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The Zen of Arsenal

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Today’s Sponsor:

Making the Arsenal: historical fiction on acid



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THE ZEN OF ARSENAL

Paul Collins

I want to talk about delusion. Delusion is a word with a variety of connotations. Some people would visualize a crazy looking person walking down the street with a funny walk and mumbling to themselves as delusional. Can supposedly normal people be delusional as well?

Delusion is defined in Wikipedia as a fixed belief that is either false, fanciful, or derived from deception. So yes, normal people can be delusional, and we see examples of that delusion all the time in our everyday lives.

How often have you been mad about something over which you had absolutely no control, simply because it differed from your expectations? That is delusion. We want the world to behave in a certain fixed way. And when it doesn’t we get mad. But why do we get mad? We have no control over the event and yet we get mad. At whom are we mad? That is delusion. It is a fact of life. We all engage in delusion. We’ve all explained away situations in our lives by creating a narrative within our minds to fit the way we want to see the situation. That actually sounds like something we all do, all the time, to varying degrees. That is delusion.

Eastern Philosophies would define delusion as “being unable to see reality for what it is”. Delusion is at the heart of Eastern Philosophies. Yoga is the science of seeing things as they really are. Buddhism is the science of freeing the mind to experience true reality. Taoism is the science of bringing balance to our reality.



All those concepts imply a cessation of delusion. In order to experience any true reality a complete and utter absence of delusion must be present. Imagine that? It means that to achieve enlightenment, one must be engaged with reality and nothing else. No more worries about the past, or daydreams about the future (or some altered perceptions of past, present and future scenarios). No getting emotional about things over which you have no control, such as football matches. No more stress. No more ego. Just present completely in whatever reality you are at that time. This would be a state of pure and absolute bliss and contentment. I always liked that word, contentment. It implies just being happy with everything that is going on in your life. Wouldn’t that be nice?

So what do reality and delusion really look like?

Well, folks, this is what reality looks like at the moment for Arsenal Football Club….

We have a club that is about to finish 3rd in the League and we made the CL Quarterfinals. That is reality. It is a young squad. There are some very talented players, considered to be among the best in the world at their positions. There are obvious weaknesses still in the squad. That is reality.

When you set expectations about the success or failure of any season then that is beginning of delusion. The team will finish where they will finish, forget about it. That doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy or agonize over every moment of the season. Quite the opposite. It means you are truly present throughout everything, experiencing the experience, not biased by perceptions of the past or future, able to actually experience the reality of the moment, in all its glory as well as all its agony. What is there to be mad about except the failure of reality to conform to your view of how the world should be? That is delusion.

We are, suddenly, one of the richest football clubs in the world. That never would have been possible at Highbury. The new stadium took a lot of money and caused a lot of heartache but it looks like it will be worth it in the end. Money should not be a problem for Arsenal for many years. That is the reality of our club right now.

When you wish we’d spent the money on players or gone further into debt in order to keep winning trophies and bring joy to the fans, then that is the beginning of delusion. It didn’t happen, forget about it. Live in the present and not in the past. To live in the past is delusion.

We have a Board of Directors that have always focused on the long-term health of the club and left the day to day management of football-related activity up to those who know what they are doing. They believe AW is the best man for the job. The Board are trying to ensure that whoever takes over the club long-term, that they take the same view. They can be stuffy and borish, but they all bleed Arsenal, even the ones who leave. That is the reality.

When you start having expectations of how the Board should handle things then that is the beginning of delusion. They are as they are and believe what they believe, forget about it. Acknowledge that everyone is different and does things differently. Anything else is delusion.

We have 100million in our bank account right now. That is before we even take into account the 23million AW still has from Ade/Toure. We made 30million in profits last year and will probably make more next year because of property deals finishing. That is reality.

The club will spend, or invest, that money in the way they see fit. The manager will spend it on whom he sees fit. That is reality.

Expecting, or even worse demanding (Demanding? To whom?), that the clubs money should be spent in a certain way is the beginning of delusion. Being disappointed at how the summer sales turned out have nothing to do with reality and everything to do with your own delusional expectations. The depth of your disappointment would reveal the depth of your delusion.

Things don’t happen how we expect them to and we get angry about it. That is delusion. That is suffering.

