Typos p. 354: centrol [= central]; p. 357: salutory [= salutary]
If the values which guide a people's taste and choice of ways continue to be unhealthy, and to direct them into dysgenic methods of living and mating, no amount of subsequent correction can remove the causes of degeneracy at their source.
In the sphere of mind and character, education, however much it is improved, can do little to regenerate a nation, if its mental powers are declining through lack of vitality, morbid hereditary taints and absence of severe discipline; and, just as out-of-door exercise and games only aggravate diseased conditions, if the people who indulge in them do not use themselves correctly, so improved education (in the sense of mere knowledge) only increases perversity, when instincts and character are wrong through the cumulative effort of long neglect and corruption.
In State management and politics, it is surely obvious, in the light of all that has been argued here, that if men, despite their many peculiar advantages, have failed as the result of their loss in ability and native genius, women, with all their natural disadvantages are hardly likely to succeed. History alone, apart from what science
Socialism and Communism, likewise, offer no hope for the future. For, what human life has demonstrated conclusively hitherto is that every elevation of mankind has been the work of superior individuals, or groups of superior individuals; never of mediocre people, no matter how numerous. The aim of Socialism and Communism, is, however, to bring about the reign of the mediocre; and, this being so, it must end in disaster. Sooner or later the misguided and. suffering masses will clamour for the genial leader, the artist ruler, who will give them what the inhabitants of suburban villas cannot possibly vote for. The contempt of suburbanites for each other must ultimately kill all forms of Socialism and Communism, just as it is killing democracy.
There remains one suggestion that is worth considering, and that is the proposal put forward by Mr. Austin Freeman m his book Social Decay and Regeneration, to the effect that, since the segregation and elimination of the so-called "unfit" 1 presents many difficulties, the next best solution is the voluntary segregation of the "fit" that is to say, the voluntary withdrawal of the "fit"
1 I do not approve of the term myself, because it is bad biology; but it has popular currency and Mr. Freeman uses it. Presumably he means the "undesirable."
The idea is ingenious and Mr. Freeman is to be congratulated for the way in which he defends it; but one insuperable difficulty in the way of its realization is the problem of getting people to acknowledge, with our present standards as they are, that they do not belong to the order of the so-called "fit." I come across so many people who, while they do not share my standards of human desirability, regard themselves as among the "fit," when all the time they frequently do not reach my own level of physical efficiency (I, be it remembered, not being in the least satisfied that I am "fit") that I despair of being able to carry out Mr. Freeman's suggestion.
It seems to me that before Mr. Freeman's idea could take effect, we should have to alter our whole standard of value. Otherwise we should find thousands of our fellow-men demanding admission into the compound of the segregated "fit," when all the while their claim to enter it would be about as valid as that of Hephæstos, Caliban, Quilp, or Tom Thumb.
Moreover, among those who voluntarily segregated themselves, whose claim to "fitness" was valid, how many would take with them into the compound the unhealthy values of the world they had quitted? How many would bring with them the ignorance of the proper use of self, which, while it might by a fluke have left them unharmed, would remain to harm their friends and descendants? How many would bring with them false notions about religion, about sex, about sacrifice and about children, by which a fresh degenerative tendency would be started in spite of the sound physical and mental conditions prevailing?
I think Mr. Freeman's idea a good one, but its success is contingent upon so many preliminary safeguards, that to advance it without insisting upon these safeguards
It must be obvious, that, if there is any validity in the various claims advanced in the preceding chapters, the most important object to be striven after, with all possible energy and expedition, is first and foremost the reform of man himself, particularly his way of thinking and valuing. Unless all that I have attempted to prove is historically, biologically and physiologically unsound, it must be quite plain that there can be no possible hope for any aspect of modern life, no chance of any progress, as long as the true leader, the born leader, the only builder and creator of everything in the past that has had any value and enduring power man himself remains in his present deplorable state of mental and physical subnormality. And all those, therefore, who are in earnest about this question of degeneracy, and who, moreover, are locally interested in its particular effect upon the British Empire, will sooner or later be bound to perceive that nothing less prodigious, less unfeminine and less unpopular than a Masculine Renaissance can possibly effect any desirable change in our condition.
