A colleague recently posted an excerpt from one of Moshe Feldenkrais’s trainings. It begins with:
“We succeed in doing something, and the need to learn goes to hell.”
And this is the rub. Once we master something, or at least learn it good enough, most of us seem to lose the interest in learning even more. For Dr. Feldenkrais, this was the beginning of aging—even at a very young age. Here is the rest of the passage and I couldn’t say it any better.
“Therefore, we stop learning and get old and become idiots—otherwise, we would not get old! As long as a person has the desire and curiosity to learn, he is willing to do what the little child does.
When he really turns around himself, he turns—really, really turns—
His head spins…
He falls down and gets up…
He turns around again…
He trains himself such that afterward he has power, intellect and flexibility.
For all of us who begin to avoid movements, who try to succeed immediately, this is the beginning of old age. You can see people who already are eighteen or twenty who are beginning to avoid these tricks.
They become more and more clumsy and awkward. And afterward, they need to go to a doctor so as to heal their joints, their stomach, their head, their eyes, and their behind. Nothing works.”
~ Moshe Feldenkrais, Alexander Yanai #519
Thanks Allison Rapp for pulling this jewel out of the text!