Egoism In Anthem By Ayn Rand

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Ayn Rand defines egoism as, “concern with one's own interest.” Although this may sound negative and selfish, it is the complete opposite in many cases. Ayn Rand is the author of the science fiction novel Anthem. The story is narrated by a young man who is given the name Equality 7-2521 by the council who have reformed the world into a collectivist society. In this society, they are taught that being an individual is bad, and because of this they must only live for their fellow men and never think for themselves. Due to this complete mind control, Equality 7-2521 believes that his curiosity is a sin, which leads him to secretly discovering new scientific advancements in a secret tunnel. For this, though, he is punished, but he escapes to …show more content…

Although he knows what he is doing is wrong, he continues to think and do things for his own benefit, even if they are “sins”. For instance, “It is a sin to think words no others think and to put them down upon a paper no others are to see. It is base and evil. It is as if we were speaking alone to no ears but our own. And we know well that there is no transgression blacker than to do or think alone”(Rand 17). From this, it is clear that Prometheus has the desire to defy the rules in order to relay his own personal thoughts, which proves he is an egoist. This also proves that he is beginning to realize that it is human nature to be individual, instead of letting higher powers force you to work and sacrifice for others. Another key factor of his newly founded ego is when he discovers that he cares for his own self, rather than for all as he has been forced to do. Throughout the story, Prometheus learns to value his own, individual life and begins to seek a normal human life. For example, “For the first time [I] do care about [my] body” (Rand 61). This exemplifies the fact that Prometheus has discovered that life does not mean that he should work for the good of others, but that it means that he must live his life to the best of his own potential. This, by definition, makes him an …show more content…

An egoist always has their own mindset and thinks without the influence of any other person. This definition fits Prometheus very well, in that throughout the story, he struggles to fight the demon of wanting to learn more than he was allowed to. This ultimately led him to the discovery of the light bulb, which meant he was defying the rules of his society. Obviously, the discovery of the light bulb is a great technological advancement, a discovery which Prometheus wanted nothing more than to share with the world. As case in point, “We can give our brothers a new light, cleaner and brighter, than any they have ever known” (60). This shows that Prometheus’s intentions were only pure in making new discoveries. He never had plans of uncovering new inventions and knowledge to keep to himself, but to help improve the lives of all people in his world. This also shows that this discovery sparked the inspiration in Prometheus to strive for the greater good of his people, the opposite of what is perceived of what an egoist would want. Another example that proves Prometheus is a good-hearted egoist is when he talks about what he hopes to accomplish by bringing the light bulb to the scholars. He says, “We shall join our hands to theirs, and we shall work together, with the power of the sky, for the glory of mankind” (Rand 69). This quote displays the true, wholesome nature that

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