Fight Club centers on the solitary life of a lonely individual. Our hero is played by Edward Norton. His job is mundane, and his life outside of work is little better. His only "thing" is the stuff he buys for his apartment: designer items he selects with the greatest of care. His humdrum existence is interupted by the charismatic "Tyler."
Tyler is a sado-masochistic anarchist plotting to destroy civilization. He has vision and the energy to carry it out. People respond to him. People feed off of his passion, not the least of which is our hero who has found an inspiration to escape his monotony.
Together, the pair builds an army of disenfranchised young men looking for something greater than themselves. Eventually, as the plot unfolds we find that our hero and Tyler are actually one and the same person. It is a multiple-personality disorder to the extreme.
One thing that fascinates me about this movie is that the main character (played by Edward Norton, left) is so deeply divided. He is, at the same time, in love with all of his material possessions and, on a deeper level, desiring to blow it all up. He cannot, of course, blow it up, but this desire to escape his routine existence and participate in something bigger is so great that it actually causes a rift in his psyche and creates another personality. This personality can get rid of his stuff and pull him into something greater. But this is someone outside of himself, even if the person is a creation out of our hero's own imagination.
Is it too great of a stretch to make a comparison with our post-modern generation? We were born as consumers and have been programmed to respond to the marketing campaigns all bidding for our dollars. And we love our stuff: ipods, laptops, cars, clothes, movies, music. It's all great. But for all its greatness it locks us in. We, like the Fight Club character, become servants of our stuff, at least to some degree. Our interests become split. Perhaps we could even say that in our day people display the same personality split: Hanging on to our material possessions and the desire for something bigger and greater than ourselves.
So, in some sense today's person seems spiritually schitzophrenic: a post(al) modern character on the brink of utter destruction. Desiring to completely demolish his own civilization and yet unable to do so until someone from the outside intervenes. There is a cost to this destruction. And the Edward Norton character is unable to pay the cost. Only "Tyler" can make this happen.
I wonder if we are ready to pay the cost, spiritually. We can dabble in spirituality - meditation, reading, charitable giving, even prayer - but have we truly reached out for something greater to the degree that we have sacrificed everything.
The Fight Club character eventually must demolish his own house with all of the things he has so carefully selected. He must, in the end, completely disconnect from his previous life in order to achieve something greater. He must sacrifice.
The Kingdom is like that. Only those who have completely blown up their "stuff" can truly taste it. The "stuff" is whatever our old self holds on to. Whatever it is that we are depending upon for our survival. Whatever our crutch is that we lean on to get through the monotony and apathy of our lives. And that isn't easy, because it's a matter of survival. We must, quite literally, risk our lives. Do we need a "Tyler"? Someone from the outside? A Savior, perhaps?
The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field.
Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls. When he found one of great value, he went away and sold everything he had and bought it. (Matthew 13)