Out of all the topics we have covered in this class the sublime is the one that interest me the most. Several topics have been interesting but nothing has entertained me for weeks later like this discussion did. Nothing was said that was too far from the norm but the way each of us looked at things made me reexamine the way I see things. Most people are fascinated by the big things in life. (National parks are entirely one of those such things.) Tinny everyday things people overlook capture my attention with their common beauty. The haze of a horribly over packed term had made me forget to stop and admire them. Having the lecture on the sublime reminded me to take the time to enjoy tinny things again.
Several people were talking about their experiences at the parks or some large natural wonder and how tinny they felt or how something left them in awe. But does it have to be some wide expanse of an object to be sublime? Can one see something tinny or fleeting and get the same feeling? I think so. Based on the basic definition I found on line it states that in order for something to be sublime it has to be impressive and/or awe inspiring. Something as little as micro-bacteria can be awe inspiring in its destructive power just like standing at the center of the Grand Cannon can be in its vastness. It really just depends upon how we view the things around us and what makes us stop to rediscover ourselves in some way.
Walking from class one evening ended up going under some trees and there was a single strand from a spiders web dangling a very tinny leaf glistening in the twilight. It spun in the light breeze causing the delicate light to dance across making the colours of its decay glow. It was such a beautiful sight I found myself standing there watching this little leaf for over ten minutes in pure awe. There was none of the fear some described feeling but it did change the way I looked at the smallest of details over the passing weeks since. Is that not what the sublime is about in a way? Having never really experienced the sublime that was described in lecture before, I can only imagine what those who were able to talk about their experiences felt. If a tinny leaf dancing one final time was that strikingly beautiful it seems only logical to me that going to a national park would be a thousand fold more. (It takes a bunch of those tinny leafs to make a forrest after all.)
Another point that really stuck with me was the feeling of fear. I always thought of something that was sublime as being peaceful and tame. Not something to be afraid of but it got the cogs turning. The vast areas that lend themselves to being ‘free’ from the mundane everyday life we all lead while hiding the possibility of literally loosing ourselves in the ‘wilderness’ are intriguing thoughts to me. One wrong move and the beauty one is pausing to admire can end everything. Beauty as a killer. But is the sublime more about the beauty or the fear? Can it be about both equally? Or does one have to out weigh the other? Does it really matter one way or another? I do not think there is a set answer to those questions. It seems plausible that the answers would change during every experience depending upon the mindset of the person at that time. What we may see as sublime today we may not tomorrow but give it a few days and the same sight may bring one to tears of enjoyment. Fresh eyes change how we view life and the things around us. Maybe the experience is the sublime part instead of the view we are looking at. When we get right down to it, who is to say exactly what the sublime is to every person and how we each enjoy it? That is not such a bad thing in my book.
On a much lighter note that has very little to do with the topic, the entire time we were discussing the sublime Santeria by Sublime was stuck in my head. Incase anyone has not heard of them, here is the video if it works. Enjoy and may it get stuck in your head as well.