The Tao of Roark

by Peter Saint-Andre

Chapter 48: The Tao of Roark

Previous: Chapter 47: This White Serenity

The heart of the earth is made of fire, but sometimes it breaks through and shoots out to freedom. One such spark is Roark's Wynand Building. Another is The Fountainhead itself.

In the final scene of The Fountainhead, Dominique visits Roark at the construction site for the Wynand Building. Riding the elevator to the top, she passes the pinnacles of bank buildings:

My life is more than finance and economics, more than my career, more than the money I earn. Money is only a means to some personal purpose of my choosing — to invest, to create, to study, to enjoy my limited time on this earth, to live as I see fit. I seek not the power of wealth, but the power of creation. When I let go of money as my primary motivation, I become truly prosperous.

She crests the crowns of courthouses:

My life is more than law and politics, more than my interactions with others, more than my contributions to society. The life of society is secondary, whereas the life of the individual is primary and sacred. If I look to others for fulfillment, I will never be fulfilled. I seek not to rule or to govern, but to create and to build. When I let go of making laws for others, I become more honest, more simple, more direct, more free.

She rises above the spires of churches:

My life is more than religion or philosophy, more than my adherence to a system of ideas, even if that system was created by Ayn Rand herself. I seek not to teach, but to know; and I know that what matters is not to repeat the words of the tao, but to embody it and live it. When I believe in myself and in my own highest potential, I no longer need to convince others of what I believe. When I let go of Rand's system as I would let go of a ladder that has helped me to climb higher and see farther, I become serene.

And then there was only the ocean and the sky and the figure of Howard Roark:

My life is mine to live and enjoy, my individuality is the only untouchable constant of my existence, joy and reason and meaning are not an impossible ideal but a natural way of living that is mine to discover, mine to choose, mine to achieve, and mine to enjoy. My supreme possessions are not outside of me but within me: my integrity, my honor, my freedom, my ideals, my convictions, the honesty of my feelings, the independence of my thoughts, the name of my soul.

That way of living is what I call the Tao of Roark:

It is not the tao of Roark only, but my tao and your tao, the source of all joy and reason and meaning, the fountainhead of individual freedom, personal dignity, spiritual depth, and moral beauty. Although I draw deeply from the well of individuality, it is never used up because it is always full within me. Even when I think I have lost it, I must realize that it can neither be lost nor found, for it is the center and the essence of life, the singing answer to the promise of the music of youth, and a consecration to a joy that justifies the earth.


Peter Saint-Andre > Writings > The Tao of Roark