Stimulus, stimuli

But there is one phase of the technique and its history which I should like to stress at this time. It relates to the way in which the nature of behaviour is determined by the speed of response (reaction) to stimuli.

Preface to 1945 edition of Man's Supreme Inheritance by F. M. Alexander (Mouritz, 1996, London), page xiv.

2.      The stimuli to apprehension, or excitement of the fear reflexes, are eliminated by a procedure which teaches the pupil to take no thought of whether what he calls "practice" is right or wrong.

Man's Supreme Inheritance by F. M. Alexander (Mouritz, 1996, London), page 54.

Music in this connection is an artificial stimulus and a very potent one. And though artificial stimuli may be permissible in certain forms of pleasure sought by the reasoning, trained adult, they are uncommonly dangerous incitements to use in the education of a child of six.

Man's Supreme Inheritance by F. M. Alexander (Mouritz, 1996, London), page 77.

And, doubtless, if the sound of music could have made itself heard above the awful din of guns that precede a modern advance, the old stimulus would have been preferred by the Germans to the administration of drugs.

Man's Supreme Inheritance by F. M. Alexander (Mouritz, 1996, London), page 77.

I have watched while first one air and then another has been played on the piano, the intention of these changes being to convey a different form of stimulus with each air, and I admit that the children responded in accordance with the more or less limited kinæsthetic powers at their command.

Man's Supreme Inheritance by F. M. Alexander (Mouritz, 1996, London), page 77.

My reader must not fail to remember that mental conceptions are the stimuli to the ideo-motor centre which passes on the subconscious or conscious guiding orders to the mechanism.

Man's Supreme Inheritance by F. M. Alexander (Mouritz, 1996, London), page 130.

Satisfactory evolutionary progress demands a continuous advancement, in individual psycho-physical activity, from stage to stage of cultivation and development. The primary desire or need in this connection is that individual desire or need which is the stimulus to the development of those psycho-physical potentialities which enable the creature to meet satisfactorily the demands of the processes essential to the satisfaction of the need.

Constructive Conscious Control of the Individual (Mouritz, 2004, London) page 12

For the growth and development of the creature are and always have been associated with new experiences which involve new activities. These activities - the response to some stimulus or stimuli - result from the consciousness of some need or needs within or without the organism, the presence and recognition of need being essential to the evolutionary process.

Constructive Conscious Control of the Individual (Mouritz, 2004, London) page 14

This need for self-preservation called for that satisfactory direction and control with which, in this sphere, we find wild animals and savages equipped, inasmuch as, owing to the particular circumstances which obtained in their case, the response to any stimulus arising from a need would be satisfactory in the spheres of direction and control - that is, it would be a response which would enable the creature to employ what would be for him the most satisfactory "means-whereby" to securing the essential "end," self-preservation.

Constructive Conscious Control of the Individual (Mouritz, 2004, London) page 14

Now there exists a close connection between the I shortcoming which is recognized as "mind-wandering" and the shortcoming which manifests itself as a seriously weakened response to a stimulus to an act (or acts) of self-preservation.

Constructive Conscious Control of the Individual (Mouritz, 2004, London) page 15

An act of self-preservation is the response to a stimulus (or stimuli) resulting from a fundamental need, and a satisfactory response depends upon the satisfactory direction and control of the psycho-physical mechanisms which are engaged in the act or acts of self-preservation.
         An attempt to learn something or to learn to do something is the natural response to a stimulus (or stimuli) resulting from a wish or need to learn something or to learn to do something, and a satisfactory response depends upon the satisfactory direction and control of the psycho-physical mechanisms which are engaged in the acts of learning or learning to do something.
         It will thus be seen that the processes involved in the acts concerned with self-preservation, or with learning or learning to do something, are precisely the same, and it follows that, if in the sphere of self-preservation the direction and control are unsatisfactory, the response to the stimuli concerned with the needs of self-preservation will be unsatisfactory; and, by the same rule, if in the sphere of learning and learning to do, the direction and control are unsatisfactory, the response to the stimuli concerned with the wish or needs in connection with the acts of attempting to learn something or of learning to do something will likewise be unsatisfactory, and this unsatisfactory response is manifested in everyday life in that shortcoming, so common in our time, called "mind-wandering."

