I have been teaching Aesthetic Realism since 1988 and have presented seminars with my colleagues at the Foundation on a variety of subjects concerning the questions of men, and have written a number of articles published in newspapers and periodicals. Some of these are:
- “What Makes a Man Truly Courageous?“
- “The Essence of Kindness“
- “The Ethics America Needs Right Now”
- “Poverty Will End When Aesthetic Realism Is Studied”
- “Power, Love, Sex and Mistakes People Make about Them”
The following were written by my wife Maureen Butler and me:
- “Loss of Jobs at Republic Engineered Steels Hurts Workers While Benefiting Those Who Don’t Deserve It”
- “How to Win the War on Terrorism”
- “Aesthetic Realism Offers Ways to End Economic Woes”
Papers I’ve presented in seminars at the Foundation are:
- “What Gets in a Man’s Way: The World or His Own Ego?”
- “Sex and Self-Respect: Can They Go Together?”
- “What’s the Biggest Mistake Men Make about Power?”
- “Are Men Proud of Their Anger?”
- “What Will Have a Man Really Sure of Himself?”
- “Can a Man Be Powerful and Kind?”
- “What Is Missing When Husbands Talk to Their Wives?”
- “Why Are Men against Themselves?”
- “How Does a Man Most Hurt Himself?”
- “What Makes a Man Courageous?”
- “Men Hope to Be Kind: Why Aren’t They?”
- “What Is a Husband’s Biggest Mistake?”
- “Can a Man Be Proud of His Purpose in Sex?”
- “What Is a Man’s Greatest Ambition?”
- “Vanity or Happiness: Can a Man Distinguish between Them?”
- “Does a Man’s Strength Depend on How He Listens?”
- “Is a Man’s Cynicism Weakness or Strength?”
- “When Is a Man’s Dissatisfaction Beautiful?”
- “Owning or Knowing: What Will Satisfy the Self?”
- “The Fight about Hope and Fear in Men”
- “How Can a Man Get a Woman’s Trust?”
- “Can Men Believe in Themselves unless They Criticize Themselves? or, The Art of Masculine Self-Questioning”
- “How Can a Man Be Proud of the Way He Worries?”
- “What’s the Difference between Wowing People and Liking Oneself?”
- “What Does It Mean to Be a Good Husband?”
- “What Kind of Power Does a Man Most Want?”
- “Competition in Men: What Makes It Good or Bad?”
In these seminars I’ve discussed drama, including Henrik Ibsen’s A Doll’s House and Hedda Gabler and Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night; novels such as Emil Zola’s Germinal, George Eliot’s Adam Bede, Dickens’ David Copperfield and Great Expectations, and George Meredith’s Diana of the Crossways; poems such as Coventry Patmore’s “The Married Lover,” Matthew Arnold’s “Urania,” James Stephens’ “The Red Haired Man’s Wife”; paintings such as Edward Hopper’s” Morning in a City,” Goya’s “The Naked Maja,” Fragonard’s “A Young Girl Reading”; music such as Verdi’s “Celeste Aida,” Wagner’s “Love and Death Theme” from Tristan and Isolde, Beethoven’s “Emperor” Concerto; the 1975 movie The Stepford Wives; contemporary self-help books such as ones of the Men’s Movement of the early 1990s, Robert Bly’s Iron John (1990), Sam Keen’s Fire in the Belly (1991), and John Gray’s Men Are from Mars and Women Are from Venus (1992); articles from popular men’s magazines.
I’ve also discussed the lives of the 19th century poet, artist, craftsman and socialist William Morris, the Italian patriot Guiseppi Mazzini, the Renaissance writer and sculptor Benvenuto Cellini; actors John Barrymore and Kirk Douglas; baseball players Ty Cobb, Lou Gehrig, Mickey Mantle, Darryl Strawberry, and golfer Tiger Woods.
In two papers I’ve written about the Vietnam War and what Mr. Siegel saw as its cause using my experience in the Marine Corp Reserves (October 1966 to 1971), including my training at Parris Island, and the book Four Hours at My Lai about the My Lai Massacre and In Retrospect by Robert McNamara, the Secretary of Defense under Presidents Kennedy and Johnson. About the Vietnam War Mr. Siegel said in a 1971 lecture:
One of these days persons will see that the war was to prop up, maintain, show as inevitable a profit system that the keenest and kindest people of the world have talked against for many years, from John Stuart Mill to Mathew Arnold, from Emerson to William Dean Howells, even Henry James. The attempt—even after people did show they didn’t like it—to prop it up, to show it had to last, has made for all this horror.
I was born in 1944 in Brooklyn, NY (a short distance from Coney Island). I liked learning as I attended PS 248, Boody Junior High, and later Lafayette High School. And I loved sports—all kinds—particularly baseball. My summers were spent on the sandlots of Brooklyn and the sandy beaches of Coney Island.
In 1965, after my junior year in college, I was drafted by the St. Louis Cardinals baseball team and signed a professional contract with them. I played in their farm system for four seasons throughout the Northwest, Midwest and Florida. In the off-season I completed college earning a BS in Accounting from Long Island University (Brooklyn Campus).
After playing baseball I worked at a brokerage house on Wall Street, then in the insurance industry, neither of which I liked. In 1973 I began working as a carpenter and cabinet maker. I had always liked building things and in an Aesthetic Realism class Mr. Siegel encouraged me to see its meaning as he spoke to me about my interest in the aesthetics of carpentry. He described what I felt when he asked, “Would you like to feel that some beautiful thing that is useful is made by you?” And he spoke of the “William Morris feeling” and the Renaissance sculptor Lorenzo Ghiberti who built the doors of the Florence Baptistry of which Michelangelo said “They are so beautiful that they might fittingly stand at the Gates of Paradise.”
I began my study of Aesthetic Realism in consultations in 1972 and seeing the tremendous value and unlimited scope and comprehensiveness of this education—its understanding of the self, art, and the world—I decided I wanted to study to teach it.
I requested to study with Eli Siegel for that purpose and in November of 1973 I began studying in classes with him. I saw in Eli Siegel a man with an unwavering desire to know and be fair to the world and people. As I heard him lecture on poetry, the visual arts, the drama, music, literature, science, economics, religion, history, the self, and talk to people about their lives, including myself—I saw the logic and truth of the principles of Aesthetic Realism, how they explain every subject, every person, every situation, from sex to the law of supply and demand, from a poem of Sappho to the aesthetics of baseball, from Kant to Bob Dylan. It’s thrilling to see that after almost 40 years of testing the principles of Aesthetic Realism I see it as more beautiful and practical than ever. The more I see, the more my original opinion is confirmed and increases. I love it!
In my seminar papers I’ve quoted extensively from class discussions Mr. Siegel had with me. I’m very glad other men can benefit through what Mr. Siegel taught me about how to see my family, women, love, baseball—the world itself—with greater accuracy and kindness, enabling me to have a happiness that’s solid—bedrock—which grows with each year.
I have been married for 23 years to Maureen Butler who is an Aesthetic Realism associate and a technical writer. She works as a consultant writing systems documentation for corporations and organizations in New York City. Maureen, who is from Cleveland, Ohio is a graduate of the University of Kentucky, where she got her BA in English and Journalism. She came to New York in 1974. We live in the East Village in Manhattan. We both study in classes for consultants and associates taught by Chairman of Education Ellen Reiss.
To learn more see my website: Men, Love & Sports