Coordination

Such unnatural conditions, fostered in ignorance, cause corresponding defects in the use of the vocal apparatus, and the three factors in vocalization, to which I make immediate definite reference, will be more or less not co-ordinated in the use of the voice, with disastrous results, for Nature does not work in parts; she treats everything as a whole.

“Introduction to a New Method of Respiratory Vocal Re-Education” (1906) in Articles and Lectures by F. M. Alexander (Mouritz, 1995, London), page 39.

The training has become part of himself; the new habits, so far as the respiratory and vocal mechanism is concerned, give full control, leaving the whole mental power free for devotion to intelligent interpretation of song or speech. There is a co-ordination of respiratory and vocal powers, unconscious direction having been engendered, or, as we say, use has become second nature.

“Introduction to a New Method of Respiratory Vocal Re-Education” (1906) in Articles and Lectures by F. M. Alexander (Mouritz, 1995, London), page 48.

The method makes for: . . .
In Re-education: . . . 2.         co-ordination in the use of the muscular mechanisms concerned with respiration.

“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 52.

Employment of these whispered tones means the proper use of the vocal organs in a form of vocalization little associated with ordinary bad habits, and that perfect co-ordination of the parts concerned which is inseparable from adequately controlled whisper vocalization.

“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 65.

The truth is that all exercises involving “deep breathing” cause an exaggeration of the defective muscular co-ordination already present, so that even if one bad habit is eradicated many others—often more harmful—are cultivated.

“The Dangers of Deep Breathing” (1908) in Articles and Lectures by F. M. Alexander (Mouritz, 1995, London), page 73.

Now to examine these instructions in order: (a) in the first place, to allow a pupil to assume, of himself, a certain standing position, means that his own perceptions and sensations are given the sole onus of bringing about the co-ordination upon which such standing position depends—an onus which they are quite unable to bear. The perceptions and sensations of all who need respiratory and physical re-education are, as I shall show later, absolutely unreliable.

“The Dangers of Deep Breathing” (1908) in Articles and Lectures by F. M. Alexander (Mouritz, 1995, London), page 74.

This simply involves the firm closing of the vocal cords—probably of the ventricular bands—instead of their being apart and adequately relaxed, ready to be properly approximated in use; the breath being retained in the body by the maintenance of that thoracic capacity secured at the end of inspiration—a condition much more easily obtained by non-interference with the co-ordinated muscular movements which secured such capacity and consequent inrush of air.

“The Dangers of Deep Breathing” (1908) in Articles and Lectures by F. M. Alexander (Mouritz, 1995, London), pages 75-76.

Here we have one of the most forcible examples of the not co-ordinated condition—the parts of the “human machine” warring one against the other instead of co-operating to bring about that condition in which “all the functions of living begin to become an intelligent harmony.”

“The Dangers of Deep Breathing” (1908) in Articles and Lectures by F. M. Alexander (Mouritz, 1995, London), page 76.

In explanation of the object thus defined and of the mode in which that object is to be attained, the notice of the student is directed to the following postulates:
. . .

2.         that it is essential at the outset of re-education to bring about the relaxation of the unduly rigid parts of the muscular mechanisms in order to secure the correct use of the inadequately employed and wrongly co-ordinated parts.

“Re-Education of the Kinæsthetic Systems” (1908) in Articles and Lectures by F. M. Alexander (Mouritz, 1995, London), page 80.

I may cite, as examples of such defects, faulty poise of the body and pose of the chest, unstable equilibrium (inability, for instance, to maintain equilibrium during simple movements), undue strain or incorrect use of isolated parts of the muscular system (such as the constant crowding down of the structures of the throat by strain placed upon the larynx and undue depression of that organ), and the performance of functions by one part more properly discharged by another (as when the arms and neck are stiffened in performing acts which properly call for the perfect co-ordination of the muscular mechanisms of the back. The stiffened necks and arms of the people of today are outward signs and tokens of the imperfect development and lack of the co-ordination of the muscular system of the back and spine.

“Re-Education of the Kinæsthetic Systems” (1908) in Articles and Lectures by F. M. Alexander (Mouritz, 1995, London), page 81.

 . . . 5.  that it is harmful for teacher and pupil alike if the latter is made to assume, during his exercises, what is usually considered the correct standing position. It is obvious that the same position cannot be correct for every human being, nor even for all who are properly co-ordinated.

“Re-Education of the Kinæsthetic Systems” (1908) in Articles and Lectures by F. M. Alexander (Mouritz, 1995, London), page 81.

