We live in a world where every aspect of our lives is controlled by belief.
This most intriguing of psychological states is perhaps responsible for the shaping of our world more than anything else. The romantics may argue love and the cynics may argue greed is equally responsible, yet nothing is more dangerous than a man with either a lack of or an abundance of faith. From the dawn of civilisation, belief has elevated men to the heavens and dragged them to the depths of hell. Alexander The Great conquered the known world not because of his troops or unprecedented strategic mind but because he believed he could. Yet the excessive nature of his beliefs led to his downfall as his men mutinied against an invasion of India after years at war. Gaius Juluis Caesar’s belief in his abilities led him to conquer France with his faith in his political nous helped him dispatch his rivals in Rome. Yet his convictions that he should introduce reform and that he should be held accountable to no man lead to his rather bloody end.
While remarkable individuals such as these exuded faith in themselves others have displayed trust in existential beliefs. In 1095 Pope Urban II decreed that the Holy Land should be liberated from those of other religious faiths that held it due to his beliefs. Thus began almost 200 years of unabridged violence and hatred in the Middle East, the aftermath of which can still be felt today. Countless wars have been fought due to beliefs about war, land, rights and the belief in the sanctity of freedom. It has enabled our species to take to the skies, touch the highest peak on our world and even walk on the moon. It has also caused the extermination of 6 million Jews, ingrained prejudice and terrorist attacks. A sombre and most probably inappropriate time for me to finally start talking about Arsenal then you may think.
The Gunners are at yet another pivotal moment in our season and it’s safe to say that the fans have gone well and truly mental this season. I would suggest that the increased expectation this season due to our first truly world class signing in years has altered the chemical balance of several Gooner’s brains. It’s certainly more polite than hypothesising that they may in fact, just be idiots. This article is being penned on the night of our victory over Liverpool and the idea of a blog on belief occurred to me during the build-up to the game. Various degrees of belief were on show, from the belief that “Arsene has went mental” spiel from renowned doom-monger LeGrove to the belief that “We should support the team” from neutrals to the belief that” Everything will be absolutely fantastic” from the almost nauseatingly optimistic Blackburn George. I of course retained my belief that James ‘Raul’ Stokes is a filthy harlot with such perverted desires even Giroud’s mistress couldn’t fulfil them. While observers of the Arsenal online community will no doubt find that these individuals expressing said opinions hardly ground-breaking, it did intrigue me.
We are all perfectly aware that LeGrove and his cluster of likeminded individuals will spew forth negativity and general discontent until the club succumbs to their poisonous bile and eventually relents, allowing them places as Manager, Fitness Coach and CEO of our beloved club. Equally certain is that Blackburn George shall beam forth positivity, mowing down those that dare question the will of his God on his motorcycle of delusion. If one said the sky was blue the other would say green. We know they will never convince each other that their beliefs are correct.
Yet the notion that our chances should be dismissed so readily before the game is even played is incomprehensible and it shows a fundamental lack of understanding of how football is actually played. Using such warped logic surely Fulham fans shouldn’t bother existing as on paper, they are the worst team in the league and must therefore be destined to lose every game? Such fervent belief that our team do not have the capability to win is laughable, never mind that they may not even be able to compete. As a side note, what alarms me more than that belief though, is the outpouring of bile that seems to accompany it. If an opinion is posted it will typically be followed with several people posting insults to Wenger, the players, the board or anyone that crosses their path. It is shameful to see and lets all our fanbase down.
It seems strange to me that even during the good times, when we have beat Liverpool twice, Spurs twice, topped the league and progressed from the Champions League Group of Death that certain individuals have displayed a complete lack of faith in our team. To examine our players, the conviction and abilities they possess and yet still determine that they are unable to compete shows, for me, someone who struggles to comprehend that we have progressed from the team of pretty passers to a team worthy of the club. A desire to see Arsenal fail so that changes are implemented is equally as disgusting.
Our manager and players have spoken several times of their trust in each other and belief that they can end our wait for a trophy. I retain the belief that Arsenal can win the league this year. More than that, I have faith that we can win the double of the League and FA cup. Whilst others will disagree, as is their right, I shall remain convinced of our team’s qualities, although perhaps not to the radical degree of Blackburn George and his ilk.
Since I have harped on about belief so much I thought I’d leave you with a 2500 year old quote that remains relevant that we can all appreciate:
“Man is made by his belief. As he believes, so he is.”
Thanks for reading and to George for hosting this on his wonderful site. I’ve been Dyllan Munro and feel free to drop a comment and let me know what you think of the article. You can also reach me on twitter @goonerdyllan. Thanks everyone.