Ayn Rand and Objectivism: An Introduction

opinions and beliefs, but he finally accepts that they will not leave his mind and his destiny is sealed. In his recognition of his core belief (individual freedom), he knows that he cannot resist this immutable freedom.

Briefly, this sentence is the summary of man\'s existence. Man knows he is selfish and those who allow self-interest permeate their being are often called greedy or evil. However, without selfishness, man is reduced from an advanced mind to a mere member of a group of animals that lack personal expression. As in the society of the story, those who defy the conventional wisdom today are not treated with respect. Modern culture has focused on compassion and charity as the ultimate expressions of mankind\'s love but it has failed to acknowledge that self-love is one of the primary aspects of freedom and self-governance.

III. "The word \'We\' . . . must never be placed first within man\'s soul."

Equality 7-2521 deals with the totalitarian wrath of the horrible society in which he lives. This bleak and depressing world is the direct result of the end of individualism. Because an individual cannot accomplish great things, no further inventions can be made. Because man is to work for his fellow man and not himself, he does not earn wages and has to live in barren communes and perform tasks to which he is assigned.

Since this society believes that man must never be alone, the pronoun "I" has been eradicated and people made into couples. This fictional society reinforces the good of the group in every imaginable facet of life. There is no time when one is allowed to read, write, or think independently. One is punished for thinking on his own, and this tragic calamity leads Equality 7-2521 to escape this insane world in order to lead a new society until the dark ages finally end. His own experience with totalitarianism has lead him to yearn for rugged individualism and unfettered self-development. In turn, happiness can come to him and make him complete.

In worshipping the word "we," man is unwisely believing that compassion is the antithesis of selfishness. Some men believe that they must toil selflessly in order for society to benefit from their labor. On the contrary, most of society\'s advancements, from Shakespeare\'s plays to Edison\'s light bulbs, have been developed by individuals who had some self-interest at heart. However, the creator of a product is justly entitled to his own happiness, and therefore it is at his discretion that his invention be distributed. One who creates a great thing cannot be forced to share it with mankind unless he desires. In most cases, it is in the self-interest of the originator that his creation be distributed freely.

Thus, man is no longer a free man when he thinks of the group\'s interest above his own. It is fine for someone to be compassionate, but it is foolish to place the happiness of anyone else in front of your own. When men choose to follow groupthink, they forfeit their identities and the end result is a society without freedom or creativity. Mankind is composed of sovereign individuals, and each person only has one obligation: to think of "me" before "we."


"We" indicates that the many are speaking with one voice - the voice of a united community which is greater than the sum of its parts.

Try starting with the title. Anthem. What does that
mean to you? Consider the implications of this title.
Prometheus\' anthem begins with the words "I am. I think.
I will." What is his anthem about. Note that "anthem"
is an anagram of "the man." I personally believe this
to have been intentional. The novel itself deals with
the struggle of an individual against his society for the
possession of his creative faculties, his body, and the
love and loyalty which in our time are given to family
and friends. Rand suggests that all progress as well as
all genuinely satisfying relationships must begin with
the individual. Notice that the society she presents has
actually regressed. One of the most horrifying moments
in my opinion is when Rand comments in passing that the
sun moves around the earth.



Objectivism is a philosophy which developed around a woman named Ayn Rand
in the 50s and 60s. She came to the country from