Fight Club is one of the awesomest films of all time.
The writing, directing, acting, music and cinematography are top notch… but to me this movie is all about the underlying morals of the story.
Based on a novel by Chuck Palahniuk (which I’ve heard is “better” than the movie, bah), Fight Club is drenched with Buddhist philosophy, and sprinkled with a little bit of post-modern nihilism. All this, and more, wrapped up in a story about a bunch of guys getting together every week to beat each other up. Delicious.
Some people see the film as “morbid” or “evil,” but this is an extremely stupid view indeed. Fight Club is a deeply life-affirming movie with lines that I have actually taken the time to write in my phone and e-mail to myself to remind myself of their powerful messages.
Here are some of my favorites.
- This is your life, good to the last drop. Doesn’t get any better than this. This is your life. And it’s ending, one minute at a time.
- This isn’t a seminar, and this isn’t a weekend retreat.
- You need to forget about what you know.
- You are not special. You are not a beautiful or unique snowflake. You are the same, decaying organic matter as everything else. We are all part of the same compost heap.
- I say, never be complete. I say stop being perfect. I say let’s evolve, and let the chips fall where they may.
- The things you own end up owning you.
- Only after disaster can we be resurrected. It’s only after you’ve lost everything that you’re free to do anything. (this one really struck me after my motorcycle accident in Thailand)
- Nothing is static. Everything is evolving. Everything is falling apart.
- On a long enough timeline, the survival rate for everyone drops to zero.
- If you wake up at a different time, in a different place, could you wake up as a different person?
- You are not your bank account. You are not the clothes you wear. You are not the contents of your wallet. You are not your bowel cancer. You are not your grande latte. You are not the car you drive. You are not your f*cking khakis.
- You have to give up. You have to realize that someday you will die.
- And then, something happened. I let go. Lost in oblivion. Dark and silent and complete. I found freedom. Losing all hope was freedom.
Yeah alright so maybe it sounds a little morbid and depressing on the surface. I guess you have to be a Buddhist to appreciate it.
For everyone else, here’s a quick insight into Buddhist philosophy.
Buddhism has a tendency toward dropping delusional beliefs and accepting reality as it is. Buddhists often take *the impermanent nature of all things* (including your self) as an object of contemplation.
We are programmed to feel that we will last forever, but as we get older we come to realize that this is not true.
Death is a natural thing. It’s part of your life. It’s part of everyone’s lives. By resisting this fact and trying to hide from it, we are making ourselves suffer. Denying truth only makes us delusional. Trying to run away by constantly ignoring it (why do we have to think about that?) gives us anxiety.
Accepting the reality that you will, one day, come to an end, and your world will disappear, actually serves to make your life (and your world) feel all the more precious. Every moment is precious. THIS is your life. You don’t get another one. This. Is. Your. Only. One. Look around you. This is your life, at this moment. Accept it, for this is reality. You should also notice, by the way, that every moment that passes is one less moment that you have to live. The moments that you’ve lived before, are already gone. This is your life, and it’s ending one minute at a time.
I don’t know about you, but when I think about this, I don’t get depressed. I feel alive! I feel powerful, and fearless! I want to get up and go, and make every moment count! I only have one life… I want to live it to its fullest! I want to squeeze out every last drop of sweetness that I possibly can.
When I think about Death in this way, all I want to do is max out the awesomeness in my Life. So that’s what I’m doing.
– Kevin Ellerton
P.S. Special Bonus! A punk/grunge song about meditation that plays in Fight Club’s ending credits:
“Where is My Mind”
Oh – stop
With your feet in the air and your head on the ground
Try this trick and spin it, yeah
Your head will collapse
But there’s nothing in it
And you’ll ask yourself
Where is my mind [3x]
Way out in the water
See it swimmin’
P.P.S. If you’re acquainted with Buddhist Philosophy, think about the concept of ego-self and anatta in relation to the movie. Yikes!