Friday, December 19, 2014

A Powerful Article Against Racism

There is an important article by Dr. Jaime Torres that has recently come to my attention, Aesthetic Realism Can End Racism and Prejudice.  In it he speaks about his early life growing up in Puerto Rico and how ethnicity was seen including by himself and others, and then about his experiences as he settled in New York.  What he later learned from Aesthetic Realism about the cause of racism where it begins in the self of every person could change America and the world.  Through what he writes, his conviction, clarity, and eloquence on the subject, everyone can have more feeling both about what people go through who are seen with prejudice, AND that this cheap, ugly state of mind really can successfully be opposed and ended.
I respect and am grateful to have learned from the way Dr. Torres places Eli Siegel's scholarly, passionate and completely unequivocal opposition to racism, right from the earliest years of his life.  

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Aesthetic Realism and Anthropology

Consultant and anthropologist Arnold Perey teaches a terrific class at the Aesthetic Realism Foundation titled "Anthropology Is About You and Everyone."  It is eye-opening in terms of scholarship and because of the deep feelings it causes you to have, about persons of long ago and far away and also about those you talk to every day! 

Dr. Perey is one of the people from whom I've learned most on the subject of racism and how to oppose it, with great benefits including in my work of over 30 years as a teacher in New York City. 

This is what Dr. Perey writes on his website

"This class demonstrates with precise and vivid evidence how people everywhere in the world, including yourself--whether you live in a NY apartment or a pandanus-roof home in Papua New Guinea--can at last be understood with the depth, kindness, and scientific accuracy that humanity so needs.  
"It's through the principles of Aesthetic Realism, founded by poet, critic, and educator Eli Siegel that the full reality of a person's feelings--your feelings--can be seen truly.  This is the knowledge that can end racism and prejudice, as well as ill will and cruelty in homes, economies, and among nations--a statement I make carefully, definitely, and with great hope."

And I say, because of what he's learned from Aesthetic Realism, Arnold Perey should be teaching America! 

The next semester starts on Wednesday, January 21, 2015.
More information about classes at the Aesthetic Realism Foundation. 

Monday, December 01, 2014

Aesthetic Realism and Sojourner Truth: "A Woman Whose Name Was Truth," by Karen Van Outryve

"A Woman Whose Name Was Truth" is the title of an important and moving article by Aesthetic Realism consultant and poet Karen Van Outryve. It is about the great American abolitionist, Sojourner Truth.

With the recent events in Ferguson, MO, I hope that everyone in the US can read about her life, what she endured and the strength of mind, the ethics she had as a person growing up in the most difficult and painful circumstances. In this paper we learn what slavery came from, and it's clearly the same ugly state of mind that causes racism today. She is an example for us all, and through the principles of Aesthetic Realism Karen Van Outryve enables her words and actions to REALLY change us for the better.

* * * * * * * * *

See further resources on this important and thrilling philosophy at "Aesthetic Realism on Art and Life"

Monday, November 10, 2014

The Real Lesson of World War I for Today

Today (November 10, 2014) the BBC headlines told of the appalling attack on a school in Nigeria, in which scores of young people were killed and maimed.  Tomorrow is Remembrance Day in the UK, marking the anniversary of the end of World War I. 

After 100 years, the world is still rife with prejudice and cruelty. And it doesn't have to be.  Here are two instances of writing that give evidence for that statement:    

1.  A report by Lynette Abel of a lecture Eli Siegel gave in which he took up The Miracle at Verdun, Hans Chlumberg's moving, critical play about World War I.

2.  Leila Rosen's article "Poetry as Justice: Through the Aesthetic Realism Teaching Method, Aesthetics Defeats Contempt"

--AND, two websites replete with knowledge that can comprehend and effectively combat prejudice are these: 

The Right of Aesthetic Realism to Be Known, Online 

The Aesthetic Realism Foundation itself, with descriptions about the new way this great education sees a wealth of subjects, including poetry, art, music, anthropology, archaeology, acting, photography -- and much more.   

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Gwe: Young Man of New Guinea -- A Novel Against Racism

I love this book by Arnold Perey, Aesthetic Realism consultant and anthropologist.  I respect Dr. Perey immensely.  This novel has both deep, stirring feeling and careful, interesting description, observation that is both scientific -- truthful -- and lyrical.  It moved me profoundly.  Arnold Perey studied and did field work in New Guinea.  This is from his introduction to Gwe:  

"How we meet the new, with contempt or the desire to know, is the test of our intelligence and our ethics. In "The Island" Lord Byron wrote:  
    The white man landed: need the rest be told?
    The New World stretch'd its dusk hand to the Old. 
     The dusk hand is the kind hand of Polynesia, the hand of the beautiful Neuha, who loves a shipwrecked Scots sailor and saves his life. Her people and the sailor both meet the new with good will. Byron shows that light and dark humans can care for each other on an Island.  
     The dusk hand of the New World was extended to me on another Pacific island, New Guinea. I was there, in the mountains, conducting anthropological research for my doctoral dissertation, supported by the National Science Foundation and the US Public Health Service. Margaret Mead was my sponsor for this dissertation, and for her integrity and truly scientific, inquiring mind, I am most grateful.  
     I am also grateful to the people who welcomed me, most particularly Wepil, of the Nguna clan. Wepil translated for me faithfully and accurately from the beginning of my stay in Papua New Guinea.  
     The theme of our story was suggested to me by Eli Siegel, the great poet and critic, in an Aesthetic Realism class when I had returned from the field and was studying the important philosophy he founded in New York City. Could you write, he asked, about a person of New Guinea who meets an anthropologist like yourself, and how they change?  
     Gwe is that person, and Alan Hull is the anthropologist. Gwe is pronounced "Gway." Gwe is based on young men I knew and learned from, including Sania, Gitlep from Gaugutiana, Abineng, and of course Wepil."  

It is a beautiful book.  There are chapters on Dr. Perey's website, but I recommend reading the whole thing. It changes how a person feels about race, people, the world.    

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

The most anti-racism book I know

The most anti-racism book I know?  This is it:
"Self and World, An Explanation of Aesthetic Realism," by Eli Siegel.
Why anti-racism?
It's the deepest, most compassionate and clearest description of people and how we come to see the world that I've ever read.  It is also very funny, and you recognize aspects of yourself in so many of the characters Eli Siegel writes about, and learn from them all.  The chapter titled "The Child" is a must-read for every person who has to do with children.  "Love and Reality" explains what people are hoping for in love, and what can go wrong between two people who care for each other.  "The Aesthetic Method in Self-Conflict" shows how we are hoping, in our ordinary lives, to literally be like art, to put together opposites the way a beautiful line of poetry or a great concerto does.  "Psychiatry, Economics, Aesthetics" tells of the relation between every individual and the great multitudinous economy and nation that we find ourselves part of, and what is the difference between the purpose of art and the purpose of acquisition.
What does guilt come from?  What is a good use of our imagination, and where can our imaginings hurt us?  Dreams, what are they about?  This book answers these questions.  And there is more, and more...
These are questions of every individual of every century.  They are not Black questions, White questions, Asian questions, Latino questions!  They are human questions.          

Monday, October 13, 2014

Intelligence: what is it?

Here is a definition by Eli Siegel that I love -- and it will be seen that it has nothing whatsoever to do with race: "Intelligence is the ability of a self to become at one with the new.  Click on the link to find out more about how Aesthetic Realism explains this important, mysterious, and controversial subject.

Wednesday, October 01, 2014

Racism: Understanding the Cause and Solution, at the Aesthetic Realism Online Library

Anyone interested in ending racism needs to know what is here, Racism: Understanding the Cause and Solution, at the Aesthetic Realism Online Library.  You will find articles that are powerful and precise, scholarly and scintillating, showing that racism is not only unkind but simply wrong -- unfounded.  Using anthropological study, current events, literature and science, the history of the world and of the United States, natural history, educational data, statements by people of different ethnic backgrounds, and more, the authors explain why racism has occurred in history and now, and what can be done to finally eradicate it.  Anyone interested in this subject needs to know what is here.      