Constructive Conscious Control of the Individual (Mouritz, 2004, London) pages 15-16.

Just think of the psycho-physical disaster that is here indicated, for it means that the human creature has reached that dangerous stage in connection with the employment of his psycho-physical mechanisms when the response to a stimulus arising from a need is ineffective, erratic and produces a state of confusion.

Constructive Conscious Control of the Individual (Mouritz, 2004, London) page 19.

First, for every form of psycho-physical activity there must be a stimulus. In considering the response to this stimulus, I would remind my readers that I do not separate "mental" and "physical" operations (manifestations) in my conception of the manner ("means-whereby") of the functioning of the human organism. For how can we prove that the response to any stimulus is wholly "physical" or wholly "mental"?

Constructive Conscious Control of the Individual (Mouritz, 2004, London) page 20.

On the other hand, in what would ordinarily be considered purely mental spheres, the standard of functioning depends
         (1) upon the degree of reliability of the sensory guidance and direction in the use of the mechanisms involved in conveying the stimuli primarily responsible for the psycho-physical processes concerned with conception, and...

Constructive Conscious Control of the Individual (Mouritz, 2004, London) page 21.

Now psycho-physical activity is simply the response to some stimulus (or stimuli) received through the channel of the senses, of hearing, for instance, of sight, touch, feeling, etc., and the nature of the resulting conception and of the response, or psycho-physical reaction, will be determined by the standard of psycho-physical functioning present.
         It then follows that the process of conception, like all other forms of psycho-physical activity, is a process the course of which is determined by our psycho-physical condition at the time when the particular stimulus (or stimuli) is received.

Constructive Conscious Control of the Individual (Mouritz, 2004, London) page 22.

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.

Constructive Conscious Control of the Individual (Mouritz, 2004, London) page 22.

It is easy to understand what would be the effect of thunder, for instance, when heard for the first time by the primitive creature, whose very existence depended upon a proper reaction to the stimulus of fear, and to imagine his terrified aspect when lightning first flashed before his eyes.

Constructive Conscious Control of the Individual (Mouritz, 2004, London) page 48.

The very conception of a separation and class-distinction between "body, mind, and soul" indicates the presence of a more than usually potent stimulus which could emanate only from a condition of overbalancing in some direction.

Constructive Conscious Control of the Individual (Mouritz, 2004, London) page 50.

Before we can answer these questions, we must take into consideration the all-important fact to which I drew attention at the very outset of this book - namely, that all so-called mental activity is a process governed by our psycho-physical condition at the time when the particular stimulus is received. This being so, it is obvious that the reason a person falls a victim to some unreasoning fear is that his condition of general psycho-physical functioning at the time when he receives the stimulus, to which the fear is the reaction, is below a normal and satisfactory standard.* For, if his condition of general functioning were normal, his reaction to the particular sensory stimulus would be a normal reaction, not an unreasoning "phobia."

Constructive Conscious Control of the Individual (Mouritz, 2004, London) page 60.

The words "volition" and "inhibition" are in constant use in these pages and I wish at this point to make it clearly understood that they are used merely as names for two respective acts, volition standing for the act of responding to some stimulus (or stimuli) to psycho-physical action (doing), and inhibition standing for the act of refusing to respond to some stimulus (or stimuli) to psycho-physical action (not doing).

Constructive Conscious Control of the Individual (Mouritz, 2004, London) page 91.

Our discussion of inhibition in the foregoing leads us to the consideration of the individual’s ability to wait (inhibit)* before reacting to a stimulus (or stimuli) to pursue some "end" in the ordinary way of life, and it may be of interest to give some facts in regard to the experiences in this connection of people taking lessons in speaking, breathing, singing, etc.

Constructive Conscious Control of the Individual (Mouritz, 2004, London) page 106.

The points I wish to emphasize in this connection are: (1) that the process of inhibition involved is employed in connection with ideas directly associated with the gaining of "ends," these ideas being the response to a stimulus (or stimuli) arising from some primary desire or need, and (2) - and this is all-important - that the stimulus (or stimuli) to inhibit this response comes from without, and the process of inhibition is forced upon the pupil.

Constructive Conscious Control of the Individual (Mouritz, 2004, London) page 122.

