Something For The Weekend (150)
This week's Villa argument - Being and Nothing, or Becoming?
A week of torrential rain seemed to oppress the spirits of the Villa fans and in a matter of days, grasping the opportunities for debate which the signing of Marlon Harewood afforded, Villa belief and optimism was put to its first real test, since the arse changed on the chairman's throne.
The time seemed opportune to offer counter-arguments to the heady reasons-to-be-cheerful philosophy, which has reigned more or less unchallenged in the twelve months since the Villa shareholders took the Yankee dollar. For those still habituated to and more comfortable with, a more cynical approach, it seemed timely to test the optimists' resolve, while simultaneously providing themselves with some substantial insurance against future disappointments, plus numerous I-told-you-so's for use in any foreseeable emergency.
In the process Hegel got a kicking or more accurately the whole of the trivium, as the bipolar sides which make up the Villa collective, dug in and began to fortify. Things got nasty and where sarcasm failed to rout the opposing camp's propositions, veiled threats were hurled and where persuasion met frustration, ad hominem argument erupted and persisted, in a sustained bout of acrimonious and mutual displeasure.
In short, a dialectic methodology was not agreed upon, if any emerged at all, as various protagonists clung passionately to their theses and counter-theses. Contradictions were skated over, presuppositions ignored, as the quality of the argument suffered like an Issigonis inspiration on a Longbridge track. The synthesis inevitably became grotesque, the grammar mangled and the rhetoric desperate.
One camp were seriously handicapped by their failure to grasp the concepts of Hegel's basic system of logic, while the other failed to explain clearly the meaning of sublation. Consequently, little common ground could be explored and no clear synthesis quite emerged. One camp clung to the two contrasting concepts of Being & Nothing (Being = Villa as Champions League contenders or Nothing = PL schmucks), while the other side failed to play the winning concept of sublation (Hegel's Becoming), with anything like the clarity, one might expect, from the Villa fans' strike-force of big thinkers. The failure of the 'Becoming' camp to refer to Kant's, Observations on the Feeling of the Beautiful and Sublime, seemed like a gross oversight, as it would have possibly have brought a winning play very early in the game.
It seems likely that the 'Being & Nothing' camp might have countered with some inductive reasoning at this point (an almost predictable move) which would have forced the 'Becoming' camp to reference Hume and trot out his proof that it is logically inadmissible. This would have been very difficult to counter, as determining Villa's future from Villa's past has long been impossible, just as inductive reasoning has been shown to be logically inconsistent. But as is well known, any logic based on induction is always controversial - a problem exacerbated by varying degrees of cogency. The 'Being & Nothing' camp's reliance on the law of the excluded middle was certainly the basis for some strong play. But their failure to establish what actually is (the intractable problem when dealing with the occult world of football), hampered their use of the law of identity, as they struggled to establish a rhetorical bridgehead (see Russell).
As the skirmish petered out, it seemed that the 'Becoming' camp had prevailed by dint of superior numbers and superior dialectics but 'Being & Nothing' had won valuable ground, by silencing the annoying dithyramb and actually questioning expectations. It must be presumed that the 'Being & Nothing' camp, had actually no vested-interest in an outright victory and that had they thought for a moment that victory was actually possible, they would have not made the sortie in the first place.
As of yet, hidden agendas may be apparent but have not been declared. That football should be the cause of such Swiftian imbroglios, should certainly be gratifying, as a diversion from more worldly concerns but it failed to demonstrate the sort of exhilarating and precise by-play, which I usually expect from my fellow Villans.
Obviously, rhetorical and dialectical form cannot be judged properly in the closed season, especially when there is no International tournament to keep Football's thinkers sharp, and it can only be hoped that when it comes to meaningful exchanges, once the season is underway, that the various protaganists will have trimmed down their cognitive waistlines, sharpened up their epistemology and establishing the ontology of fandom, more precisely.
As the season approaches and the Villa squad begins to look a bit thin, it has been adduced by some of Villa's top thinkers, although strictly off the record, that O'Neill's defiance of convention by ignoring the usual obsession with building a substantial squad, is convincing evidence of the nihilism, which is the essential characteristic and the means by which MON will transform into Nietzsche's ▄bermensch (Superman). (see Thus Spoke Zarathustra) Such a metamorphosis may be required should Villa wish to bridge the gulf between the top-four and themselves - conventional safe thinking may not be enough.
By the end of the week, when Birmingham City's plan to sign Mido, was reported to have collapsed, the Villa spirits began to rise and even the rain stopped. But as things stand, the fans still crave another signing they can get excited about and they take consolation from the thought, that the present state of Villa is probably a better reason for present happiness, than owning a property called River View Cottage, down in Gloucestershire.
In the meantime, they can take hope from the words of Kierkegaard: You can never really know. Only have faith.