Principle, principles

Therefore, if the open-air treatment is to take its place and be of any abiding value, the principles of the sanatorium must be introduced into the home.”
Accordingly it can justly be urged that the fundamental principle of the “open air treatment” should be the study and practice of that art—the breathing art—which will, while at the sanatorium, ensure a new and perfect breathing habit, which will ensure the maximum air supply with the minimum of effort, develop the lungs and chest, nourish the lung tissue by causing a wonderfully increased supply of blood to circulate through the organ, and increase the supply of nature’s own tonic—oxygen—which has truthfully been referred to as “the oil in the lamp of life.”

“The Prevention and Cure of Consumption” (1903) in Articles and Lectures by F. M. Alexander (Mouritz, 1995, London), page 23.

Perfection in the expiratory act entails perfection in the inspiratory one also, a fact only to be realized by those who have a perfect knowledge of the true principles governing the respiratory act in singing.

“Introduction to a New Method of Respiratory Vocal Re-Education” (1906) in Articles and Lectures by F. M. Alexander (Mouritz, 1995, London), page 42.

It is a well-known fact that the majority of those who have studied ordinary breathing systems have given them up in disgust, because the first natural principles were ignored or neglected, the breath being taken in such a manner that, instead of control being developed, the reverse occurred, and the chest poise at the end of each vocal phrase tended to prevent the proper use of the mechanism in the respiratory act following.
In a future work I hope to deal more fully with the scientific aspect of practical respiratory re-education. At present I simply state the great principle to be antagonistic action, perfect employment of which is the forerunner of that control which ensures the correct use of the muscular system of the thorax in its fullest sense as the primary motive power in the respiratory act, also adequate muscular development, non-interference with the larynx and nasal dilatation.

“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 may be of interest to my readers to know that the method I have founded is the result of a practical and unique experience, for my knowledge was gained:
1.         while vainly attempting to eradicate personal, vocal and respiratory defects by recognized systems
2.         while afterwards putting into practice certain original principles, which enabled me to eradicate these defects
3.         while giving personal demonstrations of the application of these principles from a respiratory, vocal, and health-giving point of view.

“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.

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.

“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.

The guiding principle that should be invariably kept in mind by both teacher and pupil is to secure, with the minimum of effort, perfect use of the component parts of the mechanisms concerned in respiration and 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 60.

Such family peculiarities or defects are unconsciously acquired by the children, often becoming more pronounced in the second generation; such acquirements making for good or ill, as the case may be. I will, however, confine myself to an enumeration of those with a harmful tendency, as an understanding of bad habits is essential to considering the teaching principles adopted in my method of respiratory-physical 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 62.

Re-education, when one or other or all of these peculiarities or defects are present, means eradication of existing bad habits, and the following will indicate some of the chief principles upon which the teaching method of this re-education is based: . . .

“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.

A Presentation of Principles and Laws Exemplified in Mr F. Matthias Alexander’s Method of the Re-Education of the Kinæsthetic Systems (Sensory Appreciation of Muscular Movement) Concerned With the Development of Robust Physical Well-being

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

It will be found that all vocal peculiarities and defects are associated with an imperfect mode of opening the mouth and imperfect use of the tongue and lips. Before attempting to eradicate these defects the pupil must have made very considerable progress with the foregoing and other exercises. The teacher must now thoroughly explain the mental principles involved.

“Supplement to Re-Education of the Kinæsthetic Systems” (1910) in Articles and Lectures by F. M. Alexander (Mouritz, 1995, London), page 105.

When I came to London in 1904, I brought a letter of introduction to Dr Spicer from his friend Dr Brady (Throat and Nose Specialist) of Sydney. At that time I had been a professional voice-user for fourteen years, and during the last eleven of those years, I had—working with medical men—taught my methods and the principles underlying them, to numerous pupils.

“A Protest against certain Assumptions” (1910) in Articles and Lectures by F. M. Alexander (Mouritz, 1995, London), page 108.

To the aptitudes and intuitions of an artist, however, something more must be added before it is possible to become an efficient teacher of my principles.

“A Protest against certain Assumptions” (1910) in Articles and Lectures by F. M. Alexander (Mouritz, 1995, London), pages 115-16.

The name that we give to that Authority will in no way affect the principles which I am about to state.

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

Such attempts have always been made by men or women who were almost completely ignorant of the one fundamental principle which would so have raised the standard of evolution, that the people upon whom they sought to impose these reforms might have passed from one stage of development to another without risk of losing their mental, spiritual or physical balance.

