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Sahlan Diver - Blueprint for Change

Decisions and Disenchantments.. From Lawrence Brazier, July 8, 2007. Time 14:24

I was intrigued by this statement in your article: "Integrated planning requires that we look across the board at everything that is wrong." But who is to decide what is wrong? You know, one person's meat is another man's poison. Several of the articles I have read express disenchantment, one way or another, with Subud. I am disenchanted with myself, most of the trime. Of course, when a spiritually mature person walks into a room, we generally feel it. The trouble is that I have apparently not achieved that degree of spirituality in my own life - and I would contend that such a degree of spirituality would sweep all of my own disenchantment out of the window. I am not a "mixer", but I could never resist the Zen - "Those who speak don't know, and those who know don't speak". Funny thing is, I am a translator and journalist by profession. In other words, a wordy bloke. Try writing an article containing no personal opinion. The world appears to be a disaster. I mention here what I hope is for your amusement, an old New Yorker cartoon. Two (deceased we assume) men are strolling through hell, surrounded by hellfire and lots of little devils poking tridents at them. One of the pair turns to his companion and drily comments: "It could have been worse, you know. At least we are dead."

From Sahlan Diver, July 8, 2007. Time 15:40

Lawrence, I am not quite sure if you are implying that we need to be in a high spiritual state to make beneficial and far-reaching decisions about Subud, or whether the high spiritual state is connected with your second point about disenchantment, which I will come to in a moment.

However there are people in Subud who think that we can only act on decisions that are "inspired" or "guided", because all other decision-making is supposedly inferior. This point of view is wrong for a number of reasons.

For one thing, since none of us have apparently reached this high state, or is willing to claim that we have reached it, our lot is apparently to continue to suffer stagnation, which also gives a license for any bad practise to continue unchecked.

Furthermore, this attitude is disproved in practise. What spiritually high person gave permission for Subud to make extensive use of the Internet? The answer is that the use of the Internet for Subud was pioneered by a motley crew of people, including myself, qualified by expertise, not by spirituality. The Internet has been of tremendous benefit for improving communication in Subud and may in the future be a fantastic tool for publicity and information to "outsiders", but it didn't require any special spiritual qualities or "permissions from above" for us to see what needed to be done.

In our organisation, if there is something that is wrong, and we can see that it is wrong, and we have the wit and intelligence to devise a better solution, then we should apply that solution. There is nothing mysterious or mystical about this. It is the way of every business or non-commercial organisation that is well-run. Over 10 years as a consultant, I visited 40 companies and was able to observe working practises on a wide scale that varied from brilliant down to the almost comical. That's when, by comparison, I noticed that a lot of the way we organised Subud was at the lowest end of that scale, although as a member I didn't experience it as comical, only as extremely sad and pathetic. My article is full of quite ordinary, practical suggestions for improving the effectiveness of Subud. You may say, "Who decides?" It is a question of collective judgement. Someone says, "Look, we can do things better this way", one then looks at their argument and the evidence, and, if it seems compelling enough, we move in that direction. OK, sometimes there will be wrong decisions, mistakes, faulty opinions, but what is ever achieved without going through that?

Regarding disenchantment, Bapak once said to Varindra (reported in Varindra's 3rd book), though he was really saying it to all of us, "How can you stand it that so many of your brothers are unemployed and living in difficult circumstances?" Was Bapak expressing personal disenchantment with Subud? Of course not. He was urging us, as any spiritually high person would be expected to do, to think not just of our own state but to consider the state of others, whether there was anything we could be doing to improve their lot. So when a member says that something is wrong in Subud, let's not mark it down to disenchantment before we have first taken the trouble to consider the point they are making - maybe they are proposing something that could be of benefit to us all.

From Lawrence Brazier, July 9, 2007. Time 0:35

Dear Sahlan - I have checked my text and can find no reference by me about Subud people being high, low or otherwise. In fact I left it open to the point that a spiritually mature person may well not be a Subud member at all.

MY disenchantment is about ME! Period! I tried to avoid implying that disenchantment with Subud could be more than just that! I suppose my ability to remain neutral in words is less than mature - I sincerely hope that nobody feels hurt. I really am on your side. My wife and I have been members for 35 years, AND THE LIFE OF ME I CAN'T SEE WHAT IS SO TERRIBLY WRONG WITH SUBUD! Most of the members I know are marvellous folk - and that, to me, is what Subud is all about! The quality of the people, those Truly Nice people - I always wanted to be as they are - cheers - Lawrence

From Sahlan Diver, July 9, 2007. Time 10:16


My apologies. I misunderstood the import of your comments. However, the points I made I believe are worth making in any case, so I will let them stand.

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