Erudite was formed by those who blamed human ignorance for the faults of society. They formed Erudite as a way of eliminating ignorance and darkness from human minds.
Over time, Erudite became a faction that eventually steered away from its original belief (along with Dauntless). Its members became greedy for power, a likely result from their yearning for knowledge. Their moral corruption became so severe that they plotted to overthrow the government and reinstate themselves as the leaders of the city.
After their attack on Abnegation in the first novel, Dauntless are scattered, about half of which remain with the Erudite, including Peter Hayes. He attacked Tris Prior's party and their locations at any chance they can, at the hand of Jeanine. However, it is revealed that many Erudite members, such as Cara and Fernando, are not corrupted like much of their society when they escape their faction to stay in the Amity faction's "safe house" and help create weapons to attack their previous faction. They state that they are still loyal to Erudite and its original intentions, and that is why they must help fight what overcame it.
Their symbol is a single blue eye that most likely represents their knowledge of the world. Erudite's leader is Jeanine Matthews, proven to be the smartest member of the faction based on her IQ level.
Erudite values the virtue of intelligence and wisdom over any other. The members focus their lives on the pursuit of knowledge. Erudite are expected to delegate themselves in the library reading books, or, most commonly, reading something from the computer. They are also known to have memorized the city map. Members are also known to be particularly eloquent.
Because of the Erudite's thirst for knowledge, they are the ones easily susceptible to moral corruption as knowledge leads to lust for power. Jeanine Matthews is an evident example of this trait.
Each member must wear at least one article of blue clothing per day. Erudite's main color is blue, as it is a "calming color that helps stimulate the brain". Also, most faction members wear thick glasses to make them seem smarter.
The faction produces most of the city's librarians, doctors, scientists, and teachers. They are responsible for keeping records of the city and the factions. All technological achievements that the factions benefit from came from Erudite minds, such as the advanced agrarian methods employed by the Amity and all of the simulation serums.
Erudite harbor a fierce grudge against Abnegation, believing that they are secret-keepers who are not nearly as selfless as they seem. They seek power over the government, and on many occasions sabotage members of Abnegation to get what they want. They also use Dauntless as their soldiers near the end of Divergent. They have a close relationship with Amity, but Amity are not involved in the war because they are the peace faction. No relationship is stated between Erudite and Candor.
- Caleb Prior
- Fernando (Deceased)
- Jeanine Matthews (Deceased)
We submit the following statements as truth:
- 'Ignorance' is defined not as stupidity but as lack of knowledge. Lack of knowledge inevitably leads to lack of understanding.
- Lack of understanding leads to a disconnect among people with differences.
- Disconnection among people with differences leads to conflict.
- Knowledge is the only logical solution to the problem of conflict.
Therefore, we propose that in order to eliminate conflict, we must eliminate the disconnect among those with differences by correcting the lack of understanding that arises from ignorance with knowledge.
The areas in which people must be educated are:
- 1. Sociology
- So that the individual understands how society at large functions.
- 2. Psychology
- So that the individual understands how a person functions within that society.
- 3. Mathematics
- So that the individual is prepared for further study in science, engineering, medicine, and technology.
- 4. Science
- So that the individual better understands how the world operates. So that the individual's study in other areas is supplemented. So that as many individuals as possible area prepared to enter the fields devoted to innovation and progress.
- 5. Communication
- So that the individual knows how to speak and write clearly and effectively.
- 6. History
- So that the individual understands the mistakes and successes that have led us to this point. So that the individual learns to emulate those successes and avoid those mistakes.
Leaders must not be chosen based on charisma, popularity, or ease of communication, all of which are misleading and have little to do with the efficacy of a political leader. An objective standard must be used in order to determine who is best fit to lead. That standard will be an intelligence test, administered to all adults when the present leader reaches fifty-five or begins to decline is function in a demonstrable way.
Those who, after rigorous studying, do not meet a minimum intelligence requirement will be exiled from the faction so they can be made useful. This is not an act of elitism but rather one of practicality: Those who are not intelligent enough to engage in the roles assigned to us—roles that require a considerable mental capacity—are better suited to menial work than to faction work. Menial work is required for the survival of society, and is therefore just as important as faction work.
Information must always be made available to all faction members at all times. The withholding of information is punishable by reprimand, imprisonment, and, eventually, exile. Every question that can be answered must be answered or at least engaged. Illogical thought processes must be challenged when they arise. Wrong answers must be corrected. Correct answers must be affirmed. If an answer to a question is unclear, it must be put to debate. All debates require evidence. Any controversial thought or idea must be supplemented by evidence in order to reduce the potential for conflict.
Intelligence must be used for the benefit, and not to the detriment, of society. Those who use intelligence for their own personal gain or to the detriment of others have not properly borne the responsibility of their gift, and are not welcome in our faction.
It bears repeating: Intelligence is a gift, not a right. It must not be wielded not as a weapon but as a tool for the betterment of others.
Not much is revealed of the Erudite initiation, but from the manifesto, they most likely study, and take rigorous tests. It is also stated by Therese that there is an initiation intelligence test that, if not passed, results in one becoming Factionless. Caleb reveals that each of the initiates selects and is trained in a certain subject of expertise in Erudite.