Attitude

The results of Mr Alexander’s method during the last 11 1/2 years have convinced those concerned that:
 . . . iv.        That the mental attitude towards the respiratory act is incorrect, and on the end aimed at by those interested in respiration—particularly in vocalization—is simply an indifferent beginning and not the end; the vocal training of today being mostly slavish imitation.

“Mr F. Matthias Alexander’s New Method of Respiratory and Vocal Re-Education”, 1906, in Articles and Lectures by F. M. Alexander (Mouritz, 1995, London), page 75.

Yet, in the case of those needing re-education, one other is necessary: A CORRECT MENTAL ATTITUDE.

“Introduction to a New Method of Respiratory Vocal Re-Education”, 1906, in Articles and Lectures by F. M. Alexander (Mouritz, 1995, London), page 41.

It is therefore obvious that the vocal act requires: . . .
And in re-education:
4.         correct mental attitude (securing the unity of controlled motive power and the vocal mechanism).

“Introduction to a New Method of Respiratory Vocal Re-Education”, 1906, in Articles and Lectures by F. M. Alexander (Mouritz, 1995, London), page 41.

4. The attitude of the mind towards the inspiratory act is incorrect.

“Introduction to a New Method of Respiratory Vocal Re-Education”, 1906, in Articles and Lectures by F. M. Alexander (Mouritz, 1995, London), page 43.

In cases needing re-education the mind attitude will be wrong so far as the production of ordinary vocal tone employed in song and speech is concerned.

“Introduction to a New Method of Respiratory Vocal Re-Education”, 1906, in Articles and Lectures by F. M. Alexander (Mouritz, 1995, London), page 46.

1. In prevention: the inculcation of a proper mental attitude towards the act of breathing in children, to be followed by those detailed instructions necessary to the correct practice of such respiratory exercises as will maintain adequate and proper use of the breathing organs.

“The Theory and Practice of a New Method of Respiratory Re-Education”, 1907, in Articles and Lectures by F.M. Alexander (Mouritz, 1995, London), page 55.

At the outset, let me point out that respiratory education or respiratory re-education will not prove successful unless the mind of the pupil is thoroughly imbued with the true principles which apply to atmospheric pressure, the equilibrium of the body, the centre of gravity, and to positions of mechanical advantage where the alternate expansions and contractions of the thorax are concerned. In other words, it is essential to have a proper mental attitude towards respiratory education or re-education, and the specific acts which constitute the exercises embodied in it, together with a proper knowledge and practical employment of the true primary movement in each and every act..

“The Theory and Practice of a New Method of Respiratory Re-Education”, 1907, in Articles and Lectures by F.M. Alexander (Mouritz, 1995, London), page 56-57.

A proper mental attitude, let me repeat, then, is all-important.

“The Theory and Practice of a New Method of Respiratory Re-Education”, 1907, in Articles and Lectures by F.M. Alexander (Mouritz, 1995, London), page 57..

The chief peculiarities or defects may be broadly indicated as:

1.         an incorrect mental attitude towards the respiratory act . . .

“The Theory and Practice of a New Method of Respiratory Re-Education”, 1907, in Articles and Lectures by F.M. Alexander (Mouritz, 1995, London), page 62.

Re-education, when one or other or all of these peculiarities or defects are present, means eradication of existing bad habits, and the following will indicate some of the chief principles upon which the teaching method of this re-education is based:
. . . b.         that a proper mental attitude towards respiration is at once inculcated, and each and every respiratory act in the practice of the exercises is the direct result of volition; the primary, secondary, and other movements necessary to the proper performance of such act having first been definitely indicated to the pupil.

“The Theory and Practice of a New Method of Respiratory Re-Education”, 1907, in Articles and Lectures by F.M. Alexander (Mouritz, 1995, London), page 62.

Moreover, though his mental attitude may be correct, and also his rehearsal of the orders, the habit of a lifetime will prove too strong, and he will not be content until he feels conscious of impressions, however fallacious these may be, that he has fulfilled the instructions given him.

“Re-Education of the Kinæsthetic Systems”, 1908, in Articles and Lectures by F. M. Alexander (Mouritz, 1995, London), page 84.

For it is clear that John Doe has a wrong mental attitude towards the uses of his muscular mechanism in the acts of everyday life.

Man’s Supreme Inheritance by F. M. Alexander (Mouritz, 1995, London), page 12.

But we have abundant evidence now before us that in healing it is the patient’s attitude of mind that is of the first importance, and that faith is every whit as effective when directed towards the person of the healer, a drug, or the medicinal qualities supposed to be possessed by a glass of pure water, as when it is directed to a belief in some supernal agency.

Man’s Supreme Inheritance by F. M. Alexander (Mouritz, 1995, London), page 29.

In ordinary practice the man who has taken a medical degree disregards this mental attitude in ninety-nine cases out of a hundred.

Man’s Supreme Inheritance by F. M. Alexander (Mouritz, 1995, London), page 46.

When therefore we are seeking to give a patient conscious control, the consideration of mental attitude must precede the performance of the act prescribed. The act performed is of less consequence than the manner of its performance.

