|Love world, yourself
What I've learned, and have the honor to teach at the Aesthetic Realism Foundation, about love and self-respect revolutionized my life. The true basis for love, and only basis for self-respect, is explained by Aesthetic Realism, founded by American philosopher Eli Siegel.
I learned that we were born to know and like the world. When love is in behalf of this, men and women respect themselves as never before.
Since 1971 I've seen people's lives change beautifully as they learn what obstructs love in their lives: the desire for contempt, or ``the addition to self through the lessening of something else.''
Though a man might praise a woman lavishly and make passionate love to her, she is furious with him, curses herself, and can't understand why. Siegel explains: ``Our biggest desire is to feel that the big world in which we are is something that makes us grow. But we'd also like to think that the world is bad, disorganized . . . and that we're superior to it. That is the victory of contempt.
``If we can get somebody out of this world . . . we think we have really pulled a universal fast one.''
Contempt makes for the fighting, boredom and despair about love. My colleagues and I ask questions about women's purposes in love: Do you want to know who this man is -- all he's related to -- including his mother -- or only his relation to you? As a man desires you, do you respect him more or less? As you think of this man, do other people get dismissed or matter more to you?
When my husband Robert Murphy and I began dating, I was amazed by how richly the world was in him.
Through him, the meaning of people is closer to me. As we embrace, he
wants me to be kinder, more intelligent; and I want him to like the whole
world, not just me.
Aesthetic Realism Consultant
New York, N.Y.
The writer was born and reared in Miami and was a soloist with the Miami Ballet.
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