Re-education

[Title] “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 33.

There is conscious re-education of the respiratory mechanism which unconsciously creates and maintains universal order and health.

“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 33.

i.          Re-education is necessary to those who desire adequate control and development of the respiratory mechanism.
. . .
iii.        That in re-education there must first be conscious employment of the mechanism governing the respiratory act and the control of the motive power in vocalization; both processes eventually reverting to their original involuntary control as in the perfect human being.

“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 37.

[Title]  “Introduction to a New Method of Respiratory Vocal Re-Education” (1906)

in Articles and Lectures by F. M. Alexander (Mouritz, 1995, London), page 39.

I do not claim to have discovered any new method of breathing, but to understand the only true one—Nature’s; to have approached the subject from the artistic standpoint, and to have formulated a new method of respiratory and vocal re-education—a fact admitted by the medical men with whom I have had the honour of collaborating.

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

What is requisite is a mode of respiratory re-education, having as its aim the restoration of a condition which was present at birth in every normal being, but gradually deteriorated under conditions of modern artificial life.

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

It is my contention, therefore, that respiratory re-education is of the greatest value to those enjoying good development, while it is absolutely essential to those who have even slight defects in this direction. My arguments not only have regard to the physical aspect of re-education, but also to the mental, seeing [that] the muscular system of the respiratory mechanism is unconsciously controlled by the nerve-centres of the upper spinal cord and medulla [oblongata], and to a large extent by the higher nerve-centres.

“Introduction to a New Method of Respiratory Vocal Re-Education” (1906) in Articles and Lectures by F. M. Alexander (Mouritz, 1995, London), page 45.

At the outset of respiratory re-education one has to contend with a mechanism which has not been consciously controlled, and this can only be met by using indirect means through the agency of ordinary volition.
. . .
It will therefore be seen that the respiratory and vocal re-education is at first conscious control, and afterwards, when perfected, unconscious, just as it originally existed prior to respiratory and vocal deterioration, and the subsequent necessity for such re-education.

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

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. Therefore, if these tones are employed in vocal practice at the outset of re-education, the difficulties to be contended with are increased a hundredfold
“Introduction to a New Method of Respiratory Vocal Re-Education” (1906) in Articles and Lectures by F. M. Alexander (Mouritz, 1995, London), page 46.

[Title]  “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 51.

2.         a stage of observation of cause and effect similar to that of today, which led them to see the need of re-education, such re-education being essential to the restoration of the natural conditions present at birth in every normal babe, though gradually deteriorated under conditions of modern life.
 

“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 53.

2. In restoration: a body possessing one or other or all of the defects previously named will need re-education in order to eradicate the defects brought about by bad habits etc., and [to] restore a proper condition.

“The Theory and Practice of a New Method of Respiratory Re-Education” (1907) in Articles and Lectures by F. M. Alexander (Mouritz, 1995, London), pages 55–56.

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), pages 56-57.

In fact, when I introduced my method to leading London medical men they quickly admitted the value of this important factor, and expressed their surprise that it had not been previously advocated as such, seeing that from a practical point of view it is so essential, not only in the eradication of respiratory faults or defects (re-education), but also in preventing them (education).

“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.

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:

“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.

The foregoing will serve to draw attention to the far-reaching and beneficial effects of what, for the lack of a more satisfactory and comprehensive name, I refer to as respiratory re-education.

“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 66.

The perceptions and sensations of all who need respiratory and physical re-education are, as I shall show later, absolutely unreliable.

“Why ‘Deep Breathing’ and Physical Culture Exercises do more Harm than Good” (1908) in Articles and Lectures by F. M. Alexander (Mouritz, 1995, London), page 74.

[Title] “Re-Education of the Kinæsthetic Systems” (1908)

in Articles and Lectures by F. M. Alexander (Mouritz, 1995, London), page 79.

Re-Education
It is because the body is a machine that (re)-education is possible. (re)-education is the formation of (NEW AND CORRECT) habits, a (RE-INSTATING OF THE CORRECT) artificial organization upon the natural organization of the body; so that acts, which at first require conscious effort, eventually become unconscious and mechanical.

