Lynette Abel  / Aesthetic Realism & Life

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Lynette Abel
Unless We See Meaning in the World, We Cannot Love a Person

In Mind and Emptiness Mr. Siegel explained: 

 Many 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. 

Consultants.  Do you feel in your relation with him, you meant the whole  world to another person--no holds barred? 

LA   Oh, yes. 

Cons.   Do you think you could make his world rise or fall, according to a smile or frown from you? 

LA  Yes. 

Cons.   ...Was there also great pain and emptiness in the face of all this attention? 

LA  Oh God, that describes it. 

Cons.  Women think 'Surely this must be love'--and yet they feel empty as hell. 

LA  That's what I felt. 

     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. 

     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: 

 [S]he 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. 
Because 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. 

[from right before interweaving to end--start at 2:25] 

      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 past.

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  1988, 1990, 2002 Lynette Abel