the Council must be certain that the sexual partners have no attachment to, or feelings for, each other. (Anthem)

Council of the Home the leaders of the particular barracks where a group of persons reside. Because this society supposedly has no individuals, all decisions are made by a sub-group that controls the larger group. (Anthem)

Council of Vocations the group of rulers whose specific function is to decide an individual's occupation. By forcing the best young minds into manual labor, the leaders hope to quell any potential intellectual dissent to their regime. (Anthem)

cynicism a theory of human nature, holding that no virtue is possible to man, that all men are corrupt in some form. Here, it is the mistaken view that Wynand accepts from his tough upbringing. (The Fountainhead)

dependence permitting others to dominate one's beliefs, either in the form of following their thinking or rebelling against it. Here, this failure to function independently is, in one form or another, the hallmark of all the villains. (The Fountainhead)

Ego the self. That aspect of an individual that thinks, forms values, and makes judgments. Here it refers to the need that individuals have to be liberated of the stifling restraints of collectivism, free to use their own minds and glory in their own individual uniqueness. (Anthem)

egoism a moral theory urging an individual to attain his values and live a joyous existence. Here, it is lived by Roark in the form of rational egoism, the commitment to earning the things he wants by his own mind and effort. (The Fountainhead)

egoist a person who believes in the doctrine that self-interest is the proper goal of all human actions. Here, it refers to Galt's recognition that his self-interest lies in refusing to surrender his mind to the demands of the looters. (Atlas Shrugged)

epoch-making an adjective describing an event that ushers in a new historical period. It is used approvingly by Floyd Ferris in this novel to mean the new period in American history introduced by Project X, in which the government will rule the people by brute force. (Atlas Shrugged)

Eugenics a system for improving the human species through control of hereditary factors in mating. (Anthem)

facade the front of a building. (The Fountainhead)

Fascism a nationalistic type of collectivist dictatorship in which the individual is subordinate to the country or nation, as in Nazi Germany or Italy under Mussolini. (The Fountainhead)

first-hander an individual who relies on his own thinking, who does not place the beliefs of others before the functioning of his own mind. Here, it is most fully represented by Roark. (The Fountainhead)

flying buttress a projecting structure arched over at the top to engage with a main wall. An important feature of Gothic architecture, lending strength to the main structure. (The Fountainhead)

fountainhead the original source of something, such as a river. Here, it means that the independent reasoning mind is the original source of all human progress and prosperity. (The Fountainhead)

Friedrich Nietzsche (1844@nd1900) German philosopher who held that certain superior men were beyond the traditional precepts of good and evil, and had the right to seek power over others. Here, it is the mistaken view held by Wynand that leads to his downfall. (The Fountainhead)

frieze a sculptured or richly ornamented band on a building in classical architecture that is horizontal and rests on a column. (The Fountainhead)

Gaea goddess of Greek mythology who gave birth to the earth and to the titans. (Anthem)

Golden One name that Equality 7-2521 gives in his own mind to Liberty 5-3000. He gives her this name not merely because her hair is as golden as the sun but also because the straightness of her carriage and the fearlessness of her eyes cause her to stand out, to shine forth from the other women. (Anthem)

Gothic a style of architecture dominant in western Europe from the mid-twelfth century to the early-sixteenth century. (The Fountainhead)

Great Rebirth the period in which the Unmentionable Times end and the one Great Truth is taught. During this time, political freedom is wiped out and belief in living for one's own happiness is eradicated. This is the beginning of the dictatorship in which humans must exist exclusively to serve their brothers and sisters. (Anthem)

Great Truth the belief that human beings are not individuals but mere fragments of the whole. This society has been indoctrinated with the view that individuality is unreal, that the human race is like an ant colony in which each person is not a single, separate whole but an appendage of a larger social unity. (Anthem)

Hell's Kitchen an area on the west side of Manhattan in New York City that in the late-nineteenth and early-twentieth centuries was a tough slum neighborhood. Here, it is the area in which Gail Wynand is born and raised. (The Fountainhead)

Home of the Peasants place of residence for the women who toil in the fields outside of the city limits. Liberty 5-3000 lives here with the other women who engage in the work of farming. (Anthem)

Home of the Scholars the residence of intellectuals and scientists whose task is to gain knowledge and discover new truths (Anthem)

Home of the Useless where the elderly of this society are sent at 40 years of age. They are thought to be too worn with toil to be of further use to society. This society is so lacking in knowledge of nutrition, medicine and science that the life expectancy has shrunk back into the early 40s. (Anthem)

idealism a commitment to man at his highest and best. Here, applicable to all of the heroes, most importantly Howard Roark and Dominique Francon. (The Fountainhead)

