Dagny Taggart is a tireless worker, a driven achiever and producer of value. All her life, she has aspired to reach her highest potential and become superlative example of rational self-interest.
She longs for something that she cannot yet articulate. She wants it badly, but the world system of looters and moochers fights her with their collectivist policies and their actions against individual liberty. She finds herself alone, nearly despairing, but refusing ultimate hopelessness. A person personifies her longing. A person represents all that she believes, hopes, and expects. But her vision eludes her.
You—she thought—whoever you are, whom I have always loved and never found, you whom I expected to see at the end of the rails beyond the horizon, you whose presence I had always felt in the streets of the city and whose world I had wanted to build, it is my love for you that had kept me moving, my love and my hope to reach you and my wish to be worthy of you on the day when I would stand before you face to face. Now I know that I shall never find you—that it is not to be reached or lived—but what is left of my life is still yours, and I will go on in your name, even though it is a name I’ll never learn, I will go on serving you, even though I’m never to win, I will go on, to be worthy of you on the day when I would have met you, even though I won’t.… She had never accepted hopelessness, but she stood at the window and, addressed to the shape of a fogbound city, it was her self-dedication to unrequited love. — Atlas Shrugged, page 633
C.S Lewis puts it so well when he talks about a longing. It’s a deep longing inside of us that the highest sense experience of nature, or success, or relationship cannot satisfy. Nothing in this world can satisfy; it’s beyond this world. Rand herself longed for it, but it wasn’t to be found. C.S. Lewis and others conclude that the longing doesn’t prove that we’ll get it. But if we have a longing that nothing in this world can satisfy, it follows that we were built for another world. Our longings point us to another world.
Some have called this a compelling argument for meaning. What do you think?