Tuesday, March 13, 2012

6. POSTURE - YEAR 2012 

6.1 Bending to lift an object 
6.2  High heel hangover
6.3  In Search of the Boson
6.4  Chiropractors / X rays
6.5  Smartphones tied to posture problems?

6.6  Sitting too straight
6.7  A Historical Clip from 1945
6.8  A shear model of the human body
6.9  Hovering in mid-air easier for top-heavy structures 
6.10  A scientific challenge

6.11   Diabetes may originate in your gut
6.12  Crunch sound   
6.13  Elastic in children's clothing 
6.14 Watch your back
6.15 Meds and Alexander Technique

6.16 Man was born barefoot

6.17 Correcting eyesight
6.18 Emotional need to tighten and tense
6.19 Therapists see no development benefits from seats
6.20 Man's supreme inheritance

6.21 On education
6.22 Gokhale pain free chair
6.23 Review of MSI
6.24 Being apologetic
6.25 "Head" forward and up

6.26 Conscious control

6.27 Time for Yoga to grow up
6.28 More babies today have irregular head shape
6.29 Conscious Control
6.30 Differentiating the meaning of the term 'Posture'

6.31 Simulating the human body 
6.32 Positions of the hands
6.33 A very sensible way to eat
6.34 False advertising
6.35 Is MSI the most important book ever written?

6.36 Body language 21/5/12

6.37 Tight jeans 'may jeopardize health'
6.38 The eyes
6.39 Alexander Technique and Walking
6.40 Making a comparison of different philosophies

6.41 Pilates?

6.42  Sleeping on ones back
6.43 The genius of Alexander

6.44 Psycho and Somatic (My experience)
6.45 The concept of flow
6.46 The best sleep position
6.47 Sciatica (1)
6.48 Sciatica (2)
6.49 The very good posture of children

6.51 Squatty Potty-Toilet Stool: squatting for proper toilet posture/ Avoid Colon Cancer
6.52 Adding half a sine wave
6.53 Your child's posture (Choice of footwear)
6.54 Sit ups
6.55 Let's meet

6.56 Sitting cross-legged
6.57 Learning to run
6.58 Don't think, FEEL!
6.59 Find your primal posture and sit without back pain
6.60 Knee replacement

6.61 Einstein / Alexander
6.62 Relationship between good posture and physical strength
6.63 The posture of Indian village life. Interesting!
6.64 The Alexander Technique and standing comfortably at work
6.65 The maths of posture correction

6.66 A lack of ambition
6.67 From the non AT world
6.68 The Hump
6.69 How long will we live - and how well?
6.70 A lack of ambition v.2

6.71 Squeezing Malignant Breast Cancer Cells Could Help Them Return To Normal, Study Says
6.72 Your child's posture


6.1 Bending to lift an object  (9/1/2012) 

Dear List,

My doubt is, could these methods be wrong or second best (we have to play it safe as most individuals have bad posture)?

Why do I say this?

Just recently I observed an energetic corporation worker in my locality lift a basket of leaves from the ground. My suspicion is that the basket may not have been very heavy, even then, when lifting the weight this individual had his head very close to the ground 'cock' fashion I would say, in contrast to the Alexander Technique 'monkey', with back straight, head well back, bending from the pelvis- thigh joint, knees bent.

As a result he was not only bending at the knees but had has arms also in a considerably bent position at the elbows. When I simulate this way of lifting (with my now considerably improved posture) I realise that the individual would have brought to bear the full strength of his arms and legs. In the images posted above the excessively straight position of the arms looks artificial!?


6.2  High heel hangover  (9/1/2012)

"Foot health is a really big issue for people over the age of 40, to the point where one in four can't really walk without foot pain," says U.S.-based bio-mechanics expert Katy Bowman, author of Every Woman's Guide to Foot Pain Relief.
According to Bowman, who is also the director of the Restorative Exercise Institute in California, foot pain is the canary in the coal mine of human health. Jimmy Choos and Manolo Blahniks are the poison.
"Your foot pain is like an early indicator of the state of everything," she says. "Every other ailment of the body, from your body composition to even something like depression, all of those ailments are affected by physical mobility. But more than that, foot pain tells us that our knees, hips and back are at risk.

Read more: http://www.vancouversun.com/life/fashion-beauty/Have+high+heel+hangover+Here+help/5966948/story.html#ixzz1iySVZs4H

6.3  In Search of the Boson (12/1/2012)

Dear All,
Scientist at CERN are hard at work trying to locate the Higgs Boson, dubbed the God Particle by the media. Discovery of this elusive particle will confirm the validity of the Standard Model of Particle Physics.
While our scientists are hard at work on this project, I too am on a quest to confirm a proper model for the human body. According to this model adults should hold their heads well back with respect to the spine in order to balance their musculoskeletal system. (While discovery of the Higgs Boson will not immediately alter our lives, understanding the proper relationship of the head with respect to the spine should bring about a revolution in human health, performance and lifestyle).
Since most adults get their postural balance seriously wrong, finding a person holding his body properly is almost as elusive as the search for the God particle. My eureka moment came when I observed a corporation worker in my city, a middle aged person who is unusually energetic, bend down to pick up a basket of leaves. His head was in a position similar to that of the boy in the Norman Rockwell painting, though he was leaning further down than the boy. 

My posture correction has also taken off in a new trajectory (fast forward) since I realized that human adults are making an extraordinarily serious mistake by allowing the head to fall forward. There is no way that proper balance can be achieved this way.

To achieve proper balance:

It is simple logic that any ‘direction’ for balance must say what moves forward and what moves backwards, and you should actually try to get the feel of balance in the whole body.

Just as the discovery of the boson will tie down the theory behind the standard model for elementary particles, the fact that we are getting the head position seriously wrong will help to unveil various mysteries shrouding human efforts to understand human posture over thousands of years.

Let us ask a few questions and seek answers to them:

1. Why do people not realize that clothing tied around the waist and improper footwear will damage their posture?

Answer: When proper balance is not possible, since the position of the head is entirely wrong, the body welcomes any support which helps stabilize it. Like a tree in a storm which is about to keel over will only feel relief when supported.

2. Why do people seem to be spending their entire lives correcting their posture without making substantial improvement?

Answer: No system of posture correction seems to recognize that the head should be well back and there should be active balancing taking place at all times.

3. Why do people curve the spine abnormally to look down (The Class One Visual Space discussed in this website)?

Answer: Proper use of the Atlas and Axis (the two uppermost cervical vertebrae) and proper coordination of the rest of the spine requires that the head should be well back and active balance be achieved.

