“It’s only after we’ve lost everything that we’re free to do anything.”
Tyler Durden is a character played by Brad Pitt in the movie Fight Club which came out in 1999. Most people dismissed Tyler and the whole movie at that time as unethical. But in my opinion, it wasn’t unethical. It comes out as a little strong maybe, but I think the point it tried to make needed a little strong. It talked about consumerism, what has our life come to and even our existence. So we are going to discuss each one of these and try to show why Tyler Durden might have a point.
“Advertising has us chasing cars and clothes, working jobs we hate so we can buy shit we don’t need.”
There is a scene in the movie where the narrator (Edward Norton) and Tyler Durden are talking in a bar. The scene goes like this:
Tyler Durden: Do you know what a duvet is?
Narrator: It’s a comforter…
Tyler Durden: 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?
Tyler Durden: Right. We are consumers. We’re the bi-products of a lifestyle obsession.
Tyler has a point. We are way past that ‘buying the products that we need’ thing. Sure one may argue about the usefulness of many products that are not essential to our survival in the ‘hunter-gatherer’ sense, and there really are some extremely useful products, but the question is: Do we really need them? Or we need them just because we are made to believe that we need them? The big corporations are slowly changing our psyche. They make us think that we need certain things that we don’t even want. This is not an argument against the luxurious living. If you want to live in luxury, then it’s your choice. But if you give too much value to things you own, then they may end up owning you. This is Tyler’s point. Let things just be things. Don’t give them more value than they actually have.
What has our life come to:
“We’re the middle children of history, man. No purpose or place. We have no Great War. No Great Depression. Our Great War’s 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.”
Well, it is true. People, well at least most of them anyway, crave purpose. I mean our lives just can’t be working and paying bills, can it be? There must be some bigger purpose. There must be something more to it. Like he said, we have no war or great depression. We are the middle children. We haven’t been assigned a place or a purpose. We have to find it ourselves. The problem is it’s easier said than done. Why? Because our lives turned out to be a disappointment. This is because we have been deceived by the…well by the world itself. We grew up watching the television. We saw what was shown to us: A life full of possibilities. A life where we can be anybody we want. But how did it turn out? We work the jobs we hate to live a life that was forced upon us by the society, by the world. Tyler wants to free us from that life. The problem is if everyone thought that way, then the society, at least this society, will cease to exist. But maybe it’s not a bad thing. Maybe it’s not as terrifying as it sounds. Maybe that’s what we really need.
“You have to consider the possibility that God does not like you, never wanted you, and in all probability, he HATES you. It’s not the worst thing that can happen.”
So, we are consumer slaves and we have no purpose, but we still have our God. But what if we didn’t? What if God didn’t like or care about us? What if God hated us? It is a possibility, right? Of all Tyler’s philosophy, this one is the most difficult to accept. It directly crushes our religious beliefs. We have been raised to believe that God loves all his children. But like many other things that we believed, this could be a lie too. What if we were putting all our faith in something that despises us? Can we really live after knowing that everything we grew up believing was a lie? Yes, we can. Because we don’t need him. Because f*ck damnation, f*ck redemption. God wants to take away everything from me? I look forward to it. I look forward to hitting the bottom. I don’t care what happens now. I have let go….of everything. I don’t care about my job or money or society. I will do whatever I want to do. Most people argue that letting people do whatever they want will result in chaos. Tyler believes otherwise. He believes if people could do anything, the world would be a much better place. And he has a point. Tyler doesn’t say that people should be allowed to do whatever they want right away, they have to hit bottom first. They have to let go of control, of materialistic things, and of desires. A free person who has hit bottom will be able to find his true purpose. And it all comes down to it. Purpose. A purpose defines us. Our jobs or money don’t. This is what Tyler wants. The world to hit bottom, to be free, to give up anything and everything. And he may be right. We are at the pinnacle of our civilization and most people still aren’t happy. It’s time for a change. It’s time to claim our lives. It’s time to claim our humanity.
“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.”