As I studied the work of the renowned French Impressionist painter Berthe Morisot, whom I care for, I was taken by the energy and motion in it, at one with its form and repose. And I was moved to see how deeply these opposites of energy and repose affected every aspect of her life. I saw that in the very technique of her paintings, she solves a question that has troubled people greatly, as it did me, and the artist herself: restlessness.
In his lecture Mind and Restlessness Eli Siegel described the restlessness I think Berthe Morisot felt, and which I thought I would be driven by all my life. Restlessness, he said is “motion with againstness” with “something compulsory about the motion.” He explained:
The restlessness that is the deepest is the feeling of not being at home in the world that you have been born into. Nearly everybody has that”.
I learned from Aesthetic Realism that the great interference with our “being at home in the world” coming from ourselves is the desire for contempt. We cannot feel at home if we hope to see the world and people as beneath us, unworthy of us. When we go against our deepest purpose, to like the world, we have to be ill at ease or restless. And the way we can honestly like this world we are in is by seeing that it is made aesthetically; it is a oneness of opposites. “All beauty,” Mr. Siegel stated, “is a making one of opposites, and the making one of opposites is what we are going after in ourselves.” Read more