Anthem: The Process of Liberation

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Anthem: The Process of Liberation Many years ago, I read my first book by Ayn Rand, Anthem. I completed the book in about four hours. At the time, I was not mature enough to fully appreciate Anthem's powerful symbolism. My attitude as I read the beginning of the book was one of indifference and confusion, maturing only later into concern and vigorous interest. This experience began a new phase in my intellectual development that soon led me to read Atlas Shrugged. I then started on Ayn Rand's non-fictional works. My understanding of Rand's philosophical system, however, came piece by piece. There was no one instant of recognition, no single ``aha.'' Until recently, I was not fully aware that I had been affected so deeply. My progress was step-by-step and I had never looked all the way back. As I began to read Anthem for a second time, I found myself in acute pain, even at the first paragraph. I continued to read it feeling much as a person would when touring a concentration camp, for, in effect, that was exactly what I was doing. There was not one hint of levity in my mood; I do not even recall breathing. I was truly looking all the way back. At the end of chapter nine, when Equality 7-2521 is alone, in the most profound sense of the word, with his Golden One, she says slowly, ``We are one ... alone ... and only ... and we love you who are one ... alone ... and only,'' I feared I could tolerate the book no longer. I had finally understood that profound sense of loneliness and despair a person can feel when they want to say ``I love you,'' but cannot say ``I''. I could not understand how my previous reading could have seemed so easy. I proceeded, at a forced march, all the way to chapter eleven. I had never experienced the concept of labored reading before. When I read the words, ``I am,'' I realized that I had become Equality 7-2521 and that his
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