Happiness is primary goal of everybody. Nobody tries to be unhappy people are just incapable of this. People are different and someone may seem unhappy to one person but may actually be happy because of this difference. A hermit for example is happy living by himself without contact with anyone where another person might need attention. The hermit might think that the person who strives for attention is unhappy with the interest but in actual fact they aren’t. This works the same way for everyone around the world. There is no doubt that being happy is on everyone’s to do list. What does change however is how they plan to get their happiness. Some choose to play by the rules and work extremely hard to be happy, others just go with the flow and then a select few work backwards. They strive for complete unhappiness and eventually get their happiness. This is also extremely hard to do because you have to abandon your morals and watch your life go to ruins before you can get your bliss.
In the books Trainspotting and Fight Club this method of happiness is demonstrated by Rents, a heroin addict, and the narrator, a businessman who’s happiness is not a perfect life. The characters achieved their happiness by accepting petty illegal activity, participating in these activities and expanding upon them. Once the characters had done this they new what the rock bottom of life like and had a very specific idea of what their happiness was. After years of ruins the characters lives spontaneously got better. The characters were faced with a final decision that would either give them happiness or more misery. The situation was very difficult and a person with regular morals would not have come out successful but the main characters had no difficulties. For the person with nothing it is very easy to achieve happiness because they don’t have any expectations that make them picky. The only way to achieve and be sure that one has reached personal happiness is to accept and often experience rock bottom.
In both books the characters followed a downward path and eventually hit rock bottom of life. They eventually lost all they had and were hated by society. After all of the characters despicable actions they both ended up completely happy with their lives. At the end of each book the characters had reached complete bliss by striving for complete despair and giving up on life. A major part of this bliss was the road to hitting bottom. The characters of the books gave up on life and the majority of Trainspotting and Fight Club are characters participating in their own illegal activities that eventually progress and get worse. Not only do the activities get worse but also they become more recognized by society and by the characters. On the surface the characters of the books are trying to better their lives and turn themselves around. Rents is the main character in Trainspotting and a heroin addict. Throughout the book until the end he is trying to beat his addiction and become straight edge but as the reader progresses into the book and into Rents’ character they see that he doesn’t really want to change. He sees that he is a horrible person and strive towards this. “You stole the books from Waterstone’s bookshop, with the intention of selling them, he states.”
This a quote from when Rents and his friend Spud are in court for stealing. This is a petty activity compared to other actions further into the book but even now Rents neglects the affects of his actions. Spud goes to jail and Rents’ family is extremely disappointed and torn apart but he feels no regret though he says otherwise. He consistently has no feeling of remorse for anything because he has realised that he is a piece of trash and feels that the world treats him bad so he is going to treat it even worse. This is a common theme for all the characters in the book though they have different outlooks on it. Another character, Sick boy, progresses from stealing to pimping to drug dealing. This is a common revelation among the characters. This theme is also demonstrated strongly in Fight Club. The main characters strive for absolute corruptness both directly and indirectly. Tyler Durden who is the split personality of the narrator constantly breaks the law with no grief or remorse. The narrator on the other hand is against Tyler’s ideas but often gets caught in the equation. Further into the book the reader realizes that the narrator isn’t so innocent because Tyler’s ideas are actually his.
The narrator commonly uses the following line and it explains a lot of things but the meaning of it is not understood until the reader finds out that the narrator and Tyler are one and the same, “I know this because Tyler knows this.” The two start out with a simple Fight Club where people go to beat and batter each other but eventually progress to a plan to destroy modern society. “At the time, my life seemed too complete, and maybe we have to break everything to make something better out of ourselves.” This is the narrator explaining why he goes to Fight Club and also further identifying how to achieve happiness. Fight Club is just one activity that leads the characters to rock bottom.
Tyler and the narrator progress from Fight Club to hell-raisers to Project Mayhem, which starts off small but eventually develops into a plan to destroy the world and make people realise that they are in control of history. One of the disgusting acts that Tyler and the narrator carry out is spoiling the food and banquets. “I say, hurry up, and I look back over my shoulder at Tyler with his last half inch hanging in the soup.” Peeing in soup was just one of the ways the food was soiled and also one of the many ways that Tyler and the narrator shocked regular people. Most of the characters in both Trainspotting and Fight Club have long resumes of illegal and immoral activities. A life similar to that of the characters is very hard to except and even harder to live but it is however a necessity to achieving total happiness with life.
Awareness of your outrageous actions is also need to achieve happiness. The characters in the books did not act in these ways without realising it. They knew exactly what they were doing, what it would do to people and what it would do to them. They knew that their actions would disgust people and that they would be labelled the scum of the earth. The only thing that the characters did not know until they couldn’t sink any lower was that they would eventually be happy. In Trainspotting all of the characters knew what they were. Rents, Sick Boy, Spud and Begbie were all very aware that they were horrible people and since they thought the only way they could live life was facing down they strived for it. Rents chose to house a heroin habit rather than live. His attempts to quit his habit only lasted a few hours, which is shown in the following, “No way can ah crash oot and face the music yet. Ah need the old “˜slowburn’, a soft, come-down input.
The only thing kin move for is smack”¦Ah go tae bell the cunt fae the payphone in the hall.” He tried but he knows he can’t do it so he calls his dealer. At the end of Trainspotting Rents steals a ton of money from his best friends. This is the most immoral thing that could be done by anyone. Rents explains this situation to the reader indicating he knows the degree of his actions and then decides to take the money over his friends. Similar themes are found in Fight Club. The narrator is indirectly trying to bring himself down. Tyler constantly tries to convince the narrator that he must hate life and neglect it to be happy and content and to do this he must practice neglecting life. Since Tyler is the split personality of the narrator it is the narrator convincing himself of this and destroying his life. “‘You can cry,’ Tyler says, “˜you can go to the sink and run water over your hand, but first you have to know that you’re stupid and you will die.
