Word Count: 650 | Estimated time to read entry: 6 min
I recently came across this Joel and Ethan Coen movie called ‘The Big Lebowski’. For those who haven’t had the good fortune to see it yet, the movie is about an unemployed guy called Jeff Lebowski (Jeff Bridges) who insists he be called ‘The Dude’. His only priced possession, a carpet, gets urinated upon by money recovery agents, due to a case of mistaken identity after which The Dude sets out to find the real person whom the harm was intended, seeking compensation. The actual person, also a Lebowski (and hence the confusion), is a super-achiever with multiple decorations, riches, a sizzling hot wife and all that any ambitious fellow in the world craves for. The movie then goes on about how The Dude is asked to undertake some assignments by various family members of the other Lebowski, how he gets duped by all and how his two close friends superbly “assist” him in all his endeavors.
On first watch, I dismissed this movie as mindless, stupid and idiotic. But now that I take a relook at all of The Dude’s pursuits, I find it almost Messianic. Here is why:
- The Dude is unemployed. He lives on dole and moves about without a cent in his (torn) pockets. The metaphorical meaning of which is that he is not greedy and doesn’t seek more than what is necessary. True to the teachings of the Buddha, he follows the middle path of neither too much nor too less, but just enough. And since he doesn’t carry any money on him, he doesn’t tempt others into sin.
- The Dude never bears any ill-will against anyone. The only philosophy in his life is ‘The Dude Abides’, meaning he accepts things as they come, isn’t bothered by people who duped him or wronged him and moves on without any feelings of remorse or revenge. He is a living embodiment of Christ’s saying, “Forgive and you shall be forgiven. Blessed are ye, if men revile you, persecute you and say all manner of evil against you falsely for my sake for great is thy reward in heaven”.
Well, you don’t have to be religious to appreciate The Dude because he illustrates a life of no responsibilities, no accomplishments, no ambitions and therefore, no worries, no consequences, no disappointments. Without any of the things that is “supposed” to make one happy – a job, a house, a great car, a wife, children, social security, medical insurance, a social circle (no, not even Facebook!), riches and fame, The Dude drives home the fact that you actually don’t need any of this to be “happy” – if that is what you care for.
So if your goal is to be Happy and not Rich or Famous or Someone important, you must perhaps watch this film. The philosophy of The Dude is one of no philosophy; his aim is that of no aim; his ambition is to have no ambition and his goal is to have no goals whatsoever. In short, The Dude tells one that you don’t have to be ‘Successful’ to be ‘Happy’ because Successful is what everyone else tells you; Happy is what only you can tell yourself.
And The Dude is perhaps a litmus test who separates the Happiness seekers from the Success seekers – if you find the movie and this blog entry stupid, idiotic and mindless (like I first did, until I ‘woke up’) and The Dude a wastrel, a useless no-gooder then you are clearly a Success seeker. All the best mate, see you on top of Forbes!
But if Happiness is what you seek, I suggest you take a relook at your priorities, the things you are chasing and the things that are chasing you. If you really look at it, you don’t need much to be happy. Not much at all. All you need to do is say, “The Dude abides”! 😀
Blogger’s after-thought: If you are fascinated/obsessed by The Dude, you might want to know more about the philosophy called Dudeism on Wiki, after which you might want to get yourself officially ordained into Dudeism by the Church of the Latter-day Dude, buy some gear online at the Dudeism Store and check out other great Dudes of History. And for the Dude’s Anthem, check out ‘Looking out my back door‘ by Creedence Clearwater Revival at Grooveshark and the lyrics of this song on lyricsfreak.com.