4. What is the probability that an adult human is balancing his body properly?

Answer: zilch (1) The body should be actively balanced (2) This is possible only if the head position is correct (3) Balance is possible only when the lower half of the body is also kept active (4) Clothing and footwear should not impede natural movement of the body. (5) The mind should be kept actively involved (6) Once posture is allowed to collapse (the process will start at a very early age due to ignorance of parents and society) it is very difficult to set it right.

5. Why do people use pillows?

Answer: Because they think there is nothing wrong with the head poking forwards.

6. Any comments on the sagacity of the medical profession?

Answer: It is difficult to believe that over a hundred years of awarding one another Nobel Prizes they have not even tagged this as a problem (let alone solving it).

7. What about the mind body relationship?

Answer: While most people are simply not aware that the mind plays an important part in proper postural balance, there is another school of thought which ignores the body to focus on the mind. To achieve proper body balance both are equally important.

8. What can we do to improve the posture of children?

Answer: The posture of children gets compromised because adults don’t know head or tail of what they are doing. If humans had a clear idea of the importance of good posture, we would see most adults behind bars for child abuse :-(
ignorantia legisneminem excusat ("ignorance of the law excuses no one"). We can paraphrase this as ignorance about good posture is no excuse. 

9. Why is good posture so important? We have multiple problems to solve, such as Global Warming, AIDS, population issues, environmental issues … can we waste our time worrying about our posture?

Answer: Bad posture will make us unhealthy. We will spend our adult years worrying about our health instead of moving proactively to solve problems. Even if we are not unhealthy in the medical sense, our tension patterns will reduce our effectiveness. Admittedly, it is difficult to correct the posture of adults, but it is very easy to prevent development of bad posture in children. We are morally obliged to act.

For want of a nail the shoe was lost.
For want of a shoe the horse was lost.
For want of a horse the rider was lost.
For want of a rider the battle was lost.
For want of a battle the kingdom was lost.
And all for the want of a horseshoe nail.

P.S. I have posted a lot of material in my sites www.humanposture.com and www.humanposture.blogspot.com (which I update frequently). I have also written a book HUMAN POSTURE, which is worth reading (since there is no one to recommend my book, I have no option but to recommend it myself :-) The more we understand the subject the better it is. I have so far found it impractical to post all the material in the book on a website – partly due to copyright reasons. I had to obtain permission to quote various authors!!

Presently the book is available only from me sraj99@gmail.com

For postage in India the cost of the book is Rs 450. If you are a student you can have the book for Rs 200. In India the book can be sent by VPP, so you need to pay only when you receive the book. Please ask for quantity discount if you wish to purchase more than one book.

For people outside India the total cost including postage is $ 17. Payment can be made through Paypal. Please ask for quantity discount. If you are a student you can have the book for a discount of $5, so the book will cost you $ 12.

6.4  Chiropractors / X rays  (19/1/2012)

Dear All,

I am intrigued by the fact Chiropractors are the only professionals in the field of posture correction who actually take X rays to find out where an individual's posture may be out of kilter. (Probably Medical Professions may also be taking such X rays)
While this habit of taking X rays frequently could be dangerous, it should be possible for chiropractors to mine their data base to relate ordinary photographs to probable distortion of the skeletal system!?

Does such software exist? Would it not be useful to have such software?



Hello Mark,

I agree with you that x-rays are of limited use in posture correction. But in my view x-rays will bring objectivity to the whole field of posture correction by displaying the end result in (hopefully) unambiguous terms.

We would still have the problem of interpretation. Fine tuned distortions may be more difficult to interpret; but combined with video recording and other data it may be possible in the future to scientifically evaluate an individual's posture.

I am sure that an x ray of my cervical spine at the moment would show faults (I feel it in my bones :-). Yet, I am sure my cervical alignment is much better now than it was two years back. With the progress I am making, in a few years time I may even have the confidence to have myself x-ray ed.  

My belief is that we should exploit any source which gives us a leg up. Although Chiropractors have seen a reaction against their methods, (I am midway through a book by Robin Cook which takes a swipe at alternative medicines in general), it is quite possible that they may have more experience in interpreting x ray data in relation to posture than other professionals. If they have the confidence it would be very useful if they put their data in a public space.


6.5  Smartphones tied to posture problems?  (22/1/2012)

(CBS News)  
Smartphones are becoming increasingly common in the U.S., but those hours we spend hunched over our iPhones and BlackBerrys may be wreaking havoc on our posture, CBS This Morning contributor Lee Woodruff reports.



Manipulation of knowledge to make money (It is impossible for any individual to know every thing - we are finally dependent on fellow humans to inform us).


Primacy given to our posture. Does whatever we are doing likely to harm our posture? If yes, we need to work around the problem. Unfortunately many of our products, services and social interactions are going to fail this test. At this stage we also don't have a clear ides about good posture and how to achieve it. 


6.6  Sitting too straight  (26/1/2012)
Dear all,

This is just to caution people who think that sitting very erect = good posture. Unfortunately when we begin to correct our posture, there is no option to attempting to sit as erect as possible, but the final goal should be to keep the proper curvatures intact over the whole length of the body to ensure that the body is springy.

The other day I got a real demo of this effect from a rat I had trapped. When I looked inside the trap it looked like a small rat, but when I released it in a nearby gutter (I have no heart to kill these exquisitely intelligent creatures), out it flew from the trap like a gladiator stretching out to its full length. (Human athleticism is basically a farce!)

(I know no one will listen to me (especially westerners); let me however repeat what I have been trying to say repeatedly. Be careful about footwear, the best thing for the feet is to be barefooted. Same thing applies to tying trousers with belts around the stomach - don't do it. Shoulder straps are best. If you wear your shirt un-tucked no will be the wiser that you have one on underneath! Elastic (I know everyone has some elastic in their clothing - it appeared by magic in clothing worldwide about 50 years back); my advice is don't use it (I am sure not even Nobel Prize winning scientists will be able to explain how it will affect your body). THE FOREGOING ADVICE IS TRIPLY IMPORTANT FOR CHILDREN).

6.7  A Historical Clip from 1945  (27/1/2012)

Most of the movie has been shot in profile, hence from a 'postural' point of view it is very revealing. 



6.8  A shear model of the human body   (31/1/2012)

Dear Friends,

The human body consists of more than 200 bones and more than 600 muscles; these are coordinated by the nervous system and the brain to produce the very complex movements that the human body is capable of.
There is sufficient evidence to show that humans unlike other animals end up distorting their bodies so that they are much weaker than they ought to be; they also end up having many ailments that can be traced to this distortion of the body.

