Statement by Marvin Mondlin, Bookman, Author of Appraisals, A Guide for Bookmen (1997) & Coauthor with Roy Meador of Book Row, An Anecdotal and Pictorial History of the Antiquarian Book Trade (2004), Former student of Aesthetic Realism with its founder, Eli Siegel (from 1945 to 1968), currently a student of anthropology with Dr. Arnold Perey.
Having read eighteen true, careful, honest statements concerning the ugly lies by Adam Mali, Michael Bluejay and other liars of the same ilk, I would like to say something from my own lifetime experience concerning something of the cruel nonsense and idiotic falsities propagated by these liars on the Internet, and also what I think motivates these liars.
First of all, there is the ridiculous assertion that Aesthetic Realism is a “cult.” I am not nor ever have been a “cultist.” My background—before having met Eli Siegel in 1945—is in the sciences. As a young man who studied natural history and organic chemistry and who was one of the winners of the Westinghouse Science Talent Search awards in the winter/spring of 1945 for experiments I did on rooting hormones in 1944, and later, with the encouragement of Eli Siegel and the Aesthetic Realism principles he taught me, a student of book lore and bibliography (see entries about me in Marquis Who’s Who in America, Who’s Who in the World, Who’s Who in the East, and Who’s Who in Finance and Industry).
In the past twenty five years as Senior Executive Vice President of Strand Book Store numerous articles have appeared about me in the press, both here and abroad. I have appeared on various television shows, have lectured on matters related to books and am considered by many of my colleagues to be one of the most knowledgeable bookmen in America. All this began with what I learned from Eli Siegel, the greatest bookman I ever knew, the grand poet and superb philosopher whose own works, published and unpublished, have been the foundation of my own knowledge. I learned more from him than I did from Cornell University, Brooklyn College and CCNY, all of which I attended, with his very great encouragement over all the years that I knew him. So much for my “cultism.” So much for the stupid lying of Mali, Bluejay and the other liars.
In 1967 I made a statement published in Definition 5: A Journal of Events and Aesthetic Realism asserting, among other things that “I still believe after sixteen years of looking, trying to find flaws, shopping around, and despite my tendency to think nothing could be this meaningful, that Aesthetic Realism is the only adequate description and critique of reality, the only entire alternative to hidden ego-monopoly and non-caringness.” I also wrote in that statement: “I believe that Eli Siegel has laid the basis for the next large step of mankind, the step from the present careless, intermittent awareness of self, with its consequent shuttling between boredom and anguish, loneliness and cruelty, to looking upon one’s feelings as objects and respecting the feelings of others as realities, like chairs, automobiles, clothes. This is so large a thing, I believe it represents the same sort of step man took when he came to see the world itself as knowable generally and with exactness through the sciences. Aesthetic Realism is the step from the current fumbling possibility of civilization to its actual accomplishment. It is the only thorough basis I know of for the study of feelings—both knowing them truly, and showing them as they deserve to be shown.” This, I am happy to say, is still true about what I earnestly feel and know.
Something About the Liars. I regret to say that one of the liars is a relative of mine. I refer here to “Michael Bluejay.” He has broadened his website to appeal to all those who seek revenge on Mr. Siegel, Ellen Reiss Chairman of Education of Aesthetic Realism, Editor of The Right of Aesthetic Realism to Be Known, a person I personally know to be of unimpeachable integrity and kindness), and all students of Aesthetic Realism.
It is my conviction that what is true, what is beautiful, what is ethical, what is kind will prevail.
I believe that my self-esteem, my caring for Eli Siegel, Aesthetic Realism and its teachers and students are honest things, worth knowing and respecting.