A Tale of Two Dudes

Predicting, Describing and Contemplating a Likely Dudeist Schism, and Why it’s a Good Thing.

There are two Dudeisms, two distinct ways of being Dude and they both share the same space. Both inhabit the same church but they have two different ideas about what Dudeism is all about. The great Schism has already begun, which is a good thing Dudes every major “religion” needs to have a schism to be taken seriously.

Hey man, this is a private pilosophy

The Dude lets you know his philosophy is a private thang.

Over the years I have watched this fracture form, and spread across the community, as Dudeists start to gather into the two relative camps that cohabitate within the Dudeism bungalow. It seems to be an inevitability that we will end up with an internal dichotomy, two major Dudeist sects if you will. The question is, will we go the same route as other religious communities and turn on each other? Or will we be one of the few that can take that internal dichotomy and make something truly useful from it?

The Hell You Blathering About?

I’ll tell you what I’m blathering about. There are two types of Dudeist out there, the Lifestyle Dudeist and the Engaged Dudeist, they hold very different opinions about what the direction of Dudeism should be, and how to go about getting there.

The Lifestyle Dudeist is content to just be, to live as the Dude and abide individually. They resist any sort of structure within Dudeism, they may even see it as a threat to what is most important about being Dude. The Lifestyle Dudeist wants Dudeism to remain intensely individual and sees acquiring buildings and titles as the first steps out onto the slippery slope that leads to (gasp) organized religion.

The Engaged Dudeist is compelled to reach out into the world, to bring Dudeism into the conversations of politics and society, they are willing to tentatively embrace some church structure, they want to see brick and mortar churches with priests that wear titles. Not in a clinging way, but organized with the understanding that it is just labels to help communicate ideas, a sort of shorthand, not in any sense “real”.

Can these two opposing views share space within Dudeism? Yes they can and should, what may seem to be troublesome or even corrosive from a distance, is actually  a source of potential strength for both schools of Dudeist thought.

This internal struggle is probably the best development, if not unavoidable, for Dudeism, this dichotomy will be a source of energy and dynamics for our beloved “church”. One should not view this as a terrible state of affairs, but as the give and take of the Yin Yang, the tension that breathes life and seeks abiding balance. It may be that if we all agreed about what Dudeism is then Dudeism might become irrelevant, and I don’t believe either side wants that. We should embrace the two Dudes, love the controversy and feed the dichotomy. The trick will be in how to allow a schism to propagate without letting it cut too deeply into the overall unity of Dudeism.

Essentially all religions have gone through splitting into distinctive sects, one only has to look to see how Christianity has split itself into many disparate forms of the theology. All the Biblical religions have divided, even the divisions have divided themselves to the point that there are tens of thousands of distinctive types of Christians. The Muslim schism is still drawing blood today, and even Judaism is far more fractured than most people realize. Not reserved to the tribes of Abraham, we see how Buddhism has two very distinct schools of thought, and beyond that there are many different “paths” for the Buddhist to follow, Zen, Shambhala and Tibetan just to name a few. Even Taoism has the mystical and the philosophical divide, the two barely resemble each other.

So Dudeism is far from unique when it comes to disagreement within its own ranks, but it may however be unique in its ability to maintain both schools with out turning them against each other. This may be the greatest challenge that Dudeism will face, to hold two seemingly opposing ideals in the same hand and not drop them. To nurture them both as siblings, sprung from the same mother, and live as brothers under the same roof. To do this will take a deep understanding of the two Dudes, how they are the same and how they are different from each other.

The Lifestyle Dudeist

The Lifestyle Dudeist only wants his rug man. What I call the Lifestyle Dudeist here is the Dude that wants to just live life in accord with Dudeist wisdom, to find his path to abiding in simply being Dude.

Their idea of Dudeist community is informal forums and the occasional J circle, nothing resembling structured churches. They are cautious if not out right resistant to trying to define what Dudeism is or is not. Preferring to let the rest of the world carry on without using Dudeism to try and influence its direction. What the squares do is no concern of the lifestyle Dudeist, what’s important is his relation to Dudeism, not Dudeism’s relation to the world at large. I almost want to use the term Hermetic Dude, but it may carry a negative connotation that I would prefer to avoid.

This is not to say the lifestyle Dudeist is not concerned with the state of affairs humanity finds itself in, rather that their chosen course of action is to influence by example. Representing a purity of Dudeist thought, in that they look to what changes they can make to themselves to effect greater contentment within their environment.

The Engaged Dudeist

Prosyltizing Dude

The Engaged Dudeist wants to expand his Dudeism beyond the personal into the outer spaces, seeks a definition of Dudeism that he can present to the world at large, and welcomes a structure to Dudeism, so long as it is not too rigid.

Both the Hermetic and Engaged Dude see that a true and binding definition of Dudeism is a fools errand, but the Engaged Dudeist is willing to take on a working definition as a means of explaining to non Dudeist what it is we are all about. Also to give some method for examining what may or may not be Dude.

The Two Dudes are two halves of the whole, individually we are Dudeists, together we are Dudeism.

