"Aesthetic Realism is a way of seeing the world that is true, kind, & needed," says anthropologist Dr. Arnold Perey

"This important, needed way of seeing the world, founded by the great American philosopher and educator Eli Siegel, taught me how people of every culture & background have feelings as deep as one's own."

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Rainbow in the Valley: Papua New Guinea

Anthropology is about you, whether you live in a NY apartment or a mountain home in Papua New Guinea. "All beauty is a making one of opposites," stated Eli Siegel, the founder of Aesthetic Realism, "and the making one of opposites is what we are going after in ourselves." When we study this principle and the rich way the cultures of the world show it is true, we respect people more and see ourselves in a thrilling relation of difference and sameness to everyone else!

This is the depth, kindness, and scientific accuracy anthropology has always hoped for. It can, and does, end racism. It makes for kindness in marriage, in friendship, in every human relation, including economics—a statement I make carefully, definitely, and with great hope.


Anthropology Is about You & Everyone

Class Taught by Dr. Arnold Perey
"Nothing human is alien to me." Terence

Spring/Summer 2017
6:00 - 7:30 PM Alternate Wednesdays
At the Aesthetic Realism Foundation in New York City


May 24  Anthropology & the Need for Aesthetic Realism

June 7   Should Children Learn Anthropology?

June 21 Inner Thoughts in Outer Mongolia

July 5   Culture & the Original Self--Tikopia

July 19 Change and Sameness--Native North America

July 29 Saturday (NOT Wednesday August 2) at the Met

We meet with The Visual Arts and the Opposites class at the Met Museum to study the exciting Native American Art exhibit from the Fenimore Museum

August 16  Students Speak on the Opposites in Anthropology


See This Issue on Education!

The Right of Aesthetic Realism to Be Known

September 21, 2016       Issue #1936

This issue of the International Periodical of the Aesthetic Realism Foundation is dedicated to education. Its title is "For Education to Succeed!" And it shows why the Aesthetic Realism Teaching Method has proven itself as the way for education at every age to succeed! Here is the way this issue begins:

Here is a paper from a public seminar on the great Aesthetic Realism Teaching Method. It is by NYC social studies teacher Christopher Balchin, of England and Oxford University. The seminar’s title is a tested and beautiful fact: The Aesthetic Realism Teaching Method Succeeds, & Answers the Question “Education, What For?”

Along with Mr. Balchin’s paper are two short, kind, richly musical poems by Eli Siegel. And as a brief introduction, I present four points that I see as urgently important for education today. Central to them is the following statement of Mr. Siegel: “The large fight...[in] every mind of once, every mind of now, is...between respect for reality and contempt for reality.”... > And you can read about it now! >


Two Articles Based on the Aesthetic Realism Method

diamond dot for Aesthetic Realism: A New Perspective for Anthropology & Sociology"A New Perspective for American Anthropology"

Published in The Anthropologist (University of Delhi, India). That new perspective is provided by Aesthetic Realism, the philosophy founded by American educator Eli Siegel.

"Consider the native people of 0kapmin, New Guinea....Do they have two opposite attitudes to the world—that it has been kind to them and the gods have been good, and also that it has rooked them?"

Read new explanation of the place of emotion in field work, and how scientifically to understand how we see people different from ourselves. What every student of anthropology experiences in a new culture is related to what goes on in everyday life. Here's an understanding, based on my personal experience (Arnold Perey) and what I learned from Aesthetic Realism, of a common phrase which really hasn't been understood: culture shock.  Read More

diamond dot for Aesthetic Realism: A New Perspective for Anthropology & Sociology"Idealism and Practicality: How Can a Man Have Both?"

Paper presented in an Aesthetic Realism seminar (Aesthetic Realism Foundation). In this paper I discuss my own life and that of the great anthropologist Bronislaw Malinowski, using his famed Diary in the Strict Sense of the Word, written in New Guinea 1914-1918. This paper is about the division in every person between being "practical" and "idealistic." I suggest in this paper that Malinowski, who was very courageous in the Diary, wanted to resolve this division in himself and in his tremendous contribution to anthropology, Functionalism.    Read more


Barbara Allen Interview


Gwe, Young Man of New Guinea -- a Novel Against Racism:

From the Novel: Her second was born an hour before dawn, when it was cold, in the Rainy Season. According to custom, the child was nameless for 27 days and was secluded with her in a birth house built in a quiet tree-covered place by her brother and herself.  

     Those 27 days she held the small being in her arms, taking turns with her sister who was secluded with her. Thus the most vulnerable days for the infant were taken care of, keeping the baby steadily warm in mountain weather, cold even indoors.  

     Bettiana looked at his soft skin, the color of sunny earth. She felt his fingers grasp at her, and while he sucked milk from her breast she felt, blissfully, "The world is so kind." Then, in the dark, her mind seemed to turn upside down, and she remembered how insultingly her husband had ignored her opinion in the garden. Again, he said the potatoes she was ready to harvest weren’t big enough yet! She cradled the infant closer and thought, "But my baby loves me." The babe seemed to reply by paddling its little arms in the air and gurgling.    Read more from chapter 1   

Wepil of Divana illustrating where these tiny carving tools come from: the jawbone of a nibbling animal
My anthropological novel, based on Aesthetic Realism, and culturally accurate
Stone axe, as used by a man of the Mountain Ok area to cut down a second-growth tree



An anti-prejudice book for children,
inspired by a traditional story of the Ndowe People of Africa.
Told and illustrated by Arnold Perey.

Illustration from "Were They Equal?" #3, Tortoise shouts, "Hello, my friend!"
Illustration from "Were They Equal?" #2
Illustration from "Were They Equal?" #3

Elephant and Hippopotamus were chatting one day, and Elephant said, "Have you heard, that little tortoise has been saying he's equal to us! What nerve!"

Said Hippopotamus, "Who, that pipsqueak? My foot is bigger than he is! And he's saying he's our equal?" He was angry.

Hippo was the biggest animal in the river and Elephant was the biggest animal on the land. At the thought of Tortoise calling himself their equal, they both laughed out loud...

 For more info


Anthropological Observations


Doctoral Thesis Based on Aesthetic Realism

diamond dot for Aesthetic Realism: A New Perspective for Anthropology & SociologyOksapmin Society and World View:  Ph.D. Thesis, Columbia University

Selection 1  | Selection 2  | Selection 3 
Selection 4  | Selection 5  | Selection 6

diamond dot for Aesthetic Realism: A New Perspective for Anthropology & Sociology Chapter 3. Aesthetic Opposites in Social Organization. (Data Tables Included)

A man resting after agricultural labor

Man resting from work in traditional sweet potato agriculture. I took this photo where I did field research, in Betiana hamlet of Oksapmin, in the Mountain Ok region of Papua New Guinea.


Some Resources I Like & Recommend
bulletAmerican Anthropological Association
bulletDrama Meets Science: The Aesthetic Realism Theatre Co.
bullet Ellen Reiss: Biographical Information & Poem bullet Eli Siegel: Biographical Information & Poetry
bulletThe Tremendous Meaning of Literature and Criticism
bulletAesthetic Realism Theatre Company
bulletAesthetic Realism Foundation
bulletAn Anthropologist Answers, "What Is Aesthetic Realism?"

Depsin is one of the men I liked and respected most during my field research
in the Mountain Ok area of Papua New Guinea

* Images from Papua New Guinea on this site are photographs taken by Arnold Perey.

Copyright © 2001-2017 by Arnold Perey. All rights reserved