Statement by Rosemary Plumstead, High School Science Teacher
I abhor the attempt by a few persons to sully the great respect that is had for Eli Siegel—poet, educator, historian, humanitarian—and the philosophy he founded, Aesthetic Realism.
As to furthering one’s education: It is hard to put into words the pride and joy I have had for the last 12 years teaching science to high school students using the Aesthetic Realism teaching method. While I began my career as a health and physical education teacher, it was because of my study of Aesthetic Realism that I broadened my own love for learning to include a subject I’d once despised—science. Contrary to the ridiculous lie that persons who study Aesthetic Realism are discouraged from attending college, or furthering their education, when I took a sabbatical from teaching in 1990, I completed, in a semester and a summer program, the 19 credits I needed to get a new teaching license in science. I also took 30 additional college credits for salary raises and advancement in my profession.
I have given presentations at science conferences throughout the Northeast on the success I have had teaching science using the Aesthetic Realism teaching method.
As to the family: Another fiction those people are putting forth is that Aesthetic Realism alienates a person from their family. Nothing is further from the truth. Aesthetic Realism can teach a person how to see family members with a depth and justice that persons have hungered for since the time family life began. A great change, which once I’d thought impossible, took place between my father and me through my Aesthetic Realism education.
My father, Dominick Amello, and I could not be in the same room together without ending up in a fight. I saw him ONLY as selfish. I saw him ONLY as mean and hard. I did not see that he had inner depths and feelings that were as real as my own. My coldness robbed him of his humanity and in many ways made me cruel.
To oppose this unjust way of seeing, in an Aesthetic Realism class discussion Mr. Siegel encouraged me to read Arthur Miller’s death of a Salesman in order to see the feelings of my father, who was a dry goods salesman, with more respect and deep feeling. This made me a kinder daughter!
My father saw such a radical change in my attitude, that he himself had Aesthetic Realism consultations in the late 1970s. Today, I have a love, respect and friendship with him that we both cherish. In a recent conversation, my father said: “It wasn’t until Aesthetic Realism entered your life that a wonderful change in the quality of our lives took place and we became father and daughter as it should be, with a sense of harmony and love. I’m very grateful for that.”
Aesthetic Realism teaches people how to have good will for other people, and at the top of the list is the seeing and using of members of the family to be fair to the world and all people. It is only natural and justly deserved that I feel a sense of gratitude to Mr. Siegel and Aesthetic Realism for changing the guilt and anger I had about my father. The way I see him now is a constant source of pride for me, and very useful to the women I have the honor to teach as an Aesthetic Realism consultant.
On the lie about what Eli Siegel asked for, Mrs. Plumstead writes: As to the lie that Eli Siegel was an “egomaniac” who “demanded ... adoration and devotion”—I say this is odious and completely untrue! Mr. Siegel was a person who throughout his life used his knowledge, his comprehensive, keen and kind mind, in the classes he taught, to show the value and greatness of others—poets, artists, historians, economists, men and women of great religious thought—and he did so with relish and style. Mr. Siegel had graciousness—a relation of pride and modesty—that I admired and respected very much. He never put himself forth in a false way. He could have been famous by the standards of his day, but his love for truth and beauty was so great that it was they he most wanted to honor.