March 28, 1964
Miss Marja Roscam Abbing
27 Jan Toebachlaan
Dear Miss Abbing:
Thank you for your letter. I am glad that you liked Atlas Shrugged and that you found my philosophy helpful. I hope that you will continue to develop your knowledge and your interest in ideas.
You write that you are unbearably bored at school, and ask me whether it is treason not to love every second of one’s life. No, it certainly is not treason. One cannot force oneself to feel an emotion contrary to the facts with which one is dealing. There are many things in life which are unbearably boring and, unfortunately, school seems to be one of them everywhere in the world. When you have to deal with the boring or the unpleasant, do it as conscientiously as you can and get it over with, but do not reproach yourself for your own feeling when it matches the facts.
You ask me which books I have enjoyed most and which do not clash with my philosophy. My favorite writer is Victor Hugo whom I admire literarily. I do not agree with his philosophical ideas, but he presents a heroic image of man and that is a very rare value in literature. There are no books with which I agree fully, though I may enjoy some particular aspect of them. Literarily (not philosophically), I like Dostoievsky, O. Henry, Rostand.
I don’t mind if you care to write to me again, and I will be pleased to hear from you, but I cannot promise to answer you because, unfortunately, my working schedule does not leave me much time for correspondence.