I may briefly explain (a) by stating that the teacher will have to deal with incorrect movements unconsciously performed. These movements occurring at the moment when he dictates the orders necessary to bring about co-ordination of the different parts of the mechanism assert themselves and become primary, and hinder the performance of the correct and co-ordinated movements as ordered. It is, therefore, as necessary to order the inhibition of incorrect and unconsciously performed acts as to give orders which will secure the co-ordinated use of the mechanisms involved.

“Re-Education of the Kinæsthetic Systems” (1908) in Articles and Lectures by F. M. Alexander (Mouritz, 1995, London), page 83.

Until his powers of muscular appreciation infallibly recognize the new correct muscular co-ordinations, he must be guided solely by his teacher, and must learn to rehearse the instructions he receives without attempting (as he understands it) to carry them out.

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

The method of re-education of the kinæsthetic systems involved in the development, and the assured continuance of robust physical Well-being which is here explained, is offered as an effectual and rational means of removing the effects of those faulty child and adolescent modes of existence to which reference has been made, since it ensures the performance, by each part of the muscular mechanism, of its own specific function, in proper co-ordination with the other parts.

“Re-Education of the Kinæsthetic Systems” (1908) in Articles and Lectures by F. M. Alexander (Mouritz, 1995, London), page 85.

As a matter of fact, given the perfect co-ordination of all the parts as acquired by my system, breathing is a subordinate operation which will perform itself.

“Why We Breathe Incorrectly” (1909) in Articles and Lectures by F. M. Alexander (Mouritz, 1995, London), page 92.

The question is not one of correct position, but of correct co-ordination (i.e. of the muscular mechanisms concerned). Moreover, anyone who has acquired the power of co-ordinating correctly, can re-adjust the parts of his body to meet the requirements of almost any position, while always commanding adequate and correct movements of the respiratory apparatus and perfect vocal control—a fact which I demonstrate daily to my pupils.

“Why We Breathe Incorrectly” (1909) in Articles and Lectures by F. M. Alexander (Mouritz, 1995, London), page 93.

. . . but where I use the words physical culture, currently and without a hyphen, I denote a general system for the improvement of the entire physical economy by a just co-ordination and control of all the parts of the system, particularly excluding any method which tends to the hypertrophy of any one energy without regard to the balance of the whole.

Man's Supreme Inheritance by F. Matthias Alexander (Mouritz, 1996), page 9.

Such cases may be readily and successfully dealt with on a basis of conscious guidance and control in the spheres of re-education, re-adjustment and co-ordination.

Man's Supreme Inheritance by F. Matthias Alexander (Mouritz, 1996), page 37.

. . . whereas conscious control (reasoned experience) through re-education, co-ordination and readjustment is the result of the use of the reasoning powers in the conduct of life, by means of which man may fight his abnormal desires for harmful sensory experiences.

Man's Supreme Inheritance by F. Matthias Alexander (Mouritz, 1996), page 42.

And all these suggestions serve to support the theory that the first principle in all training, from the earliest years of child life, must be on a conscious plane of co-ordination, re-education and readjustment, which will establish a normal kinæsthesia.

Man's Supreme Inheritance by F. Matthias Alexander (Mouritz, 1996), page 44.

Now less than a year before I had passed this child as an unusually fine example of correct physical co-ordination.

Man's Supreme Inheritance by F. Matthias Alexander (Mouritz, 1996), page 77.

My own method, which at that time was regarded as very radical and subversive, was to give my pupils certain lessons in re-education and co-ordination on a basis of conscious guidance and control, and in this way I gave the reciter, actor or potential artist the means of employing to the best advantage his powers of vocal, facial and dramatic expression, gesture, etc.

Man's Supreme Inheritance by F. Matthias Alexander (Mouritz, 1996), page 83.

We must build up, co-ordinate and readjust the human machine so that it may be in tune.

Man's Supreme Inheritance by F. Matthias Alexander (Mouritz, 1996), page 84-85.

The position of mechanical advantage, which may or may not be a normal position, is the position which gives the teacher the opportunity to bring about quickly with his own hands a co-ordinated condition in the subject. Such co-ordination gives to the pupil an experience of the proper use of a part or parts, in the imperfect use of which may be found the primary cause of the defects present.

Man's Supreme Inheritance by F. Matthias Alexander (Mouritz, 1996), page 116.

The method is based firstly on the understanding of the co-ordinated uses of the muscular mechanisms, and secondly, on the complete acceptance of the hypothesis that each and every movement can be consciously directed and controlled.

