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The bane of true democracy

     Although Northwest Airlines declared bankruptcy, thousands of its employees are still on strike [“Northwest and Delta file for bankruptcy,” Business & Technology, Sept. 15]. In their fight, they stand for all Americans. They're protesting their employer's long-planned scheme to eliminate more than three quarters of them; slash pay and benefits for the remainder by more than 28 percent; and eliminate their hard-earned pensions.

     In recent years, in the airline industry alone, more than 100,000 well-paying union jobs have been outsourced.

     The beautiful, democratic solution was explained by Eli Siegel, founder of the philosophy Aesthetic Realism: “Jobs should be for usefulness, not for profit.”

     The answer to the crisis in the airline industry is this: The U.S. government—the people—should take it over, instead of subsidizing these private companies with multibillion-dollar bailouts.

     We the people already own and maintain all the major airports, employ the air traffic controllers and security personnel. Let's stop using government money to prop up multimillion-dollar salaries, bail out banks, investment firms and non-working shareholders.

     This answer is in the American tradition. Our federal, state and municipal governments own or control, on behalf of the people, Amtrak, the post office, fire departments, subways, bus lines, schools, VA hospitals, utilities, highway departments and more. And there isn't one million-dollar salary in the lot. Despite efforts to weaken them and screams of “inefficiency” by some with private vested interests, these entities are generally efficient. And, most importantly, the services are provided for the good of the American people. And the management is answerable to the electorate, not to Wall Street.

Timothy Lynch  
Farmingdale  

Editor's note: The writer is president of Teamsters Local 1205.


This letter also appeared in The Record of New Jersey and, in a longer form, as an article in the Progressive Populist.
From an article by Edward Green in
THE BRITISH JOURNAL OF Aesthetics         
                    Oct. 2005   

ON AESTHETIC REALISM
by Edward Green

The American philosopher Eli Siegel called the philosophy he founded in the 1940s Aesthetic Realism. His philosophy has as its central principle: ‘The world, art, and self explain each other: each is the aesthetic oneness of opposites.'

     The Aesthetic Realism of Eli Siegel is a way of seeing reality as a whole. In a 1944 article in the Baltimore Sun, Donald Kirkley wrote about Siegel: ‘He thought “all knowledge was connected—that geology was connected with music, and poetry with chemistry, and history with sports.”... He wished to find...some principle, unifying all the various manifestations of reality'. [This] core principle is that there is no fundamental difference between the structure of reality and the structure of beauty. Moreover, the very nature of self is aesthetic. Siegel stated: ‘The world, art, and self explain each other: each is the aesthetic oneness of opposites'. In 1977 he gave a compact, tripartite description of his philosophy:

One, Man's greatest, deepest desire is to like the world honestly. Two, The one way to like the world honestly, not as a conquest of one's own, is to see the world as the aesthetic oneness of opposites. Three, The greatest danger or temptation of man is to get a false importance or glory from the lessening of things not himself; which lessening is contempt.

     In 1955 the Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism published Siegel's essay ‘Is Beauty the Making One of Opposites?' Through reviews and commentaries his conception of Aesthetic Realism reached a wide audience, as was acknowledged by the editor of the Hibbert Journal of London in his introductory comments when, in 1964, that journal reprinted the essay.

     Siegel's book Self and World: An Explanation of Aesthetic Realism (1981) was reviewed in the Smithsonian and on its dust-jacket are public endorsements of his work from several prominent figures including Meyer Schapiro, Professor Emeritus of Art History at Columbia, William Carlos Williams, the Pulitzer prize-winning poet, and Huntington Cairns, the former Secretary of the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC. Cairns, for example, wrote: ‘I believe that Eli Siegel was a genius. He did for aesthetics what Spinoza did for ethics.'

I agree with Cairns. So do other scholars in various fields, academic and artistic. I mention just one: my colleague, anthropologist Arnold Perey, whose 1973 doctoral dissertation from Columbia, Oksapmin Society and Worldview, is based on Aesthetic Realism, as are his various publications since. In 2004 for the Conference on Interdisciplinary Musicology under the auspices of the European Society for the Cognitive Sciences of Music (ESCOM), held in Graz, we gave a presentation entitled: ‘Aesthetic Realism: A New Foundation for Inter­disciplin­ary Musicology'. It was published by ESCOM and can also be found online.

In [Eli Siegel's] writings one finds a vital clarification of the relation of ethics and aesthetics; aesthetics and metaphysics.

amNewYork
MANHATTAN'S LARGEST CIRCULATION DAILY                                                          WEEKEND, APRIL 28-30, 2006

Cruel to Americans

     Like most people, I am outraged at the criminal price increase inflicted on us by greedy oil companies. The only reason that this outrage is occurring is because oil company executives, in their drive for mammoth profits, have tremendous contempt for people. The great American educator and historian Eli Siegel, founder of the philosophy Aesthetic Realism, defined contempt as “the addition to self through the lessening of something else.” Contempt is the cause of all human cruelty, including jacking up the price of something that many people need.

Matthew D'Amico, East Rockaway

The News Sentinel masthead

Injustices often used as excuse to injure others

Removing guns from a child's hands is paramount. But why, if he has a gun, does he use it to kill innocent people?

     Aesthetic Realism, founded by the philosopher Eli Siegel—shows that the deepest desire of every person is “to like the world on an honest basis.” But there is another desire: to have contempt, the “disposition to think we will be for ourselves by making less of the outside world.”

     Every person—young and old—must understand how contempt works and how we justify it.

     Ellen Reiss, Class Chairman of Aesthetic Realism, explains in The Right of Aesthetic Realism to Be Known:

     “A huge mistake people make [is]: they use the fact that they have suffered to be mean to others....People have most often felt that they have the right to see other people any way they please....Every person needs to be asked: Do you use injustice to be fair to other people or unfair?
     “There is no more emergent question.”

Jeffrey Carduner
New York , N.Y.


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