An idea of “ultimate responsibility” in Alexander Technique fascinates me. It strikes me that this idea of how Alexander regards responsibility makes his work unique. Wondering about this assumption is interesting, because most assumptions are the act of intentionally setting up a given characteristic. Assumptions work like axioms; they branch off and lead down a very specific pathways of action, pre-empting all others.
It seems Alexander jumped to an assumption involving a person’s ability to direct their own actions. This assumption states the person is ultimately responsible for what he does, no matter how it feels internally after routines have been adopted and feel as natural as breathing. In Alexander’s world, there is no subconscious, only divided consciousness or undivided wholeness. Sometimes I wonder if this is one of F.M. Alexander’s mistakes.
We do not really know all of the sophisticated responses that are put into motion in a single order we have given ourselves. Because humans are adaptable, we forget the routines we have installed or been conditioned to repeat as the “standing orders” from our past experience. Are we meant to know the ways they are carried out? Alexander thought we should know, that we need to bring our choices into awareness, but I am not so sure.
To undo the order, it seems more efficient to trace it back to its origin and change it there, rather than to piecemeal the change directly by messing with the whole system. In some ways, it’s tempting to mess with the system as you become capable of doing so. But all these adjustments are merely compensations, …until you find the originating order and the subsequent directives. You would usually only want to bother because these directives have not worked so well to solve the problem, or the circumstances have changed. Once you find these directives, then you may update them and choose different ways of responding, …and the habit is completely and totally transformed; no looking back. This is where an ideal of “insight” or even “enlightenment” comes from – which I believe is deserved.
I wonder why Alexander did not put together that we are always falling and always uprighting our bodies; I guess he did, but he didn’t spell this one out very specifically either. I imagine by the time someone was able to gain this secret for themselves, their coordination was so completely re-sensitized that it was a moot point.
For this reason, I think this assumption of “ultimate responsibility” is very much worth exploring.
How are we responsible for the ways we respond to a desire? How does knowing and responding to a desire work in particular, in me?