Psycho-physical

The Doctrines of Antagonistic Action and Mechanical Advantage: In the process of creating a co-ordination one psycho-physical factor provides a position of rigidity by means of which the moving parts are held to the mode in which their function is carried on. This psycho-physical factor also constitutes a steady and firm condition which enables the Directive Agent of the sphere of consciousness to discriminate the action of the kinæsthetic and motion agents which it must maintain without any interference or discontinuity. The whole condition which thus obtains [sic] is herein termed ‘antagonistic action,’ and the attitude of rigidity essential as a factor in the process is called the position of ‘mechanical advantage’.

Man’s Supreme Inheritance by F. Matthias Alexander (Methuen, 1910), page 186.

A proper psycho-physical examination would have revealed bad habits in his waking and sleeping moments which tended more or less to reduce his intra-thoracic capacity to a minimum; such a minimum is not only harmfully inadequate, but also renders due functioning of the vital organs practically impossible.

Man's Supreme Inheritance by F. M. Alexander (Mouritz, 1996, London), page 12.

Examination of the misguided majority would reveal the fact that they were badly co-ordinated, and that psycho-physical conditions were present which would lead an expert to expect an overbalanced state in one direction or another, a domination of conscious reasoned control by subconscious unreasoned desire.

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

Obviously, then, the problem to be solved in connection with the thief or any other criminal, is concerned with the psycho-physical conditions which influence him in the direction of crime, and also with the failure of punishment either to change his point of view or to direct his excellent mental and physical gifts into honest and valuable spheres of expression. We are all aware that a conservative is rarely converted to the liberal viewpoint or vice versa in a day, or a month or even a year. Such mental changes, in the subconsciously controlled person, should, with rare exceptions, be made gradually and slowly; for the demands of readjustment in the psycho-physical self are great, and depend on the conditions present in the particular person.

Man's Supreme Inheritance by F. M. Alexander (Mouritz, 1996, London), page 39.

Therefore, we must turn our attention once more to that psycho-physical process which we call habit, including developments which have their origin in consciousness as well as those which spring from the subconsciousness.

Man's Supreme Inheritance by F. M. Alexander (Mouritz, 1996, London), page 41.

This psycho-physical state does not indicate satisfactory progress on the evolutionary plane up to the present time, and, furthermore, it does not give promise of greater progress in the future under this same subconscious direction.

Man's Supreme Inheritance by F. M. Alexander (Mouritz, 1996, London), pagse 42-43.

It is simply a matter of the psycho-physical make-up of the individual, of his inherent tendencies, and of his general experience of life in different environments.

Man's Supreme Inheritance by F. M. Alexander (Mouritz, 1996, London), page 43.

These three preparatory realizations indicate the real psycho-physical significance of the pupil’s mental position. He begins by a definite admission that the subconscious factors by which his psycho-physical organism is being guided are limited and unreliable. . . . . For there can be no doubt that man on the subconscious plane now relies too much on a debauched sense of feeling or of sense-appreciation for the guidance of his psycho-physical mechanism, and that he is gradually becoming more and more overbalanced emotionally, with very harmful and far-reaching results.

Man's Supreme Inheritance by F. M. Alexander (Mouritz, 1996, London), page 55.

I have cited this instance to show what strange psychic effects may spring from apparently purely physical causes—though, indeed, the complement of psycho-physical is so unified that it is impossible to divide the components and place them on one plane or the other.

Man's Supreme Inheritance by F. M. Alexander (Mouritz, 1996, London), page 81.

For we know that we cannot have freedom without restraint, any more than we can have psycho-physical harmony without antagonism.

Man's Supreme Inheritance by F. M. Alexander (Mouritz, 1996, London), page 87.

Investigation along these lines would probably have revealed the real cause of the difficulties to be faced in the education of the child of today, which is that the process of civilized life has gradually changed the child’s psycho-physical condition at birth.

Man's Supreme Inheritance by F. M. Alexander (Mouritz, 1996, London), page 93.

1. My first claim is that psycho-physical guidance by conscious control, when applied as a universal principle to “living,” constitutes an unfailing preventive for diseases mental or physical, malformations and loss of general efficiency.

Man's Supreme Inheritance by F. M. Alexander (Mouritz, 1996, London), page 111.

