If you’ve ever read the 1996 novel Fight Club or the 1999 film based on it starring Edward Norton, Brad Pitt and Helena Bonham Carter you must have come across these very lines spoken by Tyler Durden:
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.
The fact is that Chuck Palahniuk, the writer was right, we are the middle children of history devoid a purpose of life. Slowly and quite steadily I’ve realised that my life, lives of those around me and those before me have all been for nothing so far. We chase after that best smartphone or that fastest car or that house near Malibu because we were raised watching that on the telly. All of us envision ourselves wearing suits and running some big multinational corporation, answering phone calls with that panache and earning money, tonnes of it. Point is our lives are nothing but fools’ errands. When we say we are going to work hard, what do we dedicate our so-called hard work to? Money, getting rich and famous and driving in the back seat of that sleek sedan while our driver does the heavy lifting. It’s truly like that and Chuck was right, he was totally right.
What he didn’t expect was that the situation was going to get worse with the advent of the internet. Now our lives which lacked any purpose except earning money have become devoid of that sole, wretched purpose too. There is no war, no depression, no epidemics; there is nothing and nobody cares about money any more, even if you are poor and you manage to get a few hundreds of followers on Instagram, you are a celebrity and your life is earned now. You have done it. It’s all dumb really.
Why do we study? We hardly care about anything that’s being taught, right? I mean I can spend my whole life without knowing that this laptop, this very laptop has a semiconducting material inside it. But why did I study it? I didn’t care much about it. I studied it because of the template. The template of studying a particular curriculum that will get me to the next step, that is, college. I chose a field I was interested in, architecture but how much am I interested in it? The question lies in the extent of the interest. I kind of like architecture so my situation is still less suspicious but I know people who just took fields that grab them the most career opportunities. Then from there it’s a job and paying the bills and saving enough to actually enjoy your retirement. Problem is out of the millions who try their hand at new things almost all fail, few start and get perished and one very lucky guy who had everything going good for him becomes yet another star. All the others, well they are glad they have enough funds and pensions to end their lives calmly. So, to try your hand at earning the money and becoming the star there are about 3-4 templates that exist today. The most recent, do what you love is more of a Facebook status update after you get fired and less of a path that will guarantee you that thing you’ve wanted since you were little.
That is why we get excited on the thoughts of an alien invasion or an evil organisation tracking all our data or superheroes or some crazy science experiment gone wrong or a planet colliding with ours or the world ending because all of that gives us a purpose, no matter how silly, yet still better than our boring, miserable lives that has its templates in place. It’s all a matter of what, when and how that brings those petty differences in a millionaire and a poor hobo.
I am really surprised that something Tyler Durden, a fictional character said a decade back still holds true and will keep getting more right on spot as time moves forward. We’ll work our asses off for that because that’s what everyone before us has done since about half a century. I am not cribbing or anything but it’s all really absurd – All we want to do is earn a lot of money and die. That’s it. That’s our biggest goal in life. All of us. It’s sad, really.