For the first time, Equality 7-2521 narrates in the first person. “I am. I think. I will,” he writes. The words he has found are “the answer.” He stands on a mountaintop with arms outstretched and reflects that he has found the meaning of things: he himself is the meaning. “I need no warrant for being, and no word of sanction upon my being,” he says. He exists as his own human being; therefore his existence is warranted and sanctioned.
This moment marks the definitive breakthrough in Equality 7-2521’s character development. At the beginning of the work, he was ashamed to even flirt with self-assertion. Now, his discovery of the pronoun “I” has allowed him to become an utter egoist.
It is Equality 7-2521’s eyes that give beauty to what he sees, and his hearing is what allows for song. His own judgment is the only route to truth, and his own will is the only authority to which he must defer. The only words that he respects as holy are: “I will it.”
Equality 7-2521 says that he does not know whether the earth is the center of the universe or an insignificant speck, but it doesn’t matter to him either way. He now understands what happiness he can achieve on earth, and this happiness is all that matters to him. It is an end in itself, and needs no other goal or purpose. Instead of being a tool for others’ use, he is a man in charge of his own power. He is not obligated to share his “treasures” with anyone; he lives for no other man, and asks no other man to live for him.
Equality 7-2521 is neither a friend nor an enemy to his fellow man, and will only give them the treatment that they earn from him. He may choose friends, but he will never subjugate himself to another. Each man, Equality 7-2521 says, is alone in the “temple of his spirit,” and this temple should remain undisturbed by others. The word “we” represents a defilement of this temple. It is a monstrous thing to place the collective before the individual, Equality 7-2521 says. “We” is used to allow the weak to steal from the strong, to foster servitude and shamefulness. Equality 7-2521’s god, his route to fulfillment, is the word “I.”
Equality 7-2521’s new philosophy is a complete reversal of the collectivist requirement that everyone must depend on everyone else. His categorical rejection of behavior that does not benefit him—even if it may benefit others—could be said to lack empathy. However, Equality 7-2521’s personal experience of liberating himself from shame as soon as he escapes the City does corroborate his view of collectivism as a route to shame and cowardice.