(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.

Man's Supreme Inheritance by F. M. Alexander (Mouritz, 1996, London), page 113.

Such were the conditions which over twenty years ago I sought to understand, believing—as I still do—that the whole human race was at some great psycho-physical turning-point in its history, and that if the true nature of this evolutionary stage could be understood, it might and should be possible to direct man’s physical and mental progression, and so combat, and in time eliminate, a thousand evils which seem to have no counterpart in the world of the lower animals, save in very exceptional cases.

Man's Supreme Inheritance by F. M. Alexander (Mouritz, 1996, London), page 119.

The correct point of view is: something is wrong in the use of the psycho-physical mechanism of the person concerned. Is this imperfection or defect a direct or indirect result of this person’s own direction and action, or is it the result of some influence outside of himself and beyond his power to control? It can be proved conclusively that his imperfections or defects are due entirely to causes springing directly or indirectly from his own ideas and acts.

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

I define instinct as the result of the accumulated subconscious psycho-physical experiences of man at all stages of his development, which continue with us until, singly or collectively, we reach the stage of conscious control; whilst intuition is the result of the conscious reasoned psycho-physical experiences during the process of our evolution.

Man's Supreme Inheritance by F. M. Alexander (Mouritz, 1996, London), page 139.

It will be clear from this example that in the consciously controlled stage of psycho-physical development men and women will be able, without fear of mental or physical harm, to adapt themselves at once to any strange or un-usual circumstance in which they are placed.

Man's Supreme Inheritance by F. M. Alexander (Mouritz, 1996, London), page 148.

He must not attempt to remedy any defect by “doing something” physically in accordance with his sensory appreciation, which is the outcome of his erroneous preconceived ideas and incorrect psycho-physical experience. His reasoning power is dominated by his sense of feeling where his psycho-physical self is concerned, so that he cannot even attempt to carry out any physical act except the one he feels to be right, despite the fact that by his reasoning faculties and practical proof he knows that his sense of feeling is misleading and is the outcome of erroneous preconceived ideas.

Man's Supreme Inheritance by F. M. Alexander (Mouritz, 1996, London), page 157.

Some of my impressions at the first and subsequent interviews were:
. . . 5.         the lack of mental control in any attempts in psycho-physical re-education and co-ordination;

Man's Supreme Inheritance by F. M. Alexander (Mouritz, 1996, London), page 163.

Her relatives at last came to the conclusion that her psycho-physical condition was serious, and I was asked to express an opinion from this point of view.

Man's Supreme Inheritance by F. M. Alexander (Mouritz, 1996, London), page 164.

When the position is assumed, it is further necessary for each person to bring about the proper lengthening of the spine and the adequate widening of the back. The latter needs due psycho-physical training such as is referred to in the two extracts quoted above.

Man's Supreme Inheritance by F. M. Alexander (Mouritz, 1996, London), page 170.

The truth of the matter is that in the old morbid conditions which have brought about the curvature, the muscles intended by Nature for the correct working of the parts concerned had been put out of action, and the whole purpose of the re-educatory method I advocate is to bring back these muscles into play, not by physical exercises, but by the employment of a position of mechanical advantage and the repetition of the correct inhibiting and guiding mental orders by the pupil, and the correct manipulation and direction by the teacher, until the two psycho-physical factors become an established psycho-physical habit.

Man's Supreme Inheritance by F. M. Alexander (Mouritz, 1996, London), pages 183-84.

At this juncture I wish to make clear the sense in which I use the word psycho-physical. The term psycho-physical is used both here and throughout my works to indicate the impossibility of separating “physical” and “mental” operations in our conception of the working of the human organism. As I wrote in Man’s Supreme Inheritance, “In my opinion the two must be considered entirely interdependent, and even more closely knit than is implied by such a phrase.” Hence I use the term psycho-physical activity to indicate all human manifestations, and psycho-physical mechanism to indicate the instrument which makes these manifestations possible.
Psycho-physical activity must not, however, always be considered as involving equal action and reaction of the processes concerned, for, as I hope to show, the history of the stages of man’s development reveals manifestations of human activity which, at certain stages, show a preponderance on what is called the “physical” side, and at other stages a preponderance on what is called the “mental” side. I am forced to use the words “physical” and “mental” here and throughout my argument because there are no other words at present which adequately express the manifestations of psycho-physical activity present at these various stages, not in any sense because the “physical” and the “mental” can be separated as such. I wish, therefore, to make it clear that whenever I use the word “mental,” it is to be understood as representing all processes or manifestations which are generally recognized as not wholly “physical,” and vice versa the word “physical” as representing all processes and manifestations which are generally recognized as not wholly “mental.”

