Buddhism, the study of Buddha's principles, has influenced everything in our lives from our beliefs and customs to our music, TV, and pop culture in general. With such widespread influence, it's easy to understand why two of the most popular movies of today are a parallel of the core beliefs of Buddhists. Both "Fight Club" and "The Matrix" are representations of Buddhism in our modern world.
"Fight Club" reflects the Buddhist principles on a self-based level. It features beliefs such as death of self, avoidance of sensual pleasures, and minimalism. Death of Self is easily the overbearing theme in "Fight Club". Quotes such as "Only after disaster can we be resurrected. It's only after you've lost everything that you're free to do anything. Nothing is static, everything is evolving. Everything is falling apart..." detail the philosophy echoed by Buddhist Chogyam Trungpa, "The attainment of Nirvana (enlightenment) from the ego's standpoint is extreme death, the death of self, the death of 'me' and 'mine,' the death of the watcher. It is the ultimate and final disappointment."
Another philosophy detailed in "Fight Club" is that of being misled by sensual pleasures. Ed Norton says,
"You are not a beautiful and unique snowflake. You are the same decaying organic matter as everything else...You are not your bank account. You are not the clothes the wear. You are not the contents of your wallet..."
Jacobus agrees with this sentiment, writing,
"...watch out for these enemies which cause so much evil, and you should always control them, i.e., your seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting, and touching."
Finally, "Fight Club" and Buddhism parallel in the belief that materialism is a bond which must be broken for enlightenment to be achieved. "Fight Club" emphasizes this by saying, "You have to give up. You have to realize that someday you will die. Until you know this, you are useless." Jacobus, quite frank, writes, "...do not hanker after the glittering objects of this world!" It is clear to see that "Fight Club" was written to bring the...