The Unemployed Samurai is a monster. But unlike an ordinary monster, he knows it to some degree. The thing is with people who have been cast out of their fiefdom, who have been subject to some wrongdoing, perceived or real, (which means just about everybody) is that they have a choice: they can become a professional victim or an Unemployed Samurai. Only in the honest recognition of one’s potential monstrousness, can a person, paradoxically, be a superhero (or an Unemployed Samurai, who is a superhero in training).
What’s the difference? The professional victim doesn’t know they are a monster. The believe that they are acting in every case for the good. And, despite good intention they are dangerous: firstly to themselves and then, by proxy, to others. The one who thinks he or she is a only a ‘good person’ builds up a great deal of venom within him or herself. Why? Because, although that person may have genuine goodness, they also have hidden monsters, unacknowledged and unseen, which attack them on an unconsious level. The ‘shadow reaches all the way down to hell’ as Jung put it.
To pretend that we are not potentially a monster is to lie to ourselves and refuse to acknowledge the honest feedback which life offers us; fake innocence belies immaturity and lack of humility and has the potential for pathology. The faux victim will take refuge among the dammed, aligning with others who have the same resentful, sometimes murderous, mentality.
The venom needs to been seen and transformed and a forgiving attitude is key. After all, we have all felt murderous, we have all felt victimized, we have all been betrayed once or twice. It is a terribly sad position to be a professional victim, and it deserves our pity — though not our support.
Self-honesty, even more than self-improvement, is our key to liberation, and awareness that we all have this venom in us is the first step. Eventually, we will be able to dip our arrows in poison and become powerful in a positive sense, vastly more so than we were when we were merely innocent. But only if we have fully embodied and tamed our monster, can we shoot our virtuous arrows into the world. The rest is training in self- honesty and vision, and developing, little by little, the eyes to look into those dark caves of our own selves, where truly terrifying creatures live.
Often there is a big gap between how people act and what they say, and this is a sure sign that the monster has not been seen or integrated. They speak with considerable grandiloquence, they are wordy and defensive, they will do almost anything so as not to look this monster — and who can blame them (or us)? It’s quite easy to see this in others, but who wants to see that within one’s own self? Nobody. This is hard as hell to do, and will require something akin to a religious conversion — one’s entire ego facade will have to be crushed and a new being made.
It’s also good to know that most people will not dare look in those dark places and that nothing you can do will cause them to look there. You don’t want to look their either—but you might have to when a dragon appears in full view in front of you. There will be no choice then but to acknowledge it’s existence and then decide how to act. Our choice is usually ‘fight or flight’, and both options are terrible. For the latter, we might need a great deal of Samurai training and monster awareness. Our innocence will be useless on that battlefield unless we have developed x-ray vision, poison arrows, and sharp teeth.