Maybe Feldenkrais Did Not Actually Say This?

Just a few moments ago, I got an email from someone asking for a reference for two very common Feldenkrais quotes. I have a pretty damn big electronic database of Moshe's writings but I could not find them. How about you?

Here they are:

"I am not seeking to develop flexible bodies, but flexible minds . . . I am interested in the re-establishment of our human dignity."


"What I'm after is to restore each person to their human dignity".

What say you? Did he actually say or right them or did we as a community make them up or mash together several different citations and references.

I did find a couple of references regarding human dignity but practically nothing with flexible minds and bodies.

If you don’t have choice, if you can’t do the same thing in at least two different ways, you are a machine. If you can’t differentiate the movement, if you have an alternative way of doing something, you restore human dignity to what it could be.August 18, 1977, San Francisco, during a conversation with Hienz Von Foerster

A society of men and women with greater awareness of themselves will, I believe, be one that will work for the human dignity of its members rather than primarily for the abstract, collective notion of human society. Article: Man and World.

By seeing the others imitating him, he suddenly realized that he did not know what he was doing. As soon as he realized that, he did it exactly like all the others. His learning took ten seconds. He recaptured his freedom of choice and regained human dignity. The Elusive Obvious page 117.

In terms of the "flexible minds" and "flexible bodies" I could not get an exact match on either phrase in my database....hmmm. Interesting. Flexibly body came up a bit in the Alexander Yanai series. But we must remember that those are traductions to English from the original Hebrew. There were 7 references here is a sample:

In a flexible body there is hardly any difference whether you lean on one hand or the other.

Flexible mind and Flexible minds did not appear at all....+

So were does this leave us? Is my database missing some material? I believe that I have all of the San Francisco and Amherst notes. I also have the Esalen Workshop, all of the Alexander Yanai and all of Moshe's published books and articles. Yet I could not find either of the two quotes above...



  1. On the topic of dubious quotations that get thrown around, I’ve often seen the line “Feldenkrais represents a revolution in human health” attributed to Smithsonian Magazine. But if you read that article, you see that the magazine was just quoting a practitioner who said that. It wasn’t as though it was the opinion of the editorial board at the Smithsonian. But that’s what it is made to appear as.

    So it goes in the world of Feldenkrais…

  2. I was wondering the same thing. This quote is very popular, I even heard yoga and meditation ppl quote it (the one with the flexible minds). For quotes I think I will stick with … easier to find the funny.

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