We all do it, to some extent. But isn’t a momentary “oh darn, I wish that could have been different” a completely different level of delusion than being angry for weeks or months or even years after the event? It is the depth of our reaction that reveals the depth of our delusion.

Next time you feel yourself getting angry at something, really sit back and ask yourself, “What am I angry at? Who am I angry at? Why am I angry?”. Sometimes the answers to those questions can be illuminating. That would be the first step on the road to enlightenment. It’s a long road.

May you enjoy your journey. See you in Nirvana. And up the Arsenal.

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49 comments to The Zen of Arsenal

  • Mihir Saudagar

    Very interesting read and it sounds like the thoughts of a very centered mind. To provide an analogy, this could be something like the Bhagwad gita. It was a crystallization of the same thought that you are explaining, the only difference being the backdrop is war in the case of the gita.
    In fact, I suggest we could collaborate on writing a modern bhagwad gita with the backdrop being a conversation between a fan and Wenger during an arsenal game!
    Modern wars are fought on the sports field!

  • wen_detta

    i fear fans will go away Paul..Have you think it that way? just a thought..

  • lp

    That is so true. We are living in a dilusion world. Well at least, this season i’ve been watching all Arsenal games on PC (as i live in Syd) and been there thru the joy of winning and the drama of losing our fight for the title. But i believe next year we will challenge the title and winning trophy.

  • walter

    Very nice Paul really enjoyed reading this.
    And as you write, we all are guilty of being delusional. And I think this is a natural thing. But like you say : it is the way you handle that delusion that makes the difference.

    I think also in every day life we always are looking in the future thinking “we will be hapy when we realise this or that” but by doing that we forget to be happy whith the present and what we have now.

    The same with Arsenal. I admit I always hope we win and I feel down that we don’t win when it happens. Very down but why should I stay unhappy with a loss? I just try to accept it, find the reason why we lost and then I mostly can live with it. And then I start hoping again we don’t make the same mistakes, the ref is not blind next time and I am back being in delusion.

    This article gave me a good view of myself in fact. And I don’t know much about the “religions” you mentioned in fact; but I recognise some things that I try to do in my live (without knowing all this) as I’m trying to be happy with what I have today and not try to worry about what could happen in the future.

    If I’m allowed (and who will stop me 😉 ) I will use the words of the song from Dire Straits that is always very helpfull after a defeat:

    Baby when I get down I turn to you
    And you make sense of what I do
    I know it isn’t hard to say
    But baby just when this world seems mean and cold
    Our love comes shining red and gold (white)
    And all the rest is by the way
    Why worry, there should be laughter after pain
    There should be sunshine after rain
    These things have always been the same
    So why worry now

    So yes live sometimes sucks, just like football and just like Arsenal but it is the circle of live

  • AK

    hey guys i am getting a kind of feeling that next season we will be going unbeaten.just getting a kind of feeling i hope it becomes true 😉 must be thinking the guy is crazy. Well i am proud to say i am a crazy gooner…… gooner4ever…..

  • benhan

    Hi Paul, I believe you have learnt something about Buddhism. I’m a Buddhist myself living in Jakarta, Indonesia.
    Buddhism core teaching is about mind delusion, being unable to see reality for “what it is”.
    We as fans tend to be deluded by our expectation. We have hope, it’s normal as fans, but when the reality doesn’t conform to our hope, comes suffering.
    I believe Lord Wenger had some exposures with Buddhism too, maybe during his time in Japan. He knows to analyze the players and team performance objectively, he has to detach himself from the match and the players. Sometimes his words came out after press conference stroke me as wisdom from Buddhism. They were familiar. His words were far wiser than most football coaches, even most public figures. So I often have image of him as a Zen master preaching his students 🙂
    Not being deluded also helps Wenger in running our football club, a lot.

  • riadhi

    If the “fans” want to leave and support other clubs because they are angry at the empty trophy cabinet then just go already. These guys are not Arsenal fans, they are Arsenal customer. Go somewhere else and free the season ticket for the real Arsenal fan. Supporters who bleed red and white.

  • Gf60

    Hmm. I’m still angry about our loss to the spuds…back in 1999!

