MK Ultra in Film: Fight Club

When I first saw Fight Club back in 1999, I will never forget the way I felt when Edwards Norton’s character collapses backwards onto the hotel bed, like the blood had been drained from his entire body when the penultimate penny dropped. Tyler Durden was a figment of the Narrators imagination all along.

But that was not how I originally felt and for many years afterwards.

Begrudgingly, I went with the general perception (enforced through long discussion and debate) that The Narrator in Fight Club is considered to have some form of mental illness, one of his own creation, which ultimately makes him so ill, he becomes two people. However, I always found the concept of someone beating themselves up in a car park a bit to absurd to warrant an army of followers wanting to do the same and blow up an entire countries banking system.

Some compare the Narrator to be suffering from Borderline Personality Disorder, where Tyler Durden is a product projection of his imaginary Alpha Male persona. What I wish to show my readers in this blog is that the narrators condition is the result of brainwashing enacted through a number of staged techniques used by Tyler and Marla who are agents of the ruling classes. Tyler is very much real. The illusion he is not is only maintained by ones perception of the film.

Borderline Personality disorder is understood to be a learned pattern behaviour of adopting traits, internalizing them and subconsciously portraying a mixed version of themselves. It is something thought to happen when under extreme stress when in childhood or after suffering consistent traumas (PTSD).

Those with Borderline Personality Disorder are likely to suffer from lowered self esteem where the mind will latch onto stronger personality traits or aspects in order understand and strengthen the ego. Therefore, individuals with personality disorders do not always come across as depressed or unconfident. With the films focus on perfection advertising, it could be perceived as a direct attack of the damage it causes to our mental health, thus the narrator would be the perfect medium to convey that point.

Although this film will appeal more to the male audience, I’m sure many women will find the films attack of the metrosexual lifestyle interesting juxtaposed against the role men have in society today.

Consequently to the narrator, it is Marla who is very much an overlooked character of dominance in this film, something that might be a mixed message to women who watch it. If you go by the perceived version of Fight Club, in which the narrator is Tyler Durden, then you may be questioning just how real Marla is. She is very real in this film, even in the scenes where she, Tyler and the narrator are all in the same room.

“People who are brainwashed don’t know they are brainwashed.”

From what can be said in psychology, Borderline personality disorder can also be considered to be the result of mind control programming, or alter programming.

Mind control programming is a practice which involves splitting the personality up into “recall personalities” through introducing a series of abuse triggers or mini-traumas. It is in fact a very ancient practice and was used on individuals chosen for sacrifice or purposes considered to be for the greater good.

The narrator is subjected to a number of traumas throughout the film, with the most prominent being where the narrator looses his apartment to a fire. From what we come to learn, the narrator is thought to have started the fire himself in order to live alone out of town in an abandoned dilapidated home. We think that these are instructions the narrator has taken from his split personality whom we see throughout the film as Tyler Durden.

Alter programming is a progressive practice and the film is more or less a very good portrayal of how it is achieved.

Unlike ritual abuse which is inflicted from an early age by either parents or persons involved in cult behaviour, the members of project mayhem and the narrator are stripped of their programming of learned behaviours adopted from television brainwashing, something that all of them would have been subjected to from an early age. Therefore, Tyler is in fact someone who represents an agent of the state much like Agent Smith of the The Matrix, a film which also came out the same year as Fight Club.

Why was the Narrator targeted?

Much like Neo in the Matrix was approached by Agent Smith because of his computer hacking activities, the Narrator in Fight Club was flagged because he was exposing company secrets to others on his business flights. This is clear indicator to why the Narrator could not sleep.  Insomnia was being caused from worrying about his job and what he knows.

Tyler is meant to portray an agent who was employed to incorporate the narrator into an already pre-planned operation which was designed to deal with victims of deliberate corporate malpractice, ones which were meant to kill off portions of the population. Project Mayhem is merely a black ops operation that was formulated to devolve accountability of capitalist control through private companies.

The point where the narrator visits the doctor is where we first see Tyler whom is spliced into the film to represent the “cigarette burn” imprinted into his subconscious. It suggests that the doctor himself is the overseer key psychologist or programmer assigned to deal with the narrator. Tyler is therefore a field agent who answers to the doctor and is  chosen to be an alpha male rolemodel figure, to overpower the narrators mind.