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Aesthetic Realism can bring new kindness to the world: what it says needs to be studied!

As horrors involving ethnicity occur in Israel, Iraq, and also here in the US, we should ask, who are the real experts on the subject of race and racism?  Here are four people who have studied the subject honestly.  If they are listened to -- and I can't think of anything more important -- things will change and there will be new kindness in the world between people who have seen each other as enemies:

1. Ellen Reiss, Chairman of Education, Aesthetic Realism Foundation.

Ms. Reiss gives the most powerful and logical argument against racism I know.  She writes in part, in issue #1264 of  The Right of Aesthetic Realism to Be Known, the international periodical of which she is the editor:

     "...Racism won't be effectively done away with unless it is replaced with something that has terrific power.  What needs to replace it is not the feeling that the difference of another person is
somehow tolerable.  What is necessary is the seeing and feeling that the relation of sameness and difference between ourselves and that other person is beautiful."

2. Arnold Perey, PhD, Aesthetic Realism consultant and anthropologist.  

Here is a quotation from his invaluable -- and beautiful -- website:

     "For anthropology to be relevant to ending the horror of racism today, we must be able to answer these two desperately urgent questions: (1) What is the cause of racism? and (2) How can it be
eliminated completely from human social relations? ...  In over 30 years of careful study, I have seen that Aesthetic Realism, the philosophy founded by the great educator Eli Siegel (1902 - 1978), answers these critical questions."

Website of Aesthetic Realism consultant and anthropologist, Arnold Perey, PhD.

3.  Allan Michael, Aesthetic Realism associate, Captain (retired), Circle Line, New York City

Allan Michael writes here about two kinds of anger and what he has seen personally about the difference between anger that is just and anger that is unjust and ugly.  With recent events in Ferguson, Missouri, and elsewhere in the US it is a crucial distinction.

Allan Michael states, writing on the shooting of a young Black man by a policeman :

     "There will be no rest, only a hiding of volatile feelings, until contempt as the cause of racism is studied.  Community leaders and police commissions can evaluate race relations until Kingdom come but, if contempt is not understood, these vicious acts will continue. "

4. Ruth Oron, Aesthetic Realism associate & essayist 

Dating back to 1996, when the publication of The Mideast Crisis Will End When Aesthetic Realism Is Studied, Ms. Oron and her Israeli colleagues have been courageously describing what can end the cruelty in that beautiful place known as the Holy Land.  Her website has the answer.  It needs to be implemented.

In one article she writes:

     "Eli Siegel, founder of Aesthetic Realism, defined the unjust contempt that causes wars and explained its danger.  Contempt is the "addition to self through the lessening of something else"-- and this I had done.  The evidence is throughout history that mutual contempt is the cause of the untold agony and destruction of war."

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Conflict in the Middle East: the urgent need for the study of Aesthetic Realism!

With such brutality going on in Gaza as I write, it is more urgent than ever that people everywhere learn to see each other with respect and justice.  The only education I know that can change hatred and contempt to good will is Aesthetic Realism.

I have a conviction about this because as I studied Aesthetic Realism I changed the way I thought and felt about other people, near and far.  

Years ago, I didn't realize how much my thoughts about other people were based on how I felt hurt by them or on my calculations about what I could get from them.  I really wasn't very interested in knowing people but essentially cared about how they acted towards ME.  I never realized that this was why I felt ill at ease in company and excessively unsure of myself.  With all my vegetarianism and study of moral philosophy, I wasn't a kind person.  This attitude, I learned in Aesthetic Realism consultations, was contempt.  I was building myself up falsely at the expense of other things and people. 