The Immovable Movers The immovable mover is one who causes motion. The term refers to productive giants such as Dagny Taggart and Hank Rearden who, because they generate their own action, carry the world forward. Immovable movers are the rare individuals who hold and pursue a new vision of life's possibilities and are responsible for innovations and progress. (Atlas Shrugged)

independence reliance on one's own thinking in the search for truth, rather than a blind acceptance of or rebellion against the thinking of others. Here, the character of Howard Roark is its fullest expression. (The Fountainhead)

individualism the theory claiming that an individual has certain "inalienable" rights (such as freedom of speech) that must not be violated by society. Here, the right of an individual to his own life is embodied in the character of Howard Roark. (The Fountainhead)

innovator a person who has new ideas and, consequently, develops new methods and/or products. Here, it is represented by such heroes as Henry Cameron, Howard Roark, and Steven Mallory. (The Fountainhead)

loadstone a strongly magnetized rock, especially one containing magnetite; something that attracts, as with magnetic force.

malevolent universe premise the opposite of the benevolent universe premise. The view that the good have no chance in the world and that evil has the ultimate power. Here, it is the mistaken premise held by Dominique Francon. (The Fountainhead)

moratorium any authorized delay or stopping of some specified activity. In this novel, it refers to the rejection of the mind and the rejection of reason that is responsible for the Taggart Tunnel tragedy. (Atlas Shrugged)

nonconformity an unthinking rebellion against the beliefs of others. Here, it applies to negative characters, such as Lois Cook and Gus Webb. (The Fountainhead)

Palace of Corrective Detention the prison to which Equality 7-2521 is taken after he is discovered absent from the theater. The prison, as virtually everything in this backwards society, is delapidated, posing no difficulty to Equality 7-2521's escape when the time is right. (Anthem)

Palace of Mating the building where the state-controlled breeding occurs. Sex is prohibited in this society except under the authority of the government, which permits it only for purposes of procreation. (Anthem)

pandering the sell-out of higher values to gain popularity and influence, such as by catering to the vulgar tastes of the crowd. Here, it applies to Gail Wynand and his newspaper. (The Fountainhead)

pediment a triangular space forming the gable of a low-pitched roof in Classical architecture. (The Fountainhead)

pessimism the belief that the good have no chance to succeed in the world, that only the evil will flourish. Here, shown as a mistaken view held by Dominique Francon. (The Fountainhead)

pilaster an upright architectural member that is rectangular in shape and, though functionally a pier, serves primarily as a decoration. (The Fountainhead)

Power of the Sky lightning that streaks the sky during thunderstorms. In fact, lightning is generated by a discharge of atmospheric electricity from one cloud to another or between a cloud and the earth. No one in this backwards society has an idea of the connection between lightning and electricity, or even of the existence of electricity as a force of nature. (Anthem)

Progressive policies Progressive policies, in this book, are socialist acts of legislation such as the expropriation of Rearden's ore mines by the government and their distribution to "needy" men like Paul Larkin. The term progressive, in matters of economic policy, is a euphemism here for the government's theft of private property and the country's gradual decline into dictatorship. "Progressive" is usually associated with "favoring, working for, or characterized by progress or improvement, as through political or social reform, (or) of or having to do with a person, movement, etc. thought of as being modern or advanced, as in ideas, methods, etc." (Atlas Shrugged)

Prometheus Gr. Myth. a Titan who steals fire from heaven for the benefit of mankind: in punishment, Zeus chains him to a rock where a vulture (or eagle) comes each day to eat his liver, which grows back each night. In this chapter, Francisco refers metaphorically to John Galt, meaning that the great businessmen brought prosperity to man and have been punished with moral condemnation and strangling laws. Consequently, the great businessmen have retired and withdrawn their benefits until the day when men withhold their punishment. (Atlas Shrugged)

pure, abstract science theoretical studies in math and physics that do not relate directly to the development of practical technologies. (Atlas Shrugged)

Pyre a pile on which a dead body is burned, as in a funeral rite. (Anthem)

Rearden Metal This is the new substance created by steel industrialist Hank Rearden after ten years of demanding effort. The new metal is lighter, stronger, and cheaper than steel. Although its innovative nature frightens people and it hasn't been accepted yet, Rearden and Dagny both know that this product will revolutionize industrial production. (Atlas Shrugged)

Rearden's "Washington man" The "Washington man" is a lobbyist Rearden must employ to protect his business from proposed anticapitalist legislation. In a mixed economy such as contemporary America, there is a combination of freedom and government controls (capitalism and socialism). Rearden owns his mills, but the government has the right to control, regulate, and even expropriate his business. To protect himself, Rearden must hire a man with political connections to plead with the politicians on his behalf. As Rearden points out, the men available for such a job are an unprincipled lot. (Atlas Shrugged)

sanction something, such as a moral principle or influence, that makes a rule of conduct or a law binding. Rearden begins to realize that the looters need some type of moral permission from Dagny and himself and that, more broadly, evil men require moral permission from their victims. What the exact nature of this sanction is, he doesn't yet know. (Atlas Shrugged)