Man’s Supreme Inheritance by F. M. Alexander (Mouritz, 1996, London), page 8.

This point must be briefly elaborated, for it marks the birth of inhibition in its application to everyday life, and in so doing it demonstrates the growth of the principle of conscious control which, after countless thousands of years, we are but now beginning to appreciate and understand.

Man’s Supreme Inheritance by F. M. Alexander (Mouritz, 1996, London), page 23.

This is that the obtaining of trance is a prostitution and degradation of the objective mind, that it ignores and debases the chief curative agent, the apprehension of the patient’s conscious mind, and that it is in direct contradiction to the governing principle of evolution, the great law of self-preservation by which the instinct of animals has been trained, as it were, to meet and overcome the imminent dangers of everyday existence.

Man’s Supreme Inheritance by F. M. Alexander (Mouritz, 1996, London), page 26.

A Conception of the Principles Involved

Sub-header in Man’s Supreme Inheritance by F. M. Alexander (Mouritz, 1996, London), page 36.

Since the publication of my book, Conscious Control, I have received and continue to receive letters from interested readers concerning the practical application of conscious control, and also regarding my conception of the principles involved.

Man’s Supreme Inheritance by F. M. Alexander (Mouritz, 1996, London), page 36.

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.

Fortunately for us there is not a single one of these habits of mind, with their resultant habits of body, which may not be altered by the inculcation of those principles concerning the true poise of the body which I have called the principles of mechanical advantage,* used in co-operation with an understanding of the inhibitory and volitional powers of the objective mind, by which means these deterrent habits can be raised to conscious control.

Man’s Supreme Inheritance by F. M. Alexander (Mouritz, 1996, London), page 53.

If the mechanical principle employed is a correct one, every movement will be made with a minimum of effort, and he will not be conscious of the slightest tension. In time a recognition will follow of the new and correct use of the mechanism, which use will then become provisionally established and employed in the acts of everyday life.

Man’s Supreme Inheritance by F. M. Alexander (Mouritz, 1996, London), page 58.

I would only insist that the children of today, born as they are with very feeble powers of instinctive control, absolutely require certain definite instructions by which to guide themselves before they can be left to free activity. And these directions must be based on a principle that will help the child to employ his various mechanisms to the best advantage in his daily activities. These directions involve no interference with what the child has to express; they represent merely a cultivation and development of the means whereby he may find adequate and satisfying release for his potentialities.

Man’s Supreme Inheritance by F. M. Alexander (Mouritz, 1996, London), pages 81-82.

(One of these rare cases that has recently come under my notice has been the billiard-playing of Mr George Gray. I am of the opinion that the mechanical principle of the position adopted by him could be scientifically demonstrated as being as nearly perfect for its particular purpose as any position could be. (Ill. 6.)

Man’s Supreme Inheritance by F. M. Alexander (Mouritz, 1996, London), page 83.

And in this connection it may be of interest to my readers to know that in 1902-3 I decided to test the principles I advocated, and to this end I organized performances of Hamlet and The Merchant of Venice, for which I gave special training on the lines I have just indicated to young men and women, none of whom had previously appeared in a public performance of any kind whatsoever. I trained all these young people on the principles of conscious guidance and control, principles that I had then developed and practised.

Man’s Supreme Inheritance by F. M. Alexander (Mouritz, 1996, London), page 84.

For this very reason, all aid to progressive development must conform to the principle of the projection of guiding orders and controls in the right direction or directions, with the simultaneous employment of positions of mechanical advantage, irrespective of the correctness or otherwise of the immediate result. The result may be unsatisfactory today and tomorrow, or during the next week, but if the position of mechanical advantage is employed and orders and controls in the right direction are held in mind and projected again and again, a new and correct complex sooner or later supersedes the old vicious one, and becomes permanently established.

Man’s Supreme Inheritance by F. M. Alexander (Mouritz, 1996, London), page 86.

All advancement, however, is associated with the discovery and acceptance of ideas, principles, ways of living, etc., which are new to the individual.

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

Although he has reasoned out the means whereby he can control and turn to his own uses the different forces he has discovered in the outside world, he has not applied this reasoning principle where his own organism is concerned.

