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A chapter from my upcoming blog Soma Coma: EQUALITY 7-2521 "So much [...]

Las Vegas, Nevada
via The Full Circle Project
A chapter from my upcoming blog Soma Coma:


"So much is still to be learned. So long a road lies before us. And what care we if we must travel it alone?"

― Anthem *

* Anthem…

Before Neo from The Matrix, there was Equality 7-2521 from Anthem.

A novella by Ayn Rand, Anthem portrays a dystopian society, in which a totalitarian regime suppresses knowledge. The government in question brainwashes the populace to believe they are far less than what they actually are.

Well, fuck! That doesn't sound at all like what we're currently experiencing.

Equality 7-2521 ― a man in his early 20s ― resides in an arcane, creepy, futuristic city. Referring to himself as "we" ― third person plural ― he relates his tale.

In this primitive culture, children are seized from their parents, and reared in communal houses, far from their nurturing progenitors.

Our narrator is no exception, and has been led to conclude he suffers from an affliction causing him to constantly question, and learn at an accelerated rate.

Adept in science, Equality aspires to become a Scholar ― a coalition of tacitly "wise" citizens making decisions for the populace. Instead, the Council of Vocations ― an authoritative conglomerate ― decrees our protagonist be a Street Sweeper.

Equality accepts his assignment, as a Transgression of Penance for clandestinely seeking profundity.

While keeping the streets pristine, the story's lead discovers a tunnel within the Earth, complete with a pair of mysterious, metal tracks. Against the admonishment of his friend ― International 4-8818 ― Equality ventures into the subterranean chamber. Upon investigation, our hero deduces the portal was built during what authority refers to as the Unmentionable Times ― a previous era shrouded in mystery.

Within the tunnel, the main character creates a makeshift laboratory, where he conducts his own scientific experiments. On purloined paper, he journals his observations.

Performing his street sweeping duties, Equality meets another member of the proletariat ― a 17 year old girl named Liberty 5-3000. Thanks to Liberty's intense beauty, Equality finds himself unable to rid her from his mind.

Known as the Time of Mating, it's a period relegated for procreation. During this duration, plebeians are assigned members of the opposite sex, with whom they're instructed to mate.

Due to Equality's desire for Liberty, he's unable to capitulate to this decree, and informs the young girl of his yearning. He explains how he secretly thinks of her, and has bequeathed her the sobriquet "The Golden One" ― due to her golden locks.

Liberty confesses she, too, can't stop thinking of him, and has given him the nickname "The Unconquered" ― thanks to his indomitable spirit.

Throughout, Equality continues his subterranean experiments. As a result, he discovers electricity ― long forgotten by the community in which he resides.

Unearthing bizarre glass containers, housing numerous wires, our hero is surprised, when one of the boxes emits a glow, after he passes charges through its conduits.

Concluding this discovery will be of monumental benefit to his species, he decides to bring his findings to the World Council of Scholars ― a renowned think tank. It's Equality's belief this breakthrough will be of such magnitude, it will afford him not only a pardon for his infractions, but the opportunity to become a Scholar.

Unfortunately, he goes missing from the Home of the Street Sweepers one evening, and his absence is detected. As a result, he's flogged, and incarcerated in the Palace of Corrective Detention. It's here Equality escapes, due to the fact there are no guards, since nobody had ever attempted liberation prior.

The following day, our protagonist brings his discovery to the World Council of Scholars. Fearful Equality has conducted research outside the scope of the authoritative body, the organization impugns him a "wretch" and a "gutter cleaner."

Those in power seek to demolish his findings, so they can continue, unimpeded, with their plans for what is known as the World Council and the Department of Candles. During this era, candles are the sole artificial light source known to humans, and introduction of a better modality would disturb the status quo.

Before the Scholars have a chance to seize him, Equality grabs his discovery and escapes into the forest encompassing the city.

Although Equality is now alone ― outside the confines of the municipality ― he relishes in his freedom. Here, he seems far more safe than inside the metropolis. In addition, he enjoys solitude, since those within government refuse to venture into this forbidden zone.

Following him, the Golden One appears to Equality on his second day in the woods. The two attempt to express their adoration for one another, but having never referred to themselves in the singular, are unable to verbally convey love.

Venturing further into the woods, the pair uncover a house that was built during the Unmentionable Times. Taking up residence in this home, Equality begins reading from the domicile's expansive library. It's here he discovers the word "I". Immediately, he informs the Golden One of his find.

It's the couples' first experience with individuality. Prior, they'd been led to believe those under government rule toiled for whatever common goal bureaucracy asserted was important. Neither Equality, nor Liberty, had even comprehended their were such concepts as autonomy. Neither realized they were anything except part of a larger body designed to serve the state.

Learning they are both individuals, the protagonists change their names. Equality becomes Prometheus ― a defender of humankind, from Greek mythology.

Liberty refers to herself as Gaea ― the mythological goddess of Mother Earth.

Gaea becomes pregnant with Prometheus' child, and the two set out to create a society in which all people can regain their identity.

If you sympathize with, or even feel like, Equality 7-2521, you're on the right path. You're doing what what we all should be doing.

Only a fool or a slave owner wouldn't find slavery intolerable. Subjugation isn't solely physically agonizing, it's mentally excruciating. Watching one's life ― quite plausibly the only you'll ever have ― being stolen, is cerebral suicide.

Attempting to determine how to end one's incarceration ― amidst a society of slaves, blind to their plight ― causes those who've awakened to reality, immense anguish.

To ignorant incarcerates, interment is still mentally murderous, as you struggle to pay this bill, that tax, and keep a roof over your head.

And since slavery won't end itself, the only logical response to realizing you're a vassal is to eradicate your servitude. Anything else results in perpetuated serfdom, and your willful support of such is insane.

Hence, Equality 7-2521's reaction to his discovery of his own subjugation is common sense. Comprehending you're a captive, and not doing everything within your power to end your imprisonment is brain-scrambled crazy!

Yet, such is a typical reaction ― exhibited by a substantial portion of the population ― once their slavery is shown to them. Most will choose to do nothing, and thus remain slaves. This is obviously the response of somebody suffering from an acute neurosis. Since a preponderance of the populace react in this fashion, that would make the majority of our species on this planet mentally ill.

When dubious, regarding your own actions, ask yourself what Equality 7-2521 would do in that situation. This character questioned everything around him, and thus, conducted his own research, in order to determine what was real.

Thanks to his exploration, he uncovered the truth, and refused to waver from it. Steadfast in his resolve, Equality unearthed reality, and pursued it fervently, even in the face of tremendous opposition.

— Hugh Mungus
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