People want an articulated version of what they already know or agree with — we rarely hear anything ‘new’. ‘Even more rare than daytimes stars’ is the person who comes upon a novel revelation of reality — and traditionally such people were called prophets. Real prophets are few and far between.
There have been a small handful of people in the past few millenium — Buddha, Lao Tzu, Jesus, Shakespeare, Einstein, arguably Jung — who have given us a new orientation — but even they have inherited lineages of knowledge which originate in mysterious primeval sources. Perhaps their sources of wisdom were though entirely unknown luminaries — it’s not like every visionary became a historical figure.
When somebody has a ‘brand new’ remedy for society’s ills—something they have conjured up with ‘all by themselves’—they are most likely a charlatan and may be a dangerous fool. Of course, everyone is a snowflake — a new constellation — and has unique angle of perception. But this doesn’t we should pay attention to their ideology. The first thing to ask is: from what deep well do they draw their inspiration? If these sources are exclusory modern, chances are they are ideologues rather than visionaries, even if they are extraordinarily clever with words.
The reason most utopian experiments fail — if they don’t become genocidal that is — is that they are too shallow and not rooted in the depth of time — they are ‘human all too human’. Certainly, the wisdom of deep, ancient traditions have more reliable information in them about how to live than say, ‘dialectic materialism’ or ‘post-modernism’. Many people these days are bleeding with complexity from reading too much academic ‘theory’ and not enough original source material. They like to have things explained for them and packaged in dogma, and to belong to intellectual tribes. They don’t read Shakespeare, but rather books about Shakespeare, and form opinions from secondary sources — or they get their Shakespeare from Hollywood movies. The latter may be less suspect, actually. Why? Because at least popular movies are more immediate and visceral, and genuinely connected to these archetypes.
Of course, it’s good to have a guide, however the teacher should be a humble servant to the source text rather its master — which is what happens when the disembodied ‘intellectuals’ take over society. The reason that the ancient texts have endured is because they express embodied wisdom, and that wisdom can never be fully spelled out or encapsulated in words. People like theory because it’s fun to get lost in the labyrinth of the mind or to simplify reality with verbal formulas, and because they want to be protected from mysticism or ambiguity. But the mysticism and ambiguity of ancient stories are intentional and rich: they creates a space for contemplation, for expanding intuitive intelligence — they resists reducing life to a flat surface or the sterile known.
If someone can’t be boxed into narrow categories and their sources are deep and ancient, then that person may be worth listening to. The chattering boxes of fashion and theory will be swept away like so many slowflakes.
The Unemployed Samurai then, is the one who is an outsider, precisely because he can’t stomach and doesn’t identify these modern tribes. His allegiance is to something much older, deeper, and more primordial. He finds his place in the world listening the most ancient of streams, which become, paradoxically, new oceans.