This is why we see Tyler spliced in breifly resting on the doctors shoulders as if to represent a hand over.

The narrator tells the doctor that the insomnia is causing him pain when ignoring advice of healthly natural sleep and valerian root. So in retaliation, he advises the narrator to take up cancer help support groups in order to see what real pain is.


Alongside Tyler, Marla is assigned to work alongside and find a way into the narrators mind so to de-program what he knows and reprogram Tyler’s personality through a systematic process of gaslighting and bullying.

Marla is required in the first stages to make her presence known in the support groups after the narrator has developed an embarrassing addiction to something he is not meant to be part of. This makes for the guilt complex which Marla seeks to capitalise on.

We see the narrators awareness of Marla whom is described as a “Tourist” and “Faker” develop into a type of psychosis. Marla whom is using much of the environment to her advantage includes the therapy hypnosis sessions. This is a major weakness the narrator won’t even see coming. This key can be found in the narrators power animal, an imaginary penguin which sits in an ice cave. Eventually it is overpowered by Marla to which she can be seen telling the narrator to “Slide”.

“Slide” to represent the slip or let go can be seen portrayed at critic change points in the film, especially where the narrator and Tyler are involved in a car accident together. This scene itself is the key converge of where the narrator is abandoned. It is the direct link to the narrators job in the car firm. Tyler letting go of the wheel symbolises the will of the narrator being handed over.

After Marla and the narrator exchange numbers, it is only a matter of time that he finds himself sitting next to Tyler Durden.

The psychology used in this scene is very clever. Almost everything Tyler does is stroke the narrators ego whilst insulting him at the same time. This is personified by Tyler giving the narrator the ass whilst the air hostess gets the crotch as he walks off. This is a subconscious attack on the narrators sexuality, one which he is set to play on with Marla.

The Freudian Alter

In Freudian psychology the personality is considered to be comprised of three levels. The ID, Ego and Super-ego. If you are not familiar with this subject I recommend you read about it as this may not make sense.

The ID is typically defined in layman’s terms as the inner child, the state of mind we are in when we are born. It is where we learn and feel all things for the first time along with all the lessons that go with it. Once something is learned, it forms into the Ego that shapes our experiences into a personality that relates to a system of rules they grew up with, thus it is the core of their principles, beliefs systems and morals. The Super-Ego is what defines the Leaders from the followers and what makes our stamp on the people around us. The super ego is considered the outward projection of ourselves that is more mindless or like an auto-pilot, one which function highly in a system that relates to the foundations of the ID.

As humans there are situations where adults revert back to the ID state of learning when we are ill or experience something traumatic. Reverting to the ID can also be compared to where fear of the unknown provokes use to find the answer or solution to something that is of detriment to our well being.

In Fight Club, there are a number of scenes where the narrator is subjected to a trauma which forces him back into an ID state.

Safe House

As mentioned earlier on, the critical trauma or life changer is where the narrator loses his apartment in a fire. At this point he has no one to turn to. It is here we finding him ringing the number on Tyler’s business card gifted to him on the plane flight.

In the phone booth the narrator rings the number to find it ringing without answer. When he replaces the handset, Tyler rings back in a matter of seconds. Tyler has already been to the narrators apartment and rigged the place for destruction. So here the point of role reversal or handing over the will has begun.

Whilst the narrator is out of the way of the support groups, Marla is able to work on recruiting for Fight Club. Her reintroduction is through Tyler whom is seen turning up at her apartment after a supposed overdose. Tyler can be seen arriving at the apartment in a care-free manor. The brief conversation they have before the police turn up is more or less an introduction rather than a known acquaintance which suggests their actions afterwards are two agents which have done this drill before even though they have not met.

The way Marla and Tyler interact are the first stages of psychological abuse the narrator is subjected to. In many respects the actions mirror a combination of street theatre, gaslighting and sensitization all which are likely to cause sleep deprivation. Here we see the narrator isn’t able to sleep being keep awake by Tyler and Marla’s assumed tantric sex sessions.

