By now, most people should know of the Paper Street Soap Factory, and its sole proprietor, Tyler Durden. Mr. Durden wants to help people: he wants people to be clean, and he wants them to be free. The former he achieves by selling them soap, the latter by helping them hit ‘rock bottom’ through the Buddhist methodologies of surrendering one’s earthly possessions and meditating. Whilst his meditative methods are more anarchistic, and active than that of a classical Buddhist, releasing one’s burden is the goal.
How does this relate to Iago? Iago, best pals with Othello (as you well know), also wants to liberate Othello of his worldly possessions, wife and all, and the harder he can help Othello hit rock bottom the better, and with the most public audience he can find, so that Othello’s liberation — his becoming — can be witnessed. Iago, the good lad, is even willing to take on Othello’s burden for him! Spoiler, but all is not what it seems: Iago wants Othello’s burden for himself, for his own aggrandisement: he is slightly less Buddhist.
Mr. Durden does require commitment: it is not enough to show up at his soap factory and expect to come out sudsy and clean. Iago, by the same measure, requires commitment: like any good engineer, he creates a path for energy to flow; where you take that energy is entirely up to you. Does Othello have to fall so far from grace to see his error? Or does he just have to divorce himself from his paranoia and insecurity to grow strong?
From this, one can learn a lesson: not everyone who wants to break you down has ill intent at heart, although not everyone wants to build up again afterwards.
Who will you be: Ikea-addicted, Holden Caulfield, being slowly rendered into Gollum? The muscled fiend that is Tyler Durden, growing more tanned and toned every day? The personality demolition expert of Iago? Or, the hapless fool that is played out night after night by Othello, emulating Faust in his inescapable sequence of poor decision making? Not every pain to be endured is bad, not every pleasantry is good.
“Trifles light as air/Are to the jealous confirmations strong:” “you are not the car you drive!”