Practice, theory, theory and practice

The Theory and practice of a New Method of Respiratory Re-Education

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.

ii. Errors to be Avoided and Facts to be Remembered in the Theory and practice of Respiratory Re-Education

Subtitle in ‘The Theory and practice of a New Method of Respiratory Re-Education’ (1907) in Articles and Lectures by F. M. Alexander (Mouritz, 1995, London), page 56..

As the originator of those conclusions in connection with a subject on which I have specialized in theory and practice for fourteen years—. . .

‘Why we breathe incorrectly’ (1909) in Articles and Lectures by F. M. Alexander (Mouritz, 1995, London), page 91.

11.       Why it can be stated that the theory and practice set down in this book are based upon a new principle,and so provide a new and reliable basis for the diagnosis of human behaviour.

Preface to 1945 edition, Man’s Supreme Inheritance by F. M. Alexander (Mouritz, 1996, London), page xiii.

Since this book was first published, innumerable references to the theory and practice advocated in it have been made in books, pamphlets, scientific reports, and letters of appreciation.

Preface to 1945 edition, Man’s Supreme Inheritance by F. M. Alexander (Mouritz, 1996, London), page xv.

I know that I shall be regarded in many quarters as a revolutionary and a heretic, for my theory and practice, though founded on a principle as old as the life of man, are not in accord with, nor even a development of, the tradition which still obtains. But in thus rejecting tradition I am, happily, sustained by something more than an unproved theory. Moreover, on this firm ground I do not stand alone. Though my theory may appear revolutionary and heretical, it is shared by men of attainment in science and medicine.

Preface to first edition, Man’s Supreme Inheritance by F. M. Alexander (Mouritz, 1996, London), page xx.

I have had cases brought to me as the result of the failure of many kinds of treatment, of rest cures, relaxation cures, hypnotism, faith cures, physical culture, and the ordinary medical prescriptions, and in the treatment of these cases, in my own observations, and in the appreciation of the patients themselves, I have had abundant opportunity to prove to my own satisfaction that in its application to present needs my theory has stood the test of practice in every circumstance and condition.

Preface to first edition, Man’s Supreme Inheritance by F. M. Alexander (Mouritz, 1996, London), page xx.

Speculation as to what first influenced that strange and wonderful development does not come within the province of this treatise, but I should like in passing to point out that the theory and practice of my system are influenced by no particular religion nor school of philosophy, but in one sense may be said to embrace them all.

Man’s Supreme Inheritance by F. M. Alexander (Mouritz, 1996, London), page 3.

Briefly, all three methods seek to reach the subjective mind by deadening the objective or conscious mind, and the centre and backbone of my theory and practice, upon which I feel that I cannot insist too strongly, is that the Conscious Mind Must Be Quickened.

Man’s Supreme Inheritance by F. M. Alexander (Mouritz, 1996, London), page 33.

It is my belief, confirmed by the research and practice of nearly twenty years, that Man’s Supreme Inheritance of conscious guidance and control is within the grasp of any one who will take the trouble to cultivate it. That it is no esoteric doctrine or mystical cult, but a synthesis of entirely reasonable propositions that can be demonstrated in pure theory and substantiated in common practice.
            I will now consider at greater length a characteristic case for the elucidation of these various points of theory and practice.

Man’s Supreme Inheritance by F. M. Alexander (Mouritz, 1996, London), page 141.

In a perfect world, unconscious imitation would not be able to exert a perverting influence, and to the conception of such a world we may well turn our attention, but we shall never attain it by any means other than these principles of conscious, reasoning, deliberate construction, or reconstruction, upon which I have based the whole of my theory and practice.

Man’s Supreme Inheritance by F. M. Alexander (Mouritz, 1996, London), page 181.

His decision, in short, was the result of a subconscious and, therefore, unreasoned procedure, not of conscious reasoning reflexion. As we have already pointed out, a different result could hardly be expected at this early stage of man’s development, seeing that even today, in the twentieth century, the problem of psycho-physical unfitness is met with the same primeval “remedy” outlook both in theory and practice.

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

It must here be clearly understood that in the previous manipulative and other work done in connection with the technique, the pupil will have been made familiar in theory and practice with Order 1. He is able to give certain orders correctly and also to put them into effect.

Constructive Conscious Control of the Individual by F. M. Alexander (Mouritz, 2004, London), page 115.

Theories and beliefs faithfully held have failed when brought to the test of actual practice. Hence it is not unreasonable to conclude that even if the bases of these theories and beliefs were sound, man’s reaction in translating them into practice has led him into error and consequent failure.

Constructive Conscious Control of the Individual by F. M. Alexander (Mouritz, 2004, London),, Preface to 1946 edition, page xv.

