Monday, December 17, 2007


I listen to "The Big Lebowski" podcast (at as an entertaining discussion of the philosophy behind this rather creative movie. The most recent podcast as of this writing talks about Dude-ism, and in the process presents a website that details this odd religion (although it is more of a philosophy than a religion, but I like the joke). It really is a thinly-veiled homage to the Dude (semi-title character in the movie), but the site itself really prods some deep questions in me.

Religion for me is a touchy subject, and I don't plan to really expound here on my religious beliefs, other than that I do believe that religion is a very private agreement between you and your metaphysics, and shouldn't be aired, even if it influences your judgment. When a faux-religion pops up I do get concerned though, and maybe it's just a silly thought, but what happens in two centuries when your sarcasm is lost and people take it too seriously? At the same time, this is against the very notion of Dude-ism (from the first Dude-etude):
Confronted with this inflexible and unfeeling existence, the Dude in all of us will acquiesce, slyly scribbling a peace sign where a zero might otherwise suffice. “He who gently yields is the disciple of life,” wrote Lao Tzu. That is to say, he abides.

Let's just say that this is not a religion that encourages evangelical action. I find this encouraging. I agree wholeheartedly with the discussion of philosophy, explanation of theology, and exhibition of faith, but I am aghast towards the amount of religious flaming that is present these days, be it about metaphysics, politics, or programming language.

However, this is also not a religion that spurs action, either. One of the greatest promises of religion is its ability to inspire (literally to breathe life into, interpret the etymology as metaphysically as you wish). Dude-ism is actually void of this inspiration, unless you consider the Buddha (I don't mean the reincarnated one). So it instructs you in posture but not in direction.

When I think of my concept of viviomancy, that is one of the most important parts. I do believe in letting the winds direct me, but I also believe in letting the winds inspire and through serendipity excite me. Not all of that can be undirected and messy; as I discussed in my previous post, some inspired actions do take deliberate steps and discipline in order to accomplish. There must therefore be a balance.

While at first this is just a disagreement between my life-view and Dude-ism, it also for me disqualifies it as a religion, and as a philosophical entity loses its pragmatism. Taoism at least encouraged right action and discipline, even if it was restrained and seemingly lacking in form. Buddhism encourages strict adherence to the Precepts in order to encourage peaceful and harmless action.

Sometimes even action is required to abide.

1 comment:

Chalupa said...

Thanks for listening to the podcast. Glad you liked the latest episode. The Dude Abides.