Liking the World Story
By Eli Siegel
There was once a person who bought a very beautiful painting—it could have been of the 15th century, it could have been of the 16th century, it could have been earlier. That beautiful painting became part of his home and mingled with a wall of where he lived. He looked at the painting and saw its beauty quite often. However, a sister of his died. A schoolmate he was very fond of came to have a very sad and frightening disease. The wrong things happened in his state, and there were many things that were disgusting happening in his country. Because of the sad things that were happening, he felt he no longer liked the painting he had bought.
People who didn't go through what this person did, know that he was wrong. Just because a relative of his died, and a friend got a very bad disease, was no lessening of the beauty of this painting.
That is, deeply, our attitude to the world. There is something about the world that is like this painting, that doesn't depend on what happens to us immediately, although it is related.
So the question, then, is whether the world has a structure like that of the painting, which is beyond any personal misfortune of our own, though we can use good fortune and misfortune to understand it. This is what Aesthetic Realism means by liking the world. There is a certain structure of the world and everything in it, which can be liked every day, even though we are losing on every horse that day.
© 1971 by Definition Press; © 2012 by the Aesthetic Realism Foundation
"Liking the World Story," was published in The Right of Aesthetic Realism to Be Known, number 403, December 24, 1980.