Wednesday, June 22, 2016

"The Heart Knows Better," by Ken Kimmelman

Aesthetic Realism anti-prejudice PSA
The Heart Knows Better
It's a great time to see this important PSA! In fact, it should be broadcast and shared EVERYWHERE. See it here: "The Heart Knows Better."

Against Racism, For Truth and Kindness

One of the most important statements I've seen is this, by Bishop Frederick C. James, of the African Methodist Episcopal Church:
I'd like to say what's in my heart. What this nation needs is more caring across ethnic lines. I think our nation and the world needs what Eli Siegel, the great founder of Aesthetic Realism, the philosophy of life in America and the world, teaches. It's certainly in harmony with the great religious scriptures and the heart of all faiths across this globe.
Bishop James, African Methodist Episcopal Church
Bishop James
I am proud to agree with the careful and large opinion of Bishop James. And I am grateful to Alice Bernstein and the Alliance of Ethics & Art for publicizing his comment, for her courageous writings and videos and so much more.

Our nation and the world sorely needs Aesthetic Realism, including its understanding of how people of different backgrounds, religion, ethnicity, can see each other with respect and real affection. I write from personal experience. Though I saw myself as progressive, before studying Aesthetic Realism I had prejudice against people of other nations, backgrounds, and religions. I learned that the cause was contempt, the desire to make less of the world in order to build oneself up falsely. I thought I was clever and superior in looking down on people I saw as different. I regret this very much. It's the ugliest attitude in the world, and I had it. I have learned, too, that there is a bigger power in seeing other people truly; a true pride, gratitude, excitement, and size of emotion in feeling "I'm added to by what is different from myself." But contempt, because it is not understood and criticized, is a powerful and dangerous force in the world today.

Remain or Leave?
UK EU membership vote ballot
Here is just one example: England, my country of birth, which I love, has voted to leave the European Union. Left and Right were both divided on the issue, for various reasons.

One thing that's clear is that the forces of hatred and racism have been stirred up and exploited during the campaign. Refugees have being wrongly blamed for the destruction of social services in Britain, including the deterioration of the National Health Service. They are being made a scapegoat for the real culprit, the policies of austerity that have been imposed on poor people in Britain and all over the world.*
Refugees in the UK
This is cruel and it's hazardous. It is also not true. It is like the anger and contempt evoked through lies by Hitler in the 1920's and 1930's.  Eli Siegel explained in an issue of The Right of Aesthetic Realism to Be Known:
It is necessary to see that while the contempt which is in every one of us may make ordinary life more painful than it should be, this contempt is also the main cause of wars. It was contempt that made for the trenches of France in 1915; it was contempt which made for the labor camps of the Second World War. It was contempt which made for that awful mode of retaliation called Nazism...Hitler is perhaps the greatest evoker of human contempt in history...Contempt for the world simply because it is different from oneself is an insane principle of great place in history.
People in the UK, angry at the vast profits a few corporations are making while they themselves face a lower standard of living - that increasingly includes includes unemployment, homelessness, and hunger - are retaliating, as they see it, against a target that is not to blame for their woes. Contempt for refugees and suspicion of them is being evoked on a massive scale. It's as if half a nation is hardening itself to the reality of people they do not know and see as different from themselves, and hostile. In reality, they should be angry at the profit-driven economy that has brought them to this state, not at that person called a refugee, who is so desperate that he flees his homeland and travels across countries, even continents, to try to find a decent life and future for himself and his family.

It is urgent for people to learn from what Ellen Reiss, Aesthetic Realism Chairman of Education, has been teaching about the cause of and answer to racism. She wrote this some years ago, and it needs to be taken up now more than ever: 
...for racism to end we have to be against the thing it begins with: contempt for the world itself. Further, 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. People need to feel, with feeling both intimately personal and large, that difference of race is like the difference to be found in music: two notes are different, but they are in behalf of the same melody; they complete each other; each needs the other to be expressed richly, to be fully itself.
It is possible for millions of men, women, and children to have an emotion about race that is like an art emotion. And it is necessary...
Aesthetic Realism has the understanding, the uncompromising and precise criticism of contempt, AND the means for people to truly care for - have large emotions about - the sameness-and-difference that other people represent. It can literally end the toxic, brutal, and uncivilized force in the world today that is racism. I have experienced, through careful study, this change in my own life, and I know it is true. Let us do all we can to have everyone else around the world know this.  

* *Read about how Aesthetic Realism sees the economic policy known as austerity, and its true meaning and purpose.

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