When I began to study Aesthetic Realism in consultations, I learned
that the thing that most hurt me was not my father as I tried to tell myself—but
my contempt. My contempt was criticized, and I saw this tremendous thing—that
respecting the world and people was a far greater pleasure! I felt a happiness
and ease I had never felt before. And I became kinder, including to David
In Aesthetic Realism Eli Siegel has provided the means to see another
person truly. Every person, he explained, has the structure of reality
in him or her, the aesthetic oneness of opposites: order and freedom, repose
and energy, and more. That was definitely not how I saw David Blaustein.
But I was learning to see my father newly—as having reality’s opposites
in him—the same opposites that are in myself, and something big began to
happen. I remember at Jones Beach, I was thrilled as I looked out and saw
that the waves were advancing and retreating, agitated and yet restful,
opposites I was trying to make sense of in my own life and then I thought
of my father and how much he wanted to have these opposites better related
in himself. I was thrilled to feel closer to him than I ever did before.
My whole life changed as I saw that the man I contemptuously thought I
knew like a book had mystery, dimension, and wonder.
For the first time, I began to ask my father what he cared for. I could
see how affected he was by these questions coming from a son who once was
bent on showing him up. One day, driving on the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway,
he told me about baseball, what he felt sitting in the bleachers at Yankee
Stadium watching Joe DiMaggio. He described the day when as a teenager,
he waited in line at the Paramount to see his favorite singer, Frank Sinatra.
And he spoke about meeting Anne Cohen, a 17 year-old girl from the Bronx,
saying "She swept me off my feet, she was so beautiful and full of life."
Anne Cohen would become his wife, and my mother. "Dancing the Lindy with
her to Benny Goodman’s "Savoy" was like being in heaven," he said.
It was a new experience, honestly wanting to know and be affected by
my father. I cherish the conversations we have had in these years about
so many subjects. I can say something I once never could and really mean
it: I love David Blaustein. He wrote in a letter to Ellen Reiss, the Class
Chairman of Aesthetic Realism: "Through Bruce’s study of Aesthetic Realism,
I have the son I always hoped to have. We have a friendship that we never
could have had."