While rifling through random internet searches trying to find something new to watch I came across an oddly amusing short by acclaimed director Gus Van Sant (Good Will Hunting, My Own Private Idaho, Milk).
At first I was about to turn it off, but like a bad itch it sucked me in. I could relate to it, I needed to know more.. I wanted to incorporate this into my life:
DE is a way of *doing*. DE simply means doing whatever you do in the *easiest* most relaxed way you can manage which is also the quickest and most efficient way, as you will find as you advance in DE. You can start right now tidying up your flat, moving furniture or books, washing dishes, making tea, sorting papers. Don’t fumble, jerk, grab an object. Drop cool possessive fingers onto it like a gentle old cop making a soft arrest.
Its all about a way of life called “Do Easy”, a quasi-Buddhist notion where you do the minimum effort possible to make things go according to plan, however.. it is a learned behaviour; For instance, you stub your toe on a chair, get over the initial pain, then go back and walk by the chair again. Pretty soon you will learn how to be more aware of your environment, its like uber-paranoid spacial-awareness on speed.
The script is actually an essay written by counter-culture hero William Burroughs, at the time Gus searched through the New York phone book to ask WB if have permission to use the essay in his 16mm film, he was still attending the Rhode Island School of Design (film school) but this would go on to become one of his first non college related works.
Upon meeting the legend that is Burroughs, Gus recounts a conversation from the early stages of the project: One of the things he said during our visit, not in the film or story, was, “Of course, when anyone knocks something over, or trips over something or breaks anything, they are at that moment thinking of someone they don’t like.”
…every time I knocked something over or tripped over anything I stopped to think, and I was always thinking of someone or some¬thing that I didn’t like. This was illuminating. Time and again, when I fumbled and broke something, there it was, I was thinking about some unfortunate incident in my past where I had been misjudged, ridiculed, or caught red-handed by someone, or when I stubbed my toe, I realized that I was thinking of a meeting in the future with someone about something that I didn’t want anything to do with. So, the answer was possibly to not do too much moving around when things appear in your mind that could lead to someone or something that you don’t like. I haven’t mastered this one, however.
I think of all of Burroughs crazy wild ideas this one is his most fantastic, its almost as thought he invented what is now known as agile methodology where you are re-training your brain to do everything in the fewest number of steps.
“[Doing Easy] simply means doing whatever you do in the easiest most relaxed way you can manage which is also the quickest and most efficient way.”
Check out the video above or view his full essay here. If you haven’t seen Burroughs’ and Van Sants’ other collaboration you should check out his brief performance in the 1989 cult classic Drugstore Cowboy, where he plays a drug addled priest (basically himself).