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The Spiritual Meaning of Fight Club:

An Interpretation by Wasteoflife
Fight Club is a film that practically defined a generation. Personally, it is one of my all time
favorite movies, novels, and stories. However, it recently occurred to that despite watching it
over and over again, reading the book at least twice, and knowing this story like the back of my
hand, I still hadn’t fully grasped it at all. I had many unanswered questions. E.g. Why was Marla
such a big deal to the Narrator’s character? Marla hardly seems to have much to do with
anything, so why all the commotion when she’s around? And, what's the significance of the
whole "his name is Robert Paulson" thing? Why does Tyler Durden seem so determined to
liberate the Narrator, if he knows that doing so can only result in his own destruction? Does he
know? How could he not? And, perhaps most of all, why is it that, despite all the inconsistencies
and inexplicable events in the story, so many people immediately recognized it as a classic?
What is it about this film that separates it from all the rest? Is it because of the fighting? Plenty of
movies have fighting, and I don't hear anyone declaring "Bloodsport 2: The Next Kumite" a
"classic" unless, of course, they’re qualifying the words "piece of shit." So, what’s going on
The way I see it, this cinematic/literary triumph deserves a much closer look—hell, it deserves a
full body cavity, especially if one wants to learn what great stories are made of, if not to create
one, than at least to recognize one. Considering the tripe currently spewing out of Hollywood, it
seems only appropriate to reexamine the anatomy of a still relevant and powerful film.
After reexamining the film and conducting more research than I am proud to admit, I think I can
safely say that I've finally gotten to the bottom (or at least closer to the bottom) of the most
perplexing aspects of the story. One can never say for certain, as all subjective interpretations of
art will necessarily renders even the most blatant of parallels ―circumstantial‖ and perhaps
coincidental in the end. Nevertheless, what I discovered and hope to communicate about this film
will likely be difficult to ignore.
Firstly, even so-called expert movie critiques still hail Fight Club as little more than a stylized
glorification of masculinity, senseless violence, and chaos. Clearly, after a decade from its
original release, people still don’t get it. However, I can’t say I blame them. Years after
watching/reading and a modicum of time dissecting, analyzing, and discussing it is bound to just
scratch the surface, if not miss the point entirely. Truth be told, deciphering the meaning of this
film can feel a lot like completing a Rubik's cube in the dark with your crotch on fire. You’ll
Anyway, hopefully this interpretation will help fans of Fight Club awaken to the profound
spiritual messages being conveyed beneath its surface, and come to appreciate the film and book
on a higher level.
The First thing we need to clear up is the misconception that Fight Club is a unique, novel, and
modern film. The truth is, it is actually a very, very old story—ancient in fact. That’s right, this
"cool" film that practically defined a generation, dates to at least 2,000 years ago, and can best be
summarized as a religious, allegorical synthesis of Gnosticism (especially Hermetic tradition)
and Kabbalah, each of which heavily influenced one another in early antiquity and share very
similar views. In Fight Club, we have the most ancient, high-minded religious philosophies
paralleled, mashed together, and served up into one cohesive, sardonic, and relatively easy to
follow story. The answers were right there on a giant silver screen and most of us, including me,
were too dense to realize it.

Because Fight Club is most heavily influenced by Gnosticism (Gnostic archetypes and
"religious" beliefs), it may be important to impart a brief introduction; otherwise people who
have no idea what it is would miss out BIG TIME. However, it could take years, arguably
lifetimes, to fully explain/understand it.
But in short, Gnosticism is, without question, one of the most complicated and profound
theologies/religions/philosophies/views in recorded history. Understanding it deeply is largely a
personal journey, and therefore one’s responsibility for the purposes of this analysis. I don’t
recommend you just take my word for it, and search out the answers yourself.
I can only say that It is well worth the effort, considering the most complex and deep stories and
movies in history are most likely, if not definitely, influenced by Gnosticism. Everything through
Pinocchio to 2001: A Space Odyssey, to The Matrix trilogy, and even some of the oldest
cinematic and literary classics have been heavy on the Gnosticism. Even if you don’t like that
kind of stuff, there’s also the ―salvation‖ element it might bring. Either way, it's worth looking
into. But if you have absolutely no idea what Gnosticism is, here's a brief description from
http://www.gnosis.org/gnintro.htm :
GNOSTICISM IS THE TEACHING based on Gnosis, the knowledge of transcendence
arrived at by way of interior, intuitive means. Although Gnosticism thus rests on personal
religious experience, it is a mistake to assume all such experience results in Gnostic
recognitions. It is nearer the truth to say that Gnosticism expresses a specific religious
experience, an experience that does not lend itself to the language of theology or
philosophy, but which is instead closely affinitized to, and expresses itself through, the
medium of myth. Indeed, one finds that most Gnostic scriptures take the forms of myths.
The term ―myth‖ should not here be taken to mean ―stories that are not true‖, but rather,
that the truths embodied in these myths are of a different order from the dogmas of
theology or the statements of philosophy.
