Did he mean "giving up the hope to live"? For most normal people, giving up is like being weak. People say "never give up", so I can't figure out why Tyler says "first you have to give up" and what he really meant by that. Detailed explanation needed, so I can understand it better.

TYLER: First you have to give up, first you have to know, not fear - know that some day you're gonna die.

  • 1
    I've cleaned up the spelling and grammar for you, Tejas. I'm guessing you're not a native English speaker? In future, you may want to run your posts through a spell-checker or get them proof-read. I haven't watched the film, so I can't say, but I know enough about Fight Club to be able to point out that Tyler Durden is not "normal".
    – F1Krazy
    Commented May 19, 2019 at 11:51
  • First you have to give up [the idea that you're going to live forever].
    – Charles
    Commented May 19, 2019 at 22:58

2 Answers 2


Both in and out of universe, one of the final phases of the hero’s journey, before the hero can return with the magic elixir to save their people, they have to pass through the deepest darkness and be willing to sacrifice themselves in order to save themselves. There’s a common mythology among the cultures of the world that there must be pain and sacrifice before redemption is possible. That’s what Tyler is talking about in that scene.

It’s also a concept in some areas of life. Addicts might talk about “having to hit rock bottom” before they are able to understand and accept that they are addicts and need to get sober. Sometimes military training is described as breaking the soldiers down mentally and physically so they can be built up again.

The idea can be boiled down to: you have to kill or destroy your old self before you can become your new self. Note that is exactly what happens at the end of Fight Club.


An attempt of translation, He is telling Edward Norton's character to let go of his fears, and to not be in his head all the time because eventually everyone’s going to die.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .