Steven Weiner, Computer Specialist and Aesthetic Realism associate, writes:
“In Life & Art–How Do We Imagine?” is about something much bigger in people’s lives and in national happenings than has been seen: imagination. This is a chance to learn about a great and urgent fact, which only Aesthetic Realism explains: there are two kinds of imagination—one beautiful and life-strengthening, the other ugly and hurtful—and there is a means of distinguishing between them. All people who want to understand what’s occurring in America now, and also in themselves, need to read this exciting new issue of The Right of Aesthetic Realism to Be Known!
The commentary by Ellen Reiss begins:
Dear Unknown Friends:
We are serializing the 1974 lecture Truth & Beauty Have a Love Affair, by Eli Siegel. The title is somewhat jocular; the subject has to do richly with philosophy and art. Yet that subject, Mr. Siegel makes clear, is immediate for everyone. The reason is: truth has as competitor the feeling in people that the main thing is to make oneself important, comfortable, superior. Unless a person sees truth as beautiful, ever so attractive, lovable, the person will judge truth in terms of whether it seems to enhance him- or herself. If it doesn’t, there will be a desire to evade truth, extinguish it. Also, one will try to have others accept one’s “version” of truth, not what is so.
That has been occurring hideously on a massive scale at the highest reaches of American politics and governance. It has disgusted and frightened people, and should. Yet, seeing truth in terms of whether it makes oneself comfortable and important, resenting truth if it questions one’s superiority—this is something millions of people do in various ways every day.
So the need to see that truth and beauty are inseparable is not some pie-in-the-sky impractical notion. It’s an emergency. Otherwise, people won’t really care for truth. We won’t love truth unless we see it as beautiful.
To do so, we need to see what art is, as Aesthetic Realism explains art. In the lecture we’re serializing, Mr. Siegel speaks about poetry, looks closely at the lines of particular poems, good and bad. He is showing that whenever art is art, whenever a poem is good, both beauty and truth are there—and indivisible.
The Question of Imagination
A matter that involves truth and beauty intensely is imagination. In the present section, Mr. Siegel speaks about the term imaginative truth. Is there such a thing? Aesthetic Realism shows that imagination not only has to do centrally with truth, it has to do with something all truth involves: ethics. People have wanted to be imaginative, but haven’t usually related imagination to justice for their fellow humans—to the unjust or just running of a nation; to cruelty or kindness.
Aesthetic Realism is great on the subject of imagination. It shows, as nothing else has, that there are two kinds of imagination—good and bad—and shows the difference between them….Read more