Hey Shark can you do a post on Fightclub? I know you mention the movie in various posts and quote it often.
How could I ignore such a request?
Fightclub has been an icon for contemporary masculinity for years on end, and never have I seen a more vividly inspiring movie. But a deeper analysis is indeed in call for; why has one of the most famous PUAs in the world taken on the name Tyler Durden? Why is the movie so iconic, and why, after two decades, does it still have a cult like following with miniature replica fight clubs all across the nation?
While both the movie and the book are exceptional works of art, I find the movie to be much better. Usually the inverse is true for film portrayals, but the movie stands out for its subtle and effective delivery of the philosophical ideas present throughout, and the notable depiction of Durden as an idealized Alpha Male. The book pays homage to the same ideas conveyed in the movie, but in a much less effective way. It doesn’t hit you like a meta sludge hammer the way the movie does, especially if you aren’t already familiar with the ideas being circulated. Hence, the movie will be discussed here, and I suggest anyone who hasn’t watched it to do so before or after reading this post. I don’t know a single person who hasn’t strengthened their frame by doing so.
Despite any praise and analysis from me, I doubt this post can go further than only skimming the extent of its genius.
The movie supports both action AND philosophy. There’s no doubting its philosophical depth, but you will notice action oriented quotes situated throughout. A reader commented here earlier and noted that philosophy is a male inclination; but so is ACTION. The problem most of you have is grasping this paradox. TOO much philosophy and you fall into the realm of intellectual masturbation. TOO much action without philosophy, and you end up acting without any thought; often times in a self-defeating manner. Take this site for example. The archives are now filled with hundreds of ideas and articles; it has become TOO EASY for readers to fall into a comfortable state of study and paralysis without ever APPLYING anything that they learn. Yet at the same time, the knowledge is undoubtedly useful. It’s not BALANCE that’s key either, because a passive balance is a dull existence. Rather, the key is to LIVE IN BOTH EXTREME ENDS OF THE SPECTURM. Think like a philosopher, think deeply, think rationally, and think for hours. Act like a possessed man, act always, act impulsively, act on your insatiable appetite, act aggressively, act uncontrollably, act like a machine, act without rest, act when you’re sore, act when you feel defeated.
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”
The movie is OBVIOUSLY meant to be one watched carefully, and pondered for a while thereafter. But at the same time, it’s one that discourages you from over analyzing it, perhaps from even THINKING about all of its mind-warping ideas. Don’t overthink its contradictory nature, try and EMBODY it.
The Matrix functions as a prison for the male psyche but luckily there are multiple liberating forces that one could explore to free themselves of its control. While this site endorses the use of game, willpower, and money; the movie uses pain as the primary vehicle for unplugging. The narrator lets go of his nauseous Ikea lifestyle and overcomes the numbing effect of a hyper metropolinized lifestyle by finally having true, real experiences; ones so brutal that they instantly wake him up from his desensitization. His first fight is metaphorically representative of his first time getting unplugged, and his subsequent quests represent his long fall down the rabbit hole.
Notice that what the movie supports, and conventional unplugging wisdom, are again completely contradictory but not EXCLUSIVE. Both pain AND power can be liberating forces. A man who has money and game beyond measure might feel free to do whatever the fuck he pleases. A man who cares not at all for either might feel that he is finally free BECAUSE he has no money and game; and thus nothing to lose. When you’re at the top of the world, there’s nothing to look up to. When you’re at the bottom of the world, you’re no longer afraid of falling. Which is right? Which is wrong? Which could lead to happiness? Alas, these are questions that should be left to YOU. If this site, or any site for that matter, ever tried to offer an absolute TRUTH or direction, it would immediately subsume its own purpose.
How does the movie end? The narrator kills Tyler Durden, the force that freed him in the first place. This is the step all of you are currently having trouble with. You have spent months on this site, learning, adapting, changing; and then you come back here and ask “Shark, I think I still might not be happy. What now?” Remember the scene at the bathtub when the narrator tells Tyler the story of his relationship with his father? That’s what I see here.
Tyler: My dad never went to college, so it was real important that I go.
Narrator: Sounds familiar.
