Throughout the history of the Human Race, violence and destruction is a reoccurring theme. In modern society we view ourselves as socially and economically evolved people when comparing ourselves to our ancestors, who were barbaric and uncivilized in comparison. However, our society has not evolved very far from this. There remains an instinct and desire for chaos and destruction in humans. I will not say this applies to all people, but it cannot be agued that the Human species is the single most destructive creature on the planet Earth.
We have created war amongst each other, creating weapons and advancing our sciences for the sake of finding new and better ways of killing each other. The violence is not only contained in war, but in our entertainment as well. Romans used to watch gladiators kill each other in the coliseum, and we today watch action movies of men blowing each other up with guns and dynamite. Video games themselves allow you to kill and maim people, but why would someone want to play a game where you kill someone? Why does a violent and gory movie become so popular?
What is it about aggression, destruction, and violence that attracts people? Sigmund Freud developed many theories and ideas about the human mind and explores society and its effects on people. This, as well as the movie and book “Fight Club”, will help to give insight into the minds of violent people and will give reasoning to their destructiveness. The majority of the world is made up of people who have an urge for violence and corruption, even if they don’t consider themselves to be, and the book “Fight Club” gives examples of this.
Fight Club” is a book that was first written by Chuck Palahniuk in 1996 and was later transitioned into a film in 1999 starring Edward Norton and Brad Pitt. In this story, the narrator, who is never named in neither the film nor the book, but has been referred to as jack, is an office worker who lost his view on life and has one bad thing happen to him after another. He has insomnia, his condo was blown up by a gas leak, and he is overwhelmed by work, finding himself in different places after he falls asleep.
To cure his insomnia, he goes to cancer meetings and other such help group. It is her where he is allowed to cry and have everyone around him assume the worst. This helps him to sleep until his lie is reflected by a woman who starts to do the same thing. Her name is Marla and keeps Jack from being able to cry. They agree to different days so that he can be alone and they ironically become close by the end of the book, due to the fact that Jack is constantly bitter towards her while she is at the self help meetings.
He eventually meets a character named Tyler Durden on a business trip and finds himself living with him. Tyler is much more outgoing and adventurous than Jack, and soon becomes his mentor and teacher. After one night of some drinks, Tyler starts a fight with Jack for fun. They continue to do this every few nights and eventually gather a crowd of other men that want to fight as well. They then create fight club, a weekly gathering where two men are put together to brawl against each other in a circle of shouting man.
Tyler leads this whole thing, with Jack at his side, but Fight Club grows more and more into a cult, and Tyler creates his own personal army which he call project mayhem, which has the sole purpose of bringing chaos and madness on the buttoned down society that shunned them away and led them to believe that they could be something they’re not. What Tyler tries to teach Jack throughout the story is that he needs to “hit bottom” meaning that he must detach himself from everything in his life.
He says “It is only when we have nothing that we are free to do anything. With nothing to lose, no one can threaten you and you can do whatever you want. Tyler wanted to teach the world this and planned on using his followers to accomplish this. His big plan was to destroy all the major credit card company buildings and their records, putting everyone’s credit to zero. What Jack eventually finds out is that Tyler is his own split personality. Tyler is an extension of Jack, and only he sees him, but whatever Tyler has ever said to anyone or done, it was really Jack. Fight Club helps to evaluate the reasoning and deduction of violence and the need for chaos.
Tyler tells his followers that they have been promises by industry that they could become movie gods and rock stars, but they’re not, and “we’re slowly learning that fact, and we are very, very pissed off. ” Fight Club was created because of the first night with Jack and Tyler, and Tyler says “How much can you know about yourself if you’ve never been in a fight. I don’t want to die without any scares. ” This means to say that a man is considered to show his true worth and self in a fight. It can show that he is either brave or a coward, or strong or weak.
Most people cannot say that they’ve actually been in a fight before, but there is much to be learned about ones self if they are ever to encounter one. However, there are some that have actually started real fight clubs and follow the teachings of the fictional character of Tyler Durden. There do exist real fight clubs. USA Today wrote an online news article about software engineers near the age of 30 to 40, who hold fight clubs in a garage every two weeks. This is inspired by the movie, and these people that fight do it to exert their anger and frustration into something physical.
