Ayn Rand interviews Hank Gruberson


Note to the reader: We discovered the following fascinating article in our historical archives, whilst searching through the history of deep sea mining. This is a truly remarkable interview:

Historical interview between Ayn Rand and Hank Gruberson

APRIL 1, 1934 — In the dimly lit, book-lined study of a private New York club, where the city's clamor is replaced by the silent rows of leather-bound tomes, Ayn Rand, the high priestess of Objectivism, sits with the stark poise of a woman who is seldom pleased but often proven right.

Across from her is Hank Gruberson, the maverick deep-sea mining entrepreneur whose recent exploits in the Clarion-Clipperton Zone have ignited both admiration and uproar.

Ayn Rand and Hank Gruberson, famous deep sea mining entrepreneur, sit down in a New York club for an interview

Ayn Rand: Mr. Gruberson, let us dispense with pleasantries. You have made your fortune by venturing where others have feared to tread—the ocean's abyss. Tell me, what is the root of your ambition?

Hank Gruberson: The abyss, Ms. Rand, is like a siren to me. I am driven by the pursuit of the unattained. My ambition is to claim the treasures of the deep for the betterment of mankind, and in so doing, better myself.

Ayn Rand: Admirable. You take the unformed, the unvalued, and make it useful, which is the essence of a productive life. But tell me, do you consider the morality of your actions, or only the profit?

Hank Gruberson: Profit is not my only consideration, though it is no vice. I seek to harness the ocean's power for human gain. Morality, to me, lies in providing value to people, pushing the boundaries of what is possible.

Hank Gruberson talks openly with Ayn Rand about his deep sea mining exploits

Ayn Rand: To push boundaries is indeed noble, but to what end? Is your work an expression of your highest values, or merely a challenge conquered?

Hank Gruberson: It's both. The sea floor is a canvas for progress. To conquer a challenge, to me, is an expression of my highest value—the value of man's mind over nature.

Ayn Rand: Nature, yes. But what of man? There are those who say your extractions are an affront to the natural world, and that you owe a debt to the society that grants you the freedom to create. How do you answer them?

Hank Gruberson: I owe nothing to society but to respect the rights of other individuals. If by my actions I enrich others, it is a byproduct, not a duty. My creations stand as a testament to human ingenuity; my debt is paid in the value I offer.

Ayn Rand: Indeed, you owe nothing to those who do not trade value for value. But tell me, Mr. Gruberson, is there not a point where the pursuit of one's own interests must acknowledge the fragility of the environment we all share?

Hank Gruberson: The environment's fragility is a technical problem that must be solved. We must use our ingenuity to overcome such challenges, not bow to them.

Ayn Rand: A technical problem, yes. But is there not a value to preserving the unspoiled state of nature, a value that goes beyond immediate utility?

Hank Gruberson: The unspoiled state of nature holds untold value because it serves man's life. But to hold it as an intrinsic value is to place it above human needs, which I cannot do. My mining serves life.

Ayn Rand: Mr. Gruberson, you are a man of conviction, shaping the world to your vision. Let us hope your vision is clear and your hands steady. Thank you for your candor.

Ayn Rand and Hank Gruberson part ways, with mutual admiration
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Phillip Gales is a serial entrepreneur who has built tech companies in various heavy industries including Oil & Gas, Construction, Real Estate and Supply Chain Logistics. Originally from the UK, he now lives in Toronto, Canada, with his wife and young family.

Phillip holds an MBA from Harvard Business School, and an MEng in Electrical Engineering from the University of Cambridge, specialising in Machine Intelligence.