Subud Vision - Discussion
Sahlan Diver - Trial By Feelings
The Future of Large Enterprise?. From Edward Fido, December 2, 2007. Time 7:35
So that is what happened at Anugraha?
I was in Perth, WA when it happened and really hadn't a clue.
Very "Subud" - people knowing nothing and not trusting those who know and are at the wheel thereby precipitating disaster - the explanation.
Subud seems to have a history of disaster precipitation.
What to be done in future?
From Sahlan Diver, December 2, 2007. Time 12:28
Thanks for the comments, Edward. You ask "what is to be done in the future?". There may not be a future, in the sense that people won't risk investment again in large scale enterprises, especially after the collapse also of the Premier Hotels venture in which many members had invested money.
For myself, I must say I had a doubt about the whole concept of large scale enterprise. Bapak seemed to promote it as a means of benefical cooperation between Subud members, but it was a kind of passive cooperation for most - a majority handing over the money, and only a minority getting on with the job. Once could say "isn't that what investment is about anyway, a large number of shareholders in companies run by a relatively small number of people?" True, but the difference is, in a normal investment situation, people invest in companies with a track record, and therefore there is a much greater safety in their investment -- what Bapak was asking us to do was to become venture capitalists, investing big sums in completely new ventures with unproven teams in charge. A much more risky game and one which usually only works if there is enough money to invest in at least ten such enterprises, with the expectation that a big profit on one success will cover one's likely losses on the other nine.
So perhaps one could say that Bapak was asking us to invest in a way that was against common-sense maxims for good investment, and maybe those Subud members who were sufficiently clued up financially to realise this nevertheless went along with it believing another factor to be at work - that we had some special guidance and chance of success because of the latihan.
If we try again, I believe we should be looking at local enterprise projects - less fallout from disasters, but for successes more positive feedback than one would expect to get from some remote enterprise on another continent.
P.S. Thanks for reading so many articles and taking time to comment on them recently. Good debate in Subud is what we want to promote.
From Edward Fido, December 26, 2007. Time 22:52
Many thanks for your reply Sahlan.
It was immensely sobering reading your article and realizing that success was within reach.
My gut feeling about Subud is that a tectonic shift is occuring. Subud Vision is, to me, a sign of this.
I am grateful to those who put themselves on the line and wrote the articles.
My own feelings on matters Subud seem to be currently being processed at a level beyond my conscious control so I might not be able to put pen to paper as readily as I did in the past.
Some articles of mine with a wry satirical twist did appear in Subud Life but I am not sure they are still there.
One of the insights I have gained from reading this site is that Subud is still a work in progress. Without the equivalent of the child in the fairytale 'The Emperor's New Clothes' I fear we shall not progress. Subud Vision seems to fulfill that role and also to move on from there.
We definitely need to move on. Pray God we will.
Business experience. From Philip Quackenbush, December 27, 2007. Time 9:57
You said: "If we try again, I believe we should be looking at local enterprise projects - less fallout from disasters, but for successes more positive feedback than one would expect to get from some remote enterprise on another continent."
The only successful so-called "Subud Enterprises" I'm aware of have been all local, either an enterprise started by a Subud member or members that were able eventually to give some of the NET profits to the organization, or as a group project (one here in Seattle of a sprouting product that was sold to another company and another in Canada, I think it was, that, under new ownership, became a major supplier of organic grain products). I heard a legendary story years ago about some guy who kept going to Bung Subuh about his "bright" business ideas and was told to go ahead with them. Each time they failed. Finally, he asked what was wrong. "Haven't you learned yet that you're not cut out to be a businessman?" In my early years in Subud, I joined with a couple of other members to set up a small store. It might have been more of a success if any of us had had any prior business experience, but we hadn't. We all eventually ended up in other careers. Seems to be the story of many of the early "enterprises." However, old as I am, and retired as well, I may yet get a "start-up" I've been thinking about and working on off the ground. Whether any of the profits, if any, will end up in the Subud organization's hands, as the undertaker said, remains to be seen.
From David W, December 27, 2007. Time 11:42
There were local enterprises in Sydney, and it caused discord.
