FanPost

A Response to Sugel Mendoza Post 7th of December 2012



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I will open this with a paradox: Sugel’s post can be merited on both the strengths and weakness of his analysis concerning Nick Diaz.

Ultimately, his attempt to pathologies the identification process of Nick Diaz is both shallow and partial. Although Sugel clearly has put some thought into his post and can think and write very well, I would like to point out in my post that his work carries a significant bias that is indicative of a person who is unable to break away from his own narcissism to engage with someone who is simply ‘different’ from him. Having said that, I would like to add that such a task is often far from simple and wrought with the authors own cultural biases. Sugel's post is no different in this regard.

Sugel attempts to provide a framework for the pathology of Nick Diaz’s identification process. Accordingly, Diaz’s ‘mentality’ of rebellion, ‘chaos’, ‘cowardice,’ etc., are considered as symptomatic of his character which resonates from his social, spatial and cultural setting. This mental force is then initially ascribed to a persecutory mental influence that affects Diaz through suggestions of infantile and enemy behavioral mannerisms. It would be worth mentioning here at this stage, this is vaguely a speculation of the specific construction of Diaz’s mentality, albeit they invariably assume the form of behavior and social relationships.

I will address Sugel’s post on two fronts. Firstly, I will use the setting of a mental illness – schizophrenia – to explain that its condition is predicated in a day-to-day setting of the ‘socialized norm’ which underpins all our identification processes. That is, mental illness does not just occur out of nowhere, rather they are often products of our daily routinized existence deeply embedded in our social relations to others. Following, I will to address some of the problems with Sugel’s observations despite his efforts to come to grips with a subject he does not understand.

I address in my post the pathology of an identity process precisely to insert the problems associated with the inner dynamics of human beings whether considered, or often assumed, as ‘ordinary’ or ‘mentally ill’ as deemed by wider society; which had initially escaped Sugel but, was later addressed in some of the comments posted. It is by my reckoning that the illusion of the fully socialized individual, i.e. those who ascribe to the society as a totality, doesn’t reproduce itself in every individual being. In the encounter with an ‘other’ who does not comply with the ‘good citizen’ (we can simply say someone ‘different' to me/us), one quickly struggles to identify their own selves and invariably resort to label, categorize, ascribe and project: in short, we act on the dark half of the psyche that we invariably get rid of by means of projection either by burdening our neighbors by detecting faults which obviously we have ourselves. Collectively we extend this to Muslims, the mentally ill, etc.

I personally don’t believe that Nick Diaz in any ‘real’ form is mentally ill to the point he is incapacitated to co-exist with others. He has exhibited a social life in a myriad of long-term relationships, which is often an indication of a healthy level of normality that is cherished in our society. Likewise, he has fashioned intelligible boundaries between him and others in the wider system of social relationships. Though, these boundaries are not always perceived by all. I will return to this point later.

However, according to Sugel, Nick’s choices of social and spatial relations are the manifestations by Nick and are indicative of his ‘cowardice’, ‘fear’ and ‘chaos’ which remain prevalent in his life throughout. This is of course coincidentally is super imposed with a ‘way out’ which the protagonist is refusing to take, despite all the good wishes and intentions that everyone has for him to pursue the course for a ‘better life.’ One should take the higher road it seems. This summation is however, grossly erroneous and is steeped in much middle-class, bourgeoisie, movie-making fantasy nonsense, often regarded as the hero’s’ journey; in this case painted as the heroes refusal to accept the challenge. Sugel can then question from the happy confines of his having ‘taken the higher road’ to in a sense devalue the professional fighters/martial artists commitment to an actual fight without having to lift a single finger.

So I will take the case of people who are mentally ill to explain how far reaching the idea of Nick Diaz being mentally crippled actually is, which I gathered was the basis of Sugel’s post. It is argued that symptomatic of schizophrenics is the ‘loss of ego boundaries’ where the complaint that ‘everyone knows the patient’s thoughts’ is the inability to distinguish between one’s own inner world of thoughts and the thoughts of those around them.

This is the result of developmental problems at the stage when the self is developed through the constructions between the ego and the objects, the internal and external world. In the ‘objectless phase’ (this is where the infant does not have a sense of self along with a sense of another person) the libido is directed toward the self. The ego attempts to discharge itself using projection. During this narcissistic stage, the body (along with the ego having been developed with the form of the body-image) is the outside world, but everything is coming from within.

This projection of one’s own body libido is attached to the patient’s own body is a role of the defensive mechanism (predicated on the internalized fight/flight response). It is precisely in the development of the self and other dialectic that allows the paranoid to try and recapture a relation of the external world by building the world up again continually. Normally this is primarily achieved through the mother, hence most of us never really escape being the apple of the mother’s eye: ‘Mommy, mommy when I grow up will I be President? Of course you will darling!’

