Monday, May 15, 2006

Translations of Poetry from the Greek, Latin, French, Spanish, Japanese by Eli Siegel

I'm delighted to be able to access the Aesthetic Realism Online Library with its wealth of literature and literary comment by Eli Siegel. As a person who cares for the study of foreign languages, I am particulary moved by Mr. Siegel's translations of poetry from the French, Spanish, German, Greek, Latin and Japanese. For example, here is one of my favorite translations.

At Thermopylae, By Simonides of Ceos
Translation by Eli Siegel

O stranger, tell the Lacedaemonians
That we lie here, true to their laws.

To translate from one language to another is to respect the sameness and difference of two different languages at the same time. This has to do with the good will that I've learned from Aesthetic Realism is necessary in a marriage, in a divorce, and in any human relationship.

To do a good job of translating, you need to be fair to the sound and rhythm and meaning in your own and in another language at the same time. This, I've learned from Aesthetic Realism, is in outline how we want to be as to other people--try to be fair to who they are and to who we are at the same time. The opposites of Sameness and Difference as Aesthetic Realism explains them are a beginning point for understanding both.

Monday, November 21, 2005

"Were They Equal?" by Dr. Arnold Perey

"Were They Equal? ...about Tortoise, Hippopotamus, Elephant--and You!" a tale of the Ndowe people of Africa. Dr. Arnold Perey adapted the tale and illustrated it charmingly.

I include a description of it in my blog because, through the tale and the meaning of it, we see what it means truly to appreciate the difference of other things and people. And Dr. Perey shows how to appreciate another's good qualities without diminishing oneself.

Dr. Perey, whose website is "Aesthetic Realism: A New Perspective for Anthropology" writes

"Tortoise is an animal who plays tricks in many African stories. His job is to even the score when important folks are unfair. This story comes from the feeling in people that having contempt for other people, like Hippopotamus and Elephant do, is wrong....
"While this story doesn't give a full answer to prejudice, it's on the side of one. I learned the full-scale answer from Aesthetic Realism, and I've seen it work for many years. How to be fair to people and why we can be so unfair is explained in works by [Eli Siegel, founder of Aesthetic Realism], including his book Children's Guide to Parents and Other Matters...
"He explained there are two ways of thinking you are strong and big, and we need to make up our mind which represents us. You can feel strong, "just because you have an opinion something else is bad." But are we truly strong when [we] want to know what other people feel and want them to be stronger and better off? Yes, we are. This is good will. "

Friday, October 21, 2005

Gwe, Young Man of New Guinea, A Novel Against Racism

Dear Readers,

Here is a review of a great anthropological novel that has us see the sameness and difference of human beings. It will be seen as a classic, like The Harmless People.

This novel--Gwe--teaches us to see the sameness and difference between ourselves and others as necessary as it is lovely and strengthening.

GWE, Young Man of New Guinea, a novel against racism by Arnold Perey, PhD, Anthropologist and Aesthetic Realism Consultant [Waverly Place Press, NY 2005]

Review by Meryl Simon and Devorah Tarrow

Gwe was born in Stone Age New Guinea.
Alan was born in New York City.
This is their story and the story of Gwe’s people.

Gwe is a stirring novel set in New Guinea and peopled by the Mengti, with whom the author, Dr. Arnold Perey, lived. When he returned to the U.S., he began to study Aesthetic Realism, founded by American philosopher Eli Siegel. Dr. Perey writes:

… “All beauty is a making one of opposites,” wrote Mr. Siegel, “and the making one of opposites is what we are going after in ourselves. To see the deep likeness of all people, the opposites are scientifically necessary. The people of New Guinea you'll meet in this story—are they concerned with respecting oneself and feeling guilty? … being angry and being pleased; being excited and being calm; being fair to people and being selfish—in circumstances unique to their island?

In every chapter, we see the answer is yes. The novel centers on Alan Hull, young anthropologist and Gwe, a young man of Stone Age culture who becomes Alan's interpreter and guide.

Through Alan, Arnold Perey courageously lays bare racism in himself and tells how he learned to see its cause as explained by Aesthetic Realism: "The addition to self through the lessening of something else," which is contempt for people and things, and is the most damaging drive in humanity—in us.

What is the opposition to that unjust state of mind? Aesthetic Realism shows it is in art! In the chapter titled “Sunset and a Poem,” Dr. Perey describes how educated he was by the response of Gwe to a magnificent sunset and also by his singing a poem his people sang at twilight. Here are lines of the New Guinea Insect Song.


The insect is singing,
It is nearly dark
The insect is singing
Come dance…

Dr. Perey writes:

Alan was stirred by this poem about sunset the way he was stirred by the carvings on the Divanna men's arrows. He saw they had art. …And now—poetry. His experiences were altering his conception of …people whose dark complexion he had felt, despite all his anthropological training, was associated with lesser minds and lesser sensitivity.

Dr. Perey takes us into the home of Gwe’s family.

Father of Gwe, seeing Alan walk into his dwelling in his stocking feet asks: "Are your feet like ours?" When Alan removes his socks, Gwe's father asks to touch his foot, which he does, and says, "Your feet are like baby's feet." Alan explains that his feet are always in shoes, and don't meet the rough earth barefoot. Then Alan pantomimes the tickling of his own foot and asks "If I tickle you, Father of Gwe, will you laugh?" The elder says, "Ah, yes." Perey writes, "Everyone in the little house was satisfied by the mood of mutual confidence mingled with a certain daring."

