Consent

In the latter case, however, no evil effects can be produced in the first instance, without the reasoning consent or submission of the subject. Savages and young children have not yet learnt to withhold that consent.

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

[“Consent” does not feature in CCC in the meaning used in other books.]

. . . I have explained to him before that he cannot stop those old subconscious habits unless he inhibits the original request that I make to him, and he consents to do that. Therefore, it is not an inhibition associated with suppression. He consents to do it.

Lecture: “An Unrecognized Principle” (1925) in Articles and Lectures by F. M. Alexander (Mouritz, 1995, London), page 148.

If any reader doubt this, I would ask him if he can furnish any proof that the process involved in the act, say, of lifting an arm, or of walking, talking, going to sleep, starting out to learn something, thinking out a problem, making a decision, giving or withholding consent to a request or wish, . . .

The Use of the Self by F. Matthias Alexander (Methuen, 1932, London) page 5.

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. If this consent is withheld, the reaction which would result in a lifting of the arm is inhibited, and the arm is not lifted. If consent is given, the direction of the mechanisms required for the act of lifting the arm becomes operative, and messages are sent out which bring about the contraction of certain groups of muscles and the relaxation of others, and the arm is lifted.

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

. . . in most people their direction of the use of themselves is habitual and instinctive, so that once consent has been given to react to the stimulus to perform a certain act, they will perform that act, as we say, “instinctively,” that is without any reasoned conception of what direction of the use of the mechanisms is required for its satisfactory performance.

The Use of the Self by F. Matthias Alexander (Methuen, 1932, London) page 44.

When you are asked to sit down and you refuse to give consent, the old messages which have always been sent from the brain are not sent. We do not really know what giving or withholding consent is. We do know that when you have refused to give consent, it simply means that you have refused to indulge in the old habit.

“Bedford Physical Training College Lecture” (1934) in Articles and Lectures by F. M. Alexander (Mouritz, 1995, London), page 168.

This time, she will refuse when I ask her to get up at first, then she will give consent to her head going forward and up, and then she will get it - the new way of getting up.

“Bedford Physical Training College Lecture” (1934) in Articles and Lectures by F. M. Alexander (Mouritz, 1995, London), page 176.

But what is giving or withholding consent? Who knows what it is? We pass it by as if it does not matter. It matters a great deal. What is a decision to do something? Or not to do it? That is where the trouble comes in.

“Bedford Physical Training College Lecture” (1934) in Articles and Lectures by F. M. Alexander (Mouritz, 1995, London), page 181.

You ask me to lift that chair. If I give consent that is all I can do.

“Teaching Aphorisms” in Articles and Lectures by F. M. Alexander (Mouritz, 1995, London), page193.

Whether we react to this conception by giving consent to do the act, or by withholding that consent, the nature of our reaction is determined by our habitual manner of use of ourselves in which we depend upon feeling for guidance.

The Universal Constant in Living by F. M. Alexander (Mouritz, 2000, London), page 24.

This afforded proof that as soon as he gave consent to perform any act, messages were projected which resulted in an interference with his direction of the primary control, causing overactivity and a gradually increasing tension not only in the groups of muscles concerned, but also in others which were taking a too prominent part in the performance of the act. As soon, therefore, as he gave consent to doing anything in an endeavour to help himself, these impeding influences at once came into play, . . .

The Universal Constant in Living by F. M. Alexander (Mouritz, 2000, London), page 27.

 . . . 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.

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

 . . . 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 82.

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. Hence as a result of reasoning on these lines we, on the receipt of any stimulus to activity, make the important decision not to give consent to doing anything in response, as this “doing” would be due to our projection of the habitual messages which have led us into wrongness.

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

 . . . it is an act of inhibition which comes into play when, for instance, in response to a given stimulus, we refuse to give consent to certain activity, and thus prevent ourselves from sending those messages which would ordinarily bring about the habitual reaction resulting in the “doing” within the self of what we no longer wish to “do.”

The Universal Constant in Living by F. M. Alexander (Mouritz, 2000, London), page 101.

It calls for the unity in action of the psycho-physical processes in

1. conceiving what is required or desired to be done; and in
2. withholding or giving consent to doing it

—in other words, it means either refraining from, or giving consent to, sending the messages to the muscles to be employed in accordance with the subject’s manner of employing them, this in turn being determined by his manner of employing the primary control.

The Universal Constant in Living by F. M. Alexander (Mouritz, 2000, London), page 106.

His interest will be further aroused when it is made clear to him that not giving consent in the foregoing circumstances is analogous to not giving consent in those circumstances when he refuses to “do” some act he does not feel inclined to do, is afraid to do, or for some reason of his own decides not to do. The same psycho-physical processes are at work in these cases, . . .

The Universal Constant in Living by F. M. Alexander (Mouritz, 2000, London), page 158.

The first step in the procedure is an inhibitory (preventive) one—that of refusing to give consent to the habitual (subconscious) reaction; and it is the basic beginning of the means whereby one may change and control reaction. The next step is a volitionary one—that of consenting to employ the second procedure and also the succeeding procedures by a continuity of conscious directions in giving consent to new procedures whilst still withholding consent to the habitual reaction (the first procedure).

The Universal Constant in Living by F. M. Alexander (Mouritz, 2000, London), pages 181-182.

If I ask a pupil to put his arm up, and for five minutes he refuses to give consent, he will be doing as much for his central nervous system as it is possible to do. To carry it to a logical conclusion, after he has refused to give consent to sitting down he will see to it that he will not pull his head back, and if he really refuses to give consent to sitting down and lets me do the rest we will get it.

St. Dunstan’s Lecture (1949) in Articles and Lectures by F. M. Alexander (Mouritz, 1995, London), page 188.

Copyright 2001-2017. All rights reserved. No part may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, without the permission of the respective copyright holders. See Introduction.