Man’s Supreme Inheritance by F. M. Alexander (Mouritz, 1995, London), pages 46-47.

Consider this point also in its application to the case of John Doe, cited in my second chapter. If the mental attitude of that individual had been changed, and he had learned to use his muscles consciously; if, instead of automatically performing a set of muscle-tensing exercises, he had devoted himself to apprehending the control and co-ordination of his muscles, he could have carried his knowledge into every act of his life.

Man’s Supreme Inheritance by F. M. Alexander (Mouritz, 1995, London), page 57.

This is true also of the attitude of attention required for children in schools; it dissociates the brain instead of compacting it.

Man’s Supreme Inheritance by F. M. Alexander (Mouritz, 1995, London), page 63.

They are, in fact, too constricted in their mental attitude to give play to their imagination. From one extreme they have flown to the other, and so have missed the way of the great middle course which is wide enough to accommodate all shades of opinion.

Man’s Supreme Inheritance by F. M. Alexander (Mouritz, 1995, London), page 83.

(a) Till now little or no attention on a practical psycho-physical basis has been given to the vital and harmful influence of this faulty direction (of subconscious origin) and of the erroneous preconceived ideas and faulty posture associated therewith. Under such influences the subject can hardly fail to cultivate a wrong mental attitude towards life in general and towards the art of living (evolving satisfactorily), especially in regard to the primary causation of the defects which may be present or which may develop eventually, but also in regard to the essential laws connected with the eradication of these defects.

Man’s Supreme Inheritance by F. M. Alexander (Mouritz, 1995, London), page 113

(c) Whilst these delusions remain, the subject will continue to perform wrong or detrimental actions, for as long as his settled mental attitude towards such actions remains unchanged he will believe that he is performing them in a correct manner.

Man’s Supreme Inheritance by F. M. Alexander (Mouritz, 1995, London), page 115

Take as an example a very prevalent form of human weakness—namely, our attitude of mind in regard to simple worries, whether real or imaginary. It is an interesting psychological fact that there are millions of highly educated people who have cultivated unwillingly what may be called the “worry habit.” This worry habit is directly the outcome of the lack of use of our reasoning faculties, as is conclusively proved to me in my long professional experience by the fact that people suffering in this way worry exactly in the same degree when the cause has been removed as when it was actually a reality.

Man’s Supreme Inheritance by F. M. Alexander (Mouritz, 1995, London), page 155.

In all other erect positions (the defects becoming exaggerated as this angle is decreased) it will be found that there is a tendency to hollow and shorten the back and to protrude the stomach, and if any effort is made to avoid these serious faults in posture, such effort will only result—unless the feet are moved to the correct position—in a stiffened, uneasy and unstable attitude.

Man’s Supreme Inheritance by F. M. Alexander (Mouritz, 1995, London), page 168.

The child’s early efforts in learning any simple subject which forms part of the curriculum are on a specific basis; that is, the child’s work is planned for him from the beginning on “end-gaining” lines of teaching him to do specific things in specific ways, and of teaching him to try to get these specific things “right,” and long ere the stage of adolescence is reached, this “end-gaining” procedure will have become established, associated with a bad psycho-physical attitude towards the acceptance of new ideas and new experiences, and too often with a serious deterioration in memory.

Constructive Conscious Control of the Individual by F. M. Alexander (Mouritz, 2004, London), page 77.

The fact that the teacher fails in this attempt in the great majority of cases may disturb him, but does not undermine his faith in his methods or change his attitude towards his original premiss.

Constructive Conscious Control of the Individual by F. M. Alexander (Mouritz, 2004, London), page 79.

These psycho-physical derangements in the process of formation are the forerunners of a psycho-physical attitude towards the conduct of life in general which must be considered perverted, and because these misdirected activities are so closely connected with this perverted attitude, they present a problem of great difficulty to both teacher and pupil in any endeavour to convey or acquire knowledge, particularly in regard to the satisfactory use of the psycho-physical mechanisms.

Constructive Conscious Control of the Individual by F. M. Alexander (Mouritz, 2004, London), page 82.

Perhaps the most striking and at the same time the most pathetic instance of human delusion is to be found in the human creature’s attitude towards his own psycho-physical defects, disadvantages, peculiarities, etc., on one hand, and towards his merits, advantages, and natural gifts on the other. “To thine own self be true,” is an inspiring incentive when the human creature’s co-ordinated psycho-physical development has reached a point where that self cannot be duped by its sensations.

As a striking instance in this field of human delusion, we will take the attitude of the stutterer towards the things he thinks of as “right” or “wrong” in himself, when he is faced with the practical problem of speaking in everyday life.

Constructive Conscious Control of the Individual by F. M. Alexander (Mouritz, 2004, London), page 92.

Now that I have indicated the principles which underlie the general scheme which I advocate in connection with the development of a reliable sensory appreciation, I will go on to describe in detail one of the technical evolutions* which I use in my teaching. It is given as an illustration of what should be the attitude of the pupil towards the practical work in connection with the cultivation and development of the new sensory appreciation during the processes involved in the performance of the evolution, but more particularly as an illustration of the means whereby we may develop a reliable sense appreciation of the minimum of so-called “physical tension”; . . .

