Steven Weiner, computer specialist and Aesthetic Realism associate, writes:
At this very troubled time in our country, there is nothing more necessary for people to know than what the new issue of The Right Of explains: what contempt is, and how contempt is the cause of injustice in America right now. That includes the horrible injustice of racism, and of ugly conspiracy theories. Aesthetic Realism, so logically, also explains how contempt makes persons unjust in the ordinary moments of our lives. Beautiful, clear, urgently needed answers to the most pressing questions of our time are in “Contempt—How Should We See It?,” this very noteworthy—and hopeful—issue of The Right of Aesthetic Realism to Be Known!
The commentary by Ellen Reiss begins:
Dear Unknown Friends:
The remarkable 1975 lecture by Eli Siegel that we are serializing—Contempt Here and There—is about that thing which he identified as humanity’s “greatest danger or temptation.” It is contempt, the desire “to get a false importance or glory from the lessening of things not oneself.” Aesthetic Realism has shown that all the cruelty in history and now, all of what Robert Burns called “man’s inhumanity to man,” has come from contempt. Meanwhile—and this is what Mr. Siegel is describing in the present lecture—contempt is so everyday. It has thousands of forms, many of which seem like mere taken-for-granted responses and inner murmurings of human nature. Further, contempt in everyone’s life has been in a battle with our deepest desire: to be ourselves through valuing, respecting, knowing the world outside ourselves.
Contempt Has Made for This
Let us look at a conspiracy theory that in recent years has apparently gained in adherents. Its ideas, for instance, were written of approvingly by the mass shooter indicted for killing ten people and wounding three others in a Buffalo supermarket this May. It is the so-called “replacement theory”: the idea that various liberal groups are trying to rob white persons of their national power and livelihoods by “attempting to replace white citizens with nonwhite [people, including] immigrants” (britannica.com). This untrue and ridiculous notion is based on sheer contempt. It’s based on seeing oneself and those of one’s skin tone as vastly superior to others and, in one’s God-given supremacy, as being robbed of one’s birthright by them.
But the conspiracy theory is also contempt in another way, a way exceedingly fundamental. That is, it has at its basis the sense that if something good comes to a person who is not me, who is other than me-and-mine, I am less. If something a little in the field of justice, a little in the field of power and value, is achieved by a person I don’t associate in some fashion with myself—I am rooked, robbed, humiliated! For me to fare well, be important, others have to fare ill. This is the basis of “replacement theory.”…Read more