Aesthetic Realism Consultant Nancy Huntting

Sara Coleridge (1802-1852)
Sara Coleridge

Aesthetic Realism Public Seminar

Is Good Will Our Greatest Power?
by Nancy Huntting

From the Women Are Various Seminar at the Aesthetic Realism Foundation, New York

I learned that every person has the possibility of two kinds of power—the power that arises from good will, which is equivalent to our deepest desire to like the world; and the power that comes from having contempt for the world, hurtful to our own and other people's lives. For the first time Aesthetic Realism has shown that good will is not the self-sacrificing thing most people have thought, but the greatest power a human being can have. 

"It is only when good will is seen as aesthetics that its strength is seen," explains Eli Siegel in The Right of Aesthetic Realism to Be Known #121:

Good will can be described as the desire to have something else stronger and more beautiful, for this desire makes oneself stronger and more beautiful.... Good will is a true mingling of kindness and exactness or severity; in other words, good will is aesthetics.... Aesthetics is the original engineering of the world.

The conscious idea of having good will for people never occurred to me.  "Contempt is a sign of strength to people," Eli Siegel said in an Aesthetic Realism class in 1974, "it is synonymous with strength.  Is that so with you?" Mr. Siegel asked me. Yes, it was.  But I learned through my study of Aesthetic Realism that the chief reason women feel bad is because they don't have good will.
What I present tonight is about the power a woman can have if she has good will for the first representatives of humanity she meets—her parents—and how this is crucial to having the power as human beings we were meant to have. I will be speaking about what I learned, and about what a woman is learning now in Aesthetic Realism consultations. I will also show how a daughter in history wanted to have good will for her father. I came to know of the importance of Sara Coleridge, the daughter of Samuel Taylor Coleridge, through two great lectures Eli Siegel gave about her in 1971. I will be presenting only some aspects of a life that was very full and valuable. And her power for good arose centrally from the choice she made about her father. Women today can learn from her and how Eli Siegel saw her.

I. Where Our Idea of Power Begins

As a little girl I remember feeling powerful getting praise from my parents and other people, and thinking I was smarter than anyone.  Mr. Siegel explains in his lecture Aesthetic Realism and the Past,

Usually a child has more power in the family than he has elsewhere....a child...thinks it runs everything and the rest of life is spent not giving that up, and being miserable and still preferring not to give it up.

Thinking you should run everything is awfully conceited and is also contempt for everyone else, yet women go after this kind of power, and I did.

Very early I felt I succeeded in outsmarting and managing my mother.  At night I made her chase me to get me to go to bed.  Then, the lights out and everything quiet, I would call her and insist I had to have a glass of water.  My father would praise how pretty I looked, and take me on his lap to eat an orange together, but he was mostly busy with his work and didn't wait on me.  I let him know I preferred him to my mother, and I felt he preferred me.  When I was 13 he bought a horse for himself and me, and the two of us would go riding together; yet we couldn't really seem to talk to each other. 

In an Aesthetic Realism class in 1974 when Eli Siegel asked me what was the saddest time in my life, I said it was when my father died of cancer at the age of 56.  With tremendous kindness, Mr. Siegel enabled me to see a purpose I had with my father which was hurting my life still.

Mr. Siegel asked me if in my relations with men I had wanted a man to feel dependent on me? I said I wasn't sure, the men I liked were very independent.  "Did you want to change that though?" he asked me, "Are you angry at Mr. Reynolds because he declared independence?"  Yes, I was.

Eli Siegel.  Did you feel you'd been unfair to your father?
Nancy Huntting.  Yes, I was.
ES  Why?
NH  I wasn't interested enough in him.
ES  Why were you so sad, if you weren't interested?
NH  He was my idol.
ES  Do you see that's contradictory? Did you want him in some way subservient to you?
NH  Yes.
ES  Can the words "not interested enough" mean "I don't have enough power over him?"

I realized that Mr. Siegel was right, and it was a revelation to me: I'd felt my father was too independent--not enough at my beck and call. The power I wanted over men, I saw, had begun early. I wanted to be everything to a man, I was in competition with anything else he was interested in.  I learned from Aesthetic Realism it was because the power I wanted was contempt—to have a man subservient to me—that I could never feel I deserved to be cared for.  "The greatest suspicion of men," Mr. Siegel explained in this class, "is that in some way they don't understand, a woman is trying to have them weaker."

Mr. Siegel was enabling me to change my purpose with men from one of ill will to good will.  He asked me to write "A Day in the Life of Donald Huntting" for the purpose of thinking about my father more accurately, with good will.  The thought we've had about a mother and father is where our thought about people as such began.  When we see what's wrong with it, and what kind of thought we can really respect ourselves for, we can change.

 Continued—Part II. Thought About a Father                 Home                     Site Map

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