COMPANION

The Future of the Alexander Technique

On people’s vision and concerns regarding the future of the Alexander Technique.

F. M. Alexander

Alexander mentions in several places, especially in MSI, his vision for the future, generally the development of conscious guidance and control for everybody. For example:

Looking to the future and to the development and elaboration of this method, I foresee that a race which has been educated on the lines of what I have called ‘conscious guidance and control’ will be eminently well fitted to meet any circumstance which the civilizations of the future may impose. The minds and bodies alike of such a race will be adaptable to any occupation that may be their lot. To those who have been educated in these principles no severe physical exercise is a necessity, since there are no stagnant eddies in the system in which the toxins can accumulate, and to them will belong a full and complete command of their physical organisms. That this practical and by no means visionary or untried psycho-therapy will in time supersede the tentative and restricted methods of somato-therapy, I am confident, and I sincerely hope that the great benefits which these principles confer will not be confined to any one race or people.[1]

Alexander also believed that in the future teachers, such as himself (i.e. teachers of the Technique), would not be needed:

I wish the scheme I have here adumbrated to be taken up universally, and not to be restricted to the advantage of any one body, medical or otherwise. I wish to do away with such teachers as I am myself. My place in the present economy is due to a misunderstanding of the causes of our present physical disability, and when this disability is finally eliminated the specialized practitioner will have no place, no uses. This may be a dream of the future, but in its beginnings it is now capable of realization. Every man, woman and child holds the possibility of physical perfection; it rests with each of us to attain it by personal understanding and effort.[2]

Alexander also lays out his vision for the future of children’s education in several places.

Walter Carrington

Walter Carrington was concerned about the future of the Technique in the early 1960s:

. . . I can recall saying to the members of STAT in 1964 or thereabouts that I thought we should give the whole thing another ten years and if, in that time, there hadn’t been some major progress – if it wasn’t catching on by that time – then what was likely to happen was that the Technique would fade out, not least because the senior teachers were all getting older and were likely to lose enthusiasm. Of course, that didn’t happen.[3]

In a 1988 interview Walter Carrington was asked about his thoughts on the future development of the Alexander Technique, and answered:

I’m hesitant about making any predictions for the future. I think FM’s work can be compared to Einstein’s discoveries, which nobody understood for a time, and then they began to permeate into physics, and now they’ve affected all kinds of areas of thought and attitudes in our society. I would think that as FM’s ideas and his technique become more widely known, they will have a tremendous effect. But no-one can predict exactly how.[4]

Articles

  • ‘Looking to the future’ by Douglass Price-Williams lists three problems which he considers are built-in to the nature of the Technique: 1. language difficulties; 2. that the Technique is based on a dynamic and not static view of the organism; 3. how to resolve the relationship between the universal and the particular.[5]
  • ‘The Alexander Technique: 2094’ by Catherine Kettrick imagines how the Alexander Technique might be organised and taught in 2094.[6]
  • ‘Where are we going? – F. M. Alexander Memorial Address 2005’ by John Nicholls links Alexander Technique with philosophy in general.[7]
References

[1] Man's Supreme Inheritance by F. Matthias Alexander (Mouritz, 1996), p. 144.
[2] Man's Supreme Inheritance by F. Matthias Alexander (Mouritz, 1996), p. xxi.
[3] Personally Speaking by Walter Carrington, Seán Carey, (Mouritz, 2001 [1986]), p. 89.
[4] ‘An Interview with Walter Carrington’ interviewed by John Nicholls, 1988, in An Evolution of the Alexander Technique by Walter Carrington, Dilys Carrington (Sheildrake Press, 2017), pp. 186.
[5] ‘Looking to the future’ by Douglass Price-Williams in The Alexander Review vol. 3, no. 3 (Centerline Press, Winter 1988), pp. 16–20.
[6] ‘The Alexander Technique: 2094’ by Catherine Kettrick in The Congress Papers 1994, The Meaning of Change, 125 Years On, edited by David Garlick (Direction, 1996), pp. 98–101.
[7] ‘Where are we going? – F. M. Alexander Memorial Address 2005’ by John Nicholls, Part I in AmSAT News issue no. 68 (Fall 2005), pp. A7–A10.