Ayn Rand's Anthem: Equality

Superior Essays
In a year that remains undefined beneath a small city lit only by candles, a young man is working. He works without the Council to guide him and without his brothers beside him. He works for his own purposes, for his own desires, for the dreams that were born in his own steady heart and bright mind. In the world of Anthem, Equality 7-2521 is a relic from a time long passed. By working in the dark to bring forgotten scientific truths into the light, Equality defies the most valued rule, the baseline for all human life in this dismal age: there is no “I,” only “we.” However, it is Equality’s indefatigable thirst to create something that has never before been seen that inspires him to circumvent this fundamental principle in that dark, dank space …show more content…
While the men of the Council and their underlings labor for the overall benefit of society, Equality works for the song of independence in his heart and the brilliance of his own mind. In his secluded workplace, Equality creates a remarkable box of light that will facilitate the process of illuminating many homes. Though his invention will benefit his brothers, this is not his primary motivation for toiling away in secret. As Equality describes, “We wish nothing, save to be alone and to learn, and to feel as if with each day our sight were growing sharper than the hawk’s and clearer than rock crystal” (Rand 36). Equality pursues knowledge and personal enrichment as a goal within itself, rather than a mere benefit of working for the greater good. This desire, though distinctly impressive and admirable in today’s society, is frowned upon in Equality’s. For he strives not for equality, as his name suggests, but for personal gain. Unlike others, he wishes to test the boundaries of his own mind, to create for his own purposes, and, above all, to learn. In the Home of the Students, he attacks his studies with a voracious appetite for knowledge that cannot be satiated, even by the ceaseless streams of questions that he hurls incessantly at the Teachers. When he graduates to his secretive and transgressional study of the Science of Things, he works with a fervor for as long as is …show more content…
Though free thinkers, brilliant scientists, philosophers, and artists are essential to the progression of society, one cannot overlook the importance of cooperation. Without cooperation, the individual pursuits of humanity’s great minds remain contained within their respective circles. A clear picture of a society that deteriorates due to such selfishness can be found in The Lord of the Flies, a novel by William Golding. Stranded on a deserted island, a group of young schoolboys must work together and establish a society that is reliable, structured, and dependable. Individuals are expected to contribute to the overall survival of the group by completing necessary tasks, such as tending to a fire, building shelter, and collecting fresh drinking water. In this miniature model of an adult society, cooperation is necessary for survival. However, when each of the characters’ desires turn inwards, the fragile mock government collapses almost instantly. Companionship dissolves into violent rivalries, shelters are destroyed, and peace is stifled beneath the weight of individual selfishness. While it is important to have a sense of self and to acknowledge one’s own power, morality and basic cooperation are integral to maintain personal freedom and ensure the overall success of

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