Capitalism, Roles of Men and women, Authority, Consumerism, Money Law and Order etc
Pity Parties are bad – ie support group
Nietzsche thinks that these “slaves” created their own morality, one in which exhibits the virtues of weakness, forgiveness, and humility. They think that it is good to be one of the herd and despise those that assert their creativity and power.
Is it Tyler or Credit card companies, the industry.
So is Tyler the problem not the solution….
1. Fight Club – A Social and
Philosophical Context reading
What comments does this film have
about or modern society
2. Social Context
• The commentary offered by films on a particular
social context – American Society of the late 20th
• Reading the film from the view point of its social
• Think about what this film is saying is wrong with
society and the possible solutions/ ideas it offers
up as a way of addressing the issues
• How do these social messages link to the ideas of
3. What do you know about Nietzsche
his key ideas
4. Fredrick Nietzsche
• Fredrick Nietzsche (German 1844-
1900) predicted that human
evolution would someday result in
an übermensch (or overman). A
man such as this is capable and
great enough to create a new
meaning for the world we inhabit.
• The overman can be a solution to
freedom from everything. Nietzsche
thinks that we shouldn’t be content
with a state of mediocrity, but
instead strive for perfection.
5. What does this film say is wrong about
the role and place of men in today’s
6. The solution according to the film?
7. Ubermensch, Tyler and ‘Narrator’
• Tyler pushes Narrator to become more than he is. He
wants to strive for distinction from the rest of the
• What examples can you think of?
• Nietzsche argues that the only way this can be
achieved is by accepting responsibility for one’s actions
and values, and always trying to surpass one’s old self
by continually taking risks.
• How does Fight Club reflect this idea?
• As the übermensch Tyler offers the weak an outlet:
violence and anarchy. He enters Narrator’s life and
philosophically evaluates his pathetic and passive
lifestyle and pushes him (and others) towards
becoming the overman.
• Central to Nietzsche philosophy is the idea of
"life-affirmation", which involves an honest
questioning of all doctrines that drain life's
expansive energies, however socially
prevalent those views might be.
ng of all social
doctrines – How does
this apply to Fight
10. Rejection of Pity
• This film also takes a strong line on ‘pity’ and
sees it as a weakness in our society. How?
• Again there is a connection to Nietzche
• , "…pity stands in opposition to the tonic
emotions which stimulate the feeling of being
alive: it is a depressant" (Nietzsche, 1930 p.
• According to Nietzsche we must reject pity
and strive for power as a way of freeing
ourselves (will of power)
11. Rejection of Pity
• While crying on Bob, a man with
testicular cancer, Narrator assures
himself, "I found freedom. Losing
all hope was freedom". Some
people would applaud Jack for
giving the weak a shoulder to cry
on and showing them compassion
but how would Nietzsche view
• Pity not only robs Narrator of
power, but it becomes infectious
– it makes you weak. He does
nothing to solve his problems.
The film seems to be saying that
this is a central problem in our
12. Morality and Nietzsche
• Nietzsche believes that there are two types of
moralities: slave morality and master morality.
– Slave morality are “the abused, the oppressed, the
suffering, and unemancipated, the weary, and those
uncertain of themselves” (Nietzsche).
– Narrator is slave – evidence? This is an issues in our
13. Morality and Nietzsche
– Master morality- great, noble human beings who
“…determine what is good and what is bad on the
basis of their own values…” (Stewart,). These
individuals do not follow set values and morals;
rather, they create their own. They see
killing, “suffering,” and “hardships” as a means to an
end: if it leads to the betterment of society or
greatness, then that is what must be done.
• So who is the Master in our current society?
• According to the film who should be the
14. Morality and Nietzsche
• Tyler says to the Narrator, “all the ways you wish you
could be, that's me. I look like you wanna look, I fuck
like you wanna fuck, I am smart, capable, and most
importantly, I am free in all the ways that you are not.”
• What comment is this making about our society?
• At this moment in the film, the stark contrast of the
Narrator’s slave morality and Tyler’s master morality is
shown. While Narrator is proverbially chained
down, he uses ‘Tyler’ to assert his power, and he
asserts this through “Project Mayhem.”
• This film seems to be suggesting that we need to
overthrow the way our society is organised
15. Challenging Morality
• Project Mayhem would destroy the Slave
Morality. Tyler wants the members of Fight
Club to be their own masters: “man, I see in
fight club the strongest and smartest men
who've ever lived. I see all this potential, and I
see squandering. God damn it, an entire
generation pumping gas, waiting tables; slaves
with white collars.”
• BUT Not everyone can achieve Master
Morality (and would Tyler let them?)
16. Our Current Society and Beliefs
• What beliefs are important in American
Society according to the film?
• Are these beliefs helping society, according to
17. Nietzsche and Nihilism
• The rejection of all religious and moral
principles, often in the belief that life is
• Extreme scepticism, according to which nothing
in the world has a real existence
• If people suddenly realised that their faith was a
lie, then soon everything would lack meaning for
• Nietzsche hoped that the Ubermensch would be
the solution to this issue of Nihilism = Tyler
18. Nihilism and Fight Club
• We can see the results of Nihilism in Fight club
as Tyler Durden discredits the falsehood of
others interpretations of the world. He lives in a
society where everyone values what they
should be or own. They are afraid to be what
they want to be, and stick to their boring
• Tyler offers people an outlet. In fight club they
learn to defend themselves, and gain
• What do we need to reject?
19. Nihilism and Fight Club
• Tyler forcefully gives Jack a chemical burn on his
hand and lectures him while he writhes in pain,
• "Without pain, without sacrifice, we would have
nothing. What you're feeling is premature
enlightenment. You have to consider the
possibility that God does not like you; he never
wanted you. In all probability he hates you. We
don’t need him! Fuck damnation! Fuck
• Rejecting God for rejecting us is empowering for
Tyler, as Nietzsche famously said, "God is dead".
20. Tyler is a Nihilist
• "You are not a beautiful or unique
snowflake, you are the same decaying organic
matter as everything else...all part of the same
compost heap. You are not how much money
you have in the bank. You're not the car you
drive, the contents of your wallet". - Nihilistic
chant said by Tyler
• This film seems to suggest at times that
society needs to embrace the ideas of
Nietzsche and redesign society accordingly
21. How does Fight Club contradict
Nietzsche and his social messages?
• Is Tyler really the solution to the problems of
the modern world – what new meaning does
• Tyler has power which he has gained through
dehumanising others, is he the
Overman/Superman role model or an
Inhuman monster (‘He who fights with
monsters might take care lest he thereby
become a monster. And if you gaze for long
into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you.
22. Essay Question
• Explore some of the ways in which you have
gained fresh insights into your chosen film as a
result of applying one or more specific critical