Wednesday, June 03, 2015

Aesthetic Realism Shows There Are Two Kinds of Imagination

There is an article on the website of Aesthetic Realism Associate Steven Weiner that explains why racism exists.  It's not directly about racism at all; in fact, he takes up the life and work of Mexican artist Diego Rivera.  But as he describes two kinds of imagination, both in his own life and in that of the great muralist, he is dealing with the thing that causes racism.  For instance, near the beginning he writes:  

"I’ve learned that our imagination is working well when we use it to think about the world and people deeply and fairly. But there is that in every man that can use his imagination badly–to alter the world into something smaller and uglier, a world he has the right to feel superior to and have contempt for. This contempt hurts a man’s life very much."

Isn't every instance of racism a changing of the world (in the form of another human being, looking different from oneself) "...into something smaller and uglier, a world he has the right to feel superior to and have contempt for"?

Clearly, the answer is "yes." There is no racism without the desire to lessen another person in order to feel superior oneself.  And one of the things I care for in Mr. Weiner's paper is that he also illustrates how the impulsion to art in a person comes from the opposite, from the imagination that wants to "...think about the world and people deeply and fairly." This, he shows, is the imagination from which all works of art, including those stirring Diego Rivera murals, and also all human kindness, comes.

As I read this, I understood myself better and I think you will find the same is true for yourself.  Then, think of how different, how much safer, kinder, more beautiful society would be if this knowledge were being taken up and studied by government officials, education leaders, community organizers, as well as individuals now.