There is a defect in what I had said in #20. I had written:
In the Appendix to her new book, Professor Smith discusses egoist friendship. In a footnote, she remarks that Rand "believes that love can provide a unique type of self-awareness or visibility" (290). Smith neglected to give any references for this view of Rand's.
The chief exposition of this fond view of Rand's is an essay in Rand's journal The Objectivist. It was written by Nathaniel Branden, and it is reprinted as the third of the essays assembled in Friendship: A Philosophical Reader, Neera Badhwar, editor.
The dawn of the self-mirror view of romantic love is Rand's exquisite rendition of Dagny Taggart and John Galt together that night of nights in the railway tunnel . . . (956-57).
That last statement is not entirely right. There are red-lit clouds ahead of the dawn. The idea that romantic love entails self-mirroring is presaged in The Fountainhead. (Page citations are from the 1943 first edition; all emphases are mine.)
The steel frame of Howard Roark’s house for Austen Heller has been erected. On site the workers notice that Roark’s hands “reach out and run slowly down the beams and joints.” Workers say “‘That guy’s in love with the thing. He can’t keep his hands off’.” Absorbed in work at the site, Roark’s “own person vanished,” but “there were moments when something rose within him, not a thought nor a feeling, but a wave of some physical violence, and then he wanted to stop, to lean back, to feel the reality of his person heightened by the frame of steel that rose dimly about the bright, outstanding existence of his body at its center” (138).
Proceed from the literary foreplay at the Heller house to Dominique’s visits to Roark’s room and bed. “In his room, there was no necessity to . . . erase herself out of being. Here she was free to resist, to see her resistance welcomed by an adversary too strong to fear a contest, strong enough to need it; she found a will granting her the recognition of her own entity . . . . / . . . . It was an act of tension, as the great things on earth are things in tension. It was tense as electricity, the force fed on resistance . . .” (301).
On their last time, before they are separated for years, Roark says “‘I love you, Dominique. As selfishly as the fact that I exist. . . . I’ve given you . . . my ego and my naked need. This is the only way you can wish to be loved. This is the only way I can want you to love me’” (400; see also Wynand and Dominique, 539).
Roark and Dominique are definite entities, definite selves, exposed to each other. Their tensed sexual occasions heighten awareness of their selves, awareness of each to own-self and to other-self. (Cf. Sartre’s Being and Nothingness 1943, 505–14 in the translation by Hazel Barnes.)
In her marriage to Keating, Dominique is a non-entity. (No tension, strength, resistance, or ecstasy in bed.) Keating is a non-entity in most of his existence. Most all of his desires and candidate desires and most all of his opinions receive their value to him by their potential for impressing others. Dominique is a mirror to him, and she makes herself not more than a mirror (452–55). She says to Keating: “‘You wanted a mirror. People want nothing but mirrors around them. To reflect them while they’re reflecting too. You know, like the senseless infinity you get from two mirrors facing each other across a narrow passage. . . . Reflections of reflections . . . . No beginning and no end. No center and no purpose’”(455).