Statement of Pamela Goren, Social Service Case Worker / Visual Artist
/ Chicago, Illinois
I have one of the most fortunate lives due to something that happened by chance some thirty years ago. I am writing because I strongly feel that everyone must have this same chance. I got to study the education Aesthetic Realism founded by the American poet and critic Eli Siegel. This study changed me profoundly. I came to be more the person I always had hoped to be. I became happier, kinder and more honestly expressed in so many ways. Therefore—though my formal study of Aesthetic Realism ended in 1985—my gratitude to this education is enormous because it has a true explanation of mind. My anger is equally as large for anything that stands in the way of its being known accurately.
I heard about Aesthetic Realism just by talking with an acquaintance. Another friend of mine was troubled and looking for assistance. I was cynical and I thought Aesthetic Realism was maybe for him. I went to a seminar with him to check it out. I had previously been involved for some time with Eastern philosophies and meditation, and I was very critical of anything claiming to have “the answer.” I had graduated from college having majored in psychology and was in the top of the class. I seriously studied and looked carefully at what was being taught and practiced in psychotherapy. I knew that a true explanation of self definitely wasn’t there.
As to the lie about “recruiting” and “mind control”:
When I went to my first Aesthetic Realism seminar I was quite a professional skeptic at age 24. I had read much contemporary thought with a keen and highly critical mind. To my surprise, at that seminar I heard much that made sense and decided to give it a try. I did not become nor was I ever asked to become a member of anything. There was no group to join. There were people who were taking classes and/or having consultations. I started to have Aesthetic Realism consultations in which three women consultants asked me questions and taught me what Aesthetic Realism teaches about the world and the self and how it applied to me. These Aesthetic Realism consultants all had post graduate degrees and studied in classes with Eli Siegel.
There was no contract or agreement to sign as one studied—it was always as often and as much as one wanted to attend or to schedule consultations. My consultations were all tape recorded and provided to me to study, which I have periodically over the years. The evidence is there and my memory is quite accurate, too. I was very introverted and didn’t even realize how much; I sounded sad and monotone. All this changed in a short time and not by accepting anything I didn’t see for myself. I was asked to question anything that I didn’t honestly see. My questions were always welcomed. Aesthetic Realism taught me that “The deepest desire of every person is to like the world on an honest basis.” This gave me a new freedom, clarity and direction.
My consultants had a desire to know me like no one ever had before and nothing I had ever met before. They were really interested in how I felt! I tested them incredibly. I really saw how they were for me being stronger and happier. They asked me this important, enormously kind question, “What do you have most against yourself?” I really had to think seriously about this—where I stood in my own way. This honest self-questioning has been tremendously valuable to me. The Aesthetic Realism consultants worked to have me see people, my family, friends and colleagues with more depth and fairness. All this had me see the world as a friendlier place, which gave me a new ease. People close to me noticed the change and were impressed. Many started to study Aesthetic Realism from what they observed happening to me; not because I proselytized anything, which was never ever encouraged in any way. My tapes attest to the great and beautiful changes in my life.
I was given the beginning Aesthetic Realism assignment of writing one thing daily that I liked in a complete sentence. I tried it. It had me happier and stronger. This is why I have continued doing this assignment all these years. My children do it so they can be encouraged in their deepest purpose and they’ve thrived in ways I won’t go into here. From the time I began this assignment and my Aesthetic Realism education, each day has more pleasure, meaning and mystery to me. I remember vividly walking around downtown Brooklyn at lunchtime and feeling other people were more like me and I felt more at home in the world. I realized for the first time that other people had insides really like my own.
Through the study of Aesthetic Realism, I was asked to read and study literature and philosophy from all different time periods and cultures. I was asked to study my parents’ lives and the meaning of my job for the New York State Employment Service as well. There was no putting aside one’s own mind as in any form of mind control. I was always encouraged to use my mind critically on anything I heard or read. I learned and studied how “The world, art and self explain each other: each is the aesthetic oneness of opposites.” In Aesthetic Realism consultations, I was related to the ballet and poetry and much more. I felt honored as a self and relieved.
Simple as it sounds, I profoundly changed as I felt more connected to other people, all people. This change has stayed with me and deepened over the years. It allowed me to do things that I never thought possible—such as speak publicly with sureness and ease and express myself visually through drawing and painting. I started the latter in classes taught by teacher and printmaker Chaim Koppelman at the Aesthetic Realism Foundation. I continued in many other schools with success, pride and pleasure and am currently doing watercolors. I never would have painted. People respect and appreciate, some love, my work.
I feel at home in the world. At one time it would have been hard for me to believe that I have been able to set up home for my family in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Miami and now in Chicago. Aesthetic Realism principles are true wherever one may be and it is not a matter of location; not necessary to be in classes in any locale. The opposites of sameness and difference are here and everywhere.
My Aesthetic Realism education has taken many new forms over the past 30 years and will continue to. I will name some areas where I have gotten to be expressed and use what I know to be true, which has proven invaluable—as a spouse married over 25 years, as a parent of two children ages 19 and 13, and as a social service resource specialist and case manager for the elderly for the past five years. The fact that I, who had one foot in the grave at age 24, am now at 54 able to encourage persons 80 years of age and older is a tribute to the truth of Aesthetic Realism and its power, despite its not being known resoundingly as it should be. For what Eli Siegel writes in “Declaration about Old Age” is true and will be studied worldwide one day, allowing everyone to have the good fortune that I have had. He states, “The wonderful thing about reality is, at any moment it was never newer and never older. What reality is, is the answer to one’s deepest worries.” Aesthetic Realism’s best spokesperson is reality, of which we are all a part.
Pamela Goren—Biographical Information
Education—Graduated Magna Cum Laude and Phi Beta Kappa from Brooklyn College B.S. Degree in psychology and political science.
Studied Fine Arts and Graphics at City College of San Francisco and Sheridan Technical Institute.
Professional—Artist—painting in acrylic and watercolor for 25 years and exhibiting in local galleries.
Supervisor—New York State Department of Labor for 13 years.
Case Manager and Resource Specialist for disabled and elderly for 5 years.
Writer—published author of essay in Goodbye Profit System by Eli Siegel and students of Aesthetic Realism documenting economic events explaining the failure of profit system economics.