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

Aesthetic Realism:
Some Beginning Notes

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

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

"The Ordinary Doom"
y 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"

The Economy

Aesthetic Realism asks: What is real economic recovery? Do we have it now? Article by Timothy Lynch, President Teamsters Local 1205

Profit Motive of Drug Companies Damaging Seniors' Lives by Devorah Tarrow, sociologist and Aesthetic Realism consultant

On The Family

A Father Seen Anew" by Bruce Blaustein, published in Senior News (Suffolk, New York)

On Anti-Racism

Aesthetic Realism and the Answer to Racism edited by Alice Bernstein

Novel based on Aesthetic Realism:
Gwe, Young Man of New Guinea by Arnold Perey



Reprinted from...

New Pittsburgh Courier logo
Pittsburgh, PA  
January 2, 1997

Real Welfare Reform Impact

By Miriam Mondlin

It is so necessary for people to know the real impact of the welfare reforms on people struggling to live with dignity—fathers and mothers worried about how to pay for food for their children, keep a roof over their heads, get needed medical care. It is ugly brutality to cut off welfare benefits and force workfare—which is tantamount to slave labor—on people in need. And there are elderly men and women terrified that their meager benefits, including food stamps, are going to be cut off.

I passionately want the people of Pittsburgh to know that Eli Siegel, founder of the education Aesthetic Realism, explained the reason people are poor and how this injustice can end. Profit economics, he explained, is based on contempt for people, where the only basis for a person to work at all is if he or she can make a profit for an owner or investor, who did not work for it. Contempt, Mr. Siegel defined as "the addition to self through the lessening of something else." Contempt can be as ordinary as a wife finishing her husband’s sentences, or looking at a person sitting across from us on the bus, and thinking, "I would never wear those colors together!" Contempt, Eli Siegel showed, is the cause of racism, the cause of all ethnic hatred, the cause of the agony of little children going to school hungry, who now have to worry about whether or not school lunches are going to be cut.

Beginning in 1970, Eli Siegel showed what no economist or historian has seen, and what these 27 years unequivocally affirm. He said: "There will be no economic recovery in the world until economics itself, the making of money, the having of jobs, becomes ethical; is based on good will rather than on the ill will which has been predominant for centuries."

Because it is harder for businesses to make a profit on the old terms, more people are being thrown out of work. And, if a person has a job, wages are so low that a family is forced to get public assistance in order to survive. When I was a child during the Depression in the 1930’s, my family was among many thousands to receive welfare benefits, to help pay for food and rent, so we wouldn’t be homeless. When I was 5 years old, I remember the distraught and angry look on my mother’s face when the social worker inspected our refrigerator, and told her she had to buy cheaper oranges for her children. I didn’t understand why this was happening to us then.

There is a solution to the economic pain in America which Ellen Reiss, Class Chairman of Aesthetic Realism, explains with clarity and compassion in The Right of Aesthetic Realism to Be Known, #1220, titled: "For America to Fare Well:"

Public welfare came to be as part of what Eli Siegel was the person to see and explain—the force of ethics working in history. Welfare exists because of the growing feeling in people that something is owed to every human being because he or she is human and alive. This is a true feeling, and stands for the dignity, honor and self-respect of humanity. Meanwhile, the U.S. welfare system is ‘dysfunctional’ because it is an untenable compromise: that is, instead of the economy of America being based on people getting what they truly deserve—instead of people being able to own, with others, the earth they live on, and work because they can be useful, and a little whom the profit system has devastatingly rooked. And at this time in history, the only thing that will work and that the U.S. can afford is an economy based fully on justice.

There will be economic justice in America when this kind, urgent question asked by Eli Siegel is studied and answered: "What does a person deserve by being a person?" Aesthetic Realism is taught at the Aesthetic Realism Foundation, a not-for-profit educational foundation in New York City.


Since writing this article, published 12 years ago—when the welfare reforms were just being put into action—THE REAL IMPACT OF THE WELFARE REFORMS is a brutal reality! 

During these years, there have been many articles citing the agony people forced off welfare endure daily. Because these reforms are unjust, they don't provide what people deserve. The welfare check is cut off--but poor families are not in a position to provide the necessities to get out of poverty: How can they get and keep a job that will enable them to afford health care for themselves and their children, and provide day care while at work. They need jobs that will pay the rent and the rising cost of food. And then there is the cost of transportation to and from a job. With the cost of higher education escalating, and training programs for mothers and fathers not being provided by government agencies, the prospect is bleaker now for thousands of families.

And there is this fact of profit economics which I learned very early— "last hired is first fired."  So many people on welfare who were forced to get workfare have been let go. These workers are the first to be laid off, and the economy is such that when you're in that situation, it's not so easy to get another job.

The urgency for economic justice in America becomes more pressing every day. The question asked by Eli Siegel needs to be studied and implemented:"What does a person deserve by being a person?"

--Miriam Mondlin, 2009



Aesthetic Realism encourages self-expression:

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

The Answer for Our Schools by Arnold Perey, Ph.D,.   —about a young man who stuttered and because of what he learned in Aesthetic Realism consultations—his stuttering diminished.

The high school student, Georges Delong wrote: "I have been able to resolve in large measure my problem regarding stuttering: now it is quite diminished and also I have been able to understand the motive for stuttering.... I hope that... persons who now do not know Aesthetic Realism will come to know it because, believe me, it can resolve millions of problems of people who perhaps now are struggling, perhaps vainly trying to resolve them."

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, and the Critical Inquiry by Dorothy Koppelman.. I will be putting up some of my paintings and drawings on my website in coming days..

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?


More resources...

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

©1999-2009 by Miriam Mondlin. All rights reserved
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