Notes from the Archives: It’s a Bird. It’s a Plane. It’s …??, by Daniela Moneta

May 24, 2024 | 4 comments

This message was sent to the archives by Latifah Taormina about a conversation she had with Hamid Camp when he was taking on the task of SICA Chair for SICA USA.
[From a listserv back then, called in 2000, Sicalink/]

From Latifah to Hamid: It’s a bird. It’s a plane. It’s….??

“Clearly, culture is concerned with human beings, so that a man can know the real direction for human society, for his nation and country, through his receiving from the peace and calm of his inner feeling…”

—Bapak, Anugraha, 15 August 1983.

World peace will come when each nation is capable of expressing its own culture. Then no nation will not fear another nation, for this self-knowledge of one’s own culture will be the basis for true world understanding and world harmony. It will be a basis of having religions no longer be forces that separate peoples.

“Culture is the latihan of life.”
—Bapak, May 1987

One’s culture is defined by one’s Zat and one’s Sifat. A tree has culture. A stone has culture. They do not imitate each other but are unique. That a man makes a table from the wood of a tree is not the tree’s culture being expressed at all. That table is the result of man’s thinking being imposed on the tree. The true expression of one’s culture is in accordance with one’s true nature and one’s true content. Culture is a result of the Budhi expressed. Budhi is an extraordinary power which in its working includes all culture, including social work. So, Budhi in its flowering gives rise to all culture and in its understanding, includes everything.

“Yes, Bapak agrees we can make much money for Subud through this cultural work. You can also link this with the film industry in California. That is a good place for it. Bapak can feel that in fact this is the way Subud will spread. Subud can provide a content for it. And conversely, Subud can make a lot of money on it.”
—Bapak, August 1984

Response from Hamid:

The wings concept has always seemed rather linear to me. It helps me to see Culture as the hub of a wheel with the different “spokes” the associations, connected to the “rim,” the latihan, which binds it all together sharing the energy. Perhaps the hub is the inner Quodar and the rim, the outer skin of the Quodar. Just another fanciful metaphor to help me feel the reality of what we are trying to do. All these elements are not really separate. I agree with Istiharoh when she says we need to be practical in programming so as to avoid confusion in carrying out the different aspects of our Culture.

Latifah, I think that our understanding of what Culture is has grown over the years. Back in the day, 1972 at Skymont, when the “Sub-Committee on Culture” was established at the National Congress that year, the term culture was always associated with the arts, i.e. music, dance, the plastic arts, performance, etc.. Bapak several times mentioned the “show biz” aspect as enterprise possibilities, so that seemed to be the aspect of in the beginning.

We are growing in our awareness of the whole. Over the years the true meaning of Culture, by Allah’s Grace, has begun to unfold in our consciousness, and we are beginning to feel the depth and breadth of what Culture means. Let us continue.

And here is a little gift from Latifah Taormina, her favorite song from Hamid:

“I include a little present. It’s a link to our dear departed brother, Hamid Camp, singing “Shadows on the Wall.” Hamid, who was part of our theater, The Committee, in San Francisco years ago, was the catalyst for my coming into Subud. He had served as SICA USA chair before he died.”

Here is my favorite song by Hamid “The Highway Is Here” from Hamid’s album called Mardi’s Bard 


Daniela Moneta
WSA Archivist for the Amani Center
May 14, 2024

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  1. 1 of nice, inspiring & hilarious things growing up, as teen, in Subud LA–60s/70s–was being in vicinity of Hamid & our other sibling performing artists; thank you Daniela and Latifah for tearful & joyful memories.

    Am still wondering if one of them from that time — named Danny DeVito — may one day find his way back to Subud.

    • “Danny DeVigto” was a character created by Chris Ross, a fellow improvisor and actor with The Committee. He had an untimely death from an accidental drug overdose. I had an expeereiinces about all this I’ll share in phone call.

  2. Aww, you’re killin’ me! – Hammy was one of my top in all ways! We all loved him so! But he and I had a real connection of not only acting – we’d vigil together over the phone and occasionally have sa’our at Canter’s Deli here in LA. I loved him so and was most fortunate to have been told from most reliable sources, that the son of gun loved me too. – He’d say (in English parlance and accent), “You know, Cookie… you’re an absolute shower, you know that, don’t you.” And I’d allow that he was absolutely correct. And then after a brief pause I’d respond with, “But Hammy?…” And he’d say ‘yes’???… “aren’t you an absolute shower as well?…” And he’d bow his head in faux shame and say with the greatest contriteness, “… I KNOW…” And we’d both break down laughing our heads off. – Oh… don’t get me started about Hammy – God I love him so! He meant so much to me! I so miss him!

  3. Latifah, your story triggered a time in LA when Bapak was visiting. Hamid was called to test alone before Bapak. Bapak asked Hamid to sing and then to sing from the latihan. I can still hear Hamid’s voice as it changed to something beyond the ordinary. My heart broke open with the energy and vibration of his voice and I understood what Bapak was trying to convey to us about true culture.

    Thank you for the recording too… tearful memories that evoked the wonder of our deep association with one another.

    Daniela, thank you for your ongoing work on the WSA archives… so very appreciated.

    With love,
    Miriam Moyer


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