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.
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
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.