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

Secondly, he did not think of his body as a co-ordinated mechanism, and was therefore misled into choosing a specific remedy for a specific malcondition, instead of laying down on broad, general lines preventive principles, by which a condition of co-ordination of the entire psycho-physical mechanism could be restored and maintained. Above all, he did not apply to his problem the one great principle on which I claim man’s satisfactory progress in civilization depends—namely, the principle of thinking out the reasonable means whereby a certain end can be achieved, as opposed to the old subconscious plan of working blindly for an immediate “end.”

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

In my opinion we have here the crux of the whole matter, and I venture to predict that before we can unravel the horribly tangled skein of our present existence, we must come to a full STOP, and return to conscious, simple living, believing in the unity underlying all things, and acting in a practical way in accordance with the laws and principles involved.

Constructive Conscious Control of the Individual by F. M. Alexander (Mouritz, 2004, London), page 52.

Need for Substituting in all Spheres the Principle of Prevention on a General Basis for Methods of “Cure” on a Specific Basis

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

Nowhere can we find a better illustration of the erroneous conceptions, leading to unbalanced judgement, which are associated with unreliable sensory appreciation, than in man’s choice of a specific “cure” on the “end-gaining” principle—namely, “physical exercises.” It was his erroneous estimate of the relative value of the principles of prevention and “cure” which permitted him to make this choice, and so to neglect the “means-whereby” principle which is involved in all preventive procedure.

Constructive Conscious Control of the Individual by F. M. Alexander (Mouritz, 2004, London), pages 53-54.

Should we decide, however, at the present time upon a retrospection such as I have suggested, we can hardly fail to see that a psychological moment in man’s experience has undoubtedly arrived for a widespread consideration of the principle of prevention in its fullest application to human needs (in all “physical,” “mental,” or “spiritual” spheres), as they are presented to us at this present world crisis.

Constructive Conscious Control of the Individual by F. M. Alexander (Mouritz, 2004, London), page 54.

On the other hand, a scheme of life in which prevention is the leading principle does not involve working for an immediate “end”; its application, rather, is on a broad, constructive basis, without limits, humanly speaking, and is the product of a consciously conceived and consciously executed plan—in short, it is the conception of a highly evolved type of human creature.

Constructive Conscious Control of the Individual by F. M. Alexander (Mouritz, 2004, London), page 55.

But unfortunately he does not think beyond the crisis of the moment. He is set only on being “cured” of his specific ill, and so, in the twentieth century, he continues to act on the “end-gaining” principle, a procedure which was excusable in his forbears of four thousand years ago. He has never applied either to himself or to the difficulties encountered in the sphere of his psycho-physical well-being, any other principle than that of working for an immediate “end.”

Constructive Conscious Control of the Individual by F. M. Alexander (Mouritz, 2004, London), page 56.

Think for a moment of the harmful nature of the building process indicated in the foregoing illustration, where you have a man, supposedly advanced, still clinging to primitive methods of “cure,” instead of adopting the only principle a highly evolved, reasoning human creature could conceive of or tolerate—the great comprehensive principle of prevention.

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

In order to accomplish this, a knowledge of the motive, adjusting, guiding and controlling principles of the mechanism is needed. 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. M. Alexander (Mouritz, 2004, London), page 57.

Fundamental Defect in our Plan of Civilization: A Lack of Recognition of the Importance of the Principle of Prevention on a General Basis

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

In other words, instead of trying to remove specific symptoms directly (method of “cure”), I endeavour to bring about such a readjustment of the organism as a whole that the symptoms in question disappear in the process and are not likely to recur if the new conditions are maintained (principle of prevention). This implies in the case of some pupils a long process, for it means a gradual building-up of new and satisfactory psycho-physical use, and the pupils’ co-operation in this process must be based upon a reasoning, rather than a blind acceptance of the principles involved. If, at the end of our talk, I consider that there is any doubt on the part of the prospective pupil, I beg him to read my book, study the principles therein set down, and then, if he comprehends and believes in these principles, I suggest that he should come to me for help, but not otherwise.

Constructive Conscious Control of the Individual by F. M. Alexander (Mouritz, 2004, London), page 63.

Under such a reasoning plan of life, the principle of prevention would be the fundamental underlying the child’s education, which means that from the beginning preventive measures would be adopted where the well-being of the child is concerned.

Constructive Conscious Control of the Individual by F. M. Alexander (Mouritz, 2004, London), page 65.

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. M. Alexander (Mouritz, 2004, London), page 79.