To understand the nature of these distortions we take recourse to various models. So far we have presented three models:

1. In the guy rope model ( Fig 4, of my website www.humanposture.com) we introduced the idea of treating bones in the body as struts and the muscles as guy ropes. In this model we bring out the idea that these guy ropes (muscles) are arranged very close to the struts (bones) making the arrangement very fine tuned and critical.
2. Another guy rope model in Fig 5 of the above website, which brings out the idea that if the struts (bones) were to be distorted beyond a certain limit it would become very difficult for the system to recover on its own.
3. Super sandwich model in the website http://www.thesupersandwichmodel.blogspot.in/. This brings out the idea that it is very difficult to correct a postural problem locally, since the distortions will get related in very complex ways to distortions in the rest of the body.

We will now introduce a fourth model ‘A shear model’ of the human body. Using this model we can more easily answer a lot of questions regarding faulty posture.

If we take a section of the body say, at the upper arm, we will find the following layers: skin (which itself is in multiple layers), then a number of different muscles that overlap and finally the core consisting of a bone. When we move the forearm, these different elements will slide one over the other to apply force and to produce movement. Force is applied within this system by putting the bones in compression and the muscles in tension.

My very strong suspicion based on my own efforts to correct my posture is that when our posture becomes faulty this system of elements smoothly sliding over one another will go haywire in many parts of the body. The whole setup can sort of congeal, restricting the free relative sliding of the various elements: the system congeals to provide additional support to a system which is no longer in proper balance.

The role played by the skin (which may not be very elastic) in this process - which facilitates relative sliding motion - needs to be investigated. If for instance the skin has got overstretched, or perhaps contracted, how is this reconciled with what is underneath in the process of posture correction? I do not have sufficient knowledge of human anatomy and physiology to answer these questions myself. (Someone with better knowledge can try to fill in the blanks). With this new model we will now try to answer a few questions.

1. Why is correction of posture so difficult?

 The elements in the human body would have sheared to different positions. Correcting posture will involve bringing the elements back to their correct relative alignment.

2. Why is correcting posture an issue in the first place? After all people do manage to ‘function’ one way or another.

Practically all adults will be functioning in faulty ways. There will be many areas in the body where the free shearing of elements will be inhibited: these inhibitions will provide support to the parts of the body where motion is relatively smooth and the shearing action is facile.

3. Could we be stepping into the fire from the frying pan in the process of posture correction?

People with bad posture (that is most people) will have two distinct areas in their bodies: areas that are arthritic and areas where movement is relatively smooth. The danger in starting to correct our posture is that (when we don’t understand what the heck we are doing - which seems to be more or less the situation at the moment) we could end up compromising the areas where the movement was relatively smooth so far. In other words we could end up increasing our level of tension, and in reality have worse posture than before!!

4. How do we solve this problem?

My hope is that once we understand the correct way to balance the head:   http://headbalance.blogspot.in/  we may be able to get out of the gridlock more quickly.

5. Does the above problem give strength to the argument made by many that good posture has nothing to do with ‘posture’ per se?

Yes. We must be very sharp about how we plan to correct our posture. In the absence of proper knowledge correcting posture can increase our level of tension and make us less flexible.


6.9  Hovering in mid-air easier for top-heavy structures  (13/2//2012) 

“It works somewhat like balancing a broomstick in your hand,” explained Jun Zhang, a Professor at the Courant Institute and one of the study’s co-authors.
“If it begins to fall to one side, you need to apply a force in this same direction to keep it upright.”
For bugs, it is aerodynamical forces that provide this stability.
The lessons learned from these studies could be put to use in designing stable and maneuverable flapping-wing robots.
Interesting idea. If the body is well balanced; with the C.G. of the body well above the feet, there is huge scope for graceful movement of the human body in the standing position. 

6.10  A scientific challenge   (16/2/2012)

If we punch in 'posture' in Google and hit the button, we are lead to a number of sites. The second in the listing, which is the most relevant for good posture, leads us to the concept of  Neutral Spine ... http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neutral_spine 

Wikipedia now has a new tool to assess the information provided in a site. The rating for this site so far is:

Trustworthy: 3.6

Objective: 3.2

Complete: 2.4

Well-written: 3.7

I would agree with this assessment. The problem is, for completeness, the score is just 2.4 . I would urge the scientific community to apply their minds to this very important subject, which impacts our health, our performance and our overall well being. 


6.11   Diabetes may originate in your gut   (17/2/2012)

That the gut is so important to the development of diabetes makes sense because many people with the condition not only have faulty FAS, but they also frequently develop gastrointestinal difficulties, Semenkovich continued. 


The problem will be made worse by faulty posture ... it is unlikely that the stomach muscles will be functioning properly in most people. 


6.12  Crunch sound   (20/2/2012) 

Dear all,

For two or three years now, I have been reporting to this list that I hear this 'crunch' sound from the back of my neck as my posture correction progresses. I think I have finally figured out the source of this sound; it is caused I think by lateral sliding of muscles as they get reposiioned; the sound is caused by the breaking of structures that hold the muscles in lateral alignment.

I also suspect (after observing my grandson firing on all cylinders), that this wrong lateral alignment of muscles reduces their flexibility. 


6.13  Elastic in children's clothing   (26/2/2012) 

Dear All,

Looking at this painting by American painter Winslow Homer, (1836 - 1910), we observe that there was a time when it may have been quite common in the West, for boy's trousers to have shoulder straps. 

I am interested in knowing the present status of design of children's clothing in the West, in particular boy's clothing (age between zero and five), is any effort made to avoid the use of elastic to secure clothing around the waist? In India most clothing will have elastic and much of it quite tight. 

If elastic is to be avoided some of the possibilities are:

1. Use of sticking elements, as in diapers.
2. Shoulder straps.
3. Dungaree type designs, where the top and underwear are in one piece.
4. Use of string in place of elastic to secure the item around the waist.

Are their variations in practices in different countries in the West?


6.14  Watch your back   (1/3/2012)

"I don't have bad posture" you might retort - but how do you know?
How many of us really have an objective view of what our posture and back health is like? Not many I reckon, because when we look at ourselves in the mirror - our view is front on - not side on.
The truth is that even slightly bad posture can severely impact on the health of your spinal anatomy - which is one of the most complex and important systems of the body.

Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/executive-style/fitness/blogs/boot-camp/watch-your-back-20120229-1u29h.html#ixzz1np7f38rT


To me, the persistent failure to understand this problem over the last hundred years, symbolises the failure of the scientific process (which means we have lame duck science, and also dishonest science, which is afraid to face the truth). And that 99.9 % of us have this problem is simply frightening, especially since we are also trying to solve problems like Global Warming, resources depletion, over population ... The first step to solve a problem is to acknowledge it, the second is to move in a direction which will ameliorate the problem; I don't see this happening either in posture correction or the other issues.


