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

Space, Matter, Good Will, & the Whale

January 10, 2018

Issue #1970

We are serializing the great 1949 lecture Poetry and Space, by Eli Siegel. It is an opulent, surprising, living illustration of the principle on which Aesthetic Realism is based: “All beauty is a making one of opposites, and the making one of opposites is what we are going after in ourselves.” Space and its opposite, matter, are aspects of the physical universe. And they also represent desires of our own. They have to do with our own confusions, hopes, happiness, mistakes. Space and matter are related to other opposites that are always part of us, opposites that need to join well in us and so often do not: for example, lightness and heaviness, emptiness and fullness, mind and body.

Earlier in the lecture Mr. Siegel gave this definition of space: “reality thought of as not having any weight at all.” And he continued, “Anything seen as permitting motion without any interference at all could be seen as space.”...more

Space, Matter, & Our Own Emotions

December 27, 2017

Issue #1969

It is an honor to begin serializing Poetry and Space, a lecture Eli Siegel gave in 1949. It is great in its literary criticism and its kind, rich understanding of people.

Space, of course, is part of the physical world. Yet we have feelings about it all the time. Those feelings can have joy with them, and ease; also agitation and even terror; and much in between. Space, as Mr. Siegel explains, is in all art. It can be seen as having two opposites: one is time; the other, perhaps even more fundamentally an opposite of space, is matter. And this principle of Aesthetic Realism certainly includes space and matter, space and time: “All beauty is a making one of opposites, and the making one of opposites is what we are going after in ourselves.”...more

Contempt or Respect: The Battle in Everyone

December 13, 2017

Issue #1968

We publish here the conclusion of the 1949 lecture Poetry and the Unconscious, by Eli Siegel. Throughout this amazing talk, he speaks about the 19th-century English poet James Thomson as a means of showing what the largest matter in the self of every person is. This is literary criticism of supreme greatness. It contains unprecedented and true understanding of who we are. And its prose, spoken prose—rich with kindness, exactitude, and joy in knowing—is beautiful.

What Mr. Siegel is describing in this final section, he put as principle in the following statement:

The greatest fight man is concerned with, is the fight between respect for reality and contempt for reality that has taken place in all minds of the past and is taking place now. [TRO 151]

I’ll comment a little on that fight in relation to something much talked about in recent weeks: the matter of sexual harassment in high places, with various eminent men being accused of dealing with women in uninvited and unwelcome lewd ways.

Mr. Siegel described contempt as the desire to get an “addition to self through the lessening of something else.” He identified contempt as the hurtful thing in the human mind—immensely ordinary yet the source of every injustice, including the most vicious. Clearly, if a man sees a woman as something he can grab and deal with as he pleases, he is having contempt. And the fact that this horrible, centuries-old way of using people is being publicly objected to, is a very good thing. It is in behalf of humanity’s being civilized....more

The Thing in Us We Need Most to Understand

November 29, 2017

Issue #1967

We are serializing Poetry and the Unconscious, by Eli Siegel. This vivid, kind 1949 lecture—great in literary criticism—is historic, and also immediate: it’s needed by us now. Here is the third section. And with it is part of a paper by Aesthetic Realism consultant Carol Driscoll, from a public seminar of last month titled “Women—Determined & Doubtful; or, When Is Our Determination Right?”

Discussing poems of James Thomson (1834-82), Mr. Siegel is describing the central matter in the self of everyone—including in our unconscious, or that in us of which we’re unaware. Although Thomson is best known for his powerful writing about the world as darksome, as having much evil, Mr. Siegel points out that he also wrote some of the most cheerful poems ever. And contrary to what various critics have said, Mr. Siegel shows that Thomson didn’t write the happy poems early in life and the darksome later. Rather, he wrote both kinds all along, because he had, intensely, what everyone has—two ways of seeing the world: as an enemy against which he should find solace in himself; and as a friend....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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