Response to Ayn Rand’s “Anthem”
In the book “Anthem” by Ayn Rand, an extreme collectivist society has been presented. The society was as crucial about collectivism that they did not have any concept of the word “I”, instead if someone use that word the punishment would be death. In this society, Ayn Rand is telling about a person Equality 7-2521 or later also known as Prometheus, who have discovered electricity, but the council did not recognize his work, instead wanted him to punish for not following the assigned role. Ayn Rand is suggesting a cure or promoting a concept “Rational Egoism.”
Rational Egoism is a concept of individuality and opposite of collectivism. The solution for an extreme level of collectivism could have Rational Egoism as a solution, but there are many drawbacks as the human nature suggest that “one smoked fish can pollute the whole pond.” I agree what Prometheus has responded to this cruel society where thinking about yourself would be a crime but as if I look at individualism, it can lead to corruption and competition. The extreme level of anything would not make any difference of what is happening in this collectivist society.
The world has seen many examples of cruel people who had gone to extreme to make their ideal utopia, but it leads only to the death of humanity. The things as collectivism and individualism should be in balance to make not perfect, but better than what is in the book. If I reflect back to Plato’s cave analogy, then I could also see the other side which is people only want to see what their faith shows them. The people of the cave did not believe that there is the sun outside which is the greatest source of light. Instead, they wanted to remain in the shadow that represents them are not willing to change themselves for better or good.
After reading this book, I can imagine that the writer might have some connection between this book and her life experience about a collectivist society. After researching about this author, I found out that she had come from a collectivist society where her family lost their business and had to suffer so I can understand why Ayn Rand is promoting rational egoism. As if I see this as physiological she is right, but if I see it as practical then it would be nothing more than a mistake where later she might regret. I cannot give a proper point of view as I have not been in any of this society, but as if I would imagine myself I would also see the solution for this in rational egoism.
As my experience in today’s democratic society, I would look it as a madness of one person who implies complete individualistic thought instead of caring for each other and sharing with each other, but these things also come with limits. Sometimes people don’t want to be bothered more, for example, a physically challenged person requires attention for sure, but at some point he also doesn't want to feel that thought of being unique between where he lives, and he also wanted to be treated at an equal level. I conclude this by saying that balance is an important thing in life, and I respect people thoughts about an ideal society, but everything looks right where its place is for example a person should have complete freedom of speech and lifestyle which is ideal.