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The Alexander Technique and the Question of Priority

Alexander’s use of the generic words  “doing”  and  “use” and  “inhibit”  etc.  is both a blessing and a curse – a blessing in that they are easy to remember and say, a curse in that people find these words everywhere. Those of a certain school of textual criticism run hither and yon through the intellectual bushes, discovering the Alexander Technique almost everywhere they look.

They maintain that FM Alexander cobbled together the Alexander Technique from the unacknowledged work of other men.  Not that these other men ever themselves claimed the A.T. was theirs, rather some people today make that claim for them.

We will examine these claims in the following articles.  I think you will agree they are without merit.  Indeed they are so obviously wrong-headed one sometimes wonders at the motivation of those who make them.

Edwin Land, the prolific inventor and founder of Polaroid Corporation, once said that no matter how clever and original is an inventor’s invention, no matter how many years he worked perfecting it, many less creative people who see it afterward come to believe the invention is obvious and unpatentable.

Turning your mind back to that prior state of knowledge when the invention didn’t exist, trying to see things with ignorant eyes, is a difficult feat for many people.  Perhaps something like this psychological fault is operating with those prone to see the Alexander Technique where it really is not.

There are about half a dozen claimants, or rather candidates, for originators of the  “pre-FM”  Alexander Technique.  The multitude itself makes one suspicious.

A Form of Equivocation
Talks to Teachers:  William James
Power Through Repose:  Annie Payson Call
Jeroen Staring’s parade:  Bess Mensendieck
William Shakespeare and the Whispered Ah
Robert Henry Scanes-Spicer