Science of Things research into the phenomena of nature. This primitive society has only the most rudimentary of scientific knowledge, and it has. regressed into a second Dark Age in which most knowledge of freer periods has been lost. This society believes the earth is flat, the sun revolves around it, and bleeding is a method of curing ailments. (Anthem)

Script Fire brief interval initiating the Great Rebirth following the defeat of the Evil Ones during which all books and writings were burned. (Anthem)

second-hander an individual who places the beliefs of others above the functioning of his own mind, whether as a follower or a rebel. Here, it is exemplified by Keating, Toohey, and, in one form or another, all of the novel's negative characters. (The Fountainhead)

self-betrayal to surrender the things most important to the self, generally in order to win approval from the group. Here, it applies to both Keating and Wynand, though in different forms. (The Fountainhead)

selfishness the commitment, in action, to one's self, i.e., one's own values; a persistent quest to achieve @md and the refusal to betray @md one's values for any reason. Here, it is embodied consistently in the life of Howard Roark. (The Fountainhead)

selflessness the opposite of selfishness. A betrayal of the self by the surrender of one's values. Here, it is embodied in the life of Peter Keating. (The Fountainhead)

The sign of the dollar literally stands for a free country's currency. Here, it makes the deeper point that the mind is the faculty responsible for the creation of wealth, and the mind must be free. (Atlas Shrugged)

The Three Orders the schools of design in classical Greek architecture. These are the Doric, Ionic, and Corinthian. The Doric was the most basic and least ornate, and was used by the Spartans. The Ionic consisted of higher and slenderer columns. The Corinthian was more ornate, more detail-oriented, and not as widely used as the other two. (The Fountainhead)

Time of Mating the period each spring when the state sends all men older than 20 and all women older than 18 to spend one night in the Palace of Mating. Babies are born every winter but are immediately taken from their mothers and raised by the state. The children never know who their parents are, and the parents do not know who their children are. (Anthem)

totalitarianism a political system in which the government has full or total control over the life of the individual, who has no rights. It is the logical application to politics and economics of the collectivist view that an individual exists solely to serve society. Here, it is the theory of government advocated by Ellsworth Toohey. (The Fountainhead)

The Transgression of Preference the "sin" of choice, which occurs when a person favors an activity or person based on independent judgment. Any exercise of independent evaluation is banned by this society. (Anthem)

Uncharted Forest heavily wooded area just outside the city and extends for many miles in distance. Many such unexplored forests range across the land and are believed to have grown over the ruins of the cities of the Unmentionable Times. (Anthem)

The Unconquered the secret name that the Golden One has given to Equality 7-2521 in the privacy of her own mind. She loves him because his straightness of spine and pride of bearing show that his soul has not been conquered by the state. His independence of spirit stands out in his demeanor, and the Golden One recognizes it. (Anthem)

Unmentionable Times the days of the past when humans still possessed individual rights and political freedom. The dictators regard those past days as evil, because humans were living for themselves, not for others. It is unlawful to speak of these days when individuals were free to pursue their own happiness. (Anthem)

Unspeakable Word the word "I," outlawed in this society under threat of death. The political rulers, in seeking to forbid all aspects of individualism, recognize that it is not sufficient to ban the actions of a personal life, but must also eradicate all thoughts of one. (Anthem)

volute a spiral, scroll-shaped ornament in Ionic and Corinthian architecture. (The Fountainhead)

Who is John Galt? This phrase is uttered as a sign of despair and hopelessness. The question lacks specific meaning and cannot be answered. Its use in everyday language is a sign that people believe answers don't exist to the problems that plague American society. Dagny and (to a lesser extent) Eddie are dynamic thinkers and people of action who believe that answers are possible and that positive steps can be taken to save American society. Consequently, they reject the pessimism that this question embodies. (Atlas Shrugged)

World Council a global government that rules the entire world. In this world of the future, individuals possess no rights. The World Council is the highest governing body, the ultimate set of rulers who dictate policy to the rest of the world. (Anthem)

World Council of Scholars the society of thinkers and scientists made up supposedly of the world's greatest minds. But since the political rulers value only obedience, the best thinkers (like Equality 7-2521) are excluded, leaving the World Council filled with a group of unthinking conformists. (Anthem)

xylophone a musical percussion instrument consisting of a series of wooden bars graduated in length so as to sound the notes of the scale when struck with mallets. In this novel, xylophone is used as a name for a weapon employing sound waves: Project Xylophone. The weapon's purpose is to rule the American people by terror. (Atlas Shrugged)