do not let your fire go out

Literary Tattoos: Ayn Rand Atlas Shrugged

This is Casey’s tattoo.

The quote, “Do not let your fire go out, spark by irreplaceable spark” is from John Galt’s speech in Atlas Shrugged. I wanted the tattoo to be in the style of an old railroad lantern to go with Dagny and her struggle in the novel.

When I first read Atlas Shrugged it completely changed my life like no other book I have ever read. I have studied Ayn Rand and read her biographies so I can say that I don’t fall into her cultish following that disregards individuality and unique thought while at the same time championing the individual. What the novel did teach me was to value my self above all others. I am the only thing that I can completely control in my life and every thing in my life depends on how I choose to live it. This quote, to me, means that I must always life my life to the fullest and do things that first and foremost make me happy.

Who is John Galt?

Literary Tattoos: Ayn Rand Atlas Shrugged

This tattoo belongs to Jakk Mulligan.

The quote is the opening line from Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged. I originally read The Fountainhead by chance when I met a nice young fellow on a cross country train trip. He had just finished the book, and I was looking for a good read. I absolutely fell in love with Howard Roark (the main character) and Ayn Rand, the author. I eventually got around to reading Atlas Shrugged and realized that it was something that contained ideas and moral values I could live with, even if not in their entirety.

Who is John Galt?” is stated many times throughout the book, and ultimately became something of a comfort phrase and reminder to me.

Literary Tattoos: Ayn Rand Atlas Shrugged

This is Barbara’s.

I couldn’t be happier with it. The gears and chain were also inspired by the book. The lotus is for myself, and the dove is for my grandmother– the greatest woman I’ve ever never known.  I doubt if I will ever encounter someone who will know the answer to this question.  But I know and now I carry it everywhere and that is enough for me.

Literary Tattoos: Ayn Rand Atlas Shrugged

This one belongs to Justin Schmitz.

I read Atlas Shrugged the summer after I graduated from college. I had just signed my enlistment contract for the US Army, and had 6 months to kill before I left for basic training. I picked the novel up on a whim one day, and immediately fell into it. Rand’s Objectivist philosophy struck a keep chord with me, and upon completion of the book, I felt light and free. My outlook was altered. I adapted my own imperfect Taoist lifestyle to include Ayn Rand’s principles of objectivism, and felt more whole than I had in a long time.

“Who is John Galt?” stuck with me ever since. To me, it represents the dual feeling of helplessness in the face of something beyond one’s control and hope for the future despite that. Life gets difficult, we shrug and say “Who is John Galt?,” and vow to work harder to achieve.

Matthew Drake has an answer:

Literary Tattoos: Ayn Rand Atlas Shrugged

Matthew says:

Atlas Shrugged has been my favorite book for years, and I’ve always agreed with Rand’s philosophy. The tattoo pays homage to the book that sparked my quest for intellect, and serves as motivation for me to never give up my ambition. It also (unintentionally) serves as a quip: “Who is John Galt?” “I am John Galt.” If only people that haven’t read the book would stop asking me if my name was John!

A is A

This is Lindsey’s tattoo.

Literary Tattoos: Ayn Rand Atlas Shrugged

“Are you seeking to know what is wrong with the world? All the disasters that have wrecked your world, came from your leaders’ attempt to evade the fact that A is A. All the secret evil you dread to face within you and all the pain you have ever endured, came from your own attempt to evade the fact that A is A. The purpose of those who taught you to evade it, was to make you forget that Man is Man.”

- Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged

a is a

Literary Tattoos: Ayn Rand Atlas Shrugged

Bekka explains her tattoo:

My name’s Bekka and my tattoo is from Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand.

Everybody seems to be obsessed with the quote of “Who is John Galt?” when it felt like, at least to me, the whole question wasn’t the point. I chose instead to use something John Galt says towards the end of the book. To condense the whole philosophy to a single phrase to me would be to say, “You can’t get something from nothing.”

Who is John Galt?

Literary Tattoos: Ayn Rand Atlas Shrugged

Submitted by Pistol:

This quote is from Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged. After reading this book my mind seemed to be opened to a world I had been searching for but was incapable of finding myself. A place where people are respected for their virtues, not for their vices. Where ability is placed above need.

People constantly ask me what it means, who he is. It is difficult to articulate all of Ayn Rand’s beliefs and philosophies. After all, there is a 1200 page book based solely on the answer to this question. In short, it is a cry of desperation and a beacon of hope in the dark. I just pray some day an attractive man comes up to me and, after reading it, tells me what an amazing novel it was so we can get married and live happily ever after. It’s ok to dream isnt it?