Man's Supreme Inheritance by F. Matthias Alexander (Mouritz, 1996), page 123.

If there is any undue muscular pull in any part of the neck, it is almost certain to be due to the defective co-ordination in the use of the muscles of the spine, back and torso generally, the correction of which means the eradication of the real cause of the trouble.

Man's Supreme Inheritance by F. Matthias Alexander (Mouritz, 1996), page 129.

The process is of course repeated until the pupil gains a new kinæsthetic sense of the new and correct use of the parts, which become properly co-ordinated, and the correct habit is established.

Man's Supreme Inheritance by F. Matthias Alexander (Mouritz, 1996), page 131.

Furthermore, this mental guidance and control must co-ordinate with a proper position and length of the spine and the accompanying correct muscular uses of the torso, if these limbs are to be controlled by that guidance and co-ordination which will command their accurate employment at all times within reasonable limits.

Man's Supreme Inheritance by F. Matthias Alexander (Mouritz, 1996), page 137.

In other words, the teacher should first discover if his pupil is reasonably correctly co-ordinated in those muscular uses of his organism which are essential to the proper carrying out of instructions necessary to the performance of definite physical acts demanding co-ordination in the use of the human body and limbs.

Man's Supreme Inheritance by F. Matthias Alexander (Mouritz, 1996), page 137.

If we employ, as the fundamental in teaching, the principles of conscious guidance and control on a basis of re-education and general co-ordination the following advantages should accrue:

Man's Supreme Inheritance by F. Matthias Alexander (Mouritz, 1996), page 138.

Now the narrowing and arching of the back already referred to are exactly opposite to what is required by nature, and to that which is obtained in re-education, co-ordination and re-adjustment, viz., widening of the back and a more normal and extended position of the spine.

Man's Supreme Inheritance by F. Matthias Alexander (Mouritz, 1996), page 169.

And the effect upon the whole mechanical mechanism of the person concerned is shown by the fact that when the co-ordinating principles brought about by this method are established, there is a constant tendency for the torso to lengthen, whereas the usual tendency—due to faulty standing position and the incorrect co-ordinations which follow—is for the torso to shorten.

Man's Supreme Inheritance by F. Matthias Alexander (Mouritz, 1996), page 171.

The properly co-ordinated person employs a due amount of tension in such a way that the tendency of the spine and legs is to lengthen, and the equilibrium is such that the undue pressure through the floor is absent, and there is a lightness and freedom in the movements of such a person that is most noticeable.

Man's Supreme Inheritance by F. Matthias Alexander (Mouritz, 1996), page 171.

Another curious and interesting test of the co-ordinated person who is attaining conscious control of the uses of his body is obtained by observing his hands when they fall to his sides in the position which comes naturally to him.

Man's Supreme Inheritance by F. Matthias Alexander (Mouritz, 1996), page 188.

* The word co-ordination is ordinarily used at the present time in as narrow and limited a sense as the words relaxation, readjustment, re-education, etc. In view of this fact, I consider it necessary to give some idea of the more comprehensive sense in which it is used in this work.

I use the word co-ordination, both in its conception and in its application, to convey the idea of co-ordination on a general and not a specific basis. Specific co-ordination of any specific part of the organism, such as the muscles of the arm or leg, may be brought about by means of a direct process, during which process, however, new defects in the use of the organism in general will certainly be cultivated, whilst others already present will become more pronounced. These harmful conditions will not be cultivated if the specific co-ordination is brought about by means of an indirect process involving, primarily, the general co-ordination of the psycho-physical organism—that is to say, an integrated condition in which all the factors continue to make for satisfactory psycho-mechanical use.

This distinction between the specific and the general applies also to the terms readjustment, re-education, and relaxation as I use them in this book, for in general re-education specific defects are eradicated in process.

Constructive Conscious Control of the Individual by F. Matthias Alexander, (Mouritz, 2004),  page 10 footnote.

Take, for instance, the simple act of learning to write. In the case of the average badly co-ordinated pupil, there will be present certain impeding factors (into the detail of which we will enter later on) on account of which learning to write becomes a comparatively complicated proceeding. However expert the teacher may be, the pupil does not possess the psycho-physical equipment which would enable him to take adequate advantage of the instructions given to him. His first attempt to carry these out will reveal defects, and the subsequent attempts new defects. Each request from his teacher to do something, and each injunction not to do something else, means a building-up of a series of specific psycho-physical acts towards the given “end”—namely, learning to write. This means that although the “end” may be gained, the result as a whole will not be as satisfactory as it might be, for nothing will have been done in the way of re-education on a general basis to correct the mal-co-ordinated conditions connected with the use and control of the mechanisms when employed in the act of writing. In the endeavour to overcome the impeding factors concerned, the teacher builds up for the pupil a complicated procedure in order to gain the specific “end.” For the act of writing demands correct direction and control in the use of the fingers, wrist, and arm, and the standard of success reached in these particulars depends upon the co-ordinated use of the mechanisms in general.*

Constructive Conscious Control of the Individual by F. Matthias Alexander, (Mouritz, 2004), page 11.

