Welcome! I am glad to present some of the articles and papers I've written on a variety of issues affecting people all over America, which Aesthetic Realism, founded by Eli Siegel, 20th century poet and historian, explains. To begin is my article describing how the relationship between my father, David Blaustein and me changed dramatically, from anger to true care and love.

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

A Father Seen Anew

This is Part 1 of my article printed in newspapers all over America

On the second day of the new century, my father, David Blaustein died. It is hard to express in words the feelings I had as the family drove to the cemetery on that cloudy Tuesday morning for his funeral I had a sense of great loss which took in the painful realization that I would never see him again, and yet—and this is why I am writing this article—I also felt tremendous gratitude for the true friendship we came to have in these past years

This deep care that meant so much to both of us was made possible through my study of Aesthetic Realism, founded by Eli Siegel--the important educator. I shudder to think of the anger, resentment, and shame I would now be feeling had I not been so fortunate to learn what I tell of now. I know with every cell of my body that the change between us can give hope to every father and son, and what’s more, to every family member in towns and cities across America.
Eli Siegel explained the deepest desire of every person: It is to know and like the world. And, every minute of our lives, he showed too, we are making a choice between liking things and people, wanting to know and see meaning in them, or having contempt. Mr. Siegel defined contempt as the "disposition in every person to think he will be for himself by making less of the outside world."
Like many sons, I exploited the difficulties I saw my parents have. Instead of trying to understand what my father felt—why, for instance, he could be the life of the party, and then become gloomy, not talking to anyone—I cursed God for giving me a confusing, undependable father. I remember very early feeling strong by having revenge on him. Often, when he tried to talk to me about friends, school, or Little League, I became stony, bent on making him feel he was a failure.

Aesthetic Realism teaches that a child comes to a way of seeing the whole world beginning with how he sees his parents. I used the criticisms I had of my father to see the world as messed up and confusing. I felt angry most of the time, including with David Blaustein.

"A parent," Eli Siegel writes, "is the first chance to make sense of the world, and if we use a parent for...contempt...we are off to a bad start in seeing the world."
Once, when I heard my parents quarrel because there was not enough money to pay the mortgage, I triumphantly smashed my glass piggy bank into pieces, placed the money in my mother’s hand and said, "Mommy, it’s all I have, but I hope this will get you out of the mess he got us into!" David Blaustein was devastated. He looked at me and said, "Why do you hate me so much?"
Momentarily, I felt like a hero; but right after I felt cheap and cruel.

Come back and read Part 2 which I will be posting soon
Visit these sites on related subjects
Lauren Phillips, NYC teacher
Aesthetic Realism Foundation Home Page

Thursday, March 10, 2005

A Father Seen Anew, by Aesthetic Realism Consultant Bruce Blaustein, Part 2

When I began to study Aesthetic Realism in consultations, I learned that the thing that most hurt me was not my father as I tried to tell myself—but my contempt. My contempt was criticized, and I saw this tremendous thing—that respecting the world and people was a far greater pleasure! I felt a happiness and ease I had never felt before. And I became kinder, including to David Blaustein.

In Aesthetic Realism Eli Siegel has provided the means to see another person truly. Every person, he explained, has the structure of reality in him or her, the aesthetic oneness of opposites: order and freedom, repose and energy, and more. That was definitely not how I saw David Blaustein.

But I was learning to see my father newly—as having reality’s opposites in him—the same opposites that are in myself, and something big began to happen. I remember at Jones Beach, I was thrilled as I looked out and saw that the waves were advancing and retreating, agitated and yet restful, opposites I was trying to make sense of in my own life and then I thought of my father and how much he wanted to have these opposites better related in himself. I was thrilled to feel closer to him than I ever did before. My whole life changed as I saw that the man I contemptuously thought I knew like a book had mystery, dimension, and wonder.

For the first time, I began to ask my father what he cared for. I could see how affected he was by these questions coming from a son who once was bent on showing him up. One day, driving on the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway, he told me about baseball, what he felt sitting in the bleachers at Yankee Stadium watching Joe DiMaggio. He described the day when as a teenager, he waited in line at the Paramount to see his favorite singer, Frank Sinatra. And he spoke about meeting Anne Cohen, a 17 year-old girl from the Bronx, saying "She swept me off my feet, she was so beautiful and full of life." Anne Cohen would become his wife, and my mother. "Dancing the Lindy with her to Benny Goodman’s "Savoy" was like being in heaven," he said.

It was a new experience, honestly wanting to know and be affected by my father. I cherish the conversations we have had in these years about so many subjects. I can say something I once never could and really mean it: I love David Blaustein. He wrote in a letter to Ellen Reiss, the Class Chairman of Aesthetic Realism: "Through Bruce’s study of Aesthetic Realism, I have the son I always hoped to have. We have a friendship that we never could have had."

Other resources/links:

Aesthetic Realism in the News
Terrain Gallery/Aesthetic Realism Foundation
Friends of Aesthetic Realism--Countering the Lies
The Aesthetics of Religion by Wayne Plumstead
Winnie Stubbs, Lay Leader, Park United Methodist Church (Bloomfield, NJ)
Jack Plumstead (Father of Rev. Wayne Plumstead)