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

The Fight in People, the Answer in Art

November 15, 2017

Issue #1966

What is the largest matter, the constant need, the deepest purpose in the mind of everyone? That is what the lecture we are serializing is about: Poetry and the Unconscious, by Eli Siegel. He gave this talk in 1949, eight years after he began to teach Aesthetic Realism, with its true and magnificent understanding of the self.

We include here too an article by sociologist and Aesthetic Realism consultant Devorah Tarrow. It’s part of a paper she presented last month at a public seminar titled Women—Determined & Doubtful; or, When Is Our Determination Right?

Aesthetic Realism explains that the self, so particular to each of us, is an aesthetic matter. Everyone’s own self—including our unconscious, what we don’t know in us—is described in this principle: “All beauty is a making one of opposites, and the making one of opposites is what we are going after in ourselves.” The opposites that make up the world—motion and rest, force and gentleness, expansion and contraction, freedom and order, and more—are ours too. And our great need is to make them one, in particular the opposites of self and world: we need to feel that care for our so personal individuality is inseparable from justice to what we are not, the outside world through which we live and know and love and become increasingly ourselves....more

What Don’t We Know about Ourselves?

November 1, 2017

Issue #1965

With this issue we begin to publish a magnificent lecture by Eli Siegel: Poetry and the Unconscious, of 1949.

The phrase the unconscious is not used these days as it was for many decades of the 20th century—it’s not used with the terrific frequency of then. And as I see it, the big reason is this: The unconscious had been made very important by Freud, but in the wrong way and for the wrong reasons. He had described it falsely, had people feel that what went on unseen in them was a cauldron of teeming repressions and drives, mainly having to do with sex. The unconscious that Freud depicted was a shabby yet looming thing, and people were fearfully impressed by it. The Freudian approach to mind ruled the field for many years. And when it faded there was largely a putting aside of the unconscious as something to be looked at: psychological practitioners went away from Freud without saying plainly that he was wrong; and while his view of the unconscious by then seemed uncompelling, they couldn’t replace it with anything that made sense. They didn’t understand the unconscious any better than he had....more

The Kindness of True Imagination

October 18, 2017

Issue #1964

Here is the conclusion of Imagination—It Gathers, by Eli Siegel, a 1971 lecture definitive about a matter central to art, and to everyone’s life. Mr. Siegel has been describing how imagination in art gathers, brings things together—and those things are not only objects and ideas, but the opposing qualities that make up the world itself. This is in keeping with the central principle of Aesthetic Realism: “All beauty is a making one of opposites, and the making one of opposites is what we are going after in ourselves.”

Eli Siegel is the critic who showed that there are two kinds of imagination, good and bad. And the distinction is: good imagination arises from the desire to respect the world; bad, from the desire to have contempt for it....more

A World to Be Just to—or Manage?

October 4, 2017

Issue #1963

We continue to serialize the important lecture Imagination—It Gathers, which Eli Siegel gave in 1971. And here too is an article by Harriet Bernstein, from a paper she presented this summer at the public seminar titled “The Fight in Women about Managing or Understanding—& the Beautiful Answer.” What do these two portions of the current TRO have to do with each other? What does the imagination that is in art have to do with a constant unseen battle in everyone—children, married couples, government officials: the battle of to manage versus to understand?

Eli Siegel is the philosopher who showed that art is not an offset to life or even just a fine addition to life. Art is inseparable from what we are: art is how we want to be; it does what we want to do. This principle is the basis of the philosophy he founded: “All beauty is a making one of opposites, and the making one of opposites is what we are going after in ourselves.” The largest opposites in everyone’s life are self and world. These opposites are central in imagination. They’re central too in managing, and in understanding....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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