Friends of Aesthetic Realism
       Countering the Lies
“It’s a lie, and not a well told one at that.
  It grins out like a copper dollar.”

                  —Abraham Lincoln

Statement by Robert Murphy, Aesthetic Realism Consultant and Restauranteur

As to the family:

Lie: That Aesthetic Realism breaks up families, and if your family doesn't study Aesthetic Realism you're encouraged to have nothing to do with them.

Truth: Aesthetic Realism is a friend to the family and encourages the utmost respect, understanding, and true closeness.

Facts: Aesthetic Realism has enabled me to have a closer, more loving, and happily sincere relation with all members of my family. This includes my father, up until his death in 2002; my mother; brother; his wife and children; my other relatives, some of whom I work with in the family restaurant business; and my son, who also works with me in the family business. I have to do with my family in a consistent daily way both professionally and personally, and none of them study Aesthetic Realism.

If the few persons who are spreading such untruths about Aesthetic Realism are having trouble with their families, it is not Aesthetic Realism's fault and they have no right to blame it for their difficulties. (In fact, a central person behind the fabrications is someone who sued her father prior to her knowing Aesthetic Realism.)

Adam Mali and his mother, Ellen Mali, have been spreading the lies they concocted. Instances of mother and son teams gone wrong have been in history before. Then there is Michael Bluejay, who has a web page lying about Aesthetic Realism. It should be noted, as he himself states on his website, that his father and brother do not speak to him—neither of whom ever studied Aesthetic Realism. That there has been trouble in families for 5,000 plus years is no surprise to anyone. My father's sister refused to speak to most of her brothers and sisters for 35 years, even on her death bed, despite overtures made to her. She did not study Aesthetic Realism. 

When in the fall of 1969 at the age of 25 I began studying Aesthetic Realism with Eli Siegel, my relation with my father had been an agonizing one of anger, devotion, and confusion. From the very beginning Mr. Siegel's purpose with me, as it was with everyone, was to encourage me to be fair to the world, which centrally included being fair to my family. I list here only a few of the hundreds of statements and questions I heard from Mr. Siegel in Aesthetic Realism classes, that enabled my fury with my father to change.   

            1. “Do you want to use your father to be just to all people?”

            2. “If you don't have good will towards the people you're close to, this can be said as a constant precept or maxim: you'll be unsure of yourself. Do you feel that unless you do have a good effect, there will be unease in you?”

            3. “Would you kindly ask, what would make your father stronger?”

            4. “Do you think knowing your father truly can be of educational value to you?  We can never be too much interested in the feelings of another.”

            5. “Do you want to sum [your father] up-just think of him as your Pop and no more? Do you want to see all the moods of your father? I think it's best to see them. We want to think that we are diverse when we have many moods, but when others have many moods, we want to see them as silly.”

After graduating from Michigan State University, where I majored in hotel, restaurant and hospitality, I joined the family restaurant business and began to work with my father. Within two months, after what I perceived as an insufferable insult by him to me, I quit, sure I could never work with my father again. This was before I began to study Aesthetic Realism

Then, as can be gleaned from the 5 points above, I came to see my father in a completely new way, as having feelings as deep and diverse as my own. One result was what had seemed impossible: we worked together for the next 30 years and cared more for each other. And by the way, we built a very successful business together.

While the above is enough to disprove lies about Aesthetic Realism, I add some points from “Aphorisms of a Son to a Father,” which Mr. Siegel, in a class in July 1975, dedicated to me:

“1. A good or loving son wants a father to know himself.

2. A loving son sees more where a father and he have something in common and does not cherish differences to glorify himself, though these differences may exist.

3. A good son, in seeing anything that is beautiful, thinks that he is faithful to his father.

4. A good son thinks of women not as apart from his father but as persons through whom he can understand himself and his father at once.

5. A good son sees that the whole world was necessary for his father's existence and therefore sees knowledge of his father and the world as inseparable.”

These are Eli Siegel’s words, and they clearly show he wanted people to be as good as possible. They also show that there were things in me I had to change to be a good son. What I learned from Aesthetic Realism enabled me to change. My father said to me many times after my having met Aesthetic Realism that I had become a kind son. The change in me was noticeable to all who knew me. For instance, when I met up with my old college roommate from Cleveland, he commented, “You are so different. You used to talk about your father as if he ruined your life-now you sound like you are really good friends.”