No amount of mediocre epicene deliberation, no amount of mixed bathing by second-rate swimmers in the waters of politics and science, can possibly help us, as long as we remain as we are, not only in possession of our unhealthy values, but of our inherited taints both of character and mind. And since great men are the only people who can be saviours in this world, it behoves us to see that they are bred.
Our problem in a nutshell, therefore, is how we are to set about preparing the way for a Masculine Renaissance.
I venture to make the following suggestions in regard to this problem:
Although the need for it is urgent, it is idle to recommend a revival of true religion. For, in view of the fact that the sort of debasement of true religious feeling, which we find about us to-day, is largely the outcome of
What is needed, indeed, is a new religion, based upon a keen intellectual perception of the power behind phenomena, and a deep emotional relationship to that power, freed from all notions of ethics and entertainment, especially of Christian ethics and Protestant notions of church and chapel entertainment. For, just as no man devoid of true religious perceptions and emotions can be either a great worker, a good citizen, a staunch friend, or a profound thinker, so a nation that is devoid of true religiousness can never accomplish anything lasting either in social organization or in culture. But for the accomplishment of such a task as the creation of a new and true religion in this sense, a new order of men is necessary, and all that we can do is to prepare the way for it. We cannot create what we have not the strength to create. We can, however, build up our strength, in order that a generation may come that will be capable of this great task. Religion must follow, it cannot precede a Masculine Renaissance.
The future, therefore, depends upon the extent to which we are willing to alter our present trend and to recast our lives. And the first step in this direction must consist in a reform of our present values.
It is our values that direct our choice, not only of roads, ways and means, but also of things. It is our values that govern not only our criticism of our neighbour, but, what is more important, our criticism of ourselves. If, therefore, we have become degenerate, our standard of values must have been faulty, unhealthy and unreliable. Now here is a task for which our strength is still adequate. We can alter our values not, however, in the spirit of mere iconoclasts, but in the spirit of workers who have found their old tools no longer serviceable.
First of all we must abandon the ascetic values about the body, and cease to despise that side of our natures and the functions that depend upon it. The value according to which the body is reckoned the lowest side of us must be abolished. Realizing that we are all psycho-physical wholes, we must learn afresh the science of the interdependence of mind and body, and cease to think it possible that a botched or inferior body can contain a pure and desirable soul. We must cease to condone ugliness, physiological depravity, in ourselves as in others. A new emotion must be created the emotion of shame for all bodily defects. This will teach us not only to place ourselves in the scale of desirability, but also to place others. No eugenic legislation can possibly effect valuable reforms until a new taste is created in man a taste which will cause him to regard as unclean and nauseating bodily defects which to-day we cheerfully overlook in human beings although we still loathe them in animals.
This new taste will preserve us against dysgenic mating much more efficiently than new and drastic laws. But it means the overthrow of old and long-reverenced values; and there is much in ourselves and others that will resist this change, despite the fact that we may not be consciously Christian. The despised of this earth, the people who will be declassés and who will be avoided, will then consist of the physiologically depraved that is to say, those whose bodies, being defective, cannot be expected to have desirable sentiments and beliefs. But before this stage is reached, much that is in us will have to be chastened, hardened and purified.
In the first place, we shall have to alter our concept
We must also recast our values about sacrifice. The teaching of Christianity that it is noble, desirable, and virtuous to sacrifice the greater for the less, the god for the mob, must be transformed into the value: it is noble, desirable and virtuous to sacrifice the less to the greater. No institution, however small or however large, no army, however powerful or well-disciplined, could possibly succeed if those who led it made it a rule
1 For a more detailed explanation of this point, see my Woman: A Vindication, on the biological necessity of bad taste in women.
Instead, therefore, of honouring those who fling their accumulated wealth to the least desirable human beings, so that they may batten and multiply, we shall honour those who select the finest and the best for their charity. How many desirable working-class families in the country have not sunk to a low level, through the impossibility of obtaining substantial help in a crisis, while thousands of pounds were being given to cripples, incurables and defectives of all kinds? This, our modern values, directed by Christianity, approve. We must cease to approve of it. Honour must no longer be paid to anyone who does not practise tasteful and constructive charity.
