Sensory appreciation, muscular appreciation

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

Title in "Re-Education of the Kinæsthetic Systems" (1908) in Articles and Lectures (Mouritz, 1995), page 79

Until his powers of muscular appreciation infallibly recognize the new correct muscular co-ordinations, he must be guided solely by his teacher, . . .

"Education of the Kinæsthetic Systems" (1908) in Articles and Lectures (Mouritz, 1995), page 84

From the savage to the civilized state, man passed, as I say, so slowly that the passing in the early stages caused neither difficulties nor changes sufficiently marked to force themselves on our recognition. In other words, the subject of these changes was unconscious of them, and the habit of depending on these sensory appreciations ("feeling tones," or "sense of feeling"), dominant by right in the savage or subconsciously directed state, remained firmly established in the civilized experiences, so that today man walks, talks, sits, stands, performs, in fact, the innumerable mechanical acts of daily life, without giving a thought to the psychical and physical processes involved.

Man's Supreme Inheritance (Mouritz, 1996), page 6-7

His reason is so dominated by his emotions and his sense appreciation (feeling-tones) that an appeal to the former is at first in vain. The majority of mankind has over-compensated in these directions, and it is for this reason that in the education and development of the child of today and the future, we must see to it that we relinquish all educational methods which tend to cultivate guidance and control through the emotions and the sensory appreciations (feeling-tones).

Man's Supreme Inheritance (Mouritz, 1996), page 16

He acknowledges, in fact, that he suffers from mental delusions regarding his physical acts and that his sensory appreciation, or kinæsthesia, is defective and misleading; in other words, he realizes that his sense register of the amount of muscular tension needed to accomplish even a simple act of everyday life is faulty and harmful, and his mental conception of such conditions as relaxation and concentration impossible in practical application.

For there can be no doubt that man on the subconscious plane now relies too much on a debauched sense of feeling or of sense-appreciation for the guidance of his psycho-physical mechanism, . . .

Man's Supreme Inheritance (Mouritz, 1996), pages 55-56

We cannot deny that we are beset with defects, that even when the way is made clear for their eradication we cannot follow that way on our old mode of procedure, because our guides in the form of sensory appreciations (feeling-tones), general experience, and judgement are unworthy of our confidence, and will guide us in such a way that, even if we succeed in eradicating some specific defect, it will be found that in the process we have cultivated a number of others which are as bad, or even worse than the original.

Man's Supreme Inheritance (Mouritz, 1996), page 128

He must recognize that guidance by his old sensory appreciation (feeling) is dangerously faulty, and he must be taught to regain his lost power of inhibition and to develop conscious guidance. The teacher must with his hands move the pupil's body for him in the particular act required, thereby giving him the correct kinæsthetic experience of the performance of the act.

Man's Supreme Inheritance (Mouritz, 1996), page 158

It is the manifestation of that imperfectly co-ordinated condition which is associated with an unreliable sense of feeling (sensory appreciation) concerned with unsatisfactory direction and control, and which, in the course of its development, has gradually weakened the response of the human creature to stimuli in the sphere of self-preservation.

Constructive Conscious Control of the Individual (STAT Books, 1997) page 38

For if, as we contend, all so-called mental processes are mainly the result of sensory experiences in psycho-physical action and reaction, it will be obvious that in our conception of how to employ the different parts of the mechanism in the acts of everyday life we are influenced chiefly by sensory processes (feeling). Thus we may receive a stimulus through something we hear, something we touch, or through some other outside agency; in every case, the nature of our response, whether it be actual movement, an emotion or an opinion, will depend upon the associated activity, in action and reaction, of the processes concerned with conception and with the sensory and other mechanisms responsible for the "feeling" which we experience. This associated activity is referred to throughout my work as sensory appreciation.

Constructive Conscious Control of the Individual (STAT Books, 1997) page 42-43

A comprehensive understanding of sensory appreciation, of its enormous influence for good and evil in the development of the creature, and of its future bearing upon the progress of mankind, is therefore of the greatest importance to all, but especially to those interested in education, both in the sense of education in our schools and in the broadest sense of the word.

Sensory appreciation, from our point of view, has a much wider significance than is generally attributed to it. But it will be sufficient at this point to state that, taken even in the most limited sense, it includes all sensory experiences which are conveyed through the channels of sight, hearing, touch, feeling, equilibrium, movement, etc., and which are responsible for psycho-physical action and reaction throughout the organism.

If we raise an arm, move a leg, or if we make any other movements of the body or limbs, we are guided chiefly by our sensory appreciation or, as most people would put it, by our sense of feeling. This applies to the testing of the texture of a piece of cloth between one's fingers, or to the gauging of size, weight, distance, etc.- in fact, to the employment of the "physical" mechanisms in the processes of hearing, seeing, walking, talking, and in all the other activities of life.

