Guest Bloggers

Man, Know Thy Needs

By Stella Weigel

“Man, know thyself” is an old axiom, but in my opinion the more fundamental one is “Man, know thy needs.” Of course, it may be contended that he who knows himself knows his needs, and that to know one’s needs implies knowing oneself, but the contention does not apply to that great majority of human beings whose sensory appreciation is unreliable. We have seen that reliable sensory appreciation is essential to that co-ordinated psycho-physical growth and development of the individual which is fundamental to the satisfactory psycho-physical growth of the mass, and this being so, in order to secure this growth and development of the mass, it is essential to command the “means-whereby” of recognizing and supplying the real needs of the individual.

(F. M. Alexander, “Constructive
Conscious Control of the Individual”)


Alexander points to debauched kinesthesia as a root cause in the delusions we have about ourselves. This delusion has an impact on us as individuals, and on those around us.  As we come to know our needs (through a process of taking time to stop, observe our habits, and discover the ‘means whereby’ those habits can be altered) we improve our sensory appreciation, and so, come to know ourselves.

Recently, I completed my three year teacher training course.  The day following my graduation, I was given a beautiful bouquet containing a myriad of narcissi.  The narcissus is a flower I love, and I love that it blooms at Easter-tide.  I am enormously honoured to have written as Beret’s guest blogger while a trainee, and now, I offer this, my first blog as a qualified teacher, to Beret, as a token of my continuing gratitude to her.

Happy Easter!