The novel, Anthem, by Ayn Rand paints a world where there is a tug of war between individuality and conformity. This is depicted through Equality 7-2521’s experiences with the Collective society. Collectivism emphasizes the importance of a group and encourages loyalty instead of the pursuit of one’s own interests. In the novel, the society is oppressive and pushes the citizens to abide by the standards which, adds to a major theme. The theme “a selfless individual is a mindless individual” is developed through the society’s beliefs in Collectivism and the rule that forbids the use of the word “I”. The society’s beliefs in Collectivism such as the sole purpose of man is to work for the benefit of everyone in the society, helps to develop the theme. The society does not want an individual to begin to think that they are better than everyone else, so they decided that a citizen’s goal should always be for the benefit of the whole group. When Equality escapes into the Uncharted Forest, he thinks, “We have not built this box for the good sake of our brothers. We built it for its own sake. It is above all our brothers to us, and its truth above their truth.” (76) Equality becomes a true individual when he disregards the Council’s orders to destroy the light bulb, showcasing his free will. His view of the society changes because he realizes the idea that he is happy because he serves others, was planted in his mind. Due to this, Equality understands that he lied to himself about why he found the light bulb so important. He loves the light bulb because it is his personal project, something that he is proud of, and not because it can benefit the society. Equality is no longer thinking as though he is part of a group, but instead as an individual with his own desires and beliefs. If he had listened to the Council, he would not have gained this sense of identity and independence because he would continue to follow the collective ideas. The result of Equality’s decision to be selfish, since he chose himself over the society, is that he becomes less easy to control and more aware of the reality of his world. In addition, the rule that forbids the use of the word “I” helps to develop the theme. The society tries to eliminate any form of individuality which creates robot-like people because everyone has to use the word “we”. The word “I” allows people to distinguish themselves from others. When the Transgressor of the Unspeakable Word is burned alive in front of everyone, Equality notices, “There was no pain in their eyes and no knowledge of the agony of their body. There was only joy in them, and pride, a pride holier than it is fit for human pride to be.” (51) The Transgressor of the Unspeakable Word refused to surrender his freedom so, he also chooses himself over the society. From this, he finds his individuality since he learns to speak using the word “I”. He is happy because he understands that having a sense of independence is more valuable and worth dying for, which suggests that individuality gives strength. Due to this, the transgressor is not mindless because he does not follow the society’s ideals and this strength allows him to break the chains that the society placed upon him. He is able to see that the real society is oppressive, whereas no one else cared to know, which sets him apart. All the other citizens who do not have their own thoughts remain mindless- they are unaware of the negative effects the society has on their independence. In conclusion, the society’s beliefs in Collectivism and the rule that forbids the use of the word “I” help to develop the theme “a selfless individual is a mindless individual” in the novel. Due to the belief that the main goal of an individual should be to benefit the entire group, the Council wanted to destroy the light bulb. This gave Equality the chance to defend himself, realize what motivates him, and become more independent. Furthermore, the society enforces a rule that forbids the use of the word “I” so that citizens have no individuality. However, when the Transgressor of the Unspeakable Word learns to speak of himself using “I” and does not surrender to the society, he is more powerful. Both situations allow an individual to question the society and fight against it. They are not easily controlled by the society and are different from the rest of the citizens. As a result, their refusal to be selfless led to their individuality.