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 Leila Rosen, NYC High School Teacher

The picture of Aesthetic Realism that is being put forth on the web by a few angry people is blatantly inaccurate and viciously motivated. As a person who has studied Aesthetic Realism for over 30 years, looked at it closely and tested it, I'm glad to take this chance to counter some of the junk these people are putting forth and to add to the accurate portrayal of what Aesthetic Realism is—and what it isn't.  

About Pursuing One's Education

To begin with, the claim that Aesthetic Realism is against a person's pursuing his or her education is ridiculous. I first learned of Aesthetic Realism from a classmate when I was an undergraduate at CCNY. When I began to have Aesthetic Realism consultations, not only did the consultants with whom I studied encourage my academic pursuits (I graduated magna cum laude), but they also showed me that the very subjects I was studying—my interests were primarily linguistics and literature—were related to the things in myself and my life I most wanted to understand. For instance, as I spoke about my confusion about love, I was asked: "Do you think the history of how men and women have seen each other is just as important as the history of language? Do you think there is any relation between the study of men and the study of language?”—and I began to look! And I was encouraged to write about “How a novelist would see my parents.”

     I subsequently earned a master's degree in education, and have been a successful and respected high school English teacher for 27 years. During this time, I have taken and excelled in many additional graduate courses. My love for knowledge, which began with my parents' encouragement, has grown with every year because of what I have learned from Aesthetic Realism. The fact that I've been able to encourage this love for learning in my students is an accomplishment of which I am unlimitedly proud.

You may read about some of what I've learned—both about teaching and about life itself—on my website:

About Aesthetic Realism Classes

I object intensely to the false picture these people paint of Eli Siegel, Ellen Reiss, and Aesthetic Realism classes. I requested to study in classes in order to teach Aesthetic Realism, because I loved the intellectually exciting study I was engaged in, and I wanted to learn how to teach this invaluable way of seeing the world to others. Though I studied with Eli Siegel for only a short time, it was clear to me from the classes I attended with him that the last thing he wanted was flattery or worship. What I did see in him was great intellect and a desire to be fair to whatever he was talking about—the thought of John Locke or Immanuel Kant or Sigmund Freud; the poems of John Keats or Charles Baudelaire or the poetry to be found in the preamble to the American Constitution; economics; the meaning of pop art and rock and roll, to name just a few subjects. And he wanted to be fair to his students—to know them and have them know themselves. He wanted people to use their minds questioningly on the principles of Aesthetic Realism, and was very critical of any blithe and quick agreement. I see this integrity now in classes with Ellen Reiss, and I admire it more than I can say. She is a thoughtful, careful educator, and an immensely kind human being.

     As several of my colleagues have eloquently and clearly stated, it is certainly a person's own choice whether or not to study Aesthetic Realism at all, let alone decide one wants to study to teach it. If not, a person is free to enjoy the life he or she has chosen. But saying that there is something wrong with Aesthetic Realism itself because you yourself don't want to use your mind to study it is not only ridiculous and illogical but a cruel lie.

On Friends, Relatives, & “Recruiting”

I have friends and relatives who don't study Aesthetic Realism. I go to barbecues and weddings and parties like anyone else, go to their homes, have them over for dinner. And I don't try to “recruit” anyone. Do I invite people to attend a seminar on a subject I think they'd really enjoy? Of course! Why does this seem sinister?  I've also been invited by people I meet at work or elsewhere to attend lectures, performances, and presentations at various institutions, and have been glad to do so.  

     And mind control? Please! Anyone who has ever met me knows I am strong-willed and do not just go along with what someone tells me. I've used my mind to test whether many things said in this world hold up under scrutiny—from statements by politicians I hear on the news to current theories about how young people learn. I've used that mind on the principles of Aesthetic Realism, and have come to see them as true. I try to live by what I see as true, and that is why I study Aesthetic Realism.

     As to vacations, my husband and I have loved our trips to the Florida Keys and Niagara Falls, to various historic sites, to the Dominican Republic, and elsewhere. No one “checked up” on us.

     It gives me great pleasure to say some of what I feel about Aesthetic Realism and Eli Siegel, and I am happy to do so at any time in the midst of my very rich and happy life.


  • 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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