Steven Weiner, Computer Specialist and Aesthetic Realism associate, writes:
What does it really mean to be intelligent? And how are people mixed up on the subject? Can we have a notion of intelligence that’s actually foolish? These questions—and more—are answered culturally and truly in “What Is Intelligence?,” the current issue of The Right of Aesthetic Realism to Be Known.
The commentary by Ellen Reiss begins:
Dear Unknown Friends:
With this issue we begin to serialize Intelligence Is You and More, a remarkable, kind, clear, immensely important 1964 lecture by Eli Siegel. Every person has seen himself or herself as intelligent in a big way—as keener, sharper, deeper than others. Every person has also called him- or herself stupid, foolish, and worse. A woman right now, for instance, a Boston lawyer, feels that she’s very knowledgeable about jurisprudence and that she’s the brightest partner in her firm, able to outwit anyone. But she has also told herself she’s been an idiot as to love or else she wouldn’t have suffered so much about the various men she was close to. She feels she’s smart in her ability to impress a jury, but again and again feels inept after a conversation with her mother.
Contempt & Respect Are There
What is intelligence? It’s certainly not what IQ tests—those grossly inadequate and cruel things—delineate.
In this 1964 lecture, as Eli Siegel describes intelligence, we see that it is a huge instance of the principle at the basis of Aesthetic Realism: “All beauty is a making one of opposites, and the making one of opposites is what we are going after in ourselves.” Two decades earlier, in 1945, in his Definitions, and Comment: Being a Description of the World, he had given a formal definition—in my opinion, a thrilling definition—of intelligence. “Intelligence,” he wrote then, “is the ability of a self to become at one with the new.” While that seems different from the definition we find in the present lecture, the two are of a piece, because the 1945 definition I just quoted is about the opposites too—the biggest opposites in our lives: self and world. Here, from Definitions, and Comment, are some sentences from Mr. Siegel’s magnificent comment to the 1945 definition:
Every self is surrounded by otherness: what is different from it…. The new is properly otherness thought of as not having been seen before…. Read more