Lynette Abel  / Aesthetic Realism & Life

Lynette Abel
      Here I write about what I have learned from Aesthetic Realism, the education founded by American philosopher and poet Eli Siegel.

       In newpaper articles and in publicly-presented papers, I have written about personal and national concerns and their relation.  And here too, are some current articles written by friends and colleagues about issues affecting America and the world today, published in various newspapers throughout the country. 

       I live in New York City and love it here.  When I was 23, I began to study the education I write of on this web site.  For instance, how a person is related to everything else--and the place of art in understanding this--is outlined in the principle "The world, art, and self explain each other: each is the aesthetic oneness of opposites." (See the Aesthetic Realism  Foundation online library and biographical information about Eli Siegel.)  A current schedule of upcoming classes, seminars, and special events can be found on the Fdn's Calendar.

     It was the greatest pleasure and richest life experience to have attended Aesthetic Realism classes given by Eli Siegel in the years from 1973 to 1978. I have selected to include here reports of some of those classes --of extemporaneous talks he gave on a wide diversity of subjects--on literature, music, the social sciences, humor, national ethics, economics, the human self, and so much more. 

     Today, my education continues in professional classes taught each week by Aesthetic Realism Chairman of Education, Ellen Reiss, whom I respect for her honesty, scholarship, and great kindness.

From Rock 'n' Roll, the Opposites, & Our Greatest Hopes—A Celebration! 

"Anyone Who Had a Heart" by Burt Bachrach and Hal David, sung by Carrie Wilson.   I'm proud to be one of the backup singers along with Meryl Nietsch- Cooperman & Ann Richards.  To see it as it appears on YouTube, click here

To hear "Carol of the Drum" or "Little Drummer Boy" by Harry Simeone, Katherine K. Davis, and Henry Onorati, performed  December 2011 by the Aesthetic Realism Theatre Company as part of the Special Event "The Beauty and Urgency of Justice," click here.

The Battle of Insistences

This is the title of issue 1886 of The Right of Aesthetic Realism to Be Known.   In it is the beginning serialization of Eli Siegel's lecture Mind and Insistence. It has that deep understanding of ourselves we are hoping for: explaining our insistences, the kind that strengthens us and the kind that doesn't.  Also, in her  commentary, critical and kind, Editor Ellen Reiss writes of something that  shockingly still exists in America: child labor in the tobacco fields of North Carolina.  I love this issue! It will give you new feeling and conviction about the complete justice that is deserved by every human being. Ms. Reiss writes:

    "We begin to serialize a lecture Eli Siegel gave in 1949: Mind and Insistence. I find it amazing—great. He describes with richness and delicacy the various kinds of insistence everyone has, which are not understood by or even known to us.

     There are, Aesthetic Realism explains, two big purposes that insist in every person, and battle with each other. There is the purpose we were born for: to respect the world, see meaning in it. That is at war all the time with another purpose, false but tremendous: to have contempt, to lessen what’s not us as a means of elevating ourselves. This second purpose is the source of every cruelty. Yet the first—to see things and people with vibrant justice—is the larger, deeper insistence. No matter how much we try to submerge it, it’s what our minds are for. Our being untrue to it is the central reason we are ashamed, nervous, have a feeling of emptiness, loneliness, self-dislike.

Going On Now

    "As we publish this lecture of 65 years ago, I think it right to comment on a huge battle of insistences going on in the world now. The battle is about: On what basis should human beings work, have money, buy and sell? To whom should the world belong?

    Beginning in 1970, Mr. Siegel explained that an economy based on the profit motive—on seeing people in terms of how much financial gain one can extract from them—was no longer able to carry on successfully. The profit system would never recover, though it might be made to limp along at the cost of enormous pain to people. Profit economics is a form of contempt. It arises from this assumption, which is also an insistence: certain people should own much more of the world than others, and can use those others to aggrandize themselves.

