A man’s use (meaning, loosely speaking, how he carries himself) is irrelevant to his character and to the truth of what he says. You don’t conclude that a man is wrong just because he’s pulled down.
In Dewey’s case however his use does have some relevance to his ideas. Dewey is said to be the philosopher behind the Alexander Technique, the man who understood the Alexander Technique even better than Alexander had. Dewey himself claimed that the Alexander Technique was an application of his philosophy, and he endorsed it publicly, saying it would benefit everyone. Thus Dewey’s own carriage reflects the value of these remarks.
Shouldn’t we expect something more of him than what we see in the photos? (See previous page.)
Dewey had had many lessons by the time these photos were taken, yet clearly his use as well as carriage is very poor.
It’s true Dewey may be better off than he would have been without lessons. According to some hearsay remarks of Alexander’s, Dewey looked like a decrepit old man when Alexander first met him, though Dewey was only 57 at the time. But by 1929 (largest picture) Dewey had had Alexander Technique lessons for 12 years. He looks terrible.
Is Dewey’s appearance explained by disease? People deformed by disease can still benefit from the AT and use themselves well within the limitation of their infirmity, despite their appearance. However, Dewey had no medical problems — his biographers mention no deterioration in health until 1948; he died in 1952.
To what extent can a person’s use be determined from a photo, a frozen moment seen from one viewpoint? It seems pretty obvious that some photos reveal much about the subject’s use. Look at almost any photo of Brigitte Bardot in her prime.
You can judge use from a picture. Perhaps not a final judgment or refined assessment, but a snapshot furnishes some indication to the trained eye, especially if the use is extreme — good or bad.
Photos are found throughout the Alexander Technique literature illustrating very good and very bad use.
The dietician who tells us to eat plenty of vegetables should be eating plenty of vegetables herself. Dewey stressed the importance of the Alexander Technique for everyone, and it’s amusing, considering his misappropriation of the Technique revealed in this website, that he so largely failed to practice it himself.
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