Psychological analysis of the Dude
A Psychological analysis of personality: The Dude in The Big Lebowski
James Kerr, BEd
Faculty of Behavioural Sciences,
Theories of Personality
Dr. Michele Mannion, Ph.D, Professor
August 16, 2009
Contained is a personality analysis of the Dude from the film The Big Lebowski (Coen & Coen, 1998). The film takes place in the early 90’s and the central character is an unemployed hippie known as the Dude. The various aspects of the Dude’s personality are addressed using psychoanalytic perspective, behaviourist perspective, a cognitive perspective and trait perspective. The Meyers-Briggs, Big Five and P-type personality surveys are conducted by James Kerr on the fictional character of the Dude . The report finds that the Dude’s personality is noteworthy to all in terms of his laid-back philosophy towards life.
This report will attempt to answer what makes a man…“is it being prepared to do the right thing whatever the price?” (Coen & Coen, 1998). The Dude would sagely suggest that it is that “and a pair of testicles” (Coen & Coen, 1998). A psychological profile of Jeffery Lebowski (the Dude) has not been attempted before. This report will probe the personality of the Dude from the film The Big Lebowski. The Dude will be analysed from a psychoanalytic perspective, a behaviourist perspective, a cognitive perspective and trait perspective. The report will conclude by discussing the Dudes personality as a whole and answer what draws so many to this character.
The Big Lebowski Film
The film is set in Los Angeles in the early nineties. The protagonist of the film is Jeffery Lebowski known by his friends as “The Dude”. The initial incident in the film occurs when couple of thugs break into the Dude’s apartment, accost him, pee on his rug and threaten him for being late on paying a loan to a film producer. These thugs have mistaken this Jeffery Lebowski, “The Dude” with another Jefferey Lebowski (the Big Lebowski) who is wealthy and whose wife actually owes the money (Coen & Coen, 1998).
When the Dude tells his bowling buddy Walter of the incident the decision is jointly made that the Dude should be compensated for damage to the rug. Hence he seeks out the other Lebowski in order to have his rug replaced. Once the two Lebowskis meet fate entangles them into an usual set of circumstances. As the film proceeds “The Dude” is reluctantly thrust into the role of detective. With the aid of his hopeless friend, the Dude sets about to unravel a mystery involving kidnapping, ransom, bowling and German nihilists (Coen & Coen, 1998).
The Dude is a single, unemployed, forty-something year old man. He dresses shabbily often in loose fitting clothing and always wearing sandals—resembling a slightly over-weight Jesus Christ. He was an active participant of the hippie generation. He comments that he was a member Seattle Seven (a radical anti-war group) and that he helped draft the Port Huron Statement (Coen & Coen, 1998). With this information it is fair to assume that in his younger years the Dude was radical, activist speaking out against the Vietnam War. One can also assume that he took a college-deferment option during that time as the Dude does refer to attending college. The Dude says, “yeah I did [attend college], but I spent most of my time occupying various, um, administration buildings–smoking thai-stick, breaking into the ROTC–and bowling. I’ll tell you the truth, Brandt, I don’t remember most of it” (Coen & Coen, 1998). These words are very insightful towards the Dude’s character and in many ways his personality has not changed in the past 20 years.
Additional background knowledge is sparse all that one really knows is that he was a roadie for Metallica at some point in the 80’s (Coen & Coen, 1998). Besides that the Dude would appear to have two passions or addictions (depending on one’s point of view): bowling and smoking marijuana.
It is fair to say the Dude lives very much in the present moment (his conscious mind). There are two aspects of his personality that encourage this, one is his laid back philosophy towards life and two is his chronic smoking of marijuana. The Dude has limited access or use for his preconscious or available memory (Boeree, 2009). The dude routinely has troubles retrieving memories and maintaining his train of thought. He credits his short term memory to “adhering to a strict drug regiment” in order to not “become uptight in thinking” (Coen & Coen, 1998).
The dude operates primarily within the structures of the id and the ego. His desires are to bowl, to get high and to have his rug replaced. Each one of these id wants are derived from his pleasure principle: bowling relieves his boredom, getting high allows him to avoid unpleasant realities, and getting a new rug creates order in his home because as the Dude says, “that rug really tied the room together” (Friedman and Schustack, 2009, Coen & Coen, 1998).
The reality principle takes form when the Dude needs to reconcile is id desires with the real world ego implications. The Dude unabashedly seeks reality principle satisfaction. After his rug is soiled he does not hesitate to seek the Big Lebowski and demand compensation for his rug. The Dude is not put off by superego concerns such as class or wealth. He feels completely entitled as he saunters into the mansion based on conscious needs and principles. He is genuinely surprised when the other Lebowski refuses to replace the rug. The Dude says, “Come on, man, I am not trying to scam any one here” (Coen & Coen, 1998). In the Dude’s world his sound argument should be enough as he has little regard with superego societal concerns.
After he is berated, accused of “looking for a handout”, and called a “loser” and a “bum” he leaves the meeting with the Big Lebowski and lies to the assistant saying, “the old man said take any rug in the house” (Coen & Coen, 1998). The Dude is not swayed by societal rules or norms. He is a complete non-conformist with a disregard for status and authority.
Psychosexually the Dude appears fixated in the oral stage (Boeree, 2009). As Boeree asserts people with oral fixations, “often retain an interest in “oral gratifications” such as eating, drinking, and smoking” (2009). The dude is over-weight and is rarely seen in the film without a drink (White Russian or Miller) or joint in his mouth. There is no information offered as to his upbringing or how his relationship with his mother factors in to this fixation. Friedman and Schustack (2009) suggest that the oral stage is place of security and pleasure were an individual must mature from in order to progress to the next stage. They write that individuals fixated at the oral stage may, “remain preoccupied with issues of dependency, attachment, and “intake” of interesting substances and perhaps even interesting ideas” (2009, p. 78). While the film does not offer any information in regards to the Dude’s personality development in childhood there are two dream sequences which offer significant insight to his subconscious thoughts.
In the first dream sequence the Dude is flying over Los Angeles. This is an enjoyable experience for him. In the distance Maude Lebowski (daughter of the Big Lebowski) is flying away on the Dude’s recently stolen carpet. The Dude pursues by doing a breast-stroke manoeuvre while flying. As the Dude is gaining he soon discovers a bowling ball in his outstretch hand. The bowling ball causes him to plummet towards the ground. Next he is miniature version of himself and a bowling ball is rolling towards him. The Dude is rolled within the finger-holes of the bowling ball and rolled down the lane into a set of awaiting pins (Coen & Coen, 1998).
There are many psychoanalytic symbolic meanings within this dream. According to Freud flying in dreams symbolises sexual excitement (Perron, 2008). This theory would hold true as the Dude does seem happy at this point in the dream and he does eventually have sex with Maude Lebowski. The recurring images of the bowling ball are symbolically interpreted by Joel Harker (2008):
The act of bowling is an adapted symbol which I will take to be representative of the Myth of Sisyphus. Sisyphus tragic Greek hero who is damned to endlessly toil by repeatedly pushing a rock up a hill (and when it reaches the top, it rolls back down and he must start all over again)…as the bowling ball is to the dude, thus is the epistemic rock to Sisyphus. This ceaseless labor is a metaphor for the absurd repetition and meaninglessness of everyday life.
Bowling as a symbol of the epistemic rock of Sispyhus fits well with what may be the subconscious (superego) thoughts of the Dude. The Dude’s life is repetitive and meaningless, especially when viewed by an upper-class individual like Maude Lebowski. The Dude may be able to subconsciously fantasize about having her but despite his conscious refusal of authority and class structure, his superego understands these realities place her beyond his grasp. In the dream the Dude is hurtled back to earth by the weight of the bowling ball. Bowling is representative of his endless toil—his repetitive, unemployed, lower class lot in life.
The second dream sequence starts with Dude represented as a strong male. He is a television repair man with magical golden bowling shoes (the repair man being alluded to earlier in the film a sex symbol). He walks down a large staircase to meet with Maude Lebowski. She is symbolised as a female Neptune; wearing a golden helmet with horns, holding a golden trident and wearing a dress with two golden bowling balls covering her breasts. The Dude again appears with a bowling ball, this time it is bright red. He holds it with strength and pride teaching Maude how to bowl. He then finds himself floating down the bowling lane between the legs of many women. Once he reaches the end of the lane he finds he is being chased by three German Nihilists in red spandex suits carrying enormous pairs of scissors (Coen & Coen, 1998).
