“I take full responsibility for myself and for the kind of life I create and the relationships I have with other people. I believe very strongly in individual freedom, both internal freedom and external freedom… Freedom from the restraint of society and within that context, therefore, freedom to realize my highest potential but to take responsibility for any failures or lack of knowledge that I have.”
“The less we are free to decide who we are or to live as we like, the more we try to pump up a front, to hide the facts, to play roles,” ”
“Respect means that you leave me alone, that you don’t build up in your own mind scenarios for my salvation.
If we have to ask of any other human being that for us to love him, he must be something that is closer to our view of him or of our grand scheme of how human beings ought to be, then our own obligation to him is simply not to love him. That is the way to respect him… Don’t harm him, don’t force him to do anything — just walk away.
But there are some people who can’t keep their hands off of other people. They just won’t. It takes a lot of courage to leave other people alone, you see.”
“It’s the authenticity that is sacred. It is the one thing that is yours… Your story, your life. It is the thing that you die for, ultimately, if you have to. It is the only thing that you die for.”
“A civilized society is one whose members expect that each will address at all times, as far as possible, the rational in man; that even when I may want to bash you over the head, I will be checked by my awareness of you as a rational entity, and I will not resort to force as an expression of my disagreement with you or even my feeling that you have been unjust to me; that in my disagreements with you I will rely on the power of persuasion.”
“The kind of individualism that I espouse is self-responsible. Self-responsibility can never be transformed into self-centeredness.”
“If you tie your own personal destiny, the vocation of your life, to public events, then you ultimately end up burning yourself out in activism — or you get out of the picture altogether, you commit suicide, or you go and it in a corner somewhere and such your thumb. So you have to reach a point at which you can say, “I am rational enough, I understand enough of life, and of myself as an individual human being, to know that I am limited in what I can do, and I am limited in what I know. My number one obligation is to fulfill my life’s purpose. I cannot save the world. Even if I wanted to, I can’t.” This is a very realistic statement, not a statement of defeat, or retreat. It is a reorientation.”
“It is a statement of self-respect and respect for other human beings. It is a device for maintaining civility in human relations. The reason one would have allegiance to good manners and etiquette is because one values being human. And because one values being human, one values oneself and others. You would not want to give to another person more or less respect than you would yourself as a human being.”
“I’m an individualist. I believe that life is a very important adventure that has to be carried out by individuals — in cooperation with other individuals, yes, but always lived by individuals.”