here are some notes that i took years ago from the book i mentioned above ... a lot of irrelevant stuff, but i can't be bothered editing it; just to give you a flavour of what it's about:
Javanese Ethics and World-View
The Javanese Idea of the Good Life
Chapter 2: Introduction to Javanese Society
4 languages; Betawi, Sunda, Jawa and Madura
Pesisir Culture: Islamic-based trading culture of the Javanese of the north coast.
pesisir = beach, coastal area
kejawan = Javanese of the royal cities of Yogyakarta and Surakarta, and also Kediri, Malang and Madiun; mysticism associated with the Javanese view of the world.
wong cilik = the “little people”; agricultural workers and low-income urban dwellers.
priyayi = the class of officials and intellectuals
ndara = member of the nobility basically
, the Javanese world-view considers that every aspect of the cosmic and social order is predetermined.
People must strive to maintain a high degree of inner peace, free from agitation of spirit.
The central religious rite for every Javanese is the slametan, which re-establishes the harmony of the universe and the neighbourhood.
lurah = headman of a desa, elected every 8 years.
camat = sub-district head
bupati = regent, government agent in charge of a regency
The central theme of Indian political ideas was of a centralised, hierarchal state organisation under a God King.
During the 10th century, coastal Java suddenly disappears from the political map. (Merapi eruption?)
Kediri has always played the role as a center of opposition to existing powers, according to Javanese history.
Jawa reached the peak of its political power under Gadjah Mada.
vassal states = a state under an obligation to render military or other assistance to a superior power.
The rulers of the cities of the northern coastline found Islam attractive as a symbol of opposition to the Majapahit empire, and as an alternative to the Hindu world-view.
ulama = Islamic scholar
heterodox = not in accordance with established or accepted doctrines or opinions, especially. in regard to religion.
darul islam = Islamic state
One of the major objectives of the Suharto government was to integrate the santri groups into the New Order. Islamic groups constitute the only serious political opposition to the government.
Chapter 3: Two Basic Principles of Javanese Social Life
Two Basic Principles of Javanese social life:
1. Conflict Avoidance - avoid open confrontation in every situation,
2. Respect for Authority - respectful behaviour towards all those whose position in society demands it.
Javanese conduct conforms to these two principles in all situations.
rukun = “to feel oneself in a state of harmony”, “calm and peaceful”, without quarrel or dispute”, harmonious
Rukun is marked by cooperation, mutual acceptance, calm, and unity. Rukun is the ideal situation that Javanese wish to see prevail in all social relationships.
“Social peace and unity are the normal state and will be preserved naturally as long as they are not disturbed.” Therefore, all conduct which might upset social harmony must be avoided. The rukun principle is the principle of conflict avoidance.
inggih = “yes” to someone of higher position
The rukun principle requires that personal interests be set aside and, if necessary, renounced in order to reach an understanding. Striving for individual progress without group participation is considered offensive. Similarly, demonstration of personal initiative will be judged negatively, because innovations break new ground and always result in a change to the delicate balance of social forces. Individuals should always work together and within a group. Private ambitions must never be shown.
One should appear relaxed at all times, never lose ones calm, and show neither surprise nor excitement. One should avoid surprising or shocking other people. Speak in a calm, emotionless voice. Open expression of feelings is considered extremely poor taste.
Disagreeable truths, admonitions and demands should never be put directly to the individual concerned, but must be carefully prepared and gift-wrapped.
krama (kromo) = polite speech form used to and by upper class people.
The Javanese baby is never left alone, and never goes through a crawling phase. The possibility of exploring and making his own discoveries is excluded. All shocks and dangers are diverted by his environment.
Obedience is obtained not through punishment or warnings, but through the threat of forces outside the family (evil spirits, dogs, strangers).
isin = shy, embarrassed, ashamed; to feel shame in the presence of outsiders
The Javanese endeavour to treat people with whom they have business or personal relationships as relatives by blood.
A person who makes a stunning profit is expected to share it with the community, starting with relatives.
musyawarah = consultative decision-making process in which all voices and opinions are heard.
rela = willing, acquiesce in
ikhlas = sincere, with all one’s heart and soul
It has been suggested that the relatively high divorce rate amongst Javanese and the seeming lack of depth in the emotional ties between marriage partners is partly due to the fact that separation, by walking away from trouble, is the simplest way of managing conflict.