We must also alter our valuations regarding men and women. We must abandon the Pauline and Christian doctrine concerning the superiority of virginity over matrimony, and cease to regard as normal, either the non reproductive woman, however sound she may be, or the intermediate female who is happy unmated. Instead of being so imbecile as to regard such creatures, as we do to-day, as representatives of their sex, and as able to voice the sentiments and wishes of their sex, we should consider them as one with the harmlessly insane unreliable and suspect in all their judgments. Just as we would instinctively look at our watch if a lunatic told us the time, we ought instinctively to take pains to verify, before accepting it, every word that proceeds
The crass imbecility that has come over England and America to-day, which enables these countries to listen with respect to a crowd of abnormal, unmated or badly mated, viragoes, is perhaps the most hopeless sign of the times. It shows how utterly at sea we have become concerning the valuation of human beings. Here it is that Pauline and Christian influence has done most to pervert our pristine wisdom for savages apparently know better.
With regard to man, we must make our demands more searching and our standards higher. We must no longer be satisfied with the whittled-down standard of manliness, which is based upon the qualities of a good horseman, a good cricketer and a good soldier. We must learn to expect of the manly man, not only courage and proficiency in games and sport, but also will power, leadership, mastery over the mysteries of life, and not Puritanical funk in their presence, intelligence sufficient to overshadow any female brain that is placed alongside of him (within his class), and clarity and decision regarding every problem which it behoves him to understand in fact, everything that goes to make a man, in whose presence the mere claim of sex equality appears utterly ridiculous.
Only by the return of such a man to all classes of the nation can women be made to feel happy and content; only by his presence can the woman be brought out in woman, and the male in her nature made recessive. And if any further proof were needed of women's inability to institute any great and lasting reforms, it would be the fact that the most prominent members of the Woman's Movement have so far failed to perceive that the only fruitful reform is the regeneration of man.
Nothing less should satisfy us, because nothing less can possibly do any good. Every other remedy is quackery, and a mere headline for a penny paper.
Before leaving the question of values and their reform,
The man to whom we aspire must be chivalrous, but only in the sense that he understands chivalry as responsibility. The absurd misunderstanding of chivalry to-day, which amounts to a social convention that no gander may say "boo" to his goose, is about as fatuous as anything modern could be. We have eviscerated most things, but nothing more heartlessly than chivalry. We must restore to chivalry its central idea of responsibility the willingness to answer for dependents, for creatures weaker than ourselves, always with the understanding that such responsibility must mean guidance. One cannot be responsible for a creature that one cannot command that is a plain truism. But to retain a travesty of chivalry, and to call him who practises it a gentleman, is one of the most ridiculous farces of this burlesque of a world. It multiplies lackeys that is the only result.
The man to whom we aspire must also understand freedom, and wish to be free. But here again, he must desire the consequences of his demand. To be free is to be self-reliant and strong. Freedom and dependence are antitheses. The man who wants freedom, therefore, must be prepared for the consequences of standing alone. And, since these consequences may be fatal, he must be brave and resourceful. Freedom is expiring to-day, because, as I have shown, modern man has abandoned or forgotten the inevitable relation of freedom to self-reliance. The modern man wants it both ways. He will have a centralized power able to force the whole nation to support him if he fails, or cannot support himself, and yet he demands freedom of action. But if the central power relieves him of the need of self-reliance, it must limit his freedom. , Hence the decline of freedom to-day. If our aim is the self-reliant man, we must decentralize power and destroy the present system of supplementing
In the realm of sex we must destroy the values which made Lecky feel and say that this side of our lives is degraded and impure, and, recognizing these values as the outcome of Christianity's defamation and slander of the sex function, and our own feelings regarding the matter merely as the result of our incorporation of these values through two thousand years of Christian teaching, we must rescue sex from the ignominy into which it has been made to fall. Our object should be to elevate the sexual relation to the high plane which it deserves, both from the standpoint of the sacred part it plays in the preservation of our kind, and from that of the joys, lofty emotions and unique relationship it creates for adult man and woman; and we should learn to regard with contempt and loathing all those who speak slightingly or indignantly about this deepest and most voluptuous of the passions. In the slanderer of sex, and of the primary sex function, we should learn to recognize the jealous, the botched, the bitterly disappointed, or the impotent among mankind; and we should esteem their judgment in accordance with this estimation of them. We should suspect of some inner foulness anyone who ventures to display moral disapproval about any natural sexual act whether it be the play of man and woman before congress, the moment of congress, or any other instinctive satisfaction of the sex appetite between two adult desirable human beings of different sexes. Our loathing should be reserved for the procreative act performed by those who have no right, no natural mandate, to reproduce their kind. And it is typical of the Christian standpoint, that while the unmarried mother, however beautiful and desirable, is looked at askance, the Church marriage of two deaf and dumb or two
But we should not necessarily suspect of inner foulness anyone who was indignant about a natural sexual act that had been committed without any sense of responsibility, self-reliance, or consciousness of the future. On the contrary, while elevating natural sexual relations between two desirable people to the highest place among the joys and experiences of mankind, we ought to know precisely in what circumstances indignation about them is justified. And these circumstances occur only when they are consummated without any sense of responsibility on the part of the couple enjoying them.
