Book Report: Excerpt

I found the passage below buried away in my notes, and it makes me eager to return to Chuck Palahniuk books.  I tend to shy away from something once it becomes so popular that the most completely shallow people are pretending to find meaning in something I know they don’t understand.  Now I feel a need to return to his words and enjoy his cynicism.  The truth is, I’m always thinking the things I shouldn’t think, hating the people I’m not supposed to hate and musing about what’s real in this world and coming to the conclusion that nothing is real and nothing is what we believe.  Some of us just are not as bold as Chuck, fearless in their honesty.


“The way bubbles form in a pan of water before it comes to a boil, these new insights just appear. Around the ninetieth floor, every thought is an epiphany. Paradigms are dissolving left and right. Everything ordinary turns into a powerful metaphor. The deeper meaning of everything is right there in your face. And it’s all so significant. It’s all so deep. So real.

Everything the agent’s been telling me makes perfect sense. For instance, if Jesus Christ had died in prison, with no one watching and with no one there to mourn or torture him, would we be saved? With all due respect. According to the agent, the biggest factor that makes you a saint is the amount of press coverage you get.

The key to salvation is how much attention you get. How high a profile you get. Your audience share. Your exposure. Your name recognition. Your press following. The buzz.

The skeleton is just a way to keep your tissue off the floor. Your sweat is just a way to keep you cool. The revelations come at you from every direction. Around the one hundred and fifth floor, you can’t believe you’re the slave to this body, this big baby. You have to keep it fed and put it to bed and take it to the bathroom. You can’t believe we haven’t invented something better. Something not so needy. Not so time-consuming.

You realize that people take drugs because it’s the only real personal adventure left to them in their time-constrained, law-and-order, property-lined world. It’s only in drugs or death we’ll see anything new, and death is just too controlling. You realize that there’s no point in doing anything if nobody’s watching. You wonder, if there had been a low turnout at the crucifixion, would they have rescheduled?

You realize that our mistrust of the future makes it hard to give up the past. We can’t give up our concept of who we were.

Since change is constant, you wonder if people crave death because it’s the only way they can get anything really finished.”

From the book “Survivor” by Chuck Palahniuk


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