The Era of Military Communism in Anthem

Throughout weeks of forbidden loneliness in the underground tunnel, Prometheus slowly reinvented the light. His discovery was so gargantuan, that he knew that he had to present it to the Council of Scholars. Once he told his story to the Scholars, Prometheus started realizing his fatal mistake: The World Council rejected his gift of light and now he had to face the consequences.

The Councils rejection consisted of a few steps. Harmony 9-2642 asserted that it would have brought ruin to the Department of Candles. Unanimity 2-9923 reported that it took fifty years to secure the approval of all the Council for the Candle, and to decide upon the number needed, and to re-fit the Plans so as to make candles instead of torches. Last, but not least, what was not done collectively could not be good. Besides the fact the light bulb was evidently going to be demolished, Prometheus, himself, was to be hanged, murdered, executed, neutralized, or in other words, he was dead.

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Finally, when the idea behind their social life uncovered itself, he realized that the light that was suppose to take him to the top and make him a big-time hero, instead uncovered something bigger-the truth. Suddenly, the light extinguished forever and everything turned dusky inside Prometheus heart. Now he understood that their society was nothing but a lie . . . a lie about everything: about evils of individualism, friendship, and love. All of the concepts that they followed and their atmosphere in general was counterfactual. At once he realized the great importance and necessity of new discoveries and observations.

Ayn Rands philosophy is coherent. Rands St. Petersburg family was wealthy. Her father owned a pharmacy. When the Bolshevik Revolution erupted, their pharmacy was confiscated and she was left with nothing. Once she cast an anchor in America, her hatred for Russia grew even stronger and because of that her philosophical concept was born- Objectivism. In Anthem, Prometheus, in order to free himself from the collectivist society, had to make crucial mistakes that led to the understand the meaning of mans ego. The Councils rejection was the first step to freedom. As a result, he understood that not only was he fooled, but everybody else was, as well.

If anybody wants to fully understand Ayn Rands philosophy, then they have to know a tad about socialism. Socialistic years were similar to those that Rand describes in Anthem, only not that cruel. Everybody had a job and everybody had something to eat, but there was no freedom of speech and action as in our days. Sometimes the government would take and assign you a job, such as building railroads or working in a factory, and for that you would get miserable salaries. Often people were just happy to get home alive, without any salary. In Anthem we see a perfect example of military communism, which was in a way like socialism.

Prometheus was living in the Home of the Street Sweepers, from which there was no way out. Other people were assigned to similar Homes, as if they were nonhuman. Any action that was against the law was uncommon, though punished sternly. When Prometheus stood before the World Council explaining the light bulb, the Scholars lost the ability to speak. They were shocked because nobody before had ever dared to break so many laws at once. The main concern was that if one person could think of something like that, then he could possibly recruit other people to think the same way and before they know it there would be a rebellion.

If we would take just a minute and imagine ourselves in Prometheus shoes, when he was hearing all of the things that the Scholars had to tell him about his invention, hopefully, we would have understood all of the societys wrongs, as Prometheus did. The minute that Prometheus came running through the window, is when he finally understood the true meaning of his society. He removed that imaginary veil between their present and our past and took a step towards his individual past-future. At that moment he was his own self, an individual, more than at any other time in his entire life. He did not care about being punished for what he knew was right, not only for himself, but for everyone else, as well. Anthem presents us an era of military communism, but only here in the book we see that people lost something more important than money and property. They lost themselves.

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The Era of Military Communism in Anthem. (2019, Mar 06). Retrieved from