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.

The mass is made up of individuals, and reliable sensory appreciation cannot be given on the mass-teaching principle or by precept or exhortation.

Constructive Conscious Control of the Individual by F. M. Alexander (Mouritz, 2004, London), page 97.

I will now endeavour to outline as clearly as possible the general scheme which I advocate in connection with the development of reliable sensory appreciation, first setting out the principles on which the scheme is based, then giving an illustration which will show the application of these principles to the practical work of co-ordination and re-education.

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

The second point to be noted in connection with the technique we are advocating is that the directions or guiding orders given to the pupil are based in every case on the principle of ceasing to work in blind pursuit of an “end,” and of attending instead to the means whereby this “end” can be attained. We have already considered this principle in its general application, but I am anxious to lay stress upon it again at this point, because it is of the utmost importance that the pupil should both accept this principle and apply it to his work in the sphere of re-education, for by no other method can he get the better of his old subconscious habits and build up consciously the new and improved condition which he is anxious to bring about.

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

In other words, he is asked to adopt consciously a principle of prevention as the basis of his practical work, and in every other way to leave the teacher a free hand.

Constructive Conscious Control of the Individual by F. M. Alexander (Mouritz, 2004, London), page 102.

From this it follows that in all vocal use the pupil must have a correct conception as to the nature of the respiratory act, associated with a conscious, reasoned understanding of the principles underlying the correct use of the psycho-mechanics involved in the act of breathing, before he makes any attempt to put these principles into practice.

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

I shall proceed to show that such an objection is the outcome of a total misunderstanding of the fundamental psycho-physical processes concerned with the application of the preventive principles employed in my technique.

Constructive Conscious Control of the Individual by F. M. Alexander (Mouritz, 2004, London), page 122.

These ideas are the response to a stimulus (or stimuli) arising from a reasoned, constructive conscious understanding and acceptance by the pupil of the principles concerned with the “means-whereby,” and as the procedure concerned with the application of these principles involves the prevention of “end-gaining” acts, the performance of which is associated with misdirected activities, it follows that the pupil’s acceptance of the need for and efficacy of such procedure includes also his acceptance of the principle of inhibition of primary desires concerned with such “end-gaining” acts.

Constructive Conscious Control of the Individual by F. M. Alexander (Mouritz, 2004, London), page 123.

We must realize that if an individual is to reach that satisfactory stage of progress where he can be reasonably certain of success in achieving his “ends,” those principles must be observed which imply reliance in all activities upon the means whereby an “end” may be gained, irrespective of whether, during the progress of the activities concerned, the performance is correct or incorrect. The application of these principles in any sphere of learning means that the teacher during lessons must be able to supply the pupil’s needs in the matter of reliable sensory appreciation, by giving him from day to day the necessary experiences until they become established.

Constructive Conscious Control of the Individual by F. M. Alexander (Mouritz, 2004, London), page 139.

We will now outline the experiences which the procedure based on the principles of re-education on a conscious general basis would have ensured in the foregoing case.

Constructive Conscious Control of the Individual by F. M. Alexander (Mouritz, 2004, London), page 152.

The reader must understand that the details involved in such pro-cesses (differing as these do in each case) cannot be set forth here, and that, moreover, from the very first lessons the teacher’s aim would be to cause the pupil to be conscious of what he should or should not do, and to give such help to the pupil as would enable him to begin at once to apply the principles involved, not only to his attempts at walking, but more or less to all the acts of his daily life.

Constructive Conscious Control of the Individual by F. M. Alexander (Mouritz, 2004, London), page 153.

Unfortunately, our attempts to supply and satisfy these needs in the educational, social, political, economic, industrial, religious, and other spheres, have proved, up to now, more or less of a failure, and this is due in a great measure to the fact that our efforts on a subconscious basis have been directed chiefly to evolving methods of teaching, treatment, conduct, guidance and control to meet the demands of the mass, instead of making the primary application of the principle or principles involved an individual application on a conscious basis.

Constructive Conscious Control of the Individual by F. M. Alexander (Mouritz, 2004, London), page 157.

Insistence, therefore, on the necessity and importance of sustained projections in the work of co-ordination and re-education is based, not on a new, but on a very old and fundamental principle in human development.
The point of interest in all these considerations lies in the fact that this prevalent belief in concentration goes hand in hand with the acceptance of the “end-gaining” principle, as against the principle of thinking out clearly and connectedly the means whereby an “end” can be secured, and of “bringing the mind to bear” on as many subjects (continuous projections of orders) as is necessary for the purpose.