Harold Bloom, one of the foremost experts on the interpretation of Western literature, poetry,
and art, considers Gnosticism one of the most important attributes of greatest literary works ever
In the forward to his book, "Genius: A Mosaic of One Hundred Exemplary Creative Minds",
Bloom insinuates that literary analysis is not very valuable unless one appreciates Gnosticism
and the ubiquitous influence on only the greatest literary geniuses/artists in Western history. He
"Gnosticism was first employed in the seventeenth century to describe the ancient
"heresy" that existed among later first-century pagans, Jews, and Christians. Nearly all
our indisputably Gnostic texts are second-century Christian, but earlier Jewish tradition
had worshipped the primal Adam as the Authentic prophet. The great living Israeli
scholar of Kabbalah, Moshe Idel, speculates that Gnosticism, like Jewish medieval
Kabbalah renewed ancient Jewish controversies about Adam, God, Creation, and Fall.
"From Valentius through the German Romantic poet Novalis, the French Romantic
Nerval, and the English William Blake, Gnosticism has been indistinguishable from
imaginative genius. I venture, after a lifetime's meditation upon Gnosticism, the judgment
that it is pragmatically the religion of literature."
"I propose a simplifying definition of Gnosticism in the apprehension of genius: it is a
knowledge that frees the creative mind from theology, from historicizing, and from any
divinity that is totally distinct from what is most imaginative in the self. A God cut-off
from the inmost self is the Hangman God, as James Joyce called him, the God who
originates death. Gnosticism, as the religion of literary genius, repudiates the Hangman
Okay, back to Fight Club. Essentially, Chuck Palahniuk, the author of Fight Club, and those who
worked on the film used Gnostic concepts of dualism to convey one overarching pantheistic
message--i.e. there is no devil, or at least not like we think. There is only God, and everything
evil and shitty about this world, including us, is God or a manifestation of God--a fact that is
usually far more hidden. Above all, Fight Club is about liberation attained when one realizes that
one is God, i.e. Gnosis, and the importance of recognizing one's inherent creative and destructive
power, by grappling with the consequences of creating unconsciously (destroying) vs. creating
consciously (loving) both of which are two vital aspects that stem from creation. The way this is
done, according to Fight Club, is through relinquishing our dependence on the material world in
order to achieve Gnosis--to stop hating the world, blindly accepting a bystander/victim role and
take responsibility for the course and direction of our own lives, warts and all.
I've structured the analysis of the film chronologically, which coincides perfectly with the core
tenants of Gnosticism according to tvtropes.org
(http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Usefulnotes/Gnosticism) --all of which focus on the
process of creation, and destruction.

1) In the beginning was nothing but a single consciousness. This primordial awareness
had no content, as there was nothing in existence of which to be aware. It existed in a
timeless, thoughtless state.
The film’s open has us swirling around a sea of neurons in the mind of the central character. A
consciousness emerges. Cue ―the Narrator.‖ This consciousness cannot sleep.
Narrator: When you have insomnia, you're never really asleep... and you're never really
Narrator: With insomnia, nothing's real. Everything's far away, everything's a copy.
This consciousness’ insomnia stems from being only conscious of one thing—himself. He can’t
very well sleep if there is no such thing as ―sleep,‖ now can he? He's too attached to the light,
afraid to close his eyes and sleep. He’s never really awake because there is no ―awake.‖ So, at
the start of the movie, the Narrator is consciousness, he is God/Man. Naturally, this
consciousness finds himself quite miserable in his state of ignorance, and nothing can fix him,
because there is only awareness of himself.
2) This consciousness split itself in two. The reasons given are various - desire for
companionship, curiosity about itself, or just plain boredom.
The Narrator’s conundrum of lack of sleep is an obvious reference to Hermeticism’s, the
Poimandres, where the immortal God falls into our sorrow of ―love and sleep‖:
―When the man saw in the water the form like himself as it was in nature, he loved it and
wished to inhabit it; wish and action came in the same moment…Even though he is
immortal…mankind is affected by mortality…although…above the cosmic framework,
he became a slave within it. He is androgyne because he comes from an androgyen
father, and he never sleeps because he comes from one who is sleepless. Yet love and
sleep are his masters.‖
Sound familiar? I bet it does, but we're not talking about Tyler Durden…yet. Actually, we're
talking about Bob. God first creates a man in his own image.
Often the younger males would begin to talk and within five minutes they would be
weeping. The amount of grief and anguish in the younger males was astounding! The
river was deep. . . They had learned to be receptive, and it wasn't enough to carry their
marriages. In every relationship something fierce is needed once in a while; both the man
and the woman need to have it. (8)
He is Androgynous, i.e. possessing both masculine and feminine qualities. Therefore, God
actually creates Bob first. Bob had bitch tits, i.e. he is androgynous. This fatherly consciousness
creates an image of himself in Bob. He then imagines what it would be like if this image being
were to become aware of his imminent death and in so doing this consciousness creates the
concept of death, destruction, i.e. mortality, in his own mind. Then he watches Bob's reaction to
it. Bob becomes conscious of his ―end‖ and cries. Faced with certain death, he/she reaches out to
embrace his maker.
Robert 'Bob' Paulson: Go ahead, Cornelius, you can cry.
His suffering reflects the Narrator’s suffering, thereby forming the Hermetic ―water‖ that reflects
his own image now soaked into Bob’s shirt, between his bitch tits.
