What Is Aesthetic Realism?
On this website I’m glad to bring to people some of what I’ve learned from Aesthetic Realism, the philosophy founded by the great American poet and critic Eli Siegel.
Aesthetic Realism is education, true and kind, about the world and the human self, our hopes and possibilities. It explains and answers the questions we have about happiness, our family, friends, love. You will find here articles by me that have been presented to audiences at public seminars in New York City, about what causes pain in love, and what love truly is, the fight between selfishness and generosity, and much more!
I grew up in the village of Glendale, Ohio, northwest of Cincinnati, graduated from Denison University, and moved to New York City. That’s where I first attended an Aesthetic Realism seminar. I was electrified by the honesty & scholarship of the speakers, and what they were saying about art and life.
Three Principles of Aesthetic Realism
I began to study these principles, stated by Eli Siegel, which are the basis of the philosophy Aesthetic Realism:
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.
They are true—and through them and thrilling Aesthetic Realism consultations, I became happier, kinder, more the person I hoped to be. I recommend the book Self and World: An Explanation of Aesthetic Realism and many other works by Eli Siegel in the Online Library.
At this fearful time I urge you to read the international journal The Right of Aesthetic Realism to Be Known, edited by Ellen Reiss. Here’s a quote from her commentary in 2020 that began a series on how to use Covid-19 to strengthen ourselves:
“Decades ago, Eli Siegel asked the following vitally important question:
‘Is this true: No matter how much of a case one has against the world—its unkindness, its disorder, its ugliness, its meaninglessness—one has to do all one can to like it, or one will weaken oneself?’
I have seen, through many years of careful looking, the answer is: Yes, it’s true. So I’ll mention 4 aspects of that needed thing, using COVID-19 to like the world.
1) Evil (which the coronavirus stands for and has) is certainly real. But what is good in this world is just as real…” read more