<< Home page


A respondent writes, regarding my critique of John Dewey:

« I also think you should continue taking lessons in the Alexander Technique so that you might learn how to let go of your fixed ideas. »

Another respondent writes:

« Nazis, Stalinists ... Bluntly, they are examples of end-gaining in action. »

This is what I call “alexanderizing.”  I coin this word in analogy to “rationalizing.”

Rationalizing is making an argument that sounds rational but really isn’t.  By alexanderizing I mean using technical terms from the Alexander Technique in areas where in fact they are not applicable.  It sounds like the Alexander Technique but really isn’t.  It is a form of equivocating, using the same word in different senses and confusing them.

“End-gaining” is a technical term invented by Alexander and has a very delimited meaning specific to “use” (another word he inspired with a certain technical meaning).  Alexander was not advocating goal-lessness in the broad philosophic sense.  To project and seek goals is the distinguishing characteristic of a conscious and living entity.  If you’re anti-goal you’re anti-life.

The end of non-end-gaining is good use.  That’s two different senses of the word “end.”  The first is the everyday word, the second is jargon from the Alexander Technique.

The Alexander Technique, valuable though it be, is not a philosophy.

Say you’re a pianist and choose to learn Chopin’s B-minor Sonata.  To choose this goal and strive for it is not in itself“end-gaining.”  But if you reach out your left hand and play a B-minor triad while not at least subconsciously including your use in your awareness, and consequently perform this act with unnecessary tension  that is.

And there’s more to Alexander’s concept of “end-gaining” than the saying “the end doesn’t justify the means.”  That saying is true, and it’s a good saying, but it’s not Alexander’s “avoid end-gaining.”

You can stand erect by the force of your will, though not the will of a moment, just as Alexander did.  “Doing”  colloquially, philosophically  is a very broad verb.  “Doing” and “non-doing” in Alexander jargon mean something else entirely.  You do “non-doing.”