Here we see another aspect of gaslighting. The scene where Marla is portrayed having sex is without the face of the lover is narrators perception of Marla making love to himself to block out Tyler’s involvement. This is where the audience is fooled into thinking that the narrator is Tyler Durden. These sensitization techniques are designed to violate the narrators masculinity. Wither Marla and Tyler were having sex at all is revealed by how quickly Tyler comes to the door when the narrator is passes one night.

The two were in fact not having sex at all, they were acting and with the door closed, they knew the narrator was unlikely to interrupt.

After the first night Marla and Tyler meet up, the narrator is shocked to find out Tyler has slept with someone who knows about his secret. Tyler imply s that the narrator wanted to fuck her, but this is meant to play on the fact he knew she was a faker and his is threats to expose her might have been valid ones.

Indirectly, this conversation mirrors the narrators previous acts of whistle-blowing and Tyler means to attack it subconsciously.

The safe house in the film is meant to represent a number of aspects. Firstly, the property is likely to be state owned, a place where Tyler to the outside world is perceived to be a local nutter/criminal who therefore has a free licence to do what he pleases within the confines of his job as a programmer. As the house is located in a remote place, it is free of intrusion as the place has no material worth to anyone or infringes on the developed standards of the suburbs.

Secondly, the house represents the take over of the narrators mind. A house so entrenched in decay is still able to function with Tyler’s knowledge, hidden right in front of the Narrator. So much so the house in tandem is renovated with Project Mayhem. The narrators mind is represented being bound to the operation within the house and is how the narrator can be seen to be different to the other members whom have been brainwashed beyond recovery. It is because somehow the narrator retained some of his old self, and its likely it is because he believed that Fight Club was his just as much as Tyler’s. This says a lot about the nature of control when the narrator comes to learn that Fight Club and Project Mayhem were around long before he and Tyler met. He saw himself above the rest but deep down, he a was ashamed to think otherwise because of his secret, one which Marla was well aware of.

Project Mayhem

Brainwashing is considered to be a factor in some religions, where the practice of mantras, communions and so on are practised in order to gain control over the inner will of a person. Some individuals are born into these religion or institutions, whilst it is more common today for people of no religion to be part of societies cultures that revolve around the mainstream media. What can be overlooked is that many cultural aspects of today’s western societies are controlled in some way. This is the root to how Tyler Durden, gains access to the narrators world so he can find a way for it to be written out.

The overall purpose of alter programming is to produce a slave whom can be controlled in a way similar to that of a computer. The control of an alter slave ultimately requires them to be kept away from any truth through the use of denial of information. They are crafted a set of belief systems that the programmer will observe their alter to follow.

Progressive isolation along with periods of stability and social integration are aspects a programmer will seek to inflict on an alter slave. They are pre-planned to enforce a sense of self for filled direction. These are a series of learning curves the programmer must enforce in order to gain a hold over certain psychological bonds the alter has to loved ones, friends and colleagues. Eliminating these bonds is often a requirement unless the person holds some influence or possesses something of use to them such as money or is in a position of power.

It is obvious in Fight Club that Project Mayhem are brainwashed through Tyler’s methods of brute force conditioning. The critical factor that these adults can be programmed so well in adulthood is that many of them have nothing to lose. Some of those from the support groups are dying, therefore their morbid realisation of their death is being replaced with an objective. This bold duty in itself would be a critical influencing factor on the others whom were not terminally ill and were just societies outcasts.

These are examples where a system is able to self organise where knowledge is limited to restricted factors. This is how project mayhem is assumed to be of the narrators own doing. The film parodies real-life advertising so well it becomes a self contained argument. At no point are Tyler or Marla seen for what they really are. The audience just accepts because it is told from the Narrators point of view.

The Symbology of Tiler

Tyler can be referred to as a Tiler, the method of covering walls, rooftops or flooring with insulating or protective sheets of stone tiles, slate etc. Tiling can also incorporate decorative art, with each tile piece containing one section of a larger picture. It can also be viewed as the code word for “cover up”.

In terms of mind control, many metaphors refer to some Masonic practices, in the respect that the mind or temple can be compared to secret knowledge they have obtained from their own practices in a range of sciences. Therefore, the mind is seen like architecture and thus a human mind can be shaped around the modern world by sets of principles particular those they use in construction which is the oldest of masonic tradition and trade.

