Subud Vision - Discussion

Howard Melder - Opening up the Future

Unsustainability and the hackneyed mantra. From Luthfi Dixon, June 8, 2008. Time 17:24

A good analysis. I was interested to see you use the word 'sustainable' - you said that the present situation was not sustainable. Back in the early '80s, when I was on the National Council here in the UK, I was told that the future of Subud in that country was 'unsustainable' from our then membership of just over 2,000. Since then it has dropped down to around 1,250! So we very much have the same situation as that which you describe in Australia.

I'm not at all sure what can be done about the pretty dire state of Subud in developed countries. It might not be so bad in other parts of the world, and they certainly don't seem bothered in Indonesia.

Here's a very recent communication I had from a member of Bapak's family - it really doesn't matter which member, because I think the rather snooty 'de haut en bas' atitude, and the rigidity of thinking, is prevalent among them all:

'Out here in Indonesia there seems to be a steady flow of people interested in joining Subud. The system of helpers is what Bapak established. People will naturally gravitate to those who offer what is needed and will ignore those who don't. What we have seen so far over several decades is a fairly steady ebb and flow, rather than rapid growth or rapid decline in membership. Mankind's twin duties to worship God and develop the world we live in require that we follow the latihan kejiwaan and do enterprises. I feel sure that leaders will emerge as and when needed.'

You may note 'follow the latihan and do enterprises' - what I described, in reply, as 'a hackneyed mantra which just doesn't cut it anymore.'

While I have a great deal of sympathy with much of the outlook expressed in Subud Vision articles, I feel that, basically, there is nothing that can be done, except by some person or persons with real inner authority who come along and give Subud a real inner boost, and give it new vision and a sense of direction. Having said that, the one thing I really do think should be done is for the helper system to be abolished. I'm in complete agreement with Rosalind Priestley as regards that.

From Stefan Freedman, June 12, 2008. Time 12:21

Hi Luthfi,

Good to hear your thoughts. I enjoyed Howard's article too. I agree about the deadening "Hackneyed mantra" and notice how we've soaked up a lot of these offputting sound bites and slogans in typical Subudspeak. I want to respond to...

"there is nothing that can be done, except by some person or persons with real inner authority who come along and give Subud a real inner boost"

Do you think one or two people with this quality might actually exist? I guess they would need strong latihans, energy, communication skills and the ability to inspire and unite us with new vision. Tall order, but even if they appear, what happens later? Won't latihaners flounder without their leadership?

I'd be much more heartened if we could demonstrate that latihan doesn't now depend on charismatic humans. If latihan works it can help each person to find their own inner authority, while learning the elusive arts of inclusiveness and acting co-peratively.

From Luthfi Dixon, June 12, 2008. Time 13:11

Isn't it fun, having discussions in public.

Yes, I don't know really - on second thoughts maybe it is possible for Subud to move forward with a kind of Subud Vision-style groundswell. However, the salient point is this: are we properly conscious yet from our inner selves? The answer is nope, niet, non und nein. Thus we are always susceptible to vagaries, and nobody will really accpet our authority.

Do we have to have 'authority', I hear you say (as you dance freely in a circular direction). Akcherly, yes we do, when you consider that nobody would really have listened much to Pak Subuh if it wasn't for the fact that, in spiritual terms, he was considered to walk the walk as well as talk the talk. Some people pooh-pooh that now, but the fact is that when he was around people really witnessed the power he carried around with him - that sounds un peu excruciating, but those of us who were there witnessed that power, and I do not know how else to put it.

There are certain people in Subud now who I believe to be very much fully awake from their inner selves, and to have no small degre of inner power - but it seems they do not want to put themselves about, do not wish to 'go public' in moving Subud forward and giving it that sense of direction, and that vision, which we lack. Those people doubtless have their reasons for the position they take. They also don't contribute to Subud Vision, and they would not in the least care to be indentified, in fact would probably react with scorn where they to be so identified.

Au fond, we don't really know what is going on at the deeper levels of Subud, the inner process which we all share in. Those of us here have made some assessments, mainly relating to how things seem outwardly. But I think that, to a large extent, the whole business will always be a mystery. We'll find out after we're dead. What fun.

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