"For Seneca, the Stoic sage should withdraw from public efforts when unheeded and the state is corrupt beyond repair. It is wiser to wait for self-destruction." - Nassim Taleb, The Bed of Procrustes: Philosophical and Practical Aphorisms
I have been thinking of the quote above in relation to the Feldenkrais "guild system." I take the somewhat pessimistic system that the guild system is not amenable to change and that even if it were, spending my time and energy to help fix it would likely not pay off financially. I have a great number of projects that take up my time. For example, learning Spanish, blogging, and learning how to effectively use DEVONagent and DEVONthink Pro. I can literally spend all week working on those things - finding it very satisfying - and not making even a dollar. To spend time organizing against the Guild or for change within it? It pays even less than nothing.
Though, I still admit a certain fascination with what has happened to "the work" after Moshe's death. And to spending much time thinking about the insanity of the entire system and what could either change it or replace it. Something that reminded me of the insanity was a recent quote on the FeldyForum by Feldenkrais "Trainer," who is otherwise a very intelligent and well-spoken individual. He wrote:
"For some, maybe this work is best suited for personal development, and not as a profession."
At first glance, I had a hard time disagreeing with that statement. It seems rather innocuous and undoubtedly true. But as I thought more about it, I started to remind myself of what Feldenkrais professional training programs really are. They are licensing schemes. Pay your money to a guild certified Feldenkrais training program, attend classes and you will get the opportunity to pay to use the trademarked terms, Feldenkrais®, Feldenkrais Method®, Awareness Through Movement®, ATM®, and Functional Integration®, amongst others. That is essentially it. Pay your money, get the trademarks.
There are no meaningful standards for enrollment in Feldenkrais training programs other than the ability and willingness to pay. One does not need any particular background or qualifications. There are no meaningful standards for graduation. There is virtually no practicum nor supervised practice. There are no internships, few jobs available, little name recognition.
After 30+ years of this system, neither the guild nor any of its associated organizations nor trainers can point to any meaningful evidence of its own effectiveness nor the ability to launch practitioners into practice. And again, the Feldenkrais trainer above notes that: "For some, maybe this work is best suited for personal development, and not as a profession."
I wonder if he includes himself and his fellow Feldenkrais trainers in that category? He is likely a very skilled individual when it comes to giving Feldenkrais sessions. But does he or his friends have any evidence of the success of their training programs or graduates? Perhaps I should change his statement to give a different flavor being a Feldenkrais Trainer might be best suited for someone who wants to do it for personal development and not as a profession.
Sure Feldenkrais Trainers are good people. They mean well. I assume at some level they believe in what they are doing. But they are not held accountable for any particular outcome, or indeed any outcome at all.
Perhaps you think, I am being too harsh in my assessment?
What if medical schools were run like Feldenkrais programs? That is if anyone could enter med school as long as they could pay. If they had no evidence of competence of graduates and no internships and jobs available. People might be enraged and offended. But wait! Here comes the medical school professor to explain it: Not everyone is meant to be a medical doctor. Surely not. But would that explain away the incompetence of the medical school?
I think not.