Excerpt reprinted from an issue of The Right of Aesthetic Realism to Be Known* about a young man who stuttered and because of what he learned in Aesthetic Realism consultations—his stuttering diminished.
Arnold Perey writes:
When Georges Delong, a high school student in France, began having Aesthetic Realism consultations by telephone with a teaching trio of which I am proud to be part, he told us that he was interested in very little. He could not concentrate, could not do much reading. He thought of dropping out of school. And Mr. Delong stuttered badly.
From the time Georges Delong was very young, his mother had been mentally ill. He told us his father was too disappointed and tired to pay sufficient attention to him. His grandmother gave him everything, and, he said, together they would make fun of people.
When Georges Delong was eight, a bomb exploded in the street outside his home and he began stuttering. In these great sentences from Self and World, which we studied with Mr. Delong, Eli Siegel explains what occurred:
“It is quite true that a person may begin stuttering because he has undergone a shock of some kind….This does not mean, however, that the entire cause of the stuttering is the unsettling event.…There is a disposition in everyone to be afraid, to hate, to withdraw. When the world presents itself to us suddenly as dreadful, as inimical, or as painfully strange, we can at that moment affirm a tendency hitherto implicit.”[Pp. 325-6]
We showed Georges Delong that his inability to concentrate, to learn, and his trouble about whether words should come forth or stay inside him, came from how he saw the world.
Contempt Was the Interference
“I want to know why I cannot concentrate,” he said in one consultation. The fundamental cause for all instances of difficulty learning, given by Eli Siegel in 1973, is: “The insufficient caring for the external world as one knows it, can make it seem impossible for a boy to give himself to the understanding of type on a page” (The Right Of #12).
We asked, “Do you expect things to come to you—but you don’t like going to them?” “Yes,” Georges Delong said, “I expect things to come to me.” He began to realize: “Is reading a book going out to the world? And I don’t want to? Is that what I do wrong when I try to read?” “Yes,” we answered, “that is what happens.”
The way to change contempt for reality is to criticize it directly and show how beautiful the structure of the world is, so a person respects it. In Eli Siegel’s principle “The world, art, and self explain each other: each is the aesthetic oneness of opposites,” is the way to show that beauty.
Mathematics Defeats Contempt
Mr. Delong did not like mathematics. He saw it as painful, dry. He told us he was going to have a math test, and sounded frightened. “What is the test about?” we asked. “Analytic geometry,” he said, “hyperbolas and parabolas.”
The very name analytic geometry can be seen as frightening. To begin showing the beauty it has, we asked what opposites this kind of math puts together. It combines geometry and algebra: geometry is pictures—likes triangles and curves—and algebra gives you an equation for each picture that enables you to draw it. Geometry, we learned from Aesthetic Realism, stands for rest, while algebra stands for motion. When Rene Descartes came to analytic geometry, he put together motion and rest.
“Give us an example from your book and we’ll talk about how the opposites are in it.” Mr. Delong gave us an equation: x 2 + x + y = 0. We saw that the oneness of order and freedom is in this equation, is its very essence, as we began to graph it over the phone. We asked him to choose a number for x. We saw he could choose any x at all, from minus infinity to infinity: “Is that freedom?” we asked. He agreed, and chose x = 3. We substituted it in the equation and got: 9 + 3 + y = 0. So y= –12. Once you select an x, the equation tells you exactly which y corresponds to the x: “Is that order?” we asked. He said, “Yes, it is.” We said, “The function has complete freedom and strict order at once and all the time.”
Order and freedom are aesthetic opposites, and they are in every student’s life. We asked Mr. Delong what made him like something very much: disco dancing. “I like the energy,” he said. What else?—”I like the flexibility; a good dancer has to be flexible.” “Those are opposites,” we said: “energy and grace, and they both stand for kinds of freedom—energetic and flexible movement. Does dance also have an order? If you don’t follow certain steps, you’re not doing the dance, you’re doing another one.” Mr. Delong laughed, ” Yes, that’s right.”
He wanted freedom to go out dancing till 2 A.M. and fought with his father, who wouldn’t let him go. But he also told us he was glad his father cared enough to restrict him, because he was only sixteen. He wanted freedom and order, both, as every person does. Mathematics and dance show these opposites are one. This makes for respect for the world, as opposed to contempt.
A World to Respect
We studied the aesthetics of the world in chemistry, writing, in people—including young women. Mr. Delong told us, “I realized that mathematics and chemistry are not out of this world—they are part of me…. I enjoy them.” Georges Delong, who had been frightened of failing, passed all his classes and final exams. As this school year began he said, “I want to study seriously so I can go to university.” He is becoming proud of how his mind works.
His stuttering is nearly gone. He wrote to us, in French: “I have been able to resolve in large measure my problem regarding stuttering: now it is quite diminished and also I have been able to understand the motive for stuttering…. I hope that… persons who now do not know Aesthetic Realism will come to know it because, believe me, it can resolve millions of problems of people who perhaps now are struggling, perhaps vainly trying to resolve them.”
The Aesthetic Realism of Eli Siegel is beautiful. It defeats contempt, the interference with learning. It shows the world has a beautiful structure and can be liked. All children deserve to learn the truth about the world’s structure, and their own relation to it, so they can learn.
About the author:
Dr. Arnold Perey is a consultant on the faculty of the Aesthetic Realism Foundation. He received his Ph.D. from Columbia University in anthropology for research supported by the National Science Foundation and a Public Health Service fellowship. He has taught in the City University of New York, Drew University, and Seton Hall University. At the Aesthetic Realism Foundation he teaches anthropology and in consultations, and is an instructor in the workshop for teachers, The Aesthetic Realism Teaching Method.
He began his study of Aesthetic Realism with Eli Siegel and continues it now in classes taught by Ellen Reiss, the Chairman of Aesthetic Realism. His published articles include “A New Perspective for American Anthropology” and “The Real Opposition to Racism.” Visit his website: A New Perspective for Anthropology & Sociology.
Books by Arnold Perey:
* Excerpt from The Right of Aesthetic Realism to Be Known
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