Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Why is Aesthetic Realism needed in 2015?

With all the remarkable technological developments of recent years, including stem cell transplants, the mapping of the human genome, and the ongoing exploration and investigation of space, it is shameful that completely avoidable cruelty such as that of racism is still widespread in the world. It is also deplorable that the means to understanding and ending such cruelty – Aesthetic Realism, the education founded by Eli Siegel – has been available since 1941 but not widely known. To understand the reason for this see the important Countering the Lies website.  

British historian and writer H G Wells’ statement that “Human history becomes more and more a race between education and catastrophe”
resonates with us perhaps more today than ever, as the urgent global issues of climate change, access to water for drinking, war and the refugee crises spawned by war, necessitate, not competition and combativeness between people, but cooperation and kindness.

Education vs catastrophe race clarified by study of Aesthetic Realism

A recent issue of the journal "The Right of Aesthetic Realism to Be Known" deals importantly, deeply, definitively with the issue of empathy -- fellow-feeling -- and what stops people from having it.  In Fellow-Feeling, & What's Against It, Ellen Reiss, the Chairman of Education, writes:
The biggest matter in the life of everyone is how we see other people. And how people see people is the biggest, most urgent matter affecting the world itself: it determines the decisions of nations, including whether there will be war or peace; it determines how wealth is distributed; what laws are made; how persons of different ethnicities and religions treat each other...
She continues:
Eli Siegel explained that there is a fight going on in every person: “the fight between respect for reality and contempt for reality”(TRO 151). Contempt is the feeling that we’ll take care of ourselves by lessening things and people, looking down on them, using them to aggrandize ourselves, seeing them as less real than we are. It is gigantic, subtle, has thousands of forms. And our contempt is in a fight all the time with the deepest desire we have: to see meaning in things and people. Unless we’re studying this fight as Aesthetic Realism describes it, “empathy” will not prevail in us and humanity. That’s so whether it’s a matter of having large, effective feeling for people suffering in a war; or for a person requesting money on the street; or for a relative whom we may hug but not want to understand.
There is nothing more important in 2015 than understanding what interferes with fellow-feeling and learning how to have it. Ms. Reiss explains and discusses, with scholarship and deep feeling, four things taught by Aesthetic Realism that are needed.

One of the things she makes clear, and this is not taught anywhere else, is that we can feel more important not being stirred by anything or anyone. Hence the title, which I think is beautiful, "Fellow-Feeling, & What's Against It." This issue of "The Right of Aesthetic Realism to Be Known" is a must-read; it needs to be the basis of a global study, now! 

Diminishing what is not ourselves in order to boost our own importance is so common and so ordinary. Yet it causes not only our own feelings of shame but the economic brutality that is so much with us. Could the situation shown in this image exist were the 1% not diminishing the 99%? (And the great weakness of the 99% is the tendency of our own to diminish others). 
Aesthetic Realism criticizes economic injustice as based on contempt.
What Aesthetic Realism teaches is key to having social justice, international peace and solidarity, having lives we can be proud of, and to ending the cruelty of racism.  

Aesthetic Realism says oneness of opposites - beauty - can defeat racism.