The Philosophy of Fight Club

Super inspired from the movie ‘FIGHT CLUB’– in terms of how to conquer my personal fears in life, how to break free from societal bullshit, and to become the best version of myself:

Here are some life lessons I’ve learned from the film:

1. Self-improvement is masturbation

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In society, we are spoon-fed this need for constant ‘self-improvement’ in the eyes of some self-improvement guru.

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But the fallacy is that we need ‘improving.’ You are already perfect the way you are.

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Rather, Tyler Durden suggests we seek ‘self-destruction’ — the antithesis of self-improvement.

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Not to destroy ourselves to commit suicide or cut ourselves. Rather, to destroy the bullshit consumerist mentality we have in our minds.

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To destroy the false veil of reality, to see the truth in life.

2. Don’t squander your potential

‘I see all this potential; and I see it all squandered. Entire generation of slaves with white collars.’ – Tyler Durden

As humans, we have so much human potential. Yet, we waste it pointlessly. We waste it becoming consumerist slaves — except instead of chains, we wear golden rolexes. We live in a golden cage. We cannot fly free.

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So friend— how can you fulfill your potential in life?

3. Our life is a spiritual war

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‘Advertising has us chasing cars and clothes, working jobs we hate so we can buy shit we don’t need. No purpose or place. No great war, no great depression. Our great war is a spiritual war. Our great depression is our lives.’

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To have a zest for life, we need struggle. We need pain. We need something to overcome.

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We need to find meaning in our lives— to find some deeper purpose.

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For me, I find purpose in life through creating art, through empowering others, and in terms of fulfilling my creative potential.

What is your drive in life?

4. Life is about pain and sacrifice

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‘Without pain and sacrifice, we would have nothing.’ – Tyler Durden

To me, life is all about sacrifice.

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My mom (umma) sacrificed her life and suffered to give me and my sister a better shot in life. Whenever I show my love for Cindy, there is always some sacrifice. As Nassim Taleb says, ‘Love without sacrifice is theft.’

How can you put more ‘skin in the game’ to life a life with more pain and sacrifice— but in a meaningful way?

5. Purge

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‘It is only after we’ve lost everything that we’re free to do anything.’ – Tyler Durden

Tyler Durden (Brad Pitt) — aka the alter ego of Edward Norton, blows up his own condo. But after purging himself of his prior life, he is free.

Practically speaking — I have gained much freedom by purging myself of my past. Purging my past negative memories, purging my superfluous possessions, and purging bullshit. This helped me become reborn, and now I feel free.

6. It is cooler not to own a car.

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‘I don’t have a car’ – Tyler Duren

Be like Tyler— don’t be a slave to wanting an expensive car. In-fact, it is cooler not to have a car.

Also consider, are you a slave to debt? Does debt have you working that job you hate, just so you can buy that next $30,000 car?

Consider if you are paid $20 an hour ($40,000 a year USD). Are you willing to work 1,500 hours (62.5 days straight with no rest), or 187 eight-hour working shifts (6.25 months at $20 an hour) just to buy a car, or any other bullshit consumerist good you don’t need?

What is your time worth to you? What is your life worth to you?

7. Who are you?

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‘You are not your job; you’re not how much money you have in the bank; you’re not the car you drive; you’re not the contents of your wallet.’ – Tyler Durden

Our identity is who we are as human beings— our soul, the creative work we do, our worldview, and our self-identity.

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We don’t need to identify ourselves via the work we do, how many 0’s we have in our bank account, or society’s labels of us.

8. There are no bullets inside

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In one of my favorite scenes, Brad Pitt and Edward Norton enter a convenience store, pull out the cashier, and Brad Pitt puts a gun to the head of the kid.

Brad Pitt asks the cashier what his dream in life was. The kid says it was to be a veterinarian, but he dropped out of school because it was too hard.

Brad Pitt then says, ‘I will kill you unless you go back to school and pursue your dream.’ The kid runs away.

Edward Norton says something like, ‘What the fuck — why did you do that?’

Brad Pitt then says to Edward Norton:

“Imagine how he feels— tomorrow will be the most beautiful day of his life. his breakfast will taste better than any meal you and I have ever tasted.“

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Brad Pitt then also says that in life, when we have no fear or distractions, we can let ‘that which does not matter— truly slide.’

The best part— Edward Norton opens up the pistol, and sees that the gun has no bullets inside.

Assignment: If someone put a gun to the back of your head, and asked you what your life dream was — how would you answer? And what would you do tonight or tomorrow to pursue your dream?

9. Become the best version of yourself

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The interesting concept of Fight Club — Tyler Durden is the same person. Brad Pitt and Edward Norton are the same person.

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However Brad Pitt is the idealized version of Edward Norton. Brad Pitt is everything that Edward Norton wants to be.

We all have an inner-Brad Pitt (or Tyler Durden). The only thing we need to do is to take radical change in our lives, to become what Nietzsche calls— the ‘over-man’ (or ‘superman’) who overcomes all the difficulties in his life.

We need to take responsibility for our lives. Not to blame others or make excuses. We just need to go out and pursue our dreams and do what we truly believe in — refusing to let the rules of society cage us in.

10. Life isn’t about winning or losing

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Fight Club isn’t about winning or losing. It is rather about fighting your inner-self, your inner-ego, your inner-fears. In Fight Club, you aren’t beating another person — you are just conquering your own fears in life. And you are getting closer to another human being in fraternity.

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In real life, there is no winning or losing. We are all on the same team in this world community of humanity. We need to help one another— build each other up, instead of tearing each other down.

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Let’s win in life together. Empower yourself in life:

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Be strong,

If you want to conquer your fears and meet new peers, attend an ERIC KIM WORKSHOP >


Cinematography and life lessons: