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I've heard Objectivists say that it's moral for a man to kill himself if his lover (his highest value) dies. But would it be moral to kill yourself if your highest value was your career, and you absolutely could not work in your field? Would it be moral for Roark to kill himself if he was unable to work as an architect?

asked Feb 16 '11 at 18:28

WorkingMan's gravatar image


Dr Peikoff covers this very issue in one of the Q&A periods of the "Objectivism Through Induction" lecture course (though I don't recall which). He noted that the rational thing would be to follow the list of his values, such as working in an engineering department (which Roark actually does for a while) rather than design. However, he also noted that this successive pursuit of ever lesser values could not go on forever, if say Roark were barred from all fields even remotely connected with construction. If one simply could not pursue anything that one found any notable value in (which could only arise because of mass irrationality and most likely government interference) Roark could not be faulted for suicide under conditions of that nature.


answered Feb 17 '11 at 05:31

JJMcVey's gravatar image

JJMcVey ♦

There is one rational reason to commit suicide: that one's life is no longer of value to him. This implies that there is insufficient hope of things changing for the better to outweigh the pain and misery of the present. It seems unlikely that Roark could reach such a state. Being prevented from working in architecture would be a devastating blow. However, people of great mind and strength such as Roark, are usually capable of transitioning their passions to an unrelated field. Today many people are abandoning their education and careers to move to New Zealand where they are likely to encounter less government interference. We may have to face the same choice soon if the US government disintegrates, but I expect, we'll find productive endeavors that make life worth living!

answered Feb 17 '11 at 11:54

Kate%20Yoak's gravatar image

Kate Yoak ♦

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Asked: Feb 16 '11 at 18:28

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Last updated: Feb 17 '11 at 11:54