    Obviously I’m also totally delusional. The boring games next season will be 3-0 away wins; slightly more interesting will be the 6-0 home wins. And our end of season record p38 w 38 gf 135 ga 7, will merely be the fore-runner for 2012’s even better record.

    Reality? Wossat? I’m a gooner.

  • thaiDeviant

    I am under no delusion about our team at all. I think we have had an incredible season when you look at the whole picture. How many members of the team have been out injured for long periods of the season? How many times have we played with a virtual second string team – and still got good results. This is a team that is so near to perfection – and when they are perfect, we will take all the prizes. 49 games unbeaten? This team will do better than that. I’m already looking forward to next season. Can’t wait to get the World Cup out of the way; it’s so boring. The Lord Wenger will surely bring 2 or 3 new faces and then watch out. We have no serious debts. Others have nothing but debts as Tony has proved. Others are looking at not being able to qualify for the CL; we have no such problem. Chelsea’s team are getting older – too old to be effective. Our team is getting older and closer to perfection. Other teams have little or no youth setup; our youth setup will provide the team with bright new young stars for years to come.

    What is the to be delusional about? And I’m a born pessimist!!

  • beardy

    Thanks for that Paul. The problem many have with seeing life this way was nicely summed up by the satirist, clergyman and author of Gulliver’s Travels, Jonathan Swift.

    ‘How sad and insipid do all objects accost us that are not conveyed in the vehicle of delusion!’

    That’s Sky Sports and a good few bloggers for you.

  • Terence Mcovern

    If you want a classic example of what you are saying just take a look at the regular delusionary scrawls on Le Grove. If ever there was a more deluded bunch of malcontents than there I have never come across them.
    they are so far beyond the pale believeing every rumour and predicting every possible worst case scenario that it has become a negative comedy of monumental stupidity.

    If their entire subscribers list were to vanish in the morning the average IQ of the planet would come up two points.

    Superb article.

  • well-endowed gooner

    Paul, delusion isn’t the absence of reality. Delusion is an alternative which is preferable to reality. And what is reality? Reality is something unique to you, registered through your senses and assembled by your thoughts. Each person lives in their own unique reality.

    You, for example, believe the Board are a lovely bunch of chaps who have the Arsenal’s best interests at heart. I believe they’re a bunch of millionaires who want to jump ship at the right time in order to cash in on their non-dividend paying shares. What’s “reality”? Who knows. It’s one or the other, a mixture of both, or even both at once.

    I believe we could’ve done something in January to take advantage of our team’s unexpected strength and our competitors’ unexpected weakness. You believe we didn’t have to. Again, the reason for the outcome (us bombing out of the CL and EPL) differs accordingly to the reality in which we live.

    For what it’s worth, I see Buddhism as a bit defeatist. Life is suffering, and suffering is caused by desire. Put that into a mathematical equation, desire = life. What makes life worth living is the desire, fear, anger, pain, joy, madness of living, of striving for things you know you’ll never get, but doing it for the hell of it anyway.

    Cutting it all out to be peaceful and tranquil and accepting of Arsenal’s perpetual 3rd and 4th placed finishes seems a defeatist. Of course, you’ve probably got a head full of beautiful colourful hair, whereas mine will probably be white and balding in a few years’ time.

  • well-endowed gooner

    It’s a good article, by the way.

  • Abhishek Kumar

    accepting of Arsenal’s perpetual 3rd and 4th placed finishes seems a defeatist.
    ————————–
    Actually this is delusion. Arsenal have been 3rd or 4th for just 5 years. In fact we had a perpetual rank of 1st or 2nd for 8-9 years. Cant you see the stadium in front of you. Thats reality. What is not real is your delusion about Arsenal’s position and its future.

  • walter

    And reality is also that this stadium is the best in the world. I have been around a bit in Europe in some stadiums and there is no stadium where you can sit better than in the Emirates.

    I’ve been there to watch 2 games (Emirates Cup) and nothing did hurt as in other stadiums after one game my lower back is hurting or my butt is painfull for the rest of the day.
    You have great vision everywhere on the pitch. So this is real and the best in the world and its ours.

  • I feel that delusion also comes if one focuses on part of an issue and not the full issue. If I say, “my life would be perfect and complete if only that woman would kiss me, sleep with me, marry me…” then that is delusional because perfection in life comes from a million sources.

