The community that Jonas grows up in has for a long time adhered to an ideal known as “Sameness” in order to limit the amount of pain and suffering that members of the community experience. Jonas learns from the Giver that in the past, things were very different in the community, but at some point the Committee moved to a policy of Sameness, in which all variations are minimized. The community prides itself on the fact that its citizens live virtually free from pain. One of Jonas's teachers informs him that “[n]o one in the community was starving, had ever been starving, would ever be starving.” For any injury, no matter how small, citizens are treated with pain medication that grants instant relief. But Jonas realizes that in order to avoid pain, you also must curtail choice. To minimize the pain of loss, the community prevents citizens from forming attachments to one another, for instance by suppressing sexual desires. Citizens also must live in ignorance, so only Jonas and the Giver are allowed access to the memories of war and other past suffering.
Sameness also allows the community to maximize efficiency. Anything that has only aesthetic value rather than practical value is removed. The removal of non-practical elements of the world explains why Jonas never experiences snow before he receives the memory of sledding down the hill. The Giver explains, “Snow made growing food difficult.” He elaborates that “unpredictable weather made transportation almost impossible at times. It wasn't a practical thing, so it became obsolete when we went to Sameness.” For the same reason, there is no music in the community, as music only has aesthetic value. Jonas only hears music for the first time once he has left the community and arrived somewhere not governed by the principle of Sameness. Similarly, when Lily's mother suggests that she might become a Storyteller, she immediately reflects, “I don't think we've had a Storyteller in the community for a long time.” Again, the Storyteller's role has less obvious practical worth than other jobs, and so the community happily does without it.
A final justification for Sameness in the community comes from the aim of suppressing rebellion. Jonas and the Giver alone question the order of the society they live in. Everybody else, lacking access to memories of another time, unquestioningly accepts the rules of the community. Anyone who deviates from the rules is severely punished. When children use the wrong words, they receive blows from the discipline wand. If someone breaks the rule too many times, the community releases them. We learn that it is considered rude even to acknowledge differences between people. In these ways, the community encourages maximum conformity in all its citizens who, unable to think for themselves, never dream of rebelling.