They meet up and have full fledged fights with each other, two at a time and sometimes with weapons to. They took the movie and book quite literally, and many parallels can be seen. The article quotes one of the men who say “I have fantasies about it” compared to the movie where the narrator says “You aren’t alive anywhere like you’re alive at fight club. ” Another man says “You get to be a superhero for a night. We have to go to work every day.
We’re constantly told to buy things we don’t need, and just for a couple hours we have the freedom to do what we want to do. This is near to what Tyler Durden teaches about losing touch with personal possessions and going back to the hunter gatherer sense and also being able to do what you want. These technical engineers joined a fight club and enjoy it. They say they feel powerful and “macho”. It can therefore be dismissed that only unintelligent people would have the sense to be in a fight, seeing as we have software engineers doing it. There are other fight club that are started by teens, but they are unfortunate in the fact that sometimes a person is unwilling to fight and is beaten by his attacker.
These teenagers get caught and arrested after they make DVD’s of the fight to sell online. This is the ignorant side of fighting. The tech engineers only fight with each other and organize it together, but these teenagers choose to turn it into an act of bullying by prying on the weak and taking advantage of them. It is dishonourable and untrue to the true nature and message of Fight Club. Many people can see the reasoning behind these fighting engineers, but others only see the teenager side of fight club and see it as grotesque, violent, and meaningless.
The main idea though, is to put more meaning to your life than that new T. V you want, or the sofa you saw in an Ikea magazine that you think matches your curtains. There is a quote that depicts the meaning Tyler’s lesson very well. It’s from a kid named Lester in a book called “The Brimstone Journals”. He is talking about his mother working days and his dad working nights, saying “All so they can buy more crap. Man, it reminds me way too much of this movie on TV where a bunch of slaves were moving some big statue of a god. They had it on these logs that were like rollers and most of the laves pushed this god while the rest picked up the last log and hustled it around to the front. They did this all day. ”
The meaning behind this is that most people are stuck in the social loop of working hours like a drone, only to buy something you don’t really need. Society has everyone working hard so we can take our money and put it into the system we’re working for. The point is to drive yourself to become more than that and learn more about yourself through fight club. The other people of the fight clubs mentioned could defend to this.
The movie has a scene where Jack is mad about his condo being destroyed and the amount of stuff he had in it, saying its ok, his insurance will cover it. This is when Tyler laughs and say “The things you own, end up owning you. ” Meaning we become dependant and needy for material possessions. Fight Club certainly promotes violence, but it does it in a way so others don’t have to become involved if they choose so. It is a good way to get ride of anger and frustration compared to how others have done it before. As long as others have an outlet to express these feelings, others are safe.
Some people choose to express their anger with a different violence witch targets others. Husbands sometime hit their wives, a student may bring a gun to school, or maybe even an office worker. These things have happened and are very unfortunate to have done so. In the book , “The Brimstone Journals” which depict poems of student in high school and their thoughts, Lester is holding his dad’s gun saying he wouldn’t hurt anyone with it, but if he did he would do it naked in the gym saying “They wouldn’t laugh then, would they? The jocks would crap their pants.
The girls’d kiss my fat feet. ” These people became unhappy and were mistreated and decided to act back. With fight club, anger is not contained and built up; it is exerted with friends in a brawl. As stated previously, Fight Club remains to be about finding happiness and disconnecting from society. Sigmund Freud has a writing titled, “Civilization and its Discontents” and in one chapter, he evaluates how men find it difficult to become happy and that the source of our misery is our civilization and the comfort that we as humans have made for ourselves.
He says (pg38) “What we call our civilization is largely responsible for our misery, and that we should be much happier if we gave it up and returned to primitive conditions. ” This is the main goal of Tyler Durden in “Fight Club”. He wants to bring civilization back to its primitive roots because it’s better than the narrowed society and community that we have worked so hard to make for ourselves. He says in the movie “In the world I see – you are stalking elk through the damp canyon forests around the ruins of Rockefeller Center.
