The Zen of Fight Club


In a 1996 Chuck Palahniuk published a novel. The book follows the experiences of an unnamed protagonist struggling with insomnia. Inspired by his doctor’s exasperated remark that sleeplessness is not suffering, he finds relief by impersonating a seriously ill person in several support groups. An encounter with a fellow “tourist”, Marla, drives him back into insomnia until he meets a mysterious liberator named Tyler Durden and establishes an underground fighting club as a form of radical psychotherapy.

In 1999, director David Fincher adapted the novel into a film of the same name, which received positive critical response and generated  a cult following, despite lower than expected box-office results.

Fight Club, while fictional, contained several tidbits of wisdom.  Most of the “liberation dialog” was spoken by the imaginary character of Tyler Durden.  While many saw the value of the novel and the movie as entertainment,  some of us relished its revolutionary vision.

Take what you will from these quotes.

  • You are not your job, you are not how much money you have in the bank, you are not the car you drive, you  are not the contents of your wallet, you are not your fucking khakis… you are the all singing, all dancing crap of the world.
  • Its only after we have lost everything that we are free to do anything.
  • The liberator who destroyed my property has realigned my perception.
  • You reject the assumption of civilization, especially the  importance of material possessions.
  • Advertising has us chasing cars and clothes, working jobs we hate so we can buy shit we don’t need.
  • We are the middle children of history, 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, we’re very, very pissed off.
  • On a long enough timeline the survival rate for everyone drops to zero.
  • No fear, No distractions, the ability to let that which does not matter truly slide.
  • You are not special, you are not a beautiful or unique snowflake, you are the same decaying organic matter as everything else, we are the all singing all dancing crap of the world, we are all part of the same compost heap
  • The people you are after are the people you depend on, we cook your meals, we haul your trash, we connect your calls, we drive your ambulances, we guard you while you sleep. DO NOT FUCK WITH US.
  • Hitting bottom is not a weekend retreat, it’s not a god damned seminar, stop trying to control everything and just let go.
  • In the world I see, you’re stalking elk through the damp canyon forests around the ruins of Rockafeller Center. You’ll wear leather clothes that’ll 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 in the empty carpool lanes of some abandoned super highway.
  • This is your life and it is ending one minute at a time.
  • Fuck Martha Stewart. Martha’s polishing the brass on the Titanic, it’s all going down.
  • You have to consider the possibility that god does not like you, never wanted you, in all probability he hates you.



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