Saturday, March 04, 2017

History is Ethics and Aesthetics

Beginning in issue #1835 of the international periodical, "The Right of Aesthetic Realism to Be Known," is a serialization of Eli Siegel's great lecture titled, Poetry and History.  This is a must-read for History teachers!  The commentary, written by the Chairman of Education Ellen Reiss, begins this way:

Dear Unknown Friends, "We begin to serialize  Poetry and History, a 1949 lecture by Eli Siegel. I love this lecture. I think the way of seeing history that it presents is tremendously beautiful—and true. It is a way of seeing the world, human beings, and the past which is central to Aesthetic Realism."

I agree with Ellen Reiss.  The understanding by Eli Siegel of history is great and deep and new.  And as educators who want young people to be interested in history--even come to love it--this can come to be through the way of seeing people of the past had in this lecture.  For example, Mr. Siegel says:

"Aesthetic Realism sees the people who died three thousand years ago as wanting to be around. They prepared what is now, and they should be acknowledged. Our best way of acknowledging them is to know about them. So if the past is seen as indispensable, and also as beautiful, and furthermore, as definitely existing—well, we are on the way to being just to it.”  And we are on our way to liking it and having deep feeling about the past and the people who lived long ago.  Here is the lecture: