Steven Weiner, Computer Specialist and Aesthetic Realism associate, writes:
In this new issue of The Right Of, something tremendous in the life of everyone is explained as only Aesthetic Realism has been able to explain it: how we can honestly like ourselves. And you will see: things that very much trouble us about ourselves today have their relation to culture, to persons of the past, to literature of our time and centuries ago. For comprehension that you have been longing for, read “Why Can People Dislike Themselves?,” the transformative new issue of The Right of Aesthetic Realism to Be Known!
The commentary by Ellen Reiss begins:
Dear Unknown Friends:
We are serializing the wonderful 1970 lecture by Eli Siegel titled The Renaissance Shows Self.
There is the self that is, for each of us, our very own, with our own thoughts and stirrings and confusions and private hopes: the self we feel as just ME. What’s the relation of that self to the selves of all times and places—including those expressed in poems more than four centuries ago? In his lecture Mr. Siegel speaks of some of those poems, using the book English Renaissance Poetry, edited by John Williams.
As we serialize this lecture—with its vividness, erudition, and style—I have been relating it to Aesthetic Realism’s great explanation of the self as such. And I’m grateful to say again: Eli Siegel is the philosopher who understood the self, in its individuality and its inclusiveness, its grandeur and its lowness.
In the portion of the lecture published here, the second poem has to do with an enormous aspect of self. It’s something that the psychologists still don’t understand, but that Aesthetic Realism explains magnificently. This enormous matter is: why can a self be against itself? Why do people—selves—dislike themselves, their own selves? Why can they be disgusted with that self which is theirs, condemn themselves, be ashamed of themselves? After all, our self is ours: one would think we would always be in favor of it.
In recent decades, the chief advice given to persons who present themselves as self-disesteeming comes down pretty much to this: You should accept yourself. You should see yourself as worthy and special. And what you need is for others to be supportive of you.
In keeping with that prevailing view, people these years have barraged one another with a certain “supportiveness.” Hugs have been given in abundance. Millions of telephone conversations and visits (virtual and otherwise) between friends, family members, colleagues, end with the affirmation “I love you” or just “Love you!” Those words are now nearly as standard a closing phrase as “Goodbye” or “See you later.” And yet—self-unease, self-disesteem, low self-regard, agitation, unsureness, go on.
The reason is: even honest assurances of affection, while kind, do not get to the source of one’s self-objection, a source that won’t be altered by a friend’s verbal or tangible embrace. Certainly, one can be unsure of oneself because one has been misseen or mistreated, and that fact is real and important. But the biggest source of people’s self-againstness is something else.
What We Need to Learn
To understand why a self can disapprove of itself, we need to learn what the self is, what its large purpose is, and what in the self—in our self—is against the very purpose of our lives. In 1941, when Aesthetic Realism began, the Freudian view in all its inaccuracy reigned supreme. With exactitude and courage, Eli Siegel explained that the human self is something very different from what Freud and others were presenting. The self is an aesthetic situation: in everything we do, our need is to make a one of opposites, and centrally the opposites of self and world….Read more