Constructive Conscious Control of the Individual (STAT Books, 1997) pages 43-44, section on sensory appreciation

Point out one or other of these errors to the pupil, and he, as if aware of the delusive sensory appreciation which is responsible for these errors, at once looks down at his feet in order to try to see how to move them correctly.

Constructive Conscious Control of the Individual (STAT Books, 1997) page 45

We have merely acted on the presumption, in the usual subconscious way, that if we have a potentiality such as sensory appreciation (feeling), it must as a matter of course be reliable.

Constructive Conscious Control of the Individual (STAT Books, 1997) page 46

I shall confine this consideration of man's development to three stages:
(1) the stage when he was guided chiefly by sensory appreciation;

Constructive Conscious Control of the Individual (STAT Books, 1997) page 47

Thus we see that, whether he were well or whether he were ill, the subconscious guidance of instinct was reliable in the practically unchanging routine of his daily life, so that, because of its association with a reliable sensory appreciation, man would have no need of recourse to the higher directive processes.

Constructive Conscious Control of the Individual (STAT Books, 1997) page 49

. . . this process meant for the time being a further development on the so-called mental side, but at the cost of an equally distinct if more gradual deterioration on the so-called physical side, with an accompanying deterioration in the standard of sensory appreciation.

Constructive Conscious Control of the Individual (STAT Books, 1997) page 55

  . . . when the person performing them would be guided by the same imperfect and delusive sensory appreciation, . . .

Constructive Conscious Control of the Individual (STAT Books, 1997) pages 59-60

Many of us may awaken to the fact that the majority of our cherished ideas and ideals are the product, not of any process of reasoning, but of that unreasoning process called impulse, of unbalanced emotion and prejudice - that is, of ideas and ideals associated with a psycho-physical condition in the development of which unreliable sensory appreciation has played the leading part.

Constructive Conscious Control of the Individual (STAT Books, 1997) page 70

Will psychoanalysis as practised restore a reliable sensory appreciation to the patient, and co-ordinate and re-educate his psycho-physical mechanisms on a general basis? Certainly not.

Constructive Conscious Control of the Individual (STAT Books, 1997) page 77

For the fundamental shortcoming underlying all human psycho-physical defects, imperfections and peculiarities is an imperfect and often delusive sensory appreciation, and until those conditions are restored in which the sensory appreciation (sense register) becomes again a more or less reliable guide, all exercises are a positive danger. A reliable sensory appreciation, therefore, is an essential and . . .

Constructive Conscious Control of the Individual (STAT Books, 1997) page 82

The seriousness of this position is at once apparent when we take into consideration the fact that, during the past two hundred years, the standard of sensory appreciation in the great majority of people has become harmfully lowered, with the result that mankind has generally become more and more imperfectly co-ordinated and has developed serious defects.

Constructive Conscious Control of the Individual (STAT Books, 1997) page 85

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, . . .

Constructive Conscious Control of the Individual (STAT Books, 1997) page 93

  . . . the only guidance the child has to rely upon in doing anything to carry out the teacher's instructions is the very same delusive subconscious guidance (unreliable sensory appreciation) that was instrumental in causing the defects to develop and become established in the first instance.

Constructive Conscious Control of the Individual (STAT Books, 1997) pages 93-94

Beyond this I have emphasized in my book the point that manipulation is necessary for the development and establishment of reliable sensory appreciation in the case of individuals who have developed defects, because in everything they are doing themselves by the usual methods to remedy these defects, they are guiding themselves by an unreliable sense of feeling, thus adding to the incorrect experiences which must always result from guidance by unreliable sensory appreciation.

Constructive Conscious Control of the Individual (STAT Books, 1997) page 95

The technique, therefore, in which we are interested has been developed throughout from the premiss that, if something is wrong with us, it is because we have been guided by unreliable sensory appreciation, leading to incorrect sensory experiences and resulting in misdirected activities.

Constructive Conscious Control of the Individual (STAT Books, 1997) page 95

In accordance with this poor little child's judgement, her crookedness was straightness, her sensory appreciation of her "out-of-shape" condition was that it was "in shape."

Constructive Conscious Control of the Individual (STAT Books, 1997) page 106

The point that comes out clearly in all these illustrations is that conceptions which are mainly influenced by unreliable sensory appreciation, acting and reacting subconsciously and harmfully on the processes involved, are incorrect conceptions, and that in these cases unreliable sensory appreciation goes hand in hand with incorrect and deceptive experiences in the psycho-physical functioning.

Constructive Conscious Control of the Individual (STAT Books, 1997) page 107

We can now see how far this line of thought has brought us. For the fact that emerges from all these considerations is that our approach to life generally, our activities, beliefs, emotions, opinions, judgements in whatever sphere, are conditioned by the preceding conceptions, which are associated with the individual use of the psycho-physical mechanisms and conditioned by the standard of reliability of our individual sensory appreciation.

