Statement by John Stern, Geologist
In my 77 years I’ve never read such an onslaught of misrepresentations as the two websites attacking Aesthetic Realism and its founder Eli Siegel, the noted American poet and critic. The persons responsible for those misrepresentations belong to a long and dismal tradition of fury that people have had at new ways of understanding the world—fury which met, among many others, Charles Darwin, John Keats, Joseph Lister, Baruch Spinoza, Dr. I. Semmelweis, and Galileo.
For example, one of these attackers claims that people studying Aesthetic Realism give up their individuality and devote themselves exclusively to the worship and adoration of Eli Siegel (which, they say, he himself demanded). Balderdash! I am a careful person, a graduate of Columbia University, interested in the sciences, and respected in the responsible jobs I have held—for example Senior Planner and Researcher for the Tri-State Regional Planning Commission. In the first place, I became more an individual as I studied Aesthetic Realism, not less. The more I saw my relation to people and things, the more an individual I became; it was completely logical.
Secondly, the picture of Eli Siegel presented by these persons is an ugly caricature of the man I studied with for ten years and observed firsthand. I have used my critical mind evaluating Mr. Siegel and Aesthetic Realism, resulting in enormous fact-based respect, without an ounce of adoration and worship! I saw that what he taught in Aesthetic Realism has the unshakable logic of a mathematical equation, the width and breadth of the universe, down-to-earth practicality, and immense pleasure.