    However, by the 1970s, another insistence had, as Mr. Siegel said, “come to a tangibility.” He called it the force of ethics. And this ethical insistence, working through history, had made it so that by the end of the 20th century private profits were much more difficult to obtain. Ethics as force is by no means some vague or mystical thing. It has many, many aspects, and from one point of view is equivalent to progress as such. A central form it has taken is the coming-to-be of greater technical and productive ability on all the continents, so that now (in Mr. Siegel’s words) “there is more competition with the American product.” One result is, thousands of American businesses have disappeared."

To continue reading this issue, click here.

Special Presentations of Aesthetic Realism

Ornament for L. Abel, Associate of Aesthetic Realism of Eli Siegel"Power & Grace in Music, with a Note on Sincerity" from a Music: Aesthetic Realism
           presentation of October 26, 1975 given by Paul Abel 
      Page 1 Page 2

In 1946, Paul Abel began his career as an airline pilot. Several years later in 1949, Mr. Abel received his Master's degree in Music at Syracuse University, where he was on the faculty and taught voice.  Then in 1969, he began to study Aesthetic Realism in New York City in classes with its founder, Eli Siegel.  In 1975 he taught voice, using the Aesthetic Realism point of view.  This is the point of view of the essay presented here. What Mr. Abel sees about Verdi's Rigoletto, I believe, adds importantly to its beauty and value.--Editor

Reports of Aesthetic Realism Classes

Ornament for L. Abel, Associate of Aesthetic Realism of Eli Siegel"Freedom Is with Imagination," Nevertheless Poetry class given by Eli Siegel
           September 29, 1971. It includes a discussion of Samuel Taylor Coleridge, including his 
           great poem  "Christabel," and Homer's Iliad, the translations of Richmond Lattimore, 
           and Alexander Pope.  This is a report written by Paul Abel, musician, retired airline pilot, 
           and my father.  He studied Aesthetic Realism in classes with Eli Siegel in the1970s.  I am 
           grateful to him for introducing me to this important education.  He told me recently, how 
           glad he is that his report could be published here on this web site. 

Ornament for L. Abel, Associate of Aesthetic Realism of Eli Siegel"Instinct and Mme de Sevigne,"a report by Lynette Abel on a class given by Eli Siegel 
           December 11, 1964, one in a series he gave on instinct. 

Ornament for L. Abel, Associate of Aesthetic Realism of Eli Siegel"People Leave Each Other in Poetry," two classes given by Eli Siegel February 14 and 21, 
          1968 about difficulty in love, the leaving of one person by another.  Includes discussion of 
          John Keat's "La Belle Dame Sans Merci."

Ornament for L. Abel, Associate of Aesthetic Realism of Eli Siegel"Freedom and Order in Poetry" given February 4, 1970. In it, Eli Siegel discusses,
          among many other poems, Vachel Lindsay's "The Congo." 

Ornament for L. Abel, Associate of Aesthetic Realism of Eli Siegel"It Is, As It's Elsewhere,"  given June 17, 1970 by Eli Siegel about the meaning of poetry; 
          includes discussion of Carl Sandburg's poem "To a Contemporary Bunkshooter."

Ornament for L. Abel, Associate of Aesthetic Realism of Eli SiegelThe Miracle at Verdun, a play by Hans Chlumberg, discussed by Eli Siegel April 3, 1977 

Ornament for L. Abel, Associate of Aesthetic Realism of Eli Siegel"Words Are Everywhere: Comedy and Tragedy Are Two of These," was given 
          March 24, 1971. Eli Siegel discusses the1924 play Juno and the Paycock by Sean O'Casey 

Ornament for L. Abel, Associate of Aesthetic Realism of Eli Siegel"Presence and Absence: A Consideration of the Arts and Sciences,"given February 21, 
          1969.  Eli Siegel discusses the writing of  French author Constantin Francois Comte de 

Ornament for L. Abel, Associate of Aesthetic Realism of Eli Siegel"Shakespeare's Interesting," In this talk, given December 9, 1970, Eli Siegel uses an 
            18th century edition of the play Hamlet, with critics of the time, and E.M.W. Tillyard's
           Shakespeare's Problem Plays

