MAIN DISH – New discoveries in the Alexander Technique

Here Moishe begins by quoting from a letter of an intellectually “enlightened” member of STAT, published in the “STATNEWS”. This “teacher” is concerned about the good public perception of the Alexander Technique; he noticed that the skill of communication is often lacking; the ability to explain and talk about the actual teaching – beside using the hands – should be an integral part of any teaching skill.

Dear “enlightened” member of the “noble” STAT “order”, if you would be aware enough of the true reality, if you would be a real investigator-explorer, if you would not be a believer but an unconditioned observer, without prejudices, if you could draw conclusions from actual facts, may be you would realize that the real F.M. Alexander Technique is not taught in the schools which are declared and, so called, approved foundations for training teachers of the above subject. Therefore the “teachers” who were trained in the above schools had a doubtful practical experience of the F.M. Alexander Technique, and as far as I can judge they never experienced the real F.M. Alexander Technique. Therefore they don’t have the active creative-practical conception of it, as a way and a process along this endless way. This way is a practical way, lively way, natural way – not a theoretical-intellectual subject; you can’t deal with it in the conventional way of thinking.

So without the practical experience of the “means-whereby” your hands can’t convey the real “Directions”, and your brain can’t produce the appropriate verbal explanation to match the “story” of the practical “Directions”. In your case explaining the Alexander Technique is like a parrot telling about Einstein’s theory.

And concerning a good public perception – do you mean that the Technique should be brought to the public through the commercial advertisment on the television ? ! Through the rubbish publications, which spread all over like poisonous mushrooms ? ! A real perception of the subject can’t exist unless one has the real experience of it; otherwise any perception is an illusive one…

And concerning the “mental leap beyond the confines of their own training” – which this “teacher” suggests to take – “so that they can find their own way of teaching”, it is clear that if the experience the student would get in the training would be of the Way and the Process – the real way and the real process, which means, among the rest, “sticking to a decision against your habits of life” – there is no need of “mental leap beyond the confines of the training”; it is only necessary to continue to follow the Way, as a whole, to sharpen – within the Process – the total awareness (Conscious Control), and the ground for the con-tinuation of the exploration “journey” is ready and fertile for further discoveries along the Way. The above “mental leap” happens among those who didn’t get the right training (message); they want to be “right and clear”, so they create an “Alexander Technique” within the “corset” of their own habitual mental attitude. They are creative in the way of not following the real way; but they stick to the name – the “Alexander Technique”. Moishe calls them “reformers” and “renewers”, and still joins them to the same “table” (STAT)… What should be reformed and renewed is the way the F.M. Alexander Technique is intro-duced to the public – through the practical experience. The standards of training should not be the highest; it should be not the wrong one, the false one; there is only one standard – following the real way, the original way.

And here comes the paragraph which was the “trigger” for my answer to the excellent “creation” of Moishe Magidov esq. Though the above Moishe doesn’t mention my name, it is very clear to me that he tried to gore me, to knock me out of his mind, to throw out all his personal resentment against me. He didn’t have the courage to mention my name, so I am just “someone”… And that what Moishe pretends that “someone” claims is the Alexander Technique he never heard in his own ears, never read it ! Nor anybody else heard it; because I never claim that the phenomena that he mentions, that may happen in my lessons are the Alexander Technique; simply because I never thought this way. I didn’t work with the above “dear colleague” since 1971. If he heard about my work, it is from people who are hostile to me, and you should ask them why they are hostile to me. The video he watched – as well as others who watched it and don’t accept my criticism – was made as a document of a phenomenon, which I knew will disappear when the Process continues. A copy of this video was made without my permission by a “noble” colleague of Moishe – Meir Amit – and was circled among the chickens, the Little Men, who can’t see beyond the established “corset” of their rigid mental attitude. Their unduly excited fear reflexes, uncontrolled emotions and fixed prejudice reduce their mental horizon to the one of the worms. And Moishe, who was a junior mechanic in the garage of a bus cooperative and a bus driver, sticks to his old habitual mental attitude. He sees the Whole in undoing and fastening screws of motors; he doesn’t see the relationship between the motor and the whole bus, and of the bus and the road and the trafic. He sees the Whole through the front window of the bus and the mirrors around him; for him the Whole is the route he has to drive on, according to the orders of his boss; his creativity is confined to his narrow world. The same happens in his Alexander Technique’s world.

