“The Stranger: The Dude abides. I don’t know about you but I take comfort in that. It’s good knowin’ he’s out there. The Dude. Takin’ ‘er easy for all us sinners. Shoosh. I sure hope he makes the finals.”
Once Upon A Time there was a film by the Coen Brothers called The Big Lebowski. It was a film about friendship, bowling, White Russians, vaginas, a girl named Bunny who’ll suck your cock for 1000$ , nihilists, a marmot, rolling on the Shabbas, I Am The Walrus, a ringer, a Special Lady & an iconic figure named The Dude. Some loved it. Some hated it. A lot of people really loved it. & so Lo! & Behold! Dudeism was born. Uh, excuse me, what day is this? What is Dudeism exactly?
Rev. Ed Churchman is here to explain what Dudeism means to him.
When asked to write a short article about what Dudeism means to me, it conjurors up the instant fact that Dudeism is a very personal and interpretive religion. Some might not even really qualify it as a religion, but to me, and this is just, like, my opinion, a religion can simply be described as a belief in the way things are. Now, some religions focus on God or Gods, and some on the cycle of life, death and rebirth and some on the nature of life. What they all have in common is that they have a firm view of existence and the nature of the universe, as diverse as they may be. I’d say that puts Dudeism in the running for a religion, as we certainly have a view on the world as we see it. But, it is a limited view, as we don’t really look beyond the here and now. Forget the other end of time and space, forget life on Mars, forget the afterlife and some big-wigs sitting on clouds throwing lightning bolts and playing chess with Mr Hobbs, we’ve got a life to live now. Later is later. It’s a long enough way to Tipperary, without thinking about travelling beyond ‘the veil’.
So, if we don’t concern ourselves with God and the afterlife and the universe, what do we concern ourselves with? Well, dudes, we try not to concern ourselves at all. Dudeism is about enjoying life as it comes without worrying about what might await us in the future. We try to live well, and that’s not necessarily in the materialistic sense, in fact by freeing ourselves from worrying about that sort of thing we can appreciate the simple things. You have to find your own happiness in life, but with that comes the realisation of what really does make you happy, not what you merely perceive to do so.
Dudeism shares some common grounds with both Taoism and Buddhism. It’s a very gentle religion that focuses on a harmony with ones self and those around them. Where Taoism tells us about the flow of the universe Dudeism is very much about the flow of human life. We don’t like to over-think or over-complicate things, we’d much rather just go ahead and get on with enjoying things. Through this flow of life we hope to achieve a higher state, much like the Buddhists wish to become Buddhas themselves, to place their souls outside the cycle of suffering, we aspire to become Dudes and place ourselves outside the obstructions of stress and unhappiness that seek to staunch the smooth flow of our lives.
My view of Dudeism is that if we can sort out the lives we have, here, now, on Earth, in our limited lifetimes, we’ve won the only battle we know we’re going to fight. If it turns out we get another life after that either we’re better equipped to go on ahead, or, if it’s a do-over, we might not have so much baggage hanging around from the last trip. It’s impossible to know what’s ahead, and as an agnostic I can’t rule out anything happening, so let’s not worry about working it out, let’s go with what we know. Human life.
If we’re lucky we’ve got a hundred years in us to enjoy the sights and sounds and whathaveyou of the world we live in, most of us don’t get more than half that. And yet, in spite of that, people do spend an awful lot of this time putting themselves out gambling on what they might have to look forward to (or not, as the case may be) in the future. Each to their own, man, each to their own. We don’t preach here, we’ll give you our opinion if you want, but that’s all it is.
Sometimes people can be overcome by a sense of serenity later in life. It happened to Hergé (the Belgian comic book artist behind Tintin) for example, he just mellowed towards the end of his life, giving up on some of the bad qualities in his younger years, a changed man to all his friends and family. You might have seen it yourself with someone you know; I personally hope this will happen to me at some point. At the moment I can still commit stresspasses every week or so, or run myself ragged, but with Dudeism in mind I hope to beat these things into a sleepy submission in time. In search of serenity I go, looking to smile from now until they all parade past my open coffin. And, if I’m really there by that time, I hope to overcome rigor mortis and be the first laid-back, limber corpse. Still, we live in hope, and as I always say, hope is a four-letter word.
The ethos of Dudeism is different for each person, but the basic principles are universal. Each person adds their own little nuance to the framework, and sometimes they share it around, and so we’re a constantly evolving philosophical movement. It makes me feel a part of something, let me tell you, to be able to get involved in a global community of likeminded individuals as a society of equals. Some might think that Dudetopia would be our equivalent of Nirvana, a perfect afterlife of big comfy recliners, an open bar and bowling alleys without noisy children or loud pop-music being pumped across the lanes. But to others, Dudetopia is something we can create for ourselves. Cometh the Dude, cometh Dudetopia. It’s a bit like Zen, but with a cooler soundtrack. But that, of course, is just like, y’know, my opinion, man.