The Greeks were all about trying to define and actualize the good life. To me, the good life is about figuring out your values, and living life with the whole body—not just the mind, and getting to know your basic senses.

By Lee Glazier

“So, she just… didn’t even care… smells funny… applesauce on pancakes, for God’s sake… those freakin’ cats, right?”

“Uhhh…” I’m sorry, I wasn’t listening, “yes?”

“Oh, I’m so glad you agreed. You really get me, ya know that?”

“Far out, man.”

Ya know, man, I don’t really know what’s going on most of the time. Free and easy, Dudes, free and easy. I just never really got the rat-race, ya know? I never got the logic behind it. I never understood how it was supposed to make me happy when I was already happy. And I was never interested in school/office politics.

When I was in grade school, I was always the kid staring out the window. There was an ash tree out there, and I’d just sit and watch the leaves rustle around. I’d watch all the little changes it went through from day-to-day. I dug that tree. I thought that being a tree would be a great career. But then ash borers, man, fuckin’ ash borers. Bunch of nihilists. But, what can ya do?

Omnibus rebus finis est: for all things there is an end. That’s a great reason to carpe diem, right?

We’re taught to, ya know, put aside childish things like dancing in the rain and running naked through cornfields. We’re supposed to keep our eyes on the prize, we’re supposed to win at life. But the Dude Abides, man; that’s the prize. Looking out the window is the prize. Scratching that morning itch that’s on that almost unreachable spot on your back is the prize. Going above and beyond for someone who doesn’t even notice, but doing it anyway because it’s just the way you are—that’s the prize.

The Greeks were all about trying to define and actualize the good life. To me, the good life is about figuring out your values, and living life with the whole body—not just the mind, and getting to know your basic senses. Enjoying simple pleasures from moment-to-moment, and then letting them go when their moment’s done. Like Aristippus said, “I have, but I am not had.” It’s fine (I think) to own the little joys we experience, as long as we aren’t owned by them.

If you string enough little joys together, you create a joyful life.

You open up that window, Dudes, and step outside. And when things get rough, you remember that they won’t be rough forever, because, ya know, omnibus rebus finis est. When everything’s a drag, we can remember the little wonders we’ve known and know that we’ll know more. Even on those darkest days, we can try like hell to find a little light (even if it’s just the feel of your feet being hugged by some comfy shoes).

It isn’t hard to find pleasantness, Dudes. If I take a few deep breaths and pay attention, I notice that just sitting here in this chair feels good. If you’ve gone through a lot of pain in life, then ya start to appreciate the absence of unpleasantness to be itself, uh, pleasant. There’s no neutral, no, “Neither pleasant nor unpleasant,” if ya wanna use the parlance of Zen.

This is all just a, uh, rule of thumb, ya know? I don’t dig dogma. I’m not giving a Dudeist edict of, “You must experience pleasantness at all times,” or some shit like that. Nah, man—loosey goosey, free and easy. I’m ruled by my thumbs, or I live by a series of thumbs. No, whatever, you get what I’m trying to say.

In the end, it just doesn’t make sense to live by someone else’s vision of reality. I dig values, but I try to figure out what my values are on my own. It’s good to have values, especially since we live in kind of a valueless age (thanks postmodernism). When the, “Everything is relative,” view kinda took hold, everyone just kind of lost their minds and abandoned values altogether.

But there’s a, uh, compromise, too. Just because values are relative doesn’t mean values have no value. Something’s valuable to you if you say it is, and no one can disagree with you because they’re not you. The most they can say is, “Well, that’s not valuable to me.” And that’s cool, man, that’s cool.

So, when we figure out what we value and then stick to our values, we live a virtuous life. If we find joy in the little things and touch base with our senses, we live a joyful life. Joy + virtue = the good life.

But, that’s just like, my opinion, man. Whether ya agree or disagree, I’m gonna keep on staring out the window.

 

“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?”

 

Photo: (source)

Editor: Dana Gornall

 

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