Michael Ashcroft

March 27, 2021 20:30

Fumbling for legibility in Alexander Technique

I am frustrated.

It’s a familiar frustration though, because it’s the same one that comes up again and again when I try to communicate Alexander Technique to someone new. I enjoy talking about it, but it’s just so hard.

Here’s the problem. Alexander Technique is really hard to describe, in part because it is genuinely a complex thing and, perhaps more importantly, because I suspect it literally deals with the parts of our brains that don’t have language. I’m not sure of that, but I have a strong hunch. That means that any attempts to put language on it are always like fingers pointing towards the moon.

I really want to be able to describe and teach Alexander Technique well. I didn’t know this would end up becoming my thing, but I really I want to make Alexander Technique legible and to find ways to spread it far and wide. Given what Alexander Technique deals with (and this note is not about that), I can’t help but think that these ideas would be of great benefit to the world if more widely known, grokked and applied. Literally world shaping.

Maybe I’m frustrated because Alexander Technique seems inherently illegible. But, frankly, I’m also frustrated because as I look around the profession I don’t see much evidence of a collective intention of Alexander Technique teachers seeking to make it legible. Instead, the field appears to be collapsing further and further into obscurity.

Frustration aside, it’s clear that the work to make Alexander Technique legible has not been done. There is very little useful jargon I can use and few good resources I can point to.

Where does that leave me? It leaves me wanting knowledge of this vast and largely unexamined area of human experience to be legible, seeing that it is not, and realising that it’s up to me to make it that.

I guess this note is a public recommitment to that goal. I do not want to be exclusively “the Alexander Technique guy”, but I will affirm that this is going to be a big part of who I am and will influence how my life will unfold in the years to come.

I will achieve my goal of making Alexander Technique legible and accessible to vastly more people than today. It’s just that in order to do that I’ll need to keep fumbling in the dark, dive into this frustration and… come out the other side with a brilliant diamond to offer the world.


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