Equilibrium: Rights and Responsibilities

“They will see it as getting in and out of a chair the right way. It is nothing of the kind. It is that a pupil decides what he will or will not consent to do” 1

FM Alexander

In contemporary times, particularly in the West, many people have a sense of entitlement; the words ‘human rights’ are heard all too often. But what about ‘human responsibilities’?  Not on a global, national, regional or even local level, but on a deeply personal level.  Am I or could I be responsible for myself?

Take some situation in your life about which you find yourself inwardly complaining. (Best to start with something small.)

Stop!

Coordinate yourself!

Consider your options! Doing nothing at all, carrying on in the same way or what I call “The Monty Python Option”, i.e. doing something completely different.

You may think you have no options, but try and find some- even ones that you would in no circumstances do such as, perhaps, letting people down or being reckless (if you need some help with this you could always read The Diceman).

Then make a choice!

You may find that you choose to do the thing you are already doing, but now you are doing it because you chose to do it and, hopefully, in a more coordinated way. No one else to blame. Your choice, your responsibility!

This experiment can be a step towards taking responsibility.

It’s so interesting that in English we have this expression “take responsibility”. In all Romance Languages it is “assume responsibility”.  The language reminds us that it calls for something active.

1. Teaching Aphorisms: The Alexander Journal No 7, 1972, published by the Society of Teachers of the Alexander Technique. Also published in Articles and Lectures by Mouritz (1995).

© 2014 John S Hunter

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