Co-ordinated use of the organism means that there is satisfactory control of a complex mechanism. In a reasoned plan of life, the human creature would be in the enjoyment of a co-ordinated use of the whole organism and, comparatively speaking, there would not be any impeding factors, such as we have indicated, to be overcome. The pupil would have at command a satisfactory psycho-mechanical organism—that is, he would possess the psycho-physical equipment necessary for the ready assimilation of the teacher’s instructions—and, if these instructions were correct, their assimilation would enable the pupil to reason out the “means-whereby” to the desired “end,” which would then be gained in that simple and easy manner characteristic of all successful accomplishment.

Constructive Conscious Control of the Individual by F. Matthias Alexander, (Mouritz, 2004), pages 11-12.

The adequate development of these potentialities connotes a satisfactory standard of the co-ordinated use of the organism.

Constructive Conscious Control of the Individual by F. Matthias Alexander, (Mouritz, 2004), page 12

It is the manifestation of that imperfectly co-ordinated condition which is associated with an unreliable sense of feeling (sensory appreciation) concerned with unsatisfactory direction and control, and which, in the course of its development, has gradually weakened the response of the human creature to stimuli in the sphere of self-preservation.

Constructive Conscious Control of the Individual by F. Matthias Alexander, (Mouritz, 2004), page 17.

If the highest standard of so-called physical functioning is to be reached, there must be co-ordinated employment of the muscular system through co-ordinated guidance, direction and control by processes so-called mental, involving action and reaction in psycho-physical unity and an adequate standard at all times of the vital functioning of the organism.

In the same way, as I am prepared to demonstrate later, if the highest standard of so-called mental functioning is to be reached, there must be co-ordinated employment of those processes which are involved in the co-ordinated use of the so-called physical self, involving action and reaction in psycho-physical unity and an adequate standard at all times of the vital functioning of the organism.*

It is clear, therefore, that no human activity can be said to be wholly “physical” or wholly “mental,” but that all human activity, in whatever sphere, is psycho-physical activity, the standard of individual functioning, both mental and physical so-called, being determined by the standard of co-ordinated use of the organism in general, the standard of this co-ordinated use being determined in its turn by the standard of co-ordinated employment of the psycho-physical processes concerned.

Constructive Conscious Control of the Individual by F. Matthias Alexander, (Mouritz, 2004), page 21.

The reason for this is not far to seek. It is that, at this early period, the standard of co-ordination and of the accompanying sensory appreciation in both sexes was comparatively high, and the needs of uncivilized existence did not call for the continual adaptation to rapid changes which civilized life demands.

In fact, the physical co-ordination and development of the savage, like that of the animal which he encountered daily, had reached at that period a fine state of excellence.

Constructive Conscious Control of the Individual by F. Matthias Alexander, (Mouritz, 2004), page 28.

As far as we can see, nothing as yet had occurred to make him suspect that his sensory appreciation was not reliable, or that his standard of co-ordination was not satisfactory, or that, in adapting his mechanisms to new activities in a specific way, he might be injuring them in a general way, and thus be leading gradually to a general deterioration.

Constructive Conscious Control of the Individual by F. Matthias Alexander, (Mouritz, 2004), page 32.

But the point I wish to make clear is that, where this unequal development was concerned, there had been an inadequate co-ordinating process at work—a process, in fact, the very opposite of co-ordination, and one which has continued, with but few exceptions, in human beings until our own time.

Constructive Conscious Control of the Individual by F. Matthias Alexander, (Mouritz, 2004), page 35.

In fact, the process of civilization has gone hand in hand with a harmful interference with those co-ordinating processes upon which the satisfactory growth of man’s psycho-physical organism depends.

Constructive Conscious Control of the Individual by F. Matthias Alexander, (Mouritz, 2004), page 36.

It marked the beginning of an interference with the co-ordinated use of his mechanism as a whole, and particularly with those muscular co-ordinations so essential to his “physical” well-being.

