Theory of Katresnanism [pious love]


Antonius Herujiyanto

Sanata Dharma University


Looking into Freud’s assumption on human psyche, we are invited to value the so-called our ego which opposes both conscience (superego) and instincts or unconscious (id). It is understandable that such a thesis ends up with his Theory of Repression: the conscience regulates one’s own moral judgment following right or wrong, while instincts pursue some kind of pleasure (cf. Gillespie 1088).

The Freud’s assumption is one of those triggering and pressing for writing this paper. It discusses the result of the reactions to many different things including the fact that 75 per cent of the students asking me to become their undergraduate thesis adviser, decided to make use of the Freud’s Theory of Repression as their tool in looking into their primary data (novel, play, or poetry). Basically, however, this study deals with the so-called Theory of Katresnan [pious love] criticism, referring to the result of an inductive work functioning as a reminder and invitation (éling-kèlingan) of one’s true self (jati diri) in order to exercise the cipta [thought], karsa [willing], and rasa [feeling].

Instead of using the structure of human psyche, Katresnan criticism or rather Katresnanism covers the aos [cores, concepts, principles] of the so-called divine and pious love such as, among others, sithik edhing [win-win solution] and pas [just right] as well as other litany of good deeds.

In this occasion, however, it is meant for a further study feedback, or rather, a concrete and academic invitation to everybody to become part of an educative colloquium on it. The discussion is, thus, delimited to deal with “What is Katresnanism”, “Where does Katresnanism come from”, “Katresnanism and Professional Learning”, “How do I do Katresnanism”, “What is the Focus of Katresnanism”, “Katresnanism and Professional Development”, “Why Katresnanism”, “Katresnanism for a Good Social Order”, and “Who does Katresnanism.” It is presented in the spiritually form and inspiration of Jean McNiff’s action research (1995, 1997 and 2003) as well as that of Jackie Delong and Chryl Black (2001).

Keywords: psyche, pious, divine, katresnanism, aos, positive thinking

1. Introduction

This paper is supposed to take the form of a small booklet. The earlier editions (bilingual edition—Indonesian and English, 2001) are in the forms of papers and handouts, and since then they have travelled around, appearing among others in some students papers and thesis as well as photo copies of sarasehan (Javanese conferences) in Malam Selasa Kliwonan [a Tuesday-once a selapan (35 days)-meeting].

Although there are ten equally valuable and worth discussing sections mentioned in this study, the focuses are on the nature of theory of katresnanism and who does the theory. The practice on a given literary work is also plausible. A thorough discussion of the rest may, hopefully, be presented in another occasion and in different kinds of conference.

2. What is theory of katresnanism?

Theory of katresnanism (divine love) is a term which refers to the result of an inductive work functioning as a reminder and invitation (éling-kèlingan) of one’s true self (jati diri) and one’s existence which was granted due to katresnan (divine love) as soon as one was born. It also functions as a practical way of regarding and looking at—and thus sincerely holding the commitment—things such as one’s work (including one’s own work), numerous life situation by using positive thinking.

Positive thinking produces a better understanding of things including that of one’s own, so that one may be able to see that “giving means receiving.” In katresnanism, positive thinking is but central. To have a positive thinking is, thus, having an attitude of katresnanism.

Since katresnanism is an action of know-how, it may be referred to as katresnanism approach; and because it involves analysis on one’s work, it can also be called a form of Critical theory. Due to the nature of the components and principles used—which are mostly derived from Javanese philosophy—it is often referred to as philosophical analysis.

Katresnanism as a school of thought is also meant to enquire into one’s work (including that of one’s own): thinking about the work involving the questions “why the work is done as it is, why the doer is the way that he or she is.” As a school of thought, katresnanism is following the natural working forces of the unity of mind and heart, commonsense (rational, logic) and conscience (ethics, morals, passion), world and heaven, you within me. When the unity is taking place, the so-called “corpus”[1] is also being formed as energy.

This kind of energy is represented in the form of the so-called aos katresnanism or principles of katresnanism. Admittedly, dealing with theory katresnanism is not necessarily to talk on the value of the teachings implanted within Indonesian culture. It also embraces Ignatian, Augustinian and you name it as far as having the energy of positive thinking—aos katresnanism is but titisan (representation) of positive thinking.