And in connection with kneeling – it seems that Moishe never visited the Constructive Teaching Centre, where one can see the students on their knees and hands, walking forward and backward; and this is the Alexander Technique of WC of the above “constructive” school.

Moishe, your orthodox “way” is a fixed ceremonial procedure of gymnastics guided by manipulation, a routine of repetition of limited movements. You don’t dare to use your brain independently along the Way. As far as I can judge there is only one criterion, one measure to judge whether it is the real F.M. Alexander Technique: If that person has the active creative-practical conception of the Way and the Process, and if the person practically follows the Way and is totally involved in the Process as a whole – it is it. F.M. Alexander discovered the Way and the Process; his work, his teaching developed along the Way. He didn’t stop in the “orthodox” beginning of his teaching. And you, Moishe, instead of criticizing me without having any practical basis to your criticism and judgment, better watch yourself in the mirror and ask yourself if not you are the one who is wrong. You are full of fears when you have to face the unknown, the unorthodox; you are fixed in your mental “cage”, “armour”; therefore you lack the “means whereby” to judge if the way is the real way or an illusive way. And you are just one among the many who are similar to you in this respect.

As I have a lot of experience working with musicians, I feel home when you mention musicians and their individual relations to music. Indeed Perlman and Zuckerman, and all other musicians, play according to their general understanding of the music, and their mental conditioning, besides their technical talent, skill and competence. Therefore when they play Mozart – for example – they play their Mozart – the Mozart of the written notes the composer left behind; but not Mozart’s spirit in it, not Mozart’s attitude. I doubt if Mozart would accept their interpretation of his music. He couldn’t express the Whole in written notes. He couldn’t express through the written notes the music he “heard” in himself as he heard it, and the way he would interpret it in playing or wished to hear it. Notes are not the music itself; notes are – in a way – dead instructions. If you give wrong instructions to the music student, wrong conception, wrong basis, his music will be a chain of sounds but not real harmonious music. This happens a lot in the music teaching, this happens – in general – in the Alexander Technique teaching – end-gaining and the wrong “means-whereby”. All of you tame your students, you teach them to imitate – as you did; you teach them tricks for the Alexander “circus”; you don’t direct them, you don’t guide them, you don’t stimulate them to follow the Way and to be involved in the Process; this simply because you cannot do it yourself, for yourself.

About STAT

In his Centenary Memorial Lecture before the STAT (8.7.69), WC (the jellyfish) says that F.M. Alexander was a “non-joiner”, who didn’t believe in societies, and that he wouldn’t like “this one” (the STAT !!!). And he continues and says (and I can see his greasy smile), that F.M. Alexander would have tolerated it of course (!), as he did tolerate many things, reluctantly… (and I can hear F.M. screaming like mad “up there”, when he hears the above hypocrite saying it).

As far as I know, F.M. Alexander was against the formation of the STAT, but it happened that he had trained “chickens” to follow the eagle’s way. Chickens can’t follow the eagle’s way, but they are good in forming societies. These societies the “chickens” form in order to defend and secure their habitual “chickenizing”; their habitual use of themselves; their “End-gaining” approach and habitual reaction to the stimuli of daily life; their beloved habitual fears and the subconscious guidance and control of the use of themselves. They dread facing themselves as they really are; so they form the “paper walls” of a society around them, full of regulations and taboos assembled in an impressive constitution – but the real F.M. Alexander Technique (!) can’t dwell, can’t exist within the “cage” of a society; it can’t be put in a “corset”, in an “armour” of regulations, taboos and constitutions. The F.M. Alexander Technique needs space, needs the Constructive Conscious Control of the Individual, and not a collective chicken’s brain.

It is beyond my understanding, it is a great mystery for me why F.M. Alexander allowed people like WC in his vicinity; as WC himself describes it in his above lecture, that F.M. Alexander was a very misunderstood man and that – he was particularly misunder-stood by many people who knew him well and who were close to him (!!!). And who claims that he was the chief assistant of F.M. and very close to F.M., if not WC? Con-clusion – I leave to the reader …

So the most – and only – important task for the STAT is to disappear promptly from the world, for the sake of the real F.M. Alexander Technique. Behind the grandiose deco-ration, made of thin plywood and jute, a facade of a palace, there is a mud hut – which is the STAT; a filthy morass; no natural conditions for the real F.M.A.T. to survive.

