Saturday, November 21, 2009

Aesthetic Realism podcast

I've just seen the new Aesthetic Realism podcast, "Toughness and a Feeling Heart-- Can a Man Have Both?" The answer, consultant and actor Bennett Cooperman shows, is yes. It was a moving experience to witness this podcast. If people felt what is shown here -- that being moved by the world is also a tough thing, not weak -- would they be unjust to someone because their skin colour or their features are not just like their own? I don't think so. I used to pride myself on being able to remain unaffected. I thought feeling was a weakness. At the same time I longed to have sweeping emotions and cursed myself for being cold. This podcast has the answer men, and women too, are yearning for.
And if, like me, you're a Jack London fan, you're in for a real treat!

"The People of Clarendon County"

Check out this great event last month in Washington DC at the Capitol Visitors' Center:
"The People of Clarendon County”—A Play by Ossie Davis, & the Answer to Racism!"

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

The Great Fight of EGO vs. TRUTH

This coming Sunday, August 23 at 2:30 PM, at the Aesthetic Realism Foundation in New York City there will be a matinee of songs -- Gilbert and Sullivan, doo-wop, spirituals, Broadway show tunes, and more -- that will move us and teach us about the most important fight going on now in America and under our own skins -- between ego, lying about the world to please ourselves, and truth.

Every person, of every ethnic or national background, religion, sex, has this battle, and it's raging in America, with lies about the British and Canadian health care systems and President Obama's proposals all over the media. The comments to the songs in this matinee explain what is going on.

The fight between ego and truth is constant, both nationally and personally, including in love. One of the songs in this matinee is about just that subject, as a young woman tells us defiantly and complacently, "Don't Say Nothin' Bad about My Baby!" Then there are songs that are about real love; about how, through caring more for one person, the whole world can look good to us. How the battle of ego vs. truth goes in us will determine how love fares in our lives.

I've learned that every beautiful song puts together opposites -- heaviness and lightness, for and against, pleasure and pain -- in a way that we need to in our daily lives, at work, with friends, with our family, in our thoughts to ourselves. In every good song a composer was doing justice to the aesthetic structure of the world -- the oneness of opposites. "The world, art, and self explain each other:" Eli Siegel stated, "each is the aesthetic oneness of opposites." Learning and studying this has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. Music can really help us be the people we want to be; proud, at ease, happy!

Here is the announcement:
The Great Fight of EGO vs. TRUTH!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

"They Look at Us," by Eli Siegel, founder of Aesthetic Realism

Here is a poem about two of the men I respect most:

They Look at Us

Martin Luther King
Is with John Brown.
Look up: you'll see them both
Looking down--
Deep and so wide
At us.

You can read Eli Siegel's note to his poem at the Aesthetic Realism Online Library.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

"The People of Clarendon County"

Journalist and Aesthetic Realism associate Alice Bernstein has done a wonderful thing in resurrecting the dramatic and moving Ossie Davis play about the 1954 landmark Brown v Board of Education Supreme Court decision. The People of Clarendon County I first learned of Rev. Joseph DeLaine and those brave men and women of Clarendon County, South Carolina, when I was teaching government classes in New York City. We were studying the Brown case and I was interested in the fact that the Supreme Court decision was about five separate cases that had been filed under an umbrella suit. This play is about the people whose heroic actions really started that case. It was written by Ossie Davis. And as the book flier says: "It was performed just once, in 1955, for an enthusiastic audience of union brothers and sisters at Local 1199’s Bread and Roses Cultural Project in New York City. The young actors were Ossie Davis, Ruby Dee, and Sidney Poitier.
"In her Introduction, journalist and Aesthetic Realism Associate Alice Bernstein tells of conversations with Ossie Davis in 2004 which led to her discovery of “The People of Clarendon County” and her idea for this book. With Mr. Davis’s encouragement, she gathered documents and photographs by and about these unsung heroes, which make history come alive, and essays by authorities on the education that can end racism: Aesthetic Realism, founded by philosopher and poet, Eli Siegel."
I've seen as a teacher and as a person that Aesthetic Realism really can change the prejudice, the conceit and ignorance of racism, into a true appreciation of the value of people different from oneself.