Pete’s Blog – Sat 23 Apr 2016

Photograph of Peter Ribeaux, Centre for the Alexander Technique
As you can see my preoccupations are all around the psychophysical activities involved in touch and I’m using various presentations to explore these. Of course this is all a bit of a red herring. What I’m really interested in is my own use. I always employed a pretty physical approach to this. I suppose for me the Technique was initially a way of getting rid of pain but became an antidote to the life of an academic, which role was never really my thing. So I’ve always been intrigued by the sheer question of knack in teaching others and in using oneself. Alexander’s insistence on reason always worried me. It was obviously not reason in the sense of logical reasoning. To a degree it was deductive reasoning, i.e., the work consisted in a process of elimination. As Sherlock Holmes said, ““How often have I said to you that when you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth?”.

This goes a bit with Alexander’s aphorism, “the right thing does itself”. Unfortunately, I question this. In my experience you have to give the right thing a pretty good helping hand, particularly if you have a body which likes to subside. The aphorism works for the case where release of tension is sufficient to free up the use. But where lack of tone is the problem, quite a lot of activity, possibly together with accompanying discomfort, is needed to restore it. I really feel this issue needs opening up. I am not being dogmatic about it because, after all, we are talking about subjective experience and I cannot tell you how something should feel. Just how it feels to me.

How does one convey this stuff verbally? I sympathise with Alexander in his attempt to get his ideas across. Also with his exasperation and pessimism about his successors really taking his work on board. And as for a professional society…………..