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Quotations from Fight Club
by Chuck Palahniuk, 1996


“When the fight begins within
himself, a man's worth something.”
- Robert Browning, 1855 -



On a large enough time line, the survival rate for everyone will drop to zero.  ~Chuck Palahniuk, Fight Club, Chapter 2


This was freedom.  Losing all hope was freedom.  ~Chuck Palahniuk, Fight Club, Chapter 2


This is your life, and it's ending one minute at a time.  ~Chuck Palahniuk, Fight Club, Chapter 3


If I could wake up in a different place, at a different time, could I wake up as a different person?  ~Chuck Palahniuk, Fight Club, Chapter 3


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


And I wasn't the only slave to my nesting instinct.  The people I know who used to sit in the bathroom with pornography, now they sit in the bathroom with their IKEA furniture catalogue.  ~Chuck Palahniuk, Fight Club, Chapter 5


You buy furniture.  You tell yourself, this is the last sofa I will ever need in my life.  Buy the sofa, then for a couple years you're satisfied that no matter what goes wrong, at least you've got your sofa issue handled.  Then the right set of dishes.  Then the perfect bed.  The drapes.  The rug.  Then you're trapped in your lovely nest, and the things you used to own, now they own you.  ~Chuck Palahniuk, Fight Club, Chapter 5


"If you don't know what you want," the doorman said, "you end up with a lot you don't."  ~Chuck Palahniuk, Fight Club, Chapter 5


May I never be complete.  May I never be content.  May I never be perfect.  Deliver me, Tyler, from being perfect and complete.  ~Chuck Palahniuk, Fight Club, Chapter 5


I just don't want to die without a few scars.  ~Chuck Palahniuk, Fight Club, Chapter 6


After a night in fight club, everything in the real world gets the volume turned down.  Nothing can piss you off.  Your word is law, and if other people break that law or question you, even that doesn't piss you off.  ~Chuck Palahniuk, Fight Club, Chapter 6


It used to be enough that when I came home angry and knowing that my life wasn't toeing my five-year plan, I could clean my condominium or detail my car.  Someday I'd be dead without a scar and there would be a really nice condo and car.  ~Chuck Palahniuk, Fight Club, Chapter 6


Maybe self-improvement isn't the answer.... Maybe self-destruction is the answer.  ~Chuck Palahniuk, Fight Club, Chapter 6


The gyms you go to are crowded with guys trying to look like men, as if being a man means looking the way a sculptor or an art director says.  ~Chuck Palahniuk, Fight Club, Chapter 6


You aren't alive anywhere like you're alive at fight club.... Fight club isn't about winning or losing fights.  Fight club isn't about words.  You see a guy come to fight club for the first time, and his ass is a loaf of white bread.  You see this same guy here six months later, and he looks carved out of wood.  This guy trusts himself to handle anything.  There's grunting and noise at fight club like at the gym, but fight club isn't about looking good.  There's hysterical shouting in tongues like at church, and when you wake up Sunday afternoon you feel saved.  ~Chuck Palahniuk, Fight Club, Chapter 6


At the time, my life just seemed too complete, and maybe we have to break everything to make something better out of ourselves.  ~Chuck Palahniuk, Fight Club, Chapter 6


Nothing was solved when the fight was over, but nothing mattered.  ~Chuck Palahniuk, Fight Club, Chapter 6


"It's only after you've lost everything," Tyler says, "that you're free to do anything."  ~Chuck Palahniuk, Fight Club, Chapter 8


By this time next week, each guy on the Assault Committee has to pick a fight where he won't come out a hero.  And not in fight club.  This is harder than it sounds.  A man on the street will do anything not to fight.  The idea is to take some Joe on the street who's never been in a fight and recruit him.  Let him experience winning for the first time in his life.  Get him to explode.  Give him permission to beat the crap out of you.  You can take it.  If you win, you screwed up.  "What we have to do, people," Tyler told the committee, "is remind these guys what kind of power they still have."  ~Chuck Palahniuk, Fight Club, Chapter 16


For thousands of years, human beings had screwed up and trashed and crapped on this planet, and now history expected me to clean up after everyone.  I have to wash out and flatten my soup cans.  And account for every drop of used motor oil.  And I have to foot the bill for nuclear waste and buried gasoline tanks and landfilled toxic sludge dumped a generation before I was born.  ~Chuck Palahniuk, Fight Club, Chapter 16


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


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


"Recycling and speed limits are bullshit," Tyler said.  "They're like someone who quits smoking on his deathbed."  ~Chuck Palahniuk, Fight Club, Chapter 16


"Imagine," Tyler said, "stalking elk past department store windows and stinking racks of beautiful rotting dresses and tuxedos on hangers; you'll wear leather clothes that will last you the rest of your life, and you'll climb the wrist-thick kudzu vines that wrap the Sears Tower.  Jack and the beanstalk, you'll climb up through the dripping forest canopy and the air will be so clean you'll see tiny figures pounding corn and laying strips of venison to dry in the empty car pool lane of an abandoned superhighway stretching eight-lanes-wide and August-hot for a thousand miles."  ~Chuck Palahniuk, Fight Club, Chapter 16


You are not a beautiful and unique snowflake.  You are the same decaying organic matter as everyone else, and we are all part of the same compost pile.  ~Chuck Palahniuk, Fight Club, Chapter 17


...you're not how much money you've got in the bank.  You're not your job.  You're not your family, and you're not who you tell yourself.... You're not your name.... You're not your problems.... You're not your age.... You are not your hopes.  ~Chuck Palahniuk, Fight Club, Chapter 18


