How does Rand use the candle to ridicule the scholarly achievements of this collectivist society?

Chapter 7

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Rand's depiction of the Home of the Scholars contrasts the reality of the Council of Scholars with the ironic mention of "famous names" and the "illustrious men who had invented the candle." The idea of fame suggests a certain level of separation from the common man that seems more individualist than collectivist, and accordingly the concept of invention is associated with fame and achievement. However, the candle came long before the Great Rebirth, and the members of the Council are huddled "as shapeless clouds," again emphasizing the bodiless nature of collectivism. They are confused by the presence of an intruder, for just as no one had ever thought to escape the Palace of Corrective Detention, no one has thought to interrupt the World Council, and they are particularly shocked by his low status.

The behavior of the Council of Scholars suggest that any group is ineffective and that the ills of Soviet Russia were not simply the result of faulty execution. Their insistence that all must agree in order for something to be true makes knowledge subjective, in contrast to Equality 7-2521's Objectivist ideas, and it causes stagnation as the weakest and most frightened sectors of society slow progress. They cannot agree on how to use new technology and rank obedience above prosperity or learning. Even the de facto spokesperson who has some mild claim to individualism, Collective 0-0009, rejects him. Significantly, the suggestions of Democracy 4-6698 and Unanimity 7-3304 equate Equality 7-2521's sin of individual thought to the only crime officially punishable by death, the speaking of the Unspeakable Word.