―And that’s where I fit in…Between those huge sweating tits that hung enormous, the
way you'd think of God's as big.‖
The Narrator looks down at his image in tears and falls in love with the suffering they represent,
i.e. the sorrow of ―love and sleep.‖ This creates the split, conscious duality whereby God creates
Divine man on earth, to catch some much needed Z’s. He now ―Gnows‖ sleep.
Understand, however, God cannot escape consciousness because he IS consciousness. He needs
to lose sight of himself by observing something different from him. In that same moment, he
creates what he wishes desires to be most of all: love and sleep--or loosely, Light and Dark. But
because he is the creator he cannot stop creating. Rather, he dreams. Dreaming is an act of
creation, when asleep you are unconsciously creating your own reality, and living in it. The
waking life, according Fight Club and Gnostics, works the same way.
In fact, we see/hear the Narrator create all kinds of things with his thoughts, all throughout the
―I am Jack’s smirking revenge.‖
―I am Jack’s complete lack of surprise‖
So God has split in two on earth right? The Narrator and Bob? No, what occurs in heaven must
occur on earth. So the Narrator becomes Jack on earth, i.e. Adam, divine man. But because the
fatherly Godhead/Consciousness was androgynous, i.e. both male and female, through Bob, the
vessel, God creates the male self and the female self. Therefore, the ORIGINAL split on earth
was actually between Jack and Marla Singer—which brings me to the next core belief of
3) The two minds, one male and one female, interacted creating a pantheon of deities
known as aeons, who inhabited a divine realm of light known as the "Pleroma".
Okay, so, if the Narrator is Adam, then Marla is Eve, right? No! Actually, Marla Singer is a
character in Gnostic tradition known as Sophia, who bears striking resemblance to
Jewish/Kabalistic archetype known as ―Lilith.‖ ―Lilith‖ is Adam’s ―first wife‖, who came into
being at the same time as him, i.e. before Eve. According to Ancient Esoteric Jewish texts:
After God created Adam, who was alone, He said, 'It is not good for man to be alone.' He
then created a woman for Adam, from the earth, as He had created Adam himself, and
called her Lilith.
Basically, Adam is the physical representation of ―the masculine‖ God on earth. Thus, Adam
represents the earthly Yahweh, Adam, i.e. the divine masculine. Marla, on the other hand,
represents Lilith, i.e. earthly Sophia, the ―divine feminine‖ the Mother of Wisdom.
An alternative (Kabbalistic) story links Lilith with the creation of luminaries. The "first
light," which is the light of Mercy (one of the Sefirot), appeared on the first day of
creation when God said "Let there be light." This light became hidden and the Holiness
became surrounded by a husk of evil. ‖A husk (klippa) was created around the brain" and
this husk spread and brought out another husk, which was Lilith.[84]
Remember the fruit of "Wisdom" is considered "evil" in the traditional biblical texts--it is the
very cause of "original sin." Wisdom can be better described as consciousness. Thus, when there
is consciousness of the dark, paradise is lost, there is another split of that consciousness. Gnostics
believe that Yahweh is a masculine overbearing energy that rules this material world we live in
now, it is the false creator god in Gnosticism, and has been likened to the Sun. On the other
hand, Sophia and Lilith have been linked to the moon, i.e. night. Consciousness requires duality-
-knowledge of differences, and thus choices--in order to create. But Yahweh represents the male
ego, and the Logos. Ultimately, however, only through Sophia, chaos and darkness, is this world
perceived and consciousness attained.
If you're having trouble understanding this, it might be a good idea to view Fight Club through
the lens of Carl Jung's analytical psychology (from Wikipedia):
"In Carl Jung's analytical psychology, he contrasted a rational, decisive logos with an
emotional mythos. Jung contrasted the critical and rational faculties of logos and with the
emotional, non-reason oriented and mythical elements of mythos.[80] In Jung's approach
logos vs mythos can be represented as "science vs mysticism", or "reason vs imagination"
or "conscious activity vs the unconscious".[81] For Jung, logos represented the masculine
principle of rationality, in contrast to its female counterpart, eros:
Woman’s psychology is founded on the principle of Eros, the great binder and loosener,
whereas from ancient times the ruling principle ascribed to man is Logos. The concept of
Eros could be expressed in modern terms as psychic relatedness, and that of Logos as
objective interest.[82]
Jung attempted to equate logos and eros, his intuitive conceptions of masculine and
feminine consciousness with the alchemical Sol and Luna. Jung commented that in a man
the lunar anima and in a woman the solar animus has the greatest influence on
consciousness.[83] Jung often proceeded to analyze situations in terms of "paired
opposites", e.g. by using the analogy with the eastern yin and yang[84] and was also
influenced by the Neoplatonics.[85]
In his book Mysterium Coniunctionis Jung made some important final remarks about
anima and animus:
In so far as the spirit is also a kind of "window on eternity"... it conveys to the soul a
certain influx divinus... and the knowledge of a higher system of the world, wherein
consists precisely its supposed animation of the soul.
And in this book Jung again emphasized that the animus compensates eros, while the
anima compensates logos.[86]
Okay, so two feminine and masculine entities. What happens next?