In the course of this consideration it will be found that breathing is many times removed from the primary principle concerned, and that, therefore, it is incorrect and harmful to speak of "teaching a person to breathe," or of "giving lessons in breathing or deep breathing." Such a stimulus to the subconsciously controlled person at once induces projections of all the established incorrect guiding orders associated with imperfect or inadequate breathing processes; in other words, this stimulus sets in motion all our bad habits in breathing.

Constructive Conscious Control of the Individual (Mouritz, 2004, London) page 129.

In each case the stimulus to these misdirected activities is the pupil’s idea or conception that he must try to do correctly whatever the teacher requests, and, as we have seen, on the subconscious plane the teacher insists upon this.

Constructive Conscious Control of the Individual (Mouritz, 2004, London) page 135.

And in any consideration of "mental" and "physical" phenomena it must be remembered that in our present stage of evolution on the subconscious plane, the response to any stimulus or stimuli is at least seventy-five per cent subconscious response (chiefly feeling) as against twenty-five per cent any other response, this estimate of the ratio of subconscious response being probably too low.

Constructive Conscious Control of the Individual (Mouritz, 2004, London) page 154.

Memory is the impression which is registered as the result of some stimulus or stimuli.

Constructive Conscious Control of the Individual (Mouritz, 2004, London) page 175.

Environment also influences these conditions in accordance with the standard of psycho-physical functioning present at the time of the registration of the impression, whilst a further factor in the case is the degree of ability possessed by the individual concerned to link up the knowledge or the experience, conveyed by a given stimulus or stimuli, with the knowledge and experiences already acquired.

Constructive Conscious Control of the Individual (Mouritz, 2004, London) page 176.

It is quite conceivable that any stimulus, as it is conveyed by sensory appreciation to the consciousness, is influenced by the psycho-physical conditions present, and there is not the least doubt as to this influence on the reaction which follows. We are all aware of the different reactions of different people to the same stimulus or stimuli.

Constructive Conscious Control of the Individual (Mouritz, 2004, London) page 180.

Two thousand years ago we jumped into this life called civilization. No one woke up to the fact that we have got to realize that in this process we are going to be subjected to rapid changes of environment which need the quick response to stimulus, and so forth.

Lecture: "An Unrecognized Principle" (1925) in Articles and Lectures by F. M. Alexander (Mouritz, 1995, London), page 156.

I then realized that this was the use which I habitually brought into play for all my activities, that it was what I may call the "habitual use" of myself, and that my desire to recite, like any other stimulus to activity, would inevitably cause this habitual wrong use to come into play and dominate any attempt I might be making to employ a better use of myself in reciting.

The Use of the Self by F. Matthias Alexander (Methuen, 1932, London) page 19.

The influence of this cultivated habitual use, therefore, acted as an almost irresistible stimulus to me to use myself in the wrong way I was accustomed to; this stimulus to general wrong use was far stronger than the stimulus of my desire to employ the new use of my head and neck, and I now saw that it was this influence which led me, as soon as I stood up to recite, to put my head in the opposite direction to that which I desired.

The Use of the Self by F. Matthias Alexander (Methuen, 1932, London) page 19.

If a part directly employed in the activity as being used in a comparatively new way which is still unfamiliar, the stimulus to use this part in the new way is weak in comparison with the stimulus to use the other parts of the organism, which are being indirectly employed in the activity, in the old habitual way. In the present case, an attempt was being made to bring about an unfamiliar use of the head and neck for the purpose of reciting. The stimulus to employ the new use of the head and neck was therefore bound to be weak as compared with the stimulus to employ the wrong habitual use of the feet and legs which had become familiar through being cultivated in the act of reciting.

The Use of the Self by F. Matthias Alexander (Methuen, 1932, London) page 20.

In short, I concluded that if I were ever to be able to react satisfactorily to the stimulus to use my voice, I must replace my old instinctive (unreasoned) direction of myself by a new conscious (reasoned) direction.

The Use of the Self by F. Matthias Alexander (Methuen, 1932, London) page 25.

Over and over again I had the experience that immediately the stimulus to speak came to me, I invariably responded by doing something according to my old habitual use associated with the act of speaking.
         After many disappointing experiences of this kind I decided to give up any attempt for the present to "do’ anything to gain my end, and I came to see at last that if I was ever to be able to change my habitual use and dominate my instinctive direction, it would be necessary for me to make the experience of receiving the stimulus to speak and of refusing to do anything immediately in response.