Javanese have limits beyond which they may not be pushed, When these limits are exceeded, they react with confrontation, happening in the form of a highly emotional outburst, quite out of proportion with the occasion. Such an outbreak means the total collapse of all the restraint mechanism and is considered particularly dismaying and embarrassing. It constitutes a complete breakdown of the rukun principle.
ngerti isin = to understand embarrassment
The respect principle leads to a patron-client relationship.
Subordinates have no business to measure their superiors against moral guidelines, to criticise them, or call them to acknowledge their responsibilities. The opposite is the case: the actual behaviour of the superior is justified and becomes the standard which the subordinate strives to imitate. This can lead corruption, weak consciousness of responsibilities, and inefficiency.
laporan kecap = a report that has been “seasoned to taste”; a report telling the superior what he wants to hear.
sreg = well fitting, comfortable, at ease; fitting together
Chapter 4: The Javanese World View
Wet rice cultivation very much encourages all activities directed at restraining the wild forces in nature: it stimulates the population to achieve a high degree of mutual cooperation and aid; peace must be maintained with neighbouring villages. Technical ability, organisational skill, special care for the preservation of social peace and harmonious development of the community and other social virtues have in the course of two or three thousand years formed the special character of the Javanese people.
Dewi Sri = the Rice Goddess
urmat = the place of every person within the society
The slamet (well being) of the Javanese depends on finding his place and staying there.
What is important is not whether something is true (bener), but whether it fits (cocog).
Powerful individuals are believed to be magically endowed, in either good or evil senses.
Power is something substantial. It exists on its own, independent of any person who possesses it. It is in fact the very essence of reality and has a divine basis, as seen from the forces emanating from it.
For the Javanese the total amount of power in the universe is always constant. It can neither increase nor decrease. Only its distribution within the cosmos can be altered. Concentration of power in one place, therefore, implies a diminution of power in other places.
jaman edan = “crazy times”
Javanese view intensive activity, agitated dealings, and visible worry as signs of weakness. True power reveals itself in quiet calmness.
Alus is the quality of smoothness, softness, elegance, politeness, unobtrusiveness. Anyone who is alus reveals that he has complete control over himself, and therefore, possesses inner power.
perintah alus = a “soft” command; a command given as an intimation, a suggestion, or an allusion; a gentle hint from above; an indirect order.
The recipient of divine power acts like a magnet for military power, wealth, respect, and influential connections, with no visible effort.
There are ways of concentrating cosmic power within oneself by holding the outer world at bay, increasing self-control and concentrating one’s inner being exclusively on the chosen goal. Ascetic exercises include fasting, sleep deprivation, sexual abstinence, and meditation. One retreats to the forest and mountains for solitude in order to meditate.
pusaka = heirloom, often with magically properties
Magical power can be lost when the ruler begins to give way to his passions and follow his own interests (pamrih). Pamrih endangers the ruler because it erodes his power.
The idea that law should stand above the person of the ruler is unknown in Javanese political philosophy.
In order to prove his own magically potency and to escape the curse that obviously lay upon the place of his usurped predecessor, the new ruler often moved his residence to a new place.
From the Javanese concept of power, the king must maintain absolute power. Only then can he lay claim to having concentrated all the cosmic forces of the kingdom within himself. The king, therefore, cannot tolerate any semi-autonomous regions within his field of power. This explains why no rural aristocracy developed.
The attempt to obtain power is always legitimate when it is successful, for true power necessarily prevails.
Bima = second of the five Pandawa brothers.
Kurawa = the 99 cousins and “leftist” opponents of the 5 Pandawa brothers.
Bima tears the sea-serpent Nemburnawa to pieces with his magically powerful fingernails (Pancanaka).
Pancanaka = Bima’s magically potent fingernails.
Bagong = a clown; third son of Semar.
Priyayi means formality of bearing, restraint of expression, and bodily self-discipline – a constant awareness of himself as an object of perception for others and therefore obligated to present a pleasing, alus picture. Spontaneity or naturalness of gesture or speech is fitting only for those ‘not yet Javanese’, ie, the mad, the simple-minded, and children. There is great concern with correct posture, with soft-coloured (browns and blues mainly) abstract textile designs, with graceful gesture, with soft, slow, even speech.
Rasa is the condition of calm satisfaction of inner peace, and of the absence of tension.
takdir = destiny; divine pre-destination
nasib = personal fate
darma = duties assigned by destiny
pamrih = to seek only one’s own egotistical interests