Constructive Conscious Control of the Individual (STAT Books, 1997) page 108

Correct apprehension and reliable sensory appreciation go hand in hand.

Constructive Conscious Control of the Individual (STAT Books, 1997) page 109

We are quite ready to admit that this may be so, but owing to the unreliability of his sensory appreciation, what he feels is as likely as not to be a delusion.

Constructive Conscious Control of the Individual (STAT Books, 1997) page 137

This demands from the teacher a correct diagnosis of the pupil's numerous bad habits in connection with the act of respiration in everyday life, and a comprehensive understanding of the imperfections in sensory appreciation, conception, adjustment and co-ordination which are manifested in these bad habits.

Constructive Conscious Control of the Individual (STAT Books, 1997) page 140

That lack is in a lowered standard of sensory consciousness and sensory observation of ourselves in acts, and to which I refer in one of my books as sensory appreciation . . .

Lecture: "An Unrecognized Principle" (1925) in Articles and Lectures (Mouritz, 1995), page 141

We are faced with two important facts with respect to behaviour - the non-recognition by the person, in consequence of a lack of a satisfactory sensory consciousness, or a sensory appreciation which was not reliable, of the fact that in endeavouring to do something to hide a defect, a much more serious one had developed, . . .

Lecture: "An Unrecognized Principle" (1925) in Articles and Lectures (Mouritz, 1995), page 142

As I said before, I proceeded to raise by means of my technique the standard of sensory appreciation and sensory consciousness in that person . . .

Lecture: "An Unrecognized Principle" (1925) in Articles and Lectures (Mouritz, 1995), page 143

We all admit that we are making too much tension. That is because our sensory appreciation of the amount of muscular tension that is necessary to give action is unreliable.

Lecture: "An Unrecognized Principle" (1925) in Articles and Lectures (Mouritz, 1995), page 155

The first thing to do would be to take that compass and see that it was put right. But when this compass, this thing that we call sensory appreciation and sensory consciousness is wrong, when we start to teach anybody, to teach the child, we never bother about that.

Lecture: "An Unrecognized Principle" (1925) in Articles and Lectures (Mouritz, 1995), page 158

I emphasized (1) that my work is solely concerned with the restoration and establishment of a trustworthy sensory appreciation of the use of the psycho-physical mechanisms, by means of a technique which depends upon the employment of a consciously directed primary control, and (2) that any improvement in ''imperfect or inadequate functioning" which accrues from the application of this technique comes about, not as a direct, but as an indirect result of improvement in direction of use and of the restoration of trustworthy sensory appreciation.

Letter: "The Use of the Self–2" (1932) in Articles and Lectures (Mouritz, 1995), page 133

Sensory appreciation conditions conception - you can't know a thing by an instrument that is wrong.

"Teaching Aphorisms" in Articles and Lectures (Mouritz, 1995), page 206

Later on, when I had learned through experience what a harmful influence wrong employment of the primary control of use, associated as it is with perverted sensory appreciation (feeling), can exert upon functioning, I came to understand why I had miscalculated the difficulty of my problem.

The Universal Constant in Living (Mouritz, 2000), page 23-24

The conception likewise of what is happening within ourselves is dependent upon impressions which come to us through the sense of feeling (sensory appreciation) upon which we must rely for guidance in carrying out our daily activities. When our sensory appreciation is deceptive, as is the case more or less with everyone today, the impressions we get through it are deceptive also. . . . When a certain degree of misuse has been reached, the deceptiveness of these impressions reaches a point where they can mislead us into believing that we are doing something with some part of ourselves when actually we can be proved to be doing something quite different. This is equally true of things we believe we think, which more often than not are things we feel.

The Universal Constant in Living (Mouritz, 2000), page 24

In working out my own problem I was immediately caught in this vicious circle, for my habitual reaction to any conception of "doing" fitted in with my own peculiarities of misuse and faulty functioning, and with the deceptiveness of sensory appreciation that went with these.

The Universal Constant in Living (Mouritz, 2000), page 24

Alexander: The point I am after is that I am interested in what you are doing with yourself in moving, for instance, your arm. . . . [In the South African Libel Case] . . . in which a leading physiologist gave evidence against me, [he], in order to prove his point, gave a demonstration to prove that I was wrong and that sensory appreciation was right. He asked one of the people on the Commission to close his eyes, lift his arms up and then bring them down again so that the hands would be level. We let him go on with this and asked him to repeat the performance. On the last day my barrister asked Professor Wright what he had seen during this experiment. Wright said that he had seen [him] close his eyes, lift his arms and then lower them so that the hands were level. My barrister then asked: "Did you see anything else?" Wright said no. My barrister then said: "Did you not see him pull his head back and lift his shoulders?" . . . There were six different things we had noted down and Wright did not see any of this.

St. Dunstan's Lecture (1949) in Articles and Lectures (Mouritz, 1995), page 189

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