FM Alexander's Theory Of The Decadence Of The Human Biophysical Mechanism

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Red Hughs
FM Alexander's Theory Of The Decadence Of The Human Biophysical Mechanism
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FM Alexander was an Australian Actor who in the early 1900's formulated a "Body Work" technique which was the first among many such Western techniques.

One very interesting aspect of his writings was that he described how the progress of human civilization and the imposition of the various artificial civilized activities had resulted in a gradual decay in man's biophysical mechanism. This could simplified as describing society imposing more rigid postures, more fixed muscle tension and so-forth.

Another interesting thing Alexander described was the limits of "spontaneous self-expression". In the early 1900's, it was already fashionable in progressive education to do things like making children dance without any particular instruction. Essentially, there is more to learning elegant movment than "just do it".

Fred wrote:
Emotion is not so much suppressed as " separated" from life in decaying society; detached, as in schizophrenia, and expressed in war and violence, now the bourgeoisie's favored replacements for progress and reform. There may be no shortage of emotion in decadent society - anger, resentment, hatred, fear, horror and so on - but this is not traditionally the stuff of art, and if presented in musical terms might well produce material of an unlistenable kind.

Perhaps you didn't grow-up on punk rock and Joy Division.

But I think this is another very important point.

If anything, decadent bourgeois society resulted in the freeing of every kind of emotion and means of self-expression, but on an individual level which, when combined with decaying social relations, produces a schizophrenic society.

I think human beings can spontaneously form communities and begin to relate in revolutionary situations. But the point would be simple "self expression" can bring up individual derangement which must either be dealt with by community processes or can become a serious problem. The 1960's in the US was an example of chaotic social openness that would often degenerate into cults and similar such problems.

I guess I'm just throwing out the point that spontaneously forms organizations, like the various Occupations, will still need to have a variety of structures and quite possibly some techniques for dealing with the various mental and physical derangements which this society generates.

Anyway, just posting a fragment, more later.