I finally saw “Fight Club” all the way through.
It’s a story in the “escapist” genre, wrapped in pseudo-profound anarchist philosophy.
But don’t get me wrong, I love the escapist genre:
In a reflection of Joseph Campbell’s philosophy of myth, the main character in any escape story begins in a mundane setting. He is trapped by his surroundings and is often depressed or suicidal.
This is Campbell’s “ordinary life” phase.
Then comes the “call” when the hero is summoned by some circumstance or other, out of the ordinary life and into the world of adventure; in the case of “Fight Club” Edward Norton’s character meets the care free Tyler Durbin while traveling on a plane, and the two strike up a friendship. Durbin lures Norton out of the world of the ordinary, into an underground, vagabond scene. There, rough blue collar men, frustrated with the corporate world, fist fight away their frustrations in the basement of a nasty dive bar on the edge of town.
Of course, as per Campbell, the hero goes through a phase where he “denies the call”; this is played out by Norton, who tentatively and with much argument, comes to accept Durbin’s anarchist philosophy of life.
He eventually “accepts the calling” and “crosses the threshold”, passing from the mundane into the great adventure.
“You’re not your ****ing khakis” Durbin declares at one point – meaning, that one’s identity is not defined by all the little restricting chains in life: your job, your car, your clothes, your house, your wife, etc. This is very similar to Rousseau’s “Social Contract” which begins, “Men are born free, but are everywhere in chains” – it’s a cry against the little, binding particularities that serve to define us and forge our identities.
As a “dissident rightist” I find parts of Durbin’s anarchist philosophy appealing, but at the end of the day, I don’t hate society (qua society), and I don’t hate chains – I just hate our current ones.
So, unlike Durbin, I don’t like the idea of destroying all order and instituting chaos.
Only sinners want to destroy Godly order and live life on their own terms; this sort of escape is evil and a shirking of our duty to take dominion over the Earth. Men are supposed to build healthy, thriving societies, and women are supposed to maintain them. (The man is the rock of the hearth, the woman is the heart of it).
As for Tyler Durbin’s chaos, no matter what the Marxists may think, it’s never a good state for society. We need order; we need chains. Preferably the Christian, agrarian-based, Southern-fried kind. Only in that sort of environment can a man fully attain “manhood” and become fully human.
Without it – we’re nothing more than Godless animals.