Constructive Conscious Control of the Individual by F. Matthias Alexander, (Mouritz, 2004), page 36.

Interference with the Co-ordinated Use of the Psycho-Physical Mechanism and an Associated Lowering of the Standard of Sensory Appreciation.

Constructive Conscious Control of the Individual by F. Matthias Alexander, (Mouritz, 2004), page 36.

The inevitable result was an interference with the co-ordinated use of his psycho-physical mechanism, together with a more or less continued lowering of the standard of general functioning and of the standard of sensory appreciation, the harm being intensified by the fact that by leaving himself to blind subconscious guidance in all matters connected with the use of his psycho-physical organism, he continued to depend upon a sense of feeling which was continually deteriorating, with the result that today he represents perhaps the most imperfectly co-ordinated type of human creature ever known in the history of mankind.

Constructive Conscious Control of the Individual by F. Matthias Alexander, (Mouritz, 2004), page 37.

We can readily understand how this gradual interference with the co-ordination of man’s psycho-physical mechanisms would cause a number of disagreeable and alarming symptoms to manifest themselves, and, as a matter of fact, the deterioration of the human creature at last reached a point where the need for a remedy became exceedingly urgent. Man was now faced with a situation which was new to his experience, and which demanded from him, not only a response, but a quick response. The problem was complicated by the fact that the human creature on whom this urgent demand was made was already badly co-ordinated and had acquired, by reason of the rapidity with which his experiences had been gained—a rapidity hitherto unknown to the human organism—the habit of reacting in a certain confident, nay, almost reckless way to stimuli.

Constructive Conscious Control of the Individual by F. Matthias Alexander, (Mouritz, 2004), page 37.

But he saw this deterioration as a deterioration in his muscular development alone, not as a deterioration in his general psycho-physical co-ordination, and in his sensory appreciation, an interference, that is, with the general adjustment of the organism together with a misplacement of the vital organs and viscera, causing serious pressure and irritation and resulting in a number of disagreeable and alarming symptoms.

Constructive Conscious Control of the Individual by F. Matthias Alexander, (Mouritz, 2004), page 38.

If he could have thought of his body in the terms of the very intricately constructed machine which it is, he would have seen in his deteriorated condition, not a deterioration in his muscular development alone, but a deterioration in his general psycho-physical co-ordination, accompanied by an interference with the general adjustment of the organism and by a general lowering of the standard of its functioning. He would then have realized that his deterioration must be merely the symptom of some failure in the working of the machinery, and that the whole machine would need to be readjusted before it could work co-ordinately once more.

Constructive Conscious Control of the Individual by F. Matthias Alexander, (Mouritz, 2004), page 42.

It was the beginning of an interference with the co-ordinated use and development of the psycho-physical organism.

Constructive Conscious Control of the Individual by F. Matthias Alexander, (Mouritz, 2004), page 50.

In the case of the human mechanisms, a knowledge of the psycho-mechanical principles involved is necessary to their co-ordinated use, and this knowledge implies the possession of a sensory appreciation which is reliable.

Constructive Conscious Control of the Individual by F. Matthias Alexander, (Mouritz, 2004), page 57.

The time is not far distant when these facts will be widely recognized, and it will then be obvious that, immediately we decide to do something to remove a psycho-physical imperfection or defect, the first thing is to acquire gradually a reliable sensory appreciation during a process of re-education, re-adjustment, and co-ordination on a basis of constructive, conscious guidance and control.

Constructive Conscious Control of the Individual by F. Matthias Alexander, (Mouritz, 2004), page 58.

The seriousness of this position is at once apparent when we take into consideration the fact that, during the past two hundred years, the standard of sensory appreciation in the great majority of people has become harmfully lowered, with the result that mankind has generally become more and more imperfectly co-ordinated and has developed serious defects. Yet, in spite of this, the teachers and originators of modern systems, like those of an earlier date, are still trying to help individuals to progress towards a higher stage of “physical” and “mental” development, whilst leaving them dependent on subconscious experiences for guidance and control, without any consideration or, indeed, understanding of the harm that results from attempts to obey instructions made by people who are guiding themselves by an unreliable and often delusive sensory appreciation.

Constructive Conscious Control of the Individual by F. Matthias Alexander, (Mouritz, 2004), page 71.

There is a lack of co-ordination of the parts of the organism involved in the process called education, so that any attempts made to learn something or to learn to do something (and this applies equally to all processes of self-instruction) must tend to the cultivation of new psycho-physical defects and cannot fail to exaggerate the old ones. 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. Matthias Alexander, (Mouritz, 2004), page 77.

