Steven Weiner, Computer Specialist and Aesthetic Realism associate, writes:
Is there a battle we don’t know about that is going on in us all the time? Can we have a determination that’s beautiful—and a very different kind of determination that weakens us? For the answers—tremendously hopeful—to these questions, read “The Thing in Us We Need Most to Understand,” the exciting new issue of The Right of Aesthetic Realism to Be Known.
The commentary by Ellen Reiss begins:
We are serializing Poetry and the Unconscious, by Eli Siegel. This vivid, kind 1949 lecture—great in literary criticism—is historic, and also immediate: it’s needed by us now. Here is the third section. And with it is part of a paper by Aesthetic Realism consultant Carol Driscoll, from a public seminar of last month titled “Women—Determined & Doubtful; or, When Is Our Determination Right?”
Discussing poems of James Thomson (1834-82), Mr. Siegel is describing the central matter in the self of everyone—including in our unconscious, or that in us of which we’re unaware. Although Thomson is best known for his powerful writing about the world as darksome, as having much evil, Mr. Siegel points out that he also wrote some of the most cheerful poems ever. And contrary to what various critics have said, Mr. Siegel shows that Thomson didn’t write the happy poems early in life and the darksome later. Rather, he wrote both kinds all along, because he had, intensely, what everyone has—two ways of seeing the world: as an enemy against which he should find solace in himself; and as a friend.
The world, certainly, has both horror and loveliness. Thomson tried to be honest about both, and was so grandly honest in his poetry that his lines are musical. However, he did not know, as others haven’t, what Aesthetic Realism explains: there is a fight in us between contempt for the world and respect for it. That is the biggest matter in everyone’s life, and we need to learn about it so respect can win. In Thomson as artist, respect won. It did not win in his personal life, as it mainly does not for people.
Thomson was thirsty to know what Carol Driscoll illustrates: our fight between respect and contempt has made for two kinds of determination in us, one beautiful and one ugly.
The most hurtful, ugliest determination in the world is something had by every person. That is: there’s a determination in everyone that what’s “good” means that which pleases me, makes me important, enables me to have my way; and what’s “bad” is anything that interferes with my self-importance and comfort. The forms in which this dogged, determined, utterly fallacious way of seeing occurs are multitudinous. I’ll mention several swiftly….Read more.