Constructive Conscious Control of the Individual by F. M. Alexander (Mouritz, 2004, London), pages 4-5.

The evolutionary processes associated with these varying experiences, essential to the continued existence and development of the organism, ensured that comparatively desirable combination in human activity, namely, an adequate and correct* use of the psycho-physical organism as a whole, together with an adequate use at the same time of the parts of that organism.

Constructive Conscious Control of the Individual by F. M. Alexander (Mouritz, 2004, London), page 6.

Furthermore—and this is all-important—the demands thus made upon the psycho-physical processes, generally called mental processes, which were comparatively unused in his case, were destined to increase very rapidly, whilst the demands made upon the psycho-physical processes generally called physical processes, which were comparatively highly developed in his case, were destined to decrease, and their spheres of activity actually to become more and more limited with the advance of time. These experiences indicate that in order to meet satisfactorily the new demands of civilization, it was essential that man should acquire a new way of directing and controlling the mechanisms of the psycho-physical organism as a whole, mechanisms which in the savage state had been kept up, of necessity, to a high standard of co-ordination by their use in securing the creature’s daily food and in meeting the great “physical” demands of this mode of life.

Constructive Conscious Control of the Individual by F. M. Alexander (Mouritz, 2004, London), pages 6-7.

The change from a subconscious to a conscious plane of control would have involved a knowledge on man’s part of the means whereby he would be able to command a conscious, reasoning direction and control of his psycho-physical mechanisms in all activity. With this knowledge the human creature would have had some chance of meeting satisfactorily the increasing demands of his ever-changing environment, and of commanding a continuous growth and development of the organism itself, that marvellous psycho-physical instrument which holds within itself the potentialities for the satisfying of such demands.

Constructive Conscious Control of the Individual by F. M. Alexander (Mouritz, 2004, London), page 7.

All acts concerned with learning something or learning to do something call for psycho-physical activity, and the standard of efficiency in these spheres depends in every case upon the standard of the creature’s satisfactory employment of his psycho-physical self in the performance of these acts.

Constructive Conscious Control of the Individual by F. M. Alexander (Mouritz, 2004, London), pages 9-10.

Satisfactory psycho-physical activity depends upon psycho-mechanical structures which are complex, but of which the mechanical working does not become complicated until the mechanisms get out of order.

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

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.

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

Satisfactory evolutionary progress demands a continuous advancement, in individual psycho-physical activity, from stage to stage of cultivation and development. The primary desire or need in this connection is that individual desire or need which is the stimulus to the development of those psycho-physical potentialities which enable the creature to meet satisfactorily the demands of the processes essential to the satisfaction of the need.

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

Now, what is “mind-wandering”? In the attempt to answer this query, we will begin with a consideration of the psycho-physical processes concerned with direction and control within the human creature in the all-important sphere of self-preservation.

Constructive Conscious Control of the Individual by F. M. Alexander (Mouritz, 2004, London), page 13.

An act of self-preservation is the response to a stimulus (or stimuli) resulting from a fundamental need, and a satisfactory response depends upon the satisfactory direction and control of the psycho-physical mechanisms which are engaged in the act or acts of self-preservation.

An attempt to learn something or to learn to do something is the natural response to a stimulus (or stimuli) resulting from a wish or need to learn something or to learn to do something, and a satisfactory response depends upon the satisfactory direction and control of the psycho-physical mechanisms which are engaged in the acts of learning or learning to do something.

Constructive Conscious Control of the Individual by F. M. Alexander (Mouritz, 2004, London), page 15.

A person decides to learn something or to learn to do something. The conception involved in this decision immediately starts a series of activities of the psycho-physical mechanisms involved, those concerned with direction and control being of vital importance to a satisfactory result, which, in this instance, is the ability to learn something or to learn to do something.

