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Dirk Campbell - Subud and Psychology

Delusional Disorder. From Carolyn, July 10, 2007. Time 18:12

Thanks to Dirk for the article. In my experience, therapy can act as an important complement to latihan and I also agree that the way it frames the process of growth is more useful than the traditional Subud way.

I'd also like to say that I believe that, because of the nature of receiving and testing, Subud can hide certain kinds of psychological problems that, were the person not in Subud, might come to light sooner. One of these is delusional disorder, a personality disorder in which a person seems quite normal in most every way, but has one area in his or her life where his or her thinking is not based in reality. Often, though not always, the disordered thinking involves a certain level of paranoia. An example would be a person who, though seemingly normal in all other ways, becomes convinced that a neighbor is in love with him or her, even though it is quite clear to others that that is not true. Even if the delusional person is presented with a mountain of direct evidence that contradicts the delusion, he or she clings stubbornly to it.

I have personal experience with a Subud member who had delusions about having a very special relationship to God that were supported by testing. (Or he/she took whatever was said as support of the delusion.) (There are different subtypes of delusional disorder; this was a delusion of grandeur.) Although helpers knew something was wrong, they had no organizational support for identifying and effectively dealing with the problem. Subud testing supported this delusional behavior for over 30 years, all the while the person's life was unraveling in many, many ways.

It is difficult to get people with this disorder to accept help, because they are quite convinced of the truth of their delusion. But if they can be gotten to a psychiatrist, there are some medications that have been effective. But even if the person themselves cannot be convinced to get help, if helpers could recognize the problem, they could at least offer more effective support to family members of the affected person.

In this way, too, Subud needs to become more attuned to psychology.

From Philip Quackenbush, September 26, 2007. Time 21:52

Carolyn says in her feedback:

I have personal experience with a Subud member who had delusions about having a very special relationship to God that were supported by testing. (Or he/she took whatever was said as support of the delusion.) (There are different subtypes of delusional disorder; this was a delusion of grandeur.)

Could not the same be said of the founder of Subud? He early on spoke of his being an ordinary human being, but later became increasingly convinced of his special status with "God" (or even AS "God" [see the "explanation" about his "ascension" where he supposedly reached the 7th heaven {why not ten or eleven, BTW, since string theory postulates at least that many dimensions?} and found only himself there]).

As an active helper for c. 20 years, I became increasingly convinced that "testing" was merely a way of supporting one's opinions by "spiritual" means. While it may provide a "window" to the unconscious and/or subconscious and feel very profound to those who practice it, IMO it's necessary to psychologically process the "receivings", which could be a matter of years, since the separation between the "receivings" and one's understanding of them often involves further knowledge and experience. For example, I've recently been reading the book "What the Bleep Do We Know?", which contains many revelatory (for me, anyway) passages that help to knit together many past experiences, including "receivings" during "testing," although many in the SUBcult would dismiss it out-of-hand as being unworthy of a glance since it contains much material that is "received" from rival sources to that of the SUBcult and the science in it is open to question (ALL science is open to question, otherwise it wouldn't be science).

Peace, Philip

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