Like the Yin and Yang, the two ends of the Dude spectrum are a potential source of dynamics that can energize both the Engaged Dude and the Lifestyle Dude. Through their debates and disagreements they seek the way of the Dude together, one informing the other’s Dudeism. This inner struggle to find out what it means to be Dude is of utmost importance to all Dudes. If any “religion” can manage a schism with tolerance and a take it easy attitude, it is Dudeism. Celebrate the the diversity of Dudeism, it is our hidden strength.

 What do you think? Comments always welcome!

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38 thoughts on “A Tale of Two Dudes

    • More of a prediction based on observations made at the Dudeism Forum. Trying to get out ahead of it before it becomes a bad thing.

  1. I’m totally happy being a lifestyle Dudeist. I seek to go through life as effortlessly and majestically as The Dude. I am therefore totally content to applaud those Dudes who seek to let others know of the awesomeness that is being a Dude. I may even seek out such organized Dudes as may exist to partake in a J circle. And if you disagree, well then like.. that’s just your opinion, man. To each Dude his own.

    Pardon me while I go top up my White Russian.

  2. Seems to me that these fellow dudes are just following their dudely nature. Just as it is one Dude’s nature to abide it is another Dude’s nature to move.

  3. I dig this style of thinking Dude. i think that this somewhat embodies what sothis personal dichotomy is a real bummer sometimes man. me Dudes are already experiencing on a personal level. at least this Dude does. the desire to let others know this style of living and then at the same time just live it and not care. which is the purest expression Dude. but thats just like my opinion man.

    if one gave a damn about accomplishment the ability to keep a schism like this from devolving into violence would be a great accomplishment indeed for the Dudeist Way. while it wont devolve into violence i see that it could create a toxic environment. therefore i propose that whenever two Dudes are gathered and discussing the different philosophies in the Dude Way that at any time they feel the discussion is getting too heavy, bothersome, maddening or any other negative style feeling they should utter the words: “Fuck it, Dude. Let’s go…..” (fill in the blank).

    Aw, Hell. im ramblin again.

  4. The “engaged” Dude sounds a little to close to the evangelical Dude for my tastes. Don’t get me wrong, I share the Dudes wisdom with those ready to revive it. I just can’t see door to door conversion, or other active recruitment. It’s just not dude like.
    Why would dudeists need a brick and mortar church? We have bowling lanes in every town. Roll a few games drink a few white Russians, or oat sodas, and celebrate the Dude. A separate church would require a dudeist mass. And formal Dude dogma. “Yea, it came to pass that a new rug comeith unto my apartment. Unsoiled by Woo, but unbeknownst to me a source of sorrow and pain”
    That’s just like my opinion man, May the Dude be with you.

      • Not really saying to go door to door or to spread the Dude word in any way like that, meant more like help at a soup kitchen kid of thang. It’s an eastern thing, Engaged Buddhism is the model I was going for, certainly not Mormons or Evangelicals.

      • New shit has come to light man. My mind had got way to uptight, and I never made the simple literal translation of that quite “Jesus had to go door to door” until you said it just now. Now it has taken a WHOLE NEW MEANING!!! I dig your style man.

    • Yeah, I hope not. These things are hard to discuss without invoking thoughts of Catholics or Evangelicals. But I draw my inspiration from Engaged Buddhism. The Dude himself, Jeff, is a self described Engaged Buddhist member of the Zen Peacemakers. This is more what I was referring to, but with even less organization and ritual. Think, even more Zen than Zen.

  5. As long as there is homogeneous communications and we are above all “dudes”, then hells ya…

    Best Regards,
    Dudiest Priest

  6. The only brick-and-mortar gathering place for Dudeists should be a bowling alley. So called “engaged Dudeists”, you’re out of your fucking element.

  7. I’m not sure, but I’d guess the word “should” might not be a good one to use in the same sentence with the word “dude.” But I could be wrong.

  8. This article freaked me out man. I thought it said “with priests that wear TIES”. I didn’t have buddies die face down in the muck to wear a… wait what? Oh, TITLES! Alright man, that’s cool then. Had me there for a second.

    If The Dude and Walter can make it work I think we’ll be fine together cohabitating the same lane.

  9. In my opinion, a brick and mortar church is not really the dude way. I agree with my fellow brethren that a bowling ally or a J circle should be enough. Our philosophy is very much about the strikes and the gutters and tying our rooms together. But as the Film points out with its brilliant opening, we go tumbling along just as the tumble weed. We can roll our games at whatever ally we happen to be in, and that rug can tie any room together, we should just go tumbling along.
    Take er easy.

  10. I can see the distinction between lifestyle and engaged Dudeists. I like the aspect of Dudeism which involves a lack of structure and general abiding but mainly a lack of preachyness. The description in this article of limberity makes engaged dudeists sound a bit preachy. Preaching tends to bring about an undudely reaction which leads to the Walters of many walks of life pulling guns in the bowling alleys of the world. Anyway, that’s just my opinion man.
    Abiding here with my beverage, dude….

