“The Aesthetics of Restlessness”
Number 1993. November 28, 2018
Dear Unknown Friends:
It is an honor to publish the first part of Mind and Restlessness, by Eli Siegel. This lecture, which he gave seventy years ago, explains definitively, kindly, clearly, richly, beautifully, a matter not understood by others attempting to deal with the human self.
We do not have a full transcript of Mind and Restlessness, but I have put together notes taken by two of the students present in that 1948 class: Martha Baird and my mother, Irene Reiss. Though these notes are incomplete, they bring us an authentic picture, not only of the ideas in the lecture, but of Eli Siegel’s depth, ease, great exactitude, humor, scholarship, down-to-earthness, respect for the self of everyone.
People have been tormented by their restlessness. And, as Mr. Siegel shows, along with the kind that is overt, there can be a restlessness that people don’t even know they have, but which makes them feel unsure, unplaced, rather empty.
Restlessness Is about Opposites
At the time of this lecture, the philosophy Aesthetic Realism was in its first decade: Mr. Siegel had begun to teach it seven years earlier. It is the philosophy showing that the human self is an aesthetic situation; that our fundamental need, in every aspect of our lives, is to do what art does: put opposites together. “All beauty,” Mr. Siegel explained in a landmark principle—“All beauty is a making one of opposites, and the making one of opposites is what we are going after in ourselves.” So in this lecture he looks at restlessness as no one else ever did: as a question of aesthetics….Read more
The Right Of is edited by Ellen Reiss, Aesthetic Realism Chairman of Education, who is author of its commentaries.