Anthem: Community Does Not Necessitate Camaraderie Essays

Anthem: Community Does Not Necessitate Camaraderie Essays

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The leaders of the society described in Ayn Rand’s classic novella Anthem rely almost entirely on various forms of brainwashing and psychological control to maintain their grip on power. So effective are these methods of mental manipulation that physical enslavement is almost never deemed necessary. Even in the rare situations where physical control is used, such as during Equality's brief incarceration at the Palace of Corrective Detention, the methods of restraint used rely heavily – almost entirely – on mental barriers set up through a combination of isolation and over-communalization efforts that are as ingenious as they are abhorrent.
It is clear from the conditions in the Palace of Corrective Detention that the tyrants who rule the society in Anthem do not expect inmates to even attempt to escape. The locks are described as old and the door as being easy to break down. Furthermore, throughout his escape from the facility and journey through the city to the meeting of the World Council of Scholars, Equality meets not a single guard, garnering greater support for the idea that the psychological power that the rulers exert over the people of the city is so strong and unwavering that the notion of an individual attempting to escape is considered by the rulers and citizens to be simply unfathomable. This absolute control is as unquestionable as it is unquestioned.
The tight censorship employed in the city ensures that the very idea of resistance or rebellion continues to be a foreign notion, a necessary state of things if the rulers are to be able to continue to control the masses by purely mental and psychological means. The strongest of punishments – the death penalty – is reserved for “this one crime of speaking the Unspe...


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...l rulers of the city are able to strip individuals of their ability to function as social entities, while at the same time forcing them to become one with the human hive.
Of all the weapons of oppression in the tyrant's arsenal, isolation is by far the most sinister and effective. It is difficult for individuals to develop rebellious or otherwise contradictory viewpoints, much less act on them, without having the ability to engage in open and free discussion with others. In this way, contradictory though it may seem, isolation is the most potent way to destroy the individualistic spirit. For, as the rulers know, it is when one feels most isolated and alone that they are most willing to abandon their individual identity and adopt that of the mass, an adoption made easier when combined with an assimilative doctrine such as the one preached to the people of the city.

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