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Along with the pursuit of scientific knowledge and eventually the search for the Unspeakable Word, the development of Equality 7-2521's relationship with the Golden One constitutes one of the major threads of Anthem's plot. At first, Equality 7-2521 reviles the activities at the Palace of Mating because he has no choice in the assignment of his sexual partners, and he believes that his preference for the Golden One is a sin because he is elevating her above all her sisters. However, as he develops in his understanding of the importance of self, he comes to believe that preference and freedom of choice are the basis for happiness, and that the authorities' teaching that men should love all other humans equally merely perpetuates the servitude of collectivism. His friendship with International 4-8818 is the forerunner of his relationship with the Golden One, and alludes to similar themes although the bond is less tight.