Actually Katresnanism as a school of thought was once meant to celebrate critical theory directing to help finding out the true meaning (covert) of a given literary work in cooperation with any critical theory being applied.

There are 99[2] aos katresnanism representing the hypothesis of this theory. Up to now, 33 aos (principles) have been discussed. The fact that theory of katresnanism is an open ended may be seen through the words positive thinking and through an invitation to anybody to develop by, among others, proposing for adding more aos. These aos or principles or rather characteristics may also be called the components of katresnanism.

The result of applying katresnanism would show how a systematic investigation is used to positively see one’s behaviour and the reasons for it. The goal is to enlighten and to achieve a better understanding of one’s work by finding out the covert or deeper meaning of it so that the door is always opened to all possible angles of development.

Theory of “Katresnanism” (divine Love) may, thus, be seen through the following figure[3]:

Those who offer katresnan = Those who receive katresnan





Katresnan [pious-divine love] love

The Real Truth: Aos Katresnanism

1. andhap asor (being humble)

12. kraton nDalem (being spiritual)

23. sithik idhing (promoting win-win)

2. andhom slamet (sharing protection)

13. lothong kemayangan (feeling lucky)

24. sumèlèh (being able to accept)

3. angon mangsa (being versatile)

14. migunani (promoting benefit)

25. tentram (promoting peace)

4. atur panuwun (feeling gratitude)

15. mrantasi (being reliable)

26. tulus (being sincere)

5. banyu sinaring (becoming a purified model)

16. mulat sarira (being considerate)

27. tuhu (celebrating faithfulness)

6. binerkahan (being blessed)

17. nalar ( being logical)

28. teposliro (celebrating tolerance)

7. cancut taliwanda (being prepared)

18. ngugemi (holding commitment)

29. sumarah (trusting-surrendering)

8. citra wicita wicitra (meaningful overt-covert)

19. nyamleng (creating enjoyment)

30. mranani (enthralling)

9. duga prayoga (calculated step)

20. nyumangga (promoting after you)

31. mbombong-mbimbing (encouraging)

10. yatna yuwana

21. rukun (promoting harmony)

32. pas (just right)

11. kasugengan (offering goodluck)

22. samanunggal (being at the same boat)

33. nyedulur-mulur (brotherhood and absolution/ forgiveness)

Like action research, theory of katresnanisme may be considered as a strategy to help us live positively and in a way that we feel the very enlightening-peaceful way.

3. Where did Theory Katresnanism come from?

Theory katresnanism is basically introduced to establish a kind of school of thought on January 16, 2001 in Yogyakarta (Sanata Dharma University) although it began with something else due to the outcome of my masteral thesis, “Brechtian Strategy, a Response and reaction to Empire” (1998) and my doctoral dissertation, “Wayang and Brechtian Strategy as a Subversive Act” (2000).

As the word katresnanism suggests, it is a Javanese word. Theory of katresnanism is, thus, an eastern theory by nature. Be it called an ingenuous theory, a local one or a Javanese native theory, it has its rights to know and to be known and thus to sit side by side with other “theory.” It was also in 2001 that the students of the graduate program of the English Studies Program at Sanata Dharma University participated in the discussion of the very theory, especially in dealing with its possible application as an additional tool used to enquire into literary works. In the discussion it was emphasized that the theory belongs to everybody functioning as a reminder: there is nothing new under the sun but angles.

Theory of katresnanism is expected to be developed mainly by academic circles in higher education (through seminars and conferences) and those being concerned with the disadvantageous situation in many parts of the world due to war, terrorism, corruption and the like. The theory, however, is still a toddler inviting everybody to study and clarify the steps involved, including the so-called aos katresnan (principles of katresnanism) underpinning the theory of katresnanism. The invitation may cover the need for discipline enquiry, different interpretation, technical aspects, values, practices, debates, and certainly for adding other aos katresnan.

As for the meaning, it is the positive-thinking wise and thus promotes positive thinking: this would emerge through practice, either by doing the research or embracing it through the deeds done in daily world situation. The later may be exemplified when we are faced with a malign or disgracefulness and slander through a false accusation for doing something that we have not committed at all. It is a kind of the so-called character assassination. To promote positive thinking or to use katresnanism theory is, then, for us to regard that it is an opportunity for us to introduce ourselves who we really are; that we happily consider the accuser (say, the very “character assassin”) as a very curious person begging us a new knowledge or experience. The assumption is that the malign is due to the strong desire to know us better. Using katresnanism theory we may explain our true-self.