Projection is the mechanism chosen because it belongs to the primary function of the ego in the process of finding the object (m/other). However, what is emphasized is that for schizophrenics the finding of the object (i.e., its own ego), conveys the subject in recurring in an interrelation with the delusions of its self-references. For the schizophrenic individual, the delusional projection remains trapped in a self-to-self dialogue, inhibiting consciousness in relation to the outside world. In the case of Nick Diaz one wouldn’t have to scratch too hard at the surface to realize that this can be exhibited to some degree. However, I’m also happy to ask for those who don’t believe they too are not afflicted by same paranoid-schizoid dynamic to please raise their hands?

So where does this leave us? Often the socialized person often makes up the condition of function. This to me bears the resemblance to the Western civic, cost-efficient, obedient member of society. And society and their institutions value the ‘normal’ man very much.

Returning to Sugel Mendoza’s post, how does he come to the conclusion that Nick Diaz’s very act of machismo is in fact the cries of a little boy? Well I don’t think it would genuinely be a stretch of the imagination to say that he is actually inserted himself in his own identification with the public figure of Nick Diaz. But I, like Sugel did with Nick Diaz in his post, actually would only be speculating.

However, the basis for Sugel’s criticism of Nick Diaz by and large takes place with his conduct and recent stint in the UFC. In other words, the problem can be framed: why doesn’t Nick Diaz tow the company line and do what is reasonably asked of him having already made it to the ‘ideal’ platform for any professional MMA fighter – the UFC? This I think truly baffles some people, Sugel included. I can assure that if Nick Diaz wasn’t in the UFC we wouldn’t be talking or writing about him and no one would really care if he remained on the margins or not. This is a significant point and something that shouldn’t be overlooked.

In a culture that reproduces and celebrates performance indicators (in this case to win), it can be easily reasoned that the UFC belt is the pinnacle and governing reason as to why people fight in the sport. I believe, either Anderson Silva or Lyoto Machida once said that the UFC belt is illusory. It is not given to you. Rather, it is something you hold one day and on another day you will have to give it back. It is not and never will be yours per se. Many people buy into the UFC gold as a concept of the best fighter thing, which is the company ideology: having the ‘best fighters on the planet’ gimmick. I don’t wish to go too much into this, but simply to say this is mostly company spin. People who get infuriated with non-sensical title challengers I sympathize with but additionally I don’t think that there is any necessary purity or legitimacy attached to the UFC belt. In Nate’s recent challenge for the belt he actually mentioned a disregard for the belt. I don’t believe Nick Diaz really cares for the belt, nor for any antics that come with ‘selling fights’. Each to their own in regards to whether being a fighter should shoulder ‘the media part of the job,’ or if it is even necessary since we supposedly have the best fighting the best. Regardless, these actions all benefit the fight promoter often with little regard for the fighter. This top-heavy regard for the promoter/promotion over the fighter is another issue that I will not take up here but underpins a lot of tension in any fight promotional setting.

Nick doesn’t identify himself with the global corporation which is the UFC or these well-intended people who are trying to tell him that he should. Nor, to some extent even with the people who enjoy watching his fights. He has stated somewhere that a fight in the UFC or anywhere is precisely that a fight, where someone is seriously looking to maim, cripple and hurt you. Dress this in any way, shape or form but I would agree. It’s not like you’re going in the cage to risk yourself on his behalf. Risking your body and health can in a very real way lead to irreversible problems that significantly can affect the quality and experience of your life. If, as Sugel puts it, this is to be deemed as ‘Chaos is the only life Diaz knows and he is perfectly content with that’, then I hope to have at least questioned the premise put forward by him. What exactly is chaotic in not wanting to fight your friends, training partners and mentor? Nick Diaz identifies himself with those around him and his values are attributed to his experiences in the world. Sure he’s not everyone’s cup of tea but I hope to have explained somewhat a fighter’s conduct is fiercely attributed to the body, more so than most ordinary folk. The fighter’s psyche is very much different to say the ordinary person. I was surprised that this wasn’t raised up much. Additionally, you can keep the well wishes intended for him to ‘improve’, which is always towards a particular criteria and more often than not resonate with other people’s own narcissistic, ideologically loaded self-interests. Not to say this doesn’t happen in Nick Diaz’s inner sanctum, but aren’t we all the object of someone else's desires.


\The FanPosts are solely the subjective opinions of Bloody Elbow readers and do not necessarily reflect the views of Bloody Elbow editors or staff.

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