Similar to the first dream this dream taps into the subconscious sexual desires the Dude has for Maude Lebowski. He travels down a tall staircase, also symbolic to Freud as sexual excitement (Perron, 2008). Through his having control of the red bowling ball he metaphorically represents Mars, the god of war and the symbol of man (universetoday, 2008). Maude is symbol of strength represented by Neptune—god of the sea. The Dude must calmly negotiate the waters of Neptune to achieve his goals (Maude has hired him to find out what happened to one million dollars in ransom money, offering him ten percent if he locates the money). In the end the Dude succeeds in calming Maude. Although Maude has alterior motives for having sex with the Dude (in order to conceive a child), it is in this scene that she provides the missing clue that allows the Dude to locate the missing money.
The sexual symbolism is once again ended by reality stresses in the Dude’s life. The image of the nihilists with scissors is obviously a sign of castration anxiety. There are many instances where the Dude is consciously threatened with castration throughout the film. As Walter Kirn (2008) of the Rolling Stone writes:
This phallic triumphalism spooks the Dude. Fears of castration assault his porous psyche like armies of chattering, wind-up, joke-shop teeth. A hungry ferret is tossed into his bubble bath. A fumbled joint nearly incinerates his pants. Mimes with gigantic scissors invade his dreams. In the meantime, Lebowski’s performance-artist daughter, Maude, is plotting to discard him like a turkey baster once she’s managed to water her parched womb with his precious bodily fluids. And then, of course, there are all the toppling bowling pins, scourging the Dude’s subconscious with every strike.
Kirn displays the many factors that contribute to the Dude’s fear of castration and ultimate fear of death. Subconsciously the dream is telling the Dude that his pleasure principle and reality principle have collided. He can only fantasize so long before his id and ego are overruled by his superego. Through various conscious and subconscious signs he is being warned that he will be castrated before he has attained his unconscious desire—Maude Lebowski. Moreover, both dream sequences end with Dude being taken beyond his control to the end of the bowling lane. In the first dream travels to the end of the lane alone, in the second connects with Maude but still finds himself floating away into the dark void.
The Dude uses various coping mechanisms to aid his assaulted ego. As the dream sequences indicate the Dude is in a complex relationship with Maude Lebowski. He is in denial over his attraction to Maude because she is a very threatening female. She is a feminist artist and a very opinionated driven individual. She is powerful and sexual. The first two encounters with Maude take place at her studio where the Dude is surrounded by images of female strength and paintings of giant scissors(Coen & Coen, 1998). Jean Cournut writes of how castration anxiety can be caused through contact with women. He explains how Freud’s book, “The Taboo of Virginity”, “deals explicitly with the castration anxiety precipitated in men by contact with women, universally recognized as a danger to male sexuality, that is to say, as always potentially castrating” (2008). It could be argued that the Dude is sublimating such dangerous sexual desires by engaging in uncharacteristically risky behaviour in order to solve the case of the missing wife and the missing ransom money (Friedman and Schustack, 2009).
Finally, the Dude clearly uses rationalization to support his lifestyle (Friedman and Schustack, 2009). Consciously the Dude can justify being an unemployed, hippie-stoner but unconsciously a psychoanalyst would posit that the Dude is perhaps repressing issues relating to his mother or father.
From a behavioural perspective the Dude has learned a variety of responses in order to deal with everyday life. Classical conditioning, operant conditioning and social learning would all contend that the Dude’s actions can be explained by learned responses to his environment. In the Dude’s case the avoidance of many regular responsibilities (work, family, personal hygiene) can be explained as operant conditioning according to Skinner (Friedman and Schustack, 2009). If the Dude has had negative experiences in the past with such behaviours he will avoid them (Friedman and Schustack, 2009).
As a member of the hippie generation the Dude learned to not trust government, authority and regular or “square community” (Coen & Coen, 1998). While it would appear that he has not been conditioned as the regular citizen, thus leading to arguments that he has avoided such systemization. However, an ardent behaviourist would claim that his earlier conditioning has been so strongly imprinted that extinction has not occurred or that such behaviours have been reinforced throughout his life.