The bridging of the gap between theory, with its associated beliefs, and practice, depends at every step upon the human element, for it is the nature of the reaction of the individual engaged in the task of this bridging—the carrying-out of the plan or theory—that will determine the measure of success or failure. The all-important consideration, therefore, in bridging the gap between theory and practice is the make-up of the individual, particularly the sensory make-up.

Constructive Conscious Control of the Individual by F. M. Alexander (Mouritz, 2004, London), Preface to 1946 edition, page xv.

Today I do not know of any person who doubts that if man is to evolve in the right direction, the gap between instinctive and conscious control of the self must be bridged, in order to bridge “the gap between idealistic theory and actual practice.”

Constructive Conscious Control of the Individual by F. M. Alexander (Mouritz, 2004, London), Preface to 1946 edition, page xviii.

It is true that dependence upon instinctive reaction meets the needs of the animal kingdom, but the world crisis of our day serves to show that such dependence no longer meets man’s needs when he tries to translate into practice his idealistic theories with regard to self-improvement, growth, and progress.

Constructive Conscious Control of the Individual by F. M. Alexander (Mouritz, 2004, London), Preface to 1946 edition, page xix

When my last book, The Use of the Self, was finished I consoled myself with the thought that I would not need to write another on the subject of my practice and theory, because a detailed description of the evolution of my technique and its application to different fields of activity was then to be found in my books.

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

Further, anyone who examines the practice approved by the committee will see that the means they advocate for putting their theories into practice do not differ in principle from the means which have been employed ever since physical exercises were first devised by man.

The Universal Constant in Living by F. M. Alexander (Mouritz, 2000, London), page 42.

The experience they will gain, however, should lead them to see that the art and science of assessing the influence of use upon functioning comes first in the practice and theory of any scheme of preventive medicine, and that any other knowledge required for their medical training can be best applied, not as a principle, but as an auxiliary measure.

The Universal Constant in Living by F. M. Alexander (Mouritz, 2000, London), page 65.

But although they may have become convinced that it is what they themselves are doing that is responsible for the wrong manner of use they are anxious to change, and that as a first step in acting on this conviction they must learn how to stop this “doing,” there is little to show that, in learning, their intellectual grasp of the theory furnishes them with the assistance they need for putting it into practice.

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

It is a curious anomaly that acceptance of the theory and practice of non-doing should be comparatively easy in attempts to help the self in external activities, but so difficult in similar attempts connected with internal activities.

The Universal Constant in Living by F. M. Alexander (Mouritz, 2000, London), page 101.

It follows that the putting into practice of the theory of non-doing where the manner of use of the self is concerned is a fundamental experience, and is the most valuable experience to be gained by those who wish to learn to prevent themselves from harmful “doing” in carrying out activities outside themselves.

The Universal Constant in Living by F. M. Alexander (Mouritz, 2000, London), page 101.

VII. The Theory of “The Whole Man” and its Counterpart in Practice

Chapter title, The Universal Constant in Living by F. M. Alexander (Mouritz, 2000, London), page 120.

But when Mr Allen offers this technique as a contribution to osteopathy he is offering something new to his colleagues, something not previously experienced (the unknown) by them, and as so often happens when a person versed in a theory and practice based on a principle which is familiar is led to consider and approve a theory and practice based upon a principle which is unfamiliar, he was misled in his conception of the “means-whereby” that were required for the successful adoption of this new technique.

The Universal Constant in Living by F. M. Alexander (Mouritz, 2000, London), page 145.

His practical suggestions, however, fit in, not with my practice and theory as set forth in my books, but with his own interpretation of it.

The Universal Constant in Living by F. M. Alexander (Mouritz, 2000, London), page 145.

I have a keen appreciation of Mr Allen’s attempts to help his colleagues, and hence it is with reluctance I am forced, in justice to my work, to try to correct the impression of my practice and theory conveyed to his colleagues in his article.

The Universal Constant in Living by F. M. Alexander (Mouritz, 2000, London), page 146.

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.

The Universal Constant in Living by F. M. Alexander (Mouritz, 2000, London), page 154.

A study of the subject matter of my books shows conclusively that in the field in which I have worked I am the pioneer—a field, be it noted, in which neither the defendants nor their witnesses have ever worked, and their ignorance with regard to the practice and theory of my technique is apparent in their arguments, evidence and admissions during the Court hearing.

‘Manufacturing Premises Required for Desired Deductions’ (c. 1949) in Articles and Lectures by F. M. Alexander (Mouritz, 1995, London), pages 213–14.

Naturally, the agents for the building asked what was my profession. I did my best to explain the nature of my practice and theory but this just served to bring questions such as: “Are you a doctor, are you a physical culturist, are you a teacher of singing?” to which I had to answer, “No.”

‘Autobiographical Sketch’ (c. 1950) in Articles and Lectures by F. M. Alexander (Mouritz, 1995, London), page 242.

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