Category: Psychological Realism

Fire & Fury

On December 1st 2018, a heavyweight clash for the ages developed into the twelfth and final round, where a furious combination from Deontay Wilder caught a resolute Tyson Fury with devastating effect. As the ‘Bronze Bomber’ landed the combination, a left hook confirmed Fury to the canvas. It appeared without question that Wilder had beaten him.

To the astonishment of most, Fury rose from the floor ostensibly beating the count. Stronger in stance and prepared to retaliate, Wilder stood bewildered; known for his tremendous power punches, this was quite a blow to expectation – an unprecedented recovery from a match-winning attack. As commentators and writers hurried to articulate the phoenix rising from the ashes, I found myself in greater reflection.

The calmness and character of Fury’s will carried the hallmark of a qualified symbol of cognitive harmony, an act beyond mere situational determination. Fury unbeknownst to all, re-emerged with a cognitive relationship that once deserted him in totality. In the pivotal moment, he did not seek to win the fight, he sought to reveal the victor of his own fight, the signal of his triumph against mental health issues (despite the fight ending in a draw).

The term “mental health” is a nebulous aggregator, pernicious in its hindering attempt at summarising a complex ecosystem. The mind is a forum for subpersonalities and psychic actors engaging in various roles, therefore the health of the performance is dependent on the script. Though as the marquee moniker for a convoluted problem, “mental health” became Fury’s newest opponent..

It was revealed in cathartic detail on the Joe Rogan Experience that Fury had everything: financial success, personal glory, and a loving family. He was on top of the world. Yet such a height of earthly standing precipitated an overwhelming decline. Fury lost motivation in its entirety, finding it impossible to shave, shower, or even brush his teeth. The fire in his life was all but extinguished. 

I can’t tell you in words, how I felt, how down I was.

Tyson Fury

Fury’s pursuit of the highest accolade in boxing started as a “whipped” kid told he could not achieve his aims. Ultimately, his detractors failed against his reigning sensorial disposition, and Fury became a true man of the senses, relishing the spotlight and the visceral nature of the fight game with a fledgling intuitive fascination symbolised in his Gypsy King branding. The synthesis between his heroic engagement of the world and his organisation of its properties culminated in him reaching the top of world boxing.

Everything I stood for, it didn’t matter anymore.

Tyson Fury

Fury’s ascent manifested through significant value investment, to prove to the world he could be elite, but once that goal was achieved the value construct affixed to the outcome fell into irrelevancy, becoming a sunk cost of personal attachment. The mind of the champion could not negotiate with a vacuum and the next outcome could not emerge, because no meaning attached to the self could be attributed.

Fury describes his sunken depression as a void, an emptiness. This is the state of grief the support functions of the psyche produce once they lose their congruence. The old self, the impassioned sensationalist, had perished. Fury achieved the ultimate goal, and with the climbing of this mountain he left his identity on the summit, evidenced by his own self-questioning.

What does it all mean? What does being a world champion mean?

Tyson Fury

In his pained orations, Fury makes the valid point that many are in the “same boat” as he was in suffering from a mental health complication. His ordeal lasted for around a year and a half, which I found to be around the time it took me to conquer my own struggles and offer a symbolic goodbye to the person I once knew. Fury is right, these issues can hit anyone. You don’t have to be world champion.

As a man of sensorial impressions, Fury hit the bottle with a tremendous thirst, gaining huge amounts of weight. When the support network of the cognitive functions lose cohesion, we indulge with phenomenal zeal in the worst of our personal vices. A once fit and fighting unit reduced to a hollow receptacle for alcohol and worse, resembling broken men in British pubs across the land, looking for something more.

Thankfully, the turning point came. Fury was on the town for Halloween. In his own words he expected to “stay out all night”, but this was the critical juncture where the inversion principle of the Trial by Values rose to conscious focus. Fury had one drink and in a moment looked around him, and he asked himself the most important question a man disconnected from his values must ask – what am I doing? In a flash, Fury returns home. He tells his wife he’s going to start to turn his life around, and he does.

Fury sheds the weight over time and announces a comeback, with a gimme fight or two to precede the big one with Wilder. After the fight on December 1st, Fury became an icon. In the post-match interview for BT Sport he dedicated his self-described victory (with many in agreement) to those suffering from mental illness, announcing that he is proof that it can be knocked out if you learn to get up from the mat. This we must treat as the reunification of his mental faculties, with his values once again connected to an outcome that has meaning.

The pathway out of the darkness as Fury discovered is based in the impetus he possessed as a child, his own cognitive infant. The logical organisation of the world around him held the answer. In his particular case, the organisation of the world and the potential future prevents Fury from indulging in sensation and viewing an unplanned tomorrow as a source of dread.

I gave myself short-term and long-term goals and I planned things more now.

Tyson Fury

Fury found the solution for himself, but it is not a master key. In step with the predictable conjecture that arises when “mental health” is discussed, the extravert bias interferes, leaving an imprecise interpretation. The extraverted person views the mental faculties as they regard introversion at large, something of an antisocial novelty, a dalliance for behind closed doors. Fury therefore believes his solution to his own crisis is a translatable solution. While for some it will be, for others it is not the route forwards.

You could not have told Heath Ledger, star of many Hollywood pictures, most notably as the Joker in Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight, that he should set himself goals. Goals were, ironically in-effect, an antithetical motivator for Ledger, as he drove himself through values as the primary engine. No-no, for Ledger he required a guide through the ensuing storm of abstracting, penetration of the objective world. Sadly, he was left to battle alone.

You will have sunshine days again. Rose-coloured days, warmed by the sun.

Tyson Fury

Fury is right in perhaps the most important capacity, that whatever afflicts the mind that brings about a complete loss of incentive and motivation is a temporary assailment. The war in the mind can be won, with persistence, faith and to accelerate the process, a considerable self-awareness. Fury’s desire to inspire others is the full circle of his own battles, where his values once again find themselves canvassed across all of life’s creation but this time, they can be organised and carried into the future.

From a position of complete despair and egregious weight loss, a world champion looked like a pitiable anecdote. With his values buried alongside his ultimate goal, Fury was adrift. It wasn’t until he had the courage to assess himself as he were himself as a kid, that he saw he did not recognise the picture. Fury leaned into thinking, in its juvenile form, as I did feeling, and he returned, stronger than ever. No longer a champion, but a champion for everyone, with fire in his belly.

The true individualist believes in himself, and those who do not yet believe in themselves.