4) The most distant aeon from the Source, named Sophia(Greek for the female wise one),
fell into error. Some myths say that she tried to emanate a universe without her male
counterpart, others say that she tried to take on the mind of the Source in its entirety.
Whatever the reason, she fell out of communion with the rest of the aeons and became
trapped in the primordial material universe.
As noted earlier, Lilith has been viewed by many historians, anthropologists, and theologians as
the Kabbalistic represetnation Sophia. Lilith is Adam’s first wife. However, as Fight Club points
out, their marriage was pretty much doomed from the start. Adam’s, being the Yahweh, imposer
of order, i.e. the logos, has a masculine ego, which compels him to try to overpower/dominate
Lilith. But Lilith refused to become subservient–she demanded to be treated as equal. According
to Jewish folklore:
―Adam and Lilith immediately began to fight. She said, 'I will not lie below,' and he said,
'I will not lie beneath you, but only on top. For you are fit only to be in the bottom
position, while I am to be the superior one.' Lilith responded, 'We are equal to each other
inasmuch as we were both created from the earth.' But they would not listen to one
another. When Lilith saw this, she pronounced the Ineffable Name and flew away into
the air.‖
In Fight Club, we remember Marla and the Narator splitting up of therapy sessions every week,
and the fact that Marla can't have "the whole brain." Also, remember that Marla asks the
Narrator’s name--asks if he’s Cornelius or Rupert or the other stupid names he uses. Then she
dissapears from sight, blocked by a moving bus. The reason you never find out the Narrator's
name is because according to religious tradition, the true name of God is too sacred to utter.
Furthermore, it is important to note that it’s not always bickering between Adam and Lilith,
according to Fight Club. They do identify in one respect:
Narrator: When people think you're dying, they really, really listen to you, instead of
Marla Singer: - instead of just waiting for their turn to speak?
This is two aspects of God, talking to themselves. The Narrator loves the idea of death when
others face it, when they’re afraid they're going to die, but he's not ready to face it himself. This
is like the Sun setting, and a fear that unless he's observed by others, he'll never return. He
doesn't understand that absence makes the heart grow fonder. He's too scared to sleep because he
can't bear the thought of dying, but yet he loves the thought of others dying. Marla understands
that this world is a lie, and has no interest in it. She is wise, and can't bear living in a lie--they
don't call Sophia the "Mother of Wisdom" for nothing.
Narrator: Marla's philosophy of life is that she might die at any moment. The tragedy,
she said, was that she didn't.
So, in death, Adam and Lilith share a mutual love, fascination, and object of affection, and their
conclusion is to share it equally. Otherwise, they'll expose each other, which will ruin
everything, because then everyone will know that there is no death, and no one will care about
the Narrator at all, but Marla will never escape this world. Marla knows that without
reconciliation, without the lie, without death, there can be no truth, no escape. They don't call
Sophia the "Mother of Wisdom" for nothing.
A 50/50 split leaves neither one content, because the Narrator wants 100% and Marla wants
either 50% or that they both have 0%. Since neither one can win, her "evil" urge ensures things
change. Since the Narrator's ego is too big, and his fear of death too strong, it must be manifested
in reality so that it can be destroyed. Therefore, it is arguably Marla who creates Tyler
unconsciously by imagining the desire to reunite with the Narator. Indeed we see Tyler flash
behind the narrator once on the street, when Marla is looking at the Narrator, and immediately
after, the Narrator meets Tyler. But remember, Marla and the Narrator are cut from the same
cloth, her desires will manifest themselves as the Narrator's eventually.
This makes all the difference. In fact, according to religious texts, Sophia, aka Lilith, creates
man’s ego out of ignorance--the opposite pole of wisdom--and this male ego is represented by
the Lion-Faced Serpent in Gnostic tradition.
"And the Sophia of the Epinoia [...] brought forth. And [...] something came out of her
which was imperfect and different from her appearance, because she had created it
without her consort. (without permission or agreement from her male counterpart) And it
was dissimilar to the likeness of its mother, for it has another form. (i.e. a Male form)
"And when she saw (the consequences of) her desire, it changed into a form of a lion-
faced serpent. And its eyes were like lightning fires which flash. She cast it away from
her, outside that place, that no one of the immortal ones might see it, for she had created
it in ignorance.‖ From The Secret Book of John (long version), Nag Hammadi Library,
Codex II, trans. Frederik Wisse.[13]
Cue Tyler Durden:
―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.‖

5) From the matter that solidified out of her divine power, she created an overseer to
guide and direct the evolution of the material universe, known as the Demiurge or
Yaltabaoth (some myths say Sophia created the Demiurge accidentally, and that it was he
who created the material world).
So because of Marla, that the Narrator has Tyler. Eventually he loses interest in death by
gradually facing it more and more through death. He's found something better now, for men only
(therefore it's 100% his). Marla notices because she cheats. Why would she cheat? Because she
unconsciously knows (wisdom) that only through him can she/they be "saved." Otherwise, she
will be alienated from the aspect of herself and never die. She wants to die, but she can't without
him. Probably no coincidence that she had a stomach full of Xanax when she called.
