Jeffrey Carduner, Aesthetic Realism consultant, writes:
As 2019 begins, two subjects that affect every person tremendously are success and expression. What is real success? What is true expression? What interferes with both? —And: what do two important New England writers have to do with everyone’s life? Read “Literature, & the Life We Want,” this great new issue of The Right of Aesthetic Realism to Be Known.
The commentary by Ellen Reiss begins:
Dear Unknown Friends:
We are serializing the lecture Eli Siegel gave on October 17, 1975, a landmark in both literary criticism and the understanding of people—every person. Mr. Siegel speaks about Henry David Thoreau and James Russell Lowell, whose essay on Thoreau he discusses before looking directly at Thoreau’s own writing. And he describes how these two writers stand for two aspects of everyone, for the opposites of one and many: the desire to be an individual, apart, and the desire to be social, have to do with many people.
We may accent one or the other, or fluctuate between them, but most people have the deep confusion and quiet pain and shame of feeling, I’m a different person alone, a different person within myself, from the person who acts among others. Yet Mr. Siegel is showing that these and other opposites—intimate to each of us—are made one in the technique of all good art, including literature. In this lecture, then, we’re studying the principle at the basis of Aesthetic Realism: “All beauty is a making one of opposites, and the making one of opposites is what we are going after in ourselves.”
Here too is an article by Sally Ross, from a paper she presented at a recent Aesthetic Realism public seminar. The subject was “We Want to Feel Truly Expressed—but What in Us Interferes?” It is a tremendous fact, some of the biggest news in the world, that Aesthetic Realism explains what in every person interferes with the well-being of his or her life. That thing is contempt, the desire “to get a false importance or glory from the lessening of things not oneself.” The very contempt that people use to feel powerful makes them fundamentally unsure. It interferes with their ability to love, learn, have the emotions and knowledge they long for. It makes them dislike themselves. It also is the source of every injustice—including that horror which both Lowell and Thoreau wrote against: slavery.
So Eli Siegel, in the philosophy he founded, explained: what beauty is; the relation of art and everyone’s life; and that in the human self which is most hurtful. He also identified our deepest desire: to like the world honestly, through knowing it. One reason I’m now mentioning some of Mr. Siegel’s historic achievements is that, in the section of the 1975 lecture included here, he comments on success. He’s speaking about that outward success which is fame, as he looks at a statement of Lowell on the subject. And while Mr. Siegel’s comments are jocular, he is passionately sincere.
To place a little what you’ll soon read, I’m going to quote from his Definitions, and Comment. One of the 134 definitions is of Success; and it is: “Success is the coming to be of one’s purpose.”The comment includes these sentences:…Read more