Constructive Conscious Control of the Individual by F. M. Alexander (Mouritz, 2004, London), page 16.

In such a case the activities of the psycho-physical mechanisms involved in his attempts will be the result of unsatisfactory direction and control, resulting in a misdirected use of the psycho-physical mechanisms, and hence his inability to keep them operating on the satisfactory means whereby he will be able to gain his desired “end.”

Constructive Conscious Control of the Individual by F. M. Alexander (Mouritz, 2004, London), page 16.

Experience follows experience in the human creature’s activities, some of these experiences satisfactory, but the majority unsatisfactory, and the creature may be satisfied for the moment, only to be again dissatisfied, however, with the varying results of attempted accomplishment; and the psycho-physical experiences involved do not make for confidence in regard to any attempts which he may be forced to make in the future to meet the demands of civilization.

Constructive Conscious Control of the Individual by F. M. Alexander (Mouritz, 2004, London), page 18.

Consideration of the Mechanism of the Human Psycho-physical Organism in Relation to the Activities called Learning and Learning to Do

The foregoing will serve to indicate that in the sphere of learning something or learning to do something (as indeed, in connection with all psycho-physical acts) there is an important problem to be solved if we are to progress to that standard of psycho-physical functioning and use which will enable us to meet satisfactorily the ever-increasing demands of an advancing civilization. Since, as we have seen, the standard of functioning in the performance of any psycho-physical act depends upon the conception which influences the direction and control of the mechanisms involved, it is most essential to give consideration to this all-important matter of conception, in connection with the understanding of what we wish to learn or learn to do, and also in connection with that psycho-physical activity by means of which we are enabled to arrive at our conceptions concerned with learning and learning to do.

Constructive Conscious Control of the Individual by F. M. Alexander (Mouritz, 2004, London), page 20.

First, for every form of psycho-physical activity there must be a stimulus. In considering the response to this stimulus, I would remind my readers that I do not separate “mental” and “physical” operations (manifestations) in my conception of the manner (“means-whereby”) of the functioning of the human organism. For how can we prove that the response to any stimulus is wholly “physical” or wholly “mental”?

Constructive Conscious Control of the Individual by F. M. Alexander (Mouritz, 2004, London), page 20.

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. M. Alexander (Mouritz, 2004, London), page 21.

Influence of Sensory Appreciation upon Conception
in all Psycho-physical Activity

This dependence of the process of conception upon the general psycho-physical condition is a factor of paramount importance.

Constructive Conscious Control of the Individual by F. M. Alexander (Mouritz, 2004, London), page 22.

In the animate machine, or human psycho-physical organism, the controlling mechanism is a wonderful psycho-physical process by means of which an almost unlimited use of the different units which make up the whole may be brought about, so that at one moment a correct use and at another an incorrect use may be commanded.

This psycho-physical process is that essential factor in satisfactory human development which we call sensory appreciation.

Constructive Conscious Control of the Individual by F. M. Alexander (Mouritz, 2004, London), page 24.

This shows that although he had developed his reasoning processes to some extent in inventing crude weapons, implements, etc., during the early stages of his progress towards the civilized state, he did not apply these reasoning processes to the direction of his psycho-physical mechanisms in the use of himself in the various activities of everyday life.

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

It would then have been obvious to him that in order to meet satisfactorily the requirements of his new and changing environment, he must employ new guidance and direction, and that, in order to build up this new guidance with the rapidity that his necessities demanded, he must call upon reasoning to supersede instinct (the co-worker of slow development) in the use of his psycho-physical mechanisms. In other words, he would have realized that his primitive psycho-physical equipment must pass from the subconscious to the conscious plane of guidance and direction.

Constructive Conscious Control of the Individual by F. M. Alexander (Mouritz, 2004, London), page 33.

But his race instincts had not equipped him for such a sudden psycho-physical rush, such a tremendous overbalancing on the so-called mental side, so that he arrived at the new stage breathless, dazed, at a loss, as it were, from the lack of the graduated psycho-physical experiences which had been part and parcel of his earlier growth.

Constructive Conscious Control of the Individual by F. M. Alexander (Mouritz, 2004, London), page 34.

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. M. Alexander (Mouritz, 2004, London), page 37.

