Fight club and capitalism

There are many movies and novels that imply social and economic commentary but one very popular source is the novel Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk.   The novel explains the exploitation of capitalism and dives into the mental and social reprocussions of a capitalist ideology. The main character becomes unhappy with his life and develops insomnia; the doctors dismiss the issue relatively quickly before he develops multiple personality disorder. In the book it demonstrates the concept of the social injustice that capitalism imposes on a society.

The book and movie articulate these concepts very easily and providing a tangible and manageable concept of it by saying “It’s only after we’ve lost everything that we’re free to do anything.” This is an explanation of the Eurocentric, neo-liberlal consumer based capitalist driven society. Commenting on the idea that the things that we cherish and worship so much in life that are physical and material, will bring us no benefit, no freedom, and no self worth. We are being oppressed by the desire to own things and be wealthy and this will remain until we let go of our material possessions. In one analysis of Fight Club by Eduardo Lizardo he makes the comment that it can be seen as a “poignant allegory of the cultural and social contradictions brought about by the capitalist socio-economic system [emphasis in the original] in late modernity” so to say that it is representative of the modern form of exploitive and oppressive capitalism we live in, later on he mentions “consumption is tethered to the mass produced system of commodities (where everything is a „copy of a copy‟), the desire behind the consumption act is bound to remain permanently unfulfilled” referring to the impossibility of ever reaching satisfaction in a society like this.

This can be tethered to mental illness in fight club as you can see the unrest amongst the characters about never being able to reach this so called goal we are promised and have promised ourselves we can obtain because we live in such a wealthy and plentiful country. The movie notes a concept called “post modern decentralization” according to an article by Jonas Van de Poel, this concept is a social experience that stretches to encompass the idea that because we live in a society that pushes us to buy we have essentially commoditized existence have separated ourselves from what it means to experience life. It is an experience and a reality that has become reality; it is a condition that has affected everyone.

The movie provides insight into how this social experience deeply challenges the opportunity for happiness; the main character suffers from an array of illnesses that have a center point based on his consumerist surroundings. Some people even look at consumerism as its own form of mental illness. This life experience gives little room to get out of the grasp of cooperate America, we are sucked into the life.


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