Ego in Anthem
“A wrong concept misleads the understanding; a wrong deed degrades the whole man, and may eventually demolish the structure of the human ego” -Muhammad Iqbal. Anthem, by Ayn Rand, is a story based in the future about a dystopian society. Iqbal’s quote expresses how a catastrophic event can lead to the demolishing of the human ego as it did in Anthem. An ego is how you think of yourself. It is the “I” that separates individuals from “we.” But in Anthem’s dystopian society, the barrier between “I” and “we” collapses and only a collective is left. Individuality is unknown, an ego is unheard of, and decisions that need to be made are done so by a collective group of leaders that controls the whole community. The absence of an ego in the daily lives of the individuals reflects the mindless society in Anthem. But even in the midst of this, there are a few individuals that fight for their distinctiveness.
Every human being has the potential to do something great in their lifetime, no matter how big or small. In Anthem however, the opportunity to express ideas is taken away from the individuals. Equality 7-2521 is a Street Sweeper with big dreams. He wants to be in the Council of Scholars, but being in the lowest class of workers makes it challenging for him to speak with them, thus prohibiting him from sharing his ideas with the world. Equality discovers an invention that can change the future of mankind and pursues his wish to present it to the World Council of Scholars. “We shall go to this council and we shall lay before them, as our gift, the glass box with the power of the sky. We shall confess everything to them. They will see, understand, and forgive” (61). Equality has a pure soul and nothing but good intentions. He wants to make the world a better place and put his brothers before his own needs. The ability to have a will proves that he has an ego. Equality’s ego is not just simple, yet strong and durable. It will strive until Equality gets...
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