Man’s Conscious Reasoning Processes Applied in Connection with Outside Activities but not in Connection with his Psycho-physical Organism [Subtitle]

Constructive Conscious Control of the Individual by F. M. Alexander (Mouritz, 2004, London), page 43.

We are all acquainted with the word sacrilege, and we have a knowledge of the acts which come under this category. But the word has not yet been applied, as far as I am aware, in connection with the use of the psycho-physical organism of the human creature. Yet, is it not a sacrilege that during the experiences of civilization in the past two thousand years, the human psycho-physical organism has been -directed and employed in the activities of life on a subconscious and unreasoned plan, with the result that distortions and defects have been developed and have become established? The adjustment of the wonderful psycho-physical machinery has been harmfully interfered with, likewise the co-ordinations which play the great part in the actual working of this machinery, this interference resulting in a lowered standard of general functioning of the organism.

Constructive Conscious Control of the Individual by F. M. Alexander (Mouritz, 2004, London), pages 43-44.

Harmful Concept of Division of the Psycho-physical Organism. [Subtitle]

Constructive Conscious Control of the Individual by F. M. Alexander (Mouritz, 2004, London), page 46.

In the adoption of “physical exercises” and of the various methods of “mental healing” as specific remedies for human ills, man made an arbitrary attempt to separate the psycho-physical organism into parts which he defined as body, mind and soul.*

Constructive Conscious Control of the Individual by F. M. Alexander (Mouritz, 2004, London), page 46.

The confused state into which man was thrown in his first attempts to find a “cure” for his psycho-physical deterioration was naturally linked up and associated with his original fears.

Constructive Conscious Control of the Individual by F. M. Alexander (Mouritz, 2004, London), page 47.

For unbalanced psycho-physical development connotes unsatisfactory equilibrium in all spheres, and unsatisfactory equilibrium is ever associated with fear.

Constructive Conscious Control of the Individual by F. M. Alexander (Mouritz, 2004, London), page 48.

Many of us may awaken to the fact that the majority of our cherished ideas and ideals are the product, not of any process of reasoning, but of that unreasoning process called impulse, of unbalanced emotion and prejudice—that is, of ideas and ideals associated with a psycho-physical condition in the development of which unreliable sensory appreciation has played the leading part..

Constructive Conscious Control of the Individual by F. M. Alexander (Mouritz, 2004, London), page 53.

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. M. Alexander (Mouritz, 2004, London), page 58.

Nothing, however, in all this has been done to introduce such a change in the working of the psycho-physical mechanisms and general functioning as would prevent a continuance of the imperfect working and imperfect functioning which caused the specific trouble necessitating the operation.

Constructive Conscious Control of the Individual by F. M. Alexander (Mouritz, 2004, London), page 59.

Before we can answer these questions, we must take into consideration the all-important fact to which I drew attention at the very outset of this book—namely, that all so-called mental activity is a process governed by our psycho-physical condition at the time when the particular stimulus is received. This being so, it is obvious that the reason a person falls a victim to some unreasoning fear is that his condition of general psycho-physical functioning at the time when he receives the stimulus, to which the fear is the reaction, is below a normal and satisfactory standard.*

Constructive Conscious Control of the Individual by F. M. Alexander (Mouritz, 2004, London), page 60.

The question, then, I must again ask is: What can be done by the “unravelling” procedure of psycho-analysis to remedy these serious defects of general psycho-physical functioning? Will psycho--analysis as practised restore a reliable sensory appreciation to the patient, and co-ordinate and re-educate his psycho-physical mechanisms on a general basis? Certainly not. The psy-cho-physical condition which permitted the establishment of the first phobia will permit the establishment of another. All that is needed is the stimulus.

Constructive Conscious Control of the Individual by F. M. Alexander (Mouritz, 2004, London), page 61.

This fact is that whenever we wish to convey to anyone a new idea, whether by the written or spoken word, that is to say, to teach him something, the person wishing to make use of it by that psycho-physical activity which we call learning something must first get his or her conception of what is indicated by those written or spoken words, and his practical use of the new idea will be conditioned by this conception.

Constructive Conscious Control of the Individual by F. M. Alexander (Mouritz, 2004, London), page 69.

