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  • Writer's pictureDr. Ida Rolf Talks

I bid you to examine your own ways of thinking and looking.

..... Gaston Bachelard formulated his "epistemological profile." He formulated five levels of seeing or of cognition. I have just described to you three of these levels: you see an apple fall; you measure the speed and the weight of that falling; you decided that there's a law behind it....

Life is not a straight line. Words come out in a straight line, and therefore not a a great deal of our education is pretty much linear. But that's not the way life is, and that's why you have so much trouble trying to express life in words. Because words are linear, ideas conveyed by words are linear, sequential. Life itself is much more complicated; relationship is a key.....

Anatomy is on the third level. You learn the name of something, you learn where it goes from, where it goes to, what it's supposed to do. In Rolfing you learn that often it can't do what it's supposed to do. You have to begin to look at different relationships, and one of the ways you can look at them is that when a muscle or any structure has been overstressed and shortened, it gets a skewed relationship to other structures in the area. When you lengthen the muscle, it no longer has that skewed relationship. The whole Gestalt changes. Relationship is the determinant.

I do not feel myself at all expert in Bachelard's fifth level of perception. It talks about seeing not through our ordinary mechanism, but through intuition and the like. Bachelard was wise enough to understand that this area was not the level at which we could be truly competent. You may find that out of your competency in the fourth area, in the area of relationship, you will increase your competence in the fifth area. When you are in the fifth area, of intuition, you say, "I know it is so." Now you've gone around the spiral and you're coming back right on top of the first area......

I bid you to examine your own ways of thinking and looking. What you clearly do know, as long as you can measure it, is on solid ground. The ground becomes less solid in the fourth area, and when you get into the fifth area, your feet are off the ground. I have a suspicion that you like and want the security of "it's in the book" solidity. Your security lies in your ability to look at these levels of abstraction and thread them apart. it will give you a great deal more security in your intellectual and emotional life if you can do this, and not simply say, "I feel."

"Ida Rolf Talks About Rolfing and Physical Reality" edited and with an introduction by Rosemary Feitis"


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