Thursday, January 15, 2015

"Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee!"

Everyone above a certain age knows who said that! He was one of the most famous, loved, but also controversial figures of the 1960's.  He was also passionately against racism and for justice. 
But did you know that Muhammad Ali can teach us about what it means to be strong? This is what Mike Palmer shows in his wonderful, moving paper, originally given in a public seminar at the Aesthetic Realism Foundation"True Strength in a Man, with a discussion about Muhammad Ali." 

One of the crucial distinctions Mike Palmer draws is between the strength that is also kind, and the strength motivated by contempt.  Ali is great because, although he is a person who made his living and his fame from boxing, he had a big desire to think deeply about other people and what they went through -- and he didn't back down once he saw something was unjust. 

The anger and ill will that Ali met from the press and others, which Mr. Palmer explains, can bring perspective to how Aesthetic Realism has been seen. Beauty, truth, and kindness, which this education stands for so utterly, and which Eli Siegel stood for himself, have often been attacked in history by those whose philosophy of life is articulated by Iago in his comment about Cassio, from the play Othello:

     "He hath a daily beauty in his life
      That makes me ugly..."    

This is documented in the important website of our time, Countering the Lies. I whole-heartedly recommend it, along with Michael Palmer's article.