The significance, however, of the fact that a person’s attempt to make practical use of a new idea is conditioned by his conception of the written or spoken word, cannot be fully realized until we connect it with the further fact, that this conception, in its turn, is conditioned by the standard of the psycho-physical functioning of the individual, this standard again being influenced by the standard of sensory appreciation; in other words, that the accuracy or otherwise of the individual conception depends upon the standard of psycho-physical functioning and of sensory appreciation present.

Constructive Conscious Control of the Individual by F. M. Alexander (Mouritz, 2004, London), page 70.

The problem, then, with which we are faced is that the human beings to be educated today are already saddled with a more or less debauched kinæsthesia, a condition in which psycho-physical reactions are abnormal and harmful. Satisfactory education is incompatible with abnormal and harmful reactions, and a teaching technique, therefore, to be satisfactory, must be one that will meet the needs of those who are beset with the varying and more or less serious defects in the employment of the psycho-physical mechanisms which are responsible for unsatisfactory and harmful reactions.

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

Further, it occurs to very few of them to consider whether, in this process of “education” (i.e., in certain specific directions), the child’s fear reflexes will not be unduly and harmfully excited by the injunction that it must always try to “be right,”† indeed, that it is almost a disgrace to be wrong; that the teachers concerned do not even know how to prevent the child from acquiring the very worst psycho-physical use of itself whilst standing or sitting at its desk or table, pondering over its lessons, or performing its other duties; that on account of the methods of cramming and other means adopted in the act of learning, there is being cultivated a harmful psycho-physical condition—one result being recognized in a loss of memory—which in our time has developed to such a serious point that it has paved the way for the exploitation of educated people by means of various methods, such as “memory systems,” etc.*.

Constructive Conscious Control of the Individual by F. M. Alexander (Mouritz, 2004, London), page 72.

Its psycho-physical mechanisms are not nearly as reliable, nor its ingenuity at a given age as great as theirs in relation to most psycho-physical acts in the practical way of life. As a result, by the time the ordinary child reaches school age, certain wrong uses of the psycho-physical mechanism have become established, constituting a serious condition which baffles the most thoughtful teachers.†

Constructive Conscious Control of the Individual by F. M. Alexander (Mouritz, 2004, London), page 74.

And what is to happen if the educational demands continue to increase, whilst the psycho-physical possibilities of the children continue to decrease, as they surely will, unless the defects which make for badly co-ordinated use of the psycho-physical self are eradicated, and instead there is set in motion a process of genuine development on a plane of conscious control in the use of the organism?

We must remember also that every attempt on the part of the child to do something or to acquire knowledge makes a psycho-physical demand, and that the child’s efforts, when judged on a general and not a specific basis, will always be in accordance with the standard of psycho-physical functioning of its organism.

Constructive Conscious Control of the Individual by F. M. Alexander (Mouritz, 2004, London), page 76.

You will have gathered from what I have said that I can’t conceive of the use of the self—that is my chief interest in life—I can’t conceive of the use of that self except as psycho-physical unit.

Lecture: “An Unrecognized Principle” (1925) in Articles and Lectures by F. M. Alexander (Mouritz, 1995, London), page 146.

These young men and young women were never taught to walk, they were taught how to use themselves, the whole psycho-physical organism, satisfactorily; their sensory consciousness and sensory appreciation of the use of themselves was properly developed, and there was no need for any trouble.

Lecture: “An Unrecognized Principle” (1925) in Articles and Lectures by F. M. Alexander (Mouritz, 1995, London), pages 153-54.

For I recognize that the use of any specific part such as the arm or leg involves of necessity bringing into action the different psycho-physical mechanisms of the organism, this concerted activity bringing about the use of the specific part.

The Use of the Self by F. Matthias Alexander (Methuen, 1932, London) page 4 footnote.

I assured him that my long years of practical experience in dealing with the difficulties and idiosyncrasies of people who stutter had convinced me that stuttering was one of the most interesting specific symptoms of a general cause, namely, misdirection of the use of the psycho-physical mechanisms, and I did not wish to take him as a pupil, unless he was prepared to work with me on the basis of correcting this misdirection of use generally, as the primary step in remedying his defects in speech.

The Use of the Self by F. Matthias Alexander (Methuen, 1932, London) page 70.

