Dude’s Book Review: Dead White Guys [Because Parental Units are Expected to “Know All About Life.”]

Little Dude ~ Yes you do; you know all about life!

I dig philosophy.

We’re all philosophers at heart.

Whether we realize it for not, we search for answers to life’s unanswerable questions. At some point, we realize that we don’t know…and no one does!

At that crossroads, we can throw on the blinders and slip into the cultural norms guided by powers beyond our control, or we can dig deeper and build a personal philosophy that can guide our life.

This personal structure is unique for everyone. Where to start? Who to trust? What is really important?

Luckily there have been very rad dudes (and ladies too) raising these same questions for a loooong time. Dudes like Plato, Socrates, Machiavelli, and many more.

Unfortunately, it’s easy to be swept away by the cultural stream, and for the vast majority of us, we’re not exposed to great thinkers until it’s too late.

Perhaps this is by design.

If people think less and follow more, it sure is easier to guide them.

In the end, we are all responsible for ourselves. And self-education is a primary responsibility.

However, as every parent knows, for the first 18 years, it is our responsibility to mold those young minds. And those young minds depend on us to “know all about life.”

Little Dude: Why can’t girls have boys names?

Dude: I don’t know. (It was early; I weaseled out.)

Little Dude: (Offended now) Yes you do; you know all about life!

How cool is that?! Our kids actually think we know all about life! Awesome.

Perhaps we didn’t get a great education. Or pay attention to that education. But it’s not too late. Not too late for you, and not too late for the little ones that think we have a clue. It could be years before they’re on to us!

Take the blinders off and start to build your personal philosophy. As a result, the little ones will start to build their philosophy too.

A few weeks ago I was asked to review a book called “Dead White Guys.” I’m asked to review books from time to time, and most of the time I decline without much thought.

I have enough to do/read without spending time on unsolicited books. But this one grabbed my attention. As the subtitle says, “A father, his daughter, and the great books of the western world.”

That’s got Dude written all over it. And it didn’t disappoint.

The book is written as a father passing down advice to his child. The advice just happens to be based on some of the greatest minds in history. The book is filled with compelling stories, heart-felt examples, and the loving guidance that only a parent can share with a child. It felt like me, talking to my kids, through the book.

Matt Burriesci is a talented writer that shares a great view of brilliant historic thinkers.

We all need to spend time with these philosophers. But our kids who depend on us to “know all about life” need this guidance now more than ever.

The world is a crazy place. Powers are fighting for your kids’ attention. If you don’t take it, someone/thing else will.

Build your personal philosophy, and help the kids start to build theirs. “Dead White Guys” is a great place to start.

Nice work Mr. Burriesci.

Big Lebowski Buffet

The Dude

The Dude

I’ve professed my love for The Big Lebowski in the past.

The Dude abides. And that’s a nice way to live life.

I’m always excited to come across something Lebowski related, and this week I was blessed with three Dude sightings in my online travels.

A bit of a Big Lebowski Buffet to share with you…

1. An Esoteric Take on The Big Lebowski

This article gives a nice, quick history of The Big Lebowski, and digs into what makes The Dude so great – in this Dude’s humble opinion any way – The Dude’s approach to life.

The spiritual, philosophical, or esoteric undertone of The Big Lebowski that is oh so groovy. This is the idea behind Dudeism – by the way, I’m ordained. ūüėČ

Here’s a taste of what the article offers about The Dude’s groovyness…

  • [N]othing seems to phase the Dude. Yes, he gets angry (to the point that Walter tells him: “Come on. You’re being very unDude.”), swears constantly, and talks back to Walter and many other unreasonable people who seem to surround him like mosquitoes, but soon he will be stirring himself another White Russian, or will have a smoke, or relax in a warm bath.
  • Occasionally he resorts to the gentle movements of Tai chi to keep stress at bay. Like a mystic, he focuses on the big picture. Better yet, like a true mystic, he doesn’t focus at all.
  • There is something transcendental about this: the Dude rises above all circumstances.
  • Dudeism: Much has been made of Dudeism, a philosophy of life inspired by the Dude. But there’s nothing new in this, as he seems to belong in the great stream of Philosophia Perennis which, down the millennia, has produced strikingly similar concepts even if expressed in different ways and from different cultures and ages. And in fact the proponents of Dudeism cite Lao Tzu, Epicurus, Heraclitus, the Buddha, and the pre-ecclesiastical Jesus Christ as examples of ancient Dudeist prophets.
The Dude and the Zen Master