Behaviourist would also touch on the Dude’s dependency on drugs and alcohol. While the Dude demonstrates no withdrawal or craving symptoms during the film it can be assumed, based on the prevalence of his consumption, that he experiences compensatory responses (J. Dyce, personal communication, August 4, 2009). This concept suggests that as the Dude is exposed to triggers (bowling, relaxing at home) he will have cravings for marijuana or alcohol depending on the situation. Without the unconditioned stimulus of the drugs the Dude eventually would not experience craving. Through such conditioning craving has become the conditioned response even though pleasure is in fact the unconditional response (J. Dyce, personal communication, August 12, 2009).
The P-type the Dude would most closely resemble would be the Adventurous personality type (J. Dyce, personal communication, August 4, 2009). Based on the work of Horney and Niebuhr, Dr. John Oldham (2008) expands on what it means to be an Adventurous P-type. Oldham lists eight categories that make up the Adventurous type: Nonconformity, Challenge, Mutual independence, Persuasiveness, Wanderlust, Wild oats, True grit, and No regrets (2008). In the interest of being succinct I will touch on the aspects of the Dude’s personality that are represented in this theory but not recognized in other personality aspect theories.
Challenge at first does not seem to align with the Dude’s personality. However, he was very daring and adventurous when he was an activist. The Dude is up for a challenge as is evident in his actions throughout the film, however he has just become selective in his causes, if a cause is just he will see it through to the end.
Oldham (2008) describes Mutual independence in terms of people who “do not worry too much about others, for they expect each human being to be responsible for him- or herself”. This is evident in the relationships the Dude finds himself in. His best friend is a Vietnam War vet and his “lady-friend” is a radical feminist: neither one’s beliefs seem to particularly offend the Dude as long as they do not take offense to him.
When Persuasiveness is ineffective the Dude’s utilizes True grit instead. Despite his numerous attempts at persuasion the Dude is rarely successful because of his demeanour and appearance. He gets little respect throughout the film, for instance the police chief of Malibu refers to him as “some kind of sad-assed refugee from the fucking sixties” (Coen & Coen, 1998).
True grit is defined as being, “courageous, physically bold, and tough. They will stand up to anyone who dares to take advantage of them” (Oldham, 2008). While the Dude is a pacifist he is not afraid to speak his mind against all odds. He confronts the Big Lebowski despite the Big Lewboski being more wealthy and successful. He shows complete lack of respect to the various people who assault him, whether it is the Malibu police chief or Jackie Treehorn’s thugs.
Oldham defines the No Regrets category as, “living in the present. They do not feel guilty about the past or anxious about the future. Life is meant to be experienced now” (2008). This philosophy is central to the Dude’s character and a part of what makes him much more complex than merely being a burnt out hippie. The Dude’s philosophy will be discussed further but can be introduced by citing one of two exchanges with a character named The Stranger. This character acts as narrator of the film and appears in two scenes. He has a sort of omnipotent quality about him and is believed to be named after Albert Camus’ existentialist novel. The second of the two interactions between these two characters offers insight into the Dude’s view of the world (Appendix A). Harker clarifies this exchange, “the Dude equates to an American version of The Stranger’s Meursaults in the sense that he lives without responsibility, contemplation, or regret… the Dude is merely acted upon and made to react (2008). The Dude realizes that life will be full of “strikes and gutters” (Coen & Coen, 1998) but none of this phases him because he feels it is out of his control and moreover that none of it really matters. Hence, “the Dude abides” (Coen & Coen, 1998) to his own self-made code which transcends good or bad, regret or anxiety.
The Trait perspectives of the Meyers-Briggs 16 Personality types and The Big Five offer more understanding into the personality of the Dude. Both tests were conducted by proxy and are based on my interpretation of the character in the film. The Meyers-Briggs personality survey concludes that the Dude is an Idealist or INFP (Appendix B) (personalitypage, 2006). The Big Five found that he is mid-range in the domains of Extroversion and Agreeableness, while more extreme in the domains of conscientiousness, neuroticism and openness (Appendix C) (outofservice, 2009).
The Meyer-Briggs survey addresses the aspects of the Dude morals more fully than other perspectives. It states the Idealist does not concern themselves with, “hard facts and logic…they don’t understand or believe in the validity of impersonal judgement…under stress may obsess about details that are unimportant to the big picture…[and] brood over a problem repeatedly” (personalitypage, 2006). This description explains how the Dude at one time can be focused and calm but under certain circumstances comes completely undone. During the unusual stress of making the ransom hand-off the Dude panics after the kidnappers hang-up on him. He screams, “Shit, Walter, you fuck, you fucked it up! You fucked it up! Her life was in our hands, man” (Coen & Coen, 1998). To which Walter responses, “Nothing is fucked here, Dude. Come on, you’re being very un-Dude. They’ll call back” (Coen & Coen, 1998). Walter’s reaction is proof that this sort of brooding and worry is very uncharacteristic of the Dude.
