To Robert Spencer Carr [Letter 380]

Item Reference Code: 002_06C_003_001

Date(s) of creation

February 12, 1949


Robert Spencer Carr


February 12, 1949

Dear Mr. Carr:

Thank you for your letter of February 2—and my congratulations. To recognize one’s own mistake in an argument and to admit it, is a rare act of honesty and one of the cardinal virtues (Rand Ethics). I sincerely respect you for it.

I do not say this because you have agreed with me. You have not agreed with my philosophy. But if you recognize that the philosophy of Roark and that of Cristina are opposites, it is all that I can ask you to recognize. Which one you consider right and which one you choose to believe is up to your own judgment. But if this question interests you and if you realize its importance, the fact of knowing that these two philosophies are opposites places you three-quarters of the way out of what you call “the misty limbo of the damned.” I suspected that in some inconceivable way you thought that you could combine both these philosophies. If you realize that you can’t, that you have to make your choice, that it’s one or the other—you will be able to clarify all your philosophical problems, if you care to clarify them.

Thank you for your nice offer to send me some “material tokens” from your travels, if I collect any. But please don’t do it. Being a “materialist”, I don’t collect anything except ideas. So, instead, I will take you up on a hint contained in your letter of December 8. You said: “Is it your fault if I cut my throat because I arrive in Hollywood next week and you refuse to see me?” I suspect that this was a hint, because I don’t think one makes a crack of this kind unless one has some formed or semi-formed intention. So, if I am right, I’ll say that if you come to Hollywood, you will not have to cut your throat, at least not for the above reason. If your travels should take you to the West Coast, I would be glad to meet you in person, and then we can fight further, if you care to. If my letters have really been of value to you and of any help in clarifying serious problems, then I will be glad to discuss philosophical issues with you in person, which, as you said, is much easier than doing it by mail.



Ayn Rand