Aesthetic Realism and Self-Expression
Miriam Mondlin, Aesthetic Realism Consultant

Aesthetic Realism:
Some Beginning Notes

The Economy

The Aesthetic Realism Online Library is a definitive source for publications about Aesthetic Realism. For example, visit the online library to learn about how this philosophy, founded by Eli Siegel, explains Poetry, to read Reviews written by Mr. Siegel; reviews of his poetry and prose.—Essays on art and life; Books—including chapters from Self and World, the Williams-Siegel Documentary, James and the Children, Children's Guide to Parents and Other Matters and more.  Articles in the press & media about the ideas and principles of Aesthetic Realism in relation to life, economics, love, art, youth and age and Includes WKCR-FM "The World of Art" interview of Eli Siegel.

Reports of
Aesthetic Realism
Classes

Here are two reports of Eli Siegel's lectures:"Look, the World is Poetic!" and "The Rhythms: They Are There."

"The Ordinary Doom"
By Eli Siegel

In studying Aesthetic Realism the great interference in every person to expressing just who he or she is, is understood. When we don't know what keeps us from showing ourselves we have "The Ordinary Doom"

Resources

Aesthetic Realism Consultations

The Aesthetic Realism Teaching Method


The Aesthetic Realism Theatre Company


Eli Siegel, founder of Aesthetic Realism:
A Biography


logo - Countering the Lies website

"The Rhythms: They Are There"
A report of an Aesthetic Realism Class given by Eli Siegel

Part 1

The lecture Eli Siegel gave July 22, 1970, was titled "The Rhythms:They Are There," which had in it a new approach to the subject of rhythm.

Mr. Siegel explained he was going to be casual in his approach and present what rhythm is in as many ways as possible, using as his text a single issue of a 1920 journal, The Dial, a literary magazine concerned with the arts.

"The idea of rhythm," he explained, "is in keeping with the Aesthetic Realism definition of aesthetics—the seeing of difference and sameness in an object. It comes from the Greek word, ritmos, meaning measured motion." Mr. Siegel then defined rhythm as: "sameness in difference of sound; or of anything."

"I will begin with a very simple notion of rhythm in lines I wrote for this occasion." he continued, and he gave these surprising elemental lines of which he said "I can see this being played of an evening in an Osage Indian encampment with a drum:"

Ah ta-ta, ah ta-ta,
Ah
Ah ta-ta ah, Ah ha-ta,
Ah ha-ta, ah­-ha
Ta, ah.

He then showed how, by giving these syllables different emphasis, we could hear different rhythms in them: "Ah ta-ta" he said, is an amphimacer, a poetic foot of three syllables—long, short, long—"Ah ta-ta." Changing it to a dactyl, it is long, short, short-­"Ah ta-ta,/ah ta-ta,/ah ta-ta,/ah."

"The purpose this evening," Mr. Siegel stated, "is to relate the rhythm that can be seen here to the rhythm that can be called cosmic, philosophic, scientific rhythm….Rhythm," he said, "is always sameness and difference as the opposites are.''

I learned from Eli Siegel and Aesthetic Realism how we are the same and different from everything else—a mother, a book, a tree, a glass of water, a person in history. This knowledge makes for the crucial difference between liking and not liking how our minds work. It is respect for the world and as this class showed, it makes for the greatest pleasure.

On page 1 of the August 1920 issue of The Dial, Mr. Siegel read an advertisement for a novel published by MacMillan, "The Stranger" by Arthur Bullard, and showed how the idea of sameness and difference—and therefore rhythm—is in what this novel is about, the sameness and difference of spirit and matter. Mr. Siegel read from the ad:

The victory of the spirit over material things furnishes the theme of the new novel in which love, faith and artistry, transcend the barriers of alien creeds.

"The first thing in rhythm," Mr. Siegel explained, "is related to contrast" and he gave this humorous instance—"It's like Mutt and Jeff ...(high and low) [also] the rough and smooth are in a state of rhythm; church spire and cellar are in a state of rhythm: The opposites, seen dramatically, are always in a state of rhythm." "The purpose of rhythm," he said, "is through contrast to make reality clear."' And he showed the large meaning this has when he said:

The rhythms of the world taken all together are the world itself. They will occur. Some rhythms have never been evoked—­some of them will be evoked tomorrow and people won't even know they are doing it. The rhythms do want to get on the stage of the universe.

