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Enterprises of Subud members vs. Subud enterprises. From Philip Quackenbush, March 21, 2008. Time 7:45
You said: 7) There was an implication that the only kind of business worth getting involved in was very big business: gold mines, large office blocks, banks, because that was the only way we’d make big profits.
Well, I remember a lecture in which bung Subuh said virtually just that. That there were enterprises of Subud members, but Subud enterprises per se would be big suckers involving many members and generating mucho funds for Subud the Subud organization and its projects and charities.
When I arrived in Seattle I became apprised of a group enterprise that had become reasonably large and successful (Sprout Ease), but was sold to another owner. The group enterprise in San Francisco, a retail store, eventually was taken over (I forget the exact circumstances) by one of the members, became a small chain of stores in two states, and still supports his family after 30 or 40 years.
I started a small store in SF myself with two partners/members that ended up with only one of us (not me) until he got a "real" job with the Post Office, before I heard that lecture, after which I realized the store wasn't a Subud enterprise according to those criteria, even though we would have given part of the profits to Subud if it had had any.
Thanks for that reminisence, Philip.
I wondered whether the distinction between "Subud enterprise" and "enterprise of a member" had in fact originated in Bapak's talks. Perhaps there are other examples from the talks.
Whether the big enterprise concept was workable during Bapka's lifetime is another matter. What I do know is it is not workable now - a lot of amateurs (in the nicest sense of the word) entrusting all their available funds to investment in one or two high risk businesses is not sensible. If we take it that part of Bapak's mission was to promote a model for social justice whereby enterprises are started with the long term aim of giving 25% of surplus profit to charitable causes, then we had better start this now on a measured scale, rather then dream of reviving an old, flawed model which depends for its success on a belief that God will guide and protect us if we show faith by taking big risks - sufficiently disproved in practise by now I would have thought,
Well, I dunno if "Bapak's 'Mission' ", if he had one, included enterprises or even the Subud organization. From his lectures, it would seem that his "mission" was just to make the "latihan" available to anyone who asked for it.
In keeping with that, I showed my "latihan" to someone who was interested in seeing it today, and then she (who had tried to find out about it from the "SUBhelpers", and decided she didn't need it), showed me hers, which she had suspected all along that she already had, stating that she had learned it at a Unitarian-Universalist church. I asked her, after seeing hers, how much of it was spontaneous. "All of it." "Then, as far as I'm concerned, that's the 'latihan' ". I then told her about a local member who had told her husband that she had been "opened" in the Catholic church, which she had not convinced him of, but seemed clearly the case to me.
How many times does it have to be stated, even by bung Subuh, that the "latihan" is not unique to Subud until the membership in general accepts that fact? Apparently, he felt that its current method of transmission was unique, but I'd say the evidence is that that's not the case, either (although its method of practice is probably unlikely to be found elsewhere, since the Chinese practice it openly in parks and Catholics sometimes include it as part of their charismatic services, with both sexes present, for two examples that I'm aware of). So, IMO, the organization should concentrate on making the "latihan" more available to those who ask for it and simply support the other activities that arise from it as completely ancillary functions; otherwise it's likely to continue to be a mere blip on the radar screen of history, very lucky if it achieves the status of its obvious (to me, at least) earlier Western manifestation, Quakerism.
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