Chapter 7: Psycho-Physical Equilibrium

1. What is one of the most striking manifestations of imperfect functioning of the human organism?

2. What makes for the gradual increase of a condition of defective equilibrium?

3. Why does Alexander say that the condition of a defective equilibrium is taken for granted?

4. Why are people incapable of establishing once more a standard of reliable sensory appreciation once they have noticed defects in their functioning?

5. What would enable them to do so?

6. What happens to the standard of psycho-physical equilibrium with almost every attempt to correct some supposed or real psycho-physical imperfection?

7. A lowered standard of psycho-physical equilibrium tends to develop hand in hand with what desire?

8. What is this desire an attempt to compensate for?

9. Why will any efforts on a subject’s part to change their manner of doing an activity (e.g. walking) fail?

10. What is happening with regard to the fear reflexes as a person attempts to correct a psycho-physical defect?

11. What is often the culmination of this process?

12. What example does Alexander use of the development of a lack of equilibrium in a “physical” sphere?

13. Following what plan will the boy’s attempts to walk take place? Why?

14. What reasons does Alexander give for real success in the boy’s attempts to learn to walk after an injury being practically impossible?

15. In attempting to walk properly by subconscious guidance what was the boy attempting to do?

16. What happens to the process of using instinct to guide one’s walking when psycho-physical conditions are quickly changed?

17. Upon what do the processes of subconscious guidance and control < depend for efficiency?

18. What is the usual result of a person comparing their efforts to walk “properly” after an accident with their efforts to walk before the accident?

19. Using a procedure based on the principles of re-education, what needs to happen before allowing the subject to try to “walk properly?”

20. What would the recognition of weakness or difficulty be the signal for?

21. What would the technique Alexander advocates demand of the subject?

22. How must the subject begin the remedial work?

23. What has caused the subject’s mechanisms to be used imperfectly, and what are the results of this use?

24. What is the next step in the process, after the subject is more or less familiar with the inhibitory experiences?

25. How long must the new experiences be repeated?

26. At what point will the process outlined above be in conscious operation, with what result?

27. What is the teacher’s aim from the very first lessons?

28. How does this aim relate to the pupil’s other activities in daily life?

29. With what will a lack of equilibrium in the “physical sphere” go hand in hand?

30. According to Alexander’s estimate, what percentage of responses is on a subconscious as opposed to a response on any other basis?

31. At what point will there be some chance of realizing the commendable ideals for the uplifting of humankind?

Thought Question

1. Alexander gives an example of a boy who had been injured and when first attempting to walk again, uses the subconscious plan of “trial and error” to overcome any impeding factor from his injury and convalescence. What does this example reveal about the difference between conscious and unconscious direction?