Subud Vision - Feedback

Sahlan Diver - Blueprint for Change

No Sticks, Just Carrots. From Stefan Freedman, July 7, 2007. Time 19:14

I want to respond to one point you raised. Some people want Subud not only to leave behind "religious" ideas, but even Bapak's ideas about being enterprising & active in the world. There is a very intelligent Ipswich member (and friend) who feels strongly that Subud should just be about sharing the latihan, and not about urging people to do this or that.

I'm glad that Bapak suggested from the outset that we put the latihan into practice, and that inner development and our outer lives are not divorced but need to keep pace with each other. I imagine this is not too controversial, but what probably "bugs" some people is the sense of pressure. Why should (say) a librarian, a retired school master, an overworked parent, an introverted writer, have to hear that because they do latihan they "should" get involved in group enterprises, fundraising or even group socials for that matter. I think that our organisation will mature if we release people from "shoulds" and give them completely free choice.

Those who are involved in projects such as enterprises, schools, independent charities, peacework or Subud's public interface might focus on lively presentations which create a real interest and a desire to get involved, with complete respect for the fact that participating in project A or B is optional and will not call to every individual. I saw a v good example of this last December when Subud Central London combined an Indian meal + social with a slide-show talk on the Mithra project in India. Funds were raised, the talk was understated, factual and very moving. There was no sense of pressure whatsoever.

What doesn't serve us is the urgent and generalised nature of pronouncements like "Start enterprises now". Moral pressure or "ought to for the good of us all" stuff usually creates (healthy) resistance, while it gives bores and bullies fuel for their serrmons. Let's abandon sticks and cultivate carrots

From Sahlan Diver, July 7, 2007. Time 21:32

Stefan, I'll reply to the points in the order you made them.

We were both opened in the early 70's at about the same time that Bapak started to mention the concept of "enterprise" in all his talks. I am sure you would agree with me that members being opposed to "enterprise" is nothing new - there was a strong anti-enterprise contingent right from the start. The difference between now and then is that there were, at that time, many members perhaps doubtful, but willing to give the idea credence because it came from Bapak.

Since Bapak's death and the mistakes and failures of the large enterprises I believe it would be fairly safe to say that the members still keen on the enterprise idea are very much a minority. For this reason, I believe that the situation you describe of people being urged to start enterprises or feeling they have pressure put on them does not exist at present - the idea has fallen into disrepute and is not very much talked about.

You give examples of people who would find it difficult to get involved in enterprise. I don't dispute your examples and would add that, as Bapak also promoted the idea of people finding their true talent, there are additionally going to be a lot of people who cannot realise their talent through a business enterprise and in fact have no talent for business.

Next you talk about "group enterprise" Some clarity must be introduced here. Firstly there is "enterprise" in the sense of a business making money. One would be extremely lucky in a small Subud group to find exactly the right mix of people for any given successful enterprise. Much more likely is that one or two members start a private enterprise and look outside Subud for the right mix of skills, experience and temperament. Secondly there is "enterprise" in the sense of Subud members working together on some venture which might be cultural or charitable, with the idea of building cohesion and harmony. I agree with you that this must always be handled with care and, in fact, in my article I give a parallel example of how over-enthusiastic attempts to promote group socialising can lead to alientation of members.

However I do feel that there can be a way to revive the enterprise concept through organisational support. There is unfortunately not room to expand on this here, nor was there room in my article, but I will write further about it in due course.

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