Statement by Arlene Sulkis, Senior Hair Designer and Sheldon Silverman, Official Court Reporter, U.S. District Court
Aesthetic Realism has been horribly twisted and misrepresented by a few disgruntled individuals. The purpose of this writing is to counter the lies and set the record straight.
As to the lie that all "members of the group" live within walking distance of the "headquarters" of the Aesthetic Realism Foundation, we happen to live on the Upper East Side of Manhattan and we usually arrive by car, as it would take a very long time to walk. Some of our colleagues and friends live in New Jersey , Westchester and Long Island. They don't walk either. As a matter of fact, our respective mother/mother-in-law, who lives in Florida, arranges her trips to New York so that she is able to attend the Aesthetic Realism and Marriage class when she visits. She actually has to fly to New York .
As to the lie that relationships with family and friends are not strengthened or encouraged—Aesthetic Realism has definitely encouraged and strengthened our relationships with family and friends.
I, Arlene Sulkis, earlier in my study of Aesthetic Realism, didn't see my mother deeply. I never thought of her as a young girl, woman, wife or daughter. Of course, I knew she had to do with other people, but I never really gave serious thought to her being in relation to anyone but me. I took her for granted, as most children do.
In one consultation, my consultants asked me: "Do you think that many volumes could have been written about your mother's life and you might be mentioned only in the last few?" I was surprised. I started to see that my mother had a full, rich life, a life I am now fortunate and grateful to know. While neither one of us is perfect, I love her more than ever and there is a deep respect and trust between us.
I, Sheldon Silverman, as far as friendships go, have been encouraged to be more interested in all our friends, including my childhood and long-standing friends of 45 years, who, by the way, do not study Aesthetic Realism. One couple lives in California, the other in Florida. These are some of our vacation destinations as my wife and I both love to travel. So much for the lie regarding vacations being prohibited and that there is very little time spent on leisure activities.
The truth is, we enjoy taking vacations every year. We travel extensively throughout the United States, and the Caribbean, as we are both certified divers. One year in particular, we met friends in Hawaii .
We value our leisure time. We love the beach and we go whenever the weather permits. We go to the movies, the theater, museums, take drives to the country and we go out to dinner with friends. By the way, their studying Aesthetic Realism is not a prerequisite.
As for the absurdity of this statement, "You're not encouraged to strengthen your relationship with friends and family outside of AR, you're supposed to consider them potential AR recruits," we enjoy being with family and friends whether they study Aesthetic Realism or not. We spend our time having fun, talking and trying to have a good effect on one another. Recruiting is not on our agenda.
Regarding the absurd lie that there is no sense of privacy, and everybody knows intimate details they shouldn't, that one must report thoughts, feelings and activities to superiors, and contact with former members is a definite crime. First of all, Aesthetic Realism is not a club; it has no members. No one has ever been arrested and gone to jail for being in contact with a former student of Aesthetic Realism. No one has ever pried at either one of us for intimate details nor ever told us that we had to report thoughts and feelings and activities to superiors. One of the things we love about Aesthetic Realism is that there are no superiors and nobody "checks up" on anyone. Aesthetic Realism is not the K.G.B.
We resent the insinuations by those who once valued Aesthetic Realism and whose lives were vastly improved. They have accused Aesthetic Realism consultants of giving students the impression that they were supposed to devote their lives to the founder, Eli Siegel, as if he were a divine being. My wife's former consultant, who is now attacking Aesthetic Realism (and whom I will not dignify by naming) was the one who tried to make herself divine through twisting Aesthetic Realism to suit her ego. Despite this, we saw the great value in Aesthetic Realism as philosophic and educational thought and continued to attend programs, seminars and the various classes at the Aesthetic Realism Foundation.
I, Arlene Sulkis, continued to have consultations after this consultant left, and what went with her was the twisted version of Aesthetic Realism that she tried to pawn off as the real thing. Thankfully, Class Chairman Ellen Reiss would not permit anyone to muddy clear water, and she is highly respected because she put a stop to this bad effect.
Both of us proudly study Aesthetic Realism and our lives are richer and happier because of it. Our love for each other grows deeper every year and our marriage is stronger because of what we are learning.