I’m illustrating ideas of thinking strategy & perception in some educational writing about Alexander Technique in the form of an e-book. Useful would be a bunch of ideas how to illustrate abstract concepts in pictures.
As thinking skills are, this subject is a challenge because it is a process. It is similar to how people get seduced by the results rather than becoming impressed with the effectiveness of using the process. A focus on results leads people to brush aside the process that got them there and seize upon the dazzling results. In the case of Alexander Technique, people get distracted by the result of getting better at doing something or recovering the ability to move easier.
The most obvious illustrations of showing pictures of the body from the result of using the process has the potential to seriously misdirect the content of Alexander Technique. The ability to see motion needs to be educated to perceive the level of action being trained. It also needs a relationship to movement, and pictures are two dimensional.
Perhaps the solutions are illustrative videos!
Alexander Technique uses the kinesthetic sense as the arena to train thinking skills. Among other benefits, the Technique helps to eliminate unnecessary habits of movement that were unintentionally trained and are perpetuated by accidental association.
The process leading up to the ability to move & learn easier is the content. The obvious choice of illustrating frozen body positions with photography tends to give potential students the wrong idea, no matter what the quality of the photographs. Readers assume pictures are showing them the examples of the “proper” ways to move so they can copy this proper form and assume the “right” positions. Of course, learning the ability to respond with less effort is a significant and valuable side effect, but when it comes to improving freedom of movement, establishing and copying an ideal is the wrong way to get it.
The act of copying bodily positioning works against learning the process because it encourages going for the results in the “old same way.” The internal experience of the learner is that moving easier will often feel wrong from the inside. This is because the human sense of orientation only gives feedback about changed position relative to the status quo, not absolute fact. What is new and unpracticed can be sensed as strangely unfamiliar and off balance if it is radically different from habituated norms.
Every advertising authority recommends dangling benefits. In Alexander Technique, the benefits are so broad that a list of them ends up sounding like snake oil sales. The process is the content, not the result. But the result is the motive for using the process!
Hope you appreciate the challenge!
Winners will get a free copy of my forth-coming e-book titled “Younger Than Yesterday, Alexander Technique for Fast Learners.”
(Of course, I am assuming that you can understand what these isolated one-liners mean in isolation without having read the rest of the writing. All misunderstandings are valid in this situation!)
Please make suggestions in the comments about pictures, designs and images to illustrate ANY of these different proposed captions. (Suggestions to edit the captions are also appreciated.)
- *Muscles are contracted by effort. When you stop forcing them, muscles return to resting length in the “off duty” state. Lengthening a muscle feels like…nothing.
- *As multiple goals are added and must be accommodated, being pulled in opposing directions is bound to be conflicting. We get into trouble because we can’t foresee the effect of repeating what we do over time.
- *The sense of location, effort & weight is relative, not absolute fact. Because humans adapt, we can get used to just about anything that feels normal, once repeated enough.
- *Repetition trains a new habit. Practicing a series of chained behaviors creates a new skill. Be careful what you allow yourself to repeat!
- *Effectively trained habits install seamlessly; they disappear and become innate so the habit can be relied upon to work the same way every time.
- *For a base-line comparison, show off an authentic example by observing your own habits in action without trying to improve yourself first.
- *Get some words for how you’re moving by describing the movement’s direction, sequence, timing and quality.
- *Thinking is the first part of movement. You are already preparing to move to respond as soon as you think about it.
- *After movement preparation and before going into action, you get a moment of veto power.
- *Now that you’ve experienced something new, what do you do to get a repeat performance? (Wanted are more pics of multiple choices. For instance, some ideas we already have are: “say the magic word,” “file folders,” “elephant remembering computer password”, “list-making….” Specific suggestions about how to illustrate these suggestions are great!)
- *To duplicate desired results of an experiment: suspend previous ways of getting the goals and follow the sequence of experimenting that worked before. Presto!
- *Recognize new information by their unfamiliar, subtle, elusive, disorienting, funny & paradoxical characteristics.
- *Refusing, fooling, lying, slowing to a crawl, waiting, distraction, placating, cheating… Anything that works is fair game in using preventative veto power against the coercion of habitual routines!