Constructive Conscious Control of the Individual by F. M. Alexander (Mouritz, 2004, London), page 172.

If the principles involved had been sound, their application would have tended towards unity, and the fact that the people immediately concerned failed to remain in agreement as to the relative value of the principles they had decided to apply, is surely an admission of their unsoundness.

Constructive Conscious Control of the Individual by F. M. Alexander (Mouritz, 2004, London), page 183.

Confidence is born of success, not of failure, and our processes in education and in the general art of living must be based upon principles which will enable us to make certain of the satisfactory means whereby an end may be secured, and thus to command a large percentage of those satisfactory experiences which develop confidence, as against a small percentage of those unsatisfactory experiences which tend to undermine our confidence and make us un-happy.

Constructive Conscious Control of the Individual by F. M. Alexander (Mouritz, 2004, London), pages 192-93.

They are processes which result from the application of “means-whereby” principles, and not from the application of “end-gaining” principles associated with those specific attempts which are characteristic of human endeavour on a subconscious plane and which are adopted in the pursuit of what we call “pleasure.”

Constructive Conscious Control of the Individual by F. M. Alexander (Mouritz, 2004, London), page 198.

Other medical men are giving me their support as will be seen from what they have written in the Open Letter in the Appendix of this present book, and I believe that in Chapter VI have indicated how medical diagnosis may be made more complete by the inclusion in medical training of the principles and procedure that I advocate.

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

The publication of this article has brought so many enquiries that I have decided to include in an Appendix a reprint of the “Open Letter to Intending Students of the Training Course and also a special reference to the work being done in the little school where the children are helped to put into practice the principles and procedures inherent in my technique during their school work, whatever the subject that is engaging their attention.

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

First and foremost, I learned from these experiences that I could not enable my pupils to control the functioning of their organs, systems or reflexes directly, but that by teaching them to employ consciously the primary control of their use I could put them in command of the means whereby their functioning generally can be indirectly controlled. My adoption of this principle in the employment of my technique has been fully justified by experience, and I have had no reason up till now for departing from it.

The Use of the Self by F. Matthias Alexander (Methuen, 1932, London) page 42.

This indirect procedure is true to the principle that the unity of the human organism is indivisible, and where there is an understanding of the means whereby the use of the mechanisms can be directed in practice as a concerted activity, in the sense I have tried to define, the principle of unity works for good.

The Use of the Self by F. Matthias Alexander (Methuen, 1932, London) page 45.

The results of my teaching work have shewn me that no diagnosis can be complete which is not based on that principle of the unity in working of the mechanisms of the organism which involves a close connexion between the manner of use of the mechanisms and the standard of functioning throughout the organism.

The Use of the Self by F. Matthias Alexander (Methuen, 1932, London) page 46.

A fair judgment of any procedure can only be reached by an examination of the principles on which it is founded. Where the principle is unsound, the procedure must fail in the long run. I therefore wish the practical procedures which I am now putting forward to be judged by the principle which underlies them.

The Use of the Self by F. Matthias Alexander (Methuen, 1932, London) page 46.

Let us now see how the golfer’s difficulty would be dealt with by a teacher who adhered to the idea of the unity of the organism, and so based his teaching practice on what I call the “means-whereby” principle, i. e., the principle of a reasoning consideration of the causes of the conditions present, and an indirect instead of a direct procedure on the part of the person endeavouring to gain the desired end.

The Use of the Self by F. Matthias Alexander (Methuen, 1932, London) page 56.

My daily teaching experience has shewn me that the great stumbling-block in the way of the pupil’s co-operation in this plan is his idea that as long as he grasps “intellectually” the principle underlying the “means-whereby” procedure and subscribes to it fully in theory, he will have little difficulty in working to it practically.1

1 This is a belief that will probably be shared by my readers and is quite understandable, since it is difficult for anyone who has not had the actual experience of working on the “means-whereby” principle to realize what unity of “physical” and “mental” processes means in practice.

The Use of the Self by F. Matthias Alexander (Methuen, 1932, London) page 63.

It would appear that the “end-gaining” principle underlies every one of the exercises given by teachers who, whether by orthodox or unorthodox methods, deal with stuttering as a specific defect, and I will take as an example the exercises that had been given to my pupil to meet his special difficulty in pronouncing words beginning with T or D.