The consideration of principles in connection with any plan of education leads naturally to the consideration of the technique, the means whereby these principles are to be carried out, and in the pages of this book we are concerned with the technique to be employed in putting the principles I have outlined to practical use in the work of re-education, co-ordination, and readjustment on a conscious plane.

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

It then follows that if a pupil is more or less badly co-ordinated, the use of his psycho-physical self will be imperfect and therefore more or less harmful.

Constructive Conscious Control of the Individual by F. Matthias Alexander, (Mouritz, 2004), page 80.

This brings us face to face with the demand for a teaching technique which will meet this difficulty, and such a technique involves correct manipulation on the part of the teacher in the matter of giving the pupil correct experiences in sensory appreciation, in the spheres of re-education, readjustment, and co-ordination. Furthermore, in order to give these satisfactory sensory experiences, the teacher must himself be in possession of a reliable sensory mechanism and have gained the experience in re-education and co-ordination that is required for a satisfactory readjustment of the organism.

Constructive Conscious Control of the Individual by F. Matthias Alexander, (Mouritz, 2004), page 81.

This linking-up of the guiding orders or directions is all-important, for it is the counterpart of that linking-up of the parts of the organism which constitutes what we call co-ordination. The aim of re-education on a general basis is to bring about at all times and for all purposes, not a series of correct positions or postures, but a co-ordinated use of the mechanisms in general.

Constructive Conscious Control of the Individual by F. Matthias Alexander, (Mouritz, 2004), page 100.

The aim of re-education on a general basis is to bring about at all times and for all purposes, not a series of correct positions or postures, but a co-ordinated use of the mechanisms in general.

Constructive Conscious Control of the Individual by F. Matthias Alexander, (Mouritz, 2004), page 100.

His stiffened neck, in fact, is merely a symptom of general mal-co-ordination in the use of the mechanisms, and any direct attempt to relax it means that he is dealing with it as a “cause” and not as a “symptom,” and such an attempt will result in comparative failure unless a satisfactory co-ordinated use of the mechanism in general is restored.

Constructive Conscious Control of the Individual by F. Matthias Alexander, (Mouritz, 2004), page 103.

The projection of continued, conscious orders 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 coordinated use of the organism.

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

So you see, ladies and gentlemen, that I cannot help my questioner in regard to knowing how to walk, because if you are properly co-ordinated and if your sensory appreciation is right, your respiratory conditions will be satisfactory and so on throughout the whole organism.

Lecture: “An Unrecognized Principle” (1925) in Articles and Lectures by F. M. Alexander (Mouritz, 1995, London), page 154.

You can’t change the course of Nature by co-ordinating yourself.

“Teaching Aphorisms” (1930s) in Articles and Lectures by F. M. Alexander (Mouritz, 1995, London), page 193.

I realized that if the result I wanted did not come about through the directions that I was giving myself, this was because the co-ordinated conditions present weren’t yet such as could bring about this result, and that therefore the only thing to do was for me to go on repeating the directions until the right co-ordinated conditions had developed, so that the result would come about without difficulty.

“Teaching Aphorisms” (1930s) in Articles and Lectures by F. M. Alexander (Mouritz, 1995, London), page 195.

He gets what he feels is the right position, but that only means that he is getting the position which fits in with his defective co-ordination.

“Teaching Aphorisms” (1930s) in Articles and Lectures by F. M. Alexander (Mouritz, 1995, London), page 195.

And even in those rare instances where the athlete consciously controls and co-ordinates certain specific movements, it still cannot be said that he consciously controls the use of himself as a whole in his performance.

The Use of the Self by F. Matthias Alexander (Methuen, 1939), page 23.

These facts must be taken into account by the teacher who is using the “means-whereby” principle to build up a new direction of the pupil’s use. He will recognize in his practice that these preliminary acts, though means, are also ends but not isolated ends, inasmuch as they form a co-ordinated series of acts to be carried out “all together, one after the other.’’

The Use of the Self by F. Matthias Alexander (Methuen, 1939), page 59.

This demands a recognition of the existence of a central (primary) control which influences indirectly the manner of the working of the postural mechanisms, both in the person enjoying satisfactory use as well as in those who do not. This influence varies for good or ill according to the trustworthiness or otherwise of the motor-sensory controlling and co-ordinating functioning of the mechanisms in all activity.

The Universal Constant in Living by F. Matthias Alexander (Mouritz, 2000), page 106.


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