Because she wants to ensure she has some influence on the course of events. She creates Tyler
out of her desire for the other aspect of herself, i.e. ignorance--not consciously knowing that they
are one and the same. Understand the Narrator represents the male Logos. So, he creates reality
only with "words." While Marla, communicates her Ethos, via the Narrator's subconscious, i.e.

In many ancient cultures, Lilith came to represent a demonic succubus, who had sex with young
men in their sleep, which explained nocturnal emissions, i.e. ―wet dreams.‖ Also, according to
ancient texts, while in the wilderness, Lilith meets the Archangel Samael (Tyler) and fucks his
brains out.
“My God. I haven't been fucked like that since grade school.”
We all remember this scene, but few would ever think that details as small as her position on top,
and her seeming struggle when underneath Tyler hold any significance. But in Fight Club,
everything deserves a closer look, Even if that means looking in the toilet.
The presence of many condoms in the toilet is not just a clever way to communicate the fact that
a lot of sex was just had. It’s also a way of communicating that the purpose of sex was purely for
fornication. The Jews and Christians believe that sex that is had merely for pleasure qualifies as
fornication, and is therefore destructive. Instead, when one has sex for the purpose of creation, it
is in tune with their God’s will--because God is a allegedly a creator not a destroyer. But this is
ridiculous because we know that creation is both an act of creation and destruction, without one
there is not the other. Therefore, a paired relationship exists between the two.
Silly little differences like that are good examples of why Christians ensured that Gnosticism was
buried, and Gnostics persecuted, ironic that they were once the ones being persecuted.
Creation/destruction. Because the divine feminine is associated with chaos and destruction, not
with blind order or being worshiped, Lilith is demonized, as is any man who falls for her
Blind Dragon rides Lilith the Sinful -- may she be extirpated quickly in our days, Amen!
-- And this Blind Dragon brings about the union between Samael and Lilith. And just as
the Dragon that is in the sea (Isa. 27:1) has no eyes, likewise Blind Dragon that is above,
in the likeness of a spiritual form, is without eyes, that is to say, without colors....
(Patai81:458) Samael is called the Slant Serpent, and Lilith is called the Tortuous
This is how Marla (unconsciously) communicates her desire for the destruction of the world to
the Male Ego, aka Samael, aka Tyler Durden, who is the destructive agent of mankind. The
female is the true creator because it is from her that we are born. Meanwhile, the male destroys--
according to the Gnostics, Kabbalists, and Hermetics. However, it's important to remember that
just because something is destructive, does not mean it is not good. In fact, the Gnostic tradition
holds that the destruction and chaos serves the will of God, or more accurately, the will of a vital
aspect of God, known as Sophia. Hence, it’s important to note that the character of Samael is
often attributed to Satan, a fallen angel, the accuser, the seducer, and the Angel of Death, chief
agent of destruction. But he’s really just the male ego. Cue Tyler Durden:
Samael (Hebrew: ‫( )סמאל‬also Sammael, perhaps "Venom of God") is an important
archangel in Talmudic and post-Talmudic lore, a figure who is accuser, seducer and
destroyer, and has been regarded as both good and evil. Also called Sammael and Samil,
he is considered in legend both a member of the heavenly host (with often grim and
destructive duties) and a fallen angel, equatable with Satan and the chief of the evil
spirits. One of Samael's greatest roles in Jewish lore is that of the angel of death. In this
capacity he is a fallen angel but nevertheless remains one of the Lord's servants.
6) The world of matter and its laws is governed by this Demiurge who mistakenly
believes himself to be the absolute God. This is the deity worshiped by many Muslims,
Christians, and Jews who are materialistic and not conduits for genuine compassion.
Analogous to Mahabrahma in Hinduism and some forms of Buddhism, who also
mistakenly believes himself to be the ultimate authority while the rest of the gods snigger
behind his back.

Despite being associated with Satan, Lucifer, the Angel of Death, many believe that Samael is
actually both good and evil. He has a dual nature just like everything on earth. He joyfully
ensures that God’s will is done according to plan. But, he is not the One God, he is blind to this
In the Apocryphon of John, found in the Nag Hammadi library, Samael is the third name
of the demiurge, whose other names are Yaldabaoth and Saklas. In this context, Samael
means "the blind god", the theme of blindness running throughout gnostic works. His
appearance is that of a lion-faced serpent.[1] In On the Origin of the World in the Nag
Hammadi library texts, he is also referred to as Azrael.
―[The demiurge] is blind; because of his power and his ignorance and his arrogance he
said, with his power, "It is I who am God; there is none apart from me." When he said
this, he sinned against the entirety. And this speech got up to incorruptibility; then there
was a voice that came forth from incorruptibility, saying, "You are mistaken, Samael" -
which is, "god of the blind." From The Hypostasis of the Archons or The Reality of the
Rulers, Nag Hammadi Library, Codex II, trans. Bentley Layton.[16]
Tyler Durden: Shut up! Our fathers were our models for God. If our fathers
bailed, what does that tell you about God?
Narrator: No, no, I... don't...
Tyler Durden: Listen to me! You have to consider the possibility that God does
not like you. He never wanted you. In all probability, he hates you. This is not the
worst thing that can happen.