    If someone says, Arsenal are not winning the league because Wenger won’t buy players, that is delusional, because it fails to take into account the buying activities of Chelsea and Man C, the question of where the money comes from and what it does to our future, the question of whether the player is for sale at the right price and wants to come, the question of the salary, the reaction of those within the team…

    That is the true nature of the delusion of the catastrophists, I feel. I really liked that article, and would venture to say that there are very few other football sites that would publish such a piece

  • Sam

    An interesting article and I think a lot of sense in their regarding ‘delusion’ and the loss of perspective. I myself have lost it a few tinmes this season and last.

    However we should also accept that those who complain about lack of trophies etc. are not the enemy. They are just not able to have as much perspective. I don’t think that they are anti-arsenal or that they are wrong for not blindly believing. Everyone has a point of view. Some you will agree with others you won’t but its important to remember thats what it is a point of view. There are always to sides to an article and distancing / demonising those that you don’t agree with makes you as wrong as them.

    Live and let live and at the end of the day we are all gooner who want the Arsenal to do well. Thats ambition not dilusion..

  • Arsesession

    Well composed article, thanks for sharing your thoughts.

    Today’s Arsenal fan has a variety of expectations. As our manager stated this year, (or something to this effect) if you have no expectations you won’t be disappointed.

    There is a segment of our fan base that have all the answers, after the fact. Most have never played or managed at the level they are watching, much less been on any board. This lack of experience or void of the facts doesn’t seem to impede their remarks, but supports the reality that they need no qualifications to blog.

  • well-endowed gooner

    Walter, I’ve only been to a few stadiums in England, Italy and Spain, but I don’t think much of the Ems. I liked the old Mestella in Valencia the best, followed by the Bernebeu. The Mestella is an old, ramshackle thing but the stands are almost vertical, and even in the highest tier, you feel like you’re almost on top of the players. The Bernebeu has escalators instead of stairs and heaters on the roof to keep spectators warm.

    The Ems, on the other hand, is really far away from the action. The seats are plush, it’s easy to get around, and the sightlines are excellent, but it’s a sterile corporate, modern stadium. I like my seats dirty with rain and footprints, my stairwells stinking with urine, and my stadium stacked so close to the pitch that I get vertigo climbing the steps.

  • Sam

    WE Gooner – I agree the stadium is very nice, state of the art and will serve us for the next 100 years if not more but does lack some of the Arsenal passion.

    They are trying to improve this, the pics on the outside of the stadium and the clock return are both good ideas.

    I guess hte main problem is lack of history for the stadium itself, so time is the answer…

    What would you do to improve?

  • tim

    Paul C., nice article. Thank you.

    I think it can be summed up in three words: enjoy the ride.

    Good words to live by.

  • Toni You have turned this blog into an pro Wenger properganda publication.

    It is your right, but surely you cannot beleive the anti Wenger clan are dillusional.

    The debt being repaid is only being done so as the buyer can leverage the majority of the purchase price against the total value of the assets.

    I have been around finance nearly all my and this is what is going to happen.

    All the players at present do not have the outright cah to purchase the 800 million. They will buy with cash then refinance the deal with approximately 25 to 75 percent cash to loan.

    Where does that leave us as to being financially in a better position. After 5 years of paying down debt, we would be in deeper debt.

    It all seems a bit weird to me.

    But thats not dilusionalto me.

    Maybe thats why they are afraid of Wenger leaving because they beleive hes the only one who can do it on a shoe string budget.

  • well-endowed gooner

    Believe me, I have an awareness of the long-term perspective as well. I appreciate that it’s incredibly difficult to keep a club the size of Arsenal in the CL when we’re financing a stadium move. I don’t think there’s another person on the planet who could’ve pulled it off, other than Wenger. And we have a youth academy now that’s adept at producing promising young players. For four or five years, I kept the faith with Arsene Wenger. Look up my comments on gunnerblog, if you don’t believe me.

    But after four or five years, if we’ve the same problems and they’re not getting solved, you’ve got to wonder what’s going on. Stuff that doesn’t have to do with finances, such as training, injuries, tactics. Stuff we could improve, if we tweaked a few things. Like get a defensive coach. Or a medical team worth its salt. Or someone to review our conditioning.