Constructive Conscious Control of the Individual by F. M. Alexander (Mouritz, 2004, London), page 109.

The truth is that when we refer to this mal-co-ordinated condition as “bad breathing,” we are mistaking a general malcondition for a specific defect, and the conception of the respiratory act which makes this error possible, and which affects even our way of expressing it, provides yet another instance of the dominance of our general attitude by the “end-gaining” principle.

Constructive Conscious Control of the Individual by F. M. Alexander (Mouritz, 2004, London), page 126.

There can be little doubt that the process of reasoning tends to develop more quickly and to reach a higher standard in a person whose attitude towards life might be described as calm and collected.

Constructive Conscious Control of the Individual by F. M. Alexander (Mouritz, 2004, London), page 134.

The projection of continued, conscious orders, on the other hand, calls for a broad, reasoning attitude, so that the subject has not only a clear conception of the orders essential (“means-whereby”) for the correct performance of a particular movement, but he can also project these orders in their right relationship one to another, the co-ordinated series of orders resulting in a co-ordinated use of the organism.

It follows that an imperfectly co-ordinated use of the human organism is not associated with the broad, reasoning attitude and the accruing benefits just indicated.

Constructive Conscious Control of the Individual by F. M. Alexander (Mouritz, 2004, London), page 171.

Psycho-Physical Attitude
In the course of this book I have dealt with various human defects, peculiarities, shortcomings and imperfect uses of the psycho-physical organism, which tend to increase during the process of growth and development, and too often become established as “bad habits” long ere adolescence has been reached, the sum total of the experiences involved being the foundation of what is called “mental attitude.”

            The attitude of the human creature towards the functioning of his psycho-physical self, and towards the employment of this self in the activities of daily life, is the “be all and end all,” and only those who possess the key to this storehouse of their psycho-physical experiences, inherited or acquired, can reach that stage of understanding of their psycho-physical reactions to stimuli which justifies an optimistic view of any efforts that may be made for man’s uplifting.

Constructive Conscious Control of the Individual by F. M. Alexander (Mouritz, 2004, London), page 205.

It is the lack of a valid criterion as to what constitutes right use in the sense of “right for the purpose” that renders people unable to carry out their resolutions and to make certain changes for the better in themselves and in their conduct and attitude towards others.

The Use of the Self by F. Matthias Alexander (Methuen, 1932, London) pages 112-13.

An attitude of dependence upon instinct (nature) is revealed in the ordinary attitude towards self-control. If a person habitually manifests undesirable emotional or other reactions, such as outbursts of temper, irritability, lying, drunkenness, stealing, etc., it is assumed that, except in special circumstances, these reactions can be controlled by that person, and he is advised or urged to exercise control, or he may decide to do this independently. The same is true of the general attitude towards functional troubles, defects, and peculiarities.

The Universal Constant in Living by F. M. Alexander (Mouritz, 2000, London), page 71.

The attitude of most people towards learning to do things which they hope will bring about the changes they desire is one leading to more or less anxiety and tension, which in many reaches a stage of emotional disturbance, particularly if they are being assisted by a teacher.

The Universal Constant in Living by F. M. Alexander (Mouritz, 2000, London), pages 75-76.

We speak of people being in a good or bad mood, and all of us at some time or other have met people who have quite unintentionally irritated us at first sight by some manner of speaking, general behaviour and so on. To the observer all such peculiarities and changes of mood are accompanied by changes in postural attitudes, facial expression, movements of hands and arms, in fact by such movements of parts as we are apt to employ in attempting to express what we feel.

The Universal Constant in Living by F. M. Alexander (Mouritz, 2000, London), page 88.

By means of the procedures herein described,* the constant effect of manner of use upon general functioning will be a more or less good one in accordance with the skill of the teacher and the attitude of the pupil, and even the most difficult cases can be helped to success by the employment of procedures which make for the building up of confidence not only in the pupil’s attempts to “do,” but—more important still—in his attempts to prevent himself from doing things he knows he should not do, and does not desire to do, first, with regard to his own manner of using himself, and then in applying this use through himself to his activities in the outside world.

The Universal Constant in Living by F. M. Alexander (Mouritz, 2000, London), page 100.

One of our most vital problems is concerned with the changing of thought and action, so essential to the successful carrying out of any plan for individual self-help that calls for the acceptance of new ideas involving unorthodox beliefs and attitudes.

The Universal Constant in Living by F. M. Alexander (Mouritz, 2000, London), page 152.

This should not surprise anyone who remembers that in most fields of activity man’s craze is for speed and for the short view, because he has become possessed by the non-stop attitude and outlook: he is a confirmed end-gainer, without respect to the nature of the means whereby he attempts to gain his desired end even when he wishes to employ new means whereby he could change his habits of thought and action.

The Universal Constant in Living by F. M. Alexander (Mouritz, 2000, London), page 178.

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