And it took in the way I saw people of other countries --again, telling myself that I was welcoming of all.  One of the things I regret most today, and now see as both mean and foolish, is the way I talked and joked about people from Ireland.  I saw Irish people as stupid, uncouth, shallow, and just not as sensitive, cultured, intelligent, three-dimensional as myself, an English graduate of Oxford.  What a foolish attitude!  How untrue to the meaning of England's Shakespeare, Keats, and Wordsworth, let alone Robin Hood and Wat Tyler!  Studying the song Terence's Farewell to Kathleen some years ago for an Aesthetic Realism "Opposites in Music" class, seeing the depth of emotion and the beauty of the music, sung by John McCormack, blew me away.  I saw feeling that was real and intense as a young man, so pained at having to say goodbye to his love due to desperate economic conditions, gave her his blessings anyway.  I would never have seen the feeling in this song as real if my contempt had not been criticized, and my life would have been that much smaller!  Now I am so proud to respect immensely the people and culture of Ireland, and see them as adding to me immeasurably.  And after three years of attending the Catskills Irish Arts Week, opening myself up to the beauty of live Irish music and dance in the folk tradition that is so deeply part of Ireland, together with my Irish-American, fiddle-playing, ceili-dancing fiancee, I see more keenly the folly of my prejudice!      

According to Aesthetic Realism, the more accurately you get the world (including people) into your mind as it is, the prouder, more free, more truly confident you will feel.  I've seen it's true, and I am happy to report that the changes continue...

Meanwhile, because people in the Middle East are not learning how to criticize their own contempt, there is cruelty and death that goes on and on.  


Here is an article that should be published in every newspaper all over the world.  It's written by Israelis who have studied Aesthetic Realism:

Read "Every Person Stands for the World," an issue of the international journal The Right of Aesthetic Realism to Be Known and you'll begin to see how widely and precisely -- and with what wonder! -- Aesthetic Realism sees the subject of ethnicity and people as such.

And see the website of anthropologist and consultant Arnold Perey, PhD, "Aesthetic Realism: a New Perspective for Anthropology and Sociology," for more on the multicultural education of the future. 

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Poetry as Justice: Important article by educator Leila Rosen

One of my favourite poets in high school was Wilfred Owen.  I was riveted by the history of World War I and I remember his statements about war, and "the pity of war."  He seemed to be a voice of sanity at what was a time of unbelievable and really unbearable carnage and cruelty.  But I did not know when I was in high school what Aesthetic Realism associate and educator Leila Rosen explains here: that the very technique of Wilfred Owen's poetry is completely opposed to racism.  The way of thinking he had as he brought together words to form beautiful poetry, poetry that has stood the test of time, was kind and it was just.

Read Leila Rosen's amazing account of how studying the poetry of Wilfred Owen changed prejudice in her students at a crucial time for race relations in New York City.  It is a blueprint for education today.

Monday, January 20, 2014

"How Should We Think about People?" by Ellen Reiss

Just yesterday I read this statement by Ellen Reiss:

"A motto Eli Siegel used in an early printing of his poem "Hot Afternoons Have Been in Montana" is: "All existence is one hundred hundredths."  Every person is one hundred hundredths, as existent as every other person...And it is impossible to see people as equally real and yet feel that the world should belong more to certain people than to others."  
                              --How Should We Think about People? The Right of Aesthetic Realism to Be Known, #1680

I love this.  It is both logical and passionate, and urgently needed right now.  We have such a disparity in wealth in the US today, as in other places, and it wouldn't exist if people saw each other as "equally real."  No one would dream of trying to privatize education, for instance, if the children of all were seen as equally real.  People's sickness would never be seen as a means of profit by health care corporations and their shareholders if those suffering people were seen as REAL.  There would be no question of not extending unemployment benefits either if the cold-hearted and complacent representatives who are blocking that extension in Congress had anything approaching this ethical way of seeing.

The way of seeing described by the Chairman of Education, Ellen Reiss, which is in Eli Siegel's magnificent poem that she quotes, and which is taught today in Aesthetic Realism consultations and classes, is completely anti-prejudice, and it needs to be studied everywhere.