A second example of this is when the ransom hand-off goes wrong the Dude obsesses repeating over and over “they’re going to kill that poor women” (Coen & Coen, 1998). Again Walter attempts to console him saying, “really, Dude, you surprise me. They’re not gonna kill shit. They’re not gonna do shit. What can they do? Fuckin’ amateurs. And meanwhile, look at the bottom line. Who’s sitting on a million fucking dollars (Coen & Coen, 1998). As ludicrous as this situation is it shows the Dude is again acting out of character as he is unable to focus on the big picture. Generally the Dude is a man of inaction; in his new situation he must play the part of hero which at times is too stressful and too far a stretch from his actual personality.
As mentioned previously the Dude is not afraid to stand-up to authority when he feels that an injustice has occurred. The Idealist is, “very aware of social injustice, and empathize with the underdog…they will feel most useful when they are fighting to help people who have been misfortunate in our society” (personalitypage, 2006). Certainly the Dude had such a fight when in his younger years he was a part of the Seattle Seven and co-author of the Port Huron Statement. However, the Dude has become less outspoken and radical as he has aged. Often he is the underdog and must fight to be heard and taking seriously.
A key trait of the Dude’s personality is faith. While the Dude is certainly a non-conformist and in some ways radical it does not mean he is without a belief system. The Idealist is said to be, “more spiritually aware than most people, and are more in touch with their soul than other…most have strong Faith” (personalitypage, 2006). To pin-point the Dude’s faith is not a simple task as it is not explicitly stated in the film. The theory that most aligns with the Dude’s faith and personality would be existentialism—particularly the phenomenological view (Friedman and Schustack, 2009).
The phenomenological view is supported by Jean-Paul Sartre and Albert Camus. Sartre supports, “the responsibility of all individuals for their own decisions, and he believed we need to see ourselves as free actors in order to achieve authentic human existence” (Friedman and Schustack, 2009, p. 318). A copy of Sartre’s novel “Meaning and Nothingness” is seen on the Dude’s bedside table. Friedman and Schustack (2009) remark on Camus as, “concerned with the fundamental absurdity of existence, nevertheless saw value in the individual’s having the courage to attempt to correct injustice” (p. 318). Again these phenomenological beliefs are exemplified through the Dude’s actions and results in personality tests. The Dude’s P-type and Meyer-Briggs code type support such psychological/philosophical viewpoints.
While the Dude does not strictly adhere to anything in life, a website called Dudeism.com is one of many forums linking the Dude to Eastern religion. These teachings align well the phenomenological viewpoint. Oliver Benjamin, founder of Dudeism.com writes:
The Dude’s lifestyle and attitude neatly mirror that of several Asian sages, particularly Lao Tzu, the founder of Taoism. Taoism’s basic outlook is that aggression only begets more aggression, and that one lives in harmony with the world only when they “go with the flow” and not try to achieve too much.
A prime example of the Dude going with the flow occurs during an interaction with his landlord. Martin “Marty” Randall, is an awkward man who clearly looks up to the Dude, begins the conversation by asking for the Dude’s help. He says,
Marty: Dude, I finally got the venue I wanted, I uh, I’m performing my dance quintet – you know, my cycle? – at Crane Jackson’s Fountain Street Theater on Thursday night, and uh…I’d love it if you came and gave me notes.”
The Dude: “I’ll be there, man.”
Marty: “Uh, Dude, Uh – tomorrow’s already the 10th.”
The Dude: “Far out.”
(pause for Dude to understand) “…”
The Dude: “Oh, oh, alright. Okay.”
Marty: “Just, uh, slip the rent under my door.”
The Taoist teaching to “act without action” (Friedler, 2009, Chap.63) is demonstrated through this interaction. The Dude is not attempting to dodge the man, he is simply oblivious to regular concerns such as days of the week, deadlines or rent payments. Furthermore, it should be noted how the Dude is admired in this scene; for some reason Marty looks to the Dude as a creative advisor. Seeking the Dude’s guidance is the main reason for the interaction; the rent is more of a formality, one that causes the Dude no embarrassment or anger.