Narrator: It isn't?
Tyler Durden: We don't need him!
“Fuck damnation, man! Fuck redemption! We are God's unwanted children? So
be it!‖
“Fuck off with your sofa units and string green stripe patterns, I say never be
complete, I say stop being perfect, I say let... lets evolve, let the chips fall where
they may.”
Never be complete? That's impossible.

7) Humans are spirits, sparks of divine light from the Pleroma, who are trapped in the
material universe and who must endeavor to free themselves and their kin from the
shackles of matter. Some versions of the creation myth say the Demiurge originally created
soulless humans out of matter, and that Sophia took pity on them and breathed sparks
from the Pleroma into them, only to have the sparks become trapped in the material
bodies. The Demiurge, and his created servants the Archons, manipulate humanity into
violence and misery to feed themselves and further their egotistical projects.
According to the biblical legend, Samaeal is put in charge of an army of evil spirits and demons
called Archons to tempt man into violence, destruction, and chaos. (Space Monkey’s anyone?).
Tyler Durden begins amassing an army. His army is comprised of Archons, or ―Space
Monkeys.‖ Why Space Monkey?
Tyler Durden: Like a monkey, ready to be shot into space. Space monkey! Ready to
sacrifice himself for the greater good.
Tyler Durden: From now on, all those with shaved heads: "Space Monkeys".
These Space Mokey’s are Archons:
―In late antiquity the term archon was used in Gnosticism to refer to several servants of
the Demiurge, the "creator god" that stood between the human race and a transcendent
God that could only be reached through gnosis. In this context they have the role of the
angels and demons of the Old Testament. They give their name to the sect called
These Archons influence mankind, tempting us into chaos AND order. Contrary to what you
might think, Tyler’s army is not entirely about chaos and anarchy. The agents of chaos follow
orders, they are part of a highly rigid and elaborate scheme with rules. Remember, you do not
talk about Project Mahem. In Project Mahem there are no names. If anyone interferes with
Project Mayhem, even him, they gotta have your balls, So, they represent both order AND chaos.
So, they’re autonomous, yet subservient to a greater cause: The will of God.
Maybe self-improvement isn't the answer.... Maybe self-destruction is the answer.
~Chuck Palahniuk, Fight Club, Chapter 6
Ironically, Tyler transforms these men into Archons by removing their egos, making them all of
one mind.
Tyler Durden: All right, if the applicant is young, tell him he's too young. Old, too old.
Fat, too fat. If the applicant then waits for three days without food, shelter, or
encouragement he may then enter and begin his training.
“Listen up, maggots. You are not special. You are not a beautiful or unique snowflake.
You're the same decaying organic matter as everything else.”
Noticeably, after Project Mayhem begins, everyone starts acting the same, thinking the same,
saying the same things. This is very similar to the Agent Smith character in the Matrix sequels (a
much more obviously Gnostic movie), when he begins to take over everyone’s form. Curiously,
both these films were released within a year of each other.
This is just a means to consolidate all the male egos into one mind, making them easier to lead
and easier ―beat‖ in the end. Notice how these men unquestioningly take everything the Narrator
says as a rule from then on out.
8) Jesus came to Earth to spread the Gospel of the True God, explaining the discrepancy
between the Old and New Testaments. Gnostic beliefs about Jesus' nature varied radically.
Some believed he was fully divine and his physical form an illusion. Some believed he was a
divine being who temporarily inhabited a human shell and was "freed" at death. With the
true knowledge of the universe he imparted, others could hope to achieve the same divine
So where is Jesus in all this you might ask? Well, Jesus is Bob. Yup, remember God created a
man in his image, and he’s portrayed as a kind hearted, feminine man who while symbolizing the
true God’s nature in kindness and love, he is no sage. In fact, eventually his brains fall out. And
simply due to the Narrator’s ignorant reference to Bob having a name, Robert Paulson, all the
Archons begin mindlessly chanting about this wonderful martyr who died serving project
Mayhem. Interestingly enough, the tears between Bob’s bitch tits that sparked this whole
scenario reflect the image of God without being God. So what Palahniuk is saying is that Jesus is
not ―God,‖ and worshiping him is a bit like worshiping a copy of a copy, or eating the menu
instead of the meal.
9) The essential nature of the universe is an illusion, and the essential task of humanity is
to both demonstrate love and compassion and strive to escape from materialism. Gnosis is
a specialized form of experiential knowledge that comes to a human being when they
recognize the universe as being fundamentally similar to a dream, hologram, or illusion.
Back to duality. Most of us think the physical material life, and order and safety, are wonderful.
But, this is an illusion and this world is considered a prison by most the Gnostics. And according
to most Gnostics, God does as well. However, God clearly doesn’t always feel this way. He only
starts feeling this way, after a while. In the middle. At that point, the world becomes the prison
and its destruction heralds truth, the revelation, liberating the divine spirit from the confines of
the flesh and materialism, and the return to the source.