You, Moishe, know very well what Macdonald thought about the teaching and the school of Walter H.M. Carrington (in short: WC), and of the Barlows – who were the only schools beside the Alexander Foundation, in our days as students; you know very well how Mac-donald considered the “Alexander Technique” which the Barlows and WC introduced in their teaching, not to speak about the American “Alexander Technique”. You know very well, you Moishe, that a practical common denominator doesn’t exist between the dif-ferent “branches”, (or streams – as Anne Battye calls it in one of the STATNEWS) within the STAT, and therefore there is no chance and no readiness to do something about it. The inflated ego, the unduly excited fear reflexes, the End-gaining, seeing the Whole through the personal “key hole” don’t allow changes in the mental attitude of the STATers”, don’t allow a mental attitude which will trigger the common-denominator and which will be the end of the “branches”-“streams”, in the Alexander Technique; as the real F.M. Alexander Technique is one, there is no ground for weeds in it.

In connection with maintaining a high standard of teachers, and maintaining high standards of schools – what is the criterion for any standard of teachers and schools ? Whose criterion – yours, or of WC, or Don Burton, or Marjorie Barstow, etc. etc. ?! Do the teachers you trained, teach the same Alexander Technique as those who are trained by David Gorman and company (who have the practical experience in the A.T. as much as chickens have the flying experience of the eagles) ? What is the teaching standard of the “STATers” in general ? I worked with some of them, and I can tell you that their standard is below any standard… ! All of you remind me of a person who lost something in the darkness, and looks for it under the street lamp; each one of you pretends that “his” star is the North star; each one of you pulls to a different direction, but all of you have the STAT…

If I would not know you, Moishe, and your history, as a person and as a teacher of the Alexander Technique, I would be impressed by your story about your extensive teaching experience during your first eleven years of teaching. But you can tell such a story to any body else except me. I still have your letters where you complain that you don’t have pupils, and that the name Zeev Tadmor means to people more than Magidov – though Zeev hardly had pupils as well. Why don’t you tell your “STATers” fellows, who invited you to Tel-Aviv, gave you (and Zeev) pupils and a place to work in? So for six years of co-operation with you I could observe your work closely, and I know how “exstensive” it was. From Macdonald you didn’t learn how to grow along the Way, as he himself stopped growing in the second half of the 60’s. Shoshana Kaminitz managed to pull him and his teaching down. So you really just imitated him, just stepped on his foot prints without raising your eyes from them. So your school gradually grew with your illusion that you can handle a growing number of students. Your colleague, Yehuda Kuperman, has something between thirty to forty students. His business grew, but not his teaching; the same with your business and the standard of teaching – whatever you really teach. I call such business “prostitution”. Unfortunately human beings like to be cheated and the “STATers” are good in this subject.

Your dedication – all Moishes, Yehudas, WCs, and all the rest of them – is not to the F.M. Alexander Technique; your dedication is to your inflating ego; you have a vast experience in creating an image of a guru, of a V.I.P., of the saviours of humanity, while in your be-haviour there is vanity and hypocrisy.

You claim that a school needs an atmosphere and tradition. What kind of atmosphere – like it was in the Alexander Foundation when we studied there ? Or in Macdonald’s class when he was already dominated by Shoshana ? Or as it was in Scott’s school, or the one of WC, Barlow, yours ? Who decides which is the right atmosphere – your colleagues who gave an “excellent” report about a school that you found has very poor standards, or you, or Shmuel Nelken? How a certain atmosphere is created – did you ever consider it? So this school which you found has poor standards still functions in the frame of STAT, and you swallow it, you compromise in order to stay in the doubtful safety of the “chickens cage” – the STAT.

Tradition – on which ground it grew? What is the source of it? Just to say that a school needs a tradition. Moishe, tradition may mean fixation; tradition may mean stagnation; tradition may mean sticking to the habitual reaction to stimuli. The school does need certain atmosphere or tradition. The school needs a director-guide who has the active creative-practical conception of the Way and the Process (the real F.M. Alexander Technique); a person who applies it in all his activities and conveys his practical experience to other people who are ripe to follow the same way and process.

Moishe tells about a director of a school who didn’t allow him to visit his school; and the conclusion is that this director was afraid of Moishe’s findings of the way he conducts his school. Moishe thinks that the reason is the lack of confidence in his teaching. But Moishe, would you allow me to visit your school ? Would any “STATer” allow me to visit his/her school ? Is it not the lack of confidence in your teaching, the fear to face criticism, to face your wrong? You state that you always welcome any (!) teacher who wants to visit your school – does it include me and my students, or pupils?