    So I support Wenger for what he’s done in the long-term. I’ve never called for his resignation. I just want him to renew his commitment to success in the present, as well as in the future. We could’ve made a bigger push for the title this year, if we’d bought judiciously in January, or if we got a better ‘keeper in the years after Lehmann declined.

    The problem with a long-term perspective is that you tend to overlook the immediate things. And it’s the immediate things that make up the stuff of life. Lennon sang once that life is what happens to you when you’re busy making plans. In terms of Arsenal, it means that instead of a youth policy that’s designed to deliver trophies 10 years from now, we could’ve made a bid for a trophy this year.

    Remember the proverb “eat, drink and be merry, for tomorrow we die”?

  • Lets get one other thing straight.

    Almuni and fabianski.

    I rest my case. Who would have gone on a canpain with those as your goelies. Have a heart.

  • no one is saying sack Wenger. I agree wil well endowed. Its the same mistakes year in year out.

    What gives with that.

    In the last transfer window you would have pushed for a better goal keeper and one further outfield player.

  • TheSKAGooner

    Brilliant article, Paul. Well done. 🙂

  • well-endowed gooner

    Sam, I’d want gooners to start pissing in the stairwells and standing on the seats to get them a bit dirty.

    But seriously, the action’s just a bit far away. I sat in the upper tier, above one of the corner flags. If I had to design the stadium, I’d do what Liverpool suggested, and have one giant stand for the hard-core on one end, and a single horse-shoe shaped stand covering the other three sides. I’d have steeply raking stands, and only have corporate boxes at the top of the stadium. All the corporates want is the atmosphere anyway, and the atmosphere is better from a higher perspective. The problem with the oval-shaped stadium we’ve got is that, while every seat has a good view, it sets every seat far from the action. And the boxes in between the tiers means that cuts off the upper tier from the lower. And the extra leg-room and padded seats are just a bit wrong. You WANT to feel a bit uncomfortable sitting in a football stadium.

  • I would also like to state that your blog is a well run low expletive place to read. Which should receive much kudos for you and Toni. My thanks for that.

    What gives with people on the web writing expletives constantly.

    Oh well Thats socialist schools for you.

  • Sam

    Well endowed gooner – couldn’t have put it better myself!

    I think that a little bit of constructive critisism is never a bad thing. I trully think thast Wenger is a genius and that only he could have dobne what he has on the money he has had but as he said it the other day now he can buy the players he wants and can plug a few gaps.

    Next season will be special I think, this season was a great start!

  • Rhys Jaggar

    This philosophy is all OK as far as it goes, but all reality includes what the line in the sand is which distinguishes between acceptable and unacceptable.

    1. Do you think raping your daughter is acceptable? Probably not. So if someone did, you’d probably be murderous, depressed, helpless and wondering how life will be in future. So don’t just accept that as ‘an unexpected life outcome’. Mate.
    2. Do you think Arsenal FC bugging your PC at home is acceptable? If so, just accept the mafia as one of those things. Especially if they threaten to kill your daughter if you don’t pay up £1m. Just one of those things. Line in the sand, mate, line in the sand.
    3. Do you accept murdering 100,000 people just for America to teach Saddam Hussein who’s boss? Hope you see your own family as equally expendable mate. Line in the sand, mate, line in the sand.

    There’s a huge difference between fairly harmless differences and lines in the sand.

    And delusion comes when you don’t understand the difference.

    Sir.

  • Rhys what the hell are you going on about. Lines in the sand.

    Mate you sound like a loon.

    Give it up its football. Not life and death analysis.

    Dude. What gives.

  • Rhys we all have differences.

    Its what we do about them.

    Talk or fight.

  • Sam

    well-endowed gooner – agree that the oval stadium does keep you far from the action, so they have to do somthing to increase the intensity. One this is chants, I think that we slip down on this level, I don’t hear many of the Viera ooo weee ooo etc. any more…

  • Terence Mcovern

    The stadium is built and finished . they are hardly going to strip it out and refit again……unless of course you are being delusional 😉

  • Waleed

    Rhys, I understand the line in the sand. I understand we must know the difference between right and wrong, and then react accordingly to actions or events.