I see the strongest and the smartest men who have ever lived... and these men are pumping gas and waiting tables.  ~Chuck Palahniuk, Fight Club, Chapter 19


All a gun does is focus an explosion in one direction.  You have a class of young strong men and women, and they want to give their lives to something.  Advertising has these people chasing cars and clothes they don't need.  Generations have been working in jobs they hate, just so they can buy what they don't really need.  ~Chuck Palahniuk, Fight Club, Chapter 19


We don't have a great war in our generation, or a great depression, but we do, we have a great war of the spirit.  We have a great revolution against the culture.  The great depression is our lives.  We have a spiritual depression.  ~Chuck Palahniuk, Fight Club, Chapter 19


We have to show these men and women freedom by enslaving them, and show them courage by frightening them.  ~Chuck Palahniuk, Fight Club, Chapter 19


I am the all-singing, all-dancing crap of this world.... I am the toxic waste by-product of God's creation.  ~Chuck Palahniuk, Fight Club, Chapter 23


...when deep-space exploitation ramps up, it will probably be the megatonic corporations that discover all the new planets and map them.  The IBM Stellar Sphere.  The Philip Morris Galaxy.  Planet Denny's.  Every planet will take on the corporate identity of whoever rapes it first.  Budweiser World.  ~Chuck Palahniuk, Fight Club, Chapter 23


Only in death are we no longer part of Project Mayhem.  ~Chuck Palahniuk, Fight Club, Chapter 28


I've met God across his long walnut desk with his diplomas hanging on the wall behind him, and God asks me, "Why?"  Why did I cause so much pain?  Didn't I realize that each of us is a sacred, unique snowflake of special unique specialness?  Can't I see how we're all manifestations of love?  I look at God behind his desk, taking notes on a pad, but God's got this all wrong.  We are not special.  We are not crap or trash, either.  We just are.  We just are, and what happens just happens.  And God says, "No, that's not right."  Yeah.  Well.  Whatever.  You can't teach God anything.  ~Chuck Palahniuk, Fight Club, Chapter 30



Quotations from the movie Fight Club, 1999
screenplay by Jim Uhls, directed by David Fincher



When you have insomnia, you're never really asleep, and you're never really awake.  ~Fight Club movie, screenplay by Jim Uhls, directed by David Fincher, novel by Chuck Palahniuk


The things you own end up owning you.  It's only after you lose everything that you're free to do anything.  ~Fight Club movie, screenplay by Jim Uhls, directed by David Fincher, novel by Chuck Palahniuk


Fuck Martha Stewart.  Martha's polishing the brass on the Titanic; it's all going down, man.  ~Fight Club movie, screenplay by Jim Uhls, directed by David Fincher, novel by Chuck Palahniuk


I say never be complete.  I say stop being perfect.  I say let's evolve.  Let the chips fall where they may.  ~Fight Club movie, screenplay by Jim Uhls, directed by David Fincher, novel by Chuck Palahniuk


How much can you know about yourself if you've never been in a fight?  ~Fight Club movie, screenplay by Jim Uhls, directed by David Fincher, novel by Chuck Palahniuk


Advertising has us chasing cars and clothes, working jobs we hate so we can buy shit we don't need.  ~Fight Club movie, screenplay by Jim Uhls, directed by David Fincher, novel by Chuck Palahniuk


We're the middle children of history.... no purpose or place.  We have no Great War, no Great Depression.  Our great war is a spiritual war.  Our great depression is our lives.  ~Fight Club movie, screenplay by Jim Uhls, directed by David Fincher, novel by Chuck Palahniuk


You're not your job.  You're not how much money you have in the bank.  You're not the car you drive.  You're not the contents of your wallet.  You're not your fucking khakis.  You're the all-singing, all-dancing crap of the world.  ~Fight Club movie, screenplay by Jim Uhls, directed by David Fincher, novel by Chuck Palahniuk


No fear.  No distractions.  The ability to let that which does not matter truly slide.  ~Fight Club movie, screenplay by Jim Uhls, directed by David Fincher, novel by Chuck Palahniuk



Quotations about Fight Club


I read the book and thought, How do you make a movie out of this?  It seemed kind of like The Graduate, a seminal coming of age for people who are coming of age in their 30s instead of their late teens or early 20s.  In our society, kids are much more sophisticated at an earlier age and much less emotionally capable at a later age.  Those two things are sort of moving against each other.  ~David Fincher, director of Fight Club, interview with Gavin Smith, "Inside Out," Film Comment, Sep/Oct 1999


[The movie The Graduate] was talking about that moment in time when you have this world of possibilities, all these expectations, and you don't know who it is you're supposed to be.  And you choose this one path, Mrs. Robinson, and it turns out to be bleak, but it's part of your initiation, your trial by fire.  And then, by choosing the wrong path, you find your way onto the right path, but you've created this mess.  Fight Club is the Nineties inverse of that:  a guy who does not have a world of possibilities in front of him, he has no possibilities, he literally cannot imagine a way to change his life.  ~David Fincher, director of Fight Club, interview with Gavin Smith, "Inside Out," Film Comment, Sep/Oct 1999


We're designed to be hunters and we're in a society of shopping.  There's nothing to kill anymore, there's nothing to fight, nothing to overcome, nothing to explore.  In that societal emasculation this everyman is created.  ~David Fincher, director of Fight Club, interview with Gavin Smith, "Inside Out," Film Comment, Sep/Oct 1999  (Thanks, sexbratsrocknroll!)



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