To be fair, not everyone's experience is like yours, I think your experience is the extreme example. But the way that as a group, as an organization, as a culture, that Subud has no way of admitting mistakes and discourages debate and using the mind, is disfunctional.
I'm not so sure the experience IS an extreme example. My experience has been almost identical. The only two things I ever really wanted to be as a child was a writer or astronomer. Through 'testing' my helpers received that both things were 'bad' for me and that I'd be better off doing other things instead. The other things were constantly changing - my helpers once received I should start a business and when we were testing what the business should be, some of the answers were things like vegan restaurant. How an eighteen year old with no interest or experience in catering should be advised to start up a restaurant is completely beyond me. I went as far as attending Business startup classes and writing a business plan before 'God' changed his mind again and decided it was a terrible idea after all.
The trouble with testing is that you make immediate decisions based on the answers without questioning the validity of those answers. Then once the decision has been made you alone have to live with the consequences - or test further for a way out. For seven years I just kept testing and ended up following a chaotic and spiralling career path which I can guarantee you was not Gods Will but merely a mixture of my own naivety and pride combined with a belief that I could do anything God told me to.
We are told in Subud that desire is a bad thing (nafsu, lower forces). So if you have a desire for something you aren't automatically encouraged to put in the hard work to make it a reality. Instead there is a subtle fear about having a real passion for something, as if indulging it is the road to the Dark Side. So in many cases (okay, by no means all), young people or anyone changing careers end up trying random things instead of becoming an expert at what they are good at. The 'God' who communicates through testing is very fickle and confusing. I actually wrote the transcripts of a testing session I was in once, and to highlight a point (for non-Subud members as well as ex or current members) of how genuinely confusing this can be. This is not an isolated incident and is very indicative of the kinds of careers / future / talent testing that I've been a part of in Subud.
The prerequisite of this is that you TRUST God and BELIEVE that whatever you receive in testing is TRUE. Ex or non members may find that a little hard to swallow, but at some time, we all believed it, as hard as that is to accept now...
Q: What should my attitude be to becoming a writer?
Q: How is it for me to become a full-time writer?
Q: How is it for me to write fiction?
Q: What should my attitude be to making a living as a novelist?
Q: How is it for me to try to publish my novels?
A: Absolutely dreadful
Q: What should my attitude be to supporting myself financially?
A: Not something you should be thinking about right now
Q: How should I support myself financially?
A: Random peals of laughter
Q: Should I have a day job to support myself whilst I write?
Q: How am I supposed to pay my bills and rent?
A: Don't worry about it
Q: Should I have any other career as well as writing?
Q: Should I be working in a field related to my degree?
A: Absolutely not (after testing previously how GREAT my degree would be for me)
Q: Should I be looking for a different career right now?
And so on... You can IMAGINE just how confused I was after this session, and the helpers didn't help one bit. Their 'interpretations' of all the stupid contradictions in their session just confused me even more. Human beings ARE logical and faced with something illogical like testing people STILL try and make logical explanations up to justify it... but those justifications are stupid because testing isn't real. I was absolutely in tears by the end of it, I couldn't make sense of anything. It makes the whole world dark and every choice seemed riddled with unknown dangers. A few days later I tried to test again on what I should 'do next' and I got something completely different - continue studying, which I dutifully did and hated every minute. Unfortunately any personal testing ended up pretty much exactly the same way - ask the same question two different ways and get six different answers. How anyone can live their life by it is beyond me, but for some ridiculous reason I did and it screwed my life up.
As someone who left Subud it's hard to imagine how I could ever have put any faith in that dumbass system of making things up as you go along, but back then I really BELIEVED in it. I hate myself for believing in it so much as I'm stuck with a undergrad and postgrad degree in a subject I have no passion for and I turned down lots of opportunities because 'God' didn't think I'd be any good at them. As another wave of debts from overdrafts and student loans lands on my doorstep I'm even more confused about my future than ever. Employers just don't give jobs to people with no passion for their subject or no extracurricular experience, and I'm in way to much debt to go back and do a degree in the one subject that really did enthuse me.
I can't blame my debts and career problems on Subud, because it was ME who chose to give into delusions and chase dreams and it was ME who decided to give up my real dreams for the sake of something else, something so utterly hideous and ridiculous that any normal person would run a mile from. It was ME who kept going to the helpers. It was ME who ignored my careers advisers if their ideas went against my testing results. I have waves of anger at myself AND Subud. I must have been the stupidest person on earth, but if I had never left Subud I would never have questioned the chaos of it all. I would have just kept going and going until I ended up like almost everyone else I knew in Subud - depressed and unemployable, taking solace in art and crafts before starting a random enterprise with other members because you don't believe in your ability to do anything else at all.
(EDITED for spelling)
Edited 3 time(s). Last edit at 07/23/2009 02:11AM by Jupiter.