“Re-Education of the Kinæsthetic Systems” (1908) in Articles and Lectures by F. M. Alexander (Mouritz, 1995, London), page 79.

By this process of re-education an effective installation is made of the reflex muscular systems involved through the creation of an intelligent directive power on the part of the individual, thus removing a crude and useless kinæsthesia which must be regarded as either debauched or deformed, and establishing one of valid and unfailing function.

“Re-Education of the Kinæsthetic Systems” (1908) in Articles and Lectures by F. M. Alexander (Mouritz, 1995, London), page 79.

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.

He was so impressed with the method of re-education of the kinæsthetic systems which I had evolved from them that he came to me at once as a pupil, sent me the members of his own family, and has since placed several of his patients under my tuition.

“Why We Breathe Incorrectly” (1909) in Articles and Lectures by F. M. Alexander (Mouritz, 1995, London), page 91.

It will at once be seen, therefore, that the act of breathing is not a primary, or even a secondary, part of the process, which is really a re-education of the kinæsthetic systems associated with correct bodily postures and respiration, and will be referred to universally as such in the near future.

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

[Title] “Supplement to Re-Education of the Kinæsthetic Systems” (1910)

in Articles and Lectures by F. M. Alexander (Mouritz, 1995, London), page 103.

If, on the other hand, conscious reasoned control had been substituted and employed in re-education and co-ordination, the process of readjustment would have presented the minimum of the difficulties and dangers we have enumerated.

Man’s Supreme Inheritance by F. M. Alexander (Mouritz, 1996, London), page 40.

Their continuance in indulgence merely satisfied some inward craving which can only become a governing factor, as against human reason, when men are controlled by the subconscious instead of by the conscious powers; for subconscious control (instinct) is the outcome of experiences in those spheres where the animal senses exercised the great controlling and directing influences in the early stages of man’s evolution; 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. M. Alexander (Mouritz, 1996, London), 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. M. Alexander (Mouritz, 1996, London), page 44.

Therefore 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.

Man’s Supreme Inheritance by F. M. Alexander (Mouritz, 1996, London), page 59.

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. M. Alexander (Mouritz, 1996, London), page 85.

Re-Education
It is because the body is a machine that (re)-education is possible. (re)-education is the formation of (NEW AND CORRECT) habits, a (RE-INSTATING OF THE CORRECT) artificial organization upon the natural organization of the body; so that acts, which at first require conscious effort, eventually become unconscious and mechanical.

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

(d) It is essential, in the necessary re-education of the subject through conscious guidance and control, that in every case the “means whereby” rather than the “end” should be held in mind.

Man’s Supreme Inheritance by F. M. Alexander (Mouritz, 1996, London), page 116.

In re-educating the individual, therefore, the first effort must be directed to the education of the conscious mind. The words “re-educating” and “re-education” have a specific meaning. In the individual the normal processes of education in the use of the anatomical structure are conducted subconsciously, certain instincts commanding certain functions, whilst other functions are conducted deliberately. The effects of this haphazard process have either to be elaborated or broken down, according to the defects established by misuse of the mechanisms, and the first step in re-education is that of establishing in the pupil’s mind the connection which exists between cause and effect in every function of the human body.

Man’s Supreme Inheritance by F. M. Alexander (Mouritz, 1996, London), page 124.

The process of re-education concerns itself with establishing these principles, and for the purpose of illustration we may take a typical example of a patient who has had no experience of them.

Man’s Supreme Inheritance by F. M. Alexander (Mouritz, 1996, London), page 125.

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. M. Alexander (Mouritz, 1996, London), page 139.

[Chapter] V.  Conscious Guidance and Control: Apprehension and Re-Education

Man’s Supreme Inheritance by F. M. Alexander (Mouritz, 1996, London), page 154.

But many people are so out of communication with their reason that it needs days of re-education to establish a satisfactory working basis.

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

When it is explained to such a pupil that inhibition is the first step in his re-education, that his apprehensive fear that he may be doing wrong and his intense desire to do right are the secrets of his failure, he will invariably endeavour to prevent himself from doing anything, by exerting force usually in the opposite direction. And so he creates a second harmful force which, in conjunction with the first, serves only to increase the undue physical tension and to intensify the already exaggerated apprehensive condition. The fundamental principle in the re-education of such a subject is the prevention of this undue and unnecessary apprehension.