Rhythm is being shown to have such wideness. Like most people, I saw rhythm as having to do with music, and certainly, the dance—but in this class Mr. Siegel was showing that rhythm has to do with everything you can think of, and even what you haven't thought of!

The next advertisement in The Dial for a 1920 novel led to an exciting discussion of one of the great, puzzled-over passages of the New Testament. Mr. Siegel read from The Book of Revelation—about the Four Horsemen, who stand allegorically for war, famine, pestilence and death.

"The Book of Revelation is one of the most congested, divine works ever." It's difficult to make sense of. He spoke of Chapter 6 with the Four Horsemen, and said it is greater poetically than the chapters around it—5 and 7. And he noted, "I am seeing it from the point of view of... rhythm."

Chapter Six begins:

And I saw when the Lamb opened one of the seals, and I heard, as it were the noise of thunder, one of the four beasts saying, come and see.

The fact that a quiet, gentle Lamb is opening a seal accompanied by a loud noise, Mr. Siegel said "can be called the thunder and mouse rhythm." "This has wildness," he explained, "It has contrast—a Lamb opening a seal [on the document] is already strange."

The most famous lines from Revelation, he said, concern the opening of the 4th of the 7 Seals. "This," he said, "has that interior rhythm called melody:"

And I looked, and behold a pale horse: and his name that sat on him was Death, and Hell followed with him.

On the opening of the Sixth Seal, there is a great earthquake:

And the stars of heaven fell unto the earth, even as a fig tree casteth her untimely figs, when she is shaken of a mighty wind.

Commented Mr. Siegel:

Here we have a simile—it places sameness and difference in one situation. It is replete with rhythm. You have the stars of heaven mingling with figs falling from fig trees. It is like two frenzied dancers. They go so fast you don't know which is which. This can be called The Flamenco of Divinity

I believe that If people saw the world as having wonderful, mysterious, unexpected, beautiful rhythms every moment, as Mr. Siegel was showing in this class, they would like it more, they would see more sense in it, and see the drama in themselves and other people.

As Mr. Siegel read from the August 1920 issue of The Dial, we heard many instances of how rhythm is in prose and even in painting.

On stuttering— Read, "How My Stuttering Ended." by Miriam Mondlin

Articles about this Aesthetic Realism question: "What does a person deserve by being a person?" —

 

"Women's Health Care is a Fundamental Right!"

"Health care for babies — a must!" What Aesthetic Realism encouraged me to see and say.

So-called "Welfare Reform" — what has it done to people?

— And Arnold Perey about an aspect of self-expression--warmth and coolness...

Aesthetic Realism & Art - Does Art Answer the Questions of our Lives?

An aspect of my self-expression has been as an artist. The study of art has been for most of my life, and I've had the pleasure and honor to continue to learn in Aesthetic Realism classes for the visual arts at the Aesthetic Realism Foundation in great classes taught by Chaim Koppelman, Marcia Rackow and the Critical Inquiry by Dorothy Koppelman.. I will be putting up some of my paintings and drawings on my website in coming weeks.

A talk I gave in the series at the Terrain Gallery "How Art Answers the Questions of Your Life," is here: On Van Gogh's great "Starry Night" — titled: "Can We Be Expansive and Contained Like Van Gogh's Starry Night? 

 
 

Photography Education: the
Aesthetic Realism Viewpoint

Aesthetic Realism: A New Perspective for Anthropology & Sociology
Lynette Abel / Aesthetic Realism and Life
Alice Bernstein, Aesthetic Realism Associate
Ellen Reiss writes on the "criticism" of John Keats
Ellen Reiss, Class Chairman, on poet Robert Burns
About Eli Siegel

Photograph from film "Hot Afternoons Have Been in Montana."

”Best U.S. Short”
Avignon/New York Film Festival

"Hot Afternoons
Have Been in Montana"
Directed by Ken Kimmelman,
Emmy award-winning filmmaker
 

 

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