Why does the Samurai say ‘Good morning!’ to whomever he meets? Notwithstanding the fact that he is homeless and unemployed, that the waters are rising everywhere, and that life is chocking with debacle and disappointment — what is what is so dammed good anyway?
It’s easy to conclude that life is a bust. And even if we live in an apparently peaceful part of the world, we are still dumbfounded witnesses to endless tragedy; not to mention our own eventual sickness, old age and death of the body. The environment is collapsing, and we are slowly caving in. In those circumstances, what does good morning even mean?
And why do we reply when a total stranger inquires into our state of being: I’m doing pretty good. Our dog just got hit by a truck, our aging mother has Alzheimer, the wife is in bed with the neighbour — and there is a manic in the white house with the nuclear codes. And as we get older, the body becomes so disfigured and full of aches and pains that it’s hard to drag it out of bed in the morning to go to work, where we spend all day putting numbers into excel charts. It looks pretty apocalyptic, objectively speaking. And young people cannot fully appreciate this, or deeply imbibe real impermanence.
Ever since the dawn of recorded history people have been waiting for the apocalypse. But the end-times are built right into this very body. We are a ticking time bomb, and every road leads to extinction. But, isn’t materiality is in itself an apocalypse, and isn’t every-thing subject to entropy and decay? There is a brief spring in our lives where we are young and beautiful, but we tend to waste that on emotional chaos and inanities, and then spend the rest of our sorry days trying to pick up the pieces. We are like the guy in the Monty Python skit on his bicycle, who keeps getting hit by a car over and over again, but then gets up and says, ‘no worries, jolly good, keep a stiff upper lip… .’
So why the hell do we say ‘I’m Ok’ when we obviously aren’t. Are we lying? Are we simply saving face? Actually, I would say, no. It’s perfectly legitimate to say that everything is pretty good, if you are an unemployed Samurai, that is. A positive affirmation of existance indicates a larger, more panoramic view of reality, a metaphysics of goodness, truth and beauty—not mere social politeness. This is basic faith, and reasoned action. It is not the hope that the flying spaghetti monster god will save us: it the faith to get out of bed in the morning and actually confront the daily slaughter that awaits us, with relish and determination, and at times with a kind of crazy unmeasured joy.
Another clue to why every morning is actually a ‘good morning’, is built into the word apocalypse: From wilkepedia: ‘An apocalypse is a disclosure of knowledge or revelation … a disclosure of something hidden, a vision of heavenly secrets that can make sense of earthly realities”.
The reason the Samurai says good morning, is that he knows the reward of working towards ‘a vision of heavenly secrets that can make sense of earthly realities’. Actually, those heavenly secrets are earthly as well, and in plain view. The world is too rich, over-endowed with wonder, too extraordinary, too beautiful for our jaded sight. To witness a grasshopper washing a raindrop off his wing, should make us weep at the sheer beauty. That in itself is ‘a vision of heavenly secrets’ — if we can see it, that is.
The Unemployed Samurai has had a glimpse of the pure land. That is good enough for him to say, ‘good morning’ to whoever he meets — even if his enemies have him surrounded. He knows this vision and radical faith cannot be taken away from him, and his panoramic view stays with him at all times. Belief in ‘Good morning’ may be as valuable a faith as any kind of belief in a transcendental god.
However, his faith is not directed towards a world of mere objects or things which he knows will fall apart fast, but to the indwelling holy spirit, which animates this whole orgiastic display. The Unemployed Samurai is drunk with the liquor of eternity.