Steven Weiner, Computer Specialist and Aesthetic Realism associate, writes:
Do our liveliness and our thoughtfulness have to fight? Can we be both active and composed, energetic and calm—at once? Can we learn about this from the true poetry of the world?
Read the answers to these questions, and more, in “Slowness & Speed: Poetry’s Opposites & Ours,” the important current issue of The Right of Aesthetic Realism to Be Known.
The commentary by Ellen Reiss begins:
Dear Unknown Friends:
The essay we are honored to publish here appeared originally in 1959 in the magazine Today’s Japan. It is “Slowness and Speed in Poetry,” by Eli Siegel. And its basis is this Aesthetic Realism principle: “The world, art, and self explain each other: each is the aesthetic oneness of opposites.”
The Aesthetic Realism explanation of poetry—of what distinguishes a true poem from something not that, why poetry matters, what it has to do with the life of everyone—is central to Aesthetic Realism. And as I have said many times, I know of nothing more important, more beautiful in the world. Eli Siegel is the critic who showed that the questions of every person’s life are answered in the technique of a good poem—because the opposites that are in us, that bewilder and battle in us, are made one there—in various ways but always vibrantly and powerfully. A line of good poetry is always a oneness of such opposites as activity and calm, familiarity and strangeness, freedom and order, and the opposites told of in the essay printed here: slowness and speed.
As introduction, I’ll comment on some of the ways people are mixed up, often steeply, by speed and slowness in their lives. For example, every day throughout this land people feel both agitated (badly speedy) and torpid (badly slow); they shuttle between those two feelings, profoundly disliking each.
Contempt & Respect Are There
Like all the opposites that make up who we are, slowness and speed are affected centrally by what Aesthetic Realism shows is the big fight in the human self: the fight between the desire to respect the world and the desire to have contempt for it. Take the very frequent matter of speaking too quickly—or too slowly. To speak at all is to give a certain respect: it’s a vocal affirmation that reality, a subject, and a person addressed exist and affect us. Excess speed and slowness are both ways of lessening that respect. Read more