Aesthetic Realism  

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

Aesthetic Realism is the philosophy of aesthetics founded by the American poet and critic Eli Siegel in 1941. Its primary teachings are:

  • Beauty in art is the making one of opposites, such as order and freedom, logic and passion, strength and grace.
  • Everyone's deepest desire is to like the world on an honest or accurate basis.
  • The desire to have contempt—that is, to lessen the meaning of things in order to see one's self as superior--causes unhappiness and even insanity.

Students of Aesthetic Realism say it encourages exactness, kindness, and creativity. They promoted it as a way for gays and lesbians to stop being homosexual (1971 to 1990), and still view it as the answer to poverty and racism. They use the Aesthetic Realism principles to analyze and teach a wide variety of topics, including classes in poetry, anthropology, art, music, and marriage. The philosophy is taught at the Aesthetic Realism Foundation in New York City.

Several critics allege that, while many of Siegel's ideas have merit, the Aesthetic Realists comprise a cult. Aesthetic Realism proponents say that their critics are attempting to smear a benevolent, scientific philosophy that is beneficial to humanity.

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Aesthetic Realism" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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