The Use of the Self by F. Matthias Alexander (Methuen, 1932, London) pages 26-27.

Up to that time the stimulus of a decision to gain a certain end had always resulted in the same habitual activity, involving the projection of the instinctive directions for the use which I habitually employed for the gaining of that end. By this new procedure, as long as the reasoned directions for the bringing about of new conditions of use were consciously maintained, the stimulus of a decision to gain a certain end would result in an activity differing from the old habitual activity, in that the old activity could not be controlled outside the gaining of a given end, whereas the new activity could be controlled for the gaining of any end that was consciously desired.

The Use of the Self by F. Matthias Alexander (Methuen, 1932, London) pages 34-35.

I was able, when the stimulus came to me to use my voice to recite, to inhibit my instinctive misdirection leading to the old harmful use of my head and neck and vocal organs, and so to my hoarseness, and to substitute for it a conscious direction leading to a new use of my head, neck and vocal organs which was not associated with hoarseness.
         This meant that the stimulus to use my voice no longer brought into play the old reflex activity which included the pulling of my head back and down, leading to a shortening of my stature, and which constituted my harmful habitual reaction to that stimulus, but instead, a new reflex activity which included putting my head forward and up to lengthen the stature and which, by its results, proved to be a satisfactory reaction to that stimulus.

The Use of the Self by F. Matthias Alexander (Methuen, 1932, London) page 40.

Human activity is primarily a process of reacting unceasingly to stimuli received from within or without the self. The first breath taken by a newly born child is a reaction to a stimulus to the respiratory centre, and the child remains a living organism only so long as it is capable of receiving stimuli and o£ reacting to them. No human being can receive a stimulus except through the sensory mechanisms, and supposing one could prevent the sensory mechanisms from receiving a stimulus, no reaction would be possible and therefore no further activity. Life itself would then cease.
         When once it is recognized that every act is a re-action to a stimulus received through the sensory mechanisms, no act can be described as wholly "mental" or wholly "physical."

The Use of the Self by F. Matthias Alexander (Methuen, 1932, London) pages 42-43.

The result of the receipt of a stimulus to lift the arm is, as we all know, a "mental" conception of the act of lifting the arm, this conception being followed by another so-called "mental" process, that of giving or withholding consent to react to the stimulus to lift the arm.

The Use of the Self by F. Matthias Alexander (Methuen, 1932, London) page 43.

On the other hand, the use of his mechanisms which would involve his keeping his eyes on the ball during the act of making a stroke would be a use entirely contrary to his habitual use and associated with sensory experiences which, being unfamiliar, would "feel wrong" to him; it may therefore be said that he receives no sensory stimulus in that direction. Any sensory stimulus he receives is in the direction of repeating the familiar sensory experiences which accompany his faulty use, and this carries the day over any so-called "mental" stimulus arising from his "will to do." In other words, the lure of the familiar proves too strong for him and keeps him tied down to the habitual use of himself which feels right.

The Use of the Self by F. Matthias Alexander (Methuen, 1932, London) pages 52-53.

This improvement will necessarily include an improvement in his manner of reacting to the stimulus to gain a certain end, shewing that it is possible, by working to the principle involved in the "means-whereby" procedure, to strike at the very roots of the habit of end-gaining which is so deeply embedded in our make-up.

The Use of the Self by F. Matthias Alexander (Methuen, 1932, London) page 65.

. . . one of two things is bound to happen:
either, (1) the stimulus of the desire to gain his end, by means of the old use associated with the habitual working balance which "feels right," will be so strong that it will dominate the stimulus to cultivate a new and improved use of a certain part associated with an unfamiliar working balance which "feels wrong"; or, . . .

The Use of the Self by F. Matthias Alexander (Methuen, 1932, London) page 78.

But, more important than this, my pupil in the course of this procedure had learned that if he inhibited his immediate instinctive reaction to any stimulus to "do," he could prevent the misdirection of his use and the associated undue muscle tension which had been the marked feature of all his reactions to stimuli, and which had hampered him not only in his speaking but in all his, activities, both "physical" and "mental," and if he chose to apply this principle to his activities in other spheres, he would have at his command a means of controlling the nature of his reaction to stimuli, that is, of acquiring a control of what is called "conscious behaviour."

