Charlie’s Challenge

I love Charlie Chaplin’s The Great Dictator, a comedy classic. The movie is greater than the sum of its parts, but one of those parts stands out, the speech Chaplin gives at the end of the movie. In that speech he touches on the hope for humanity, and sets before us a challenge, one to form a more reasoned and compassionate world.

Even on the verge of WWII he offers us a view of what we could be, with the strength of our ingenuity and the force of compassion we could make this world a free and beautiful place. He recognized how modern communications, even back then, held the key to universal brotherhood, that our ablility to communicate with each other would begin to usher in a more enlightened humanity.

Today we still struggle to take on that challenge, to put aside our hate and greed, to view all mankind as our brothers and sisters, to give our youth a future, to give comfort and security to old age, and to give, those who can, a chance to work in humane and equatable conditions.

I watch this speech at least once a month, I like to find new versions that people make, there are some truly entertaining and illuminating ways fans have used this soundtrack with their creative video behind it. I urge all to listen at least once, and even search around the web for fan videos.

To get you started:

The Original

A Stirring Fan Made

For more check out my HubPages article about The Greatest Speech of All Time.



One for the WTF File

Have you heard this one? The Obama campaign is selling a hemp blend scarf to raise money to get Barry elected, meanwhile the DEA still wont let Americans grow hemp domestically. Yup you can get a cotton/hemp scarf at the Barak Obama Store, but you can only grow half the materials to make it the US.

Putting aside the folly of cannabis prohibition in general, why are we not growing hemp? Very many other countries grow commercial hemp, the hemp in this scarf might have come form Canada or China, but not the US. That’s crazy, really it is nuts. This is not your hippie uncle’s grow patch, hemp will not get you high. So why not, that’s the big question, and again it comes down to the stubborn and wrong headed thinking that cannabis belongs in the Schedule One Drug Class.

Hemp has been a crop since before history was recorded, likely one of the first crops mankind developed. It has nearly limitless uses for us humans, and could help in our struggle to reverse climate change. It is a crop that America needs, and has needed in the past, as demonstrated in the Hemp for Victory campaign, when the US encouraged hemp farming to support its effort in WWII.

If the President is going to sell hemp to help himself get re-elected, I think it’s time he told his DEA to back off, and let American farmers grow the stuff.


Resist Not the Unchill

With all the hubbub around the Aurora shooting and anti-gay sandwiches at Chi-Fil-A, Dudeists may be wondering, what can/should we do? The line “this aggression will not stand man” comes to mind, but how is that accomplished? We can’t be lured into using aggression to undo aggression. In the Bible it says, “resist not evil” (Matthew 5:39), to understand that is to know that un-Dudeness can not counter other un-Dudeness. If we get sucked into arguments that go nowhere and just raise the level of disharmony, then we also become part of the problem. 

Two major debates are raging on the internet theses days, gun control and “Chicken-gate”, seems everyone has opinions to share on these topics. Opinions that are, at times, emotionally charged with hyperbolic claims and language, at the heart of these debates is freedom and how different people interpret that freedom.

In the case of Chic-Fil-A, almost no one says that Cathy doesn’t have the right to an opinion, what some are saying is that opinion is wrong minded. Yes he has the right to not recognize gay marriage based on his religious beliefs. But does he have the right to deny others equal opportunity to the basic human right to fall in love and start a family? When I channel my inner Libertarian, I see the rights of those seeking equality of marriage outweigh his right to deny that to them.

It is not a simple case of his having an opinion, it is that he actively donates to organizations that try and strip equal protections from other Americans, and that’s not cool man. However, if we are not careful, we will only make those that hold these ideas more determined to stand their ground, calm reasoned disagreement with out picking a fight is what we are after.

When it comes to the gun control debate, what we need to do is not get too uptight in either thinking, letting this cause us all to lose our shit wont help anyone. Reasoned debate is the order of the day if we want to work on these problems. For some of us, it will be a long time until there is no feeling that we need guns, no matter how soon others of us would like that day to come. If we listen to the wisdom of the Tao, we would not be rash in our haste to restrict gun ownership, or enthusiastic in advancing guns in our society. We shouldn’t let our passions run away from us, we must remain calm and rooted in our belief it can be better, yet flexible enough to to not break when the winds of passion blow.

Frightening Statistics

As Dudeists we get no clear answer to the gun issue from our favorite fictional prophet, the Dude doesn’t tell Walter to not own a gun, just to put the fucking thing away. Ultimately guns are neither the problem or the cause, we don’t want to get all reactionary here, we want to abide, and give the world the option to abide with us.

Probably the most important thing to do is encourage a more peaceful tolerant society, maintain and project the “take it easy” attitude. When debates get too reactionary, we should withdraw, put on our sunglasses and say “fuckit”. If we get drawn into the heat of the moment and let our own opinions rule us we become the aggression we hope to diminish. Sometimes one just needs to sit back and let the Tao run its course.



Whelp that’s like, just my opinion man; putting on my sunglasses.



Former Fictional President Says War on Drugs is “Stupid”

In a recent Newsweek interview accomplished actor Morgan Freeman shared his thoughts on a few issues, of particular note to the limber mind were his thoughts on Marijuana legalization and the Drug War;

“Marijuana! Heavens, oh yeah. It’s just the stupidest law possible, given history. You don’t stop people from doing what they want to do, so forget about making it unlawful. You’re just making criminals out of people who aren’t engaged in criminal activity. And we’re spending zillions of dollars trying to fight a war we can’t win! We could make zillions, just legalize it and tax it like we do liquor. It’s stupid.”

Still, one has to wonder, surely Mr. Freeman knows that a lot of stoners like to get high and watch his Through the Wormhole series on the Science Channel. Is this just a cynical move to increase his ratings? Either way, I’ll be watching the next episode with a limber mind and even greater appreciation for Mr. Freeman.



Take a Seat Man!

One way to help keep the world chill and friendly is to meditate, it opens and relaxes the mind, and helps maintain the take it easy attitude. Something that the world seems a little short on these days. By finding our center and abiding we can help others find their’s, positive change has to start with the individual.

Seated meditation

“As human beings, our greatness lies not so much in being able to remake the world – that is the myth of the atomic age – as in being able to remake ourselves.” Gandhi

There are many forms of meditation available to the novice to explore, what they all have in common is that they ask us to see beyond the ego, to reconnect with the world around us on a more fundamental level. Keeping the mind limber with meditation can have lasting beneficial effects, not just on the practitioner, but on their environment as well.

Read more about meditation here, my HubPages article with an easy exercise to get you started meditating today.