Pak Subuh gave several explanations of enterprise. In fact, it would be a good idea to comb through the talks and see what they all were. But from memory, they were:
(a) keep people occupied, so they wouldn't wander away
(b) attract new members by demonstrating "the fruits of the latihan"
(c) generate money to fund Subud charities.
I don't actually recall the "work with other Subud members." Citation? But if we include this on the list, the lesson learned would have to be: none of these reasons is valid. Subud enterprises (a) caused many people to leave, (b) attracted no-one, (c) depleted the community as capital. Your (d) would be a primary cause of the collapse of some.
Personally, I'm not clear what a "Subud enteprise" is. As it stands, it seems to me that any enterprise that's started by a Subud member gets classed as a "Subud enterprise". This includes entities like KGC, which--being publicly listed--have many non-Subud owners.
Perhaps "Subud enterprise" means "Subud was used as a vehicle for stock promotion". That did happen, and in places like the US, securities laws were deliberately worked around and sometimes ignored in order to do so. Let's not go there again.
Perhaps you can provide a working definition? I can't think of any.
From Sahlan Diver, December 27, 2007. Time 11:44
Thanks for reminding us of the fact that there have indeed already been small or medium sized enterprises started by individuals, or small groups of members, that have prospered and have made finanical contributions to Subud.
The editors have recently been offered an interesting article on the subject of enterprise and we are considering whether to invite other articles on this theme, to be published at the same time in the near future. If anyone reading these response is interested to offer an article on the subject of enterprise, please contact us at email@example.com.
In reply to David, I agree that there were many theoretical misconceptions surrounding enterprise in a Subud context, and additionally many practical misapplications. In fact I am currently writing an article on this, so I will say no more at this point,
From Andrew Hall, December 27, 2007. Time 16:18
My perspective on this issue (the failure of large Subud enterprises) is frustration that the Subud organization and culture do not seem able to:
- admit that mistakes were made, and what these mistakes were, both specific to each past example and in general application;
- agree on what needs to be done to avoid the same or similar mistakes in the future.
I was opened in late 1993 and during my first two years, I eagerly read each new issue of Subud Voice to learn more about this strange and exciting world of Subud I was now part of. This was how I learned about Anugraha, as there was considerable coverage in Subud Voice about the efforts underway to try and help a Subud member in Britain, Andreas Zy (sp???), who apparently was then in danger of losing his house because of the collapse of Anugraha.
The few times there were comments about why Anugraha failed, there were threats of lawsuits from a former board member.
I remember thinking that it was too bad that what happened at Anugraha could not be used as a learning experience, so that Subud in the future would remember and know what had happened. Failure is hard enough to take, but it is part of life and the best we can do is learn from it. Why doesn't everyone agree on this? Why, I wondered, is Subud not doing this?
To avoid talking about it and coming to terms with it is, I think, a sign of pain and possible immaturity for an individual. Surely, Subud is not on this level of immaturity?
I still do not understand it.
As for Bapak's emphasis on enterprises, I wonder if this owes more to Bapak's own circumstances. Jakarta's population in the 1970s was growing at an explosive rate. I imagine that health care and education services were unable to cope with the exploding demand. I wonder if Bapak saw the growing numbers of new, young Subud members in the West as a resource that could be tapped so that Subud could provide social and health services, and employment opportunities, to Subud members in Jakarta.
If only those young hippies would get off their asses and start enterprises.
Just wondering. ;-)
From David W, December 27, 2007. Time 17:8
You won't even share a working definition of what is a "Subud enterprise"?
From David W, December 27, 2007. Time 17:16
You wrote: "I wonder if Bapak saw the growing numbers of new, young Subud members in the West as a resource that could be tapped so that Subud could provide social and health services, and employment opportunities, to Subud members in Jakarta."
I don't think any examination of Pak Subuh's own businesses would sustain this hypothesis. They were enterprises without any particular social merit: a bank, an office building, a luxury hotel. They did not--to my knowledge--ever contribute to social and health services in Jakarta. The plantations in Kalimantan were socially and environmentally regressive, clear-felling rain forest (including trees with boles up to 3m in diameter), and were part of a massive Government-led dispossession of the Dayaks from their land.
