Anthem

Another story I finally got round to reading recently (a surprise given my fondness for all things Rush) is Anthem by Ayn Rand. It’s the tale of a post-apocalyptic world and a dystopian society in which strict rules are imposed by a central body, a World Council, which seeks to remove all traces of individuality from the populace. Everything is decided by the controlling body, names are standardised, professions allocated irrespective of character and ability – as Neil Peart’s lyrics for 2112 which were inspired by Anthem relate:

We’ve taken care of everything
The words you hear, the songs you sing
The pictures that give pleasure to your eyes.
It’s one for all and all for one
We work together, common sons
Never need to wonder how or why.

There are no individuals or free-thought until Equality 7-2521, the central character, emerges to tell his Promethean tale.

I very much enjoyed Anthem as a story and found it both entertaining and thought-provoking. It’s not a very long story, weighing in at only 55 pages (in the Kindle version that I downloaded from ManyBooks), so won’t take long to read. I’m sure most would read it in a single sitting, so it’s short enough to make it worth reading. It is also worth reading as a warning against the dangers of collectivism in particular but also against following any philosophy or ideology too slavishly.

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