The Glowing Screen and the Use of Self

Posted by Jeanne Barrett on April 21, 2013 in Uncategorized

Let’s face it, the glowing screen is so addictive and ubiquitous that we all take it as a given.  We check the weather on our devices instead of looking out the window.  We check websites on our smart phones about dogs while walking our dogs. My doctor gazes intently at a screen instead of looking at me.  We can touch a screen or press a button and get instant results.  Outcome rules, process recedes.  We are confined to our craniums as experience becomes ever more virtual.

More and more frequently, I get inquiries about Alexander lessons expressing hope that all aches, pains and limitations will be resolved in just a few lessons.  This assumes that aches, pains, limitations are “fixable” in a mechanical manner,  when their development was not only mechanical.  We may use machines with increased dependence and frequency, but we are not machines, nor is any animal on the planet. Addressing our aches, pains and limitations requires a non-mechanical set of skills, including tools of intention and attention, as well as the mysterious and valuable skill of dynamic non-interference.

The concepts of an entirely integrated self, a unified field of co-ordination, and a process of undoing habitual reactions become ever more arcane.  We use ourselves as our devices demand, rather than choosing a new response in the live moment.  We think less with our whole selves and allow our devices to think and sense for us.

I composed this post using pen and paper because I enjoy the connection between brain and hand, the feel of the pen contacting paper, the way narrative thinking proceeds in this activity. The experience of typing these words is a very different experience than the more manual process.  Hearing birds outside is different than hearing them on a website.  Talking to a friend on the phone or in person is different than texting.  All possibilities have their merits, but if we lose the use of the self,  our conscious response to stimuli, and our value of the means-whereby as we accomplish our ends, it seems to me we will be losing the point of being alive and present on the planet now.