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Bronte Grivell - Testing or Testosis

Valuing and recording good testing. From Sahlan Diver, July 31, 2007. Time 13:41


It's refreshing to see comment from someone extolling the value of good testing, for those that want to do it.

I would like to see the production of an extendable handbook, frequently updated, listing the kinds of tests that can be done. That would be very useful. No doubt there will be the inevitable chorus of opposition saying that such a book would be against the spirit of testing where one is supposed to receive on the spot the most appropriate questions to ask. However, while I agree that spontaneity and flexibility are vital, it is not true to say that all testing is done like that. Frequently it happens that one of the people involved in the testing will recall a test done at some other occasion that could be useful to do in the context of the current occasion. Such tests of general applicability are an extremely valuable resource for Subud members, and should not be squandered by consigning them to the reliability of people's memory. We should document and collect these questions.

An example general purpose test, which some will say is well-known, but is maybe not known to everybody: Many years ago I was involved in taking an entertainment involving 20 Subud members to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. The first week of rehearsals were not going well; there was a lot of conflict of ideas. The local helpers suggested that we test for each other what our "roles" should be, not in the obvious sense of who should be the organiser, who was the lead singer and so on, but in the sense of what personal qualities we brought that should be encouraged and appreciated as useful to the whole. I remember the receiving for me, as chief organiser, was that my role was to be a like a policeman organising and arranging the timetable and what people had to do, but the mistake I was making was carrying that skill over into the creative side and trying to dictate other people's creative expression. We had 11 men in one testing session and 9 women in the other. When we reported back it was remarkable the great variety of qualities brought by the mix of people.

After the testing session there were still difficulties and disagreements, but the rehearsal process became very much easier and smoother. Is this a case of Subud members getting a good feeling from the latihan and imagining some resultant benefit? Not quite, if one believes the subsequent glowing review we received from the chief jazz critic of Scotland's leading newspaper.

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