COMPANION

Philosophy

F. M. Alexander’s view on philosophy

At the beginning of the first chapter of MSI, Alexander states that his work is not influenced by a particular school of philosophy:

Speculation as to what first influenced that strange and wonderful development [the evolution of humans] 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.[1]

There is no record of Alexander subscribing to a particular philosophy; he appeared to have been more influenced by science (e.g. the theory of evolution). See Influences on F. M. Alexander.

Articles

  • ‘Finding a way to know’ by Stacy Gehman; on the process of knowing, of conceptualising and understanding concepts and their underlying reality.[2]
  • ‘The work of Etienne Guillé in relation to the Alexander Technique’ by Marie-Francoise Le Foll; Étienne Guillé proposes that metalloids of our DNA are the vibratory carriers of informations coming from the cosmos, especially from the solar system.[3]
  • ‘Fascism and democracy in the human mind’ by Israel Charny compares a ‘fascist’ attitude of the mind – of power, of control, of a singular idea – with a democratic attitude, characterised by complexity, process, diversity, contradiction, paradox.[4]
  • ‘An editor’s kinesthetic venture’ by Michael Protzel; on editing the book, Kinesthetic Ventures (see below) a philosophy book that aims to provide a framework for bridging cognitive science to the language of the Technique.[5]
  • ‘Myth and metaphor’ by Lawrence Bruce; on the concept of the ‘self’ with reference to Greek philosophy and Lakoff’s and Johnson’s Philosophy in the Flesh.[6]
  • ‘Where are we going? – F. M. Alexander Memorial Address 2005 – Part I’ by John Nicholls links Alexander Technique with philosophy in general.[7] ‘Part II’ by John Nicholls considers some philosophical aspects of mind-body unity.[8]
  • ‘Singing and the Alexander Technique’ by Sara Clethero argues that the use of the Alexander Technique in teaching singers as a philosophical approach which puts their work in its proper personal, emotional and spiritual context, and that as such the Technique is an existential activity.[9]
  • ‘Psycho-physical unity’ by Tim Kjeldsen; on how Alexander’s principle of psycho-physical unity articulates phases, levels or dimensions of an unified process of action, and it represents a different way of overcoming classical dualism.[10]
  • ‘On psychophysical unity’ by Jonathan Whitaker is a consideration of Alexander’s psychophysical philosophy, i.e. the mind–body problem, the relationship between mind (or the mental) and the body (or the physical).[11]

Books

  • The Whole Being by Cynthia Grant, a thesis which explores the similarities of and differences between the philosophies of Martin Buber (1878-1965) and Alexander. Buber’s philosophy emphasises the whole person and how to relate as a unity (including the soul), thereby ending all contradictions and all that is separate.[12]
  • Kinesthetic Ventures by Ed Bouchard and Ben Wright, edited by Michael Protzel is a philosophical view of the work of Alexander, Stanislavski and Freud in the light of Charles S. Peirce’s semiotic analysis of knowledge and action. Inhibition and Freud’s free association is paralleled and similarities are drawn with Stanislavsky’s methods.[13]

See also Religion, Sprituality.

References

[1] Man's Supreme Inheritance by F. Matthias Alexander (Mouritz, 1996), p. 3.
[2] ‘Finding a way to know’ by Stacy Gehman in The Congress Papers 1991, A Spirit of Learning Together edited by Jeremy Chance (Direction, 1992), pp. 76–98.
[3] ‘The work of Etienne Guillé in relation to the Alexander Technique’ by Marie-Francoise Le Foll in The Congress Papers 1991, A Spirit of Learning Together edited by Jeremy Chance (Direction, 1992), pp. 119–26.
[4] ‘Fascism and democracy in the human mind’ by Israel Charny in The Congress Papers 1996, Back to Basics edited by Shmuel Nelken (Shmuel Nelken, 1999), pp. 85–101.
[5] ‘An editor’s kinesthetic venture’ by Michael Protzel in Direction vol. 2, no. 9 edited by Jeremy Chance (Fyncot Pty Ltd., 2000), pp. 15–18.
[6] ‘Myth and metaphor’ by Lawrence Bruce in Direction vol. 3, no. 4 edited by Paul Cook (Direction Journal, 2005), pp. 5–8.
[7] ‘Where are we going? – F. M. Alexander Memorial Address 2005 – Part I’ by John Nicholls in AmSAT News issue no. 68 (Fall 2005), pp. A7–A10.
[8] ‘Where are we going? – F. M. Alexander Memorial Address 2005 – Part II’ by John Nicholls in AmSAT News issue no. 69 (Winter 2005), pp. 15–19.
[9] ‘Singing and the Alexander Technique’ by Sara Clethero in The Congress Papers 2011, Learning from Each Other edited by Siriol Jones, (STAT Books, 2012), pp. 177–82.
[10] ‘Psycho-physical unity’ by Tim Kjeldsen in Connected Perspectives edited by Claire Rennie, Tanya Shoop, Kamal Thapen (HITE, 2015), pp. 171–82.
[11] ‘On psychophysical unity’ by Jonathan Whitaker in The Alexander Journal no. 27 edited by Paul Marsh and Jamie McDowell (STAT, 2019), pp. 22–27.
[12] The Whole Being by Cynthia Grant (author, 1994).
[13] Kinesthetic Ventures by Ed Bouchard and Ben Wright, edited by Michael Protzel (MESA, 1997).