The Deeper Meaning of Fight Club: You are not the Contents of Your Wallet

There is a part of me that has come to the realization that material things don’t really matter in the long run, since in the long run we are all dead anyways.  Material posessions always eventually degrade into the stardust they are made out of, even humans.  The world of form is temporary, fleeting, and ultimately unimportant.  You are more than the stardust you are made out of.

The elevation of consciousness is what is important.  The realization that we are not what we own is what is important.  Forgiveness and compassion for those who have harmed you and your family is what is important.  These things are important because ultimately they bring inner peace to one’s consciousness.

Rejecting the state comes naturally when you have total compassion and forgiveness for your fellow man.  A sane society would take criminals and coddle them like children who simply didn’t know any better.  We put people in cages and threaten people with violence strictly because our identities are tied to the world of form.  If people truly put the elevation of consciousness above the material, there wouldn’t be a state running around threatening people over violations of property and person.

Material things are nice, but does the theft or destruction of material property justify violent responses by society against the perpetrators?  If a child runs down the beach and destroys a sand castle that another child was building, do we throw him in a cage over it?  Of course not.  However, if a man walks down the street and breaks or steals something that took another person a few hours to create, do we throw him a cage?  What’s the difference?  The man obviously has the same level of consciousness as the child or he wouldn’t have done what he did.  And society’s response is obviously the same as that of the child who had his sand castle destroyed.  Society throws a temper tantrum and lashes out violently over the destruction or theft of “stuff”.

The realization that the material isn’t important makes writing articles that ultimately revolve around the improvement of material production to be a drag on my psyche.  I can see why the Buhddist monks limit themselves to a wood bowl and a tunic.  By rejecting material possessions, it prevents a person from identifying themselves with the things they own.  Most people in this world derive their sense of self from the things they own.  You’re not going to see a Buddhist monk pull out a gun to defend his wood bowl or tunic.  Perhaps that’s why the monks have been historically persecuted so heavily by statists.  The monks lifestyle represents the rejection of the reason to have a state in the first place.

I watched Fight Club again last night, but this time I saw the deeper meaning the author was trying to convey with the story.  It’s actually a very deep movie that revolves around identification with form.  In the movie, the narrator (Edward Norton) provides us a detailed overview of his condo, where he goes into very fine detail about all the possessions he owns and how they define him as a person; just before he blows up his condo and starts squatting in a run down abandoned building.

Consider some of these lines from the movie:

  • Man, I see in Fight Club the strongest and smartest men who’ve ever lived. I see all this potential, and I see it squandered. God damn it, an entire generation pumping gas, waiting tables – slaves with white collars. Advertising has us chasing cars and clothes, working jobs we hate so we can buy shit we don’t need. We’re the middle children of history, man. No purpose or place. We have no Great War. No Great Depression. Our great war is a spiritual war. Our great depression is our lives. We’ve all been raised on television to believe that one day we’d all be millionaires, and movie gods, and rock stars, but we won’t. We’re slowly learning that fact. And we’re very, very pissed off.
  • 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. You’re not your fucking khakis. You’re the all-singing, all-dancing crap of the world.
  • We’re consumers. We are by-products of a lifestyle obsession. Murder, crime, poverty, these things don’t concern me. What concerns me are celebrity magazines, television with 500 channels, some guy’s name on my underwear. Rogaine, Viagra, Olestra.
  • I am Jack’s wasted life.

In case you forgot the plot, ultimately it’s about blowing up all the credit card buildings in order to eliminate the debt record.  In our debt = money world, such an event would not only destroy the debt record, it would also destroy the money supply.  If you follow Austrian economics, you’ll realize that the destruction of the money supply is going to happen anyways, no matter if the debt record is destroyed physically or not.  Austrian economics also predicts that the debt record is going to be wiped out through a debt default spiral, which may or may not be propped up by state sanctioned money printing.

I’m getting bombarded by signals from the universe which are telling me to stop caring about it all, because it is all self-correcting.  The material isn’t important, and what needs to happen in order for consciousness to be elevated will happen no matter what.   As the narrator says, “It’s only after we’ve lost everything that we’re free to do anything.”  I’m a firm believer that society is about to lose a lot of things that aren’t important, after which, we will be far more free than we are today.


Please take a moment to click through and read the Tao Te Ching for some ancient insights that relate directly to our modern world.

  • Christian

    I just had a visit from a friend from thirty years ago. He makes terrific money now but it didn’t make him any happier. Sometimes the best things in life are free. Fight club is one of my favorite films. It’s right up there with The Matrix.

