Steven Weiner, Computer Specialist and Aesthetic Realism associate, writes:
Complaints—we’ve all had them, including Shakespeare! But is there such a thing as a complaint that does our lives and the world good, and is there a very different kind, which is harmful? How can we tell the difference? —Also: what is the chief way we’re not truthful, including with ourselves? For the tremendously important answers to these questions, read “Complaint, Honesty, & Shakespeare,” the current issue of The Right of Aesthetic Realism to Be Known.
The commentary by Ellen Reiss begins:
Dear Unknown Friends:
Here is the conclusion of the great 1966 lecture that Eli Siegel gave on complaint in poetry. In the talk he speaks about many poems, beginning with one of 4th-century-BC China. And we see that this matter, complaint, which people feel so personally, is of literature, culture: it is not just a misery—or triumph—of one’s own. Here I state again this historic fact: Aesthetic Realism has shown there is a criterion for distinguishing between good complaint and bad. Complaint is good, and can even be beautiful, when it arises from a person’s desire to respect the world, people, things. Complaint is bad, ugly, mean, when it comes from that most hurtful yet huge frequent desire in everyone: contempt, the desire to get an “addition to self through the lessening of something else.”
This issue includes too an article by Aesthetic Realism associate Miriam Weiss. It’s from a paper she presented recently at a public seminar titled “Honesty & Deception in Love & Life—How Should a Woman See These?” The dishonesty Ms. Weiss principally tells about is that which is behind all spoken and written lies: the seeing of the world not as it is but as something that should make me important, show my superiority—as something about which I have the right to change any fact I please. The fundamental yet mainly unspoken dishonesty is the seeing of oneself as more important than any fact, any person, any happening—more important than truth itself. It’s the dishonesty of contempt, and is the way of seeing from which all lies come—including those so much around today.
Shakespeare & Honesty
The last poem Mr. Siegel speaks of in his lecture on complaint is Sonnet 66 of Shakespeare. He speaks about it briefly here—in its relation to the lecture’s particular subject and to the other poems he discussed. But I am very glad to look a little further at it now, to quote some of what Mr. Siegel said about this poem on other occasions, and to do so in regard to the second subject of this TRO: dishonesty. William Shakespeare (1564-1616) was one of the greatest haters of dishonesty—and lovers of sincerity—in human history…. Read more.