Man’s Supreme Inheritance by F. M. Alexander (Mouritz, 1996, London), page 158.

We must therefore make him understand that so very frequently in re-education the correct way to perform an act feels the impossible way.

Man’s Supreme Inheritance by F. M. Alexander (Mouritz, 1996, London), page 158.

The re-education work really begins here, and it takes weeks, nay, sometimes months to bring the pupil to a stage in his co-ordination when he will be really once more in communication with his reason.

Man’s Supreme Inheritance by F. M. Alexander (Mouritz, 1996, London), page 159.

To regain normal health and power in such cases, what I have called “re-education” is absolutely imperative.

Man’s Supreme Inheritance by F. M. Alexander (Mouritz, 1996, London), page 177.

These two actions—the re-education of the “Kinæsthetic Systems” and the increasing of the thoracic capacity which applies a mechanical power by means of the muscles and ribs to the straightening of the spine—are both aspects of the one central idea, and are not separate and divisible acts.

Man’s Supreme Inheritance by F. M. Alexander (Mouritz, 1996, London), page 186.

A well-known man of scientific attainments had great difficulty for some days with a simple, practical problem of psycho-mechanics concerned with his re-education.

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

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.

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

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.

[Chapter] 1. Education and Re-Education

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

On the other hand, the whole procedure of teaching on a plane of constructive conscious control is based on the opposite principle—namely, that those who have developed a condition in which the sensory appreciation (feeling) is more or less imperfect and deceptive, cannot expect to succeed in remedying this condition by relying upon this same deceptive feeling for guidance in their efforts in re-education, readjustment, and co-ordination, or in their attempts to put right something they know to be wrong with the psycho-physical organism.

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

The teacher experienced in the work of re-education can diagnose at once, by the expression and use of the pupil’s eyes, the degree of influence upon him of such conceptions, and at each step in the training he should take preventive measures to counteract this influence.

Constructive Conscious Control of the Individual by F. M. Alexander (Mouritz, 2004, London), page 84.

Let us suppose that a person decides that he will take lessons in re-education from a certain teacher and comes for the first lesson.

Constructive Conscious Control of the Individual by F. M. Alexander (Mouritz, 2004, London), page 85.

The problem, then, before us is to find a means whereby a reliable sensory appreciation can be developed and maintained throughout the organism, and the basis for my argument is that both in education and in re-education this must be brought about in every case by the reliance of the individual, not upon subconscious, but upon conscious, reasoning guidance and control.

Constructive Conscious Control of the Individual by F. M. Alexander (Mouritz, 2004, London), page 98.

Almost all civilized human creatures have developed a condition in which the sensory appreciation (feeling) is more or less imperfect and deceptive, and it naturally follows that it cannot be relied upon in re-education, readjustment, and co-ordination, or in our attempts to put right something we know to be wrong with our psycho-physical selves. The connection* between psycho-physical defects and incorrect sensory guidance must therefore be recognized by the teacher in the practical work of re-education.

Constructive Conscious Control of the Individual by F. M. Alexander (Mouritz, 2004, London), page 98.

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. M. Alexander (Mouritz, 2004, London), page 100.

Most people who need lessons in speaking have a tendency to speak too quickly, and they fail to pause, to wait between their sentences. This tendency, of course, has to be checked, but in the work of re-education on a conscious plane we do not try to check the tendency directly, but rely instead on the use of certain “means-whereby” which will indirectly bring about the desired result.

Constructive Conscious Control of the Individual by F. M. Alexander (Mouritz, 2004, London), page 106.

But if the pupil attacks his difficulties—i.e., his general condition of mal-co-ordination—by means of re-education on a plane of constructive, conscious control, he can be helped to overcome them by learning, firstly, to hold in check his subconscious desire to “take breath” at the end of each phrase (inhibitory act), and, secondly, to give the guiding orders and directions in connection with the correct psycho-mechanics of respiration (volitionary act).

Constructive Conscious Control of the Individual by F. M. Alexander (Mouritz, 2004, London), page 108.

