Dr. Thomas Hanna (1928-1990)
A philosopher, writer and researcher, spent much of his time studying and teaching in the area of somatic education. He, like Shelton, stood on the shoulders of great visionaries that came before him:
F. Matthias Alexander (creator of the Alexander Method), Moshe Feldenkrais and others. Likewise, he synthesized and improved upon the works of these predecessors. Combining insights gathered from neurology, physiology and sensory education, Hanna created a body awareness and movement improvement technique he called "Somatics".
Hanna: "Underneath I have enormous anger because I see so many people abused".
In an interview entitled Mind Over Movement (2), Hanna put it like this:"My own interest, first of all, for myself, and second of all for any person I deal with, is to do anything I can to inculcate freedom. Freedom, independence and autonomy is what human life is all about. This is what we grow up to become - totally autonomous, self-determining, self-balancing, self-healing, self-regulating, self-correcting. We're magnificent creatures for becoming just that. Usually we don't come off being so. In various ways - emotionally, psychologically, physically - we get enslaved. And we don't have either the confidence or the ability to choose and truly conduct our own affairs and take care of ourselves. The truly burning and major issue of the 20th century - how can we become more autonomous human beings - rather than depending on authoritarian experts who give advice on everything.
The whole thing is to let people get a taste of freedom; for self-reliance. You've got to be competent and confident enough to be independent and autonomous because freedom means that you're capable of being self-responsible. The human life has no other aim, as far as I can see than for human beings to become self-regulating and self-directing. Human freedom is at the heart of all issues. It's the only issue there is of human and moral philosophy: how can you help people become more free?
What I do is education... not therapy. My main concern is in knowledge that frees. We do things in one or two sessions and the problem is gone. And they (the clients) are utterly in command and aware of what went on. Thoughtful medical people know the limitations of medicine. Arrogant ones are dangerous.....the excruciating unhappiness is to know what I know and realize it's going to take years to get these ideas across to the establishment of traditional thinking that has a hard time absorbing them. The impatience that I feel is with physicians who damage and hurt people and are arrogant about it. Underneath I have enormous anger because I see so many people abused... I've got certain talents, certain understandings; it's in some sense my personal obligation to myself and other human beings to help them in any way I can. It has nothing to do with power. It has to do with loving people; being concerned about the human condition."
Hanna's love of freedom permeated all his work; he understood that much of the misery of humanity stemmed from a lack of self-responsibility, which was mostly due to a lack of education. To chip away at this wall of ignorance was his primary mission.
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