Part 1: Heavy and Light; or Radio, Cinema, and a Bit of Literature

Part 2: Heavy and Light; or Radio, Cinema, and a Bit of Literature

Part 3: Heavy and Light; or Radio, Cinema, and a Bit of Literature


Conclusion of
Aesthetic Realism class report:
"Heavy and Light; or Radio, Cinema,
and a Bit of Literature"
By Michael Palmer

      It was exciting to hear other examples of how the cinema has affected people in relation to heavy and light and opposites related to these--the speed and slowness in "Birth of a Nation"; how we can be deeper and lighter learning about evil in ourselves from "The Exorcist."

      Mr. Siegel asked, "Is all art some dealing with the heaviness and lightness of the world, and are we either doomed or privileged to make sense of it in our lives?"  I know there are people who feel, as I once did, that they are doomed to lives that are basically on the surface of things, without deep meaning.  Aesthetic Realism shows that we can understand this and change, and that the relation of opposites in art and in the world itself can teach us how.

      Mr. Siegel illustrated this, taking up briefly the second chapter in the book titled Literature--by John Chamberlain, telling how America of the 1920s and 30s was strongly affected by writers such as Theodore Dreiser, Ernest Hemingway, and Sinclair Lewis.   Chamberlain writes about Dreiser's "sense of doom."  Mr. Siegel pointed out that the quality of Dreiser is in that phrase "sense of doom."   "Dreiser" he continued,  "goes for two things in Sister Carrie and Jennie Gerhardt.   He takes the life of a woman and shows it to be ever so important to the person having the life, meanwhile Dreiser gives a constant feeling to the reader that it is all meaningless-- life, as such, is empty."  "Doom is a heavy thing," noted Mr. Siegel, but emptiness is light."

      In this chapter, Chamberlain speaks of young American writers of the 30s who go for large ideas but lack conviction.   Said Mr. Siegel "people can be enthusiastic long before they're clear.   If enthusiasm is not clear it changes into heaviness, and sometimes anger."   He said this was occurring in America right now--that is the 1970's--because there was nothing which was loved clearly and deeply. 

      Then, in what I feel shows why Aesthetic Realism is needed in the world today, he said "The one way to be light and heavy at the same time is to care for something that means a great deal.    To be clear about it is to love it."  "Clearness, he said, "is the midway point between heaviness and lightness."

      The education of Aesthetic Realism makes for honest clearness.   It is a oneness of seriousness and true light heartedness.

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