When the Dude is interrogated by the police chief of Malibu, one again witnesses the Dude’s non materialistic nature. The only form of identification the Dude carries with him, in fact the only item in his wallet, is a Ralph’s grocery store discount card. The Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu reads, “sages do not accumulate” (Friedler, 2009, Chap.81).
The Dude is not without his inconstancies despite his existentialist tendencies and support relating to Taoist beliefs. His Big Five profile ranks him in the 1st percentile of neuroticism. There would appear to be some discrepancy between the Dude being so low in neuroticism and his several outbursts during the film, however one could assert that it is the strange situations the Dude is placed in which challenges his inner peace. When the Dude decides to take action he strays from his Zen like middle-path and disharmony ensues. Benjamin (2009) observes, “when steered from his accustomed course by his friend Walter…his life falls into shambles…he finds his “center” once more, offering the meditative-sounding mantra: “The Dude Abides.” The Dude’s decision to take action is the impetus of the film. Through the course of these actions the Dude’s conditioning, personality and patience are challenged.
As has already been established the Dude feel compelled to fight for the underdog and stand up for injustice. While Walter is an accomplice to many of the Dude’s bad decisions the Dude makes his own choices and is responsible for his own actions. The Dude demonstrates growth through the course of the film. As Emerson states, “it is easy in the world to live after the world’s opinion; it is easy in solitude to live after our own; but the great man is he who in the midst of the crowd keeps with perfect sweetness the independence of solitude” (1942, p.36). This is the dude’s challenge throughout the film—to be thrust back into a society that he has long ago rejected and remain true to himself. His journey is not without its stumbles, but in the end he is a stronger man for it. The Dude reflects with the Maude Lebowski’s limo driver after seemingly losing the million dollars ransom money:
Dude: I was feeling really shitty earlier in the day, I’d lost a little money, I was down in the dumps.
Tony: Aw, forget about it.
Dude: Yeah, man! Fuck it! I can’t be worrying about that shit. Life goes on!
(Coen & Coen, 1998).
A cult following has developed since the release of this film in 1996. Since 2002 Lebowski fests have been held and what started as one random event with 150 participants has now grown into a multi-city festival (15 cities in 2009) with thousands of loyal attendees (lebowskifest, 2009). What draws individual’s to this film and the Dude?
The Dude represents a perfectly imperfect individual. An individual that is confident and content with himself. The Dude does not judge himself or others. He is at peace with both his capabilities and limitations. Good enough is good enough for the Dude.
One may say that the Dude is someone that everyone can relate to—an everyman, but this may not be true. In preparing this report I felt a kinship with the Dude but have come to realize that in terms of personality we are polar-opposites. There are few out there that could handle the detachment, the hedonism, the meaninglessness of the Dude’s life, but what is attractive to so many is the chance to look at a man, a lazy man, who is so unapologetic and comfortable with himself. In order to emulate our role-models one generally has to sacrifice and learn self-control, becoming conscious of one’s shortfalls. Psychologically the Dude can be picked apart but if there were a real Dude he would not suffer from identity crisis or battles over whether what he is doing is right—the Dude would simply abide.
The film begins by asking the question whether the Dude is a hero? This question is not answered directly because to do so would not being in keeping with the existential candour of the film. The Dude may not be a hero, but neither is he a loser, or a useless pot-head—the Dude simply is. As the stranger remarks, “Sometimes, there’s a man, well, he’s the man for his time and place. He fits right in there. And that’s the Dude” (Coen & Coen, 1998).
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The final scene of the film.
THE STRANGER: Wouldn’t miss the semis. How things been goin’?
DUDE: Ahh, you know. Strikes and gutters,ups and downs.
The Stranger’s eyes crinkle merrily.
THE STRANGER: Sure, I gotcha.
The bartender has put two gleaming beers on the counter.
DUDE: Thanks, Gary…Take care, man, I gotta get back.
THE STRANGER: Sure. Take it easy, Dude–I know that you will.
DUDE: Yeah man. Well, you know, the Dude abides.
Gazing after him, The Stranger drawls, savoring the words:
THE STRANGER: The Dude abides.
He gives his head a shake of appreciation, then looks into
THE STRANGER: I don’t know about you, but I take comfort in that. It’s good knowin’
he’s out there, the Dude, takin’ her easy for all us sinners.