To-day, however, while under Christian influence we regard sexual relations in any circumstances as degrading, we have without any indignation whatsoever, relieved the act of all responsibility exactly the reverse of what is recommended above. To-day everybody, however foul, can force the consequences of his sexual recreations upon the shoulders of the community, and this is not regarded as immoral, while the act of procreation itself is still referred to only in a whisper of shame.
Two transvaluations are therefore needful here to restore health to society. The sexual act must be freed from its Christian associations of guilt and degradation, but it must be made a responsible act. This reform, by greatly liberating the passions of the sexes, and giving freer expression to deeply rooted desires, particularly in the pre-procreational stage, will substantially help to reunite man and woman, to enlighten both regarding the secrets of life and their own natures, and sweep away much of the false and sentimental psychology on which present social life is based. Moreover, it will bring into disrepute and contempt only those who indulge in sexual recreations who have either no sense of responsibility, or who, owing to their physiological botchedness or foulness, have no human mandate to reproduce their kind.
In politics we must endeavour to bring about the evanescence of democratic institutions, by exposing the shallowness, impracticability and danger to national survival of democratic control as we understand it. The great suffering and chaos to which such forms of government have led have made a deep impression upon the soul of humanity, and this impression will help the leaders of the Masculine Renaissance to remodel the national life without having recourse to the discredited and preposterous vote. Already in the countries which have hitherto led civilization and cultural reform we are witnessing the break up of Parliamentary institutions, and since the idea of Parliament itself originated in the climes where these changes are now taking place, we may confidently hope that they may soon be introduced over here. The inevitable association of democracy with national decline has been insufficiently emphasized by historical and political writers, because they have, during the last two hundred years, been chiefly Whig or Jacobin in tendency. But a literature on the subject is now growing, and I am proud to be able to say that I have already contributed two volumes to it, and will soon contribute a third.
In the realm of industry, the endeavour must be not only to bring about a revival of agriculture, but also to reinstate as many of the old crafts as possible. For, seeing that one of our hardest tasks is to arrest the dry-rot that is now destroying the spirit and body of man, we must restore to the masses the chance of deriving some inner benefit from their bread-winning labours. Only then can they learn to respect themselves once more. They must be able to express their highest impulses in their work; for this means not only happiness, but also the reaping of the natural guerdon of all skilled labour the qualitative improvement of the individual and his natural self-discipline. They must become agricul-
In science, particularly the science of medicine, the energy of research and invention must be directed not along the present lines of discovering ever more and more artificial aids to faulty functioning, but towards correcting and preventing faulty functioning at its inception. Thus the aim must be ultimately to abandon artificial aids as useless for improving human stocks, and meanwhile only to apply them as sparingly as possible. For example, defects of vision, which are chiefly due to faulty co-ordination of the eye muscles, will be treated by a general correction of faulty muscular co-ordination throughout the body, instead of being merely relieved, as they are now, by correcting through glasses, the image that is about to reach the retina.
