The Objectivist ethics holds man’s life as the standard of value—and his
own life as the ethical purpose of every individual man.
The difference between “standard” and “purpose” in this context is as follows:
a “standard” is an abstract principle that serves as a measurement or gauge to
guide a man’s choices in the achievement of a concrete, specific purpose. “That
which is required for the survival of man qua man” is an abstract principle
that applies to every individual man. The task of applying this principle to a
concrete, specific purpose—the purpose of living a life proper to a rational
being—belongs to every individual man, and the life he has to live is his own.
Man must choose his actions, values and goals by the standard of that which is
proper to man—in order to achieve, maintain, fulfill and enjoy that ultimate
value, that end in itself, which is his own life.