Some of the cases have been previously diagnosed and treated for such widely differing troubles as angina pectoris, epilepsy locomotor ataxia, rheumatoid arthritis, sciatica, infantile paralysis, asthma, neuritis, so called nervous and mental troubles, constipation, voice and throat trouble, flatfoot and stuttering, and on examination of each of these cases I have found present unsatisfactory functioning associated with harmful use of the psycho-physical mechanisms.

The Use of the Self by F. Matthias Alexander (Methuen, 1932, London) page 92.

All I have aimed at in my book, and indeed in all my writings, has been to draw attention to the fact, unrecognized up till now in medical and other remedial and educational practice: (1) that man’s sensory appreciation of the use of the psycho-physical mechanisms of his organism has become more or less untrustworthy, this growing untrustworthiness being associated with a misdirection of the use of himself; . . . ..

Letter: “The Use of the Self–1” (1932) in Articles and Lectures by F. M. Alexander (Mouritz, 1995, London), page 130.

Instead I prefer to call the psycho-physical organism simply “the self,” and to write of it as something “in use,” which “functions” and which “reacts.”

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

With regard to the use of the word psycho-physical, I would refer my reader to what I wrote in my book, Constructive Conscious Control of the Individual (page 5): “The term psycho-physical is used both here and throughout my works to indicate the impossibility of separating ‘physical’ and ‘mental’ operations in our conception of the working of the human organism. As I wrote in Man’s Supreme Inheritance: ‘In my opinion the two must be considered entirely interdependent, and even more closely knit than is implied by such a phrase.’ Hence I use the term psycho-physical activity to indicate all human manifestations, and psycho-physical mechanism to indicate the instrument which makes these manifestations possible. Psycho-physical activity must not, however, always be considered as involving equal action and reaction of the processes concerned, for, as I hope to show, the history of the stages of man’s development reveals manifestations of human activity which, at certain stages, show a preponderance on what is called the ‘physical’ side, and at other stages a preponderance on what is called the ‘mental’ side. I am forced to use the words ‘physical’ and ‘mental’ here and throughout my argument because there are no other words at present which adequately express the manifestations of psycho-physical activity present at these various stages, not in any sense because the ‘physical’ and ‘mental’ can be separated as such. I wish, therefore, to make it clear that whenever I use the word ‘mental,’ it is to be understood as representing all processes and manifestations which are generally recognized as not wholly ‘physical,’ and vice versa, the word ‘physical’ as representing all processes and manifestations which are generally recognized as not wholly ‘mental.’” This also applies where I use the words “physical” and “mental” in this book..

The Universal Constant in Living by F. Matthias Alexander (Mouritz, 2000), pages 4–5..

This will at least draw attention once more to a fact which cannot be too often emphasized—namely, that it is the whole psycho-physical self, the whole human organism with all its manifold functions, which gains in efficiency and well-being from the correct employment of the primary control of use in every activity of life.

The Universal Constant in Living by F. Matthias Alexander (Mouritz, 2000), page 35.

It can be demonstrated by means of my technique that interference with the working of the primary control of the psycho-physical machine can not only be prevented, but also be remedied in those in whom the working of this control has already been interfered with.

The Universal Constant in Living by F. Matthias Alexander (Mouritz, 2000), page 50.

As long as we adhere in everything we do to the principle of consciously inhibiting interference with the employment of the primary control, then our ordinary daily activities can be made a constant means of psycho-physical development in its fullest sense.

The Universal Constant in Living by F. Matthias Alexander (Mouritz, 2000), page 52.

The opposite condition would have come about if in the beginning the doctor had diagnosed the bad manner of use present and had taken measures to correct it. Then, instead of a gradual lowering, there would have been a gradual raising of the standard of general functioning, with the result that the child in question would be enjoying a state of comparative well-being, instead of being beset with conditions which are undermining his constitution and retarding his psycho-physical growth and development.

The Universal Constant in Living by F. Matthias Alexander (Mouritz, 2000), page 66.

This is a unique situation, and one that man, as far as I am aware, has not been previously called upon to face under any method of education, training, or scheme of living, and this situation will persist as the greatest stumbling-block in the way of making fundamental change until we employ means which provide opportunity for gaining the experiences necessary for passing from the familiar (wrong) to the unfamiliar (right) guidance and control of the psycho-physical organism, the only means which we are justified in concluding make provision for change in the fundamental sense.

