Equality 7-2521 claims to have singlehandedly “discovered a new power of nature,” and he alone is privy to it. He is ready to accept punishment if need be, and calls the Council of Scholars “blind.” The secrets of the earth should not be available to all, but rather only to those men who are willing to pursue them. Equality 7-2521 goes on to explain the power he has discovered: one night, while dissecting a frog, he noticed that its leg jerked even though it was no longer alive. After many experiments, he discovered that the frog jerked because it was connected to a copper wire that was somehow conducting power into its body.
In this chapter, Equality’s tone changes noticeably. Instead of the overly modest and self-effacing wording he used previously, he frames his discovery in far more grandiose and individualistic terms, and is even willing to insult the Council of Scholars.
“Haunted” by this discovery, Equality 7-2521 performs more experiments to learn that metal conducts power from the sky, like lightning. Using the materials he finds in his tunnel, including “globes of glass” (which are almost certainly light bulbs), he concludes that men from the Unmentionable Times were familiar with this sort of power. He is determined to continue learning about this new force on his own, because he alone possesses a knowledge greater than that of the Scholars.
Once he has gotten a taste of individual creative achievement, Equality 7-2521 cannot help but pursue more. Rand uses this chapter to illustrate that the human quest to develop and exert personal power is a natural, noble, and irresistible pursuit. By exercising his power, Equality 7-2521 is merely working to restore himself to the state that people occupied during the more individualistic Unmentionable Times.