20.32: Notes on Fight Club
ℹ️ This is not a newsletter, nor is it a weekly update one can expect to be delivered every Sunday. These are just random thoughts or ideas I come across and pin down during the week.
This week I re-watched Fight Club and wanted to write down some of its quotes and takeaways. For some reason, only this time around I saw the clear connection between the movie’s themes and Nietzsche’s thoughts and ideas.
What if our existence is pointless?
From a consumerism point of view, I found a lot of similarities between the movie theme and Diogenes’ way of life.
- The things you own end up owning you.
- We buy things we don’t need, to impress people we don’t like.
- 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. We’re slowly learning that fact. And we’re very, very pissed off.
- We’re consumers. We are by-products 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.
What if God doesn’t like us?
It generates an implicit awareness to the fact that social constructs are nothing more than a superficial layer of culture that suppresses our true nature.
The movie encourages us to discard social expectations and live according to our own values.
- You are not your job, you’re not how much money you have in the bank. You are not the car you drive. You’re not the contents of your wallet. You are not your fucking khakis. You are all singing, all dancing crap of the world.
- I’m free in all the ways you are not.
How to find meaning in a meaningless existence?
This theme reminded me about Nietzsche’s idea that “God is dead”. It builds on top of the idea of self-destruction as the destruction of a false self. Stop being perfect, stop creating an identity through material wealth and societal status.
This self construct is a pre-requisite and must be destroyed before embracing our true nature and live according to our own values.
The narrative centers around avoiding the pursue of endless self-improvement (better house, better job, better car, better body, more money…) and just be happy with how things are and take life as it comes. Which in turn, has two actionable outputs:
- Let go of fears and distractions — focus on our purpose.
- You lost everything, you have nothing to live for, you have nothing to lose, you hit rock bottom, would you still try to make your life perfect in any way possible? Would you still care about what people think of you? What do you have to live for?
- Embrace pain, take the hard path.
- It’s only after we’ve lost everything that we’re free to do anything.
- This is your life and it’s ending one minute at a time.