Student: Thiago Rossi
Author: Ayn Rand
Role: Connection Captain
|Caged bird, representing lack of freedom|
|Image representing leadership. In this case, the brainwash and lies the government is telling the people living in the world of Anthem to believe in.|
Every single time I read Anthem, I keep being unpleasantly reminded many time of communism, as all the posts that I wrote previously were all related to this topic, and yet I still have to mention it in this one because it way too apparent on how this society functions in a way that is so similar. You see, it is quite incredible how the author was able to imagine a world on how Marx's ideals would be applied perfectly to it. Perhaps she must have studied the "philosophy" in her life, giving her own opinions on it and writing this book, with some minor alterations. Another interesting thing is that Ayn was living in a country that was about to turn into a communism at the time she wrote this book, which was shortly after the assassination of the last Soviet Tsar, Nikolai II. Anyway, from all the angles you could see how related this book's governmental system and Karl Marx's ideal ways of governing are. As I mentioned in my other posts, the only twist here is that the "philosophy" was able to function, even though the regime is extremely strict. For instance, the people always look forward to benefit the group and never themselves as individuals, making them not express their opinions, which simultaneously have them being afraid to talk or they could end up disagreeing with each other and receive some sort of penalty. Moreover, there is no love whatsoever present in this society, as everyone has to show equal feelings towards the entire group and never towards a specific person or group of people, as doing so would be thinking as an individual being. If we stop to reflect on this idea of benefitting the group before the individual, it is just plain nonsense. Picture it like this, if everyone is doing everything the same, expressing the same thoughts, opinions, committing the same acts as everyone else and not truly expressing their own will, people as a whole will be unhappy. The freedom of voice is one of the basic things humans need to contribute to their happiness. Here, if no one has the opportunity to express their own personal thoughts, everyone will be unhappy, which means that the group is not being benefitted if every member feels restricted. Society progresses purely, as a whole, from ideas created by individuals themselves that can be applied to the world. Therefore, the only people truly having an advantage in this horrible system are the authorities who make the laws for the communities to follow, as they are bending the population's will to do their bidding and live in what they call the "perfect society", at least for them, I guess. What would happen, you ask me, if someone refuses to obey such things? Well from communist countries that we can see from the past or present, those who rebel are outright murdered, tortured or jail. For instance, in the Soviet Union, people were sent to gulags or just killed directly. In Cuba, rebels are often sent to the Seawall firing place were they would be brutally executed. In other words, you do what we say when we say it, always keep your mouth shut, and if you don't do any of these two things, you'll suffer the consequences. In the book, we could see examples of this restrictions from a passage at the section one, which says that a man that discovered the forbidden word "I", which refers to always to the speaker of the word. Reformulating this once again, communism naturally makes the people have this extremely restricted lifestyle of obedience and conformity of which the population has no voice in. However, in the novel, I didn't find many clues if the characters have personal, physical belongings until now, which may point out that this might just be a modified type of communism, as the original "philosophy" says that the civilians must have no property of their own. In many, the novel is clearly a model of a perfect, yet altered, communist society. To be honest, I think this would be the only way it could possibly work, just like the descriptions of the book. People have no unique characteristics from each other, show not much emotion, and are "programmed" or "brainwashed" to work as if they were robots, although sometimes they can show minor human traits. Nevertheless, to create such a reality would be physically impossible, as it is way beyond the human limits because we all have our own personal, feelings, thoughts and opinions, which cannot be taken from us by force. An example that failed at trying to execute this type of government was the Soviet Union. In order to be able to create such a world would be to start an extreme form of regime, with enormous amounts of restrictions and penalties for breaking the law, for people not to eventually rebel. Over time, the knowledge of how life in the past was would vanish, making people only know the communist way and making them believe it is the best the world has to offer, which can also be considered a level of brainwash, as you are forcing someone to believe in something that is potentially not true. Last but not least, another example of how restricted the lifestyle is for Equality in the novel is that he cannot express his new ideas he's been discovering underground or he would be considered a person causing change in the society and would probably be killed, similar to what happened to the person who spoke the forbidden word. Wrapping up, as I see it, a communism, compared to the form of government we have today, takes away the basic rights of expression the human being needs to think as an individual and contribute to society, restricting him from doing so and creating a world without progression, of which no one is benefited except for the governmental leaders, which have all the power and oppress and bend their people's will to obey their otherwise insane and illogical beliefs and desires.