Says anthropologist Dr. Arnold Perey, "Aesthetic Realism is the way of seeing the world and people, scientific and kind, that is needed for a just world today. I invite you to see why I say this."

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Rainbow in the Valley: Papua New Guinea

A New Perspective for American Anthropology

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!

Aesthetic Realism gives to anthropology the depth, kindness, and scientific accuracy that this young science is hoping for—a statement I make carefully, definitely, and with great hope.


Aesthetic Realism and Medicine by Jeffrey Sosinsky, M.D.

Special Bulletin:

I agree wholeheartedly with Dr. Jeffrey Sosinsky's careful conviction--affirmed by years of experience--that the medical world, and every person, need the study of Aesthetic Realism to "be kinder, more insightful, and more ethical."   



Anthropology Is about You & Everyone

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

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

We continue our Guide to Anthropology this semester as we study What makes people like and different? and Why does this matter so much to each and every one of us?

Eli Siegel, founder of Aesthetic Realism explained: "Every person is always trying to put opposites together in himself or herself" ... and this is an aesthetic purpose. Study of this principle leads to exact answers that everyone--let alone every student of anthropology--hopes for. Six cultures will be considered this semester, including our own.

Sept 27   What’s Good and What’s Bad—Are They Related in New Guinea and New York?

Oct 11   Siberian Nomads--& What Do We Want to Be Cold & Warm to?

Oct 25   Closeness & Clash Here & in China 1000 AD

Nov 8    Lofty & Low in Bali & a US University

Nov 22  Contempt & Respect--Which Purpose Makes Us Strong?--in the Rainforest and Your Life.

Dec 6  Saturday (NOT Wednesday Dec. 6) at the Met

At 11 AM we meet with The Visual Arts and the Opposites class to study "The Opposites in Mayan Art."

Dec 20 "The Aesthetics of Anthropology": Students Speak 


Barbara Allen Interview


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


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