I have studied the family in the literature of the world: for example, Charles Dickens’s moving novel Dombey and Son; William Shakespeare’s Hamlet; Rudolf Besier’s play The Barretts of Wimpole Street; William Wordsworth’s poem “Michael”; The Prodigal Parents, by Sinclair Lewis. I have studied good father-and-son relationships-for instance, John Stuart Mill and his father—and not good, as in the life of our own dear Benjamin Franklin and his son, and Huck Finn and his notorious father. I have also studied contemporary family life. I have seen some of the suffering that has occurred because people are confused about the family.

Aesthetic Realism does understand and clearly articulates the most complex and deepest feelings people have in the family—the result of which knowledge, if studied, makes for greater friendliness, ease, more feeling, more honest closeness and happiness.

There is my own son, Austen. Though he lived with his mother growing up, I have maintained a close relation with Austen from his birth to this day. He is now 27. He does not study Aesthetic Realism, yet contrary to the lies, we have a very good, constant relationship. I invited him to join me and work in the family restaurant business, and we have been working together for the past 3 years. We work together daily, he learning from me and I from him. I am proud of the conversations we’ve had through the years, including about every subject he studied in school and during his college years, and the conversations we continue to have in our daily lives.

Professionally as an Aesthetic Realism consultant, I have talked to thousands of young people over the last 32 years. In each and every instance my purpose has been to have those young persons respect their parents, to see value in them, and to grant them the same depth of feeling that they have themselves. I have seen the results and heard the gratitude of parents for the changes in their children. Aesthetic Realism makes families happier.

Because I have looked steadily at Aesthetic Realism for over 35 years, seen its knowledge and good will for people, I am outraged at the falsehoods a few individuals want to promote. They will not prevail, because truth is bigger!

  • Read statements by many individual men and women
  • Reviews from the NY Times Book Review, Saturday Review, Library Journal, Harlem Times, Popular Photography, and more
  • The poetry by Eli Siegel, so greatly respected by William Carlos Williams and many others
  • Read lectures by Eli Siegel on subjects as diverse as literature, love, & economics
  • What is learned in classes taught by Ellen Reiss

  • A Little Anthology of Comments (Some Funny We Hope) on Further Misrepresentations.

    >> Continue

    "On the Pleasures and Advantages of Anonymity: An Ode"—
    >> Continue

    A Dramatic and Cautionary Tale about an Unknown and Very Unimportant Person

    There once was a young man of ancient Greece named Milos. And Milos knew Socrates. He did not like Socrates because the great man asked far too many questions.... >> Continue
    Statements by Friends of Aesthetic Realism

    Barbara Allen
    Frances Amello
    Jerry Amello
    Christopher Balchin
    Mara Bennici
    David Berger
    Alice Bernstein
    Rachel J. Bernstein
    Barbara Buehler
    Gina Buffone
    Beverly Sue Burk
    Maureen Butler
    Jeffrey Carduner
    Margot Carpenter
    Lori & Robert Colavito
    Albert Corvino
    Nicholas Corvino
    Henry D'Amico
    Matthew D’Amico
    Ernest DeFilippis
    Vincent DiPietro
    Carol Driscoll
    Donita Ellison
    Anne Fielding
    Lorraine Galkowski, RN
    Pamela Goren
    Edward Green
    Avi Gvili
    Ames Huntting
    Mark Lale
    Dale Laurin
    Rose Levy
    Timothy Lynch
    Lorraine Mahoney, RN
    Derek Mali
    Glenn Mariano
    Haroldo Mauro Jr.
    Joseph Meglino
    Pauline Meglino
    Allan Michael
    Marvin Mondlin
    Robert Murphy
    Michael J. Nadeau
    Meryl Nietsch-Cooperman
    Ruth Oron
    Arnold Perey, PhD
    Lauren Phillips
    Jack Plumstead
    Maria Plumstead
    Rosemary Plumstead
    Rev. Wayne Plumstead
    Marcia Rackow
    Zvia Ratz
    Ann Richards
    Anthony C. Romeo
    Leila Rosen
    Rhonda Rosenthal
    Sally Ross
    Claudia Senatore
    Sheldon Silverman
    Jeffrey Sosinsky, MD
    Barbara Spetly McClung
    Joseph Spetly
    Faith K. Stern
    John Stern
    Arlene Sulkis
    Devorah Tarrow
    Jaime R. Torres, DPM
    Dennis L. Tucker
    Francine Weber
    Steve Weiner
    Miriam Weiss
    Carrie Wilson

    Also see the Aesthetic Realism Online Library  the Aesthetic Realism Foundation  Terrain Gallery  What scholars, writers, artists & teachers are saying  the Aesthetic Realism Theatre Company  & Links

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