These series of essays are an attempt describe the noble person, the one who is governed by something other than a murderous ideology, and as a consequence may be spiritually homeless.
Of course, there are philosophies that would say the noble person is a construction (post-modernism) or an illusion (Buddhism/Advaita). The former, for all its charming verbiage, has been pretty thoroughly debunked with performative contradiction (If you say there are no absolutes, you are making an absolute statement. If you say there is no author to a text, then who the hell is just wrote that?). The Buddhist’s say that there is ‘Buddha Nature’ and the Hindus say there is Atma (the transcendental soul) — so the ancient traditions don’t fall victim to nihilistic or materialistic philosophies, even if they are picked-up by people who do.
In any case, I’m not interested in the fine points of these philosophical discussions here. The point is, in this time of ideological noise, the noble person is somewhat of an outsider, a trickster, a loose cannon. This is nothing new and may have always been the case: each era has its denial of intelligence, it’s denial of individuality, it’s denial of loving relationship, it’s denial of the noble person. The noble person is denied because he or she is too bright a light for the general murkiness, and because he or she doesn’t play ideological games.
The difference between being an ideologue and a true philosopher is that the ideologue dispenses ready-made formulas for action and behaviour. One can easily parrot Marxist or Christian or Pagan or Feminist or New Age or whatever stock ideologies because they are convenient and easy to assemble like Ikea Furniture. Ideologies put reality into convenient boxes; you can use them wily-nily in any discussion and appear to be furnished with intelligence. Upon investigation, ideologies are cheap and flimsy and without character; they fall apart easily when put in the light. However, to the furniture maker of quality, to extend the analogy, or the real philosopher, or the unemployed samurai, they are anathema. Why? Because they are merely conceptual rather than deeply felt or reasoned truths; they do not reach the living world, but rather form a kind of fog over all existence.
However, this fog is comfortable for masses of people who prefer to live in a dank pond than in the bright sunlight. And this is why the Unemployed Samurai is alone and without a noble friend. His enemy is bad furniture, verbiage, and spiritual pollution of all kinds.
So then, what is the noble person? To start with the noble person is the one who tells the truth. And by that I don’t necessarily mean in words, but in action and example. The noble person then faces the consequences of the truth, which aren’t always pretty. But he’d rather be killed by poison arrows, than live a life that is shallow, petty and mean — he’d rather be unpopular than a pop star who dispenses clichés. He has a real integrated character, not a post-modern, patchwork one.
However, telling the truth doesn’t mean to aggressively shout people down or convert them to your viewpoints necessarily. The unemployed Samurai also uses silence to speak, and invisibility to move though the world.