Wednesday, January 21, 2015

I saw a powerful and moving film this past Monday, Martin Luther King Day: Selma, by filmmaker Ava DuVernay. I respect her work immensely.  

This film shows the horror of segregation and the lengths to which people will go to maintain their own supposed superiority.  But it also shows the power of good, the courage of individuals, not only Dr. King and his colleagues, but of so many people whose names are little known today but whose lives are immortalized by Selma, because of what they felt and what they did.  Eli Siegel, the founder of Aesthetic Realism, saw ethics as real and powerful.  Ethics, he said, "is a force, like electricity, steam, the atom-- and will have its way."  The feeling in thousands, millions, of individual men, women and children that they will not stand for being seen with contempt is a force in the world, working in 1965 and also right now in 2015.  

On this subject, there is an article by journalist and Aesthetic Realism associate, Alice Bernstein, on the meaning of Dr. King.  She quotes a poem that I love, written by Mr. Siegel hours after the news of that awful assassination in 1968 became known.