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Selections from:

Definitions, and Comment:
Being a Description of the World

By Eli Siegel

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Eli Siegel wrote Definitions, and Comment: Being a Description of the World in 1945, and it is serialized in the journal The Right of Aesthetic Realism to Be Known. In this work he defines and comments on 134 words—among them, Thing, Romance, Space, Courage, Surprise, Aspect, and History. And his discussions, while strictly and richly philosophic, are also exciting, deeply moving, kind, and sometimes humorous.  Mr. Siegel’s respect for words and honesty about them are central to the coming-to-be and exactitude of the philosophy Aesthetic Realism.  He writes in his preface:  “The purpose of these definitions is to have reality seen more clearly by having the opposites in reality seen more clearly—which is also more kindly, truly, and usefully.” The following are his definitions of, and comments on, a number of terms, including: Reality, Truth, Aesthetics, Success, and Everydayness.

REALITY
     "Reality is all that which can affect one."
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AESTHETICS
     "Aesthetics is the showing of an object in such a way that the difference
      and sameness of reality as a whole is seen in that object, with difference
      and sameness as beginning opposites."
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imageEVERYDAYNESS
     "Everydayness is the feeling of existence as close, expected, customary."
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image FREEDOM

    "Freedom is the being able for a thing to be as it wants to be, while changing as it wants to change."
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INTELLIGENCE
      "Intelligence is the ability of a self to become at one with the new."
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SUCCESS
     "Success is the coming to be of one's purpose."
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TRUTH
      "Truth is the having of a thing as it is, in mind.
"
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APPRECIATION
      "Appreciation is the enjoying of a thing by seeing it as it is.
"
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HOPE and FEAR
      "Hope is pleasure from feeling that pleasure may come." "Fear is pain from thinking that pain may come.
"
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LIKING
      "Liking is the feeling that something outside of oneself has something in common with oneself; and that that something in common is for one.
"
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CHANGE
      "Change is the having by a thing of something which it didn't have, or the not having by a thing of something which it did have.
"
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RELATION
      "Relation is the having to do of a thing with another thing.
"
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HISTORY
      "History is shown feeling about the past.
"
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DESIRE
      "Desire is a feeling thought of as cause.
"
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INSTINCT
      "Instinct is desire not known or seen as an object.
"
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SCIENCE
     "Science, as situation, is knowledge known to be had; as procedure, it is willed knowledge.
"
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MOTIVE
     "Motive is cause attended by life.
"
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EXISTENCE
    "Existence is all things that are and all things that are not, taken together."

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EMOTION
    "Emotion is feeling—other than direct sensation—seen as of a group."

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HOME
    "Home is a place, or arrangement-of-matter, which a person sees as something he definitely and
closely of or in, or both."

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EFFORT
    "Effort is the known doing of something, accompanied by the feeling that there's some opposition to our doing it."

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RELEASE
    "Release is the giving forth by a self, or the making itself outside in such a way that the self is more what it wants to be."

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STRUCTURE
    "Structure is the parts of a thing considered as making a one."

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NARRATIVE
    "Narrative is the presentation of things as happening, as being in motion, and as being cause and effect."

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FINDING
    "Finding is the reaching by a person of something other than what, at the time, is himself."

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KINDNESS
    "Kindness is that in a self which wants other things to be rightly pleased."

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CLASSIFICATION
    "Classification is the affirmation of a sameness in some things, and the giving of a name to these things having the sameness."

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