As more time goes by and still nobody wants to pay me for these pieces, I post them here for you to enjoy and share with those you care about. Abide, my dudes.
“Sometimes there’s a man… I won’t say hero, ‘cause what’s a hero? Sometimes there’s a man… Well, he’s the man for his time and place.”
I grew up with atheist parents. Not agnostic, mind you; people who straight up believed that there is a rational explanation to every situation one encounters through the course of their life, and a logical, physical cause to everything we see around us. I was told at an early age, in no uncertain terms that there is no God.
There’s a lot of heated debate and good points on either side of that argument, but somehow I’ve just never been interested. In my life, I’ve met many people, both religious and adamantly opposed to the very principle. And in both camps, I’ve met scores of both moral and immoral people, droves of happy and unhappy people, and, all told, a precisely equal number of both the people I admire most and the people that make me most ashamed to be human. So, as I’ve gotten older, I’ve only become more resolute in my apathy as to whether or not there is a Creator, Judge, or Supreme Overseer, because belief clearly has no impact on the quality of one’s life or character.
Then one night, about 6 years ago, as I gawked gracelessly at the internet, I came across the website for the Church of the Latter-Day Dude. Steeped in about as much traditional dogma and pretention as a Grateful Dead concert, the site was obviously a joke, offering comedic renditions of old Taoist texts reimagined through Lebowski-tinted glasses, and a printable Certificate of Ordination. A lover of the Coens’ work, I was amused and decided to “ordain” myself for a laugh. And then, for whatever reason, I read the website’s few pages of “literature,” as asked, before printing out my certificate.
To this day I doubt it was their intent, but somewhere in those few paragraphs, my life changed. Somewhere in the poorly parsed, film-quote-heavy ramblings of a stoner that make up the Faith’s literary cannon was a reference to Lao-Tzu’s fundamental proverb that “The Way is The Way.”
Whatever we call it, the path we walk in life is the path we walk, and our only real choice regards the principles by which we define that path. The Tao is the Tao, whatever you call it, or however you interpret it, and whatever your relation to it. Your only choice is how you define and therefor relate to that path. This hokey novelty religion had opened my eyes to that notion.
The fundamental principle of the Tao of Dude is that “The Dude abides.” Regardless of circumstance, resistance, and outside influence, through “Strikes and Gutters,” The Dude continues, endures and does not allow the hostile forces in our entropic universe to affect him. He is mellow, nonviolent, and largely stoic. He just wants his rug back. He Abides.
As a Dude of the Cloth, it has since been my life’s work to spread this gospel, and remind people – even in the face of ever-growing global horror – to Abide. I understand that for many of us, taking it as easy as The Dude isn’t in the cards. But that’s when I finally figured out what it is that religion does for so many people; it offers them comfort.
As a “much wiser fella than myself” once said, “‘The Dude Abides;’ I don’t know about you, but I take comfort in that. It’s good knowing he’s out there; The Dude, takin’ ‘er easy for all us sinners.”