Aesthetic Realism Seminars
Essays by Lynette Abel

Ornament for L. AbelThe Fight between Boredom and Awareness in a Woman's Mind
      Discusses the life and work of Frances Perkins, Secretary of Labor in FDR's administration 
        Page 1 Page 2 Page 3 

Ornament for L. AbelWhat's the Big Thing Women Need to Know about Power?
         Discusses the 19th century novel, Emma by Jane Austen 
          Page 1 Page 2 Page 3 

Ornament for L. AbelWhat's More Important: to Appreciate Rightly or Be Praised?
      Discusses the film The Sound of Music
      Page 1 Page 2 Page 3 

Ornament for L. AbelBeauty and the Beast; or, the Ethics of a Fairy Tale
      Excerpt from an Aesthetic Realism Seminar, with a discussion of  the Madame Leprince
      De Beaumont story of this beloved fairy tale, translated by Ronald Duncan. 

Ornament for L. AbelHow Can Men and Women Be Sure of Themselves?
      Discusses the short story "The Second Choice," by Theodore Dreiser 
      Page 1 Page 2 Page 3

Ornament for L. AbelDespite Achievement & Praise--Why Can a Woman Feel Empty?
      Discusses portions of Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery 
       Page 1 Page 2 Page 3 

Ornament for L. AbelKindness is Criticism
      Includes commentary on the life and work of Jane Addams 

Ornament for L. AbelThe Inability to Appreciate--What Does it Come From?
      Discusses the short story "The Garden Party," by Katherine Mansfield 
      Page 1 Page 2 Page 3 

Ornament for L. AbelA Woman's Dissatisfaction: Can It Be Beautiful?
      Commentary on the character Beatrice from William Makepeace Thackerary's Henry
      Esmond    Page 1 Page 2 Page 3 

Ornament for L. Abel   In Trying to Be Important, What Mistakes Do People Make?
        Discusses aspects of the novel Framley Parsonage, by Anthony Trollope 
        Page 1 Page 2 Page 3 

Ornament for L. AbelWoman's Determination: What Makes It Right or Wrong?
       Includes discussion of aspects of the life and work of Susan Travers, who showed courage 
      and determination to defeat Fascism, in her work as a military driver in the North African 
      Campaign during World War II Page 1 Page 2 Page 3 

Ornament for L. AbelWhy Are Women Disappointed--& Do They Ever Want to Be?
       With some comment on the 1913 novel Pollyanna by Eleanor  H. Porter 
       Page 1 Page 2 Page 3 

The Ordinary Doom 
By Eli Siegel, founder of Aesthetic Realism 

 I am glad to reprint this important essay, The Ordinary Doom, in which Eli Siegel explains two large matters: why people feel unexpressed and not understood. 

Books about Aesthetic Realism, and Other Things of Note:

Ornament for L. AbelRead an excerpt from a commentary by Ellen Reiss, who is the Aesthetic Realism
      Chairman of Education, titled:  Jobs, Discontent, and Beauty about Robert Burns

Ornament for L. AbelOne of the great things  I had the privilege to hear was Eli Siegel's discussion of 
       Joseph  Conrad's famous story Heart of Darkness.  You can read a fine report of it on 
       Michael Palmer's  blog, Music, History, & Life

Ornament for L. AbelIf you care for New York City, its people, buildings, bridges, museums, stadiums--its
     culture and beauty, you'll love this new website titled Aesthetic Realism Looks at NYC!
     Have fun perusing it! 