  • Whilst I am no fan at all of The State (oppressive as it almost inevitably is), I still believe in principle that when a state punishes a criminal it is not necessarily for reasons of childish tantrums but rather to exact justice and also to deter other would-be criminals. In its purist form, a state exists to defend and protect the natural freedoms of those who live within its borders. Sure, I am not the product of my material possessions or even my physical body, but that doesn’t mean someone else has the right to liberate me from them.

    • The state doesn’t exist to defend and protect OUR freedom. The state exists to protect its goods and material possessions. You are not your job because you and your job are collateral.

      • lalaboo

        think of it like this: you loose your job, you cant pay anything anymore like taxes and shit, and thats when the state starts to ignore you. Because you cant provide them anymore of the things they want so you dont belong in their state anymore. It’s all pure egoism. As long as you are submissive, you’re good.

        • Mike Lane

          Egotism, not egoism

    • Blinky

      Justice? How’s there any justice in perpetuating the crime that happened in the first place? Justice looks extremely petty if that’s what you define it as. Getting jailed for doing something wrong virtually eliminates your chances of being a better person, it’s the opposite of justice. Who cares if some people are deterred from crime because of it when the people who do end up being criminals are criminals for life and therefore far more likely to continue committing crimes? I just want to indulge once and say you’re an idiot. K, got that out of my system.

      Also, not only the logical reasons that “justice” is stupid, I just generally hate the federal version of justice. I’d be perfectly fine if revenge was allowed, cuz then it’d be a personal matter and the person would have to accept the “injustice” of their actions if they wanted to commit to that revenge. People are a lot less motivated to abandon their morals when other people aren’t around to provide that moral ambiguation effect, saying “it’s ok because it’s for the greater good”. Pathetic.

  • Michael

    You know,
    Its funny. The whole story of fight club is a story of a schizophrenic man who starts up a cult that becomes a terrorist organization. It is hailed by many libertarians (me included) as being one of the best libertarian/anarchist movies ever made. Now, most libertarians would never publicly support any group that actually tried to model itself after Project Mayhem, in fact most libertarians would go out of their way to distance themselves from any group that tried to emulate the actions of Tyler Durden. However, isn’t it interesting that most (if not all) libertarians and anarchists would agree that the State (at least in its present form) is a criminal organization. Furthermore much of what libertarians want to enact is currently seen as criminal (legalizing drugs, prostitution, selling organs, gambling, ending taxation) all those activities that libertarians would like to see legalized are currently criminal acts. Many libertarians are frustrated with the lack of action on the part of other libertarians and endlessly discuss tactics for ending the state. Why isn’t outright illegal activity advocated? Why not recommend people go out and grow pot, cook up meth and other drugs, stop paying taxes, manufacture and sell weapons, etc? I mean those activities are illegal and yet libertarians are in the weird position of defending that idea that they should be legal. So why not advocate the breaking of these laws? If you know anything about the laws of this country than you will concede that most people have broken at least some of the millions of laws on the books, so in effect we are all already criminals. It is only our own sense of morality (warped though it may be) that prevents the majority of our fellow inmates from rioting and making our imprisonment costly for those that seek to rule us.

    • Tyler Durdan

      Two words: Brandon Raub

    • Mike

      Great stuff. It’s more like self preservation though, not a sense of morality. Our morals disagree with the state’s, but the state is a lot more powerful, hence our current predicament.

  • Tyler Durdan

    Fight Club is like a guide book on how Libertarian Hippies should behave.

  • Me

    Anarchism is for children and idiots. If you’re not a child or an idiot you’d like police to stop big angry people from raping and robbing you or your family.

    While the government sucks, its tyranny is far short of the level that justifies taking arms against it, IMO. We have a democratic process to change our shitty laws, and it’s working somewhat, if slowly. Marijuana is being legalized in some states, as is gay marriage. Gambling has been expanded. There’s obviously still a long way to go.

    All becoming violent is going to do is marginalize the libertarian message and give a legitimate reason for the government to come at you with deadly force.

    • What article did you read?

    • Anarcho

      Seeking protection from the state is childlike…and your mentality is the definition of what the state does…turning human beings into scared, domesticated house pets.

    • Mike Lane

      Personally I believe, one way or another, the Federal government should slowly release its power down to the states, from states to cities, counties, etc, to smaller communities. At some level, I believe the Federal government can serve a productive purpose, as with State governments, etc.