Through research, on the other hand, it emerges as we apply it and as we explain what we are doing and why we are doing it. This very paper is in fact the practice of katresnanism itself, trying to answer all the questions and arguments happily, knowing that they would develop or rather enlighten the theory naturally.

4. Theory of Katresnanism, Professional Learning and Development

Theory of Katresnanism is used in many professional learning contexts, both formally and informally. Katresnanism enquiries begin with an objective based on positive thinking. It is to enlighten as well as develop professional knowledge by supporting what one has already known and understood, generating new knowledge and the like mentioned in aos katresnan. The objective “to enlighten as well as develop professional knowledge” suggests—to borrow an action research term—a social intent, meaning that it is done for the benefit of others including his or her own.

Enlightening one’s work or whatever it is, you name it, would be closely related to the existing situation. Our readiness to be self-critical is the katresnan energy spreading naturally towards people around us and, therefore, enlightening them. After all “most ideas that people have were influenced by someone else, somewhere else in time and space”: a process of learning from others and reworking existing knowledge in new ways (McNiff, 2002: 7). Again, there is nothing new under the sun, but new angles.

The methodology of theory of katresnanism means to be the vanguard and pioneer of accountability: the true professional practice may be seen through, among others, its accountability, namely, giving good service, helping to realize what is best for others, and showing our responsible attitudes and behaviours (ibid, 7). Giving a clear and justified account of our work and practice continuously and regularly is representing one of aos katresnanism namely, banyu sinaring: becoming a model of learning is an invitation for learning.

5. What is the Focus of Theory of Katresnanism?

The focus of theory of Katresnanism is the application of positive thinking. It is believed, however, that the attitude is for the overt and covert meanings and values. They are seen through applying aos katresnan.

The energy driving for the action is holding the commitment due to live more fully in the direction of the goal such as for the benefit of others including his or her own.

6. Why Theory of Katresnanism?

Theory of katresnanism with its aos celebrates doing peacefully for the better. This is the covert aim at holding the commitment due to live more fully in the direction of the goal such as for the benefit of others including his or her own. It is the representation of the awareness of the reasons underpinning the commitment for the benefit of others.

7. Theory of Katresnanism for a Good Social Order

The awareness of the reasons underpinning the commitment for the benefit of others may also be portrayed through the intention realized through the endeavour of showing the enlightening practice for the sake of others. It is the sign of—say, one aos of katresnanism, namely ngugemi—accepting the responsibility of one’s own deed or work. The increasing numbers of people who do this may contribute to the formation of a better society. By promoting that each of us do for someone else (including himself or herself), everybody would undoubtedly be happier and, therefore, on the right track to the so-called world with good social order.

8. Who does theory of katresnanism?

It is quite natural for many of us to try out new strategies until we feel to achieve what we want. The question what we are after becomes the objective centre: a successful one. The word successful, however, means many different things to each of us, but is supposed to be representing any aos katresnanism.

Like an action research, theory of katresnanism embraces the action principles as mentioned in aos katresnanism as follows:

1. It celebrates feelings of needs to learn (andhap asor).

2. It shows the concern and care for others (andhom slamet).

3. It reasons that quandary or predicament may also be there due to the goal (angon mangsa).

4. It intents appreciating others (atur panuwun).

5. It calls to become a model of learning (banyu sinaring).

6. It promotes working for the sake of best for others (binerkahan).

7. It requires changing practice in the light of the appraisal and versatile (cancut taliwondo).

8. It celebrates doing honestly and truthfully (citra wicita wicitra).

9. It promotes applying calculated steps (duga prayoga).

10. It celebrates holding a peace and happy ending (yatna yuwana).

11. It promotes welcoming and wishing good luck others (kasugengan).

12. It highlights believing in the long run (kraton nDalem).

13. It promotes gratitude due to any situation granted (lothong kemayangan.

14. It involves explaining and identifying the purpose in the sense of beneficial mission and objective (migunani).

15. It urges trying it out—presenting reliable deeds (mrantasi).

16. It promotes maintaining the fact that no body would like to lose their face (mulat sarira).

17. It highlights nurturing logical deeds (nalar).

18. It invites holding commitment (ngugemi).

19. It promotes creating pleasure and enjoyment (nyamleng).

20. It celebrates promoting others respectfully (nyumangga).

21. It promotes creating harmony (rukun).

22. It celebrates creating an energy and spirit of the so-called united mind and heart–you and me (samanunggal).

23. It promotes having a win-win attitude (sithik edhing).

24. It promotes doing the best one can and full-heartedly inviting the nature to take its course (sumèlèh).

25. It promotes creating peaceful end-overt and covert (tentrem).

26. It celebrates acting sincerely (tulus).

27. It believes in reality of faithfulness, loyalty, and following the system agreed (tuhu).

28. It celebrates the acts of tolerance (teposliro).

29. It celebrates an open-ended spirit to be able to accept the end result due to understanding one’s limitation (sumarah).

30. It promotes producing an enthralling act and end (mranani).

31. It celebrates imagining a peaceful, encouraging possible solution to the predicament appearing due to the goal (mbombong-mbimbing).

32. It promotes having thing matched and fitted; not less, not too much either; just right (pas).

33. It celebrates producing one-true family atmosphere: caring and forgiving (nyedulur mulur).

Final Remark

To practice theory of Katresnan criticism is to give a response to why enquiring into, say, a work and to gather data to show the process. The very data are treated as evidence that they may be categorized as or at least in the direction of the expectation, namely, aos katresnanism.

Unless producing meaningful covert, it is questionable to follow one of the attitudes of action research, “make it clear to other people how we know what we are doing.” Doing things right is not quite enough since it is supposed to doing the right things as well, simultaneously. The brief description of the action principles above suggests who theory of katresnanism does: researchers, critics, managers, teachers, students, journalists, politicians … in fact, just name it and having made use of it, they (including their professional knowledge) could be enlightened … so, potentially we all do. After all (no-room for misunderstanding) it is ours—yours and mine.

Notable Glossary:

a. Why “theory” and what is the meaning of theory?

Theory means explanation of the general principles of an art or science (contrasted with practice in such a way that your plan is excellent in theory. There should, thus, be a question, “Would it succeed in practice? Theory is also reasoned supposition put forward to explain facts or events such as that of Darwin’s theory of Revolution which is embedded in conjecture, not necessarily based on reasoning. It is indeed explaining the saying that he has a theory that wearing hats makes men bald.

In theory, thus, there are three things, or rather, three possibilities which could happen. Personally, I prefer to call this thought as “Katresnanism.”

b. By definition (not translation), what is the meaning of katresnanism—including etymologically?

Katresnanism is the short term for “Katresnan nDalem (Pious and Divine Love)”. Etymologically, it is from the word Tresno means love, care.

It is, in fact, a term referring to the result of an inductive work functioning as a reminder and invitation (éling-kèlingan) of one’s true self (jati diri) and one’s existence which was granted due to katresnan (divine love) as soon as one was born.

The meaning of katresnanism is, then, a doctrine or practice of loving and caring (done by god) for the universe … the world, including human being. We may also consider it as a kind of an approach, a principle, a philosophy.

It may function as a practical way of regarding and looking at—and thus sincerely holding the commitment—things such as one’s work (including one’s own work), numerous life situation by using positive thinking.

Katresnanism is concerned with “how to see things” (including literary works) using aos [principles] katresnan.

c. Why has the word/ concept of “Katresnanism” been selected to be the mother of the very aos?

d. Are they considered as the applications to perform Katresnanism in real life?

e. Are the definition/ description suggested to avoid any misinterpretation?

f. How to perform a moral “principle” would need a kind of method?

g. Without any pretension that we may change the world, but whenever we are to exercise it, at the same time, we are also changing ourselves. Voila.


Herujiyanto, Antonius. 2007. “Javanese Culture: Wayang, Literary Criticism and Theory of Katresnanism,” a paper presented at “Kritika Kultura Series”, Kritika Kultura and the Department of English, Ateneo de Manila University, 31 January 2007.

Herujiyanto, Antonius. 2003. “English Exposure, Literary Works, And Theory Of Katresnanism,’” a paper presented at an International Conference of “Language, Literature and World Peace.” Sanata Dharma University and Ateneo de Manila University, in Yogyakarta, 5-6 May 2003.

_________ . 2002. “Teaching English Using SHE Approach”, a paper presented at a one-day seminar of “Increasing the English Competence through Integrated Approaches”, PBI USD, Kanisius Deresan Yogyakarta, 12 January 2002.