The other means which, as I suggested in my Lysistrata, must take the place of artificial aids will consist, (a) in the re-education of man in such a manner as to prevent that wrong use of himself which, at present, is such a fruitful source of faulty functioning, and (b) in the attainment of natural individual immunity instead of the present artificial immunity which is attained by means of inoculations, disinfectants, sterilization of food products, etc. This natural immunization of the individual will be achieved largely by an improvement in food conditions, a better understanding of hygiene, the restoration of breast feeding as a universal custom and duty, the return, wherever possible, of the bulk of the population to healthy out-of-door occupations, and above all, the raising of the general tone and resistance of the individual by re-educating him in a correct use of himself.
Medical men will also have to take up a firm attitude
In the matter of education, particularly of the masses, our object should be not so much the inculcation of knowledge (except where this consists of a thorough grounding in the mother tongue) 1 but in the teaching of discipline. 2 Self-rule, not in the sense of merely negative inhibitions as taught by Puritanism, but in the sense of the skilful management of a fiery horse, and in the husbanding and wise direction of one's strength, is the greatest need of all. The morbid speed of reaction to-day is the result of lack of discipline in mind and body, a sign of automatic
1 For an explanation of this point, see my False Assumptions of Democracy.
2 This was wise old Kant's view, and it was a view largely held by pedagogues of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.
The increase of character and will resulting from discipline will certainly reduce the sponge and blotting-paper quality of the modern type, which causes it instantly to absorb whatever it touches, and which is regarded as a sign of quickness and intelligence on that account. 1 But the benefits of increased resistance will be so widely recognized, that this reduction in absorptivity will willingly be sacrificed. For it should be remembered that this is a pencil and notebook age, and not an age of good memories. This means that the extreme absorptivity of modern man is entirely uncontrolled, it is a mere infection, which passes off when the influence is removed hence the bad memory of modern man, despite his apparent excessive impressionableness.
In regard to children, too, the attitude must be changed. When once the Puritan and Christian sex-phobia is suppressed, and the relation of the sexes the oldest part of us is allowed to resume its proper place as one of the most elevated and elevating concerns of
1 The speed with which a solecistic vulgarism like the phrase "quite all right" enters the current speech of all classes nowadays (I have heard the highest and the lowest in the land use it) is a sign of this morbid and automatic absorptivity of modern man which is largely due, in addition to the causes given above, to worn-out nerves.
But the greatest hope for the future lies in re-education rather than in education in the old sense. Modern man must be re-educated in a knowledge which he has lost, and the loss of which causes him to do untold damage to himself. The animals have apparently not lost this knowledge, which consists in the proper use of self. And here I come to Mr. Alexander again and to his second searching question. It will be remembered that Mr. Alexander, having come to the conclusion that our instinctive reactions to environment are no longer reliable and lead only to a faulty use of ourselves, proceeds to ask whether we have any other means of reacting to environment. To this question he replies most emphatically "Yes," and he says that the old instinctive reactions must be replaced by consciously controlled actions.
What does he mean by this? He means that every action performed by the lower animals, or by primitive man in a stable environment, is performed by means of a central control which prevents a vicious co-ordination of their bodies.
Let me give an example: a female cat finds one of her blind new-born kittens placed on a ledge three or four feet above the floor (this experiment can be tried by anyone at any time, provided that they are dealing with a cat which is used to them, and which, moreover, is a good and passionate mother). To recover the kitten
To the modern man such a feat would be impossible. The tension at his jaws would be appreciably increased, probably with an uncontrolled jerk, at the conclusion of each jump when his feet touched the ground, and the tendency would be for his teeth to try to meet in a penetrating bite.
The reason of this difference between the cat and modern man is that the cat still possesses a central control of her muscular system, which enables her to arrange a harmonious co-ordination of her body for any effort connected with the normal demands of her life, whereas man has long ago lost his central control through having had to meet too many extraordinary demands at too short notice without, that is to say, having had time to re-educate himself.
