The story “Fight Club” makes one speculate the meaning of life in general. Why do we, as a society, do the things that we do? Why do we act the way we do, set goals, go to school, work, and fall in love, why, for what? Take for example a simple situation. A young man is brought up a strict catholic, goes through all the steps, all through high school itís embedded in his brain that to ever ìmake it in lifeî he must attend college, live wildly there, then find a decent girl to settle down with, have kids, and live happily ever after. But how many times does that really happen?
First, letís look at the view of what this man is working so hard for. Is he working so that he and his wife can live comfortably when they retire, but then what? When they die, they leave everything to the daughter and son-in-law that they so greatly despise. What was all that struggling, getting up for work every morning for thirty years, all that frugalness about? Was it all to leave to some selfish, cold-hearted strangers that couldnít even come with your son/daughter to the hospital when you were there laying on your death bed. My point here is; why do we strive so hard as a society to be successful? What drives us to try and be better than the next person?
In the book and film “Fight Club”, the character later known as Tyler Durden becomes so enthralled with his life and building it the way perhaps his father and society think it should be. Tyler seems, and perhaps is, a lost soul, as so many of us are, and looks to his father for advice. Upon graduation he asks his father what he should do next, and like many parents, his father tells him to go to college. Upon completing college, he then asks his father, ìwhatís next?î His father tells him to get married. This scenario, as ludicrous as it may sound, is very much the norm of today and probably many years to come.
Tyler, lost in our materialistic, egocentric society becomes obsessed with his apartment and believes for some time that if he furnishes it the way we are told to, via commercials, etc., that he will be happy and content with his life. So of course, the answer to Tylerís problems: order an IKEA magazine and fill it up with contemporary garbage that literally anyone could live without. And because the norm is to encompass oneself around material leverages over another, Tyler must have everything in the catalog.
This obsession with perfecting the physical environment around him also seems to be a cover for what is truly going on within him psychologically. Tyler is hiding emotions and loneliness through his materialistic obsession and also through his job. Like so many in todayís society, everyone at Tylerís job at first suspect nothing. No one would believe that this man is so lonely that he practically consumes all of his spare time by attending self-help meetings. On the surface, he seems normal, as many of us do, but behind the walls of our minds, thereís a much greater magnitude of confusion, stress and pressure.
To further link this egocentric, warped perception of our society, letís look now upon some people within society that many of our youth and even adults look up to. In this day and age, we have movie stars that make millions of dollars yet choose to buy sex from prostitutes, we have presidents that sleep with girls half their age and then lie to the country that they serve about it, we have athletes that think theyíre invincible or something and murder their wives/ innocent teenagers. A very viable question arises after hearing these few examples. Why do these people that seem to have everything do these terrible things? What drives them to it? When it seems that theyíve accomplished great things and possibly achieved every goal they ever dreamed of, why do they stoop to these low and very disastrous levels and in the end destroy themselves and even others around them?
To further elaborate on this problem of social ìelitesî if you will letís now look at police officers. We have law enforcement officers that are supposed to enforce the law and try to the best of their ability to create peace and make a society where everyone in it is a law-abiding citizen. Yet we hear on the news of police officers raping their own wives, police officers raping young girls, police officers beating innocent men down because of either a discrimination factor or for the mere pleasure of seeing someone in pain and knowing that they have such an authority and hierarchy over that person. Does that not seem a little hypocritical? These men are entrusted with the law and are here to make peace yet so many times, over and over, we hear of these disturbing situations. So basically, if youíre young and have a dream to grow up and become a police officer, yet you see all of this via the all too familiar and forced down our throats media that encompasses any scandal, one must wonder and possibly reconsider the dream, or accept this kind of behavior for normal and do the same.
This naÔve youth must wonder to himself, is this what I want to become? I thought officers upheld the law and society. Is this all a lie? Is life and all of the beliefs we are supposed to adhere to, and all the rubbish we learn in college, is that all a lie to? Whatís it all for? Is it to grow up and make a lot of money and live in a big house with a pool and a dog? And then to later learn that we have Parkinsonís disease or AIDS? One must think then, what was all this for? No money in the world can make my hands stop shaking, or no money in the world can cure me of this terrible disease I contracted on that one fatal night when I decided carelessly to experiment with an extramarital affair.
Hereís yet another scenario. Similar to Tyler Durden, a young girl has a nervous breakdown in college because sheís run up thousands of dollars of debt. She commits suicide and then the creditors come after her mother for the money. Whoís to blame, the girl, the mother, the credit card company, society?
The book Fight Club is a wonderful interpretation of our very skewed and twisted world. This poor young man becomes so psychologically twisted that he has to create yet another person within himself to help him cope with all of the chaos going on within his mind. This book and the film adaptation, all in all depict how our society as a whole is pretty sad. Regardless of whether youíre Christian, a feminist, black, white, Indian, this is our world, and we have to deal with that. Some may say they have a strong dislike for this piece of work and others may love it. Either way it depicts the very twisted world we all live in. No matter who we are on the totem pole of success, weíre all here, dealing with all of these issues in some way or another, no family is the ìBrady Bunchî and no one is perfect! Tyler Durden is just willing to show us that life can have drastic effects on anyone, and that if you donít learn how to deal with them and cope, you wonít survive very long, at least not in this world, not this century!