The Understanding Marriage!class of August 9th, from 11:00 AM to 12:30 PM, will be a wonderfully practical event conducted by the teaching trio There Are Wives—Barbara Allen, Anne Fielding, and myself: “Longed for in Marriage: the Oneness of Encouragement & Criticism.”
The basis is this explanation by Eli Siegel, founder of Aesthetic Realism: “Marriage is a means for liking the world through a person. Too often, though, marriage is a contemptuous exclusion of the world.” Women will learn something Aesthetic Realism shows to be as fundamental as the law of gravity: there cannot be true love without criticism, criticism which is the encouragement to be fair to the world. They’ll be learning too the difference between the criticism which is real encouragement, real love, and the hurtful “put-down,” or contempt, which has often been in how women and men have given each other criticism. These illuminating sentences by Eli Siegel, from The Right of Aesthetic Realism to Be Known, will be taken up:
Aesthetic Realism sees good will as the aesthetic oneness of encouragement and criticism. If we are to be true to a friend, or anyone, we must hope to be able to tell him what he may be doing against himself. Criticism, Aesthetic Realism sees, when it has an honest purpose, as a form of love. In the same way as a wall may be washed because we care for the wall, so a person may be told he has welcomed something harmful to himself. Furthermore, if a person has begun to show something which represents him, we should hope that he believes more in this good sign. Good will [is] that which the human mind is aiming to have.
This explanation is so different from the hurtful notion often put forth that criticism is only “negative” and that people should just “accept” one another.
Open to all women, the class will be showing: when criticism arises from good will, and has a wife and husband care more for people and things not themselves, it is the same as true encouragement. Studying what good will is and how to have it, makes a woman stronger, prouder, and more integrated, and makes love grow and flourish!
The Aesthetic Realism Foundation, 141 Greene St., off W. Houston St., in SoHo, is a not-for-profit educational foundation. The fee for the class is $10. For more information, call 212.777.4490.