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To grasp the axiom that existence exists, means to grasp the fact that nature, i.e., the universe as a whole, cannot be created or annihilated, that it cannot come into or go out of existence. Whether its basic constituent elements are atoms, or subatomic particles, or some yet undiscovered forms of energy, it is not ruled by a consciousness or by will or by chance, but by the Law of Identity. All the countless forms, motions, combinations and dissolutions of elements within the universe - from a floating speck of dust to the formation of a galaxy to the emergence of life - are caused and determined by the identities of the elements involved. Nature is the metaphysically given - i.e., the nature of nature is outside any volition.

    -- Ayn Rand, "The Metaphysical Versus The Man-Made," Philosophy: Who Needs It?