But what is the consequence of this to man? It may be argued that, since man does not have to carry his young in his mouth from ledge to ledge of a mountain pass, there is no reason why his difference from the cat in this matter should be deplored. This is perfectly true. But man performs many other movements with his body quite as intricate as the mother cat's feat, and if we can for a moment picture the wrongly communicated strain or stress resulting from the faulty co-ordination of each muscular effort, we at once recognize the gravity
1 I have tried this experiment with one of my own cats which is an exceptionally good mother, over a jump of four feet. But I warn the reader that not every cat will make an effort to recover her kitten, and the passionate desire to do so is essential to the experiment.
If this is admitted and it is easily demonstrated as a fact on the body of any modern man, be he an athlete or a sedentary philosopher the wrong use of self is sure to be a most insidious and potent cause of faulty functioning and therefore of disease. 1 And Mr. Alexander's claim that he can correct it, by means of re-educating the individual in the use of his lost central control, becomes extremely interesting and of the greatest importance for the problem of progressive physical deterioration.
Indeed, if it be true that the function of the intellect is merely a derivative of the muscular sense and there are many cogent reasons for accepting this view then it is obvious that a faulty use of self debauches the mind itself; because a perverted sensory appreciation in the body must find its counterpart in a perverted consciousness. 2 And thus even the modern man's concepts become suspect and unreliable.
When once this is acknowledged, the importance of Mr.
1 Mr. J. E. R. McDonagh, F.R.C.S., the eminent specialist, writing in Truth on Dec. 30, 1925, says: "I have spent many years in attempting to discern the nature of disease . . . and in The Nature of Disease, Part II, which is now in the Press, there is clearly portrayed what disease is, why it occurs and why it gives rise to signs and symptoms. But it is necessary to go even further back and to find why the human body should so readily become the seat of disease. This has been done by F. M. Alexander, who has shown it to be the sequence of wrong functioning, an inheritance of civilization."
2 Prof. Dewey accepts this consequence of Mr. Alexander's diagnosis. See p. 312, ante.
The fact, as we have seen, that school children are found to deteriorate soon after reaching school; 1 the fact that, as Sir Arthur Keith has pointed out, 2 there are serious faults in the posture of modern man, and the further fact that, in spite of athleticism and the prevalent enthusiasm for out-of door games, health is not improving, all point to only one conclusion, that it is not what men do with their bodies that is so important, but how they employ their psycho-physical mechanism in doing it.
The position at drill is a strained and badly co-ordinated one, the movements in many physical exercises are damaging unless they are performed with a proper knowledge of the use of self, and the same applies to the movements in many games. Now, it must be clear that, if the bodily co-ordination in each of these activities is faulty, owing to the absence of the centrol control, very severe damage may ultimately be done by their constant repetition. And, truth to tell, that is precisely what happens.
The faulty co-ordination extends right through the muscular system, affecting even the minute and delicate muscles of the eyes, and one of its promptest symptoms is disturbed functioning. This accounts for the observed speedy deterioration of many children at school, as regards their eyesight and general condition; for it is in school that they are first drilled and encouraged to engage actively in violent exercise. It also accounts for the increase in heart and eye trouble at all ages all over England, and probably for a large number of functional disorders of the alimentary canal, which are ascribed to modern sedentary conditions, lack of fresh air, etc. It partly accounts, moreover, for the differences hitherto observable between modern man and modern woman,
1 See p. 187, ante.
2 See p. 200, ante.
But by re-educating people in the proper use of themselves, Mr. Alexander makes games, drilling and exercises of all sorts (where there is not wilful and deliberate distortion of the body by vicious demands in posture 1) possible without damage being done to the system, and the recovery of one's lost central control is probably one of the most wonderful experiences it is possible to have.
Every action then becomes twofold: the proper means whereby are thought of and then the action is accomplished. The immediate performance of the action on wrong instinctive lines ceases to be the aim, and the means whereby supersede mere end-gaining in every activity. Response slows down, reaction also. Every act becomes a feat in conscious self-discipline, and the use of the central control leads in process to correct and harmonious co-ordination. The result is a truly marvellous toning up of the whole system, and a re-growth of unhealthy compressed nerves, blood-vessels, muscles and organs.