Tyler: So I graduate, I call him up long distance, I say “Dad, now what?” He says, “Get a job.”
Narrator: Same here.
Tyler: Now I’m 25, make my yearly call again. I say Dad, “Now what?” He says, “I don’t know, get married.”
Narrator: I can’t get married, I’m a 30-year-old boy.
Tyler: We’re a generation of men raised by women. I’m wondering if another woman is really the answer we need.
Stop searching for truth, direction, and purpose. You should be happy as a habit, it is an internal state of mind. The trap you are falling for is a result of your conditioning. You think happiness is a symptom of feeling “Complete.” It is NOT. You’re a generation of men deluded by external purposes and artificial desires, you want me to give you another one?
Fuck off with your sofa units and strine green stripe patterns, I say never be complete, I say stop being perfect, I say let… lets evolve, let the chips fall where they may.
Tyler is the prototype Ubermensch. Nietzsche’s conception of what man would finally evolve into when we stopped running away from our dissatisfaction with the world. One who rejects the human tendency to live out their ennui and anomie in artificially dreamt up fantasies.
You ask: “What purpose is there in life?”
What if I were to say, there is no purpose beyond what you give it? Could you live with that, or would you seek out an external purpose from somewhere else?
Could you push yourself to your limit out of an INTERNALLY created purpose, rather than an EXTERNALLY given purpose?
You ask: “What direction should I go to make me happy?”
What if I were to say, there is no direction towards happiness. It is a place you choose to be.
Could you still give yourself direction out of an internal purpose, while staying happy NO MATTER WHAT; or would you pretend you were unhappy and could only be happy if you achieved some tangible goal? Could you nurture an insatiable hunger while still feeling satisfied? Or would you start sliding into despair, realizing everything you had that gave you “happiness” were just synthetic sources of it?
How do you conquer the eternal human paradox – that we are dissatisfied with what we have, but only because of that do we always strive for more; only because of that are we capable of things beyond measure?
By EMBODYING the paradox – by both BEING satisfied, AND dissatisfied simultaneously. By always wanting infinitely more, but always being capable of being happy with infinitely less.
The movie clearly glamorizes violence, but it’s not to support violence as an end in and of itself. To draw a parallel, this site always emphasizes extreme asshole game; yet I always remind you that BOTH rapport and attraction are necessary aspects of game. Why?
Because in Fightclub, the narrator is so fucking cocooned by the society around him that he needs the ferocity of physical combat to wake him up.
Because the readers who come to this site, are SO FUCKING CONDITIONED by The Matrix that they need a dose of extreme reality to wake them the fuck up.
The fights are a method to regain control, something we’ve lost in today’s society. And I don’t mean in just the idyllic Marxist sense of being displaced from the modes of production; we’ve lost control of our very lives. Take this law for instance:
Suicide is Illegal.
Of course I dont support suicide, but do you see the metaphysical implications of that law? Your very life is politicized to some extent, and it is something you cannot escape. There is a sense of ever increasing bio-political control pervading the seams of our society.
And Finally, some other stray thoughts to consider:
- The PUA Tyler Durden is nothing like Tyler Durden, and as in fact, an abomination to the very name. Yes I think Owen Cook is a stellar PUA; No he is not Tyler Durden. Nor do I think you should EVER adopt ANOTHER man’s name; regardless of how Alpha he is.
- Happiness is relative. Tyler holds a fat chinese boy at gunpoint just to inadvertently drive him out of his droned lifestyle.
- Without pain, without sacrifice, you have nothing. Space Monkey.
- Tyler’s fight with Lou is is representative of a completely subdued ego, one under the control of its holder.
- The scene where he drives off the road for a “near death experience” reflects Tyler’s belief that Project Mayhem is bigger than him. When you create something in life, do not hold it down with your own humanistic inhibitions.
- Consciously constructing an “Alter Ego” could be an effective method for developing inner game. Read here: Carpe Diem
- “First you have to give up. First you have to know, not fear, know that one day you are going to die.”
- In a deleted scene, Tyler consideres shutting down fightclub unless they kick it up a notch. This is how you should approach life.