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

What Makes Imagination Kind or Cruel?

August 23, 2017

Issue #1960

Here is the third installment of the wonderful 1971 lecture we are serializing, Imagination—It Gathers, by Eli Siegel. And here too is part of a paper by Edward Green, from a public seminar of last month titled “A Man’s Imagination: What Makes It Good or Bad?”

Dr. Green—composer, musicologist, professor at the Manhattan School of Music—is writing about the greatness of Aesthetic Realism’s understanding of imagination. In all the history of thought, it is Eli Siegel who showed there are two kinds of imagination, and these arise from the two big desires at war in everyone: the desire to respect the world, and the desire to have contempt—“get a false importance or glory from the lessening of things not oneself.” And Dr. Green writes courageously (also humorously) about something that has tormented artists, and that they have not understood: an artist as person may use his imagination in a way that’s fundamentally at odds with the respectful imagination from which art comes. Through contempt, people weaken their minds and lives every day. And through contempt, artists have also hindered, even stifled, the art in themselves....more

How Do We Want to Imagine?

August 9, 2017

Issue #1959

We are serializing the important—also exciting and delightful—lecture Imagination—It Gathers, which Eli Siegel gave in 1971. And here too is an article about imagination by architect and Aesthetic Realism consultant Dale Laurin. It’s from a paper he presented last month, at a public seminar titled “A Man’s Imagination: What Makes It Good or Bad?”

That title has in it something of the greatness of Aesthetic Realism. People haven’t known that imagination, with all its vast diversity, is of two kinds. Eli Siegel is the critic who showed it is, and made clear the distinction between these. There is the imagination which—even when it deals with the grotesque or ugly—is based on respect for the world. That is good imagination, good for the person having it and for humanity. The other imagination is based on contempt for the world; it is bad imagination, is always hurtful, and (as I wrote in the previous issue) is behind every human cruelty, from snobbishness to racism and fascism....more

What Kind of Imagination?

July 26, 2017

Issue #1958

Here is the first part of Imagination—It Gathers, by Eli Siegel. This lecture of June 1971 is from a series, magnificent and definitive, that he was giving at the time on the subject of imagination. He spoke and wrote on imagination often, and he is the philosopher to explain something never understood before: Aesthetic Realism shows there are two kinds of imagination, and shows the criterion for each, the distinction between them. Humanity needs, mightily, to know that distinction.

What makes some imagination valuable, life-strengthening, beautiful, even artistically great? And what makes another kind ugly, weakening, stupid, viciously hurtful? There is, for example, the imagination of Shakespeare. Through it there came to be characters who—whether good or evil—are grandly immortal: Juliet, for instance, and Iago; Viola, Hamlet, and Lady Macbeth. What is the fundamental difference between the Shakespeare imagination, with its made-up persons and actions, and the imagination of a politician who makes up and puts forth lies? Or the imagination of two high school girls who plot how to make another girl look ridiculous via social media?...more

Yes—Love, Pleasure, & Self-Respect!

July 12, 2017

Issue #1957

We are proud to publish a section of an Aesthetic Realism lesson conducted by Eli Siegel in 1970. The consultations that take place now at the Aesthetic Realism Foundation, and by Skype and telephone, arise from the lessons Mr. Siegel gave. The basis was always this landmark principle: “All beauty is a making one of opposites, and the making one of opposites is what we are going after in ourselves.” And always, Mr. Siegel saw the very particular person having the lesson as related to art, science, history, the world itself.

In those lessons, which Mr. Siegel gave between 1941 and 1978, something happened that was new in human history: people felt truly understood, to their depths and in all their subtlety, and were learning, on a logical basis, how to understand themselves. As a result, one’s life changed grandly, richly, accurately for the better. That is an objective statement, but it also has my own living gratitude in it—because I am one of the people who, within that short period of history, had Aesthetic Realism lessons. I met the immense kindness and knowledge of Eli Siegel in relation to my own questions, hopes, life....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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