Stoicism might not be a bummer after all

I’ve heard the Dude is Epicurean. He follows the pleasure principle. Take ‘er easy.

And he’s anything but unemotional. I’ve never heard anyone say Mr. Spock is a dude.

But wait a minute. “The Big Lebowski” is a tale of the Dude being very unDude.

A carpet pisser ruins his rug. And that’s a bummer, man. That rug really tied the room together.

The Dude was about to realize it’s all part of the durned human comedy. Except Walter tells the Dude that he’s entitled to compensation. And the Dude gets uptight and gives in.

A Stoic dude would have been like, “Whatever, man, it’s just a fuckin’ rug.”

But the Dude is too impressionable. He lets other people fuck with his Zen.

The serenity prayer is Stoicism in one sentence: change the things you can and accept the things you can’t change.

Stoicism isn’t emotionless. That’s just being a human paraquat. Calmer than you are. Shoosh.

You can let a carpet pisser ruin your day. Or you can shrug it off. Sometimes you eat the bear. And sometimes the bear, well, he eats you.

A wiser dude once said, “Life is change, but that’s only a bummer if you think it is.” Is that some kinda Eastern thing? Far from it. It’s Marcus Aurelius. Maybe I paraphrased a bit. Whatever, man.

Back in the day, Stoics and Epicureans were bowling for different teams. But you can hang with both.

Ancient Stoics thought the gods decide our fate. In other words, shit happens.

But Epicureans were atomistic and materialistic. Sorta like Richard Dawkins, but less cranky. In other words, shit happens.

Both Stoics and Epicureans wanted to achieve tranquility.

Epicureans said pleasure in moderation makes you chill. And friendship is the biggest pleasure.

Stoics said putting negative emotions in perspective makes you chill. Anger, greed, lust, fear, jealousy are just different words for uptight.

But not freaking out over stupid shit takes a little self-discipline.

It takes effort either way, though.

The Dude wouldn’t have had to put up with all that shit if he hadn’t been greedy for a cut of Mr. Lebowski’s money in the first place.

I think both Epicureanism and Stoicism are Dudeist. Parts, anyway.

I want to find pleasure in life, but not to the point where greed, lust, or anger ruins it all.

I want to have a burger with my friends.

I also want to have enough self-discipline to not get uptight about shit I can’t control anyway.

Like a Stoic, I just want to say, “Fuck it. Let’s go bowling.”


Author: Dave DuBay

Dave is a social worker from Phoenix, Arizona. He blogs at He's also at

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