The Use of the Self by F. Matthias Alexander (Methuen, 1932, London) page 81.

 

To attain these qualities he needs reliability of the sensory mechanisms concerned with the direction of use of the whole organism in daily activity, and the ability to control instinctive reactions to stimuli especially reactions to the stimulus of the unfamiliar.

The Use of the Self by F. Matthias Alexander (Methuen, 1932, London) page 104.

All my experience goes to shew that in cases where untrustworthiness of sensory appreciation has led to a general misdirection of the use of the mechanisms and to unsatisfactory conditions of functioning, a particular stimulus may start up a sensory process which registers a reaction which is quite different from the reaction which has actually taken place.

The Use of the Self by F. Matthias Alexander (Methuen, 1932, London) page 115.

You come to learn to inhibit and to direct your activity. You learn, first, to inhibit the habitual reaction to certain classes of stimuli, and second, to direct yourself consciously in such a way as to affect certain muscular pulls, which processes bring about a new reaction to these stimuli. Boiled down, it all comes to inhibiting a particular reaction to a given stimulus.

"Teaching Aphorisms" in Articles and Lectures by F. M. Alexander (Mouritz, 1995, London), page 204.

Every living human being is a psycho-physical unity equipped with marvellous mechanisms, and it is through these when set in motion by the stimulus of some desire or need that all reactions take place. Every reaction, therefore, is associated with a particular manner of use of these mechanisms and, because of the closeness of the association, it is this manner of use that constantly influences all manifestations of human activity, whether labelled manual or mental.
         Take first the manual or skilled worker. His manner of use influences for good or ill not only his general functioning, but also the way in which he employs the instruments or tools of his trade. All his activity is his particular reaction to some stimulus. The stimulus sets in motion a certain manner of use of himself, and the way he reacts is determined by this manner of use, and in a lesser degree by the comparative strength or weakness of the stimulus in its effect upon it. In this case there is one stimulus to reaction - his desire or need to employ tools or instruments as the means whereby he can gain his end.
         The position is not so simple when it comes to workers in intellectual fields such as education, religion, science, politics, etc. They employ theories or plans which they have formulated as the instrument or means whereby they can instruct others or convert them to their ideas. Here, even with the help of the very best possible "means whereby," success in gaining their end depends upon the manner of their reaction not to one, but to several stimuli of varying intensity. For instance, there is the stimulus of the ideas they wish to put forward; there is the stimulus of the desire to convert other people; in certain cases, there is the stimulus of the presence of an audience and so on; and to each of these stimuli they will react in accordance with their habitual manner of use. In addition to all this, their success in the last resort will depend upon the manner of the reaction of the people to be converted or instructed, since these, in their turn, will react according to the manner of use of themselves which is set in motion by the stimulus of the new idea, and also by the stimulus, potent or weak, resulting from the personality and manner of those who are presenting it.

The Universal Constant in Living by F. M. Alexander (Mouritz, 2000, London), page 5-6.

A bad manner of use, on the other hand, continuously exerts an influence for ill tending to lower the standard of general functioning, thus becoming a constant influence tending always to interfere with every functional activity arising from our response to stimuli from within and without the self, and harmfully affecting the manner of every reaction.

The Universal Constant in Living by F. M. Alexander (Mouritz, 2000, London), page 7.

When he became experienced in inhibiting the misdirection which led to the wrong employment of the primary control, and could maintain the resultant new manner of use when responding to any stimulus to activity in his daily life, his reaction no longer resulted in overaction of the muscle group or reflex spasm.

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

It means that on the receipt of a given stimulus to perform some act which we have decided is necessary for the change of our habitual reaction, consent to perform the act must be withheld, not given, in order that our habitual reaction may be held in check, …

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

Special to this case was the undue excitement of the fear reflexes in response to any stimulus to move or speak.

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

Life is the manifestation of use in association with the functioning of the organism, and it is this combination, working as a unity, that makes reaction to stimuli possible. Health in living, therefore, may be defined as the best possible reaction of the organism to the stimuli of living as manifested in its use and functioning.

