I am an Aesthetic Realism consultant, a coordinator of the international journal The Right of Aesthetic Realism to Be Known and of the Terrain Gallery, and I live in New York City. I want people to know the value of Aesthetic Realism, the educational philosophy founded in 1941 by Eli Siegel. I’ll publish here, for instance, portions of talks & public seminars I’ve given, based on Aesthetic Realism, explaining in a new way poetry, literature, art, history, life.
What Is Aesthetic Realism?
Aesthetic Realism is based on these three principles stated by its founder, the great American poet and critic Eli Siegel [author of Self and World; Hot Afternoons Have Been in Montana: Poems; James and the Children; and many other critical works] :
1) The deepest desire of every person is to like the world on an honest or accurate basis.
2) The greatest danger for a person is to have contempt for the world and what is in it…. Contempt can be defined as the lessening of what is different from oneself as a means of self-increase as one sees it.
3) All beauty is a making one of opposites, and the making one of opposites is what we are going after in ourselves.
These principles are illustrated in thrilling public presentations at the Aesthetic Realism Foundation in New York City, including in exhibitions of contemporary art at the Terrain Gallery—and in outreach programs such as education conferences, anti-prejudice workshops at schools, speakers on the arts at museums & universities, dramatic productions by the Aesthetic Realism Theatre Company at libraries, community centers, union events.
When Aesthetic Realism Is Known
I think that when Aesthetic Realism is known and studied widely, our earth will be respected and valued much more, economics will be based on ethics and not profit, and wars can end. There will be much less brutality between people and ordinary pain. My seminar papers, written over the last two decades spanning the 20th & 21st centuries, give evidence for this opinion. Aesthetic Realism’s understanding of contempt is necessary for these hoped-for things to occur.
I love Aesthetic Realism, for instance, because it has had me see that many things I’d felt had to be separate or opposing, actually are not—such as love and intellect, criticism and kindness, originality and tradition. I’m grateful that, because of my study of Aesthetic Realism, I came to see people, beginning with my parents, with greater depth and fairness. I am a much happier, kinder, more expressed person—and each day as I learn more, I have greater respect for the world and all the rich diversity it takes in!