Lynette Abel  / Aesthetic Realism & Life

SEPTEMBER 20, 2001
Oswego, NY
U.S. told not to continue the violenceBy LYNETTE ABEL and MICHAEL PALMER

As New York City residents and as husband and wife, who witnessed the horrendous attack on our fellow New Yorkers, we ask from our depths that the American people have a desire--more than ever--to be thoughtful, to go for understanding the whole picture at this most confusing, agonizing time, not to swiftly want to retaliate. There seems to be a tremendous desire to "act" and we have to be sure that in everything we do we are being impelled by a desire for justice, not for revenge! Bombing another country and killing innocent civilians would make us as cruel and unfeeling as those who flew airplanes into the towers of the World Trade Center. And certainly this would not prevent other horrors from coming our way. Indeed, it would encourage them. 

How should the American people see what has happened? What does it mean to be for our dear country, to protect it, have it be strong and safe? These are questions that the education Aesthetic Realism (, founded by the great American philosopher and historian, Eli Siegel, crucially answers with careful logic and feeling. 

The destruction of the twin towers came from one thing: a desire that is in every person to have contempt, defined by Mr. Siegel as "the lessening of what is different from oneself as a means of self-increase as one sees it." Contempt can be as ordinary as gossiping about a neighbor; taken further, it makes for racism, and war. It made for the vicious attack and massive loss of innocent lives on September 11th. 

As America is deciding what it should do, we need to be sure that we do not meet this disaster with the same contempt that made for it. In issue 165 of the international journal The Right of Aesthetic Realism to Be Known titled "What Caused the Wars," Eli Siegel explained: 

"The next war has to be against ugliness in self. And the greatest ugliness in self is the seeing of contempt as personal achievement. Contempt must be had for contempt before squabbles grow less, terror diminishes. Respect for what is real must be seen as the great success of man." 

It is emergent that our nation be interested in why there is so much anti-American sentiment, so much so, there are persons willing to end their lives to try to hurt us. Clearly, many people throughout the world feel their countries and citizens are seen only as a means of exploitation for the profit of US corporations. To ensure our strength and safety, we need to see every person--no matter what his or her background, religion, country--justly, as having feelings as real as our own. In her commentary to issue 1485 of the above journal Ellen Reiss, Class Chairman of Aesthetic Realism writes: 

"Wanting a person to be seen justly is good will. Good will is the most beautiful thing to have; it is the only right thing to have--but it happens to be also that which we cannot afford not to have. It is the only self-preservation." 

It is urgent that every decision our nation makes be motivated by the desire to have good will or we will be inviting disasters, perhaps, even greater than the one we are experiencing now. The very existence of the world depends on this! 

Art and Life Discussion
Links / The Aesthetic Realism of Eli Siegel

Lynette Abel