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Thread: Going Native

  1. #1
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    Going Native

    In proper terms my hometown is Solo in Surakarta, Jateng, Indonesia, in that I bow to my experience and feeling for the people of my city. They are very dear indeed to me; I am their servant -- nya kawula.

    Java has been afflicted by outside forces since the Indic entry around the time of the Christian Era. The Indians brought Hinduism, Sanskrit, Buddhism and the Mahabharata, which was later corrected by adding in Java’s own Semar to keep the story from pure fascism. This was a period of dewarajas throughout most of Java and then later most of the Indonesian Archipelago in the Majapahit.

    During the later part of this period, another group introduced itself in Arabs bringing Islam, Arabic, Sufism and the Koran. What had been done through the adaptation of the Mahabharata and Indic tradition to Java’s vision, now started working on the then and now rather overexcited Muslims who seem to feel that their God empowers them to do whatever they please and then call it a “jihad.” We took Allah and universalized the concept and its application by identifying this rather outstandingly demonic and peculiar being with Tunggal, Ingsun, Tuhan, etc., which were and are reality-level beings or consciousnesses we already knew, that are akin to Greece’s Anagke and Egypt’s Ma’at. It struck the Javanese that Allah looked rather like the fox in a foxhunt with everybody repeating the name five times a day as if this were good for them. How it could have been good for Allah was impossible to imagine. So our Seh Siti Jenar established universality as the definition of Allah in our practice.

    Then in about 1600, the smelly, flea-infested, archconservative, hyper-bourgeois Dutch showed up and informed the Javanese that they were now the overlords. Sultan Agung argued with them but their weaponry left us at a distinct disadvantage. Anyway, they brought us the most curious religion yet in the Calvin-based Dutch Reformed cabal where the devout are among the double-predestined Elect ["Decretum quidem horribile, fateor."] and obviously they did not wish to spread this entry into their ethos among us because obviously it gave them considerable advantage in that they could pretend they knew what they were doing and the Javanese hadn’t a clue. In relating to the Dutch, it was always a question of trying to figure out what element of their lamentable indifference to point out first. I had a student whose husband came out of that grotesque Nederlanders über alles period with a family of hideous pride and vanity about their ascendancy or descendency (I couldn’t figure it out from the stories she told me if they were convinced of their importance because they actually thought they had some or if it was simply a mistake they were defensive about considering in their own terms). However, the keys to understanding these returned colonists are the words hubris and auto-immolation. It appeared they had a lot to hide.

    In any case, as a result Java continued the study of these outside intruders and intrusions. This is where kebatinan in many senses began, as a mode of study of outside influences. If you compare Java’s practice with that in Bali which was never occupied by Islam, there is a much less articulated orientation that we sometimes envy in our “understandings” in Java. We do not study kebatinan to be kings of the mountain but because we like one another and these new influences tend to get in the way of what is most important, i.e., being together, for a while.

    The Dutch ship-of-state took a hit amidships below the waterline in the 20th century as their grotesque religion as secret society bottomed up altogether and their pretended moral authority turned into the frequent spectacle of overbearing Dutchmen yelling about things they didn’t understand in the slightest as if they were masters. We see the Netherlands nowadays as a result of this interaction and the disarray of the Dutch Kingdom would appear to reflect our feelings about them: “Now you don’t talk so loud. Now you don’t seem so proud…”





  2. #2
    Kick Ass Little Crow Corvus's Avatar
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    Re: Going Native

    That's super interesting and all, but what is the point you're trying to make? It seems like a blog would be more appropriate to this and other posts.
    “They moaned and squealed, and pressed their snouts to the earth. We are sorry, we are sorry.
    Sorry you were caught, I said. Sorry that you thought I was weak, but you were wrong.”
    -Madeline Miller, Circe

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