It is a wonderful and re-affirming moment when you re-discover something imperative to you that was lost. Remembering your own reasons and your own sense of self when it has been forgotten and then found the meaning becomes even more relevant.
Ayn Rand; The Romantic Manifesto
Chapter 2 Philosophy and Sense of Life
Pg 32-33 (February 1966)
There are two aspects of man’s existence which are the special province and expression of his sense of life: love and art.
I am referring here to romantic love, in the serious meaning of that term-as distinguished from the superficial infatuations of those whose sense of life is devoid of any consistent values, i.e., of any lasting emotions other than fear. Love is a response to values. It is with a person’s sense of life that one falls in love-with that essential sum, that fundamental stand or way of facing existence, which is the essence of a personality. One falls in love with the embodiment of the values that formed a person’s character, which are reflected in his widest goals or smallest gestures, which create the style of his soul-the individual style of a unique, unrepeatable, irreplaceable consciousness. It is one’s own sense of life that acts as the selector, and responds to what it recognizes as one’s own basic values in the person of another. It is not a matter of professed convictions (though these are not irrelevant); it is a matter of much more profound, conscious and subconscious harmony.
Many errors and tragic disillusionments are possible in this process of emotional recognition, since a sense of life, by itself, is not a reliable cognitive guide. And if there are degrees of evil, then one of the most evil consequences of mysticism-in terms of human suffering-is the belief that love is a matter of “the heart,” not of the mind, that love is blind and impervious to the power of philosophy. Love is the expression of philosophy- of a subconscious philosophical sum-and, perhaps, no other aspect of human existence needs the conscious power of philosophy quite so desperately. When that power is called upon to verify and support an emotional appraisal, when love is a conscious integration of reason and emotion, of mind and values, then-and only then-it is the greatest reward of man’s life.
Art is a selective re-creation of reality according to an artist’s metaphysical value-judgements. It is the integrator and concretizer of man’s metaphysical abstractions. It is the voice of his sense of life. As such, art is subject to the same aura of mystery, the same dangers, the same tragedies-and, occasionally, the same glory-as romantic love.