  • mrphy42

    You do remember tyler was the villain, right? One that the narrator tried to reason with and ultimately killed?

    Articles always seem to forget this fact. At the beginning the narrator was at the extreme end of his slavery to stuff. Tyler went to the other extreme. In the end the narrator chooses neither extreme, but instead a balance.

    Tyler was just as bad in the sense that he chose violent extremes to solve things, and was ultimately destroyed for it. In the end it was about the narrator finding a middle ground of inner peace. Not being a slave to his former life, but also rejecting Tyler’s methods.

    • I don’t think I’m lauding the violent behavior of Tyler Durden in my article.

      • Mike

        What happens when? instead of the child who’s sand castle gets destroyed does nothing. But his brother decides to smash you’re face in. The justice sytem is there not only to teach the lessons that thieves and murderers haven’t learned but to also keep others from taking matters into their own hands.. If it were up to me I would prefer the take matters into our own hands ,all out chaos method ..

        • Blinky

          Taking matters into our own hands, would, for most people prevent them from continuing to commit “crimes”. We have a built in negative feedback system, most people feel guilt and shame when they kill someone. The only people who dont, aren’t going to be stopped significantly by a federal justice system. I’m pretty sure “justice” is only a figurehead, a false sense of security. Once in prison, the people there become FAR worse threats to society, far more violent and “hardened” because they’ve been pushed to their limit by cruelty and hate. The only prisoner who is not a threat to society is the one who never gets out. “Rehabilitation” my ass, those who come out as better people did so DESPITE their cruel masters. So, taking matters into our own hands would make for a significantly more turbulent time, but ultimately better. People’s fears usually cause them to do illogical and irrational things, fear of crime is no different. So, in their fear they create a justice system to keep them safe from small misdemeanors so somebody else can get murdered by that person that knocked over the sand castle and then went to jail for it.

    • Puck


      the point is that we need to let go of the unimportant stupid stuff, shit that we don’t need, but not descend into a state of anarchy and beat each other to death, instead live in balance and be smart about what you do and who or “what” you’re loyal to

    • Mike Lane

      That’s why when Tyler shows up after disappearing for awhile, he’s dressed in fancy clothes- he’s symbolically become just like the society he condemns. Project Mayhem is just as collectivist and life-deprived (everyone dressed alike and repeating the same chant, “you are not special”, “You are dirt” (or something like that)) as the consumer culture at the beginning.

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  • TittyLuver492

    or you could stare at titties all day

    • TittyLuver493

      mad respect.

  • J-Mode

    I agree with this completely. Too many people these days define themselves by what they earn or what they have got in their banks. I find it so soul destroying because it just creates hollow human beings without a sense of consciousness.

  • ehaleng

    I think Fight Club is the finest film ever made about masculinity that has ever surfaced. Women will never understand it. I think men have had their balls removed and put into a corner. The most moving scene in the film is when the two men hug after pelting the shit out of each other. I nearly cried when I watched that scene for the first time. Men need other men to do man things around. We were not simply put on this earth to to honey do lists, pay bills, take out trash and serve other people. There is a small seed of anger that resides in every man that has grown up in this white washed, feminized, push button, cleansed excuse for a world we grew up in. You know why people worked hard for simple pleasures back in the day? because they were worth it.

    I am Jack’s stolen life.

    • Eric Hein

      I like your take on this. I am a fan of the movie and the book. Here are some quotes that fits your perspective: “We’re a generation of men raised by women. I’m wondering if another woman is really the answer we need.” and The two notice a Calvin Klein underwear advert that amuses them; “Is that what a man looks like?” asks Norton’s character. Durden sniggers and replies, “Self-improvement is masturbation. Now, self-destruction…”

      • ehaleng

        The film and book are deep into the world of male identity. It’s not the classic garden of Eden, male vs female surface flake BS. I think it drives to the core of male identity. You are alive EXACTLY ONCE. The afterlife is debatable at best. The book is about your being as a male. Without pain or joy are you really alive? Men have a drive to “belong” that women will never understand. I love my wife and my mom but they can never understand me like my Dad.

      • ehaleng

        Eric, you are spot on. “Space monkey 100%”

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  • Somewhat rational

    “I’m a firm believer that society is about to lose a lot of things that
    aren’t important, after which, we will be far more free than we are

    Care to illustrate specifically what you mean?

  • thank you so much

  • Fight Club is like a guide book on how Libertarian Hippies should behave..