Steven Weiner, Computer Specialist and Aesthetic Realism associate, writes:
What can music, in all its sublimity and joy, teach us? Is music an escape—or is it a means of making sense of the world, the world in which we often go confusingly from laughing to having deep feelings we don’t understand? Can music even have us see better the people we’re closest to—for instance, members of our family? These questions are answered, surprisingly and ever so hopefully, in “The Musical, Humorous World—& Us,” the new issue of The Right of Aesthetic Realism to Be Known!
The commentary by Ellen Reiss begins:
Dear Unknown Friends:
Here is the 2nd half of Humor: Music by Eli Siegel. This surprising lecture of 1948—definitive, down-to-earth, scholarly, passionate, logical, often funny, and so new—is important for us now. As I described in the last issue: we have no audio recording of it, but I’m grateful to have reconstructed much of it through notes taken by two people present at that class: Martha Baird and Irene Reiss, my mother.
In Humor: Music Mr. Siegel is showing, with respect and love, that music as such is humor. In the talk there comes to us, vibrant across the decades, this Aesthetic Realism principle: “All beauty is a making one of opposites, and the making one of opposites is what we are going after in ourselves.” The comic and serious are opposites that war in people. Millions of men and women feel that the self they have who laughs, tells a joke, takes things lightly, is a different person than the self who is swept with large feeling, who sees something as deep and mighty. That division is something people seemingly take for granted, yet it makes them ashamed. The division makes one feel that neither reality nor oneself is an integrity; it makes for a feeling of mess and emptiness.
Through what Mr. Siegel explains in this talk of 7 decades ago, the rift people feel between the comic and the serious need be no longer. If music shows that the sublime and laughable are one, then seriousness and jest, reverence and the jocular can go together in us too!
What Humor Is—& a Poem
In the last issue I quoted the definition of humor that Mr. Siegel gives in his Definitions, and Comment: “Humor is the feeling that the ugly is beautiful, while it is still seen as ugly first.” In a good comic film or novel, or a really funny joke, or a well done cartoon, we feel that askewness is at one with structure; that incorrectness has been presented so correctly; that the amiss and the just-right are inseparable. Real humor, then, Aesthetic Realism shows, is beauty itself…Read more