Look at me. Someday’ Tyler says, “˜you will die, and until you know that, you’re useless to me.'” Tyler is explaining the importance of sacrifice to the narrator while they are making soap. The narrator has to burn his own hand for the special ingredient in the soap and to experience the point of Tyler’s speech. Tyler feels that the narrator must recognize that he is going to die and that he is nothing. Only then can the narrator carry out what Tyler wants because he will have no regrets or cares. It is also then that the narrator can achieve happiness though it is unknown to him and the reader.
All throughout the book both Tyler and the narrator try to act like jerks. Not a thing that they do is appropriate. They con their girlfriend’s mother into giving them her body fat so they can make soap and when the girlfriend finds out they don’t really car. They threaten normal people lives and promote their activities to others so that they will act in the same manner. Though horrible the activities in the two books were needed to achieve final bliss. Without out recognizing that they were the scum of life they wouldn’t have been able to reach the top.
After years of living like dirt and endless amounts of criminal activity the characters in the books achieve total personal happiness. They worked so hard at being unhappy that when they saw what had to be done to be happy they had no problems doing it. In both circumstances the characters were faced with very hard choices, choices of good vs. evil and life vs. death. A normal person would have chosen the opposite option of the main characters but only because a normal person cares about what he may lose and cares about his life. Both Rents and the narrator had nothing and were fine evil and death. Rents was faced the battle of good and evil. Rents’ situation is that he is supposed to watch his and his friends money while they hangout. His options are to watch the money and wait for his friends or split with the 16, 000 pounds and be set for life, the only problem with this is that he would never be able to see his friends of family again. He would have to forget about everything he had and start a new life. The following excerpt describes the situation.
” He looks back at the Adidas bag, stuffed full of cash, the first time Begbie had let it out of his sight. He turfs its contents out onto the bed. Renton has never seen so much money. Almost without thinking, he empties the contents of Begbie’s Head bag; putting them into the empty Adidas bag. Then stuffs the cash into the Head bag, and puts his own clothes in, on top of the money.” Rents is so sure about stealing the money that he doesn’t even think about it first or even second-guess him. A while later during his getaway he begins to think about his friends and what he has done and he rationalises it. He never takes the full responsibility for his actions; he explains how his actions are justified towards each friend. ” He could see Sick Boy’s more-hurt-than-angry expression already. However, they had been drifting apart for years now. Their mutual antagonism, once a joke, a performance for the benefit of others, had slowly become, through being ritualized that way, a mundane reality.”
This is how Rents feels about robbing and betraying his best friend for years. He doesn’t express guilt at all. To do something like this one must have nothing to lose. For Rents this is the ultimate evil act, to steal from your friends an extreme amount of money. It is at this point that Rents hits absolute bottom but just as he does this and his actions have kicked in you find that he is actually happy for the first time in the book. “He had done what he wanted to do. He could now never go back to Leith, to Edinburgh, even to Scotland, ever again. There, he could not be anything other than he was. Now, he was free from them all, for good, he could be what he wanted to be. He’d stand or fall alone. This thought both terrified and excited him as he contemplated life in Amsterdam.” Rents finally achieved exactly what would make him happy, a way out. All his exploits that made his life rotten also prepared him for his choice that brought his happiness. In the story of Trainspotting the narrator is faced with a decision between life and death. At the end of the book he finds out that Tyler is his split personality and the narrator must somehow kill Tyler.
He decides that the only way to do this is to kill Tyler and therefore himself. The narrator is prepared to kill himself and lose his life rather than live with Tyler. He hated his life because of Tyler and really didn’t care so he shot himself. In the end he doesn’t but he does succeed in destroying Tyler by wanting him out of his head so badly as to kill himself. Had the narrator not participated in Tyler’s activities and destroyed his established life he would not have been able to shoot himself, he not be prepared to lose it all. After Tyler’s death the narrator, the same as Rents, achieved total bliss. He was able to sleep for the first time in years, he didn’t have to talk to anyone, he didn’t have to please anybody beside himself and this is what he had wanted his whole life just to be himself all the time. “Everything is heaven is quiet, rubber-soled shoes.
I can sleep in heaven. People write to me in heaven and tell me I’m remembered. That I’m their hero. I’ll get better.” This is after the narrator has killed Tyler. He thinks and feels that he is in heaven because everything is so perfect but he is actually in the hospital. He talks about the peace that he has found in killing Tyler he doesn’t have to worry about a thing and he likes it that way. Further on down the same page he says, “But I don’t want to go back. Not yet.” Both main characters in the books were eventually successful in bettering their lives even though they failed when they directly tried to change. The fact that their decisions were negative choices does not matter to them, which was the result of years of destructive behaviour, and without this type of behaviour these characters would have never made it out of their holes.
There are many ways to achieve happiness. Different people define happiness differently but more than not it is always a struggle to achieve. One can work hard to reach all their goals that might make him happy but they may not really know if they are totally happy because these people don’t usually know what it like to be unhappy. Another way is to appreciate rock bottom of life. Once a person has experienced a horrible life it is not hard for them to be happy. If they have experienced what they don’t want in life they will be absolutely sure of what they do want. This has been shown in the above. In Trainspotting Rents goes through a horrible life and when it he is faced with the decision of happiness or more misery he has no problem identifying the situation. It is the same for the narrator in Fight Club. He achieves a cosmetically perfect life but realizes that its not happiness. His life plummets and when his is faced with a decision to beat his misery he does not hesitate to make his decision. There is no good without bad and therefore for a person to achieve personal happiness they must first recognize unhappiness.