The Universal Constant in Living by F. Matthias Alexander (Mouritz, 2000), page 92.

It is true that more or less success for this method is claimed by those who use it, but when considering how far such claims are justified, it is essential to remember that it is both the psycho-physical experiences of the individual in use and functioning, and those that he gains when he is applying himself as an instrument in his activities in the outside world, which combine to make up his experience in living, and it is this sum total of experience which determines the nature and value of his judgement.

The Universal Constant in Living by F. Matthias Alexander (Mouritz, 2000), page 93.

Thus he gives himself the opportunity of making a new decision which calls for new and unfamiliar psycho-physical experiences in the carrying out of new and unfamiliar procedures, and if he adheres to this decision, and employs the procedures which should be employed for bringing about the required change and improvement in his manner of use, the new reaction he desires is made possible, and the by-product, repression, will not be present.
The training that this presupposes has already been described and has proved to be the means of meeting the problem of making and carrying out decisions such as confront those who are trying to improve conditions of use and raise the standard of functioning in the psycho-physical self, the forerunner of all fundamental change.

The Universal Constant in Living by F. Matthias Alexander (Mouritz, 2000), page 96.

In my work we are concerned primarily with non-doing in the fundamental sense of what we should not doin the use of ourselves in our daily activities; in other words, with preventing that habitual misuse of the psycho-physical mechanisms which renders these . . .

The Universal Constant in Living by F. Matthias Alexander (Mouritz, 2000), page 98.

It calls for the unity in action of the psycho-physical processes in

1. conceiving what is required or desired to be done; and in
2. withholding or giving consent to doing it

—in other words, it means either refraining from, or giving consent to, sending the messages to the muscles to be employed in accordance with the subject’s manner of employing them, this in turn being determined by his manner of employing the primary control.

The Universal Constant in Living by F. Matthias Alexander (Mouritz, 2000), page 104.

In reply to my friend’s request I will point out that in this and my other books I am offering a psycho-physical approach to the problem of translating ideals, theories, and beliefs into practice, and have shown that this calls for that fundamental change in the use of the self by means of which the standard of general functioning is raised and psycho-physical defects and ills, whether fears or any other emotional reactions, are overcome. This means psycho-physical reconditioning, and such reconditioning cannot be effected by means of ideals alone, any more than man can live by bread alone.

The Universal Constant in Living by F. Matthias Alexander (Mouritz, 2000), page 150-51.

It is this which is at the root of the dilemma facing modern education. For if, in the education of these boys, they had first been taught to appreciate the value of the principle of the unity in working of the psycho-physical organism, and had been given the means of maintaining this unity in working in all their daily activities, they would have gained experience in assessing the value of the changing conditions accruing at the different stages of development leading to psycho-physical health, that basic experience which could have given them a standard of judgement of the subject-matter submitted to them.

The Universal Constant in Living by F. Matthias Alexander (Mouritz, 2000), page 166.

Fundamental change, as I have shown in Chapter v, involves the re-education and the readjustment of the individual as a whole. A mere change of “mind” or of belief does not change the habitual manner of psycho-physical use and the associated conditions of general functioning.

The Universal Constant in Living by F. Matthias Alexander (Mouritz, 2000), page 167.

My work is in the wide sense educational, but it cannot by any stretch of the imagination be labelled a “system,” for that implies something limited, complete, calling for the employment of direct means in the gaining of ends; whereas in my technique the procedures are carried out by indirect means which lead the pupil from the known (wrong) to the unknown (right) in experience, the first imperative in the employment of these procedures being to provide for the child, adolescent, or adult the “means-whereby” or standard by which, first, to judge and direct his own psycho-physical mechanisms in the activities of life, and then, in accordance with this standard, to judge the value of ideals and suggestions proposed to him in experience. Individuals who are equipped with this knowledge of their own psycho-physical tendencies towards unduly depressed or excited emotional reactions, together with that of the means whereby they can hold such tendencies in check, cannot easily be influenced by others to the extent of becoming mere puppets, a danger to themselves and to their fellows.

The Universal Constant in Living by F. Matthias Alexander (Mouritz, 2000), page 170.

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