Is it true, as Aesthetic
Realism said years ago, that man's deepest desire, his largest desire,
is to like the world on an honest or accurate basis? And is it true,
as Aesthetic Realism said later, that the desire to have contempt for the
outside world and for people and other objects as standing for the outside
world, is a continuous, unseen desire making for mental insufficiency?
The large difference between Aesthetic Realism and other ways of seeing
an individual is that Aesthetic Realism makes the attitude of an individual
to the whole world the most critical thing in his life.
Aesthetic Realism in 1941 first said that it was one's way of seeing the
world which caused mental mishap or difficulty. And it was in the
same year, 1941, that Aesthetic Realism said the useful way of seeing mind
was to look upon it as a continual question of aesthetics....
Aesthetic Realism states that ethics begins with the human obligation to
see everything, living and not living, as well as one can. Where
we get away from this obligation or don't see it, or diminish its meaning,
it is rather clear that contempt is showing its strength; indeed, is winning.
The first victory of contempt is the feeling in people that they have the
right to see other people and things pretty much as they please.
For this reason, the viewpoint of Aesthetic Realism that we have an obligation
to see everything as well as we can, is a critical matter.
The fact that most people have felt there is no such obligation, that they
had the right to see other people and other objects in a way that seemed
to go with comfort—this fact is the beginning of the injustice and pain
of the world. It is contempt in its first universal, hideous form....
There are two means, as Aesthetic Realism sees it, of bringing some satisfaction
to ourselves. The first is the seeing of something like a sunset,
a poem, a concerto, which can stand for the world and which pleases us
through what it is: its structure in mind, time, and space. This
is the aesthetic victory, which is the most sensible of all victories.
The other victory is our ability to depreciate anything that exists.
To see the world itself as an impossible mess—and this is often not difficult
at all—gives a certain triumph to the individual....
AESTHETIC REALISM ITSELF
Aesthetic Realism, in keeping
with its name, sees all reality including the reality that is oneself,
as the aesthetic oneness of opposites. It is clear that reality is
motion and rest at once, change and sameness at once. Are we ourselves
change and sameness at once, motion and rest at once? If a person
asks himself, is he in motion this morning at 11 o'clock, and also is he
still as he was—the answer is: "Certainly, John Bell is moving and still
is John Bell at 11 o'clock of an American morning."
that music is felt always as a oneness of motion and rest, or of difference
and sameness. A person, like music, is an aesthetic reality; for
every moment of his life, he is at once rest and motion, sameness and change.
LIKING THE WORLD
Aesthetic Realism sees the largest
purpose of every human being as the liking of the world on an honest basis.
If, as Aesthetic Realism believes, all the sciences, let alone all the
arts, present reality as constituted or shaped aesthetically, reality or
the world can that much be liked. Aesthetic Realism does not bid
people to like reality; it does bid people to hope to like reality and
to do all they can to like it. A seeing of the sciences in their
relation and where they begin, is a means of seeing the world favorably;
with order and surprise.
Aesthetic Realism is personally useful; it is all for personal development;
but it is always a seeing of the whole world, and a hope not to miss anything
which tells us what the world is. Aesthetic Realism, then, is unabashed
philosophy, as it presents the moment as friendly to a person; as perhaps
wider, deeper, more of oneself than was thought.
See biographical information:
ELI SIEGEL (1902-1978) , poet, critic, philosopher, educator, founder of Aesthetic Realism, was born August 16, 1902 in Dvinsk, Latvia, the son of Mendel and Sarah (Einhorn) Siegel. He was brought to the United States in 1905, and grew up in Baltimore, Maryland. In August 2002, his centenary, Baltimore celebrated Eli Siegel Day with proclamations by the mayor and governor, and a memorial to him was erected in Druid Hill Park....more
Home: Aesthetic Realism Foundation
Site Map:Aesthetic Realism Foundation
Lectures by Eli Siegel in the Aesthetic Realism Online Library
Poetry of Eli Siegel in Online Library
Essays by Eli Siegel in Online Library
Reviews of Eli Siegel's poetry and other works
Reviews by Eli Siegel in Scribner's
Eli Siegel in The Right of Aesthetic Realism to Be Known
Contact / Information
Governor's & Mayor's Proclamations
U.S. Congressional Record
Resources / Links
Top of Page
Aesthetic Realism Foundation
141 Greene Street [in SoHo]
New York, NY 10012
Copyright © by Aesthetic Realism Foundation
A not-for-profit educational foundation