Subud Vision - Feedback
Here is further comment about your article and the subsequent feedback comments.
This time the starting point is your statement that “As far as I can see, some people … like and need an organization to support them as best it can, …we try also to protect our gift of the latihan, which is in my understanding the precious gift at the heart of all this.”
You are right about many people needing the support of an organisation, and, although you don’t say so in the above comment, I guess you would agree with me when I say that without an organisation to nurture it the practise of the latihan would almost certainly dissipate and probably eventually disappear altogether.
I don’t think you will find any Subud Vision editor or author disagreeing with you that the prime purpose of our organisation should be, in your words, to “protect the gift of the latihan, which is in my understanding the precious gift at the heart of all this.” But our contributors on Subud Vision have looked beyond what we say we are doing, to try to ascertain the reality of what we are actually doing. In particular where we collectively make mistakes through misinformation, through bad judgement, bad analysis, or even sometimes as the result of blatant prejudice and ignorance, then all this should be held up for scrutiny, because unless it is put right, our authors believe that the central aim of nurturing the latihan, on which we all agree, will be severely compromised.
So, if Subud had just been about nurturing the latihan there would be no problem. But Subud’s track-record is not at all good in this respect. We seem continually unable to resist the conceit of believing ourselves to be special and irreproachable, and this has led to many distractions to the detriment of our central aim. Take, for example, enterprises. Bapak’s idea to start businesses where 25% of profit will be devoted to charitable causes is a noble idea, a very good idea – just imagine how different things would have been if we could have simply achieved it. But Subud members were not content to do something as mundane as business, they had to dress it up – we were special, our enterprises “wouldn’t just be motivated by greed”, they would be “Subud enterprises”, a shining example to society. Even now, despite the incompetence and sometimes outright corruption in our failed enterprises, you still hear members arrogantly talking about how the central importance of Subud enterprise will be to set an example to the world.
The story doesn’t end there. Any field of human endeavour and Subud believes it can show off. Next we had S.I.C.A. As a support association for culture, amateur and professional, SICA is a good idea. But Subud members were not content with that. To them, SICA culture must automatically be something wonderful, superior to non latihan-inspired culture. So insidious has been the propaganda for S.I.C.A. that, in the area of the world where I live, Subud members use the word “SICA” when they really mean “culture” – we even had someone here wishing to test their “inner SICA”.
And to show that our desire to be special has not abated we can come bang up to date with Hadrian Michell’s recent article stating that Subud no longer needs organisation. I respect Hadrian’s active efforts over the years to raise enthusiasm amongst members for enterprises. I happen to disagree with his ideas about leaderless organisation. But what makes me really sad is to read this in his writing: “If the end result of all of these transformations manifests in the Subud world as a new form of true social democracy, then it will perhaps be only a matter of time before the same consciousness reaches out into that wider world with the tremendous changes that such a mass acceptance of individual responsibility inevitably brings with it. Perhaps only then will many more people outside Subud begin to realize what the transformative nature of the latihan really means….”,
It couldn’t possibly be that Subud organisation is breaking up because it has serious intrinsic faults and does not score highly on any organisational scale. No! Subud is going beyond that. Our failure is not actually a failure at all, it is the beginning of a guiding light to the rest of the world !
Which brings me to two of your own feedback points that similarly claim a special advantage for Subud. Firstly the idea of the “value of consensus”, an idea which I know is believed by many Subud members, and which is not just your personal idea Secondly, the idea that we are in a continual process of working things out. Again I know this idea is not your personal invention. It has been common in Subud since at least as far back as the 1970’s.
This post has already been long enough. I will comment on those the latter two ideas in the following post.
I have been wanting to share my feelings/opinions about some of the issues discussed here.
While on the WSC as a Zone 7 Representative I saw the darker side of Subud. Indeed, greed and dishonesty were rampant, as well as a subtle apparent belief in caste within Subud. If you were part of "the family" in any way, direct or indirect, anything you said was given greater importance that the coolies (the rest of us). Of course if you had money, you were a "VIP". We have to admit that Bapak started that "rule" in Subud. People with money were treated differently in Cilandak than the rest of us from "day one".
The belief of "Consensus" in my experience was used as a way to pressure people into supporting actions they did not feel were correct. The I.H.'s on "my dewan" contributed to all the above as much if not more than the Committee side.
The deep pocket individuals in Subud, were apparently from time inmemorial, considered "consigliery" for the WSC and their word had great weight, to the point that the I.H. would often "unanimously receive" that what these people wanted was correct,even though not only later but even at the time was obviously incorrect.
I was not the only Zonal rep who felt this way, though I was the only one with the cojones to bring it up. Oh Boy! immediately the I.H.'s would try to convince me I was "in crisis" and needed special latihan WITH THEM. Nothing heavier, believe me!!
THANK YOU for daring to say this. One of our problems as an org is the Sacred Cow tendency which makes it impolite to speak plainly and openly in oder to put things right. It's a strange Mad-Hatter's scene when the person who raises controversy is obliged to "test away their distress" with helpers who seem to be intent on protecting a Sacred Tea Pot!
All of us need to be accountable for right use of Subud funds, whether or not we have a Subud role or are related to Subud's founder. Any member should feel entitled to raise questions and to ask for accountability. Bravo!
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