You can read about the social background here:
Defining Subud Enterprise. From Sahlan Diver, December 27, 2007. Time 18:20
David and Andrew,
Since I am trying to write a full length article on the subject of Subud and enterprise, I won't be drawn into further comment at this moment, but your own comments are extremely useful in reminding me of the ground that needs to be covered. David asks if I have a definition of "Subud enterprise". I don't think that such a thing should exist and I will cover this in my article, assuming the editors accept it for publication. :)
Saving the planet?. From Philip Quackenbush, December 27, 2007. Time 21:48
"The plantations in Kalimantan were socially and environmentally regressive, clear-felling rain forest (including trees with boles up to 3m in diameter), and were part of a massive Government-led dispossession of the Dayaks from their land."
When I flew over Borneo in '71 on the way to the kongres, it was a vast forest over the entire visible island. I understand that there is now a vast swathe of bare sand down Central Kalimantan. IMO, if the rape of the rain forests around the world and the harvesting of krill for food by the Japanese and Russians (and Europeans?) from the ocean continues, we're likely to kill ourselves by being unable to breathe from lack of oxygen.
Weyerhauser and its predecessors have been steadily deforesting parts of the only rain forest on the North American continent on the Olympic peninsula for over a century, and the Amazon is being denuded to make grazing land for cattle to provide more Big Macs at McDonalds.
If Bung Subuh had a "TV" in his chest, why didn't he see that coming, instead of an imagined huge civilization 300 years in the future centered in Palangkaraya?
I'm personally quite skeptical that Subud will have much part in "saving" the species, if that happens, from extinction, given its past track record and current status. Applied technology and political reform (with population control, for example) will probably have a better chance.
From Michael Irwin, December 29, 2007. Time 23:33
"You won't even share a working definition of what is a "Subud enterprise"? - David"
What's wrong with 'an enterprise of a Subud member'? As far as I know there is not such thing as a 'Subud enterprise' or even a 'wing'(never defined.
From David W, December 30, 2007. Time 6:0
I'm okay with your definition. But then there's really nothing to talk about as far as "Subud enterprises", is there? (Which is find by me... but quite radical.) If people have or start businesses, then fine, they do. If they don't, we shouldn't encourage them to, for a number of reasons:
� not all people are suited to be entrepreneurs: some people will always make a better living through a profession or employment, than by starting a business.
� some people, e.g. symphony conductors, would positively be wasting their talent if they started businesses
Then: those who start "Subud enterprises" are then just those who would or should have started enterprises without Subud. Subud has nothing to add or subtract from them.
From Michael Irwin, December 31, 2007. Time 2:1
David Week: "Then: those who start 'Subud enterprises' are then just those who would or should have started enterprises without Subud. Subud has nothing to add or subtract from them."
That has always been my view. Even though I tried to twist myself into seeing myself as an entrepreneur, I gave up. Same goes for being a charitable type or being youth oriented, etc. None of that means that I don't respect or even enjoy the pleasure of others who participate in those roles.
The only long term question that might be answered after I am dead when enough data are available is to see if latihaners do slightly better at business than the average of the general population. I call that a possible 'Subud edge'.
From Lukman Clark, March 24th, 2010. Time 21:10
As with any other spiritual practice, including religious bodies, Subud has attracted its share of psychopaths. [Before you jump on me about the use of that word, please do your research.] These individuals -- liars without conscience, narcissists faking sincerity -- have been both material and spiritual swindlers using the right words to engage members' trust and obtain their monetary or emotional investments.
It is becoming common currency that large corporations or enterprises attract psychopathic personalities and that too often such traits are prerequisite for success in today's world. Of course, it is not just in enterprises that we find these people. Just as clerics in positions of "spiritual authority" may sexually exploit members of their flocks, Subud has had its share of helpers who operate in a kind of "sex-iwaan" to take advantage of others.
I should remind members, too, that Bapak was not immune to being taken in. One of his closest advisors, Mas Usman, absconded with funds for the original Subud bank.
Much of the pullback we are seeing in Subud is due to the snakes among us. They will always be here, too, because they are part of the world. We are just becoming more realistic, I think.
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