    • I see where you’re coming from, not really what I meant, was thinking like volunteer stuff not sermony door to door stuff or churches in the sense Christians would mean it. Clubhouses, sanctuaries, relaxation stations would be better descriptors for what I had in mind.

  11. Are there Engaged Dudeists? I’ve never heard of such a thing. Are you sure you’re not making this up?

    But you know, fuck it. Differences are cool, man. Let us all go bowling.

    • Well, yeah, kinda. Strictly speaking I’m stealing the idea, from the Engaged Buddhists. The Dude himself, Jeff, runs with the Engaged Buddhist group the Zen Peacemakers.

  12. I suppose I’m a bit of the Engaged Dudeist who’d like to see places in the community at large to peacefully, non-aggressively spread the Lifestyle Dudeist example. A sort of meeting place with a loosely arranged liturgy (good tunes, jokes, some discussion, beers), a bowling team – some exploration of existentialism and the mysteries of life. Or not. Nothing too heavy, in any case.

    • Sounds same as the local bowling ally or my front porch. Put a table in the driveway a keg at the end of that, and wo la .
      I’m the only person in my neighborhood ta have a pick nick table in the front yard, and everyone uses it and that’s cool with me. We chill, talk, and have a beverage or two or three.. Sorry My point is your wanting something you all ready have but can’t see man. It don’t take anything ta share the greatness which is you.

  13. Concerns and worries are only stumbling stones man.
    If one of your own has the gumption to throw some sick and stones together ta have a place ta chill, I say cool man. Sticks and stone can not break what we know to be true. I say build that shack, but leave the door open for those of us that just want ta hang, drop some wisdom, and then mosey on back home.
    For me, my “church” is in my car, on my couch, and on the porch. Where ever I my be , I my be me. I have a lot of type “A” personalities in my world, and I can’t change them, nor do want to, BUT they all know where ta come , chill, prop their feet up, have a beverage, and spread out on a rug that pulls it all back together if only for a moment. It’s where this Dude Abides. They need me just as much as I need them, and in the big pic that’s what it really is all about , filling the needs brother , filling the needs.
    This take use back to the beginning “concerns and worries”. I’ve been the pins man, and hell I’ve been the ball, but with age I’ve learn I’m just the bowler. Waiting for someone ta yell “Robert your up”. I take my time, use may skills, and dealing with how it falls down. We all want that perfect score, win or loose we all have ta polish off our balls and go home. They just want that perfect score so bad, a trophy you might say. I’m just enjoying the game man. Enjoy the Game.

  14. So as a fellow duderino, i have been fascinated with the tragic hero and how he/she (we need more shes) has risen to the forefront again as a product of postmodernism. Some of my favorite movies, until recently i did nt even know why, were celebrating the tragic heros ‘in the parlance of our times’ such as homer simpson, office space’ peter wiggins + munson in Kingpin and ferris bueller to an extent.

    I think the coen brothers have a really tight understanding of where we have ended up philosophically as far as westerners are concerned and their supporting characters in the movie all reinforce the role of the dude today. from the opening credits, to the dudes alter ego the ‘BIG’ lebowski, who plays the modern hero, rich successful built on hard work and never got a dime from anyone, notice how his old (school) and now ‘invalid’.

    The interest in the tragic hero took me back to Oedipus the king, supposedly the best tragic hero character ever (just an amazing set of events, poor guy) and through Odysseus to modern – postmodern interpretations in james joyce novels (well reverse actually). The Dude is HCE, Leo Bloom and was Stephen Daedalus. more recently a quote from infinite jest that could have influenced the coen’s, ‘But what comes next? What North American hero can hope to succeed the placid Frank? We await, I predict, the hero of non-action, the catatonic hero, the one beyond calm, divorced from all stimulus, carried here and there across sets by burly extras whose blood sings with retrograde amines.’ DFW that echoes the dude.(and walter at the end)

    I like where the premise of the article is going but would like to go alittle further as to appease the haters of change, to more of a revisionist view of Dudeism, than a schism. As a hedonist, with a friend of mine we wrote the hedonist bible, it had the definition of hedonism on the first page and the rest were blank. we saw the pitfalls early, you just cant kill the curiosity! This small itch will lead you to learn and actually do loads of things that never even come close to feeling like work and at any time you can just dude it with a caucasian, or drink of choice, or spark one and wait for the curiosity to come back, if it doesnt, no dramas, just abide.

    So to wrap up the philosophical vibe, I would say take a look at metamodernism.com, a progression from postmodernist hedonism and emptiness to a flux or oscillation (going with the flow) between the 2 dudes and can maybe shed light on how the tale of the two dudes is supposed to end. Unlike the dude though he never felt the need to elucidate his dudeness even under extreme stress, he was just the dude, just is, but when it comes time to act or stop being, there should be a dudely way of doing it.

  15. Hey man, I’m getting really negative vibes fellow duderino and a schism is like uh very un-dude man. I mean uh the followers are like the rug man and does the rug not tie the room together?

    • Yes, but the rug has many colors and shapes in its pattern. My point is, like the rug, we can very different and still be of the same weave.

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