It is impossible to describe in words how the recovery of the central control is achieved inside the individual, or what it feels like, because inasmuch as it is a sensory experience, registered by the muscular sense, it can no more be conveyed by words than can the taste of bacon, or the look of the colour blue, or the sound of middle C of the piano. No phraseology, however skilful, can define a sensation. One can only say that it consists of restoring healthy perception to the sensory-motor system. But the mechanical process by which this is done is the following: On the threshold of every action the instinctive
1 As, for instance, in the standing attitude: "shoulders back," "knees stiffened and unflexed," "head back," etc., all of which make faulty co-ordination inevitable.
Gradually (the change is slow because it consists largely of regrowth) 1 the thoracic capacity increases, the back straightens, the nerves recover serenity, functions tend to normalize, the heart is no longer hemmed in and regains its harmonious relation to the rest of the
1 See Dr. Peter Macdonald of York (as quoted by the British Medical Journal) in his speech before the British Medical Association Conference, 1923. "The effect of his [Mr. Alexander's] training on health and disease is astounding, though he in no way professes to treat disease at all; he professes solely to be a trainer. Flat foot becomes a trifling disability which simply disappeared. Asthma becomes ameliorated or removed; stammering is overcome."
And these changes, as they appear, startle the individual, not only as strangers within the precincts of his inner life, but also as the extraordinary and punctual fulfilment of what the genial discoverer of this method of re-education never fails to prophesy from the start as the inevitable outcome of his teaching.
Nobody concerned with the problem of degeneration and its solution can afford to overlook this recent contribution to the science of human psycho-physiology 1; and it is to those who to-day regard themselves as the most normal and most "fit," that its application will prove most salutory. It is they who will benefit most rapidly
1 See, for instance, the opinion of the eminent surgeon Mr. Macleod Yearsley, F.R.C.S., in the Literary Guide of Oct. 1925: "To my mind, Mr. Alexander points definitely and uncompromisingly the way to man's right future, if man will but follow his directing finger. . . . The misuse of the body, in standing, walking, sitting, breathing, articulation, or any other daily action, cannot be treated successfully upon any other method than a psycho-physical one. Mr. Alexander makes this plain, and he points out decisively that this applies, not to the individual man alone, with his stammer, his faulty drive at golf, or his asthma, but to a whole nation as well in its attitude towards any question which calls urgently for solution."
We of this generation are too lowly evolved, too far back along the ladder of development, to be able to tell what will be needful, what will be desirable, in the social organization, and in all the institutions of a harmonious and integrated national life, when once mankind will have raised itself from its present degradation. That is why the less we destroy at present the better. We must first mend ourselves, correct our insanity and ill health, and thus modestly prepare the way for the only possible solution of the world's difficulties and problems a better generation of men. We are not big enough in our present condition to tackle the problems that surround us satisfactorily; that is why the re-organization of our institutions should follow, not precede, the regeneration of the male sex.
Only in this masculine renaissance is there any hope of a revival for humanity as a whole. And as soon as the men appear who will constitute this rebirth of desirable male material, everything will be found to fall naturally into its proper place. The relation of the sexes will immediately recover its serenity, beauty and elevation. Feminism will not be extirpated, it will vanish like many another nightmare of our degradation. And we shall begin a new era in our evolution. Unlike the past, in which man has played a game of chance with himself and his fellows, the future will find man ready for the first time to enlist his consciousness in the moulding of his destiny. The gamble of present-day life will then be looked upon as a thing of horror, rather like the life of the jungle appears to civilized man, and from these human products of the masculine renaissance the world will receive a new religion and a new goal.
This is not a wild, romantic programme incapable of fulfilment. It imposes no exorbitant demands upon the energy or capacity of modern man. It is a practical and perfectly possible solution capable of certain fulfilment. But, just as we cannot now anticipate the strength which one day we shall have for the establishment of a new religion, so we can only vaguely discern the full measure of power and genius that will belong to those for whom we may now make our preparations.
The men that it is thus possible to rear are not a magic fantasy, but a possible reality. The seeds from which they will spring are already half germinated in our highest examples. They are not demi-gods but mortals. And we ourselves, who claim that they are indispensable for the salvation of humanity, do not hope for them as a race of supermen but merely as the genial leaders of a Masculine Renaissance.