It is this constant interplay between spirit and matter, unity and separation, involution and
evolution, which produces a middle region, that of consciousness, a totally new quality which
comes of the interaction between the opposite poles. Essentially it is an electrical phenomenon—
an interplay between positive and negative polarities which creates (much like a light bulb on the
physical plane) the quality of light or consciousness. This is the dynamic which propels
“On a large enough time line, the survival rate for everyone will drop to zero.”
“We are the middle children of history, man. No purpose or place. We have no great
war, or great depression. Our great war is a spiritual war. Our great depression is our
―As the Unknown God is an essential unity, so the densest matter of manifestation exhibits
characteristics of extreme differentiation and separation. This movement proceeding from the
essential unity of the original Unknown God to the vast separation of our manifested universe is
called the involutionary arc. At the end of the involutionary process, when matter is the most
dense, the process reverses and what was a vast differentiation moves back again to the original
unity which gave it life. This is called the evolutionary arc.‖
Gnostic movements, such as the Cathars or still extant Mandaeans, discussed the duality of chaos
and order, but they decided that the true nature of the divine was chaos, i.e. not governed by
duality, laws, rules, and ultimately superseding all structures. Therefore, they labeled Angels of
order as "evil" in that they were materialistic. But materialism is the ultimate illusion and caring
about it is the ultimate sin, for it creates an unwise attachment to the world. However, Palahniuk
is making a point to say that there is no such thing as ―pure evil.‖ Ironically, even the term ―pure
evil‖ is paradoxical—something that is evil is generally thought of as impure. Thus evil,
represents the will of God, just as much as ―good‖ or ―grace,‖ it’s just a different aspect of
God—the divine feminine. This dual nature of everything does not become apparent until you
look at it long enough—long enough to get so bored of it that you want to destroy it.
“I felt like destroying something beautiful.”
―I wanted to burn the Louvre. I'd do the Elgin Marbles with a sledgehammer and wipe
my ass with the Mona Lisa. This is my world, now. This is my world, my world, and
those ancient people are dead.‖ ~Chuck Palahniuk, Fight Club, Chapter 16
Duality is what governs this realm. Everything in the movie is shown to have a dual nature—on
the one hand good, and on the other bad—it all depends on how you look at it. Even the name
―Fight Club‖ is ironic. Who thinks of a club where everyone gets together and beats the piss out
of each other? God does. Why? Probably because he’s bored.
But don’t worry, it is said that it is only after we face annihilation over and over again, that we
can finally find that within us that is indestructible, i.e. the perfection, and who we really are.
What is being said here that the flesh is not evil per se, but rather, it is deceptive and untrue.
What we want now is salvation. What we want is perfection.
Or, as Tyler would put it:
“It's only after we've lost everything that we're free to do anything.
“Only after disaster can we be resurrected.”
―One minute was enough, Tyler said, a person had to work hard for it, but a minute of
perfection was worth the effort. A moment was the most you could ever expect from
perfection.‖ ~Chuck Palahniuk, Fight Club, Chapter 3
But, why? Because:
“Tomorrow will be the most beautiful day of Raymond K. Hessel's life. His breakfast will
taste better than any meal you and I have ever tasted.”
―We wanted to blast the world free of history.... picture yourself planting radishes and
seed potatoes on the fifteenth green of a forgotten golf course. You'll hunt elk through
the damp canyon forests around the ruins of Rockefeller Center, and dig clams next to the
skeleton of the Space Needle leaning at a forty-five degree angle. We'll paint the
skyscrapers with huge totem faces and goblin tikis, and every evening what's left of
mankind will retreat to empty zoos and lock itself in cages as protection against the bears
and big cats and wolves that pace and watch us from outside the cage bars at night.
~Chuck Palahniuk, Fight Club, Chapter 16
This is the human, usually masculine tendency toward destruction, brought about through Lilith,
the human Sophia. But the male, conquering ego is not meant to be demonized, but viewed for
what it is: a role we need to play every once and a while. However, eventually there comes a
time to stop playing, just as there comes a time to start playing again. Interestingly, there’s
always method to Tyler’s madness. He is telling us not to fear death. Be aware of it, it’s coming,
but you will only reach salvation if you lose all fear, if you fight, not flight.
Tyler Durden: Guys, what would you wish you'd done before you died?
Ricky: Paint a self-portrait.
The Mechanic: Build a house.
Tyler Durden: [to Narrator] And you?
Narrator: I don't know. Turn the wheel now, come on!
Tyler Durden: You have to know the answer to this question! If you died right now, how
would you feel about your life?
Narrator: I don't know, I wouldn't feel anything good about my life, is that what you
want to hear me say? Fine. Come on!
Tyler Durden: Not good enough.
This is interesting because Tyler, ―the angel of death,‖ i.e. Samael, is suddenly trying to keep the
Narrator’s consciousness focused on his own death and pain. Remember the chemical burn on
his hand? This was just a little reminder - the ―kiss of death.‖ And it occurs at the midpoint of the
Tyler Durden: Shut up! Our fathers were our models for God. If our fathers bailed, what
does that tell you about God?
Narrator: No, no, I... don't...
Tyler Durden: Listen to me! You have to consider the possibility that God does not like
you. He never wanted you. In all probability, he hates you. This is not the worst thing that
can happen.
Narrator: It isn't?
Tyler Durden: We don't need him!
