By Lee Glazier
So, I know what you, wait, how do I say this? I know what you think I’m going to say? That doesn’t sound right, does it? I’ll just leave it. You think I’m gonna say: Right Livelihood is No Livelihood, right?
Ha-ha! You’re a funny dude, Dude. But, no, that’s not what I was gonna say. I was gonna say that Right Livelihood is, well, no, you, you were right: Right Livelihood is No Livelihood. I mean, where the hell can we find Right Livelihood anywhere at this point, ya know? Every job that’s available is in some way connected to causing another being harm.
Maybe you work in an office, ya know? Like The Office. Maybe you sell paper there. That’s harmless, right? Everybody needs paper. But what about the phones, desks, and computers you’re using; where did the materials come from to make all that shit? It probably all came from the Third World, Dude; mined and processed by kids making pennies a day.
We got that fruit on the highest branch by standing on others’ backs, man; we’re all part of it somehow, everyone who’s worked, and everyone who’s bought anything.
Wow, this article took a dark turn for the worst. How do I get out of this? Here’s a picture of Keanu Reeves:
Ha-ha, but yeah, things are terrible. It’s possible, ya know, to think we’re following Right Livelihood if we limit our focus. But, Big Picture? No, it’s almost impossible. It was tough in the Buddha’s day, too. Originally, Right Livelihood meant, “Quit your job, leave your family, and become a monk.” They loosened the guidelines a little later on.
Anywho, that’s not what I really want to talk about. What I really wanna talk about is Right Livelihood from a Dudeist perspective. To me, Right Livelihood is: anything that doesn’t directly harm others, cause too much stress, or take too much time away from doing what you love or being with your friends and family. That’s Right Livelihood to me, anyway; I can’t speak for all the Dudeists out there.
Life and work can seem at odds with each other sometimes, can’t they?
We spend so much of our lives working that, if we do something we hate, that basically means we end up hating our lives, ya know? Every job sucks here and there, but when a job sucks every single day—that means we’re either making it suck, or that it’s a dismal pit.
I’m a simple dude. I love lounging, exploring, creating stuff and being with the ones I love; everything else is secondary. So, I think Right Livelihood isn’t just about whether your work causes harm to others, but whether it causes harm to you, too. It’s easy to forget that the way we treat ourselves is included in the ethical part of the Path.
So, from a down-to-earth standpoint, I think Right Livelihood definitely involves steering clear of the, “This job makes me hate my life,” thing. Because, we’ve got to face the facts, man: in the industrialized world, work takes up most of our lives. And if a job is too un-dude, sometimes drastic measures have got to be taken to get the fuck outta there and find something better, even if it means tightening ours belts.
I grew up poor, man, so it’s nothing new to me. You make do with what you have. If kickin’ cans down a road is satisfactory entertainment for Third Worlders, then it can be for us as well. I know it seems like I, uh, outright endorse poverty and anti-success at times. I don’t though, man. I think it’s rad as hell if you can climb the ladder, save up money, make a name for yourself and never live in want of anything. It’s just that it’s so hard to do that without wasting
your life…the simple everyday joys in the process.
Editor: Dana Gornall
“Dude” Lee Glazier is a Dudeist Priest, Zen adherent and Taoist enthusiast from Golden, Colorado. He likes reading, writing, hiking, taking baths, listening to classic rock, drinking White Russians, smoking, and having the occasional acid flashback. The only thing he truly believes is that everyone needs to slow down, mellow out, and unwad their underpants. He feels that that would solve all the world’s problems in a heartbeat. “Do you have the patience to let the mud settle and the water clear?”
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