6.15  Meds and Alexander Technique   (2/3/2012)

 The problem is, there is basic problem with science; scientists themselves are aware of this, but they lack the language and the tools to deal with it (after all they are also human). One big problem is the way scientific papers are written, in which one isolates 1/100 of a problem, and waxes eloquent on it, deliberately ignoring all peripheral issues. 

Concentrating on just the issue of posture, unless someone is blind and impervious to logic, he must realise that there is a problem. X rays show distortion of the skeletal system. It is illogical to conclude that people just develop problems with their eyesight, which requires correction - without there being a definite cause. Even the prettiest faces on TV, seem to be making all kinds of unnecessary movements. That there is a problem cannot be denied. Yet scientists would like us to believe that there is no problem - judging from their funeral silence on the subject!

The understanding of mind-body relationship is required to solve the problem, it is not required to state that a problem exists.


6.16  Man was born barefooted   (3/3/2012)

"Man was born barefoot, but everywhere he is in sneakers."

Jean-Jacques Rousseau did not say that, because he died in 1778 ....

6.17  Correcting eyesight  (8/3/2012)

Dear All,

The ability to correct ones eyesight could be the ultimate proof that a posture correction method really works, that all factors are being taken into account ... at least where error in sight is not too high. I had put correction of my eyesight (power: - 1.75) on the back burner. But I am  now hopeful that I will eventually end up correcting my eyesight. 

With better balance of the head ( http://headbalance.blogspot.com/ ), the disparate elements seem to be falling into their correct slots. I am noticing that the eyeballs too are attempting to reposition themselves and are becoming more relaxed and mobile. It goes without saying that mobile eyeballs are necessary for good postural balance. 

An explanation was given in 'super sandwich' model, http://www.thesupersandwichmodel.blogspot.com/ why correcting any physical problem locally may be very difficult.


6.18  Emotional need to tighten and tense   (16/3/2012)

Luke wrote:

I often wonder about the stories behind my students' BODY TENSION
patterns. I am somewhat aware of some of my own. ...


Luckily we have another 'seven billion - one' persons to share this misery with us :-)

Don't they award Nobel Prizes to individuals for pointing out potentially serious problems? When I was 25 years old,and came across Dr. Barlows book, I realized within half an hour that we are faced with a major problem. And here we have a situation, where main line scientists, simply do not acknowledge that a problem exists!

I spent about a month on a discussion group about 10 years back where Medical Professionals and Chiropractors were throwing muck at one another, refusing to acknowledge serious deficiency on their own parts. Medical Professionals refusing to acknowledge that distortion of the skeletal system exists and that it is a serious issue, andChiropractors refusing to acknowledge that forceful alignment of the skeletal system could be dangerous.

With our inability to apply A,B,C, of common sense, we can look forward to sharing our mutual miseries for a long time to come.


6.19  Therapists see no development benefits from seats   (16/3/2012)

 Bumbo's website says its product — which props up an infant in a sitting position before he may be physically ready to do it on his own — has developmental benefits and enhances posture.

But the position actually teaches babies incorrect postural alignment, with a rounded back and the head leaning forward, said Mary Weck, clinical coordinator of physical therapy atChildren's Memorial Hospital in Chicago.
Rather than using a chair, parents looking for developmental benefits should play with their baby and encourage movement, said physical therapist Colleen Harper, director of developmental, rehabilitative and child life services at Chicago's La Rabida Children's Hospital.

6.20  Man's supreme inheritance   (21/3/2012)

Keith wrote:

Do you mean AT will lead the way to improving  posture because it
doesn't do so now? 


My own understanding of Posture came through AT. I will delay answering your question more fully till I finish reading 'Man's Supreme Inheritance'. A link to the book was posted to me by Dorella Belle; I wish to thank her once again. For those of you who may not have read the book; the link is: 

I have reached Page 44, the book has 200 and odd pages. If anyone has made notes of the important portions, I would be interested in comparing my own notes with his.


6.21  On education   (26/3/2012) 

I wish to postulate :
That conscious guidance and control, as a universal, must be
the fundamental of future education.
That civilization and education, as manifested up to the
present, cannot be said to have compelled man to advance
adequately from the lower to those higher planes of satisfactory
evolution, where his savage animal instincts will not in any
circumstances, or in response to any stimuli, dominate his
transcendent tendencies, or put him out of communication with
his reason.

MSI page 85


Seems to contradict the so called wisdom of the 'Market Economy' :-) I am able to appreciate this statement, now that my posture is improving at a rapid clip. Five years back this statement would not have made any sense.

6.22  Review of MSI   (2/4/2012)

I have reached page 120. Just checked the net to see if there are any reviews of the book.

Review by Nicholas Brockbank is interesting: http://www.mouritz.co.uk/8.11.26.Alexander.MSI.html

6.23  Gokhale pain free chair  (4/4/2012)

Hi Robert,

Interesting podcast. I tried out the 'high stool' idea, it is quite comfortable. But do you  sit like this for long periods of time (on a chair 1.5 times the normal height)? For instance, would you spend an hour in front of a computer this way?

Two Norman Rockwell paintings:

1) This is a self portrait. The stool is round and somewhat high. Seems OK for the purpose. Painting 1.

2) The stool is high, but subjects are sitting in the normal way. Painting 2.


6.24  Being apologetic   (8/4/2012)

In this forum I have found people generally genuflecting to the wisdom of the Medical Profession, and being defensive about the medical benefits of good posture.

But this is what Alexander wrote:

- Page 141 - Looking to the future and to the development
and elaboration of this method, I foresee that a race which has
been educated on the lines of what I have called " conscious
guidance and control " will be eminently well fitted to meet
any circumstance which the civilizations of the future may
impose. The minds and bodies alike of such a race will be
adaptable to any occupation that may be their lot. To those •
who have been educated in these principles no severe physical
exercise is a necessity, since there are no stagnant eddies in the
system in which the toxins can accumulate, and to them will
belong a full and complete command of their physical organisms.
That this practical and by no means visionary or untried psycho
therapy will in time supersede the tentative and restricted
methods of somato-therapy, I am confident, and I sincerely
hope that the great benefits which these principles confer will
not be confined to any one race or people. The wonderful
improvements in physical health—often deemed " miraculous "
by the uninitiated—which have been effected in adults, adumbrate
the potentialities for efficiency which may be developed
in the children of the new race.

- Page 142 - By and through consciousness
and the application of a reasoning intelligence, man may
rise above the powers of all disease and physical disabilities.
This triumph is not to be won in sleep, in trance, in submission,
in paralysis, or in anaesthesia, but in a clear, open-eyed, reasoning,
deliberate consciousness and apprehension of the wonderful
potentialities possessed by mankind, the transcendent inheritance
of a conscious mind.


