“We’re a generation of men raised by women. I’m wondering if another woman is really the answer we need. ” – Tyler Durden
For today’s post, I want to revisit a film that many would propose as a “modern classic,” Fight Club. I won’t deny it, this film has had a pretty profound cultural impact and has reverberated with a generation of men. Having seen it while still very blue pill and having seen it again with a red pill lens, it has become vividly clear why this film strikes such a cord: It’s the battle inside every man that we all face of Alpha vs. Beta.
For those who haven’t seen it, here’s a brief summary (you can read the full summary here): Our main protagonist is the nameless Narrator, played by Edward Norton. He’s you’re average corporate drone, working long days at a job he loathes with not much else happening in his life. One day on a plane flight he meets very eccentric man full of bravado, Tyler Durden, played by Brad Pitt. They quickly become friends and create a Fight Club, a place for fellow men like the Narrator to release their aggression and frustration with the world in a brutal and physical way. As the club membership grows and it evolves into a revolutionary group aimed at curing the evils of consumerism in the world. The Narrator tries to take a larger role, and when the leader Tyler disappears, he goes on a hunt to find him. In that process, he discovers that Tyler Durden is actually a split personality of himself. He eventually reconciles this and is able to “kill” Tyler by shooting himself, while watching Tyler’s master plan to blow up several buildings unfold.
Now, the narrator is left as a nameless character, because he is supposed to represent average, every-day-man. In actuality, the Narrator is the embodiment of the Beta and Tyler Durden is very clearly the Alpha. The Narrator is an insomniac, haunted by the depression of his everyday life. He seeks solace in support groups by remaining silent and letting others assume he is going through the same affliction as them. While doing this, he meets a woman named Marla, who he doesn’t know how to interact with. She’s an imposter at the support groups like him, but he is attracted to her yet afraid of being outed by her at the same time. For those of you with even a hint of red pill awareness, the Narrator screams “beta” in every way. He has no frame, no direction or control of his life, and has to be pushed to extremes in order to act. He even looks physically weak and fragile, and his need for validation from others is fully exposed with the support groups.
Now, let’s take a look at Tyler Durden, who at first glance screams “alpha.” Tyler is suave, dressed in a manner that shows care but also oozes the “rock star panty dropper” vibe. Physically, he is the idealized male body that is tone, athletic, and shredded (which is ironic that at one point when he mocks a designer ad featuring a perfect male physique like his and commenting “Is that what a real man is supposed to look like?”). He’s a natural leader, as he forms the fight club and evolves it into Project Mayhem and he touts his philosophy of personal freedom, anarchy, and dismantling the establishment. Tyler is that natural “alpha” that the beta Narrator wishes he could be. Brash, handsome, perfect figure and has total control over his life. Tyler even becomes sexually intimate with Marla, the girl the Narrator could only dream about being sexual with (literally and metaphorically).
Now, in the video above, Patrice O’Neal taps into something of note. While he sees it as a “The Holy Grail of something white,” I’d say he’s on point, but replace “white” with “beta.” Fight Club is the Holy Grail for Betas. The story is about a beta guy who’s inner alpha comes bursting through. It’s the alpha side that wants total freedom – which is what true power is. The freedom to do as you desire and have total control over your life (for an excellent read on the subject, checkout this article). Tyler is a beta’s idealized self, the true alpha that does what he wishes, beds the women he desires and is the man other men aspire to be and follow into battle.
“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. Advertising has us chasing cars and clothes, working jobs we hate so we can buy shit we don’t need. We’re the middle children of history, man. No purpose or place. We have no Great War. No Great Depression. Our Great War’s 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. And we’re slowly learning that fact. And we’re very, very pissed off.” – Tyler Durden
Re-framing this statement in the context of blue pill and red pill, it reads much like this:
Man, I see in fight club the strongest and smartest men who’ve ever lived. Men of worth and value to themselves and to society.
I see all this potential, and I see squandering. Men are not actualizing themselves, they are subverting themselves to their own eventual demise.
God damn it, an entire generation pumping gas, waiting tables; slaves with white collars. Advertising has us chasing cars and clothes, working jobs we hate so we can buy shit we don’t need. We’re enslaving ourselves to our blue pill idealizations, that by doing so we’re “doing our job” even though it’s not what we desire in our natural state. We’re relegating ourselves to be providers so we can been leeched dry until we have nothing left.
We’re the middle children of history, man. No purpose or place. We have no Great War. No Great Depression. Our Great War’s a spiritual war… our Great Depression is our lives. The modern, more feminized world is constantly battling our masculinity. We’ve been stripped of it and as such striped of purpose. With the new equalist standard we are aimless and have become depressed. The blue pill is a raw deal that benefits everyone but us.
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. And we’re slowly learning that fact. And we’re very, very pissed off. We see the harsh blue pill truths for what they are, as they have been made vividly apparent to us, and now we are displaying our justified outrage. The snowflakes have melted releasing the flood.
And this is a large reasoning for the MGTOW (Men Going Their Own Way) movement as well as the climbing suicide rate for men (not to mention the fact that 80% of all suicides are committed by men). For the blue pill beta, the world is a cruel place that promised itself to them and then slowly revealed itself to be draining them. That is why this story has the cultural impact it does, it’s very blunt and real about blue pill betas coming to terms with the harsh truths about the world.
And the ultimate climax, which I feel sells some false hope, is that in the end the Narrator is able to kill Tyler Durden, but is left to inherit Durden’s empire. The message is that the alpha side is wild, dangerous and destructive, but beta side can eventually subdue, confront and kill the alpha side. The alpha can do the hard work and make all things desired happen, but the false hope is that the blue pill beta side can still remain dominant and come out on top. It’s the same irony as the “Is that what a real man is supposed to look like?” scene, in which we have the idealized male form degraded by an idealized male to make the betas feel better about themselves. The same irony exists with the climax, where the beta side realizes that everything it wanted was achieved by the dominant alpha, but in the end the beta side won out because it was the “dominant” personality. The false hope here is that a frustrated blue pill beta can utilize his alpha to get where he wants to be and then stay true to his “real self” by killing the alpha side when things go too far.
From a red pill perspective, a lot of men can understand the blue pill beta side of things, as many have come from that paradigm and fully understand just how powerful that idea can be. But where the blue pill sees a heroic story and captures their existence, one can only hope that if they do embrace their inner alpha that some red pill awareness will factor in as a discipline that alpha-ness, which is sourced in bitterness and disillusionment. Imagine how different this story would be if the Narrator had more actualized red pill awareness instead of a blue pill frame to lash out from? That would be a movie I’d love to see.