Consciousness is the basic means of survival.
The Objectivist ethics holds that the actor must always be the beneficiary of his action and that man must act for his own rational self-interest.
It is not a concept that one can surrender to man’s enemies, nor to the unthinking misconceptions, distortions, prejudices and fears of the ignorant and the irrational.
The moral purpose of a man’s life is the achievement of his own happiness. This does not mean that he is indifferent to all men, that human life is of no value to him and that he has no reason to help others in an emergency. But it does mean that he does not subordinate his life to the welfare of others, that he does not sacrifice himself to their needs, that the relief of their suffering is not his primary concern, that any help he gives is an exception, not a rule, an act of generosity, not of moral duty, that it is marginal and incidental—as disasters are marginal and incidental in the course of human existence—and that values, not disasters, are the goal, the first concern and the motive power of his life.
On self worth:The man who does not value himself, cannot value anything or anyone. Since there can be no compromise on moral principles
Handling Life:In order to deal with reality successfully – to pursue and achieve the values which his life requires – man needs self-esteem; he needs to be confident of his efficacy and worth.
Altruism: An Individualist is a man who lives for his own sake and by his own mind; he neither sacrifices himself to others nor sacrifices others to himself; he deals with men as a trader – not as a looter; as a producer -.
Man’s basic vice, the source of all his evils, is the act of unfocusing his mind, the suspension of his consciousness, which is not blindness, but the refusal to see, not ignorance, but the refusal to know.
source: ayn rand texts