My question is, why are Alexander teachers apologetic. Even assuming that Alexander is wrong on a few issues, don't Alexander Teachers with a lot of experience see the possibilities ahead. Or is it possible, this is a skill that Alexander acquired; it is however very difficult to pass on?


6.25  "Head" forward and up   (12/4/2012)
Lutz wrote:

Please don't forget that the mechanics of how Alexander touch can affect muscular tension lack any accepted theoretical model, but that's just the nature of scientific investigations. If we observe a phenomenon, we can deny its existence because it lacks understanding or develop new theories and put them to the test. 


This is not the impression I obtained from reading MSI:

- Page 128 - Speaking generally, it will be found that the pupil is quite
unable to analyse his own actions. Tell a young golfer that he
has taken his eye off the ball or swayed his body, and he feels
sure, in his heart, that you are mistaken. The imperfectly
poised person has not a correct apprehension of what he is
really doing. In this apparently simple matter of the carriage
or poise of the body I find in quite nine-tenths of my cases a
harmful rigidity1 which is quite unconsciously assumed.
When it is pointed out to them, and physically demonstrated,
they almost invariably deny it indignantly. I ask a new pupil
to put his shoulders back and his head forward, and he will
consistently put both back or forward. I tell a new pupil he is
shortening his spine, and in attempting to lengthen it he
invariably shortens it still more. The action is one over which
he has neither learnt nor practised any control whatever. He
is simply deluded regarding his sensations and unable to direct ***MECHANICAL ADVANTAGE**
his actions. I do not therefore, in teaching him, actually order
him to lengthen his spine by performing any explicit action,
but I cause him to rehearse the correct guiding orders, and
after placing him in a position of mechanical advantage I am
able by my manipulation to bring about, directly or indirectly
as the case may be, the desired flexibility and extension.

- Page 137 - It is my belief, confirmed by the research and practice of
nearly twenty years, that man's supreme inheritance of conscious
guidance and control is within the grasp of any one who
will take the trouble to cultivate it. That it is no esoteric doctrine 
or mystical cult, but a synthesis of entirely reasonable
propositions that can be demonstrated in pure theory and substantiated
in common practice.

  6.26  Conscious control   (22/4/2012)

Hi Keith,
Let us figure out the issue for ourselves and see whether we can converge with Alexander’s way of thinking:
1.      Our nervous system is organised at lower and higher levels. (At the lower level, decisions are not even made by the ‘brain’, they are made by neurons embedded in the spine).
2.      There are two ways of taking decisions, one in which we think things out (probably an energy intensive process), and the other where we react to situations based on habits (many of them bad) that we have developed.
3.      What Alexander is railing against is that as individuals and as a society our preferred way of doing things is to operated in the reactive way, where we fail to access the full capacity of the brain.
4.      (He is even against activities such as singing and dancing :-), his grouse is that we are making use of our base instinct when we engage in such activities. His prejudice would have been enhanced by the poor use, and poor choice of subject, of singers and dancers!?)
5.      By conscious control (aided by principles which help to develop good postural habits), Alexander is reasoning, we can access more fully the capabilities of the reasoning brain (in this respect we are different from animals).
What I would like to know is, has any philosopher (or discipline such as yoga) come to a similar ‘prescriptive’ solution.
Scientists study humans; they compare humans to apes and other animals, and come to interesting conclusions. No behavioural scientist as far as I am aware has had the courage to say, look, you are all getting everything wrong. ... There are many scientists who shed crocodile tears regarding the behaviour of humans – that is however not the same as suggesting a solution.

6.27  Time for Yoga to grow up   (27/4/2012)

Can the same be said for AT :-) ?


6.28  More babies today have irregular head shape   (29/4/2012)

"There's no doubt that as we as a country began putting babies to sleep on their backs, the incidence of [sudden infant death syndrome] declined significantly," Dr. Sherilyn Driscoll, director of pediatric rehabilitation medicine at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., said in a Mayo news release. "Simultaneously, the incidence of positional plagiocephaly, or head-shape asymmetry caused by babies' sleeping position, increased."

Was the 'sudden death syndrome' caused in conjunction with use of pillows?


6.29  Conscious Control  (1/5/2012)

Dear xxx ,

The information here is exciting, if true. 

Accessing the subconscious:

Lower level - verbalisation
Deeper level - visualisation
Deepest level - through body sensations (reptilian brain)

We already know that 80% of communication is through body language and intonation; only 20% is what we say.

The information provided in:
is also interesting and useful. Using the higher portions of the brain to keep the lower, instinctive reactions in check. However this misses out on the argument presented in the first video that the first step to fully access the subconscious (and improve our reasoning ability) is to keep our body sensation unimpeded and comfortable (through good posture?).

Nice of you to post these videos. In general, both these videos support Alexander's argument regarding conscious control.

I am still to fully read MSI, have reached page 150. What puzzles me is, why have we not had deeper discussions on this book in this forum? 


On 29 April 2012 20:57, xxx  wrote:
"Although the idea of control by instinct seems diametrically opposite to conscious control, actually they are twins and more closely related than we may think!?"
Dear Selvaraj,
I think you can find interesting the following video:

I have an other resource that I'm not able to find out know, that explain the structure of the brain and that can bring a more concrete idea of what could happen. Now I don't have time but I'll look for it again on my bookmarks or shared video.

6.30  Differentiating the meaning of the term 'Posture'  (1/5/2012)

 Dear All,

It is desirable that we differentiate the meanings of the term 'posture', so that we convey precisely what we mean to convey. Unfortunately, for better of for worse we are caught with this term.

In so far as 'Posture Correction' is concerned, we need to distinguish between two major ideas.

1. If someone is sitting cross legged or sitting on a chair for instance, their postures are different. One could be sitting with one shoulder up and the other down; a condition that can be easily corrected with suitable feedback. We could say that in the former case posture is bad, while in the later it is good. 

2. Difference of posture as relating to the deeper qualities of the musculoskeletal alignment, and subtle (or not so subtle) differences of relationships between different parts of the body. This refers to the nature of alignment of the musculoskeletal system at a much deeper level, which is not at all easy to correct. This is also not easy to define, other than in qualitative terms, in terms of strength, ease of movement, free and easy breathing etc. . 

We can choose to call the first type as 'External Posture' or 'Superficial Posture'.

The second could be called 'Internal Posture' or 'Deep Posture'. 

True, correction of 'superficial posture' will be a prerequisite to correcting 'deep posture'. However, the later is not easy to correct (with current paradigms).

Any comments? Are suitable terms already available to distinguish the two?