Here we see Samael’s foolishness come forth. But his foolishness is also wisdom, and he is the
very catalyst God desires now:
Narrator: OK. Give me some water!
Tyler Durden: Listen, you can run water over your hand and make it worse or...
Tyler Durden: look at me... or you can use vinegar and neutralize the burn.
Narrator: Please let me have it... *Please*!
Tyler Durden: First you have to give up, first you have to *know*... not fear... *know*...
that someday you're gonna die.
This fear of suffering is what keeps us here, distracts us from consciousness of the fact that there
is no death. We’re not ready yet, so we try to protect ourselves by going to ―our cave,‖ and
finding our ―spirit animal.‖ Interestingly enough, this ―cave‖ is clearly an allegorical reference to
Socrates’ Allegory of the Cave,‖ where men are chained, ignorant, and in darkness, blind to the
sun and the light beyond the cave.
Ironically, what gives Tyler his power is the Narrator’s, i.e. God’s, attachment to safety, the
desire to avoid pain and suffering and remain ignorant, remain afraid of our imminent deaths.
But, once the Narrator becomes unafraid of death, Samael will no longer be needed. So, Tyler is
ensuring God’s plan is accomplished even though it’s going to kill him in the process.
―Sacrificing himself for the greater good,‖ whether he knows it or not.
However, if we realize that our retreat to cave is merely the result of fear, i.e.it is all in our heads,
we become ―Self Conscious‖ again and the gun passes from Tyler’s to yours. This is like
becoming lucid in a dream—becoming suddenly aware that you dictate the reality you find
yourself in.
So, we are trapped here, feeling pain and pleasure, because we are not ready to wake up yet. We
still want to cry, we still want to fuck, we still want to do all the things we’ll never be able to do
alone and limitless. But the truth being taught here is there is no death. Face it, put the gun in
your mouth with open eyes, and you’ll live. As long as we fear death, we will not wake up.
The ultimate message here is that we have to continue facing annihilation until we overcome the
attachment to that which is artificial, material, physical world. Because it is a lie. This is what
many Gnostics say. Anything that has a dual nature is of this world:
“The things you own end up owning you.”
See the duality? But even these bullshit things we hate, were once things we loved. ―I loved that
couch.‖ It’s destruction heralds our chance to reinvent ourselves and recreate that couch, only to
burn it and start all over again, over and over again.
Narrator: I had it all. Even the glass dishes with tiny bubbles and imperfections, proof
they were crafted by the honest, simple, hard-working indigenous peoples of... wherever.
But, as long as there is order, there will be chaos, one may win today and the other tomorrow.
But ultimately both will simmer to a boil and move to overtake the other, thus demonstrating the
paradox of this illusion.
The choice of soap was no coincidence either, as its dual properties are easily apparent, i.e. the
very stuff we think is disgusting and dirty (our own fat) actually cleans us. Or, alternatively, the
very thing we think needs to be kept cleaned (our flesh) is also the very thing that keeps us
unclean or impure. So, fighting itself is a great example is a ―good‖ and ―bad‖ thing. Palahniuk
highlights the good in it, by using your concept of it being bad, and turning it upside down.
Hence, it is said that artists use lies to tell the truth.
In Fight Club we see that buildings blowing up, knocking each other out, and even the priests
punching people, are both good and bad—it just depends on how you look at it.
Similarly, pleasure, thrills, and excitement they all seem good for us, but eventually they’re not.
And two paired concepts—good/evil, pleasure/pain, light/dark, male/female—are circular
relationships that govern reality, and us. However, according to Fight Club, it is peace or bliss
we are searching for, not fights, orgies, and revolution.
The ―evil‖ urge towards order has made us suppress a very important aspect of God and nature,
which is the chaotic, unruly side. So, we find order growing and infecting everything, until we
get sick of it and need a release, we need to remember the duality, embrace that which we’re
afraid of. Hence fighting.
Thus, the cleansing of this dual fractured spirit must occur before we can return to the source.
Tylers job is to get us there. But the time will come when he is no longer useful, when he is
reabsorbed into the consciousness. The final sequence is a countdown. 3, 2, 1 (one most likely
being the picture of the penis).
Here’s an interesting Tyler quote, just before the end:
“It's getting exciting now, two and one-half. Think of everything we've accomplished,
man. Out these windows, we will view the collapse of financial history. One step closer to
economic equilibrium.”
Also, many have pointed out that Marla, and the Narrator holding hands at the end makes out the
letter ―M‖ to pay tribute to Masons. Masons themselves are self professed Gnostics, hence the
letter ―G‖ in the insignia. I honestly would not be surprised to learn that Chuck Pahahnhiuk is a
Narrator: And then, something happened. I let go. Lost in oblivion. Dark and silent and
complete. I found freedom. Losing all hope was freedom.
So, what happens when the world ends? Well, some think that God starts the game all over
again. Why? Most likely because being everything and nothing, having nothing to compare
yourself to, no one to talk to, nothing to struggle against, and no death at all, gets very very
boring. So, life is a form of entertainment, i.e. God’s video game. Enjoy it, even if it kills you.
It’s supposed to!
Tyler Durden: God Damn! We just had a near-life experience, fellas.