Anthem by Ayn Rand

I have my mind.

Then here, on this mountaintop, with

the world below me and nothing above me

but the sun, I shall live my own truth.

Gaea is pregnant with my child. Our son

will be raised as a man. He will be taught

to say “I” and to bear the pride of it. He

will be taught to walk straight and on his

own feet. He will be taught reverence for

his own spirit.

When I shall have read all the books

and learned my new way, when my home

will be ready and my earth tilled,

I shall steal one day, for the last time,

into the cursed City of my birth. I shall call to me

my friend who has no name save International 4-8818,

and all those like him, Fraternity 2-5503,

who cries without reason, and Solidarity 9-6347

who calls for help in the night, and a few others.

I shall call to me all the men and the women

whose spirit has not been killed within them

and who suffer under the yoke of their brothers.

They will follow me and I shall lead them to my fortress.

And here, in this uncharted wilderness, I and they,

my chosen friends, my fellow-builders, shall write

the first chapter in the new history of man.

These are the things before me.

And as I stand here at the door of glory,

I look behind me for the last time.

I look upon the history of men, which

I have learned from the books, and I wonder.

It was a long story, and the spirit which moved it

was the spirit of man’s freedom.

But what is freedom? Freedom from what?

There is nothing to take a man’s freedom away

from him, save other men. To be free,

a man must be free of his brothers.

That is freedom. That and nothing else.

At first, man was enslaved by the gods.

But he broke their chains. Then he was

enslaved by the kings. But he broke their chains.

He was enslaved by his birth, by his kin,

by his race. But he broke their chains.

He declared to all his brothers that

a man has rights which neither god nor

king nor other men can take away from him,

no matter what their number, for his is

the right of man, and there is no right

on earth above this right. And he stood on

the threshold of the freedom for which the

blood of the centuries behind him had been spilled.

But then he gave up all he had won,

and fell lower than his savage beginning.

What brought it to pass? What disaster took

their reason away from men? What whip

lashed them to their knees in shame and

submission? The worship of the word


When men accepted that worship,

the structure of centuries collaped

about them, the structure whose every beam

had come from the thought of some one man,

each in his day down the ages, from the depth

of some one spirit, such spirit as existed

but for its own sake. Those men who survived

those eager to obey, eager to live for one

another, since they had nothing else to

vindicate them–those men could neither carry

on, nor preserve what they had received.

Thus did all thought, all science,

all wisdom perish on earth. Thus did men–

men with nothing to offer save their great number–

lost the steel towers, the flying ships,

the power wires, all the things they had

not created and could never keep. Perhaps,

later, some men had been born with the

mind and the courage to recover these

things which were lost; perhaps these men

came before the Councils of Scholars.

They were answered as I have been answered–

and for the same reasons.

But I still wonder how it was possible,

in those graceless years of transition,

long ago, that men did not see whither they

were going, and went on, in blindness and

cowardice, to their fate. I wonder, for it

is hard for me to conceive how men who

knew the word “I” could give it up and

not know what they lost. But such has been

the story, for I have lived in the City of

the damned, and I know what horror men

permitted to be brought upon them.

Perhaps, in those days, there were a few

among men, a few of clear sight and clean

soul, who refused to surrender that word.

What agony must have been theirs before

that which they saw coming and could not

stop! Perhaps they cried out in protest and

in warning. But men paid no heed to their

warning. And they, these few, fought a

hopeless battle, and they perished with

their banners smeared by their own blood.

And they chose to perish, for they knew.

To them, I send my salute across the centuries,

and my pity.

Theirs is the banner in my hand. And I wish

I had the power to tell them that the despair

of their hearts was not to be final,

and their night was not without hope.

For the battle they lost can never be lost.

For that which they died to save can never perish.

Through all the darkness, through

all the shame of which men are capable,

the spirit of man will remain alive on this

earth. It may sleep, but it will awaken.

It may wear chains, but it will break through.

And man will go on. Man, not men.

Here on this mountain, I and my sons

and my chosen friends shall build our new

land and our fort. And it will become as

the heart of the earth, lost and hidden at

first, but beating, beating louder each day.

And word of it will reach every corner

of the earth. And the roads of the world

will become as veins which will carry the

best of the world’s blood to my threshold.

And all my brothers, and the Councils of

my brothers, will hear of it, but they will

be impotent against me. And the day will

come when I shall break all the chains of

the earth, and raze the cities of the enslaved,

and my home will become the capital of a

world where each man will be free to exist

for his own sake.

For the coming of that day shall I fight,

I and my sons and my chosen friends.

For the freedom of Man. For his rights.

For his life. For his honor.

And here, over the portals of my fort,

I shall cut in the stone the word which is

to be my beacon and my banner. The word

which will not die, should we all perish in

battle. The word which can never die on

this earth, for it is the heart of it and the

meaning and the glory.

The sacred word:


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Categories: Rand, Ayn