TIL about Do Easy
D.E. is a way of doing. D.E. 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 D.E.
- Do Easy (D.E.) comes from a short story by William S. Burroughs, The Discipline of DE from the Exterminator! collection of stories.
- Burroughs became obsessed with perfecting small tasks, potentially haunted by the death of his wife which he caused accidentally during a drinking game.
- D.E. is a postmodern western interpretation of mindfulness actions, that encourages us to slow down and be considerate of our intentions and movements.
- Gus Van Sant (Drugstore Cowboy, My Own Private Idaho) made a short film based on the story
Burroughs’ story contains a fascinating idea for re-engineering our calendar:
The Colonel decides to make his own time. He opens a school notebook with lined papers and constructs a simple calendar consisting of ten months with twenty-six days in each month to begin on this day February 21, 1970, Raton Pass 14 in the new calendar. The months have names like old Pullman cars in America where the Colonel had lived until his eighteenth year… names like Beauacres, Bonneterre, Watford Junction, Sioux Falls, Pike’s Peak, Yellowstone, Bellevue, Cold Springs, Lands End dated from the beginning Raton Pass 14 a mild grey day.
D.E. introduces the idea of labeling common household objects:
He had discovered the simple and basic discipline of D.E. – Do Easy. It’s simple to do everything you do in the easiest and most relaxed manner you can achieve at the time you do it. He has become an assiduous student of D.E. Cleaning the flat is a problem in logistics. He knows every paper, every object, and many of them now have names.
D.E. also provides advice on organization:
You can start right now tidying up your flat, moving furniture or books, washing dishes, making tea, sorting paper. Consider the weight of objects. Exactly how much force is needed to get the object from here to there? Consider its shape and texture and function. Where exactly does it belong? Use just the amount of force necessary to get the object from here to there. […] Remember, every object has its place. If you don’t find that place and put that thing there, it will jump out at you and trip you or rap you painfully across the knuckles. It will nudge you and clutch at you and get in your way. Often such objects belong in the wastebasket but often it’s just that they are out of place.
Finally, D.E. is also a kind of mindfulness proclamation:
Everyday tasks become painful and boring because you think of them as WORK something solid and heavy to be fumbled and stumbled over. Overcome this block and you will find that DE can be applied to anything you do even to the final discipline of doing nothing. The easier you do it the less you have to do. He who has learned to do nothing with his whole mind and body will have everything done for him.