For example, there is specific Occult knowledge which will apply the role of the Stonemason but will contrast to that of a carpenter. It depends on the material and what that material holds secret. This methodology also applies to handlers or programmers, in that each have certain skill sets when controlling or building commands.

A good Tiler must have patience, be creative and be able to work around different situations especially those whom are required to make decorative art in buildings large or small.

Of course decorative tiling is much the same a jigsaw puzzle. It could be far enough to say that Tilers are the puzzle makers. They know the pieces fit because they crafted them in the first place. Essentially, they must be good at transferring that design from paper to wall, floor or rooftop with great accuracy and precision.

The Tiler is seen as a protector. It particularly refers to the protection of the stone wall which in modern times is plastered rather than tiled. It is common in bathrooms as protection against moisture and around fireplaces. So the metaphor of a Tiler is that of someone whom is able to protect the roof, walls and foundations against the elements.

The term Stonewalling is applicable to the Tiler. In older times, Masons were protective of the methods and materials they used to build, even the way a wall was constructed. The methods were considered secrets, one which other builders wished to steal.

In terms of secret passageways and hidden rooms, Tilers were sometimes used to draft coded patterns into tile-work, which would hold clues to where they might be found in a particular place. Thus the tiler can be considered as the armour of the walls and foundations.

This is where Tiler parallels the phrase “Stonewalling” which is a psychological method of subversion that encompasses the method of denial of information. Persons whom use stonewall methods do so in order to avoid answering a direct question by reflecting that question back at the person whom asked it. Stone-walling is an abuse practice generally used by handlers on targets who are reliant on them by depriving them of truth or knowledge that would otherwise reveal what is actually happening.

The Tiler also metaphors the practice of making edible LSD tabs. LSD is usually found in liquid form but was sometimes distributed on edible paper tabs, which sometimes incorporated designs. Each tab taken from the larger sheet can be seen as a metaphor of a tile that makes up the whole picture.

In summary, Tyler Durden is meant to portray a Masonic mind control expert/ architect that is adept at dealing with large scale operations


The dilapidated house that the narrator is taken to by Tyler is a direct reference to the link between Freemasonry and Mind Architecture. It is meant to symbolise the narrators own mind, fractured from the life it once knew. It is also meant to symbolise Tyler getting into the Narrators own mind as each day is a represent of a program, designed to take complete control over his life.

Ironically, the point where the narrator finds himself confronting Tyler and the truth is in a hotel room. Tyler’s style of dress is completely changed and sporting a shaved head. The Tyler we see here is an hallucination, a manifestation of the narrators mind trying to deal with the trauma of abandonment. We later see the narrator fighting himself, or the mental projection of Tyler.

This is the narrators expression of the fights him and Tyler would have, a psychological response to muscle memory, repetitive actions of pain, exhaustion and traumas, all of which the narrator allowed to happen. Thus, Tyler’s programming and paper trails were all rabbit holes meant to lead the narrator to one place.

Personality Collapse

In the hotel scene where the narrator comes face to face with Tyler whom has manifested as an hallucination, we are witnessing a representation of an alters super ego that has collapsed straight down into the ID. This is the product of Tyler’s enforcement of ideals being striped away by denial of information. The ID state is now survivalist instinct which ironically parallels the state of fight or flight, a sub-text that is played on throughout the film.

Fight or Flight is the critical aspect to explain how Tyler is now the conflict within and is how the narrator can be seen fighting himself. It is an overlooked point that Tyler has used the narrator through every stage but he cannot work out how or to what reason.

All the narrator can follow is his own footsteps, ones which he cannot see are because of exposing company secrets.

However, we cannot overlook another critical point in the film which is where the narrator was used to gain access to money, resources and inside information from the car company he worked for. This was something other members of Project Mayhem were being used for also. This suggests that the corporate industries were not all involved in a hidden plan to destroy the banking system. If Tyler was an operative, then it might be that he was employed by the government to help destroy the business control.