6.31  Simulating the human body  (8/5/2012)

Dear All,

There are a number of disciplines actively involved in tackling the problems associated with poor posture. As far as we can make out no discipline has been able to make a convincing case for its methodology. A lot of disciplines, such as traditional body building, and main line medical sciences, take a mechanical approach to the problem, and one would think that they understand the mechanics of the human body - but this does not appear to be the case. A lot of other disciplines focus on mind-body relationships, delivering results that are useful but not the type that the more ambitious among us hope for.  

I have wondered at times about the usefulness of conducting a comprehensive computer simulation of the human body. With the information posted in my blog: http://headbalance.blogspot.in/ , the very important question arises, are we going South, when we ought to be going North? Contrary to what many believe, posture cannot be corrected in a jiffy, a number of years will be required to slowly coax the body into a different orientation. There are serious risks associated with doing the wrong things. If we are to convince people that a particular way of correcting posture will yield results, especially since what we propose could be counter intuitive, it is best that we first simulate the same on a computer so that we reduce potential risks to zero. Since practically all adults are getting it wrong, it is not possible to point to an individual (other than children), and say 'do what he is doing'. This being the case, the importance of doing a proper computer simulation becomes obvious.

To start with, the simulation need not be very complex, all that we need to find out is, what is the difference in the flow of muscles when the head is held well balanced, the way children hold their heads, to the way in which adults hold their heads - allowing the head to fall forward. What we need to confirm in the initial simulation is that there is a heaven and earth difference between these two methods of holding the body. We also need to check out how critical this balance is: my suspicion is that it is very critical; balance is achieved dynamically, and children can start to lose this balance very rapidly under adverse environmental conditions.  

In Mode I, head held forward, the body will essentially be out of balance. Once it is out of balance, the body will welcome external support, like tight clothing, belts tied around the waste, footwear that limits use of the muscles in the feet, etc. The body will also need to be 'exercised' to keep it fit, since internal balance is not available to exercise the body naturally. 

In Mode II, which is only possible if the body is in balance and there are no external impediments to the body achieving balance, the whole body is linked as one integrated unit. 

(In this connection we need to also check out why disciplines that are into posture correction do not give advise on the use of pillows. In the semi-supine Alexander Technique position http://www.wholisticresearch.com/info/artshow.php3?artid=194, you will notice that only a thin book is used under the head. In the 'corps posture' of Yoga, no pillows are used: http://www.yogajournal.com/poses/482 . As far as I am  aware the use of pillows under the head is not advised for any method of posture correction! Please note: If you use pillows while sleeping it will not be wise to give it up suddenly.)

Since a lot of disciplines like sports medicine, chiropractics and main line medical sciences undoubtedly do simulations of the human body, it will be interesting to find out the kind of simulations that they do.

In conclusion: our forefathers, over the last ten thousand years have been aware of the serious issues raised by improper posture, and they figured out different methods to ameliorate its ill effects, without firmly closing the chapter on the subject, so that humankind could move on to other important issues. It is possible that they may not have had the tools to fully understand the problem; we ourselves cannot hide behind a similar excuse.



6.32  Positions of the hands  (10/5/2012) 

Any views on this subject? If one looks at the issue logically, the aboriginal's hands are best positioned to rapidly engage with any work at hand (if indeed they hold their palms facing forward) ! 
Here is pic of a person walking with his palms facing backwards: Pic 1
Generally it seems more natural to hold the palms facing inwards: Pic 2


MSI, Page: 186

One may say that there are three main stages to be observed in man's
development in this particular, though the gradations are
many and not, perhaps, always strictly progressive. The
first stage may be observed in the lowest savages, the Hottentot,
the Australian aboriginal, and many races at an early stage of
development. Such examples stand with body thrown back
from the hips, stomach protruded, and—here is the test—with
the palms of the hands forward, the elbows bent into the sides,
the thumbs sticking out away from the body. The second stage
is evidenced in the average civilized man of to-day, who stands
as a rule with the palms of his hands towards his body, his
elbows to the back, his thumbs forward. In the third stage,
the properly co-ordinated person stands with the back of his
hands forward, the thumbs inwards, and the elbows slightly
bent outwards. This is a curious but little-known test, which,
in my experience, has never failed as an index to imperfect
muscular co-ordination.
 Hi Selveraj,

On 10 May 2012 10:26, sraj <sraj99@gmail.com> wrote:
> If one looks at the issue logically, the
> aboriginal's hands are best positioned to rapidly engage with any work at
> hand (if indeed they hold their palms facing forward) !

We talked about this at my AT school. No one was sure what was going on here.
Some think FMA was making all sorts of invalid assumptions that could
lead him to being accused of being racist.

It could be that they held their hands like that as a sign of openness
and approachability - it may even be a basic instinct to show you
aren't carrying a rock or other weapon.

They may even have only done it for the photograph. I don't know how
much direct contact FMA had with native Australians as Tasmania where
he spent his child-hood is infamous for having exterminated them when
it was settled.

It's also possible FMA was aware this was an outward sign of a mind
conditioned very differently from that of a European and most of us
just don't have the depth of awareness and understanding to see this.

Somatic and spiritual writings are full of things that are confusing
until you reach a certain stage of progress then suddenly they make
perfect sense in a way they didn't before. That's why they call it
experiential learning - meaning changes with experience.

So sometimes the writing has what I think of as 'markers' - when you
understand a particular passage you have reached a certain stage of
the experiential journey. FMA's books have a lot of this. A classic
example is the book in the Christian bible called 'The Song of
Solomon' which confuses the heck out of lay people but makes sense to
advanced meditators (it makes partial sense to me).

So what the hands position means I don't know and what FMA's passage
about them means I don't know either!

So much unknown!


6.33  A very sensible way to eat!  (17/5/2012)

 A very sensible way to eat!

Movie: You've got Mail
Scene: Meg Ryan squatting on the floor and eating
Time: Around 1:30:02
After: The scene where people are trapped in an elevator

A very civilised way to eat too. If everyone sits and eats this way it will be simpler to make eye contact in the course of a conversation. If we are to eat this way from a regular dining table, we will have to replace our fancy chairs with a wide stool.


 6.34  False advertising  (17/5/2012)

 WASHINGTON — Hall of Fame quarterback Joe Montana said they improved his strength and posture. Celebrity Kim Kardashian boasted they allowed her to ditch her personal trainer.

But federal and state officials said the rocker-bottom Shape-ups and other toning shoes made bySkechers USA Inc. don't live up to the hype from the company and its high-profile endorsers.

On Wednesday, the Manhattan Beach company agreed to pay $50 million to settle false-advertising allegations by the Federal Trade Commission and the attorneys general of 44 states, including California, as well as the District of Columbia.

