Aesthetic Realism Can Resolve the Confusion in Men about Warmth and Coolness—including in Love and Marriage
By Arnold Perey, PhD
2. Warmth and Coolness in an Etching and LifeUnlike all the disciplines I looked into—without finding the self-knowledge I hoped for—Aesthetic Realism understands the human self, and central in that understanding is its showing how we see the world affects everything in our lives, including sex. In order to understand myself better, I brought an etching in to a class with Eli Siegel only days after beginning to study.
As he looked at it, Mr. Siegel, referring to the eye in the upper center, began to ask about the coolness and detachment that had confused me so much. "What you would like to do, is gaze at everything?"
ES There is an eye here that seems rather uncomfortable and alone—it also seems to act as if it's the wisest thing going.
AP That eye is being swallowed by the bird.
ES I don't think this would be swallowed because you make that bird ineffectual....If I looked into the allegory, I would say the bird, being Arnold Perey, wanted to swallow his desire to be one-eyed Arnold Perey looking too composedly at things.
This was true.
Then Mr. Siegel asked, "You are against yourself for being just an observer, but you also don't like to participate?"
"Yes," I said.
And he pointed out the way to solve this is not to do away with being composed, or with observation, but to join those with the desire to be active, energetic—and have a good effect. Mr. Siegel said, "The eye, instead of simply looking, also wants to be somewhat more like these whirling globes." This oneness of observing and actively participating is good will—the encouraging of other people's lives, with the hope that they be stronger and more worthy of respect. This desire is true warmth, and because it is also exact, it has a right coolness, too.
3. Good Will Brings Cool and Warm Honestly Together, in Love
A man can change how he sees the world and women. My life, and my marriage to Barbara Allen, are witness to that. I learned that the purpose of love is not the ownership and conquest I was after, it is to use a woman to like the world with. I changed fundamentally as I learned what this means. I heard beautiful, tough criticism for my unjust and really brutal way of seeing— wanting to possess a woman, have her absorbed exclusively in me and not have a mind that ranges far and wide, comes to new knowledge; wanting to use her to complain about other people and have her soothe all my presumed hurts by monumental praise of my brilliance—and agreement with me in all matters.
In one class, early in my study, Mr. Siegel explained:
You have the feeling that you, in some way, have conquered the world because a woman is, in a silly fashion, solicitous towards you....[she] fixes the bandages with a little kiss.
And he also said:
You'd like to have a situation with a woman like that with your mother: you'd torment her, she'd forgive you, and life would go on.
Had this not changed I most assuredly would not have the marriage I am grateful to have now.
Shortly before Barbara and I married, I met Mr. Siegel as he was taking an evening walk. It was early spring and the sun, surrounded by glowing red clouds, was setting. Eastward the sky was blue. Mr. Siegel looked up and said—"My hope for you in your marriage is that you be like the sky—as cool as that blue (he pointed) and as passionate as that red."
I love him because my Aesthetic Realism education has made that emotion possible. The lack of bodily feeling in sex that troubled me so much, ended. This is a magnificent change for which I am unboundedly grateful. I love my wife, both body and mind, with a fulness and physical completeness that means so very much to me. I love her depth of thought—her desire to be just to the grandest and subtlest thought in history. I respect what has come from that desire: a new understanding of music and of the flute's capability to cause melting and stirring beauty as she plays it; and the way she teaches what she has learned to men, women, and children. And I am proud to be able to be close to her.