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Unreal Reality

Fight Club (1999) merely explicates the theme of films such as What the Bleep do we know? and Total Recall. Tyler Durden has something scientific on his mind when he says, “The things you own, end up owning you. ” He is a teacher for the narrator of the film; he is akin to the Christ and the Buddha in what he teaches to the narrator. The mind plays great tricks in the Fight Club. When Marla Singer has overdosed on anxiety pills, her life changes as she lands into the arms of Tyler. Earlier in the film, the narrator discovers that he can become insomniac and also begin sleeping at ease when the mind is exposed to new circumstances.

Of course, the narrator was preoccupied with his suffering – in this case, insomnia – when he ran into Marla for the first time. He was considering the suffering of others when he realized that such consideration allows him to forget his own. Preoccupied with the mind-body connection from the beginning, the narrator finds toward the end that Tyler has been occupying his mind and using his body to boot. The lesson that Tyler is teaching the narrator through all this drama is clear: all attachments to the world are essentially false.

This is what the Buddha would also assert, whereas the Christ would add: the kingdom of heaven is far superior. Fight Club is a very strange film if the viewer has never heard about quantum mechanics. Scientists assert that it is the brain alone – a piece of meat – that experiences all experiences for the human soul. Spiritualists or prophets have reminded people about their impending deaths. Tyler would like to put an end to capitalism, the source of financial abundance in our time – only for the rich people of the world. For the poor, capitalism stands for financial abuse.

Of course, the film is not meant to condemn capitalism with all the academic criticisms that surround it. The fact that people often turn violent and murderous for money is the problem that is attacked. Tyler has great teachings for the narrator. While he is addressing Steph, the mechanic, and the narrator, he says: “Guys, what would you wish you’d done before you died (Fight Club)? ” He mentions death quite a few times. At one point, he tells the narrator: “First you have to give up, first you have to *know*… not fear… *know*…

that someday you’re gonna die (Fight Club). ” Like the Christ, Tyler is telling the narrator not to get too attached to the things of the world, e. g. the narrator’s body, sleep, or money. Death is the inevitable end of all human beings. However, there is something that awaits each individual after death. The Christ would call it eternal heaven or everlasting hell. An atheist philosopher may refer to it as nothingness. Regardless of the individual belief systems of the people of the planet, Tyler is asking the narrator to look forward to something that is beyond this world.

He is asking the narrator to understand the spirit or soul of humanity, or God. Unlike the mind that may play tricks, as in the case of Tyler’s illusion collapsing when his head is wounded, the spirit lives on, at least according to Christian beliefs. What is more, it is the soul of man that urges him to gather knowledge in this world. Thus, Tyler would like the narrator to focus on the reality of life. If the mind can play tricks, it is not to be truly trusted. In addition, the mind can bring pain to the individual by making him or her extremely attached to the things of the world.

When the narrator cannot sleep, he is worried about himself. Similarly, people that lose their lives fighting over money – as though the world were a fight club for material resources – may face a great deal of tension and anxiety, like Marla who must overdose on Xanax at one point. When Tyler is blown apart as an illusion, and the destructed financial town also appears completely illusive, the viewer realizes that the adventure played on the Fight Club was a mystical one. The narrator had grown attached to Tyler as well, seeing that he tried to trace the latter when he went missing.

However, Tyler had already informed the narrator of the vanity of everything that the eye sees and the ear hears on this planet. The following teaching of Tyler reminds the narrator and the viewer another time to attach oneself to something infinite rather than the transitory things of the world: Man, I see in fight club the strongest and smartest men who’ve ever lived. I see all this potential, and I see squandering. God damn it, 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’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 (Fight Club). Of course, Tyler has also taught the narrator to fight the body for no reason other than to end one’s ultimate attachment to it.

He had asked the narrator to hit him first. Tyler’s message is the same as that of the Fight Club: seek something that the likes of Buddha and the Christ had sought. The spirit lives eternally. God is alive. Attachments to things of the world may bring terrible pain and suffering, for example, testicular cancer or murder in the name of money. Hence, the reality of this world must be considered a falsehood. Only that which lives on forever is truly real.


Fight Club. (1999). Film. Dir. David Fincher. Cast: Edward Norton, Brad Pitt, Helena Bonham Carter. 20th Century Fox.

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