The Universal Constant in Living by F. M. Alexander (Mouritz, 2000, London), page 65.

Understanding of this whole problem has been retarded by mistaking "cure for transfer" for permanent change. It is true that the activity, which up to a certain time has habitually manifested itself in one form of reaction, may in response to some new stimulus manifest itself in another form, and one which, when taken by itself, may be considered according to individual outlook to be a great improvement on the old reaction (habit).

The Universal Constant in Living by F. M. Alexander (Mouritz, 2000, London), page 72.

Thus the person who by some direct means has conditioned himself to exercise control which depends upon the elimination of specific stimuli, such as alcohol or tobacco, or those arising from emotional disturbance, some distressing environment, or the like, does not constitute a case of control of reaction by reconditioning in my sense.

In the case of the addict such a decision is difficult to carry out, because of the nature of the sensory experiences which have been habitually associated with his attempts to satisfy his need. As long as this need persists, these experiences are a continuous stimulus to indulgence in his bad habit, and hence the carrying-out of a decision not to indulge implies inhibiting his habitual reaction to the stimulus arising from the sensory experiences which are the background of his craving.

The Universal Constant in Living by F. M. Alexander (Mouritz, 2000, London), page 73.

If we view habit from this wider angle, which shows the link between the manifestation of any single reaction with the working of the whole organism, it will be easier to understand the difficulty we all experience in breaking even simple habits, and that this difficulty increases in proportion to the intensity of the stimulus to indulge in the habit. In the employment of my technique this added difficulty is taken into account from the start of the lessons, and hence, in any attempt to help a pupil to change habitual reaction, I begin with procedures that involve only simple activities on the pupil’s part, such as sitting and rising from a chair, in order to give him in the easiest way the opportunity to inhibit his habitual response when any stimulus to activity comes to him.

The Universal Constant in Living by F. M. Alexander (Mouritz, 2000, London), page 75.

He explains to him that he does not want him to try to be "right" in carrying out any instructions, because this would only mean projecting messages which would result in his reacting to the instructions by the habitual use of himself which "feels right," but that he can prevent this if, on receipt of any stimulus to activity (such, for instance, as a request from his teacher to sit down or to perform some other simple act), he will make the decision to refuse to give consent to carry out the activity by that habitual use of himself which is in accord with his conception of how the act should be performed. By adhering to this decision the pupil inhibits his immediate response, and therefore cuts off at its source his habitual reaction to the stimulus of the teacher’s request, and the way is thus cleared for the teacher to help him to employ new means whereby he can gain his end by a new and improved manner of use, the responsibility for the pupil’s being wrong or right in the employment of these means being the teacher’s responsibility alone.

The Universal Constant in Living by F. M. Alexander (Mouritz, 2000, London), page 78.

When these points have been explained and demonstrated as far as possible, the pupil will as a rule find little difficulty in accepting them theoretically. Indeed, like some other people, he is inclined to accept them too quickly, in the sense that he appears to have no doubt that when he receives a request from his teacher to carry out some simple act, he will be able to adhere to his decision to inhibit his immediate response to the stimulus of this request, and to put into practice the new "means-whereby."
         In spite of this optimistic outlook, however, it is practically certain that the first time the teacher asks him, for instance, to sit down, the pupil will fail to adhere to his decision to inhibit the immediate response to the stimulus of this request, but will instead give consent to the request and sit down in the usual way because it "feels right" to him, with the result that, as his teacher has warned him, he will merely repeat and probably exaggerate his habitual wrong manner of use of himself in sitting down.

The Universal Constant in Living by F. M. Alexander (Mouritz, 2000, London), page 78-79.

Time will be required to help him to stop trying to be right and afraid of being wrong; but, given time, he will learn to withhold consent to the giving of the messages which would be his instinctive response to the stimulus to accede to his teacher’s request, and so will be able to inhibit his habitual reaction while giving consent to the new messages necessary for bringing about that change in the manner of his general use which will be present as he moves - say, from standing to sitting in a chair.

The Universal Constant in Living by F. M. Alexander (Mouritz, 2000, London), page 80.

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 81-82.

The primary procedure in the technique necessary for gaining these experiences is the inhibition, at a given stimulus, of our habitual reflex activity.

