Egoism In Ayn Rand's Fountainhead

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In this day and age, a world free of pride, inequality and selfishness seems like the solution to nearly all the world’s problems. Perhaps, without pride the world could see an end to war. However, could the resulting lack of personality hinder mankind’s progress? This altruistic society demonstrated in Anthem provokes one to ponder the true meaning and merits of a measure of personal pride, though any degree of an ego is generally frowned upon in today’s society. Through the actions of Prometheus in Ayn Rand’s novelette, Anthem and through the understanding the speech, “The Soul of an Individualist” from another Ayn Rand novel, Fountainhead, one can see that Prometheus’ actions show egotistical traits within him and consequently his self-preserving…show more content…
Howard Roark makes egoism very clear, saying that “Egoism was held to mean the sacrifice of others to self.” Through the understanding of this quote, one can reach the conclusion that any act that benefits oneself, regardless of its simplicity, displays the traits associated with egoism. Roark also makes clear the pure simplicity of the ego, elaborating that ”To think, to feel, to judge, to act are functions of the ego.” Thus, any independent act is a fundamental function of egoism. Even things as insignificant as having emotions or making decisions. In the collectivist society depicted in Anthem, altruism is placed above all else, which is demonstrated by the great sin that is stating the word “ego”. Prometheus states, “It is a sin to think words no others think…” (17), based on the fact that egoism is shunned and the sinfulness of having individual thoughts, one can conclude that having these individual thoughts is an extension of egoism. One can also reach this conclusion through their prayer: “We are nothing. Mankind is all. … We exist through, by and for our brothers who are the State”
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