The Dude and the Zen Master

2.  The Dude and the Zen Master

Is Jeff Bridges The Dude in real life? He just might be. Here’s a new book with Bridges and his Zen Master/friend Bernie Glassman – The Dude and the Zen Master. I’m sure there are some rad thoughts on life tucked away in here.

3. The Big Lebowski Explains the Fiscal Cliff

In my opinion, the “Fiscal Cliff” is a joke. The US/world is definitely facing a massive fiscal cliff – probably a wide variety fiscal cliffs – the political/media charade that we’ve watched promoted over the past few weeks hardly addresses the BIG issues.

But thank the holiest of holy that the great politicians saved the day at the last minute on New Year’s Day! Just like a Hollywood movie. Hmmm.

However, with the out of the way, here’s a quick use of The Big Lebowski to try to explain what went down in Washington as politicians continue to convince themselves they are saving the world while they are actually steering towards the ice berg that is “dead ahead.” And any reason to share The Dude is good with the Dude.

PS – Here’s one of my fav jams – 75 & Sunny from Boston native Ryan Montbleu – that I was grooving to while slapping away at the keys this morning. Great vibe for a Saturday morning contemplating The Dude.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pM8fHHvsLpw[/youtube]

Happy Easter. Here’s to New Beginnings, Dude.

Happy Easter 2012

Happy Easter 2012

Happy Easter to you and yours from the Dudes.

Family is the Dude’s favorite part of a holiday. To me, holidays mean a day of¬†uninterrupted¬†family time. A day to refocus on what means the most to us.

However, I know there is a more subtle meaning to holidays – an overt meaning to many, but subtle to the Dude. Religion.

But maybe it’s only subtle to the Dude because I focus on the wrong ideas. I’ve always felt uncomfortable with the religious¬†explanations to holidays. Taking a literal interpretation of religious stories is hard for the Dude to hold onto. Yet, these seem to be the¬†prevalent¬†explanations these days.

A lot of stories – especially important stories – carry subtle, hidden messages. Focusing on literal interpretations can ignore the hidden – more important? – messages.

By refocusing the ideas that build meaning to holidays, perhaps the Dude can feel more comfortable with the religious/spiritual meaning behind the holidays.

Here’s an interesting point of view of Easter from Rudolf Steiner from 1906. I’m just scratching the surface of Rudolf – great name – but from what I can tell, Mr. Steiner has some incredible thoughts.

If you are unfamiliar with Rudolf Steiner, here’s an explanation from Wikipedia:

Rudolf Joseph Lorenz Steiner[2]¬†(25/27 February 1861[3]¬†‚Äď 30 March 1925) was an¬†Austrian¬†philosopher,¬†social reformer,¬†architect, andesotericist.[4][5]¬†He gained initial recognition as a literary critic and cultural philosopher.

Major holidays built around cycles in nature? Seems to make a lot of sense from a human evolution perspective.

Connecting holidays to a natural significance has a much greater appeal to the Dude.

And if we want to take Steiner’s thoughts to the next level, the celebration of new beginnings is much greater the than new beginnings of spring.

Yes, the natural new beginnings are crucial to our lives and evolution – and well worth huge celebrations throughout the¬†millennium. But if we want to think BIG, and build our lives around a spiritual existence, what could be more exciting than celebrating the “resurrection” of a deep connection to the “Greater Spirit?”

From the Dude’s vantage point, there sure does seem like some hidden messages in the story of Jesus. Maybe we’re too literal.

At any rate, it’s Easter. It’s a beautiful Spring day to enjoy with the fam and celebrate new beginnings – however you define that.

Happy Easter.