I walked away after the last message to have a Panini sandwich with fresh mozzarella and prosciutto crudo (one of my favorites), and to start reading Atlas Shrugged again, this time beginning with part three.
What I found, from the very first sentence, was Rand’s own description of a world where there is only quality and the awareness of quality, and her image of the type of man who lives in that world. It was so beautiful and clear, that it needs no interpretation to fit it into the scheme of these messages:
Atlas Shrugged, part 3, chapter 1: Atlantis.
When she opened her eyes, she saw sunlight, green leaves and a man’s face. She thought: I know what this is. This was the world as she had expected to see it at sixteen – and now she had reached it – and it seemed so simple, so unastonishing, that the thing she felt was like a blessing pronounced upon the universe by means of three words: But of course.
She was looking up at the face of a man who knelt by her side, and she knew that in all the years behind her, this was what she would have given her life to see: a face that bore no mark of pain or fear or guilt… It was a face that had nothing to hide or to escape, a face with no fear of being seen or of seeing, so that the first thing she grasped about him was the intense perceptiveness of his eyes – he looked as if his faculty of sight were his best-loved tool and its exercise were a limitless, joyous adventure, as if his eyes imparted a superlative value to himself and to the world – to himself for his ability to see, to the world for being a place so eagerly worth seeing. It seemed to her for a moment that she was in the presence of a being who was pure consciousness…
This was her world, she thought, this was the way men were meant to be and to face their existence – and all the rest of it, all the years of ugliness and struggle were only someone’s senseless joke. She smiled at him, as at a fellow conspirator, in relief, in deliverance, in radiant mockery of all the things she would never have to consider important again. He smiled in answer, it was the same smile as her own, as if he felt what she felt and knew what she meant.
“We never had to take any of it seriously, did we?” she whispered. “No, we never had to.”