Radix Institute

Purpose and the Evolution of Boundaries

Purpose and the Evolution of Boundaries
By Ron Hook



Purpose is an outgrowth of the evolution of boundary formation.  Perhaps it all started long ago as primary sources of the creative force in Nature encountered each other.  That point of encounter itself became a new fact, a new source.

Throughout cosmic history to the beginnings of organic life, primitive life forms encountered surrounding realities, or blocks.
We see them developing “survival” strategies:  contending, avoiding, or (something that resembles) embracing.

Those who study the life force see that it curves in on itself when it encounters a block.  This inward (spiral-like) curving is seen in all physical forms and assists the fluid flow in most living systems.
The curve supports the containment of the system, thus creating a boundary.  From the single cell up to a complete human being, this boundary formation is the first step toward autonomous living.

With growing brain capacity, advanced organisms cultivated a memory record and, in humans, reflective consciousness.
Humans thus gained the potential to anticipate and manage by intention.  They developed the potential to move with progressive efficiency and creativity toward goals.  The possibility of civilization as we know it was born.

An Integral part of Personal Growth Work
In personal growth work we seek to consciously improve the ability to build and maintain adaptive boundaries so a person can continue to evolve to higher levels of functioning. 

We do this in several ways:  by freeing the inhibited flow of the life force, and by improving body awareness and cultivating soft inward looking that leads to deeper reflective consciousness and an improved sense of self.  Once a person has achieved an adequate sense of self, measured amounts of “force” (as in physics) can be applied to support purposeful skills.  As examples:  Externally generated force might be that of a good father firmly limiting his children’s narcissism, a policeman enforcing a speed limit, or the simple arrival of winter.   Internally generated force might be purposely holding one’s breath, or re-directing one’s gaze, to block the experience of a primary feeling while engaging in a alternative, but freely chosen, activity.

In summary:  A large part of Radix work is dedicated to liberating the flow of the radix (life force) from the unconscious character armoring.  Once this flow is freed it is equally important to engage in purpose work, which is dedicated to consciously inhibiting the flow, spawning and supporting the previously described split in the radix  process.   Using the capacity for both distant vision and deep internal reflection, re-directing the flow supports the student’s goals and purposes.  Students that are balanced in both feeling and purpose functions develop a deeper consciousness that supports them throughout their life.  There is much debate on how a radix teacher best helps a student to grow purposive capacities.  We would like to further that discussion through this website.

One of our goals at Kelley/Radix is to help secure the place of purpose work in our field and across the spectrum of bodywork.


*See articles:  The conflict of feeling and purpose; and About Reich and Radix.  Both are found in THE RADIX, pp. 179-192 and pp. 192-226 respectively, and are available on this site.

Ron Hook – Purpose Work

Radix Feeling Work, Aligned with Purpose
To live an optimal, purpose driven life one must learn to willfully control one’s feelings both physical and emotional,  in service to a larger goal.  This is accomplished through the tensing of various muscles in order to control, channel or block the flow of the life force or “radix” within the body, thereby providing the space and or energy needed to sustain focus on a longer term objective.

Radix feeling work provides a greater sense of aliveness and much relief to someone who has been emotionally and physically constricted.   However, to be completely unconstricted and free of  “muscular armor” is to live a childlike existence within an adult body.

Purpose Work Defined
Purpose work is necessary to help grow the capacity to open AND close the flow of feeling at will, according to the situation and the best objective judgment of the individual.  It enables one to “see” inward and outward:  to understand the self and the driving forces within, and to understand the external reality for what it is.

Dr. Kelley recognized this need early on in his work and pursued teachers who had a proven ability to help individuals grow the capacity to consciously block the flow of feeling in order to achieve another goal.  Nathaniel Branden, Rueven Bar-Levav and Eric Byrne’s successors all had an influence upon Dr. Kelley’s work.

The Radix Institute supports the need for Purpose work wherever body work and opening the feelings is practiced.  There are a variety of methods available to the practitioner and Dr. Kelley  wrote numerous times about the subject.   Some of these writings are listed below and can be downloaded from our site under Publications.

"Radix Purpose Work” Bibliography
“The Conflict of Feeling and Purpose”


Reprinted in THE RADIX 1992 from Chuck Kelley’s Radix Journal Vol. II, Nos. 3 & 4, 1980. Includes
“The Radix Algebra of Purpose.”

“What is the Matter With Man?  The Origin of the Muscular Armor”

Reprinted in THE RADIX 1992 from Chuck Kelley’s Radix Journal Volume II Nos. 1&2, 1979-80.

“Purpose” Briefs from Chuck Kelley’s Radix Newsletters 1989-1992:

On the Relation of Feeling and Purpose – Newsletter #3, August 1989

A Purpose Exercise (Bar-Levav “lifeboat” in space) – Newsletter #9, Fall 1991

The Audacity of Education in Purpose – Newsletter #9, Fall 1991

Purpose in Action –  Newsletter #11, Spring 1992

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