MK Ultra Codex

Fight Club along with other films such as The Matrix, American Beauty, Donny Darko, Eyes Wide Shut, make up just a few pre-planned media programs that were put in place ready for the events of 9/11 and the surveillance age. They can be considered as MK Ultra codex films because some of them feature mind control methods and subversive techniques that were part of real experiments conducted by a number of nations on their own citizens after the Second World War.

The film is noted by fans for being quite a close representation to Chuck Palanuiks book of the same name, which he claims to have written to piss off the publishing industry after the rejection of his first book “Invisible Monsters”. Therefore, this makes the book as much a codex as the film. To contrast, many writers of the western world who have written horror novels seem to contain aspects of MK Ultra experiments. Stephen Kings “The Shining” is perhaps one of the best examples I can think of as it features many core principles of how the modern internet is controlled and governed today. Jack Torence a man whom is portrayed to go insane in front of his family during a period of intense isolation is also put against the concept of telepathy, something which is son is experiencing. Although still a few years off, these aspects mirror modern technologies we have today that are able to gain access to our thoughts and also give use the ability to communicate wirelessly. Yet, even in the 70s when The Shining was made, there is nothing to say these technologies were not known about then and may have already been in existence.

Fight Club in particular is a suitable boast by the film industry of just how effective MK Ultra is.

The typical format of a film storyline is thought to be seen through the eyes of the protagonist. It is in fact a trick of cinema we don’t tend to notice but yet when we watch together, we are all typically seeing the same story, sharing the experience through a combined eye of an event. We never question that eye, and never tend to ask if that eye played a part in the film because usually, it doesn’t.

This is the key to understanding Fight Club which uses cinematic trickery, one which mocks the real audience. If what Tyler says is true about how we perceive ourselves, then the eye that is watching the narrator makes of an interesting paradox. The eye telling this story is that of Tyler’s perception of himself in relation to the narrator.

Fight Club was a codex for the pre-planned “gangstalking program”, and should you watch it, you will find it is actually a film portrayal of how Gaslighting and Mind Control operate in society today.

Throughout the film we see a number of portrayals of Tyler by the narrator, showing him undertaking a number of mind altering techniques on the unsuspecting public, something of which the CIA were known for, thus leading me to conclude that Tyler and Marla are meant to portray agents of the state operating in a heavily brainwashed world.

Tyler’s philosophy can be viewed as a deprogramming of the illusion forced apon them by the world of commerce and advertising. Because this enemy is something that resides inside their minds in the form of music videos, TV trash, jingles and “shit they don’t need”, Tyler acts as a recall agent whom is able to tap into his victims rebellious nature of rejection as silently as the media is able to splice pornography into a family movie.

Another film released in 1999, Stanley Kubrick’s Eyes Wide Shut interestingly gives away big hints to “organised harassment” and “gangstalking” as a form of programming or awakening once Tom Cruise’s character Bill Harford is exposed to the “illuminati orgy” his friend tells him about. Bill’s profession of interest is that of a Doctor, one which is exploited by Victor (Stanley Pollack) to cover for his ill fated uses of narcotics on an escort, a person of which we learn to be a member of the death cult Victor is part of.

To contrast the message, Eyes Wide Shut was once quoted by Kubrick to portray the troubles one can come across in marriage as if a means to show the world on the other side.

Ultimately, it portrays a world were the “other-side” is questioned to being a force for good or bad as the victims in the film are clear seen to be in a position of slavery yet, the Bill Harford is spared with a warning. That was however only through the act of a sacrifice committed on behalf of one of the slaves that Bill knew of. To contrast once more, Kubrick’s A Clockwork Orange is clearly one of 13 segments as the Slaves found within the Occult circle of Eyes Wide Shut are clearly meant to portray women who are brainwashed like Alex. This furthers my understanding, that Alex from A Clockwork Orange was already a brainwashed alter before he was commuted to have treatment. Like Fight Club, the narrator was merely a pawn used amongst other white collar slaves to do the dirty work.

Of Kubrick’s 13 films, one should have to be considered a priest or priestess within the coven. 2001: A Space Odyssey perhaps. Two years after Eyes Wide Shut was released the world was witness to the fall of the World Trade Centre Buildings. If anything the dark stone block can tell us, is that it’s rectangular shape like that of a widescreen TV was to hold the future.


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