    But the idea here is that if something bad happens, we must not be upset over it BECAUSE we wanted or expected that nothing bad would ever happen to us.
    It is an established fact that what happened to to me was unacceptable and wrong, but I should not add to my suffering by dwelling on my shattered hopes and expectations.

    Now I believe it is impossible to not have hopes or expectations in life, but if reality doesn’t match our hopes, if we dwell on that we will suffer.

    I’m sure you can see something wrong with wanting, hoping, expecting, even demanding that Wenger spend 50 million on new signings, when you know that he never will, and then getting upset when he doesn’t.

    Sure maybe Wenger SHOULD spend, maybe his policies are on the wrong side of the line in the sand, but that is a different issue.

  • Finsbury

    The stadium was finished as a basic fit out.

    No frills, no bling. An empty canvas, like any new home, TNHOF will grow over time. It was a well budgeted and managed project.

    e.g. the gap betwixt the pitch and the stands allows for future expansion. It can be filled, the pitch lowered, and this allows the opttion, when affordable of inducing a bit more vertigo for thrill seekers.

    For those interested in what happens on the pitch, you won’t find better POV’s in many grounds.

    I’ve sampled a few different seats, and it is impressive design, no doubt.

    The Corporate Tier is irritating, but I’d have to say, anyone who thinks that they could have been located at the top of the stands is delusional.

    Liverpools ground design was an exercise in CGI hypnotisim, like the worst design applications you could ever imagine seeing. The Mestaella is a great ground, being replaced by the unecessary new ground by Calatrava. I hope it gets finished,itcould be the best new ground in Europe. But everybody knows, the best ground and atmospere in Spain is in Seville. Almost a classical English stadium.

    I had a collegue once conduct a survey of football stadiums in England. It’s on record somewhere…

    He was a born and bred Manc. When I asked him ‘who was the fairest of them all?’, he frowned, and said ‘Highbury’.

    I think, for all the flaws in TNHOF, it’s agreat acheivment.

    Just compare it to Wembley FFS.

  • Finsbury

    I investigated the old pitch at Highbury for the first time yesterday evening, whilst out running.

    Overall:
    I felt it’s a standard London developers job, not mind blowing, but they worked well with the old East & West Stands.

    The garden(the old pitch at Highbury) is not very Zen though.
    They could’ve done with a Japanese consultant methinks.
    Or even a good English one!!!

    I’l have to give it a second look,
    a fair effort all things considered.

  • RedGun

    We all make mistakes and so does MrWenger if someone cant see that that I would say they are been delusional.

    Am I delusional when I say we need a new goal keeper or is Mr Wenger delusional if he doesnt sign one this season.

    We went from David Seamen to trying out many replacements including Stuart Taylor, Richard Wright, Alex Manninger and a few more before finding Jens Lehmann then we allowed David Seamen to hang up his boots.

    Jens was fantastic for a few seasons then he made two howlers early on in the season one against Blackburn and the other against Fulham. Jens I think played 12 games for us that season and was replaced for the majority by Almunia who covered well.

    The keepers this year have been treated far more leniently than Jens ever was, they have each made for more errors and looked way less comfertable. I think the reason that Almunia was allowed so much playing time is Mannone and Fabianski showed they are not yet ready or good enough for the first team.

    While Wojciech Szczesny looks a great prospect I would say at his age very few keepers are able to do what Iker Cassilas has done and become a number one keeper so young.

    I believe in MrWenger and hope he does continue as our manager but if we do not do something about the keeper situation and go through another season of such calamities in goal I would have to ask who is the delusional one.

  • Paul C.

    Rhys – no idea what you are talking about, mate. The points you make are pretty self-explanatory but I have clue whatsoever what it has to do with the article. Everything I wrote was about how you respond to events, not the events themselves. We have laws in our society to protect the majority of citizens from the minority that might wish to harm others, whether mentally or physically.

