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These real-life collectivist rulers forced millions of human beings to surrender their individuality in practice. He decides that the Golden One is not to be touched by the Councils' policies of state-controlled breeding. International 4-8818, like Equality 7-2521, commits the Transgression of Preference; he selects Equality 7-2521 as his friend from the mass of humanity.Over a period of centuries, the rulers have managed to extirpate all knowledge of the word "I" from the language. Despite the suppressive methods of the Councils, some members of this society retain individuality.All that remains is a vague memory that there is such a thing as an Unspeakable Word — but no one has an inkling that it is the word "I." Despite the primitive backwardness of this collectivist society, the power of its suppressive methods must be recognized. Equality 7-2521 wonders ceaselessly about the lost word.But the state's main weapon against individualism is the crude but effective form of thought control that it practices. They also recognize that they are unable to properly express themselves in the first person.The state has forbidden humans from speaking or even thinking of the word "I." Society has mandated, under punishment of death, that all first-person references are with the plural "we," even when the reference is to a single person. In short order, they come to realize that the two issues are the same.As a further means toward the obliteration of individuality, the state has forbidden friendship and romantic love.These elements of individuality are considered examples of the Transgression of Preference, the act of singling one person out of the mass of humankind for purposes of establishing a close relationship.This attempt to extirpate all elements of individuality similarly explains why each person has a number attached to this collectivist label.Because the state considers individuality unreal, no person is unique or outstanding, human beings are interchangeable parts of a greater whole.The collectivist society in which Equality 7-2521 lives is similar to the Nazi and Communist states of the twentieth century.The rulers of this society do not permit any individual to think freely; all must subordinate themselves to the state.