Perils of flying left-handed

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)

An amazing statistic I read recently is that a left-handed person has more chance of dying in an accident involving a product designed for a right-handed person, than they do of dying in a plane crash.

Statistics can be misleading. As my wife pointed out, circumstances also have to be taken into account – when you’re sitting in a plane you have almost no control over what will happen, whereas no doubt there is a small percentage of people stupid enough to injure themselves through careless product use, but that doesn’t mean all left-handed people should be tarred with the same brush.


Or maybe the moral is “never fly, if left-handed”, because if you manage to get through the in-flight meal without impaling yourself on a knife held in the wrong hand, there’s still the chance of a plane crash to finish the job.

Joking aside, the reason we, whether left or right handed, can sit in a plane and enjoy good feelings about our prospects of survival has very little to do with the gleaming decor, the engaging smile of the stewardess, or the reassuring voice of the captain over the intercom. It has everything to do with an army of “backroom boys” employed to be highly critical about every aspect of the plane’s engineering, the computerised flight control, the weather radar, the guidance systems and so forth. And when a serious error does escape notice, with disastrous consequences, the subsequent aircraft accident enquiry does not shy away from negativity for fear of “discouraging” the airline by “fostering disharmony“ or by “not being positive enough”.

So please, Official Subud, stop pretending that Subud has no belief system, while simultaneously running the show on the basis of an unnaturally biased set of assumptions and crazy theories, in particular the oft-quoted (in Subud) “only positive criticism”. The truth is there is a-priori no such thing as “too much negativity”, because in order to justifiably make that accusation, you first have to examine each and every criticism to decide whether it is justified or not. Only then can you comment. Remember that just one tiny fault can bring down a plane full of 500 people. How many faults will it take to bring down Subud? You don’t know? More to the point how many easily correctable faults will it take to bring down Subud? Better find out.

As a Subud member for forty years, I feel incensed that a perfectly good, potentially universal practise, is being hijacked by spiritual hobbyists, more intent on the trappings of spirituality, the vocal respect for teachers and leaders, the tribalistic close feelings, than the latihan itself.

Wake up, Subud. Stop pretending to be normal. Be normal.

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