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Ayn Rand’s Definition of Love

Ayn Rand’s interminable novels function best as catalogs of her own boldly individualist philosophy. So it’s no surprise that, in The Fountainhead, the creator of Objectivism offered her thoughts on love: “To say ‘I love you’ one must first know how to say the ‘I.'” (She also published a book called The Romantic Manifesto, but that was a collection of essays about art.) This directive wasn’t enough for one reader, who asked the author for an explanation and received a letter in response. “The meaning of the ‘I’ is an independent, self-sufficient entity that does not exist for the sake of any other person,” Rand wrote. “A person who exists only for the sake of his loved one is not an independent entity, but a spiritual parasite. The love of a parasite is worth nothing.” So, that’s how Ayn Rand feels about love. Not something most of us would think to plaster on a homemade Valentine, but not particularly shocking, either. If you’re interested in hearing more of her thoughts on romance, read the entire missive at Letters of Note.