    But i will answer your points –

    1.If your daughter was raped, it would be your choice to be “murderous, depressed, helpless and wondering how life will be in future”. And why cant you explain it as an “an unexpected life outcome”? Isnt that exactly what it was? How much of your life has happened as you expected it to? I can say from my point of view that very little of my life turned out the way I expected. That is neither good nor bad, it just is. This is all about how you choose to respond to events in life. That includes the (perceived to be) good AND bad events. Delusion is when you expect something, and when that something doesnt happen you get mad about it. So in the example you state, the delusion would be if you EXPECTED your daughter to be raped, and went through your life depressed, murderous, helpless and fearful. And then the longer that time passed and your didnt get raped, the angrier you got that it hadnt happened yet. THAT is delusion.

    2. See above. You have just stated a possible event, and then said line in the sand. What does that have to do with the article. Yeah, criminal activity, murder etc are not accceptable for modern society. What do you want me to say?

    3. Again, see (1).

    I think you missed the point of the article.

  • Paul C.

    Well-Endowed Gooner –

    You are really close to getting the concept, but you are slightly misinterpreting a couple of things.

    Does each person really live their own reality, or it is actually the case that each person “interprets” reality in their own unique way. There is only reality. There is only one “now” for everyone. Thats life. The clock moves forward at the same pace for every single person. What changes is how each one of us perceives reality and processes it. What also changes is how strong our expectations of the future are. Also how strong each one of us holds on to the past, allowing both the memory of the past and expectation of the future to cloud our reality NOW. And that doesnt mean we shouldnt use our experiences to grow as a person and make different choices in the future. In fact it is far more likely that you will never change as a person and grow if you hold on to the past too much, and allow fear of “that happening again” to cloud your judgement and stop you from experiencing life.

    I never said we shouldnt strengthen in January. i also never said that I ws happy about our lack of reinforcement. I was actually hoping we would buy last January. But we didnt. The delusion aspect would come if I had gotten mad about the lack of buying. And as I said, the madder you are, the more delusional you were. As I said, it is the same reality for everyone. None of us here experienced a reality in which Arsenal bought 3 players last January. We all know what the reality was.

    The idea that Buddhism is defeatest is, unfortunately, a common myth that people who misunderstand (or simply dont know) Eastern Philosophy often say. Life is suffering is only the first noble truth of the Buddha. The third noble truth is that suffering can be overcome. Is that defeatest? Here is this statement, 4 words, saying “ALL SUFFERING IN LIFE CAN BE OVERCOME”. Is that defeatest at all? The next noble truth says “come on, let me show you way it can be done…..” The whole point of Eastern Philosophy is the opposite of defeatest. Everything is geared toward freedom from suffering, bliss, contentment, mental calm and focus, physical strength and dexterity etc etc. To me, that is the opposite of defeatist. Doing things for hell of it is not recommended by Eastern Philosophies, “doing things for the hell of it” is the entire GOAL of Eastern Philosophies. When you just do things for the hecll of it you are free of fears for the future and memories of the past. You are experiencing reality fully!!! We’ve all had those moments havent we? Those moments when we do something completely spontaneously without a care in the world. Arent they amazing? Aren’t they rare?

    Eastern Philosophies attempt to allow the practitioner to have those experiences EVERY WAKING MOMENT OF THEIR LIVES!!!!! That is liberation. That is enlightenment.

    My hair went years ago. That’s life.

  • Paul C.

    Gf60 – Your respone was perfect. You got the point of the article 100%!!!!

  • Paul C.

    Mihir, Benham, Beardy and others – thank you for the kind comments. We have Jonathan Swift, The Gita, and AW as a Zen Master all in one blog!!! Outstanding!!!

  • Paul C.

    Walter – thanks. The only thing I say from your reply is that the Eastern Philosophies should not be looked on as religions. Religions, to me, automatically conjur up images of deities frothing at the mouth. Buddhism, Yoga and Taoism are sciences in the grandest traditions. Each are based on lifetimes of study of a particular organism, ourselves. They are fully based on individual trial and error, observation and experience. Each would treat religion as simply another delusion in their purest sense, although Yoga is obviously heavily culturally intertwined with Hinduism in India, and Buddhism has become very close to a religion in its modern form.

  • mandeep

    Good day to all,

    I’ve been an avid reader of the Untold and have been amazed with the insight and balance in a lot of the articles. Sir Tony, you are to thank for beginning this beautiful endeavor, so thank you. And to Walter and Paul, you two have found innovative ways to channel your passion for Arsenal, making for brilliant reading.

