Simply Wrong

by Sahlan Diver

(Note: The opinions expressed in any Subud Vision editorial are the author's and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the other Subud Vision editors)

On the TV coverage of the American elections, a British writer and wit, now living in America, was being interviewed about Mitt Romney. "Here's a man who believes when Jesus Christ comes back to Earth he's going to divide his time 50/50 between Jerusalem and Wisconsin". I laughed out loud. Later in the same program it was mentioned that Mitt Romney's father was also once in the running for presidential candidate, so I looked him up. It seems he was an impressive kind of guy; worked his way up from nothing, made money, but didn't forget to help the poor and to strive for just causes -- did all the things, in fact, that Bapak asked Subud members to strive for through enterprise. So does my enhanced assessment of the Romney legacy alter my opinions about the Mormon faith? No way! On the one hand I see decent, well-meaning people, inspired by their faith; on the other hand I see crazy ideas I couldn't go along with in a million years.

This is why Bapak was quite simply wrong when he devised his magic plan that Subud would spread through people being impressed by our enterprise and social welfare achievements. It doesn't happen that way. People aren't so star-struck that just because we do something impressive they will immediately want to join us. They will still make the separation between what we do and what we believe. And we quite clearly do believe stuff. In fact we shout our beliefs at people, through our symbol representing the seven levels, our peculiar name, Subud, which stands for the qualities we believe are important to aspire to, our majority enthusiasm for personal name change, and our sub-conscious adoption, obvious to everyone except ourselves, of the ideas promoted in the Bapak talks that our organisational hierarchy constantly exhorts us to read.


And that is not the only thing that Bapak was simply wrong about. Back to enterprise again. It's a really stupid idea to raise a huge sum of money from inexperienced investors and encourage them to throw it incautiously at an equally inexperienced group of project managers working out of their depth. Disaster is guaranteed. A much better idea would be to start small, then modestly and diligently work your way up, learning as you go along, just like Mitt Romney's father did. But Bapak didn't think of that idea.

Once you can admit that Bapak could be not just simply wrong, but also very wrong, you can drop the myth that Bapak was directly inspired by God in everything he did. Even worse is our current belief that testing is an infallible direct link to the Almighty, with which we also cannot possibly ever make a wrong decision. It seems, from a recent situation I have been hearing about, we're even happy to use testing to make an already bad situation far worse, on the grounds that God will punish us if we defy him. (Incidentally, that's another belief for the Subud collection of beliefs it says it doesn't have).

So my parting words to all those Subud "Trubies", who have monopolised the upper echelons of our organisation for far too long, is to snap out of your childish fantasy that just because you dumbly, uncritically go along literally with everything Bapak said, that this is evidence of the depth at which you can receive, and that anybody who dares to criticise Bapak, or Ibu for that matter, is some poor unfortunate who has never received anything. Frankly it's not only pathetic, but extremely sad, that after decades of latihan, the only result seems to be a gigantic conceit that Subud is in the possession of insight so fantastic that it is beyond accountability and criticism. I predict this charade cannot be kept up for much longer. Just like the lies of communism, swept aside in the early 90's, and the lies of dictators, swept aside by the Arab Spring, the rot has set in and Subud will similarly come crashing spectacularly down. Some of us tried to save Subud from itself, but you didn't want to listen to us, did you? Well, you were, and are, quite simply, wrong.

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