By Anika Kreller
1 Why do you think, the Big Lebowski has gathered such a huge and active fan base?
Because it’s much more than just a movie – it’s sort of a work of philosophy and historical analysis. It really helps us make sense of the whole human comedy of life. At first it just seems like a silly movie with a bumbling main character but after you watch it a few times it starts to reveal itself as a story about everything. There is no bottom to it. You can watch it ten or even a hundred times and still see more in it that you didn’t see before. It’s like a hologram for the human condition.
2 Why did you found „Dudeism“?
I had traveled the world for many years and studied many different philosophies and worldviews and while they were all interesting in their own way, they always ended up letting me down. Either they were too strict or too irrational or too smug or too humble. I really liked certain variations on Taoism and Buddhism on one hand and some of the rationalist philosophies of the West like pragmatism and Evolutionary Psychology. But no one system existed that I felt I could subscribe to. Then after seeing The Big Lebowski at a small cafe in Thailand I had a revelation. I realized what form my “ideal” worldview might take and I started working on it after that. I’m still working on it. And lots of Dudeists are helping me.
3 Do you and your fellow Dudeist regard the Dude as a role model? Why?
Many people thing it’s odd that we would look to the Dude as a role model. At first glance he seems like sort of a tragic figure, even a so-called “loser.” But in fact he’s the greatest hero imaginable because he doesn’t play by the rules and expectations of everyone around him, nor society in general. He is totally comfortable in his own skin. Some people miss the point and think you have to be lazy to be like the Dude. What you have to do is be relaxed, and brave, and immune to the dictates of others. You can still be a Dudeist and be a workaholic, for instance. But you have to be working to please yourself and not for the praise of others.
4 What did the Dude teach you about life?
That it was possible to be free. It’s not easy, but it’s possible.
5 Since the topic of the issue is lazyness: Do you regard the Dude as lazy? If not, how would you describe him?
In Dudeism we often say “it’s not so easy to take it easy.” It can take a great deal of work and determination to have a life free of obligation or worry or desire. So while the Dude seems lazy, and even the narrator calls him “high in the running for laziest worldwide” we think that it took a lot of struggle for him to get to that place. Or maybe not struggle, but that he had a great deal of inner strength to get there. Most of us are not so lucky. The reason the Dude is portrayed as lazy is because in a society where everyone is overworked, he represents an idea of heroic freedom. Maybe in a very relaxed society a true Dude would be the guy who was true to himself and worked really hard. We’re not telling people what to do, but trying to suggest that they don’t have to listen to society’s propaganda. That’s why everyone loves The Dude. Because he’s immune to pressure.
Published here in German