The movie and book both focus on existentialism- which is the philosophy that an individual must make meaning from a chaotic and empty universe- and this individual is often the object of suffering. Throughout the movie, there are scenes where there is clear cut evidence of this. For instance, Tyler claims, “Only after disaster can we be resurrected” . Another piece of evidence of existentialism comes when Tyler states, “It’s only after we’ve lost everything that we are free to do anything.” At one point, Tyler inflicts a chemical burn onto Jack, which is a lesson that tries to explain the sole fact that you will never get anywhere in life until hitting rock bottom. Existentialism defines the need for one to make decisions to better one’s life- and that a person is who they are determined to be. Clearly, the movie focuses on this philosophy throughout the entire movie- as several main themes and subtexts are based from it.
Sigmund Freud is a notable psychologist that suggested the existence of the id, ego, and superego. The id is essentially the driving force that demands pleasure constantly . The ego is the checks and balances of the id, as it waits for a safe or healthy moment for pleasure to be obtained. Finally, the superego is the moral standard that suppresses the id. Jack has a very interesting system of morals in Freud’s terms. Jack is first satisfied with the common, bland life of having a normal job and condo. His superego is clearly doing a great job. However, it may be functioning all to well- as the id apparently creates Tyler Durden in an attempt to overcome its suppressor. While the id is successful in achieving its purpose, the ego is still operational. While it is hard to see, as Tyler and Jack are exact opposites- the ego acts as a mediator between the two in the end of the conflict. As Jack and Tyler become equally aware of each other, the ego can claim responsibility of bringing a sense of peace to the situation.
Another psychologist, Abraham Maslow, suggested the idea of self-actualization. This is the idea that all humans try to make the most of their abilities, and to strive towards success to the fullest ability . Individuals who achieve such self-actualization are considered to be creative, embrace facts rather than avoid them, spontaneous, appreciate life, like to solve puzzles, and of course have morals. Essentially, this is the act of achieving the peak of one’s potential. Interestingly, there is a paradox within Fight Club concerning this subject. Tyler claims that men who wish to achieve freedom from a controlling father-figure will only be self-actualized once they have children and become fathers themselves. Essentially, the only way to self-actualization in this statement is to become what you are trying to defy. However, the narrator eliminates Tyler through shooting himself- and achieves self-actualization in effect.
Also, there is the matter of gender identity confusion to take into effect. Although Jack shouldn’t be considered feminine, there is a definite difference between Jack and Tyler in regards to masculinity. For instance, Jack collects furniture for a hobby. This is far from masculine, and far from the gender identity of Tyler. It would seem that the gender identity confusion adds to the correct balance of id and superego  – and ultimately helps Jack achieve things he otherwise could not. For instance, Jack gets into his first fight, albeit with himself. He defies his boss, in an act of rebellion against conformity. He also finds an attractive woman to date off and on, depending on the state of his identity. This lack of masculinity could be attributed to Jack’s lack of a father figure in early childhood- but either way, it ends up causing catastrophic consequences in his personality.
I am Jack’s undying intrigue .. This film came from a novel, and I implore you to read this one, because, as ever, it is better than the film, but!.. The novel is really well adapted by Jim Uhls and, arguably, stands alone as its own creation separate from the book (in my opinion).. The film gives a broad audience, each, something that they can relate to within the narrative: Feeling unimportant in society, Scared of what people think about you, the wish that you could change yourself and your attitudes drastically, unfulfilled, empty, depressed and, most identifiable, debt.. A crisis of the ‘self’.. A battle of conflicting ideologies and whats right and whats wrong.. Something that goes on within all of us on some level, no matter how conscious of it we are or not.. The film and book, respectively, play out these personal battles with oneself through a very well crafted plot and narrative framework through the issue of ‘split personalities’
“Critique of Fight Club (1999)” StudyMode.com. 01 2013. 2013. 01 2013 .