The Use of the Self by F. Matthias Alexander (Methuen, 1932, London) page 75.

            This process of directing energy out of familiar into new and unfamiliar paths, as a means of changing the manner of reacting to stimuli, implies of necessity an ever-increasing ability on the part of both teacher and pupil to “pass from the known to the unknown”;1 it is therefore a process which is true to the principle involved in all human growth and development.

The Use of the Self by F. Matthias Alexander (Methuen, 1932, London) page 87.

Basing his teaching and treatment on the principle of unity, he could hardly fail to recognize the connexion between use and functioning which this implies.

The Use of the Self by F. Matthias Alexander (Methuen, 1932, London) page 106.

Further, those who continue to make the principle underlying this procedure their guiding principle in all their activities, find that they are enabled to combine “thinking in activity” with a new sensory observation of the use of themselves in the process.

The Use of the Self by F. Matthias Alexander (Methuen, 1932, London) page 119.

Naturally the nature of the school work done by the members of the class differs according to their different ages and requirements, but it is all based upon the principle inherent in the technique, namely, that the end for which they are working is of minor importance as compared with the way they direct the use of themselves for the gaining of that end.

The Use of the Self by F. Matthias Alexander (Methuen, 1932, London) page 124.

Dr Caldwell’s generous admission encourages me to believe that others will also wish to analyse the principles underlying my technique, which, although it has been evolved out of experiences gained in a field which is new to them, has a distinct bearing upon the whole question of diagnosis and prevention in all fields of man’s activity in living. It is true that my technique, when compared with medical practice, is based upon a new and unorthodox principle, but this is equally true if it is compared with osteopathy, remedial exercises, physical culture, and teaching methods in general.
I have described in my last book how and why I came upon this new principle. It was not merely the outcome of an idea, a vision, a theoretical conception without a practical counterpart; it was the outcome of practical experience, the at first tantalizing experience of discovering that it was what I was doing myself that was causing the throat trouble which had defied all previous treatment. While I was evolving a technique to meet the needs of my own case I gained experience which convinced me that the orthodox method of treatment which I had tried for my throat trouble, and which had failed, was based upon a wrong principle.

The Universal Constant in Living by F. M. Alexander (Mouritz, 2000, London), page 22.

My experiences, therefore, convinced me that in any attempt to control habitual reaction the need to work to a new principle asserts itself, the principle, namely, of inhibiting our habitual desire to go straight to our end trusting to feeling for guidance, and then of employing only those “means-whereby” which indirectly bring about the desired change in our habitual reaction—the end.
The task of reasoning out and selecting the effective means of bringing about psycho-physical change according to this new principle is not an easy one, but the real task begins when we start to put into practice the procedures which we have decided upon, for this, as Dewey puts it, presupposes a “revolution in thought and action.”

The Universal Constant in Living by F. M. Alexander (Mouritz, 2000, London), pages 24-25.

The lessons given by teachers were based on the orthodox principle of telling and showing the pupil what to do with the tongue and the lips, and how “to take breath” to the best advantage and so on. No attempt was made to change the manner of the pupil’s general use of the self, and as a result the attempt to “cure” the stuttering had not only failed but was actually responsible for the cultivation of new bad habits of use and the exaggeration of those already present. The lessons I gave were based upon the principle that the pupil’s manner of general use was responsible for the trouble.

The Universal Constant in Living by F. M. Alexander (Mouritz, 2000, London), page 29.

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. M. Alexander (Mouritz, 2000, London), page 52.

Part II: Procedures Involved in the Technique. First Principles in the Control of Human Reaction

Section title in the chapter ‘The Constant Influence of Manner of Use in Relation to Change’, The Universal Constant in Living by F. M. Alexander (Mouritz, 2000, London), page 75.

The reader will now see that the technique is based upon the inhibition of the habitual wrong use—i.e., the refusal to react to a stimulus in the usual way—and that the principle of prevention is strictly adhered to from the beginning.

The Universal Constant in Living by F. M. Alexander (Mouritz, 2000, London), page 81.

In this whole procedure we see the new principle at work, for if we project those messages which hold in check the familiar habitual reaction, and at the same time project the new messages which give free rein to the motor impulses associated with nervous and muscular energy along unfamiliar lines of communication, we shall be doing what Dewey calls “thinking in activity.’’

