By David Week
As an editor of Subud Vision, I’ve heard from several people worried that we make no attempts to hide our publication behind passwords; that we will let non-members see criticisms of Subud; that we will link to encyclopedia sites; that we will ‘air dirty laundry’, and drive away new members.
Subud Vision is not about dirty laundry. It’s about being open, in the best tradition of Western democratic dialogue.
It’s about being open through respectful discourse, on the understanding that truth comes from listening open-mindedly to many points of views, and not by simple obeisance to historical authority or tradition.
It’s about being open by exposing all of our Subud habits and beliefs to question, on the understanding that when habits and beliefs are unquestioned, we take the first step downward into ritual and dogma.
It’s about being open about the good and not so good in Subud, on the understanding that the world knows that all communities have problems, and will be more impressed by an honest community, than by anodyne and manicured web sites.
Being open has not been Subud’s strong point. To a large extent, Subud has been very controlling of the degree which it lets people from outside to see in. That kind of control is typical of cults, commerce, and power politics. It does not reflect well upon us.
In my understanding, this secrecy arises from the powerful and violent politics of religion in Indonesia, which has often made it dangerous for Subud to operate openly in that country. That is unfortunate. But that misfortune should not influence the way we operate in the rest of the world.
I understand why some people might feel nervous about being more open. Allowing people to look deeper is a risk. What might they think, if they see more of who we really are?,
There are two reasons why this nervousness, though understandable, is misplaced.
The first reason is that most of Subud's "secrets" are already out on public display:
Despite all of this unofficial and accidental transparency, the sky hasn't fallen in.
The second reason is that Subud’s closure imposes a heavy burden on Subud — and we little know how much that burden has slowed and constrained our growth and development:
Being open promises many benefits: greater integrity between our words and our actions, a release from the onus of secrecy, a greater likelihood of new members, a stronger culture of accountability, and the opportunity for reflection, self-analysis and improvement.
It’s also a habit we’re going to have to cultivate, if we’re going to stop being a secret society, and rejoin the human race.
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