We See Meaning in the World, We Cannot Love a Person
In Mind and Emptiness
Mr. Siegel explained:
persons try to get fulness through one thing in such a way that their accent
on this one thing makes for a lessening of everything else....I have said
to people, "To love anything or anybody, you have to see this as a beginning
of love for all things." All love is love of the world. Otherwise
it's competition with the world; it's a way of saying, "Somebody has consented
to be mine; therefore I can forget about other things."
Through this love there is emptiness.
This describes the mistake I made. Like many women, because I didn't
see meaning in the world as such, I went after the one thing I thought
would bring meaning to my life--a man. I wanted him to take me away
from a world I saw as cold, and confusing. Yet, having this contemptuous
purpose, I came to see, was the very reason for the pain I had and also
gave. I would often date men I didn't feel deeply attracted to but
who showed a great deal of attention to me. I was worried that I
didn't have the ability to truly love anyone, yet I also got a kind of
triumph feeling there was no one worthy of me.
When I began to have Aesthetic Realism consultations in 1972 the subject
of many of them was how I saw love. In an early consultation, there
was this discussion about a particular man I had been with for 3 years.
Do you feel in your relation with him, you meant the whole world
to another person--no holds barred?
My Aesthetic Realism education enabled me to change the narrow, unkind
purposes I had with men, and to have the happiness that comes from learning
more every day about what Mr. Siegel said "To love anything or anybody,
you have to see this as a beginning of love for all things." I am
now deeply in love with Michael Palmer, who is an Aesthetic Realism associate,
and writer. I'm grateful for our marriage, which grows more meaningful
with every year.
Do you think you could make his world rise or fall, according to a smile
or frown from you?
...Was there also great pain and emptiness in the face of all this attention?
LA Oh God,
that describes it.
think 'Surely this must be love'--and yet they feel empty as hell.
what I felt.
Aesthetic Realism teaches that a woman cannot see a man any better than
she sees the whole world. In the novel, there is an increasing desire
in Anne to respect the world and find greater meaning in it. So when
she meets a young man, Gilbert Blythe, the author writes:
had a vague consciousness that masculine friendship might also be a good
thing to round out one's conceptions of companionship and furnish broader
standpoints of judgment and comparison. [S]he thought that if Gilbert
had ever walked home with her from the train, over the crisp fields and
along the ferny byways, they might have had many and merry and interesting
conversations about the new world that was opening around them and their
hopes and ambitions therein.
Art Is Justice, It Is the Opposition to Emptiness
One of the important
things Aesthetic Realism teaches is that we can learn through art that
opposites which can fight in ourselves, can be beautifully composed.
The very opposites that are so painfully awry in a person who feels empty--heaviness
and lightness, high and low, repetition and change--are made one in art
and magnificently in a piece of music I care for very much, Chopin's Etude
in E Major. This is one of 24 studies Chopin composed for the purpose
of having a beginning student, as he said, "find proper food for his ears
and his soul lest he be bored." Chopin felt that while developing
exact technique, students should experience beautiful music too.
As it begins, the theme is so spare but within and between those notes
you feel the weight and lightness of reality are one and it makes for a
sound that has unlimited meaning. This is from a performance by Vladimir
Ashkenazy (play beginning). I think Chopin wanted to see the possibilities,
nuances and subtleties in a simple melody. When a person is too light
about something, he or she also has to feel too heavy. "A slow piano
passage of Chopin affects us," Mr. Siegel observed, because "Chopin is
often heavy and light at once." There is space between the notes
but, here it is not empty, it is beautiful; you feel the space adds to
the meaning of each note.
As Chopin introduces a new theme, it is surprising, but there is nothing
abrupt--you feel a deep continuity with what was before. This theme
ventures out, explores, welcomes the utmost difference from itself and
through this it is richer, more meaningful.
As the Etude develops, it reaches a peak where there is a powerful and
dramatic, interweaving of high and low notes, working together for one
purpose--in the dissonance there is opposition but within it a tight composition
where high and low, heavy and light are inextricably one. When it
returns to the original theme all that diversity comes to a beautiful point.
Its meaning is greater because of what it has been related to.
[play from right before
interweaving to end]
Isn't this what a person wants? We are more through seeing how we
are related to what is not ourselves! The meaning people hope to
have in their lives and what opposes it, the education of Aesthetic Realism
can make clear. When this knowledge is known--the awful, pervading
emptiness that can be in a person's life will simply be a thing of the
to page 1