Fight Club was a middle finger at the end of the 90s to rampant consumerism and conformity that the 90s and 80s had wrought. Based on the novel of the same name by Chuck Palahniuk, it chronicles the descent of a buttoned-down white-collar nobody – dubbed “Jack” – into a surreal world of a primal fist-fighting that is a gut punch to capitalism’s sternum swung by feral male insurrection. Led – often dizzily – by Tyler Durden, who Jack meets on a flight, Fight Club is a movie that peels back the layers of personality, the mind and our identity and leaves us shocked at what can be found there as a result.
Tyler (played by Brad Pitt) is a handsome, fearless and irreverent false idol that immerses “Jack” in a world of underground “Fight Clubs” and swiftly, a revolutionary counterculture, where the blue-collar element intends to bring Laissez-Faire to its knees. Tyler – eventually is revealed as “Jack’s” alter-ego, invented as a coping method for “Jack’s” insomnia addled brain – embodies desire for freedom and disappointment with one’s lot: “I look how you wanna look, fuck how you wanna fuck and most importantly, I’m free in all the ways that you are not,” (as Tyler says to “Jack” when the penny drops for “Jack”), is a reaction to this sentiment. It for those reasons and more that has fashioned Tyler Durden into an anarchic, anti-hero icon… and here are 7 of his quotes to back that up:
1. “The things you own end up owning you:” A rail against capitalism and for staring constantly into a phone screen if ever there was one.
2. “It’s only after we’ve lost everything that we’re free to anything:” When you have nothing to lose, there is everything to gain and the only way one can head from rock bottom, is up.
3. “Sticking feathers up your butt does not make you a chicken:” Essentially a plea to shed the pretense and be yourself.
4. “I say stop being perfect. I say… let’s evolve. Let the chips fall where they may:” This is a plea to ditch all of the bullshit that makes one worry about underachievement. Be a better person instead and joy follows.
5. “If you died right now, how would you feel about your life?” Introspective and encourages a forced inward look to consider how fulfilling your existence is and if (or how) it could be better.
6. “You are not a beautiful and unique snowflake, you are the same decaying organic matter as everything else, we are all part of the same compost heap.” It may seem a tad nihilist on the surface, but sometimes the truth has to hurt, especially in today’s perennially triggered SJW culture. Yet scratch a little deeper and this message is hearteningly and encouragingly profound. It reminds us that we are all part of something greater than our job and brand new car. We sprout from the fecund soil of an ever recyling universe and that is something to truly be proud of, not temporal possessions, identity or politics.
7. Reject the basic assumptions of civilization, especially the importance of material possessions.” We rely on our stuff too much. They have almost become an extention of the self. Not to sound too Zen, but all you need (for the soul) is within.