Ornament for L. AbelA website new on the scene, which has some beautiful and deeply moving photo- 
      graphs, is that of my colleague and friend Harvey Spears.   I love the great paper he
      and his wife, Carol Driscoll, wrote on  Rembrandt's  The Jewish Bride

Ornament for L. AbelThe Aesthetic Realism Online Library, containing chapters from Self and World;
       poetry, essays, and lectures by Eli Siegel

Ornament for L. AbelGwe: Young Man of New Guinea, by Arnold Perey, anthropologist, and Aesthetic Realism 
      Consultant.  This book is important for many reasons.  One, is that it is a beautifully felt
     and written novel against racism.  Also, I recommend Arnold Perey's important article
     titled Teaching Indian Culture in the US.   He says about it:  "In this article I say how 
     Aesthetic Realism fights prejudice and makes for respect and kindness, even where
     there has been great contempt."

Ornament for L. AbelA website I recommend--particularly  to persons interested in the history of World
     War I  is Rob Ruggenberg's Heritage of the Great War.  He has, perhaps, the finest
     collection of photographs from that period.  I care very much for how he writes 
     about the poem "In Flanders Fields" by John McCrae.  And I'm proud to have on this
     site my report of a talk Eli Siegel gave on the play The Miracle at Verdun.

Ornament for L. AbelA book, needed throughout our country, which meets the hopes of people on a
      raging issue is : Aesthetic Realism and the Answer to Racism by Alice Bernstein &

Ornament for L. AbelSee  "Aesthetic Realism, Ethics, and Literature" and the blog of artists, and
      Aesthetic Realism consultants, Chaim & Dorothy Koppelman Art & the Opposites.
      And one of the most moving things I know, is Mrs. Koppelman's paper on Joseph
      Mallord William Turner.  Have a wonderful time reading it.The Fighting Temeraire by J.M.W.Turner
      See too, Christopher Balchin's blog titled Aesthetic Realism Is TrueFathers & Sons,
      Economics, and More!, by Bruce Blaustein, Aesthetic Realism, Women's Issues, & the
     World by Maureen Butler, All the Arts  by Aesthetic Realism consultant, Carrie Wilson, 
     and Aesthetic Realism and Education, by Rosemary Plumstead.

Ornament for L. AbelTo see what Aesthetic Realism explains about the relation of art and life, see
       Sargent's "Madame X"; or, Assertion and Retreat in Woman" by Lynette Abel

Ornament for L. AbelThe Aesthetic Realism Theatre Company, presents talks by Eli Siegel, founder of the 
      philosophy Aesthetic Realism, on plays such as Shakespeare’s Hamlet, Othello and
      A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Sheridan’s School for Scandal, Ibsen’s A Doll’s House
      and George Kelly’s The Flattering Word."

Ornament for L. AbelReviews by Eli Siegel and more in Friends of Aesthetic Realism  This includes
     lectures by Mr. Siegel in issues of The Right of Aesthetic Realism to Be Known.

Ornament for L. Abel, Associate of Aesthetic Realism of Eli SiegelSelected News Articles and Letters Ornament for L. Abel, Associate of Aesthetic Realism of Eli Siegel
Commentary on What Aesthetic Realism Explains about 
Economics, Road Rage, Love, & more

"Carrier cuts are rooted in contempt The Press & Sun-Bulletin, Binghamton, NY,

"Enron fallout is appalling "The Oneida Daily Dispatch, Oneida, NY

"What Does a Person Deserve?" The Palladium Times, Oswego, NY 

"World should be owned by people living in it" The Record, Troy, NY

"A Different Take on Spring, Power of Love" The Ithaca Journal, NY

Ornament for L. AbelMore articles

 Other Aesthetic Realism Resources

The Aesthetic Realism Teaching Method 
The Aesthetic Realism Theatre Company
Eli Siegel, founder of Aesthetic Realism: A Biography
Friends of Aesthetic Realism—Countering the Lies 
Photography Education: the Aesthetic Realism Viewpoint 
The Terrain Gallery / Aesthetic Realism Foundation
Aesthetic Realism: A New Perspective for Anthropology & Sociology
Alice Bernstein, Aesthetic Realism Associate
Ellen Reiss, Class Chairman of Aesthetic Realism, on poet Robert Burns
About Eli Siegel
Eli Siegel's 'Is Beauty the Making One of Opposites?'

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