Current & recent issues of The Right of Aesthetic Realism to Be Known

Brightness, Dimness, & People's Hopes

May 16, 2018

Issue #1979

With this issue we are beginning to serialize a lecture that Eli Siegel gave quite early in the history of Aesthetic Realism. It is Poetry and Brightness, of 1949, and I find it amazing and beautiful.

Though the idea of brightness may not seem an urgent matter, it is. And here is a large reason why: While there are brightness and non-brightness in things, there is also the possibility of brightness or non-brightness in how we see, think, meet what’s not ourselves—with brightness here meaning vibrancy, vividness, awareness, active attention. The opponents of brightness in how a person sees are dullness, unfeelingness, dimness, non-awareness; and from these comes cruelty. A person dull to the feelings of others—someone to whom the lives, emotions, value of others are dim, someone who has made oneself in the dark about the hopes and fears and meaning of others—is unkind, and can be brutal. There is a lot of this brutality, including in governments....more

The Deepest Kind of Cleverness

May 2, 2018

Issue #1978

We have reached the conclusion of Eli Siegel’s great 1949 lecture Poetry and Cleverness. In this
final section, to illustrate what cleverness is, he uses passages from Samuel Butler’s Hudibras, a satiric poem cared for immensely from the time it was first published, in 1662.

Cleverness is something people want very much to have; yet they also despise themselves for their cleverness. It’s something they both admire and detest in others. There is a tremendous mix-up in people about cleverness, because the difference between good cleverness, beautiful cleverness, and ugly, hurtful cleverness has not been understood….more

The Two Kinds of Cleverness

April 18, 2018

Issue #1977

We have come to section 4 of Eli Siegel’s wonderful 1949 lecture Poetry and Cleverness. Offhand, cleverness does not seem one of humanity’s biggest concerns. Yet how our very lives go depends on how we see cleverness, on how we’re affected by it, on how we try to be clever.

Cleverness is immensely diverse. And in this lecture Mr. Siegel describes what all cleverness has in common, from the kind that’s ridiculous, to the charming, to the kind much present in politics. Cleverness is always a dealing with the opposites of ease and difficulty....more

The Self: Clever, Deep, & Confused

April 4, 2018

Issue #1976

Here is the third section of Eli Siegel’s great 1949 lecture Poetry and Cleverness. Here too, from a recent public seminar, is part of a paper by Leila Rosen, teacher of English and Aesthetic Realism associate. The seminar’s title was “How Can a Woman Be Sure of Herself in Life & Love?”

In the lecture Mr. Siegel speaks about various aspects and ways of cleverness. That word, cleverness, can include so much—from cruel trickery, to charm, and even, he shows, beauty itself. But it’s usually associated with a certain superficiality, not depth; with smallness, not grandeur; with deviousness, not sincerity and kindness....more

The Right Of is edited by Ellen Reiss, Aesthetic Realism Chairman of Education, who is author of its commentaries.

The Right of Aesthetic Realism to Be Known online:

*Current Issues: The most recent issues in which Aesthetic Realism explains the news, happenings in people's lives, events in history, and some of the most moving works in literature.

*National Ethics: What honest criteria can we use to be good critics of ethics on the national and international levels? Aesthetic Realism looks at ethics as to loyalty, international affairs, & more.


*Literature / Poetry: Discussing many great works of poetry and prose. Criticism, wrote Eli Siegel compactly, is showing "a good thing as good, a bad thing as bad, and a middling thing as middling."

*Love: How Aesthetic Realism describes the purpose of love—"to like the world honestly through another person." Discussion of what interferes with having real love—today and in history.


*Racism—the Cause & Solution: The Aesthetic Realism understanding of contempt as the cause of racism, and the place of aesthetics in respecting, pleasurably, people different from oneself.

*The Economy: Why our economic system has failed to meet the needs of the American people, and the Aesthetic Realism understanding of good will as the basis for successful and fair economics


*Education: The success of the Aesthetic Realism Teaching Method in having students learn to read and write—learn science, social studies, art, every subject—and be kinder, less angry, less prejudiced.

*Eli Siegel Day in Baltimore: Talks given on August 16, 2002, Eli Siegel's Centenary, placing Mr. Siegel and Aesthetic Realism, his work, in terms of world culture and history.


*Art: "Aesthetic Realism sees the purpose of art as, from the beginning, the liking of the world more..."

*Archives: The rich education provided by Aesthetic Realism in issues of The Right of Aesthetic Realism to Be Known which are online.


Aesthetic Realism Foundation online

The most comprehensive source of information about Aesthetic Realism is the website of the Aesthetic Realism Foundation—and the sites connected to it, including this one. You can start, for instance, at the Foundation's home page. Then, go on to biographical information about Eli Siegel, who founded Aesthetic Realism in 1941. You will see how the education he began teaching in those years continues now in Aesthetic Realism consultations and in public dramatic presentations and seminars at the Aesthetic Realism Foundation—as well as in the Foundation's Outreach Programs for seniors, young people, libraries, teachers. Meanwhile in the schools of New York, the dramatically effective Aesthetic Realism Teaching Method has enabled students to learn, to love learning, and to pass standardized examinations for four decades. And artists since 1955 have exhibited at the Terrain Gallery for which many have written commentaries (including on their own works), based on the philosophic principles of Aesthetic Realism. You can read about Ellen Reiss, Aesthetic Realism Chairman of Education, online, as well as about every person on the faculty of the Foundation. As editor of TRO her commentaries are in every issue (see, e.g., "Nature, Romanticism, & Harry Potter"; "Clothing and Emotion"; and "Jobs, Discontent, and Beauty"). In the Aesthetic Realism Online Library, you'll find the largest single repository of reviews, articles in the press, lectures, poetry; and The Right of Aesthetic Realism to Be Known. In 2002, Eli Siegel' s centenary, the Governor of Maryland and the Mayor of Baltimore, the city where he grew up, wrote on the meaning to America of Aesthetic Realism and its founder. So did the former chair of the Congressional Black Caucus, Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, in the U.S. Congressional Record.

Selected Resources online

People in America's diverse professions—the humanities, the arts, education, the social sciences, medicine, labor—have written on the value of Aesthetic Realism. They describe the way Aesthetic Realism teaches people how to understand themselves more accurately; how the ability to be just to other people is enhanced; how one's professional attainments are augmented. Language arts teacher Leila Rosen, for example, writes on the Aesthetic Realism teaching method. Anthropologist Arnold Perey writes on the way Aesthetic Realism opposes prejudice and improves international understanding. And there are many others. Historically, new knowledge has often been met unjustly. This was true about the new, innovative thought of Louis Pasteur and John Keats, Beethoven and William Lloyd Garrison, Jonas Salk and Isaac Newton. And it has been true about Aesthetic Realism. Documenting and opposing this, the website "Friends of Aesthetic Realism — Countering the Lies," written by more than 60 individuals, refutes the falsehoods of the few persons who have attacked Aesthetic Realism and lets the facts speak for themselves. People who want to express their opinion of Aesthetic Realism, and have the knowledge to back it up, have created blogs and websites and have written numerous articles. See, for example, composer and educator Edward Green; essayist Lynette Abel; photographer Len Bernstein; teachers Ann Richards, Christopher Balchin, and Alan Shapiro. Others are listed in "What People Are Saying." The education of Aesthetic Realism enables a person to understand oneself more exactly than has been possible before, and to like the world honestly, authentically.


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