Jeffrey Carduner, Aesthetic Realism Consultant, writes:
The largest question in our lives: Do we want to run things and people, or be fair to them, understand them? And—surprisingly—what does that question have to do with the art of the world? Read this thrilling issue, “A World to Be Just to—or Manage?,” which is a guide to real happiness and self-respect—the new issue of The Right of Aesthetic Realism to Be Known.
The commentary by Ellen Reiss begins:
Dear Unknown Friends:
We continue to serialize the important lecture Imagination—It Gathers, which Eli Siegel gave in 1971. And here too is an article by Harriet Bernstein, from a paper she presented this summer at the public seminar titled “The Fight in Women about Managing or Understanding—& the Beautiful Answer.” What do these two portions of the current TRO have to do with each other? What does the imagination that is in art have to do with a constant unseen battle in everyone—children, married couples, government officials: the battle of to manage versus to understand?
Eli Siegel is the philosopher who showed that art is not an offset to life or even just a fine addition to life. Art is inseparable from what we are: art is how we want to be; it does what we want to do. This principle is the basis of the philosophy he founded: “All beauty is a making one of opposites, and the making one of opposites is what we are going after in ourselves.” The largest opposites in everyone’s life are self and world. These opposites are central in imagination. They’re central too in managing, and in understanding.
We Do Things with the World
In the lecture we’re serializing, Mr. Siegel is illustrating how imagination gathers. Imagination brings together aspects of the world and composes them. In the present section he looks at a poem about spring by the Elizabethan writer Thomas Nashe. He shows that Nashe is using that self which is his own to do something to the world: Nashe is gathering together various things that show what spring is—birds, people, growing things. And there are other gatherings by the Nashe imagination. There is that gathering of sounds which is rhyme; and another gathering of sounds which is rhythm. And throughout it all there is a gathering—a vibrant being affected by and composing—of those elements of which the world is made: the heaviness and lightness of things, their rest and motion, sameness and difference, freedom and order. What impels this imagination of an authentic artist?
The answer has in it why art is an emergency for us. There’s a crucial difference between the way people usually deal in their minds with the world, and how an artist does. The difference is in these words of the seminar title mentioned earlier: managing versus understanding. While an artist certainly does things to his or her material, what impels a true artist is not the desire to manage but to see, know, understand, value both the immediate object and the world it comes from and represents. Aesthetic Realism explains that no matter how wild one’s imagination is, if that imagination is good, is of art, it does things to the object, changes the object, in order to be fair to it, see it and show it truly….Read more.