6.35  Is MSI the most important book ever written?  (18/5/2012) . .MORE?....
Alexander writes the following in page 155 of MSI (Man's supreme inheritance)
... and the outcome will be a race of men and women who will outstrip their ancestors in every known sphere, and enter new spheres as yet undreamt of by the great majority of the civilized peoples of our time. The world will then make in one century greater progress in evolution towards a real civilization than it has made in the past three….

As far as I am aware, I have not come across a statement that resembles this in any other book that I have read, either religious, philosophical, literary or scientific! One thing is true, what Alexander dreamt about has not transpired; these words were written a hundred years back. Yet, what if Alexander’s dreams have not been realized due to our collective stupidity, after all a pioneer can only point the way, the followers must be intelligent enough to navigate the path and not fall into the first pit that they happen to come across. Let us assume for the moment that this indeed is the situation (we will make a separate critique of the book itself later, to find out its strengths and its weaknesses), for the moment let us assume that what Alexander dreamt about is attainable. If attainable, would it make the book, the most important book ever written?

We will make an intellectual journey to compare this book in an unbiased way, with religious, philosophical, literary and scientific books, that form the treasure house of human thought.


(To be continued)

6.36  Body languages  (21/5/2012)

I agree with you Peter, actually it is something more fundamental: body language has a huge sexual  component, we (and non humans too) are designed this way! This could be another good reason why 80 % of communication has little to do with the actual words spoken.


On 21 May 2012 14:33, peter  wrote:
Rex, on the contrary, love is not an imagined need, but is a very real
and primary human requirement for health and happiness., perhaps the
most essential of all.  Yes, people need food to survive at a physical
level. That is obvious, but if there is a deficit in the area of love
and caring then the quality of that life will be very diminished

6.37  Tight jeans 'may jeopardize health'  (25/5/2012)

New York, May 24 (ANI): Doctors have cautioned that the stubborn butt-squeezing, thigh-hugging denims could be too hard on our health and can cause nerve damage.
Tingling and numbness are symptoms of the condition called 'meralgia paresthetica', which occurs when the nerve that runs down the front of the thigh is squeezed.

6.38  The eyes  (26/5/2012)

The eyes:

Simple logic states that free movement of the eyeballs should be one of the central pillars about which posture correction should rest. Not much energy is required to move the eyeballs; yet, it is quite obvious that for most adults movement of the eyeballs is not free and easy.
Over the last year or so I have found definite improvements in the quality of my vision. When using a computer (I sit well back, I used to have this fear that I would get zapped by radiation from the screen), I used to have problems with my vision - not far enough for me to use my spectacles, yet not close enough to see clearly without one. This problem seems to have vanished. 

Having achieved better balance of the head on my spine Balance of the Head , I plan now to focus more on getting my eyeballs to move more freely. This appears to be a crucial step towards further improvement of my posture. 


Twitter: @selvaraj99

PS: Let me take this opportunity to clarify how I happened to allot myself the pompous ID selvaraj99. Yahoo has to be blamed for this, I am basically a modest person :-). When I tried to set up my Yahoo ID (before Google was born), my first choice was plain sraj; Yahoo informed me that this was not available and that I could try sraj_99; well, I just clicked on it.)

6.39  Alexander Technique and Walking  (4/6/2012)

Nice podcast: http://BodyLearningCast.com

Good to keep in mind, no large animal in the world walks fast. If an animal wants to move faster, it changes its gait. A horse for instance, if it wants to move faster will trot, canter and then gallop. The scurrying of a lizard or rat could look like a fast walk, but that would fall in a different category.

Humans, if they want to move faster should consider the Scout gait of walking twenty steps and running twenty steps.


6.40  Making a comparison of different philosophies  (14/6/2012)

I had posed the question, is MSI the most important book ever  written in an earlier post. Perhaps this question attempts to make too wide a comparison, putting us in a position of having to compare apples with oranges.
However having asked the question it is too late to back out. As a start, let us make a summary of the world's great philosophies. What do they individually contribute (have contributed) to the march of human civilisation, where do they fall short.

Philosophy.......... Concept of God (COG) ...... Protecting Nature (PN) ..... Scientific advance (SA) .... Human relations (HR) .... Somatic Changes (SC) ... Health (H) ... Hope for the future (HF)

Philosophy ..... COG .... PN ..... SA .... HR .... SC ... H ... HF
Religions ............ 8 ......... 3 ........ 3 ...... 4 ...... 3 ...... 4 ..... 3
Science ............. 2 ......... 3 ....... (6) ..... 4 ...... 2 ....... 5 ..... 5
AT ................... ? ........ ? ........... ? ...... 8 ...... 8 ...... 8 ...... 8
Missing .......................... 8 ..................................................
Humanities ......... 5 ......... 3 ........ 3 ...... 6 ..... 3 ........ 4 ...... 4

Evidently, such a comparison is going to be highly subjective. What the chart emphasises is that no particular philosophy gives answers to all our needs. The possible maximum score is 10.
1) My particularly low score of (6) given to 'science' for scientific advancement is particularly bothersome. I believe that science as it is presently promoted is mechanist in nature, it has failed to integrate with the huge storehouse of (living) knowledge embedded in nature. 
2) Religions score on doggedly holding on to the concept of 'God', or a supreme intelligence. Recent advances in mollecular biology seem to indicate that natural systems are truly complex; even if there is no 'God' in the religious sense, there seems to be an intelligence pervading nature.
3) Would the high score I have given for 'hope for the future', entitle AT to the stamp of being 'the most important book ever written' .... provided of course we can realize Alexander's dream.
4) 'Missing' refers to a philosophy that would have prevented the extensive damage we have done to Nature and our natural environment. 
The earlier post:
Alexander writes the following in page 155 of MSI (Man's supreme inheritance)
... and the outcome will be a race of men and women who will outstrip their ancestors in every known sphere, and enter new spheres as yet undreamt of by the great majority of the civilized peoples of our time. The world will then make in one century greater progress in evolution towards a real civilization than it has made in the past three….

As far as I am aware, I have not come across a statement that resembles this in any other book that I have read, either religious, philosophical, literary or scientific! One thing is true, what Alexander dreamt about has not transpired; these words were written a hundred years back. Yet, what if Alexander’s dreams have not been realized due to our collective stupidity, after all a pioneer can only point the way, the followers must be intelligent enough to navigate the path and not fall into the first pit that they happen to come across. Let us assume for the moment that this indeed is the situation (we will make a separate critique of the book itself later, to find out its strengths and its weaknesses), for the moment let us assume that what Alexander dreamt about is attainable. If attainable, would it make the book, the most important book ever written?

We will make an intellectual journey to compare this book in an unbiased way, with religious, philosophical, literary and scientific books, that form the treasure house of human thought.