The Universal Constant in Living by F. M. Alexander (Mouritz, 2000, London), page 85.

When my book Constructive Conscious Control of the Individual was published, I was criticized adversely because of my insistence on the observance of the principle of unity in the study of the working of the human organism, if that study were to yield the best practical results. The subject-matter of my last book, The Use of the Self, shows that I had a practical foundation for my theoretical conclusions.101 My life-work has been one of dealing with practical procedures based on the principle of unity and with the associated theoretical conclusions which flowed from them. There has recently been a more general advocacy of the theory of unity in the working of the human organism, but this does not mean that the principle has gone beyond theory, for, to quote Dr P. B. Ballard, m.a.,102 when referring to my technique, “It is in fact that education of the ‘whole man’ about which so much has been said of late and so little has been done.”

The Universal Constant in Living by F. M. Alexander (Mouritz, 2000, London), pages 103-104.

Comparative Biological Evidence Which Reveals Integration as a Working Principle in the Use and Functioning of the Human Organism in Accordance with the “Total Pattern of Behaviour”

Sub-section title, The Universal Constant in Living by F. M. Alexander (Mouritz, 2000, London), page 111.

A friend of mine in whose judgement I have confidence, and who is familiar with Prof. Coghill’s “classic observations,” has suggested that the fact that Prof. Coghill and I, working independently, from different standpoints and with different aims in view, should have discovered the same principle in behaviour, he in observing the lower vertebrates, and I in observing the human organism, beginning with the observation of myself, is striking evidence in observed phenomena from different angles and sources of the working of the principle of integration in the “total pattern” in life’s processes and in the development of behaviour.

The Universal Constant in Living by F. M. Alexander (Mouritz, 2000, London), page 113.

The conception of unity, as expressed in such phrases as “The Whole Man” and the “organism-as-a-whole,” has become almost a commonplace in scientific and popular discussion; but nevertheless we rarely find that the individual outlook or understanding of those who accept it as a working principle is influenced in such a way that they work consistently to this principle when the opportunity comes to them to do so in attempting to deal with their problems. Indeed, when we give consideration to the activities of those who advocate this principle of unity, we find that the plans of procedure which they suggest or adopt are more in keeping with a belief in the organism as a composite product of which the separate parts can be controlled, affected or examined independently of the rest, than with a belief in the working of the “organism-as-a-whole.”

The Universal Constant in Living by F. M. Alexander (Mouritz, 2000, London), page 118.

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 142.

IX. The Test of Principle in New Ways for Old

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

Especially should they take note of the principle on which the earlier plans had been based and which accounted for these experiences, and compare it with the principle on which they propose to base their new plan. By this means they can apply a test, the test of principle, to any plan they formulate. If, when tested in this way, the new plan is found to be based on the same principle as the plan they have decided to discard, then it should be rejected, as it can only lead to experiences as disappointing as those which were associated with the old plan. If on the other hand the principle underlying the new plan is found to be different, then it should be welcomed as one with possibilities and be put to the test in its turn. This test of principle, when applied generally, will be found to be a dependable means whereby the value of new plans can be gauged, and the formulators of new plans for the reform of conditions, whether educational, social, or otherwise, who fail to apply the test of principle to the plans they advocate, are devoid of a due sense of responsibility to those they wish to help and are untrue to themselves.

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

X. A New Pattern and Working to Principle

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

The chapter on golf in The Use of the Self and all that has been written on the subject in my other books reveal the why and the wherefore of the golfer’s difficulties. I have shown that these arise chiefly from bad manner of use, and are too often increased by his attempts to improve his play by the adoption of practical procedures based on a wrong principle, his own preconceived ideas and those of the professional teacher. Working to this principle, the golf pupil attempts to gain his ends by direct means, without taking into consideration the influence of his manner of use upon the means he employs, a use which in the case of most golfers will be an impeding influence.

The Universal Constant in Living by F. M. Alexander (Mouritz, 2000, London), page 159-160.

Had he given due attention to the study of himself, and had he turned this study to good effect, he would have gained the experience in the guidance and control of his mechanism in activity, which would have led him to appreciate the unity in the working of his organism in use and functioning. Then if he had brought the result of this study of his individual self to his study of the wonders of the universe, and had postulated unity instead of separation as a working principle, he would inevitably have studied everything as a whole and not piecemeal.

The Universal Constant in Living by F. M. Alexander (Mouritz, 2000, London), page 163.

 

 

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