Hank Rearden

I held as my honour that I would never need anyone. I need you. It had been my pride that I had always acted on my convictions. I’ve given in to a desire which I despite. It is a desire that has reduced my mind, my will, my being, my power to exist into an abject dependence upon you –not even upon the Dagny Taggart whom I admired –but upon your body, your hands, your mouth and the few seconds of a convulsion of your muscles. I had never broken my word. Now I’ve broken an oath I gave for life. I had never committed an act that had to be hidden. Now I am to lie, to hide. Whatever I wanted, I was free to proclaim it aloud and achieve it in the sight of the whole world. Now my only desire is one I loathe to name even to myself. But it is my only desire. I’m going to have you at the price of more than myself: at the price of myself-esteem –and I want you to know it. I want no pretence, no evasion, no silent indulgence, with the nature of our actions left unnamed. I want no pretence about love, value, loyalty or respect. I want no shred of honour left to us, to hide behind. I’ve never begged for mercy, I’ve chosen to do this –and I’ll take all the consequences, including the full recognition of my choice. It’s depravity –and I accept it as such –and there is no height of virtue that I wouldn’t give up for it. Now if you wish to slap my face, go ahead, I wish you would.

Extract from 'Atlas Shrugged' by Ayn Rand.

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