The Tao of Roark

by Peter Saint-Andre

Chapter 46: The Way

Previous: Chapter 45: The Meaning of Life

It is said in the Tao Te Ching: the way that can be walked is not the eternal way; the name that can be named is not the eternal name.

Some take this in a mystical sense, but my interpretation is more practical: the eternal way is general, but the way that I can walk is individual; the eternal name is universal, but the name of my soul is mine alone.

Roark's way, too, was his alone. When I first immersed myself in The Fountainhead, I thought that I must live as Roark lived. Yet my path is mine alone: I might not know my calling at the age of ten, as Roark knew he wanted to be an architect; I might by nature be more social than Roark, more collaborative, more lighthearted, more conventional in some respects; I might express my creative powers in different ways, perhaps through mastering a craft or pursuing a hobby or providing an excellent service or nurturing those I care about or building an organization or maintaining what has been created by others. If so, I must know and accept the name of my soul and use those strengths to find my own way in life.

This supreme respect for the individual is something beyond a mere intellectual assent to a philosophy of individualism in the abstract. Instead, it is a pure love for individuality in all its manifest particulars — my own individuality, your individuality and that of each person I interact with, the individuality of each being, each thing, each place, each project, each task, each performance, each perception, each moment in time.

When I experience individuality so completely, I live more fully each day because I am always encountering something new and special and uniquely valuable. Each moment that I am blessedly alive, I feel the fresh wonder of an untouched world and I come to know more deeply the path that I alone can walk.

Next: Chapter 47: This White Serenity

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