You’ll wear leather clothes that will last you the rest of your life. You’ll climb the wrist-thick kudzu vines that wrap the Sears Tower. And when you look down, you’ll see tiny figures pounding corn, laying strips of venison on the empty car pool lane of some abandoned superhighway. ” This is the world that Tyler wants to create. A world where skyscrapers and highways are but remnants of an old life, and civilization has downgraded into a society of those who only perform what they need to, and are not bound by industries.
Freud goes on to say that (pg38) “It is a certain fact that all the things with which we seek to protect ourselves against the threats that emanate from the sources of suffering are part of that very civilization. ” Mean that society that we have created for ourselves has also created the source of our suffering. Buddhism is known to have said that the source of all suffering comes from wanting something. However, we have created an economy of “want”, surrounded by advertisements, TV commercials and supermarkets.
If wanting something is suffering, then we have created it ourselves and surrounded ourselves with it. Later in this text, he states that “It was discovered that a person becomes neurotic because he cannot tolerate the amount of frustration which society imposes on him in the service of its cultural ideals, and it was inferred from this that the abolition or reduction of those demands would result in a return to possibilities of happiness. ” (pg39) This means that the idea of happiness in our society is reliant on the basis of a lack of work.
Our lives are clustered and overwhelmed by housework, jobs, food shopping, and the idea of not doing any of that is the only thing we know as happiness and yet we are stuck in a paradoxical loop. We want to be happy, we have to buy a new coffee table, if we want that then we have to work, if we have to do that, we have to be unhappy. Being happy should not be based on the sheer contrast of unhappiness. Freud changes his subject to man’s view of God. He goes on to say “To these gods he attributed everything that seemed unattainable to his wishes, or that these gods were cultural ideals.
To-day he has come very close to the attainment of this ideal, he has almost become god himself. ”(pg44). What he means by this is that gods used to be beings of unforeseen knowledge with the ability to control the element and do as they please, but we have reached an age where we can control our own world and our knowledge has gone beyond what we could have ever imagined. Freud goes on to say “Future ages will bring with them new and probably unimaginably great advances in this field of civilization and will increase man’s likeness to God still more…. an does not feel happy in his Godlike character. ”(pg45)
This merely re-emphasises what is being said. That our technological and scientific advances allow us to become the God that man has always praised. We are able to alter DNA, remove and fertilise embryos, and the list goes on. In “Fight Club”, the father figure is what is expected to be seen as a person’s view of god. The narrator says” What you end up doing, is you spend your life searching for a father and God. What you have to consider is the possibility that God doesn’t like you. Could be, God hates us.
This is not the worst thing that could happen. Getting God’s attention for being bad was better than getting no attention at all. Maybe because God’s hate is better than His indifference. ” The brings a religious aspect to the subject. It can be questioned as to weather or not God is the reason people act violently. This is true, seeing as there are cases where people commit murder in the claim that God “told them” to do it. And yet, an entire war happened all in the name of God, it was also known as the Crusades. Could the only way to get God’s recognition is to be bad?
I can’t be argued that religion has in fact created war, hatred towards other beliefs and murder. Violence is clearly an innate part of the human race as far as history and as a society. “Fight Club” helps to give a view that gives a justification for fighting and violent actions. With the help of “Fight Club” and the theories of Sigmund Freud, we have developed a better understanding as to the reasoning of actual fight clubs. We can see that they are not events where the innocent are beaten, but rather gatherings where men can exhort their anger and frustration into a physical manifestation of punches and kicks.
We can see now that this type of violence among other people who want it, is better than the type of violence where others are dragged into it unwillingly. “Fight Club” says a lot of things about society and civilization being the source of our misery, as well as contains parallels with the work of Sigmund Freud. The book “Fight Club” has influenced many lives and has changed the ideals and views of many. The majority of the world is made up of people who have an urge for violence and corruption, even if they don’t consider themselves to be, and the book “Fight Club” gives examples of this.
Courtney from Study Moose
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