Then, they want to celebrate with a Singsing. Father of Gwe guides him:

Coming to Alan, he put one old hand on the young man's back, and the other on his pale upper arm, and he began rising and falling in time to an internal music. Back and forth across the length of the house they danced….Together the old father and the young, New York-born student danced the dance of New Guinea, centuries old, in a small dwelling on a rainy slope in the Victor Emanuel Mountains, 5 degrees south of the Equator in the Eastern half of the World.

The Mengti live by sweet potatoes, taro, and pigs. But because Gwe's selfish, brutal uncle, Yug-wek-kek, has taken possession by force of the best land, and the crops haven’t grown as well as they should, most of the people are starved for protein. Alan explains to Gwe that when a baby’s head is larger than his chest, it is a sign he is malnourished. Dr. Perey describes Gwe’s distress at the condition of the babies as Alan measures them.

Meanwhile, there is something else that is new, arising from Dr. Perey’s study of Aesthetic Realism: he goes into the feelings of Yug-wek-kek—showing how against himself he is for his ill will and the effects on himself of his own injustice. We read of how his guilt takes the form of a nightmare and an episode of insanity. We see new depths in a person and we are encouraged to ask ourselves: What are the effects on me when I am unjust?

In Gwe, Dr. Perey has us see and feel our kinship to people far away in place and in time. And he shows convincingly the cause of racism and how it can end.
Visit: "A New Perspective for Anthropology"

The authors are consultants on the faculty of the Aesthetic Realism Foundation (, where they study in professional classes taught by Class Chairman Ellen Reiss. Ms. Simon has an MA in Anthropology and Ms. Tarrow has an MA in Sociology.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

The Great Fight of Ego vs. Truth

October 19, 2005

Dear Readers of my blog,

Here is news of a great theatrical event on this coming Sunday, October 23:

The Great Fight of Ego vs. Truth Songs about Love, Justice, & Everybody’s Feelings!

Great Musical Event

October 19, 2005

Great Musical Event

I'm pleased to invite you to a Great Event--Original, for our time, and for all time!!

Here is the information:

Music lovers of all ages should not miss the Sunday October 23rd matinee performance by the Aesthetic Realism Theatre Company of The Great Fight of Ego vs. Truth: Songs about Love, Justice, and Everybody's Feelings! Personally, I can't wait to hear songs of many decades and genres--standards from the 40s, rock and roll, broadway musicals, history, labor and more commented on by the singers themselves. This will be entertainment at its height and at the same time an education in ethics, about this very moment and your own life.

The Great Fight of Ego vs. Truth Songs about Love, Justice, & Everybody’s Feelings!

Monday, October 10, 2005

Post Katrina Sensitivity

Post Katrina Sensitivity

Since Katrina, I join people all over the world in caring more about the plight of our fellow human beings.

No person should be abandoned. I wanted, as on-lookers everywhere did and do, for mothers, fathers, grandparents, children and others to be safe, well-fed, decently sheltered, kindly active in schools/jobs and/or the interests of their lives.

I recommend the following articles as a beginning point in the care of child and family health and will add others:

"No Child Should Go Hungery in America," by Miriam Mondlin

and "Every Baby Deserves Health Care Based on Good Will, Not Profit," by Meryl Simon, Miriam Mondlin and Ruth Oron.

We want a new way of seeing people that turns our anguish for the Katrina victims into useful activity. I consider these article/links are a beginning point.

Sunday, September 25, 2005

What Essential Things about Life Can We Learn From Photography?

Eli Siegel asks this definitive question about opposites central to photography in his historic broadside of 1955, "Is Beauty the Making One of Opposites?":

LIGHT AND DARK: Does all art present the world as visible, luminous, going forth?--does art, too, present the world as dark, hidden, having a meaning which seems to be beyond ordinary perception?--and is the technical problem of light and dark in painting related to the reality question of the luminous and hidden?

Photography can be a means of seeing the luminous and hidden in reality and in one's life. It's important for a good state of mind to learn to see the world as both dark and light, "having a meaning which seems to be beyond ordinary perception" and also "visible." For myself, like many men and women, after a life-changing experience, like divorce, I've found how necessary it is to try to see these opposites in the world as making sense. I recommend your visiting a website that shows the art of photography valuably -- that of Len Bernstein--Photographic Education.

Len Bernstein explains how seeing people and things through a viewfinder can be accurate and beautiful, and how this purpose can be a hope of ours all the time.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Picasso as painter tried to be fair to a woman--Dora Maar

Picasso as painter tried to be fair to a woman--Dora Maar. I describe this in my paper titled "Dora Maar Seated," or, Full Face and Profile: How Do they Show the Self?"

In "Dora Maar Seated," he shows her with so many colors and shapes in her face and body that we feel the dynamic presence of the inner person from his work. I think he expressed himself more fairly, told the truth more deeply in his art than he did in his daily life with Dora Maar and with other women he had to do with, had children with, was married to.It is valuable to see that a man has as deep a question about how to see a wife or a former wife as a woman has about how to see a husband or a former husband.

One large thing I am learning in the study of Aesthetic Realism is to feel as accurately expressed in my everyday life and relations with people as I do in my study of the field I see as representing me--anthropology. Our mode of expression is a major subject for every person alive. I've been learning that really expressing myself means what I say and even think needs, for the satisfaction of my self to arise from the hope to like the world, even if what I am expressing is dislike for something. A rich source of information on the subject of expression--interfered with and successful--is the website of Miriam Mondlin Aesthetic Realism and Self Expression."