An Anthropologist Studies Aesthetic Realism

Dr. Arnold Perey writes, "This great philosophy gives to anthropology the depth, kindness, and scientific accuracy it has always hoped for. You'll see how in these pages."

Anthro TECH Site of the Month Award
study sphere award of excellence
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 great philosophy gives to anthropology the depth, kindness, and scientific accuracy it 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.  

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 what you hope to understand: What is culture shock, and do I have it in my everyday life? What's the cause? Can emotions be accurately defined without lessening or summing them up? --The answer is YES!    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



Anthropology Is about You & Everyone

Anthropology Class taught by Dr. Arnold Perey

"Nothing human is alien to me." Terence

Class of Spring-Summer 2016
6:00 - 7:30 PM on Alternate Wednesdays
Taught at the Aesthetic Realism Foundation in New York City


Fang of Gabon

Man of the Crow Nation

This great principle stated by Eli Siegel, “All beauty is a making one of opposites, and the making one of opposites is what we are going after in ourselves,” is the key to understanding the function of art or aesthetics in the cultures of the world—and in all the social sciences. And this includes paleoanthropology, or prehistory, as we’ll see.


May 18   Art, the Opposites, & the Fang of Gabon (the Congo)

See James W. Fernandez of Princeton on a union of conflict and repose [].

June 1    Cancelled for construction and rescheduled

June 15  Cancelled for construction and rescheduled

June 29  Art Strengthens—or, the Ethnography of the Inuit (Eskimo)

See Franz Boas’ early classic, The Central Eskimo.

July 13   Did Art Make the Crucial Difference for Ice Age Survival?

For diverse points of view see

July 27    Strange & Familiar—a Missionary, Junod, Looks at S. Africans

For a swift ethnographic sketch see Irving Goldman,

Aug. 3    Custom & Honest Impulse, or Robert Lowie & the Crow Nation

Aug. 10   The Place of Aesthetics: Papers by Students in This Class

Aug. 14 (Sunday)   What Art Says of the Primal & Subtle In Ourselves

Joint class with The Visual Arts and the Opposites class at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, 11 AM

INUIT MAN Photograph by Edward S. Curtis








Chauvet Cave
Painted by Cro-Magnon, our immediate ancestors

ICE AGE MAN: Neanderthal (Failed to survive into the current temperate period)


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


A Doctoral Dissertation Based on Aesthetic Realism

Showing That a Society of Papua New Guinea Has an Aesthetic Structure and Purpose

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




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

Some Resources I Like & Recommend
bulletAmerican Anthropological Association
bulletDrama Meets Science: The Aesthetic Realism Theatre Co.
bulletThe Tremendous Meaning of Literature and Criticism
bulletAesthetic Realism Theatre Company
bulletAesthetic Realism Foundation
bulletWhat Is Aesthetic Realism?

Depsin is one of the men I liked and respected 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 © 2001-2016 by Arnold Perey. All rights reserved