The Universal Constant in Living by F. M. Alexander (Mouritz, 2000, London), page 84.

Our reasoning processes are called upon and, as a result, we must not react at once to a given stimulus, for if we do so react, we merely give consent to a projection of the messages which are responsible for our habitual reflex activity, and we thus make change impossible.

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

My technique is based on inhibition, the inhibition of undesirable, unwanted responses to stimuli, and hence it is primarily a technique for the development of the control of human reaction.

The Universal Constant in Living by F. M. Alexander (Mouritz, 2000, London), page 86-87.

This can be seen clearly enough for instance in the case of a person who reacts to some stimulus by losing his temper, and who immediately assumes the attitude of body and limbs and the facial expression of a person "spoiling for a fight." The same is true of animals. The dog manifests a similar change in use and functioning when reacting to some stimulus which arouses his fighting instinct; the hair on his back is raised, his eyes roll and glare, the lips are contracted to show the teeth, and the angle of his head, attitude of his body, and the particular action of his limbs are all manifestations of his desire to quarrel and fight.

The Universal Constant in Living by F. M. Alexander (Mouritz, 2000, London), page 87.

No matter in what field of activity we are engaged, or whether the stimuli primarily responsible for our particular manner of reacting are labelled "physical," "mental," or what you will, the same human processes in use and functioning are responsible for the manifestations which constitute our habitual manner of reacting to a particular stimulus, or group of stimuli, and are as characteristic of us individually as is our manner of writing, walking and carrying on our activities generally, and as easily recognizable by those who know us.

The Universal Constant in Living by F. M. Alexander (Mouritz, 2000, London),
pages 87-88.

When to this we add:
         1. that they find great difficulty at first in inhibiting their too prompt reaction to a given stimulus, which means that they immediately repeat their wrong habitual manner of use, and
         2. that in this too prompt reaction they are guided in their manner of use by unreliable sensory appreciation, the reader can form some idea of what is necessary to the process of changing manner of use, irrespective of the nature of the stimulus and the effect of the new associated experiences at any given moment.

The Universal Constant in Living by F. M. Alexander (Mouritz, 2000, London), page 99.

In the first chapter of my book The Use of the Self  I related how attempts which were made with the aim of correcting certain defects by direct control led through their failure to the discovery of the existence of a primary control of the use of the self, and then to the further discovery that when once the habitual wrong response to the stimulus to activity was inhibited, the right employment of this primary control led indirectly to the gradual disappearance of the defects; that, indeed, these defects were found to be by-products of a wrong employment of the primary control.

The Universal Constant in Living by F. M. Alexander (Mouritz, 2000, London), page 139.

For although my teaching experience is a large one, and I have numbered among my pupils a great variety of types, I have so far failed to discover any difference in their capacity to carry out a decision demanding an unfamiliar manner of reacting to a given stimulus in the use of themselves, a capacity which only becomes possible when, in the course of the lessons, the habitual reaction is inhibited while experience is gained in reconditioning the requisite reflex activity for the new reactions desired.

The Universal Constant in Living by F. M. Alexander (Mouritz, 2000, London), page 149.

Dr Kilpatrick’s conception in the matter of response to the stimulus to carry out the activity or activities necessary for "contriving" is open to serious question. Upon the attitude towards the nature of response rests the success or failure of any educational process, for the simple reason that the primary response to the stimulus to any activity in animal or human being is, in fact, the motivation of the mechanisms that leads to activity within the organism - activity which makes "contriving" possible in the gaining of some end, such as the satisfaction of a desire or need.
         The word "motivation" is here used to convey that which takes place within the self immediately before the mechanisms are activated. It is the primary response that leads to activity; the process that, in a sense, mobilizes the organism as a whole at the instant of the receipt of a stimulus.

The Universal Constant in Living by F. M. Alexander (Mouritz, 2000, London), page 173.

Therefore no matter what benefit he may claim can accrue, he cannot escape the serious charge that he is allowing his pupils to remain the victims of a constant impeding influence upon their general functioning, and one that will continue gradually to undermine their psycho-physical energy and potential development in the employment of their thinking and reasoning processes in learning and learning to do, as well as in all other responses to the stimuli of living.

The Universal Constant in Living by F. M. Alexander (Mouritz, 2000, London), page 175.

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