Theme Of Altruism In Ayn Rand's Anthem

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“If civilization is to survive, it is the morality of altruism that people must learn to reject.” -Ayn Rand. To be compassionate and unselfish seems to be a noble and magnanimous pursuit. Altruism is admired, it is beautiful, and it is praised. And yet, it goes against our very natures. There is no reason we should sacrifice ourselves to save a dying child. Our instincts tell us to keep ourselves alive, that we are important. Thus, altruism is a beautiful conquering of our savage animal instincts. Ayn Rand disagrees. In her book, Anthem, the protagonist, Equality 7-2521, heroically conquers the evil Collectivist ideas by discovering the idea behind the word, “Ego.” She argues against brotherhood and altruism through her loveless, beautiless society. Selflessness is not in human nature, so by replacing egotism, the society replaced art, love, and all of the things that used to be paired with altruism as beautiful. Selflessness must be balanced with egotism, lest we lose the things that make us human.…show more content…
Friendship, for example, goes against altruistic ideals. On page 30 of Anthem, Equality 7-2521 said, “International 4-8818 and [I] are friends. This is an evil thing to say, for it is a transgression, the great Transgression of Preference, to love any among men better than the others, since we must love all men and all men are our friends.” Friendship means that you are fond of some people more than others. This would make it extremely difficult to make selfless choices. Imagine a man faced with the choice of killing five strangers or killing his best friend. The altruistic choice would be killing your best friend. However, no man would kill his best friend, and he would not be condemned for this decision. This display could be described as a heartwarming example of human emotion, even though it is not by any means
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