Deception, Prejudice, Egotism – FM Alexander on 1920s Politics

Deception, Prejudice, Egotism – FM Alexander on 1920s Politics


In the current US election campaign, politifact.com tells us that Trump’s statements have been 15% mostly false, 43% false, and 18% pants on fire. For Clinton, the numbers are better than Trump but still not good. It’s a little early in this Australian campaign to have any numbers, so here they are for the previous election: Tony Abbott – 23% half true, 40% mostly false and 8% false; and Kevin Rudd – 26% half true, 5% mostly false and 37% false.

How long has this been going on?

FM Alexander was discussing this in the 1920s, and I’m sure he wasn’t the first. In 1923, he wrote:

In “the sphere of politics, what can be more stupid than the ordinary party attitude, leading, as it does, to undesirable individual manifestations of deception, prejudice, egotism, and “emotional gusts”? It is an unreasonable and dishonest course to… denounce measures which one believes to be right and of value to humanity, simply because they chance to be advocated by the political party to which one does not belong. Under the present plan politics and deception are interdependent. The individual seeking re-election will resort to forms of deception to which he would not stoop in other walks of life, particularly in the matter of making promises which he has not the least hope of fulfilling, and which his electors, if they used their reasoning powers, would often know he cannot fulfil.”

Perverted and misguided politicians

He goes on to say that “we have to face the fact that it is not the people who are out to do harm to their fellow-beings who are setting back the clock of civilization to-day, but, on the contrary, those misguided people who are devoting themselves to the uplifting of their fellow-men, whilst remaining themselves under the influence of perverted emotions and prejudices.”

What does this have to do with Alexander Technique?

Just as it’s easy to see back pain as a normal and inevitable part of modern living, it’s also easy to see these distorted emotions and prejudices the same way. This should not be the case, and Alexander was keen to point this out. He taught mental and physical co-ordination, which leads to improved and better balanced functioning – mentally, physically and emotionally. Our modern politicians are a long way from this balanced behaviour.

Finally, here’s Dudley Moore

I’ll leave my friend Allen Roberts with the last word, from a piece he wrote for the up-coming Australian federal election.

“What if one of the protagonists in our political system actually articulated the dreams, the things we can all relate to, then backed it up with the truth. The truth, with all its power to engage, build a following, and be held accountable. In the 1990 film “Crazy People” Dudley Moore as an over-stressed advertising man proposed that greatest of evils, truth in advertising, and became wildly popular while kicking the accepted wisdom of obscuration, selective delivery of any facts, wild and unrealistic claims, and outright bullshit, squarely in the teeth.”

“Perhaps a bit of that medicine should be doled out this morning as this 44th Parliament is wound up.”

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