It is for this reason that “correct positions” or “postures” find no place in the practical teaching technique employed in the work of re-education advocated in this book. . . . The correct position today cannot be the correct position a week later for any person who is advancing in the work of re-education and co-ordination.

Constructive Conscious Control of the Individual by F. M. Alexander (Mouritz, 2004, London), page 114.

In this connection I will now give an incident which I think is of particular interest and pertinence as showing the application of the technique employed in the work of re-education on a general basis to the practical ways of life, and also the analogy which exists between the process of “linking-up” (association of ideas) during the lessons, and the process of linking up what has been gained during those lessons with the experience of everyday life.

Constructive Conscious Control of the Individual by F. M. Alexander (Mouritz, 2004, London), page 124.

The teacher of re-education on a conscious plane does not make this demand of his pupils, for he knows by experience, and has to face the fact that in cases where there is an imperfect functioning of the organism, an individual cannot always do as he is told correctly.

Constructive Conscious Control of the Individual by F. M. Alexander (Mouritz, 2004, London), page 135.

Where the human being manifests this lack of control, he needs to be re-educated on a general basis so that reliable sensory appreciation may be restored, together with a satisfactory employment of the psycho-physical mechanisms. The processes of this form of re-education demand that the “means-whereby” to any “end” must be reasoned out, not on a specific but on a general basis, and with the continued use of these processes of reasoning, uncontrolled impulses and “emotional gusts” will gradually cease to dominate, and will ultimately be dominated.

Constructive Conscious Control of the Individual by F. M. Alexander (Mouritz, 2004, London), page 144.

This is the point which must always be emphasized by those advocating the claims of re-education and co-ordination on a general as against the claims of re-education and co-ordination on a specific basis. The person with defective sight will have quite a number of other psycho-physical defects, and re-education on a general basis must precede any attempt at specific re-education.

Constructive Conscious Control of the Individual by F. M. Alexander (Mouritz, 2004, London), page 162.

The following is an incident in this connection which occurred recently during a lesson in re-education in the writer’s own experience.

Constructive Conscious Control of the Individual by F. M. Alexander (Mouritz, 2004, London), page 179.

The child is always attracted by machinery; indeed, to find out “how it works” is the natural desire of every healthy child, and it is therefore very significant that in schools where experiments have been made in re-education on a general basis, the children have become more interested in this work than in any other of their school activities. They are not slow to recognize that they are themselves the most interesting machines, and their natural interest in mechanics finds full scope in the process of their own re-education.

Constructive Conscious Control of the Individual by F. M. Alexander (Mouritz, 2004, London), page 189.

Mr Allen appears also to have missed the significance of what was set down in the chapter on Golf in The Use of the Self, otherwise it is difficult to understand how he failed to appreciate that if he is to help himself and his colleagues to carry out the new procedures in my technique which call for a manner of use that is unfamiliar, the education in this new technique should begin with the re-education of their manner of using themselves; better still, that if possible, this re-education should be carried out before beginning their training in osteopathy, starting the osteopathic work only when they had reached the point where they could maintain a constantly improving use of themselves while putting their osteopathic technique into practice, or indeed during any other activity they may desire to carry on.

The Universal Constant in Living by F. M. Alexander (Mouritz, 2000, London), page 143.

It is possible to re-educate a person who is to carry out a technique, but I am at a loss to see how he or she can be re-educated in a new technique. That would surely imply education, not re-education. Re-education means a gradual restoration of something that has been previously experienced, something which we have been educated in, but for some reason have lost, as for instance when a person whose use of self has been gradually interfered with over a period of years manifests, as time goes on, more and more harmful effects of this interference in his general use and functioning. Re-education is not a process of adding something, but of restoring something. It was to meet the need of restoring actual conditions of use and functioning which had been previously experienced and afterwards lost that my technique for the re-education of the use of the self was evolved.

The Universal Constant in Living by F. M. Alexander (Mouritz, 2000, London), pages 144–45.

One is up against the “system” indeed, for one is up against those habitual reactions to stimuli by which human beings are so often enslaved. Fundamental change, as I have shown in Chapter v, involves the re-education and the readjustment of the individual as a whole.

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

Copyright 2001-2021. All rights reserved. No part may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, without the permission of the respective copyright holders. See Introduction.