Presentation on theme: "Ayn Rand and Anthem. Ayn Rand 1905-1982 Born in Russia, educated under communists Escaped 1926 to America b/c it represented her individualist philosophy."— Presentation transcript:
Ayn Rand 1905-1982 Born in Russia, educated under communists Escaped 1926 to America b/c it represented her individualist philosophy
Anthem (1938) n This novelette depicts a world of the future, a society so collectivized that even the word "I" has vanished from the language. Anthem's theme is: the meaning and glory of man's ego.
Anthem n Written in 1937 as a novelette about the essence of collectivism n Published in England in 1938, America in 1946
Theme n “It is a sin to write this. It is a sin to think words no others think and put them down upon paper no others are to see… there is no transgression blacker than to do or think alone.”
Theme n This quote begins Anthem which according to Rand expresses the meaning of man’s ego. n The story is about an individual imprisoned in the collective; how it can happen; what ideas must one accept for it to be possible.
Theme n It is both depressing as it represents people in such a society and it is hopeful in the triumph of the human spirit for those who are brave enough to reject the ethics of collectivism, no matter the cost.
Collectivism n The subjugation of the individual to a group – whether to a race, class, or state does not matter n All thought and action must be “for the common good” n The individual has no right to lead his own life n The individual has no right to pursue his own happiness, or use his own property n An individual’s worth is determined by his service to the group
Individualism n Every man is an independent, sovereign entity who possesses an inalienable right to his own life. n A civilized society can only be achieved on the basis of the recognition of individual rights. n Groups possess no right separate from the individual members. n Individualism does not mean one can do whatever he feels like doing; it means every man is an individual and has the same rights.
Altruism n Man has no right to exist for his own sake. n Service to others is the only justification of his existence. n Self-sacrifice is the highest moral duty, virtue, and value…which means: the self as a standard of evil, the selfless as a standard of good.
Selflessness n Defined as “Lack of Self” n No one has a name n No one should prefer one person over another n It is wrong to disagree, to question, to have independent thought n Individual has no rights
Selflessness n Without self one must abstain from thinking and simply obey the leaders n When individual identity and thought are obliterated, a society of mindless robots with no motivation, no ambition, no hope emerges. n Nothing is created because there is no room for creativity.
Egoism n Defined as “being concerned with one’s own interests” n Each man’s primary moral obligation is to achieve his own welfare, well-being, or self-interest. n Man should be “selfish” in the sense of being the beneficiary of his own moral actions.
Egoism n For example: u Having Ambition u Wanting things for one’s self u Wanting to learn u Wanting a career that makes you happy u Thinking for one’s self u Loving another person of choice
Conformity n The act or habit of bringing oneself into harmony or agreement with others; adhering to conventional behavior.
Obedience n Complying with a command; yielding to those in authority.
Independence n Acceptance of the responsibility of forming one’s own judgments and living by the work of one’s own mind.
Free Will n Advocates that people u can make choices, u can make up their own minds, u can direct their own lives by the ideas and values they adopt
Determinism n Advocates that people are by nature in the grip of forces beyond their control n For example: Race, the Stars, Instincts
ANTHEM & Free Will n The story shows what it means to have Free Will n They are Robots by CHOICE n The Protagonist will exercise his free will by making a different choice
Other Terms to Know n Totalitarianism n Romanticism n Realism n Naturalism n Abdicate n Objectivism
n Romantic Realism u The story is REALIST because these are REAL PROBLEMS of normal people (Not monsters, superheroes, or robots) u The story is Romantic b/c it is not about every day trivia or the boy next door F It is instead about the “fundamental universal problems and values of human existence.” F Romanticism contrasts with Naturalism which holds that people are crushed by forces over which they have NO CONTROL (FATE) Setting/Point of View
n Point of View First Person Plural (Diary Entries) n Story begins in the distant future n Protagonist is in the late teens or early twenties n Totalitarian Society – Government controls every aspect of every individual’s life from cradle to grave. Setting/Point of View
n Expectation is to expend one’s life for the needs of the society, never a moment for one’s self. n If one’s usefulness is gone, he is a burden and should not live. n Because no one has personal desires, the authorities need no threats or force to rule.
n Anyone who doubts his society feels guilty about doubting. n The society has no industry or technology. n The protagonist struggles to understand (man vs. society).
Sequence of the Life in Anthem Society n Each is conceived in the Palace of Mating n Young years are spent in the Home of Infants n Formative years are lived in the Home of Students n After being assigned a vocation, individuals are placed in special homes according to vocation n Old Age is spent in the Home of the Useless
Why are we reading this? n Anthem explores ethical and political questions which concern YOU! u Who are you? u It is possible to stand on your own?
Why are we reading this? n It asks questions about society such as : u If you could choose the best society to have, what would it be? u How would you describe a moral and just society?
Why are we reading this? u Does your life now belong to a group? u Do you have the right to pursue your own happiness? And to what degree? u Can a society without freedom be productive?
Next Step n As YOU read, notice how these concepts are illustrated through plot development in Anthem. n Consider how the real world connects with the philosophical issues presented in the novel. n Read Critically, agree with what is acceptable to you. n Disagree with what offends your values or beliefs.
Next Step n Because you read a book does not mean you are to accept the author’s ideas if they are offensive to you. n Learn to cull out the wheat for the chaff! n Do not accept blindly! n Learn to justify and argue a good case for that which you truly believe.