Please .Mind .The .Gap

-----Gaps …….In…….Anthem

The cover page of <Anthem>

Anthem is a novel that reveals the conflict between uniformity and individuality. There's some people in the world see it as their faith, however is just a reflection of Ayn Rand’s philosophy. With no doubt that, the setting in the novel is not that realistic and does not completely fit the rule of our real world.

Consequently, there's always some gaps exist between the author's idea and the audience's understanding, for example, what is the real sins? Should people break the laws? What should be set as human's goal of life? And what is the best solution of dealing with a decayed society? As a audience, minding the gap is very important so that you would not be mislead by the book.

What are the real sins?

In the novel Anthem, the world council which rules the world sets a lot of rules to restrict the citizens. Once there's someone who breaks the rules will be caught transgress, and sentenced a sin. Different sins can lead to different punishment.

However, as it mentioned in the Holy Bible, there’s seven deadly sins in the world which including Pride, Lust, Gluttony, Greed, Sloth, Envy and Wrath. They are also called in another way, the unforgivable transgression.

In 1589 s, a theology called Peter Benfield relates these sins with seven devils which own different part of the Hell. It represent the devils will instigate human who has evil intentions in their mind to transgress the sin that corresponding to them.

Seven deadly sins
In a word, all of them are the embodiment of the desire that out of control, especially the Greed, which is the original source of all the other sins.

What’s more, Lust is the incontrollable desire of the enjoyment of sex; Gluttony is the incontrollable desire of enjoying the entertainment of eating; Sloth is the incontrollable desire of evading from responsibility; Envy is the incontrollable desire of getting more property than others; Wrath is the incontrollable desire of revenging; Pride is the incontrollable desire of being more outstanding than others. In conclusion, they are all creates by the individuality.

If the society advocates the uniformity criticism, people’s humanity would not be aroused, and the seven deadly sins would not appear in their personality. However, because the individuality, everyone is special, so they love to compare with others, and that’s why the sins exist in our world.

For what I have mentioned above, uniformity is not that bad and individuality is not one hundred percents good.

The law

It's true for people to break the laws?

In the novel Anthem, the protagonist who named Equality breaks almost all the laws that made by the council. However, it seems that he doesn't feel guilt or shame at all. But, it's true for people to break the laws?

Laws are set up to protect people’s rights and freedom. However, there’s no absolute thing in our world. So does the freedom. There are always some restrictions that go with the laws, in order to reveal the precious freedom.
Consequently, if people break the laws, only because they can’t bear the restrictions which make the freedom work, they are also breaking the freedom of themselves.

On the other hand, in order to stabilize the authority of law and the structure of the society, the government has to set up more stern restrictions inside the laws. With no doubt that, these new restrictions will make people feel even worse than before, and they will try to break the laws again in the name of fighting for freedom.

However, when this two steps repeat again and again, a vicious circle which against not only the stable structure of society but also the balance between citizens and government will be made.

In comparison, Equality’s rash behavior is not reasonable and realistic. Breaking laws is a thing that does harmful to everyone, and obviously, it would not bring us a better life.Instead of that, it may even destroy the society.

What should be set as people’s life goal?
Set a goal

In the novel Anthem, the protagonist who named Equality sets his own happiness as the goal of his life. But, is it proper to set one's goal of life like that? If not, what should be set as people's life goal?

This is a tough philosophy(Objectivism) question, because the life goal of a human has an extraordinary meaning which represents the direction of the fighting during the rest of his life.

In another word, it’s very bad for a man to set a wrong goal for himself, because that may ruins all his life. On the contrary, a splendid goal can lead people to the climax of success.

In comparison, Equality sets his own happiness as his life goal, which is only benefiting him but not the whole society. Let’s imagine, if everyone sets the same goal as Equality, what will the society looks like? No one cares about others, and they can do anything they want in order to get anything they need only for getting their own happiness.

More seriously, that will destroy the base line of morality, and even entirely destroy the society system.

In order to avoid this tragedy, we should think more about the group, the society, because we all have to rely on others, otherwise we can not survive. Consequently, we should wish to become a man that benefits others, so that we can build a warm and peaceful society.

What is the best solution of dealing with a decayed society?

In the novel Anthem, the protagonist who named Equality plans to change the unenlightened society with the power of science, his invention of light. Unfortunately it does not work,so he sets up a small revolution after he discovers the unspeakable word "EGO". He plans to tell the great truth to his brothers who are advocating the individuality. Nevertheless, he chooses to escape the society and begins a new one. All in all, Equality has tried three different ways to deal with the decayed society. However, which one is the best one?

From the ancient time till the recent age, people used to use the way of revolution to deal with the decayed society, it’s quietly direct and efficient but harmful to the structure of the society.

For example, there were more than ten dynasties in the history of China, and they revealed a regular pattern of the normal process of a country’s development. Someone overthrows the old dynasty and becomes the King, and his kingdom was overthrown by someone else after a few generations, and then, a new kingdom was set up. Consequently, the sense of revolution is rooted in people’s sub-conscious, they will think of it at the first time when they are faced with a decayed society.

However, is revolution the only solution of deal with a decayed society?

Of course, there’s many other solutions, for example, use the power of science. Yet, the society might stay in corruption if the moral quality can not catch up with the development of science.

The Utopia
In another word, changing the belief of citizens is the best solution to remedy a decayed society. The ideal society exists only in the situation when all the citizens believe its existence, and that request a very preeminent quality of republic morality.

By comparison, Equality tries to build a new society by him and save people who want to be individual from the council’s society, but obviously he is not solving the basic problem. He considers himself as Prometheus, the one who steals the kindling material from the Heaven and help human to get a better life, but he is shirking the responsibility of bring his brothers a better life.

In fact, there’s no any “be chosen one” to save the world, everyone can do that if he is brave enough to give a speech or publish a book in order to tell his brothers the history of unmentionable, and the unspeakable word “EGO”.


Here's some evidences provided for the gaps in the novel Anthem, including the idea of sins, laws, human's goal and the ideal society.

By reading the novel Anthem, the idea of Ayn Rand's philosophy is partly rooted in our mind, she advocates the individuality which represent the sprint of America and resists the uniformity which represents Soviet Union.It's shown in her biography that there's some personal reason of private emotion that leads her to hate the uniformity.

Obviously, it's not intellect to see things in a subjective way, because it may makes you getting further away from the truth.

Link to other wiki-pages:
Ayn Rand