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Reflective Essay On The Sublime

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From the very first week I wanted a purpose for the sublime, I wanted to know the value in experiencing it. And now that Kant created this dichotomy between beautiful and sublime, why would anyone ever choose the sublime? Beauty to me means joy, tranquility, and love, the sublime means confusion and fear.
“[I]f you have the choice to just be happy, why pick anything else? I’m not saying, “Oh just be in a good mood”, I’m saying, why spend your limited time and energy seeking the bittersweet of the sublime?”
I got a bit of an answer in Gorichanez’s discussion of ultra marathons. He supports Burkes idea that repetition and nature can evoke the sublime, and sees the experience as “an escape from the increasingly materialistic, paternalistic,
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This is what I have been waiting all semester for, people! You can take this experience beyond the self!”
Muir really spoke my language, and I loved his focus on the effects of the sublime rather than the components of the sublime. He wasn’t worried about making it, because the sublime is “offering” itself through the world all around us, as Gorichanez said.
“Surrender to nature’s flow creates a connection that Muir captures perfectly, saying that “Mountains are fountains not only of rivers and fertile soils, but of men.” There’s a sense of eternity that completely erases the self in the acknowledgement that I’m not any different from the rivers, or the dirt, or any old part of the Yosemite basin at all. Getting the illusion of separation to fall for even a split second is a strangely quiet thrill… Getting to that space is really rejuvenating for me. I can’t hold on the feeling of total unity forever, but I don’t really need to; Experiencing that truth again won’t make it truer.”
The focus on unity of men and nature negates the need for an argument about how long the sublime can last, or how quickly the whole danger/safety paradox can be held in one’s mind. It gives a new and beautiful value to the sublime, making the experience the start of a cascade of love and compassion for others. There is no way to have Muir’s sublime experience without one’s life and actions being profoundly affected. It pretty much forces you into living by the golden rule,
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