6.41  Pilates?  (20/6/2012)

‘Pilates may be good for back problems, but I know better than most that it depends on which class you attend.’
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-2161301/Pilates-make-bad-worse-Experts-agree-help-reduce-pain-improve-posture-hidden-dangers.html#ixzz1yI00jNqa

6.42 Sleeping on ones back  (21/6/2012)

Dear All,

This is to bring to your attention that when sleeping on ones back, the profile of the spine is more or less predetermined by the bed and  the nature of the support provided to the head by a pillow. If one wishes to experiment with different position of the spine in the sagittal direction, it would be impossible to do so when sleeping on ones back. 

This problem is further aggravated if the hypothesis I have put forward, that the head should be further back than what most posture correction techniques advocate, happens to be correct.

To solve this problem I have now stopped sleeping on my back; sleeping on my sides it is easier to experiment with my spine and to get my head further back. I do not use a pillow (the use of a pillow would be less objectionable if one could always sleep on ones sides).

So far I am very encouraged my my experiments. My final goal is that the whole body should oscillate freely and be in balance. This is a better proof of good posture than individual opinions of how the body should be held. 

Sleeping on ones sides does not invalidate the semi-supine Alexander method of posture correction. However if you  find that your posture correction has stagnated you could give my idea a try.


1) It is risky to artificially force the head in any direction.
2) My fear is that the head cannot be held well back unless there is good flexibility in the lower half of the body. My suggestion would be, if you habitually wear shoes and tie belt over you stomach muscles and use elastic in your underclothing etc. it would be better not to attempt to shift your head further back than recommended by AT.
3) When I Google 'posture' a lot of websites pop up. The information contained in these websites is substantially different from the information presented in my websites  www.humanposture.com and www.humanposture.blogspot.com  Hence I would request everyone to take the information presented by me with a pinch of salt :-)

It is good to keep in mind: for proper balance of the body, the position of the head is critical. Over a period of time an adult's head will move forward. This has been happening since, I am afraid, humans have been humans. Theoretically speaking any generation of humans could have easily fixed this problem; unfortunately this has not happened so far. 

We owe it to future generations to understand this problem properly and not deliberately ruin the posture of children, which is quite good to start with. It is sobering to realize that the posture of children will be ruined even before age one; mainly because something of the other will be tied over their stomach muscles; something which can easily be avoided.


6.43  The genius of Alexander  (28/6/2012)

Posted in another discussion group.


Note: Inhibition is analogous to the idea of 'Present Space / Thought Space' presented in the second page of my website www.humanposture.com


Hi Tim, List,

On 26 June 2012 02:07, Tim Kjeldsen wrote:

More importantly, there is no contradiction or conflict between conscious
control and 'letting the right thing do itself', unless the latter is
treated as a quasi-mystical (or even a fully mystical!) idea - and Alexander
doesn't treat it that way. Conscious control doesn't entail the taking over
of all subordinate processes in the organism by direct voluntary activity.
That idea, as Alexander himself says, would be madness. It involves
*integrating* all the systems and processes in the organism at the highest
level of organisation: reasoning consciousness. The analogy is with a well
run business in which the executive director doesn't try to do everyone's
job for them, but delegates responsibility within an overall strategic plan.
I've explained this many times on the list, but it never seems to sink in
(with some!).

... This is precisely where the GENIUS of Alexander lies. To realize that these two are complementary even though they appear to lie at opposite ends of a consciousness scale.

Consciousness scale:

0.................................................................................... 100
Use of the subconscious ............................................ Conscious guidance and control
(Allowing the right thing to do itself)

One way to resolve this apparent conflict is to assign the position of 'Inhibition' and 'Direction' on this scale. My positioning, based on my personal experience would be thus: 

Position of 'Inhibition' and 'Direction' on the Consciousness scale:


0.................................................................................... 100
Use of the subconscious ............................................ Conscious guidance and control
(Allowing the right thing to do itself)

Which means, to direct ourselves properly we need to use our intelligence; to understand what the issues are and to correctly interpret the feedback provided by the body. With this definition the apparent conflicts vanish. 

Now on to larger issues. Why call his magnum opus MSI (Man's Supreme Inheritance), was it just to irritate others who may aspire to greatness? What is this supreme inheritance any way? Is he referring to good posture? And why launch an attack on The Germans and even pull down the indigenous population's 'natural' way of life? Did he have a  wider agenda?

My belief is that he had a wider agenda. He noticed human behaviour around him and was not too happy with what he saw. Man's Supreme Inheritance plainly refers to man's intelligence; what Alexander is saying is, since man is intelligent, he ought to use his intelligence. In this respect Tim's post that Alexander's ideas may match that of other great philosophers' could be correct. But then other philosophers did not write books where two desperate ideas, relating to Man's innate intelligence and the issue of psychosomatic unity are sandwiched together - as pointed out by Keith. If we draw a flow chart of Alexander's thinking, it could look like this. 

..................... MAN IS INTELLIGENT.......


..... conscious guidance ..............conscious guidance
..... and control to ......................and control to
...... improve posture ..................take up any challenging activity


....................HUMAN PROGRESS
............. ....BEYOND WHAT HAS BEEN
.....................ACHIEVED SO FAR

Putting the issue poetically:

What Alexander saw around him were people who had the philosophy of the Lotus Eaters:

Branches they bore of that enchanted stem,
Laden with flower and fruit, whereof they gave
To each, but whoso did receive of them,
And taste, to him the gushing of the wave
Far far away did seem to mourn and rave
On alien shores; and if his fellow spake,
His voice was thin, as voices from the grave;
And deep-asleep he seem'd, yet all awake,
And music in his ears his beating heart did make.
They sat them down upon the yellow sand,
Between the sun and moon upon the shore;
And sweet it was to dream of Father-land,
Of child, and wife, and slave; but evermore
Most weary seem'd the sea, weary the oar,
Weary the wandering fields of barren foam.
Then some one said, "We will return no more";
And all at once they sang, "Our island home
Is far beyond the wave; we will no longer roam"
..... The Lotus Eathers

He wanted them to have the resilience and intelligence of Ulysses:

How dull it is to pause, to make an end,
To rust unburnished, not to shine in use!
As though to breathe were life. Life piled on life
Were all too little, and of one to me
Little remains: but every hour is saved
From that eternal silence, something more,
A bringer of new things; and vile it were
For some three suns to store and hoard myself,
And this grey spirit yearning in desire
To follow knowledge like a sinking star,
Beyond the utmost bound of human thought.
… Ulysses

Alexander's game plan required that people are able to correct their posture; this unfortunately has so far remained illusive. The message of MSI is however much wider; as we humans seek to solve our mounting problems, Alexander reminds us that problems are solvable, if we are prepared to use our intelligence (Man's Supreme Inheritance).



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