July 11, 2009

Lessons from Fight Club

A man I greatly admire said, "It may surprise you, perhaps, but I am not strictly opposed to the spectacle of violence and crime. It all depends on the lessons you draw from it." I agree, especially in regards to one of my favorite movies, Fight Club. Here are some lessons I have drawn from this movie that I think are well worth sharing:

Working Jobs We Hate
Tyler: Man, I see in fight club the strongest and smartest men who've ever lived. I see all this potential, and I see squandering... An entire generation pumping gas, waiting tables; slaves with white collars. Advertising has us chasing cars and clothes, working jobs we hate so we can buy shit we don't need. We're the middle children of history, man. No purpose or place. We have no Great War. No Great Depression. Our Great War is a spiritual war... our Great Depression is our lives. We've all been raised on television to believe that one day we'd all be millionaires, and movie gods, and rock stars. But we won't. And we're slowly learning that fact. And we're very, very pissed off.

We have to decide why we do anything we do. Following American advertising isn't good enough. Keeping up with everyone else isn't good enough. We need to believe in what we do and love it. Work hard at work worth doing.

The Things You Own End Up Owning You
Narrator: Like so many others I had become a slave to the IKEA nesting instinct...I'd flip through catalogues and wonder, "What kind of dining set defines me as a person."

Narrator: I don't know. It's just when you buy furniture you tell yourself, "That's it. That's the last sofa I'm gonna need. Whatever else happens, I've got that sofa problem handled." I had it all. I had a stereo that was very decent, a wardrobe that was getting very respectable. I was close to being complete.
Tyler: Shit man, now it's all gone.
Narrator: All gone.
Tyler: All gone...Do you know what a duvet is?
Narrator: A comforter...
Tyler: It's a blanket. Just a blanket. Now why do guys like you and me know what a duvet is? Is this essential to our survival, in the hunter-gatherer sense of the word? No. What are we then?
Narrator: ...Consumers?
Tyler: Right. We are consumers. We're the byproducts of a lifestyle obsession. Murder, crime, poverty, these things don't concern me. What concerns me are celebrity magazines, television with 500 channels, some guy's name on my underwear. Rogaine, Viagra, Olestra.
Narrator: Martha Stewart.
Tyler: F' Martha Stewart. Martha's polishing the brass on the Titanic. It's all going down, man. So f' off with your sofa units and Strinne green stripe patterns. I say never be complete. I say stop being perfect. I say let's evolve, let the chips fall where they may. But that's me, and I could be wrong, maybe it's a terrible tragedy.
Narrator: Nah, it's just stuff...My insurance is probably gonna cover it, so...What?
Tyler: The things you own end up owning you.

If we aren't good enough without "stuff", we'll never be good enough with it. It is fine to use things that are useful, but don't become attached to them. Don't expect happiness to come from anything outside yourself. It never will.

Know That Someday You're Gonna Die
Tyler: Stay with the pain, don't shut this out...Without pain, without sacrifice we would have nothing...Stop it, this is your pain, it's right here...What you're feeling is pre-mature enlightenment...This is the greatest moment of your life man and you're off somewhere missing it...First you have to give up, first you have to know, not fear, know that someday you're gonna die. It's only after we've lost everything that we're free to do anything.

Learn how to die and you learn how to live. Decide what is most important to you and dedicate your life to it. Stay with reality, don't avoid it or explain it away. This is it, make the most of the situation you are given. Don't become attached to it. Appreciate it, experience it, do your best and let go.

This Is Your Life and It's Ending One Minute At A Time
Warning: If you are reading this then this warning is for you. Every word you read of this useless fine print is another second off your life. Don't you have other things to do? Is your life so empty that you honestly can't think of a better way to spend these moments? Or are you so impressed with authority that you give respect and credence to all that claim it? Do you read everything you're supposed to read? Do you think every thing you're supposed to think? Buy what you're told to want? Get out of your apartment. Meet a member of the opposite sex. Stop the excessive shopping and masturbation. Quit your job. Start a fight. Prove you're alive. If you don't claim your humanity you will become a statistic. You have been warned - Tyler.

If something deep inside you is telling you to do something, do it. Listen to that and move forward. Claim your humanity. Claim your life. Take responsibility for it. Live it.