Herujiyanto, Antonius. 2002. “Teaching English Literature And Theory Of Katresnanism: Enhancing Students’ English Competence.” A paper presented at 2002 English in Southeast Asia (ESEA) International Conference, Hong Kong; Hong Kong Baptist University Language Centre, 6 December – 8 December, 2002.

______. 2002. “Literature and Teaching Reading in the Secondary Education in Indonesia” A paper presented at the “In-Service and Workshop for Teachers of Tarakanita Foundation,” Yogyakarta, 25-26 March, 2002.

______ . 2002. “The Significance of Teaching Literature in Enhancing Student’s English Competence.” A paper presented at an International Conference of “English Language Studies” Sanata Dharma University and Ateneo de Manila University, in Yogyakarta, 20-21 May, 2002.

______ . 2002. “Makna Dan Peran Sastra Dalam Pembelajaran Bahasa” (The Meaning and Roles of Literature in Language Learning”). A paper presented at “Pertemuan Ilmiah Nasional” (Pilnas) XIII Himpunan Sarjana Kesusastraan Indonesia (HISKI) in Ahmad Dahlan University, Yogyakarta, 8 – 10 September 2002.

______. 2001. “Theory of Katresnanism.” Handouts in Literary Theory Course, KBI Graduate Studies, Sanata Dharma University Yogyakarta.

______. 2001. “Literature and Pedagogy in Gabriel Garcíia Márquez’s One Hundred Years of Solitude. A paper presented at the National Seminar, Sanata Dharma University Yogyakarta, and 24 September 2001.

______. 2001. “Teaching Asian Literature in English”, in LLT Journal, Vol. 4 No. 2 (155-173).

______. 2001. “The Universal Aspects of Learning English Literature”, in Phenomena, Vol. V, No.2 (75-87).

______. 2001. “The Teaching Translation and Literature: A Disciplinary studies” A paper presented at the TEFLIN 2001, the 49th International Conference, 6-8 November 2001, Udayana University, Denpasar, Bali.


McNiff, Jean. 1995, 1997, 2002. Action Research for Professional Development (in accessed on 17 August 2003).

*) Another version of the paper presented in a “Panel Discussion on Theory of Katresnanism with Prof. Dr. A. Sudewo (Sanata Dharma University Yogyakarta); Prof. Dr. Suminto A. Sayuti, M. Pd. (Dean of Faculty of arts and Letters, Yogyakarta State University); Dr. G. Sindunata, SJ (“Basis” Magazine Yogyakarta), Dr. St. Sunardi (Rel & Cultural Studies, Graduate studies, Sanata Dharma University Yogyakarta); Dr. G. Budi Subanar, SJ (Graduate studies Sanata Dharma University Yogyakarta),” in Maulana Room, KBI Graduate Studies, Sanata Dharma University, 20 September 2003.



Drs. Antonius Herujiyanto, MA, PhD who was born on January 16, 1955, has been teaching in Sanata Dharma University since 1987. Before completing his Sarjana Pendidikan Bahasa (major in English and Indonesian) at the English Department of Sanata Dharma Institute for Teachers Training in 1987, he studied at the Electrical Engineering Department, Faculty of Engineering Gadjah Mada University from 1975 to 1981. He pursued his MA in literature (English), major in Literature and Cultural Studies in Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, Ateneo de Manila University in 1998. He earned his PhD in Literature from De La Salle University in 2000.

[1] This very “corpus” is represented in the form of the body and soul in the sense of world and heaven ( and so I should mention manunggaling kawula-Gusti) which may be signified as the first single personal pronoun “I” and the second single personal pronoun “you.” The theory is, thus, a dialogue embracing the saying that “You are what you think–and sense–what you become.” In the process, however, being I within you (unity) is like being, for example, whatever you and me (being we) in the same boat: whatever we do and represent is in the krenteg (energy) of the so-called aos katresnanism.

[2] 99 are both numbers and symbol.

[3] See also a figure of theory of katresnanism which is developed from this very figure by L. Bening Parwitasukci in her masteral thesis, July, 2003. With it, she contributes an aos katresnan called sumarah.

Copyright © 2001 Antonherujiyanto. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of this work is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Antonherujiyanto [].

Copyright © 2001 Antonherujiyanto. All rights reserved.



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