    I’m currently a student and always take time during class to read the Untold Arsenal, while some pretentious asshole is blathering on. However, I am troubled. Commenting on articles seemed to be a waste of time at first, because I felt everything was said previously in the article (I am an Arsenal positivist) was legit. Then I noticed the gathering of regular bloggers, and the community that was growing, now up to 250,000 a month, dope. But as the population has increased, the environment has changed, and I would like to remind everyone, the passion of watching a game with a fellow Gooner is unbelievable. Winning or losing, that fraternity is passionate, in the heat of battle. These wins and losses over the turn of the season affect me in certain ways, but I feel with the club. When we win I’m elated, and when we lose, I’m often depressed, but it’s about the team.

    Since the loss to Barcelona at the 2006 Champions League Final, I’ve take to reading Nick Hornby’s Fever Pitch, to take time and reflect on the season and gear up for the next. It started as a method to reminisce (and then anticipate the next season) and ended up being the marker for when Arsenal had been knocked out of the running for honors. Not this year. This team is ridiculous. Can you imagine if this team was fit?? Anti-football indeed is the agenda of many teams, but luckily the Golden 30 will be in quick support in the coming years. I will not read to mark the negative end to a season. The quarter-finals against Barcelona was hard to watch, but showed where we can go, where we can be stronger, and quite frankly, our poor luck (in terms of injuries).

    I’m proud of this team. It is remarkable what is being done with our youth products, with our football style, and despite ridiculous (correct me if I’m wrong but 3 consecutive seasons where we have not been able to field an unchanged lineup) We must look at the consistency of this squad to be in the Champions League and in the top 4 of the Premier League for as long as we have and trust that Arsene Wenger and the Board have Arsenal’s best interests at heart.

    This has become a long post, and I apologize. My responsibility is to watch every match and to gather fellow Gooners together and celebrate the beauty and glory of this club. I am a fan, I am a fanatic. I am a Gooner. I have not had the pleasure of being at the Emirates (I moved from England at a young age), but when I do, I will be screaming for The Arsenal from the moment I arrive, through the tube stations, because that’s what I can give to my team. Arsenal don’t need our transfer input, we have the best scouting in the world. Arsene Wenger is the best man for the job. Let’s get behind this team. Let’s support them.

    Paul thanks again for the article, it compelled me to make myself known. Cheers.

    Up Gunners.

  • Abhishek Kumar

    I always knew that Hinduism, yoga and Budhhism is very popular outside India. But I never knew that a discussion of Arsenal would quote these aspects so many times.

    Nice to read and understand these philosophies.

  • Paul C, I agree with you Buddhism isn’t religion. There is no God (at least personal image of God) or deities in Buddhism originally although in the development and assimilation with local cultures, deities images like in Tibet got established.
    The thing with delusion is we would never understand it except we start to examine our mind. Delusion is so subtle that One couldn’t see it without being still. That’s why core practice of Buddhism is meditation. Without meditation it’s almost impossible to see the delusion at the time it happens. We can understand theory of delusion but it stays as knowledge not experience.
    Sorry to wander off topic, but I think it’s important to have this quality so our life won’t be miserable just because Arsenal do not win the title. Cheers up, fellow Gooners! 🙂

  • Paul C, I agree with you Buddhism isn’t religion. There is no God (at least personal image of God) or deities in Buddhism originally although in the development and assimilation with local cultures, deities images like in Tibet got established.

    The thing with delusion is we would never understand it except we start to examine our mind. Delusion is so subtle that One couldn’t see it without being still. That’s why core practice of Buddhism is meditation. Without meditation it’s almost impossible to see the delusion at the time it happens. We can understand theory of delusion but it stays as knowledge not experience.

    Sorry to wander off topic, but I think it’s important to have this quality so our life won’t be miserable just because Arsenal do not win the title. Cheers up, fellow Gooners! 🙂

  • Sorry for double post Tony, you can delete the duplicate.

  • walter

    Paul C,
    I couldn’t find the right word at the time I wrote my comment so I used the word “religion”. So I will try to remember Eastern Philosophies from now on.

    And once again, what makes this blog so special and different from many others are articles like yours Paul.