Personality test for “The Dude” taken by James Kerr
Your type is: INFP
Introverted (I) 62.07%, Extroverted (E) 37.93% Intuitive (N) 68.57%, Sensing (S) 31.43%, Feeling 51.72%, Thinking (T) 48.28%, Perceiving (P) 85.71%, Judging (J) 14.29%
The Dude’s Big Five Profile taken by James Kerr
Extroversion 42th percentile, Agreeableness 44th percentile, Conscientiousness 2th percentile, Neuroticism 1.
Great article! These are themes I’ve been exploring and tying to The Dude since I began watching the movie-especially Existentialism! I especially like the tie in to Eastern philosophy. I have an article on here about Nietzsche under “Great Dudes in History” Take a look and let me know what you think!
Wow, not exactly a light weight are ya? I appreciate this article on many levels and definitely have acquired a lot of insight on just why I find the Dude and Dudeism so dern interestin.I’ll be ruminating on this one for a spell. thanks for the effort.
Woah this has been incredibly useful! For A level Film studies, I’m looking at the representation of lead characters in the films of the Coen Brothers and this is the most in-depth piece I’ve found. I feel like there’s so much more I can say now (without copying your work, obviously) Cheers Dude!
James Kerr says
Glad to hear you guys enjoyed the report:)It certainly gave me additional insight into the Dude and his philosophy!
I think some of your analysis was great, but at times a major stretch; particularly, the Sisyphus allegory. Alegories attempt to explain natural phenomena. The psychology of the dude is in no way analogous to the allegory of Sisyphus. Analogy attempts to define through likeness, as do allegories, but the differences are profound; in your analysis, analogy is misused, negating any analytical value. It was an attempt to find out more about ‘the dude’. Also, I think your attempt to quantify the dude and the pillars of ‘Dude-ism’ using modern psychoanalytics was admirable, but hackneyed. Dude-ism is secular, and beholdent only to self-gratification. The Dude is the pinnacle of liberal thought. Dude-ism is conformity by way of consumption; often disguised as necessity, and keeping life simply enjoyable the despite the outcomes. The Dude, is a hedonist, selfish, and immature man. Nothing to which I strive.
@Matt – well, that’s just like, your opinion, man.
Matt, you’re out of your element. Obviously you’re not a golfer.
Matt as author of the article I feel your thinking about this case has become very uptight.
Thanks for your comments though:)I do not disagree with your points, at least the points that I feel intelligent enough to understand.
The Little Lebowski says
Personally I feel the dude is a metaphor for god. Like, what would god do if he found himself trapped inside his own creation? He would have to come to the conclusion that as the universe was everything unto itself, and whatever it was going to turn out to be, it was going to end up like that with nobody else’s help because thats the way it had been designed in the first place…..so if god found himself in the universe, he would immediately decide to opt out of it and just let it do its own thing. If thats not a good breakdown of how the dude acts, then I dont know what is – hence dude is God – he has found himself a part of something he knows he cant control, and if he tries to “fix” something, he’ll just mess it up and so comes to the conclusion that the best way to get through this, is to just surf the wave and let what happens happen.
The Little Lebowski says
Further arguments as to why the dude is God. If god really did find himself inside the universe, wouldnt he too take the time to consume and feel some pleasure while he was there? What if, being god outside the universe was a miserable and meaningless existence, but the moment he finds himself in the universe, he has the opportunity to do things like experience weed, and white russians. I like the idea that if god found himself in his own creation, he would just shrug, say “fuck it” and experience some pleasure for once. So if the dude really is a hedonistic, immature consumer who has opted out, I dont think its any different to how god would be, if he had the opportunity. And I take comfort in that, knowing that somewhere out there is God, takin’ her easy for all us sinners. :)
The Little Lebowski says
P.S And I just want to point out that I’m not even religious and dont believe in the god of any of the earth based religions. When I say god in the above posts, I mean god as a concept….the creator, the designer of the universe. I’m not necesarrily talking about the fire and brimstone guy from the books – I think that guy is something else, an imposter – you know? He’s more like the Big Lebowski, someone who is concerned with being worshipped and who will bring down wrath on anyone who doesn’t worship him. The real designer would be more like the dude – no question about it. So I just want to make it clear that I’m no bible basher.